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Highest CPC Keywords List

by PotPieGirl on July 20, 2011 · 35 comments

From An Organic Perspective

I was reading an article over at SearchEngineLand this morning and I really thought it was interesting. Turns out the folks over at WordStream have conducted a study and have released a list of the most expensive keywords from a Cost Per Click perspective in AdWords (Google’s paid advertising option). Now, I am not into Google AdWords advertising (I hate paying for traffic) – plus, if you’ve read my emails lately, you know that Google dumped me. What I want to talk about is this list of expensive keywords and the ORGANIC side of ranking in Google.

Some Background

First, some background in case anyone reading is a bit new to our crazy industry.

Google AdWords ads are those ads you see on a search result page when you search for something in Google. These ads are usually found at the very top and to the right of what we call the organic results (free).

These advertisers are charged by each click on their ad, and the amount they are charged is based off an auction-based type system that is based on many factors. Advertisers bid on how much they are willing to pay for an ad click to their site and then Google figures in some other metrics to decide how much they really pay and where in that list they end up ranking (top advertisers or at the bottom, for example).

Now another place AdWords advertisers can place their ads is on what’s called the “content network”. This puts their ads on other websites (not just a Google search results page).

Anyone with a website can place these ads on their site. This program is called AdSense and it is free to participate. When someone comes to your site and clicks one of these ads, Google shares a portion of that Cost Per Click (CPC) with you.

When a Highest CPC Keyword List is released, it gives our industry some insight into the major money Google makes from their paid advertising platform.. but it also attracts those that make sites with AdSense ads as a monetization method.

If you could build a site that has ads earning you $1 per click or $20 per click, which would YOU pick?


So these lists attract those that make sites to display the higher CPC ads from AdWords which should make the site owner more money.

How Much Money Does Google Make From The Ads?

Ready for this number? In the last 4 quarters, Google has made $32.2 BILLION dollars from their paid advertising service.

That’s a lot of moo-la!

In fact, according to WordStream, 97% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. (Jen’s note: that stat should now be 96.99999999% now that they no longer get any revenue from me….lol! Sorry, couldn’t resist)

Short answer is this – Google AdWords, their paid advertising service, brings in BIG BUCKS for them.

Ok, let’s get to the list…

Most Expensive Keywords List

Here is a great graphic from the folks at WordStream.

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

If you need a text list of these keywords, here ya go:

  • Insurance (example keywords in this category include “buy car insurance online” and “auto insurance price quotes”)
  • Loans (example keywords include “consolidate graduate student loans” and “cheapest homeowner loans”)
  • Mortgage (example keywords include “refinanced second mortgages” and “remortgage with bad credit”)
  • Attorney (example keywords include “personal injury attorney” and “dui defense attorney”)
  • Credit (example keywords include “home equity line of credit” and “bad credit home buyer”)
  • Lawyer (“personal injury lawyer,” “criminal defense lawyer)
  • Donate (“car donation centers,” “donating a used car”)
  • Degree (“criminal justice degrees online,” “psychology bachelors degree online”)
  • Hosting (“hosting ms exchange,” “managed web hosting solution”)
  • Claim (“personal injury claim,” “accident claims no win no fee”)
  • Conference Call (“best conference call service,” “conference calls toll free”)
  • Trading (“cheap online trading,” “stock trades online”)
  • Software (“crm software programs,” “help desk software cheap”)
  • Recovery (“raid server data recovery,” “hard drive recovery laptop”)
  • Transfer (“zero apr balance transfer,” “credit card balance transfer zero interest”)
  • Gas/Electricity (“business electricity price comparison,” “switch gas and electricity suppliers”)
  • Classes (“criminal justice online classes,” “online classes business administration”)
  • Rehab (“alcohol rehab centers,” “crack rehab centers”)
  • Treatment (“mesothelioma treatment options,” “drug treatment centers”)
  • Cord Blood (“cordblood bank,” “store umbilical cord blood”)

  • The most expensive keywords bring in almost $55 per CLICK on an ad.

    That’s NUTS!

    But one thing all those businesses targeting those keywords have in common is that it is worth it to them to pay that much to get a visitor to their website. They can afford it because simply, their customer value is high.

