The term keyword research is common amongst SEO professionals and marketers and chances are that if you are an aspiring marketer or a marketing student you must have come across the aforementioned term. Keyword research adds on to the state-of-the-art Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices that work in synergy with each other making it easier for an internet user and a customer to come across exactly what the user desired. Before we understand how to access Google Keyword Planner and how to use it it’s crucial to understand what is keyword research.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword Research is a process through which one researches all the popular keywords or terms that internet users type into various search engines (Google etc.). This is mainly done to appear higher on search engine results. Keyword research is a dynamic process and solely relying on keyword density is gradually obsoleting in the wake of more complex and sophisticated search engine algorithms and therefore marketers and researchers have experienced a paradigm shift towards content relevancy. Nevertheless, keyword research is an important practice in the discourse of digital marketing. There are two main categorizations in the type of keywords and before you start your keyword research it is important to have an understanding of it for better SEO:
- Short Tail Keywords: As the name suggests short tail keywords are “short” and ranges between one to three words. Short tail keywords are very competitive because of the high volume of search. Since they are shorter it’s difficult to match the search intent of the user.
- Long Tail Keywords: Similarly Long Tail keywords are more than three words and have a low volume of search and therefore less competitive than the short tail. Since they are longer and more specific its easier to match it with the search intent.
For Example for this particular write up short tail keywords will be “keyword research”, “keyword planner”, “google keyword planner”, “Google Adwords” etc . and Long tail keywords will be “how to use google keyword planner”, “how to access google keyword planner” etc.
|Basis||Short Tail Keywords||Long Tail Keywords|
|Range||1-3 words||More than 3|
|Search intent||Difficult to match||Easier to match|
|Volume of search||High||Low|
There is a wide variety of keyword research tools available for free such as Google AdWords (Google keyword planner), Google Analytics, Google Trends, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, WordStream, etc. We will discuss in detail how to use Google ads, keyword planner? Also, Google Adwords can be accessed without paying anything ie You can use Google keyword planner for free! Just follow these steps.
How to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner for free
Step 1: Create a Google Ads Account
If you have one already, skip to step 2.
Step 2: Click on “ Switch to Expert Mode “ in Keyword Planner
Once you have created a Google Ads account Google will ask you about “your main advertising goal ?” Just click on “Switch to Expert Mode “
Step 3: Click on “Create an account without campaign” in the next page
Step 4: Click on “Submit” on the next page
Step 5: Click on “Explore your Campaign” on the next page
Step 6: Click on “Tools and Settings” on the next page then click to “Keyword Planner”
With this last step, you have access to Google keyword planner for free and without creating an ad. Now let’s see how to use the keyword planner for your keyword research.
How to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner
First, let’s discuss the basics of Google Keyword Planner. When you open the “Keyword Planner” in the “Planning” section you will see two options. First, “Discover New Keywords” and Second, “Get Search Volume and Forecasts”. We will discuss both of these options.
Discover New Keywords:
When you open Discover new keywords you will have two options either to “Start with Keywords” or “Start with Website”
You can enter all the potential keywords you think might be useful for your business, product, or service (max 10 keywords) and if you already have a website by entering its domain name Google keywords will filter out services, products, brands that you do not offer. When you have entered all the keywords click on “GET RESULTS”.
When you click on GET RESULTS you will see a list in which you can look for different “keyword ideas” provided by Google Ads. As you can see now you have 3499 Keyword ideas available to work with and with that we also have “Avg. monthly searches”, “Competition”, “Ad impression shares”, “Top of page bid(low and high range)” which is the range of what advertisers have historically paid for a keyword’s top of page bid, based on your location and Search Network settings. If you turn your top of the page bid(high range) in descending order you can see top keywords with more commercial intent and therefore you can find out the most profitable amongst those rather than sitting through thousands of keywords suggestions. As you know keyword planner can be accessed without creating an ad therefore blog posts related websites can turn top of the bid (high range) in ascending order to find informational search terms.
Start with your website:
When you open “Start with website” enter your site’s URL and you have two options “use entire site” or “use this page only”
If you want keyword ideas for a particular page of your website then click on “use this page only” otherwise click on “use entire site” if you want keyword ideas for your website in the entirety. Then click on “GET RESULTS”.
Since Google Keyword Planner can generate suggestions for keyword ideas through URL, you can also paste your competitors URL to have a better idea of the list of keywords that you can employ in your website also to have a competitive edge.
A mix of both options is the pragmatic solution to conduct and efficient keyword research. With that, you can have a clear picture of what keywords to employ in your write up/ article to generate more traffic.
Get Search Volume and Forecasts:
If you already have a list of keywords you wish to know the metrics for then paste those keywords and get “forecasts”
Here you can see by using these options you can know how many clicks you can get for how much money and what is “ Max CPC”,” clicks”, “impressions”, “cost”, “CTR”, “avg. CPC” for individual keywords. We will not go in detail about CPC, CTR but let’s go through them briefly.
CPC stands for cost per click advertising. Here the advertiser pays when a click is made on an ad.
