What are the most expensive keywords for GoogleAds?

1. Insurance (by a long mile)

2. Loans

3. Mortgage

4. Attorney

5. Credit

6. Lawyer

7. Donate

8. Degree

More detailed information is here, and here.

File under “Model This.”  Do you note the connections to high fixed costs, long and sticky customer histories, and high incentives for fraud?  If so, you are getting warm…


From the first link, it seems like mortgage and attorney at $47, claim at $45 and gas/electricity at $55 are more expensive than loans at $44, even though the latter occurs more often

You can use https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal to get some of this data yourself. You'll find some surprises, such as "laser hair removal" having a $30 keyword.


I tried the keyword tool and got various numbers for laser hair removal, none near $30. It all depended on what I was willing to put in for a max CPC, but the cost was between $7.90 and $11.13. Am I doing something wrong?

You also have to consider the chances that a given search term will have been used by someone who is interested in buying the service. 'Insurance' is not something most people are interested in except when they might need to buy some, thus gaining the attention of those who search on it is valuable. On the other hand a term like 'cars' likely has a large number of searchers who are not actually looking to buy a car right now, so the return on getting their attention is not so high.

mesothelioma is one of the highest cpc words on the internet. Because only people at risk generally search for it, and they can frequently be converted into a fairly profitable settlement for an attorney.


"mesothelioma is one of the highest cpc words on the internet."

At one time that was true, but not anymore. I've worked in this industry for 10 years, and managed ad campaigns. We were indeed paying $100/click years ago (on Yahoo), but never even close to that on Google. And we and many firms have dropped out of the market.

"Because only people at risk generally search for it"

Probably not true. The numbers show mesothelioma gets more searches than diseases that affect 50 times as many people. It is reasonable to assume many or most of the searches are from internet marketers and people who run dodgy click fraud schemes and low quality AdSense sites.

I'd be curious to know what the rates were for words like "mesathelioma" and "mesothloima."

One guy I know set up a link-bait/content farm for that one word. It was paying $25 last time I had contact with the guy.

What's interesting is these are also the most common ad topics on low-end TV shows (Springer, et al).

Ma Bell?

+ high fixed costs and close to zero marginal costs -- CHECK

+ customer captivity -- CHECK. I used to think that Google has little customer captivity since it would be very easy to use another search engine, BUT remember that Google's real customers are advertisers.

+ Opportunity for fraud -- CHECK. This is the weakest connection for Ma Bell and they have a huge opportunity for various types of billing fraud. I don't really remember Ma Bell, but based on Verizon FIOS, I think they must have had really cryptic billing?


Oh, monopoly pricing power or producer surplus. I get it. I was thinking of Google.

Urso: "I’d be curious to know what the rates were for words like “mesathelioma” and “mesothloima.”"

They were a lot cheaper at the beginning of the internet advertising era. More than an order of magnitude cheaper. Sleazy arbitragers tried to make easy money from the difference, but I had so much hatred for AdSense arbitragers that I did what I could to thwart them. Eventually the price difference disappeared, at first because real advertisers learned about it and bid up the prices for the misspellings, and (mostly) because the search engines learned to automatically correct misspellings and show ads for the higher priced correct spelling.

The curious one is "cord blood" at #20.

Also, did anyone else notice that the pie slice sizes are wrong? "Insurance" at 24% should be just a quarter of the pie and instead it looks like closer to 30%. And #2 "Loans" is 12.8% but the pie slice looks like 24%. What a horrible, horrible chart.

The poster draws incorrect conclusions from the chart.

The chart is not showing the most expensive keywords themselves. It is showing the most revenue-producing CATEGORIES for Google.

Also note that the "top cpc" is kind of a bizarre stat. I assume it means the average cpc of the keyword with the highest average cpc across all advertisers. Bear in mind that the person in the top position for that keyword, however, is likely paying more than that for each click they receive.

Scanning the list, I find it amusing that most of the categories represent things that are probably a bad deal for the consumer.

> Scanning the list, I find it amusing that most of the categories represent things that are probably a bad deal for the consumer.

Well, you know … SOMEONE has to pay for those ads ...

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