    Looking at the List from an AdSense/Organic Perspective

    One thing I can tell you for sure – now that this most expensive keywords list is out there, the AdSense site creators will be going NUTS making sites around these keywords. Well, even MORE nuts making sites AND new site creators will be jumping on the band-wagon too.

    They’ll want a big piece of this gravy train too.

    Who wouldn’t want a percentage of $55 clicks on their site?

    Before you go running off to make sites in these markets – think long and hard about it.

    These markets are TOUGH online. Really REALLY competitive.

    Not only do you have to compete against other AdSense site owners, but you are also competing against the actual businesses that provide these services.

    Here’s one thing I can tell from experience – these business owners work HARD to rank organically in those keyword spaces. They shell out a lot of money to get ranked there and STAY ranked there. Many have in-house SEO firms working on their rankings, too.

    When you are a one-woman show (or a one-man show), it is super hard to compete.

    I happen to have a site in one of those markets – I work my tail off on it AND I am constantly watching the OTHER sites to not only see what they are doing, but how it seems to affect their ranking in Google.

    It’s exhausting – but I knew it would be this way before I even started the site.

    I planned on it taking me a year to do even remotely well – and I’m pretty good at that ranking thing ;)

    So far, I’m a few months in and I am starting to break ground in this market. But I had to do something that is a bit unique for when you make niche sites around a specific topic.

    I had to “back my way in”.

    Backing Your Way Into a Big Niche

    Instead of going for the jugular (the BIG keyword), I had to start by nipping at their heels and go very, very long tail to start making my mark in the Google search results.

    If I can get this site to rank well, I could potentially make some niche change by selling it… and maybe make some nice money in the meantime (I have limited AdSense ads and one affiliate offer on it right now).

    I have managed to get many top 10 rankings for some very longtail, specific, and lower search volume keywords…but I am just now starting to break into the Top 30 for my big keyword.

    Working a BIG niche is a lot of on-going and consistent work that requires a LOT of patience.

    Money can be made quickly and more easily when you make multiple mini niche sites that target low-competition markets. These types of mini-sites tend to be more “hands off” once the original work is done too.

    In fact, I made videos of every step I had taken while creating this site. I planned to use them as a case study for training. But then I realized, who the heck wants to learn from a case study that might take a YEAR (or more) to truly be impressively profitable?

    I’d rather learn how to make lots of smaller sites that rank quickly and easily — and each make me a few hundred bucks (or more) a month so my efforts show profit quickly.

    (This is a great training program for making those types of profitable mini sites).

    There’s no telling how many of those smaller “mini-sites” I could make in the year it will take me to get this ONE site making a couple hundred a month.

    Why work so hard on ONE site?

    For me, the answer is because I love a challenge. I also don’t need the money NOW since I have plenty of other passive income streams from mini sites already out there – and I am a Google Dork – I love watching search results and how Google acts in each one.

    In fact, for fun, I will randomly pick keywords and then watch each keyword space over time. I analyze what each site is doing to rank well and eat up all the information I get.

    It’s amazing what you can learn by watching query spaces that you are NOT working in. You become more objective AND you can find things that could really help you with the markets you ARE trying to rank for.

    and Yes, watching Google is fun for me – I’m weird.

    If you’re interested (or just plain tempted) to jump into one of the above listed highest paying CPC keyword marketing – think carefully about it. Poke through the current competition and see how they are achieving their rankings.

    Then, get creative and think about how you can “back into” the market and be profitable.

    When Online and Offline Collide

    Before I sign off, I want to give a shout out to someone.

    My husband did a repair today for someone who lives close to us. Throughout conversation my hubby had with this customer, they talked about my hubby’s business website and how I am the one that created it and has it ranking so well.

    The name “PotPieGirl” came into the conversation and it turns out the customer knows who I am and follows me online – and he said some very nice things about me to my husband.

    Rick, THANK YOU!

    It’s really something when you spend all your time in your home office from some pin-point on this Earth to come across someone who understands this internet marketing thing AND knows who you are (AND they say nice things about you.. lol).

    It reminds of me how small the world really is.

