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How Do Keywords Work In A PPC Campaign?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Keywords aren’t just for SEO, as they form an integral part of PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns too. 

If you currently run any PPC campaigns, particularly on Google Ads then learning how keywords work is integral to putting your PPC budget to best use.

At Imaginaire, we create and maintain PPC campaigns on behalf of our clients, including optimising and monitoring keywords. 

Here is an overview of the importance of keywords for PPC, along with how we select the best keywords depending on your marketing objectives.

PPC Keyword Selection

Success in PPC relies on choosing the right keywords. So where do you begin? 

Google Keyword Planner along with SEO tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush can be used to identify potential PPC keywords. 

Crucially, the aim is to consider how your customers may search for your products or services online. The keywords must be highly relevant since with PPC you will pay for every click your campaigns receive. Hence, the aim is to only attract clicks from those most likely to convert, rather than irrelevant traffic sources. 

Google’s Keyword Planner is especially helpful if you plan on running your campaigns on Google Ads. That’s because the list of keywords will also be accompanied by the average cost both on the low and high end of the scale. This information can then be used to plan your PPC campaign and manage your budget. 

PPC Keyword Types

Various PPC keyword types exist, and knowing the different types can help with your overall PPC strategy. 

The main PPC keyword types to know include:

  • Broad match keywords
  • Broad match modifier keywords
  • Phrase match keywords
  • Exact match keywords
  • Negative keywords

As the name suggests, an exact match keyword provides a list of keywords as close to your original keyword as possible. Google will also display extremely close terms such as plural versions of the term or terms with small spelling errors. So choose your keywords wisely here.

When wanting to expand on your original keyword, broad match keywords can provide additional ideas. This can be useful to target variations of the term, especially for competitive niches. In some ways, this is similar to long-tail keywords in SEO, whereby you can find more in-depth questions or phrases from the original keyword. Naturally, you want to select the broader terms that still offer relevance. 

In contrast, negative keywords are words and phrases which you can exclude from your campaigns. This helps ensure your ads don’t appear for irrelevant search terms, meaning those who click on your campaigns will find your website a better fit for their needs. 

Why Does PPC Keyword Research Matter?

There are technical reasons relating to the platform why PPC keyword research matters, such as your perceived relevance and quality score. By creating high-quality and relevant adverts, Google (additional PPC platforms also exist) will favour your campaigns over others.

However, the overall reason why PPC keyword research matters is to maximise the return on advertising spend (ROAS). 

Similar to any other kind of advertising, a lack of strategy will ultimately mean you spend more money than you will make. However, by understanding your audience and adjusting the campaign to cater to their wants and needs, you have a much better shot of successfully engaging with your audience. 

With PPC, taking the time to research keywords while factoring in your audience demographics makes for a winning strategy. The keywords can also be optimised over time so that they offer a laser-focused approach for marketing your products or services through paid search. 

Imaginaire – PPC Agency Nottingham

Want to make sure your PPC keywords are on point? Get Nottingham’s leading PPC agency by your side!

At Imaginaire, we work with businesses from across the East Midlands as well as the rest of the UK. Our core specialism is pay-per-click campaigns including the creation, implementation and monitoring of campaigns. 

Whether you are in search of PPC or any other digital marketing service, please get in touch to tell us more about your project. 


Rachael is a content executive with Imaginaire. With hands-on experience with all things marketing, she has the knowledge and know-how to explain and advise almost any topic you can think of!

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