It all starts with the search box.
Your target audience is searching online right now for products or services your business offers. Ranking for those keywords positions your brand in front of those prospects and increases your reach. But it all starts with keyword research—Identifying your market’s potential keywords to build an SEO campaign around.
Target the right keywords and you can expect more targeted traffic to your landing pages. But target irrelevant keywords and you’ll only waste resources ranking for keywords that provide little value.
It’s not an exaggeration to say then that keyword research can make or break your website. It provides the necessary roadmap to transform your site into a valuable marketing asset. Another reason for its value stems from the fact that not all traffic is equal. What matters is targeting keywords that not only have good traffic potential but also those that drive the right kind of visitors.
Keyword research matters as it allows you to create more effective SEO campaigns. But how do you know which keywords are worth targeting?
The Google Keyword Planner tool is easily one of the most valuable tools available. With it you’ll be able to research keywords that are relevant to your market and even access search volume data—Key pieces of information that are vital to drive more targeted traffic to your landing pages.
To use Keyword Planner, you’ll need a Google AdWords. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one for free:
Enter in your email address and the corresponding website that you want to run campaigns for. Note that you don’t need to have an active campaign to use Keyword Planner but your account needs to be fully setup before you can access it.
Next, login to your AdWords account and click on Tools at the top of the page. From the dropdown menu select “Keyword Planner”:
On the next page you’ll see three different tools:
Learning how each of these tools work will allow you to conduct more effective keyword research and uncover hidden gems to target.
Keyword Planner was designed for advertisers on AdWords but there’s nothing stopping you from using it to identify keywords to build an SEO campaign around. Keywords you uncover give you more insight about your market and allow you to craft optimised content for your site.
Here is an overview of how to use each feature of Keyword Planner:
Search For New Keywords
One of the best uses for Keyword Planner is to search for new keywords that are relevant to your market. You may even uncover keywords you haven’t even thought of. Start by selecting “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” to see the following options:
The “Your product or service” field is where you’ll enter in your main keywords. For example, if your business offers installations for pool fencing you might enter keywords like “glass pool fencing” and “frameless glass balustrade”.
You can refine your search even further with the targeting options. If your products or services are only available in a certain region, you can select it by clicking on “All locations”. Changing the location would allow you to search new keywords based on that region.
You can even choose the language to match your location. Negative keywords mostly applies to AdWords but they are keywords you don’t want your ads to show up for.
If you want to only show keywords with a certain search volume, you can do so by clicking on “Keyword filters”:
“Keyword options” let you refine your search but they can be left as. Finally, if you want your search to only include certain keywords you can add them by clicking on “Keywords to include”. Take a moment to familiarise yourself with each selection.
Then once you’ve entered in your target keywords, click on “Get ideas”. The next page is where you’ll see new keywords based on the ones you entered along with their estimated monthly searches, level of competition, and suggested bids:
Clicking on the “Ad group ideas” tab will group related keywords together, a useful feature when adding new keywords to an AdWords campaign or even optimising content for a landing page.
Get Search Volume Data
If you already have a long list of keywords and just want to check their search volume, then click on “Get search volume data and trends”:
You won’t be able to generate new keyword ideas but the tool is useful to get search volume data. Either enter in your keyword list manually (one per line or separated by a comma) or upload a CSV file. Just like with the tool to search for new keywords, you can also set your targeting options here.
Then click on “Get search volume”:
From here you’ll be able to group related keywords together and view metrics like average monthly searches and suggested bid.
Multiply Keyword Lists:
Still struggling for keyword ideas? One way to rapidly expand your keyword list is to group keywords together into new combinations. Click on “Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords” to use this tool in Keyword Planner:
The tool allows you to identify keywords together that users are typing in to find your products. Start by adding in keywords to both lists. You can even add a third list by clicking on the grey X. Once you’ve added your keywords, click “Get search volume” to merge your keywords together:
Some results may not make sense but you may uncover some hidden gems. Use this tool to create even more comprehensive keyword lists
Keyword Planner is an invaluable tool to get new keyword ideas to target. But one thing you may have noticed right away is that search volume data can vary wildly. For “men’s running shoes” we can see the average monthly monthly searches are between 10K to 100K:
With such a major gap in search volume, it’s difficult to determine how much traffic the keyword will actually generate once you get a landing page ranked. Fortunately, there’s a way to get more accurate search volume data.
First, find a keyword in the list of suggestions then click the blue arrow in the “Add to plan” column:
Then on the right side of the page, click “Review plan”:
Enter in a high bid for the keyword to get a forecast of how much traffic search ads in the top position would generate.
Then at the bottom click on “Match types” and select “Exact match” from the dropdown menu:
That way you’ll see search data only when users search for those exact keywords. The monthly forecasts chart will then automatically update:
The graph shows that if you bid on “men’s running shoes”, you can expect monthly impressions of between 52,000 to 66,000. It’s a much better estimate of search volume than what was previously provided. When assessing keywords to target in an SEO campaign, you’ll want to check traffic estimates for each.
Have additional questions about Keyword Planner or AdWords in general? Our AdWords specialists are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your business.