    I talk to people from all corners of the Earth daily, but once I get out into the “real world”, it seems no one has any clue what I do or about this business.

    When my online business world and my “real” world collide in a positive way, it’s really nice.

    Rick, again I appreciate your kind words and we appreciate your business!

    That’s it from me.

    Y’all have a great day!



    Niche Marketing Mamma July 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks again Jennifer for over delivering! I am just now getting into the ‘big dog sandbox’ myself so this post was very timely for me! :)

    gill July 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’ve tried adsense, but haven’t had much luck. I think people just ignore those little text ads most of the time.

    Ron Taylor July 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm


    Thanks for your excellent post on Google Adwords. I remember researching this exact topic several years ago, prior to being banned from Google.

    I was after high PPC words related to forex, investing ,etc.

    I also wanted to say thanks for your One Week Marketing course. I learned a lot from you, and have gone on to make a consistent 300-500 bucks per month from various affiliate marketing related sites.

    PotPieGirl July 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you both!

    Ron, that’s awesome! An extra #300 – $500 a month is nothing to sneeze at! Especially when it’s FREE money!

    Thanks for the great feedback!


    Onefineham Lakes Region NH Marketing July 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Jennifer, I swear you are the smartest person I know. Just when I think I know something about web marketing you turn my thinking upside-down again.

    God bless you for that!

    Find People For Free July 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Great post. I have been focusing a lot on Google Adsense lately. I will use the top paying keywords list to my advantage. And what you said about the when you get out in the so called real world is so true. It amazes me that people do not know anything about making money online as an affiliate.

    Gary July 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Really? I live around the block. I answer the Help Desk! Phase 10? Big 2′s? How “offline” is that? Ohh just forget us “little people”. We will be OK.

    Haha. I still want my interview “A Day in the Life of PotPie Girl”

    Thanks for all you do Jen, for everybody.

    PotPieGirl July 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks all!

    Oh hush, Gary! You’re not “real people” – you’re Gary. You’re a big part of my ONline world AND my OFFline world (unless you keep beating me at cards!)

    “A Day In The Life Of PotPieGirl”? Uh boy, I think that would terrify people! hahahahaha!


    Omron Pedometer July 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Hi PotPieGirl (:-))

    Amazing these high end leywords very inspiring.

    I recently found a nice $8.98 cpc keyword with teh exact match .com available.. ready to hit the domain buying i suddenly relaised i’d been looking at broad.
    Teh exact match is 120 per month :-( oh well might still be worth a punt.. :-)



    Sunshine July 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Hey Jen,

    I miss seeing you post here. Man, you’re truly big time now but I can’t think of anyone as helpful than you’ve been to many of us online, who deserves the success you’re experiencing.

    To the point, you highlighted about backing into a large niche via long tail keywords. Grizzly made this observation thru his experience several years back on his now infamous make money online blog.

    Ryan Deiss recently sent out an email where he talked about Google Adwords revenue benchmarks futher highlighting that Google does have more small, medium and even to some extent large companies on the books whose monthly adwords spend of up to 100k…..However…the lionshare of the 100K+ Adwords spend comes from a much smaller group of conglomerates.

    This apparently is and has become Google’s main focus which is why even Ryan Deiss’ and a whole host of other regular main street company’s Adword accounts were completely terminated.

    It makes sense once you think about it but it still doesn’t change the sting factor in having your account closed.

    The best take away from all of this is to focus on and give complete attention to the part of your business that gives the best return.


    Alban M July 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for this post and say that I found it on the right time because I’m just about to get involved in the AdSense business. And as a newbie it gives me an idea about what I’m heading for.
    Thank you

    sam July 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Great Post. It blows my mind that someone would pay $55 per click for an ad. Of course, like you said, trying to put up a site targeting those keywords would be a huge challenge. Great article.

    Linda July 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks Jennifer for another interesting post. You are truly an internet marketer with integrity and that makes a huge difference in my book. I always read your posts and emails with great interest.



    Stephen Byrne July 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    55 dollars a click is nuts and I can just imagine how crazy the competition is. Great post Jennifer, as for watching google haha, yep, a little crazy ha!

