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Now that we understand the basics around how we conduct keyword research, let's dive into the tools that will help us find more keywords and collect all the data we'll need. While there are quite a few tools out there, perhaps the one that gets the most use is the Google Keyword Tool. Not only does this tool provide a good measure on search volume, but improvements on keyword suggestion has made it a more favorable keyword research tool in the SEO community, and the best part about it is that it's free. While you don't need to be an AdWords advertiser to use this tool, if you do have an AdWords account, you'll get access to all the bells and whistles of the Keyword Tool.
So even if you have no plans to use Google AdWords, you might consider signing up for a free account. From AdWords, you can access this tool from the Tools and Analysis drop-down. Before we do a search, let's take a look at some of the options that we can use by opening the Advanced Options and Filters area. You can choose to see data for the entire world or just the countries you select, and you can also choose the language of your keyword results. Here, we've chosen the United States and English. Another important selection is the devices that people are searching on.
The kinds of keywords people type into their mobile phones are often a lot different than the ones that they type into desktops or laptops, and you can see the differences by using this selection as you do your research. Last, you can choose to filter your results for things like certain levels of competition or search volumes. Over on the left you'll want to select a preferred Match Type. AdWords advertisers are familiar with the three types: Broad, Exact, and Phrase. But for our purposes, we'll make sure that there's a check in only the Exact match box, which will ensure that we're getting data for only the keywords we're looking at, exactly as they appear.
Now we're ready to get started, and there are a few ways we can do it. First, we can type one or more keywords into the Word or phrase box by entering them one per line. You can also choose to enter a Website URL, and the tool will go crawl the page to try and find relevant keywords. For now, we'll keep things simple and just type in "iPhone cases" and click Search. As you can see, the Google Keyword Tool is a great suggestion tool. From this one term, we start to discover that people are also searching for things like best iPhone cases, cool iPhone cases, and bamboo iPhone cases.
Over on the right you can choose which columns of data you want to see. While Global Monthly Searches includes the entire world, if you specified a country in your settings, the Local Monthly Searches will only show data for the countries you've selected. You'll also want to make sure that Competition is checked, and the Local Search Trends column can give you some interesting insights into seasonality. Right from this tool you can select the keywords that you want to potentially include in your keyword list, and you can download a list of the raw data in CSV format, where you can work with the data offline in a tool like Excel.
Remember that this tool was developed for AdWords advertisers, and as, such there are more options that we haven't talked about that have to do with AdWords and not necessarily SEO, but I'd encourage you to spend some time with this tool and dig around for lots and lots of keyword ideas and data. Another great tool to get even more information about a keyword is Google Insights for Search, which can be found at google.com/insights/search. This lets you type in different keywords and see all kinds of information about how that keyword is being typed into Google searches overtime.
Over on the right you can filter this data by type of search, geography, time period, and even Category. Let's stick iPhone cases in here and see what we can learn. Here we see a graph of how this term has been searched for over the years along with key pieces of news that can help us figure out what might have caused certain spikes or troughs. While there's been a pretty good upward trend over the years across the world, let's get a little more specific and select just the United States for the last 12 months, and let's compare it to the singular version of this keyword, iPhone case.
Here we can see exactly when our demand picked up, and we can see that more people are typing in the singular version than the plural. Scrolling down, we can see state by state interest through the heat map, and below that we can get even more keyword ideas in the Top and Rising Searches section. Putting some of these back into the Keyword Tool can start a whole new iteration of research. Using tools like the Google Keyword Tool and Google Insights for Search allows us to discover new keywords and understand just what people are typing into search engines.
This exploration and data collection is the backbone of our keyword research process, and can provide us with wonderful insights and ideas around which keywords we'll focus on as part of our SEO strategy.
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