On the heels of Google’s blow-out Q2 2011 earnings ($7 billiion in profits) announcement last week, Wordstream, a Boston, Mass.-based provider of search marketing software, wanted to find out what keywords demand the highest costs per click and are most competitive in terms of high search volume. What they found out is that "insurance" tops the list.
Since the vast majority of Google's profits come from AdWords advertising, these high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google's profits. The 20 keyword categories with the highest search volume and highest costs per click, thereby netting Google the most money, are:
1. Insurance (example keywords in this category include "buy car insurance online" and "auto insurance price quotes")
2. Loans (example keywords include "consolidate graduate student loans" and "cheapest homeowner loans")
3. Mortgage (example keywords include “refinanced second mortgages” and “remortgage with bad credit”)
4. Attorney (example keywords include “personal injury attorney” and “dui defense attorney”)
5. Credit (example keywords include “home equity line of credit” and “bad credit home buyer”)
6. Lawyer ("personal injury lawyer," "criminal defense lawyer)
7. Donate ("car donation centers," "donating a used car")
8. Degree ("criminal justice degrees online," "psychology bachelors degree online")
9. Hosting ("hosting ms exchange," "managed web hosting solution")
10. Claim ("personal injury claim," "accident claims no win no fee")
11. Conference Call ("best conference call service," "conference calls toll free")
12. Trading ("cheap online trading," "stock trades online")
13. Software ("crm software programs," "help desk software cheap")
14. Recovery ("raid server data recovery," "hard drive recovery laptop")
15. Transfer ("zero apr balance transfer," "credit card balance transfer zero interest")
16. Gas/Electricity ("business electricity price comparison," "switch gas and electricity suppliers")
17. Classes ("criminal justice online classes," "online classes business administration")
18. Rehab ("alcohol rehab centers," "crack rehab centers")
19. Treatment ("mesothelioma treatment options," "drug treatment centers")
20. Cord Blood ("cordblood bank," "store umbilical cord blood")
Wordstream found that that 97% of Google's revenue comes from advertising on Google sites. In the last four quarters alone (Q3 2010-Q2 2011), Google brought in $32.2 billion in total advertising revenue.
Google AdWords is a dynamic, auction-based marketplace where advertisers bid on keywords to compete for top ad placement. The minimum bid per keyword is 5 cents, but this research shows that in highly competitive categories, Google can make up to $50 per click. Despite a diversified product portfolio, advertising on Google sites accounts for the vast majority of its billions in annual revenue.
The keyword categories with the highest volumes and costs represent businesses with very high lifetime customer value – in other words, these industries can afford to pay a lot to acquire a new customer. These businesses include lawsuits, mortgage applications, and server hosting. Some high-volume keyword categories have lower CPCs because advertisers have slimmer margins to expend on PPC advertising.
The Most Expensive Keywords: Survey Methodology
Wordstream compiled data from our own trillion-keyword database and the Google Keyword Tool to determine the top 10,000 most expensive English-language keywords over a 90-day period. This keyword list was then organized into categories by theme, such as "Insurance." The largest keyword categories were determined by weighting the number of keywords within each category, as well as the estimated monthly search volume and average cost per click for each keyword.