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How Google Makes Its Billions: The 20 Most Expensive AdWords Keyword Categories

Danny Goodwin
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Insurance keywords are the most searched for on Google, making insurance the most expensive category on Google AdWords and the top PPC money-maker for Google. Bidding on insurance keywords can cost advertisers up to $55 per click, according to a new study from SEM software company WordStream that aimed to determine the top 20 categories that see the highest search volume and cost per click (CPC).

Loan, mortgage, attorney, and credit keywords rounded out the top five.

Google continued to shatter quarterly revenue records in Q2, and has made $32.2 billion in total advertising revenue over the last year – which is 97 percent of Google's revenue, WordStream noted. Google AdWords is the biggest source of profits for Google, so to determine where Google is making its billions from, WordStream used data from its own keyword database, as well as the Google Keyword Tool, and found these 20 categories make up the most competitive terms and CPCs (at least during the unspecified 90-day period WordStream studied):

  1. Insurance (e.g., "buy car insurance online," "auto insurance price quotes"); 24 percent of keywords; top CPC of $54.91
  2. Loans (e.g., "consolidate graduate student loans," "cheapest homeowner loans"); 12.8 percent of keywords; top CPC of $44.28
  3. Mortgage (e.g., “refinanced second mortgages,” “remortgage with bad credit”), 9 percent; $47.12
  4. Attorney (e.g., “personal injury attorney,” “dui defense attorney”); 3.6 percent; $47.07
  5. Credit (e.g., “home equity line of credit” and “bad credit home buyer”); 3.2 percent, $36.06
  6. Lawyer (e.g., "personal injury lawyer," "criminal defense lawyer); 3 percent; $42.51
  7. Donate (e.g., "car donation centers," "donating a used car"); 2.5 percent; $42.02
  8. Degree (e.g., "criminal justice degrees online," "psychology bachelors degree online"); 2.2 percent; $40.61
  9. Hosting (e.g., "hosting ms exchange," "managed web hosting solution"); 2.2 percent; $31.91
  10. Claim (e.g., "personal injury claim," "accident claims no win no fee"); 1.4 percent; $45.51
  11. Conference Call (e.g., "best conference call service," "conference calls toll free"); 0.9 percent; $42.05
  12. Trading (e.g., "cheap online trading," "stock trades online"); 0.8 percent; $33.19
  13. Software (e.g., "crm software programs," "help desk software cheap"); 0.8 percent; $35.29
  14. Recovery (e.g., "raid server data recovery," "hard drive recovery laptop"); 0.7 percent; $42.03
  15. Transfer (e.g., "zero apr balance transfer," "credit card balance transfer zero interest"); 0.6 percent; $29.86
  16. Gas/Electricity (e.g., "business electricity price comparison," "switch gas and electricity suppliers"); 0.6 percent; $54.62
  17. Classes (e.g., "criminal justice online classes," "online classes business administration"); 0.5 percent; $35.04
  18. Rehab (e.g., "alcohol rehab centers," "crack rehab centers"); 0.5 percent; $33.59
  19. Treatment (e.g., "mesothelioma treatment options," "drug treatment centers"); 0.4 percent; $37.18
  20. Cord Blood (e.g., "cordblood bank," "store umbilical cord blood"); 0.4 percent; $27.80

WordStream also offered four PPC tips for bidding in a competitive keyword niche:

  1. Target specific, 3-5 word keywords.
  2. Use negative keywords to eliminate keywords that aren’t relevant to your business.
  3. Break up large keyword lists into smaller, more targeted lists.
  4. Test various offers to improve conversions with landing page optimization.

WordStream also released this snazzy infographic:

Top 20 Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords


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