In his book Ultimate Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising, internet marketing expert Richard Stokes helps you master advanced search engine strategies from top search engine marketers to increase your sales. In this edited excerpt, the author reveals the four third-party keyword suggestion tools that can help you find the keywords that will bring in the sales.

When you're searching for keywords for your online advertising campaigns, an important step is to augment your brainstorming results with third-party keyword suggestion tools. Both Bing and Google provide these free tools, which will generate related terms for any keyword you type in.

The first tool you should use is the Google Keyword Planner. You'll find it under the "Tools and Analysis" menu within your AdWords account. This tool can be very helpful for your keyword list's horizontal expansion into various topics. However, it generates results largely based on potential search traffic so the keywords it returns tend to be more in the search engines' best interest rather than yours. Nevertheless, it's excellent at returning broad topics that are somewhat related to your entered terms, which makes it a good complement to brainstorming.

The second free tool is the Bing Keyword Research tool. To use this tool, you'll need to go to the Bing Webmaster Tools site and verify your site. Once you do this, you'll have access to a suite of useful tools, including the Bing Keyword Research tool which can be found in the left navigation menu under "Diagnostics and Tools"/"Keyword Research".

The Bing Keyword Research tool feels a little less polished than the Google equivalent, but it produces a better variety of candidate keyword ideas. Unlike Google, Bing doesn't filter the results, and the resulting output is far more useful for keyword research, especially when it comes to generating more specific variants of the input keyword phrases).

One paid option for keyword expansion is AdGooroo Industry Insight. AdGooroo monitors search engine advertising in 50 countries around the world and generates lengthy keyword lists for either individual advertisers or entire industries. One of the differences between the AdGooroo keyword reports and the other tools described here lies in the way that keywords are prioritized. Google and Bing prioritize keywords by search volume. In contrast, the AdGooroo Keyword Research tool computes estimated paid search spend, clickthrough rate, cost per click and click volume for every keyword. This is a huge time saver when determining which keywords to attack first.

While these estimates aren't perfect, it provides you with real-world estimates you can use to prioritize your efforts. Most important, the results you'll get from this tool are specific to paid search and take into account the presence of advertising, which means no more wasted time spent trying to optimize keywords with little or no advertising potential. Finally, you can generate keyword lists for specific advertisers that you select. If you have a few close competitors, this is a tremendously powerful shortcut that will eliminate keywords that they've found to be ineffective.

You can also use AdGooroo Industry Insight and SEM Insight (another AdGooroo product) to generate fully expanded keyword lists packed with relevant terms (and few irrelevant ones) in just a few minutes. While you can use either product by itself to generate keyword lists, combining them is an advanced technique that gets you a nearly perfect list in a fraction of the time.

Start by creating an SEM Insight account and then creating a new keyword group for whatever primary term you want to use, such as "Identity Theft" or "Homemade Desserts." Then add the terms from the keyword list you already compiled using brainstorming, competitors' landing pages and free tools. If you know of a specific competitor, you can also just pull their keywords from AdGooroo Industry Insight and create a starting keyword group directly from this list.

These phrases are your "seed list" that will be used to identify a set of close competitors. Once you know who these competitors are, you can then create a fully expanded list of their keywords using the built-in filters. However, the trick is in figuring out who your competitors are. This isn't always easy to do, especially if it's a category or a market you don't know well. To do this, use your keyword group as a filter to narrow down the entire AdGooroo database to just the keywords you've selected as follows:

  • Log in to Industry Insight.
  • Select the "Industry Overview" report.
  • Select the "All" category.
  • Click the "Filter" button on the top toolbar.
  • In the advanced filters area that appear at the top of the page, select the filter "Keywords in SEM Insight Keyword Group," and then select the group you've previously created.
  • Finally, press "Apply Filter."

In a few seconds, you'll see the entire list of advertisers who appeared on those terms, sorted by spend. Now you'll narrow down your list of competitors to just a few close matches. If you can use direct competitors, then your final keyword list will need virtually no manual checks. On the other hand, if your competitors are active in multiple categories, you may end up pulling keywords that are a bit off. If this happens, you can just weed them out of your list.

Once you've narrowed your list, look on each advertiser's dedicated page within Industry Insight for a button that reads "Add to/Edit Launchpad." Click this button to bring up a dialog that allows you to save the advertiser to a shortcut area called the "Launchpad." You'll see this when you log in. It allows you to quickly navigate to these advertisers' reports and enables you to filter the entire AdGooroo database down to just these chosen advertisers. That, in turn, will give you access to their combined set of keywords.

Again, you'll access the advanced filters section precisely as you did above, except this time you'll choose the "Advertiser is on Client Launchpad" filter. The final step in the process is to generate a list of keywords mined from these competitors. With this filter activated, navigate to the "Industry Keywords" report. This will produce a report that has the desired list, and at this point, your working list should have hundreds of keywords from which you can choose the ones most likely to draw in the traffic you desire.