Click-through rate is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. clicks ÷ impressions = CTR
When someone clicks your ad, like on the blue headline of a text ad, Google Ads counts that as a click
Impressions: An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other sites on the Google Network. Each time your ad appears on Google or the GoogleNetwork, it’s counted as one impression.
How to get the exact search volume in keyword planner
Google keyword planner doesn’t show you the exact search volume rather it gives you a range of volume(Like 10k-100k). Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem.
Click on the drop-down arrow on the box you will see a graph, set the CPC to the max and you can see the impressions of these keywords individually and it will tell you estimates about the impressions your ad would get in due course of coming months
This method is not definite and not an exact measure but good enough to get exact search volume for free. Other than this you can also install browser extensions which are
free of cost which helps in search volume and CPC. One such extension is “Keywords everywhere” which works well with Google Chrome.
Other features of Google Keyword planner include looking at particular geography (city, country) where a particular keyword gets searched the most. Go to the Plan Overview, select “All locations” in the locations filter, and scroll down to the Locations box. You will see a list of the top states and countries where those keywords get searched. Above that box, you can see Forecasts over the next year for those keywords. Another feature is to see which type of devices people are using for searching these keywords.
Pros and Cons of Google Adword Keyword Planner
- Hyper-local Search Volume: With this new feature you can target a specific audience of a particular area or city, you can view keyword volume based on specific area or geography. Earlier it only followed “local”, “global” approach.
- Great Tool for PPC Advertising: Keyword Planner is a PPC(Pay-per-click) integrated tool, the Ad groups feature serves to help out with PPC advertising. It’s actually a great tool for seeing which keywords are related by topic. Google now reports the total search volume for this group of related keywords.
- Filter Out Keywords Below a Set Search Volume: You can filter out keywords that have a search volume of less than 100.
- Free of cost: While many services such as Google Apps for Business are paid applications and many others that require subscriptions which can be costly for small businesses. Google Adwords can access free of cost.
- No Broad or Phrase Match: Exact match is now the only data that is displayed. Although the exact match was usually the most accurate choice, the freedom to choose broad or phrase is now more difficult. However, broad phrases still exist when AdWord users choose how keywords are added to campaigns.
- No Searching for Related Terms: The option to see searching related terms were removed when the recent changes were done.
- No indication of trends: Google Trends is a better option for those trying to understand search trends. Google averages the last 12 months of search volume to deliver the “average monthly searches” data. You can, however, mouse over the graph icon to the left of these data to get a snapshot of the last 12 months. If you’d like to optimize your digital marketing strategy for keywords that are trending upwards, then it’s best to use Google Trends.
Tips for better Keyword Research in Search Engine Optimization(SEO)
At its core Keyword, Research is about bridging the gap between what the user wants and how to provide the same to him. In order to achieve that marketers have to keep in consideration the search intent of the users. Marketers and SEO professionals must strive to provide users with the most relevant results to the query that is where keyword research comes in. Let’s look at an example: If you want to purchase a camera that best fits your requirements then SEO professionals must look beyond the explicit search intent. What are the types of cameras? What is a DSLR and mirrorless camera? Which camera is better for photography and which is better for videography? What are 4k quality and fps? What is the best camera available in my price range? Taking such queries in cognizance you can aim towards better keyword planning as now you have a better understanding of your target audience and therefore its a smart strategy to aim beyond just “Top 10 DSLR Mirrorless Camera in 2020”
It’s crucial to identify not just your target audience but to grasp their personality also so that a marketer can put forth more concentrated efforts towards search engine optimization with the use of keywords. Your product or service or the information that your website provides must have some specific set of users with similar characteristics and its not feasible to appeal to everyone. You have to target the exclusivity of your audience which in turn would increase the traffic or the said targeted users. Having a primary keyword will nudge you in the right direction. Just like one character is not enough to identify your target audience similarly one keyword is never enough especially when you have a large pool of keywords to choose from, the only consideration is what keyword better suits your target audience.
Another thing that marketers and SEO professionals need to steer clear from in Keyword Stuffing. Keyword Stuffing refers to the overuse of keywords even when it’s not required. A general principle to be followed is to keep your keyword less than 2-2.5% of the article. Keyword stuffing would militate against the quality of your article as well as your ranking and Google might even penalize you for the same when bots identify “spamming” ie unnecessary keyword stuffing. Rather you can make use of LSI keywords(synonyms).
Keyword research and keyword planning is unequivocally crucial for not only businesses, advertisements but also for blog posts and all sorts of websites and has become a key component of Search Engine Optimization. Google Ads Keyword Planner has emerged to be one of the most popular keyword planners available which have worked in bonafide interests of many new and small websites and businesses but it’s not without any limitations. Keyword planning is based on complex, intricate, and dynamic algorithms and as someone who just discovered this, it can be hard to keep up with and Therefore many businesses, companies, websites outsource this task to SEO Professionals, Marketers, and Advertising agencies. Even if you have just started out a new website or a business, chances are in the near future you would need to employ keyword planning and research into your websites.