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With all the fuss about Ad­Words sun­set­ting their ex­ter­nal key­word tool my thoughts turned to which other tools I use to find and ex­pand my key­word lists. Now, I’m not say­ing some of the ideas below are earth-shat­ter­ing and I would hope that if you’re man­ag­ing your cam­paigns ef­fi­ciently you’ll al­ready be aware of and using a few of these but there might also be a few in there that sur­prises you.

1.Ad­Words Search Terms/ Bin­gAds Search Query Re­ports – These re­ports will show every search query that re­sulted in your ads being shown (and then clicked). Using these de­tails you can then see any ad­di­tional pos­i­tive key­words that you should tar­get whilst also iden­ti­fy­ing those terms that you need to add to your neg­a­tive key­word lists.

2.Google Trends – Not only is Google trends great at show­ing you the level of in­ter­est sur­round­ing your ini­tial query it will also show you the 10 re­lated terms based on what peo­ple are search­ing, they also break this out into the top 10 as well as new ‘ris­ing’ terms.

3.Prod­uct List­ing Ads – Hope­fully, now that PLAs have been around for a while every­one is aware of the lit­tle workaround that lets you see which key­words trig­gered the ads but for those who aren’t if you head over to the key­word tab (yes, it will be empty) you can still se­lect ‘De­tails’ and view the search terms that fired. Not only, will this help you build out your PLA cam­paign but as you can serve both text and PLAs against the same query it will help you ex­pand your reg­u­lar text ad cov­er­age.

4.Bing Ads In­tel­li­gence Excel Plug In – This tool lets you down­load your ex­ist­ing key­words and find new terms based on your cur­rent in­ven­tory as well as build­ing lists from sug­gested key­words, show­ing you his­tor­i­cal traf­fic and cost data. You can down­load it from the ‘Tools’ sec­tion in your Bin­gAds ac­count.

5.Ad­Words Dis­play Plan­ner – This is re­plac­ing the Con­tex­tual Tar­get­ing Tool, which in turn, took the place of the old Google Won­der Wheel tool in the hearts of ad­ver­tis­ers (ah, the good ol’ won­der wheel) as it iden­ti­fied re­lated key­word themes that you could then dive down into. This new plan­ner is very sim­i­lar to the key­word plan­ner (#8) and will give you re­lated top­ics based on your ini­tial query.

6.Ad­Words Op­por­tu­ni­ties – Yes, these ‘op­por­tu­ni­ties’ might be geared more around you spend­ing more but there are oc­ca­sion­ally some key­word ideas in there that at the very least will help you in­crease you neg­a­tive key­word lists.

7.Face­book Sug­gested Likes & In­ter­ests – Any­one who ad­ver­tised on Face­book will be aware of the quirks in their Ad­verts Man­ager, how­ever, the amount of data they have on their users is stag­ger­ing (and quite scary). Any­one who has ad­ver­tised on FB and has used their Ad­verts Man­ager will know that it has its quirks but one thing that’s re­ally good (for us ad­ver­tis­ers) is their ad­vanced tar­get­ing op­tions. Ba­si­cally, here you can put in what in­ter­ests you think your au­di­ence will have and if FB have the data (which, let’s face it, they do) they will come back with some other sug­gested likes and in­ter­ests. These may not be di­rectly ap­plic­a­ble to your core key­words but if you’re look­ing at other ways of ex­pand­ing your cov­er­age then they will def­i­nitely give you some­thing to think about.

8.Ad­Words Key­word Plan­ner – This new plan­ner is ba­si­cally an amal­ga­ma­tion of the old Ad­Words Key­word & Traf­fic Es­ti­ma­tor tools and will show you po­ten­tial new key­words as well as the search vol­umes. It’s still pretty new and I know a few peo­ple are upset that the old key­word tool is going (mainly, I think, be­cause you didn’t have to be signed in to use it) but I reckon this tool is pretty good al­though maybe not the most user-friendly (as with most Ad­Words tools un­for­tu­nately).

