If you’re looking to begin boosting your site traffic, you need to start by defining what it is exactly that you are targeting – It’s always best to structure your search engine optimisation (or SEO) strategy around your business objectives as, without objective data, keyword research is a shot in the dark. This is where Google AdWords Keyword Planner comes in.
Getting started with Google AdWords Keyword Planner is pretty easy and fortunately, it’s free. However, just keep in mind that this keyword planning tool is designed for AdWords advertisers and not for general SEO. This means that there are also a lot of features like keyword bidding features that seem useful, but in fact will have next to no value to your SEO strategy on the whole.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to get the most SEO value out of the Google Keyword Planner.
So let’s get started!
First things first, we will have to get you set up on Google. For this, you will either need to sign in with your Gmail account or simply create a new one.
Once you’re all logged in to your account, (it may ask for bank details but it will not charge you a penny until your ads are actually running – I promise!
Note: If you just created an account, it will automatically take you to the setup wizard for a campaign, just set the campaign as default but set the bid to £0.01 – Once it’s set up and showing under “All Campaigns” in the campaigns tab, just set it to pause and it will become ineffective.
Under the Tools tab, you’ll see Keyword Planner (below) listed 6th from the top. Click on this and it will take you to a new screen.
Here we see 4 options to do some keyword research. To get the most out of this tool, use the “search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.” If you are doing extensive keyword research it is best to stick to using one keyword at a time.
If you already have a set of keywords, then you can use the “get search volume data and trends” this will give you a list of only the keywords you input with their search trends throughout the year.
In this option we can search by 3 different means, if you know the general keyword or keywords that you are targeting use “your product or service”, if you have less of an idea but want to target a particular sector use “your product category” and if you have little idea of what could generate traffic for your site, use “your landing page.”
“Your landing page” works by scanning that particular page for keyword relevancy. This generated extremely broad terms which should then be input into “your product or service” for a wider range of potential keywords.
Decide on your type of search and click get ideas.
Get Ideas will take you on to a new screen that looks like this:
It will display the keyword you inputted at the top of the page alongside the last 12 months of search data based on your targeting criteria.
It’s important to note here that you can make each search very specific with language, location, search engine type and even negative keywords. As a rule of thumb, unless you have a reason for going specific – leave it as default.
For the suggested keywords you have two tabs under the graph as ad group types and keyword ideas. Ad Groups is for AdWords users whilst keyword ideas give you the exact match keyword alongside their average monthly search, competition, suggested bid and ad impression share.
Ignore competition (a number of people also paying for PPC on that term), suggested bid (how much to spend on a PPC keyword) and ad impression share (how many people will see your PPC advert). We are just interested in the average monthly searches.
Once you’ve decided on your high average monthly searches that are relevant to your site you may want to export the list to keep a record of them – unfortunately, there is no way to only choose particular ones, so you will have to export the whole excel document and delete as appropriate!
To do this, you will see boxes underneath the search volume trends graph, click on download and this will pop up:
Ensure that you have Excel CSV checked and click download:
Click save file and it will download to your downloads folder where you can open in Excel:
From here, you will be able to take out all the columns apart from keyword and average monthly searches.
In this document, you will be able to identify areas with high monthly search volume which will inform your content strategy.