If you are managing a PPC campaign you will be aware that the bidding price and results of a keyword can vary wildly in just a few days. This can catch you unprepared, and make you spend more than you wanted to reduce the visibility of your campaign. Keyword monitoring allows you to analyse the performance of your PPC and SEO keywords over time, detect trends and uncover actionable insights both for your PPC and your SEO campaigns.

Bidding Wars: The Cost Per Click metric

The lowest cost per click for a keyword often changes within hours, as savvy marketers adapt their bidding strategy to get the greatest exposure at the lowest price. At the same time, a keyword can become extremely expensive in response to an external factor, such as a sudden spike in popularity among search engine users due to a celebrity tweet or an event. Keyword monitoring allows you to establish the real average price of a keyword and remove from the equation spikes that could lead you to overpay or lack budget to bid for that keyword.

Search Engine Optimisation

By monitoring a keyword over time you can also identify average and seasonal search volume for that keyword. This will allow you to take better decisions about which keywords are worth targeting for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, and when to do it. Most of the time the best keywords for SEO are either clearly seasonal or evergreen. Since a SEO campaign can take several weeks to become effective, is important to time it right so as not to miss its keywords popularity peak. At the same time, keyword monitoring allows you to tell keywords that will always have traffic from those that are just a temporal fad, over before your pages are established on the search engines.

How keyword research improves your marketing ROI

The success of a PPC campaign should not only be measured in terms of sales and traffic, but also in terms of Return of Investment, or ROI. Overpaying for keywords with a low amount of traffic or missing visibility because the bid was too low on a genuinely good keyword reduces that return on investment greatly. Keyword monitoring allows marketers to take informed decisions that involve data over time and trends instead of the data snapshots provided by keyword suggestion tools. After all, PPC networks want you to spend as much as possible, not to know exactly when a keyword is a hype and avoid it.

Paid or free tools

There are many tools in the market that can be used for keyword monitoring, some free and some commercial, with various degrees of quality and complexity. However, any keyword monitoring tool is only as good as the marketer who uses it, and none of them will provide you with the actionable insights that can make the difference. One of the best tools in the market in my opinion is Wordtracker, since they both offer a really easy interface and hours and hours of tutorials, articles and how-tos to bring your SEO and PPC bidding management to the next level. Google Keyword Tool is also a free alternative with some information about the popularity of a keyword, but without data on its cost per click over time. Choose a tool whose interface you like, and make the most of the free trials until you are sure you are actually paying for something that is right for you, instead of just going for the tools professional PPC management agencies use just because it works for them.