9.Non Brand Or­ganic Key­words from your an­a­lyt­ics provider – I know that the SEO vs PPC de­bate still goes on in some quar­ters (re­ally guys? It’s 2013, get over it and let us help each other) but if you’re re­ally look­ing at how vis­i­tors are get­ting to your site then you shouldn’t just be fo­cussing on your own chan­nel. Take a look at the big­ger pic­ture (hear that guys, the BIG­GER pic­ture) and look at all the po­ten­tial ways that peo­ple have found you. A great way, and by no means the only way, to do this is by dig­ging through the non-brand key­words peo­ple have used to find your site. In Google An­a­lyt­ics, these can be found under the Traf­fic Sources sec­tion (With the use of a cus­tom ad­vanced seg­ment) but in other providers you might have to dig around a bit. Now that you’ve got this data you can com­pare it to what you’re cov­er­ing off in your cam­paigns and spot any areas where you need to re­think. If you are look­ing in GA at this data, you will in­vari­ably run into the scourge that is (not pro­vided) – which is some­thing for an­other day, maybe – but there’s still plenty of great finds to be had.

10.Google Sets (hid­den in Google Docs Drive) – Up until fairly re­cently I al­ways thought of this as my lit­tle se­cret, that is, until an­other bright spark also spot­ted that if you put in 2 seed key­words and then drag down the bot­tom right cor­ner of the sec­ond cell (whilst hold­ing CTL) Google Sets au­to­mat­i­cally fills the cells below with sim­i­lar key­words. Now this doesn’t re­ally work with long lists of terms but if you’re after a dozen or so more seed terms then it’s a great start.

11.The SEO Spi­der – I know this might seem a bit self-pro­mo­tional but the spi­der is also a great tool for find­ing out what type of key­words are ac­tu­ally on your site. Sim­ply crawl the site and take a look at what page ti­tles, H1s the site is using. Also look at the meta de­scrip­tions & key­words as well. Sites get up­dated all the time and un­for­tu­nately news of these changes isn’t al­ways shared. Do your cam­paigns match up with what the vis­i­tor ex­pects to see when they land?

12.Übersug­gest – Übersug­gest is a great free tool that uses the Google Sug­gest ser­vice to pull back the var­i­ous sug­ges­tions plus other vari­a­tions/ ideas. A re­ally, easy, quick way of grab­bing those re­lated ideas.

13.Spyfu Key­word Re­search – This tool will not only give you ideas around your start­ing key­word but it also gives some data on po­ten­tial search vol­umes and an es­ti­mated CPC on each of the matchtypes. Whether you de­cide to take these fig­ures as gospel or not (tip: don’t) they do at least give you a clear in­di­ca­tion of where the big money is going. NOTE: Un­less you’re signed in this will only re­turn the top 5 key­words and then just pop­u­late the rest of the table with that an­noy­ing mes­sage “Log in to see more re­sults”

14.Word­Stream Key­word Tool – Word­Stream’s free key­word tool will let you run a lim­ited num­ber of searches and once you put in your seed key­word it will give you the re­sults from its mas­sive key­word data­base, not­ing rel­a­tive fre­quency as well as other in­sights.

15.Ama­zon – Ama­zon have a re­ally good site struc­ture and you can use this to your ad­van­tage if you’re look­ing at build­ing out your ecom­merce key­words. Take a look at the screen­shot below and you can see that for my ‘nike train­ers’ query ama­zon have nike train­ers listed in 17 dif­fer­ent de­part­ments! A great place to start if you’re look­ing at build­ing out your lists.

As an­other free­bie, you should also take a look at their Re­lated Searches, they look like a de­cent few terms we could use in our re­search 🙂

As a final gift, here’s one idea that you might think is a lit­tle crazy. This next ‘tool’ isn’t re­ally a tool and isn’t some­thing that you can use across every mar­ket but when you’re look­ing at those terms that could po­ten­tially cost a lot of money and you re­ally need to make sure that your neg­a­tive key­word lists cover off all the bases, I go to the IMDB.

Not only is this site awe­some for find­ing po­ten­tial neg­a­tive KWs when you al­ready know that there is some sort of cross-over but it’s also bril­liant even when you think there couldn’t pos­si­bly be any movie con­nec­tion. Trust me, over the years I’ve learned that there is no end to the weird­ness of some the queries peo­ple use to search the web and so by check­ing on here first I can see if there is any­thing un­to­ward that I need to know about.

Any­way, I hope you find some of the tools men­tioned on this list use­ful, and if you’ve al­ready heard of/ used some of them then hope­fully I’ve jogged your mem­ory about how use­ful they can be.

What other key­word tools do you guys use? Have I missed any that should get a spe­cial men­tion? Let me know in the com­ments & I can add them!