    Robert @ Carbon Fiber Tent Poles July 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Interesting post, I have been making money with adsense for about 3 years, and last week I received the most money from 1 click I ever got, I received $6.00 from just 1 click from my alternative medicines site under the topic, medical careers.

    Wendy Owen July 21, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Hi Jennifer, great post. Thank you.

    Bear in mind however that these stats are based on the search network, rather than the content network. The CPC can differ radically between them.

    All the best

    Pete Moring July 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Hi Jennifer, I too was slammed by Google a few months ago for what i perceived to be no specific reason. In fact i spent most of one day sending e-mails back and forth to a Google assistant who kept telling me I needed to do this, now do that, now do the other :-(

    i did everything asked of me, she told me I’d satisfied her criteria and she would now send it for final approval.

    Yep! You guessed it, a basic E-mail , almost a copy of the original telling me that the site didn’t meet their criteria in their terms and conditions. They wouldn’t even let me delete this one small website in the ‘gardening’ niche of all things. I was told my account was permanently closed. End of matter – AARRGGHH :-(

    I too had the E-mail with those high ranking keywords, great that you put them in text format :-)

    I’ve snagged them, hope you don’t mind.



    Corry July 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

    are you endorsing the “Unstoppable Affilate” program?
    and do you know if it works as I’m considering ordering it?

    Alex July 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Thank you for this helpful blog, Jennifer.
    I am affiliate with Adsense.

    Used Autos Columbia July 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    A nice bit of information…Thanks!

    I have a feeling that the PotPieGirl is developing a new course to teach others how to “back your way into a big niche”…just a feeling I got.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    How to stop underarm sweating fast July 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Long tail is the way to go when entering a niche with high competition. Thanks a lot.

    benjamin coloto July 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Actually there are many adwords methods to make your ad success and pay less per conversion, in the Insurance issue, its sick (lol). no one except big companies can afford that amount, except long tails keywords that might do well.
    What Google earns its crazy, they are making huge amounts of money from each advertiser, and they are keep growing with their advertising options (Youtube, video advertising on Google search results which i believe has a different bids..)

    Eternity Diamond Wedding Bands July 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    $55 per click?!!! What are insurance companies thinking about when they spend that amount of money advertising?

    Jon Guildford July 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Its amazing what some people pay for every click and what there total adwords budget must be. But i guess it must be worth it otherwise they would stop. Its interesting to note that adwords follows life with medical, law, and insurance being the most expensive.

    Steve July 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I just wanted to thank you for such a great post.
    I’m running a blog now, but a newbie in the Google AdSense business. I think I have learn much in your post.
    Thank you very much!

    Vincent July 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm


    Thanks for sharing this great post… Now that I knew insurance has the highest CPC, I’m gonna to do something about… Just to share that I have some success with keyword like “lasik” ranking on first page with little effort. You are right in saying to rank for long long tail keywords…. For me, i add a little twist… by adding country/state to the main keyword to form a new keyword phrase – and i buy that domain name

    Alienware July 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Thank you very much for these keywords

    Dell Laptop July 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

    i would like to share you my best keyword “la auto insurance”

    CPC Approx $30

    Rose July 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    “who the heck wants to learn from a case study that might take a YEAR (or more) to truly be impressively profitable?”

    Actually it would be refreshing to see one of these long term case studies. That’s where all the profits are. the short term stuff doesn’t yield as much

    Diana July 31, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    This is a rare blog post! I had never heard of such high CPC rates for certain targeted keywords before. Many thanks for sharing all this info here!

    jasmine @ Subsea services August 1, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Well, that’s how it is. I don’t think a certain company would continuously bring more improvements if they are losing, they are definitely here to make money.. I mean BIG sum of money.. really, a great post!

    Nick August 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Awesome. Wish this list had been around a couple of months back when I was hitting my head against the wall trying to come up with profitable keywords!

    Triglycerides Levels August 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Jennifer, you did really complete my day. I was searching even for hints on what niches to start with to get higher earnings on adsense and just found out this article. I’m really really glad that I made it through here.


    Brian Yang August 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Awesome post. I learned a lot. It gave me some ideas as well.

    $55 per click? Wow.

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