A Guide to Conducting Cost Per Click Keyword Research

CPC, or Cost-Per-Click, is an online advertising model in which businesses pay for clicks that direct users to their websites. This digital marketing method has been around since the early 2000s and can effectively increase website traffic and gain leads. For maximum ROI on your CPC ad strategy, it’s best to start with a cost per click keyword research.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at the main steps you can follow for CPC keyword research. We’ll also look at the basics of CPC and tips on how you can lower CPC costs for greater ad savings.

What is CPC?

CPC is a type of ad strategy wherein advertisers pay a pre-determined amount each time someone clicks on their ad and visits their page. It’s an effective way for businesses to reach more potential customers without having to spend a large sum of money upfront.

With CPC campaigns, advertisers can set budgets for how much they’re willing to spend on each click and optimize their ads accordingly. The cost per click varies depending on the competition within the industry and other factors, but it’s typically between $0.20-$3.00. USD.

How is Cost Per Click Calculated?

A CPC is usually calculated by dividing the advertising cost by the number of clicks an advertisement generates. Let’s say you pay $100 for 500 clicks on an ad. The CPC is then computed at 100/500, or $0.20.

What you pay for a click depends on how competitive your industry is. In fact, more competition means higher costs to get your ads seen. Location, market niche, and competition will also determine how much money you’ll need to pay per click.

Let’s take a look at other factors that can affect keyword cost in the next section.

Factors that Impact Keyword Cost

  • Search Volume: The higher the search volume for a particular keyword, the more expensive the cost per click will be. This is because it presents great marketing potential, enticing more advertisers to compete for it.
  • Popularity: The popularity of certain keywords can also drive up costs because they have increased demand from advertisers seeking visibility in those areas. 
  • Quality Score: Google’s quality score system rewards ads with higher relevance by decreasing the CPCs associated with them. It is important to pay attention to this metric if you want to keep costs low. 
  • Network Choice: Choosing the right network for your campaigns is another way to influence the cost per click. Different networks offer different levels of competition and different pricing models, which can impact the amount you pay for each click. 
  • Seasonality: Certain times of year may be more competitive than others due to seasonal trends or events happening worldwide. Understanding these influences ahead of time can help budget accordingly and minimize overspending.
A person working on a set of data on their laptop .
Photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash

5 Steps for Doing Cost Per Click Keyword Research

1. Set your PPC campaign goals

Get started by setting your campaign goals before proceeding to research your keywords. You may already have them in place, but if you don’t, you can try considering the following:

  • Conversion goals: What action do you want page visitors to take?
  • Metric goals: How many clicks or conversions are you hoping to achieve in a given time frame?

These objectives help you understand your visitor’s search intent – the purpose they have in mind when they click on your ads. When your keywords, page objectives, and visitors’ goals are all aligned, everybody wins!

2. Look for keywords with a tool.

There is no need to guess the right keywords until you get them right. Many tools are available for creating your keyword lists (free and paid), such as the Google Keyword Planner or the INK Content Planner Pro.

3. Check out keyword metrics.

There is a difference in how keywords are built, even if they pertain to the same topic. You can look at their monthly search volume, cost per click (CPC), and all the other factors we mentioned earlier. This will help you determine if they’re worth it.

When you choose your keywords, you want to find the right balance between volume and CPC to bring in clicks within your budget.

4. See what’s already working.

You may already have sources of inspiration in your market when you hunt for PPC keywords. Take a look at your competitors’ keywords using a keyword research tool. You can search for keywords on your competitor’s website and get some keyword ideas.

You can also look for keywords in high-ranking content through paid search or careful deduction. Search for your keyword as if you were a visitor, then look through top-ranking pages for the major words and phrases they use. Try to pay extra attention to the headers and the first few paragraphs because. These are places where keywords are often placed.

5. Target using your data

You now have your keywords, so it’s time to apply them to the best searches. Google AdWords, now called Google Ads, has three keyword match settings:

  • Broad match: Targets ads to queries that contain your exact keyword or other related phrases.
  • Phrase match: Uses narrower targeting than broad matching by matching phrases in the order you specify.
  • Exact match: Targets searches that are an exact match to your keyword.

Generally speaking, you want your keyword matching to be more exact as your customers move down the funnel. As your leads get more specific about their searches, you should be more specific with your targeting too.

How do you lower the Cost Per Click?

CPC (cost per click) can be a difficult metric to keep in check, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips that experienced professionals use to lower CPC: 

Improve Your Quality Score

Quality Score directly relates to Cost Per Click. When an ad achieves a high-Quality Score, Google considers the ad and landing page the best option for the user. Thus, Google will reward the advertiser with a lower Cost Per Click.

Increase Ad Relevance

Google uses three components to calculate a Quality Score. And Ad relevance is one of them. Ad relevance is a measure of how relevant an ad is to search queries. You can improve ad relevance by including the keyword in one of the headlines and also in the description.

Improve Landing Page Experience

The next thing you’ll want to improve is your landing page experience. This is an important component of the Quality Score. If you want to improve a landing page, it is vital to ensure that it is relevant to the ads. This means the keyword that the ad is bidding on should be included.

Knowing which specific element of your landing page can lead to the highest quality score tends to be difficult. You’ll need to test multiple landing page options until you find the best option.

Keyword Research

To lower the cost per click, marketers look for low-competition variations of the keywords they are bidding on. And you can do this by using a keyword research tool to find data on average CPC.

Try to look for keywords with a low Average CPC. For instance, the keyword “SEO software” has an average CPC of $7.88. But closely related keywords like “SEO software platform” has an average CPC of $0.00. You’ll get more savings this way.

Bid on Long tail Keywords

Advertising costs are often based on auctions. The higher the bids for a keyword, the higher Cost Per Click. Another cause for the price to drive up is when the keyword is broad enough to cover more than one search intent.

Bidding on long tail keywords is a great way to avoid both of these issues. With their highly specific nature, long tail keywords do not have a single clear search intent. And this means a much lower CPC.

Use Negative Keywords

Utilize ‘negative keywords’ to filter out irrelevant terms from your list of target keywords. Negative keywords are words or phrases that help to exclude your ads from appearing on irrelevant queries. This will save you money by avoiding getting clicks from visitors who aren’t interested in what you offer.


CPC campaigns require careful analysis and optimization as there is a risk of overspending without receiving any conversions.

With diligent cost per click keyword research, however, your campaigns can be highly lucrative and result in long-term success. Try following these steps to get started on the right track!

Co-Founder of INK, Alexander crafts magical tools for web marketing. SEO and AI expert. He is a smart creative, a builder of amazing things. He loves to study “how” and “why” humans and AI make decisions.

White Label Keyword Research Tools Worth Considering

White-label keyword research tools are becoming increasingly popular amongst online marketers. These powerful platforms offer many benefits that can help…

February 4, 2023

A Guide to Advanced Competitor Keyword Analysis

Assessing the competition can effectively identify your website’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Knowing your competitors’ SEO strategies and tracking their…

February 4, 2023

A Guide to Effective Keyword Rank Tracking

Everybody wants to be on top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). And knowing where your website and content rank…

February 4, 2023

How to Find Negative Keywords in Google Ads

The whole point of using ads is to target potential customers. You don’t want your ads showing up for unrelated…

February 4, 2023

The Google Search Console Guide for Keyword Research

Crafting an effective keyword research strategy is no small feat. It requires an in-depth understanding of your audience, a comprehensive…

February 4, 2023

How to Pick Effective Focus Keywords

A focus keyword for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to ensuring the success of any digital marketing strategy. Not…

February 4, 2023