Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Conducting keyword research, part of Online Marketing Fundamentals.
- A big portion of SEO is choosing the right keywords to organize your site around. Keyword research will help you understand what people are searching for, and you can use this information to build your content, or even steer your business in a different direction. To get an initial list of keywords, we'll start by thinking about our target audience. Let's put ourselves in their shoes and visualize them sitting in front of their computer. What are they thinking? What are they looking for? We want to arrive at what words they might enter into Google. And this list will be your starting point and we'll work from there.
Let's say for example we're selling carpet cleaning services We have two strategies. First we want to ring for terms related to our local office, so carpet cleaning Santa Barbara or carpet cleaners Santa Barbara. We also might want to write articles on topics that are most interesting to people. Say, removing stains from carpet or furniture. And to really know what to focus on, we should explore the popularity of these terms. If I knew that 10,000 people were searching for steam carpet cleaning Santa Barbara and only 1,000 were searching for carpet cleaning Santa Barbara, I would definitely spend my effort writing content around steam cleaning.
Likewise, if red wine stains are more popular than juice stains, we would know where to start with our articles. So let's look deeper into this concept. I'll start by visiting Google.com and typing those words in. So let's type carpet cleaner, oh see as I start typing, the first suggestion that comes up is carpet cleaning, and the second suggestion that comes up is carpet cleaning Santa Barbara. This says that this might already be an idea that we can write down. We were thinking carpet cleaners, but carpet cleaning is a great term.
We could continue typing carpet cleaners, and starting typing Santa and we can see that the next option is Santa Barbara followed by California. So we didn't think to include our state there, but that's an idea we can write down. Next I can type removing red, there we go red wine stains is the first suggestion. I could type wine stains and then choose from, and then look at what we see. People are interested in seeing how to remove it from clothing before carpet and then white jeans, and then colored clothing. So that tells me that carpet is important, but clothing is also an interesting topic that we might want to write about.
We can also change the word red wine to juice and see what happens there. In which case, I'm seeing from carpet and then from clothing again. Alright, so the idea is that we're just typing in terms and related concepts to build a list of things that Google suggests. Google says hey, these are other terms that people are looking for. Then we want to look at the actual results. So let's type carpet cleaning Santa Barbara. And then we want to look at these results. The idea is, are they related? Who are our competitors? What does it look like they're writing in their description which is visible just below their headline.
Something else I might type in is just steam cleaning. And if I do that, we can get a sense of, is this relevant, sure. The number one result is carpet cleaning which means that steam cleaning is likely related to carpet cleaning. If we saw something that was like steam cleaning your appliances, or steam cleaning your clothing, we might not want to be focusing on the term. Now the next thing we can do, once we have our keyword list, is we can take those list of keywords and ideas and then use tools to look at the volume. One such tool is the Google keyword tool.
To get started with the tool, you'll need to log in to your Adwords account. You can do that at adwords.google.com and if you don't have an account, you can follow the prompts on the page to sign up for a new Adwords account. Once you've gone through the sign up process, you'll arrive at a dashboard very similar to this. So now that we're logged in, you'll select Tools from the Navigation menu at the top of the screen, and select Keyword Planner from the drop down menu that appears. You'll notice that once you arrive on this page, there are many options here on the left hand side of the screen.
The top three are going to be specific to keywords and search volume data, which is what we're going to be looking at, and towards the bottom of the screen, you'll see an option for planning your budget and getting forecasts and that will give you click and cost performance data specific to Adwords. So in that section you might find data such as how much traffic you would get for a certain budget based on keywords that you're going to be bidding on. When it comes to the SEO work that we're doing, we're actually interested in search volume, and that's this option here where it says get search volume data and trends.
So I selected that, and we're going to have the option to enter our keywords, either one per line or separated by commas. So let's enter them here. We were interested in carpet cleaning Santa Barbara carpet cleaners Santa Barbara, and we might also want to add in some other ideas, steam cleaning, carpet cleaning, and maybe just as a generic idea, removing red wine from carpet. You can type in all of your ideas and once you've done that, you'll want to verify that all of your targeting is correct.
You'll see that here at the bottom. We're targeting all locations, we're targeting Google and we haven't entered in any negative keywords so this is a very generic search, and the date range that is selected is going to show us the average monthly searches for the last 12 months. Now in this specific example, we might be really interested in setting our targeting to Santa Barbara, so I might type in Santa Barbara into the option and select the match that appears at the top of the screen. Now because Santa Barbara is going to have very limited search volume, I'm going to do this globally just so we get an idea.
We've also included the modifier Santa Barbara as one of our keywords, meaning we're going to really include anybody in the United States looking for carpet cleaning in Santa Barbara when they've entered that search term. I'll go ahead and select get search volume here at the bottom of the screen, and we'll see the tool do its work. First things first is you'll want to make sure that you're viewing the tab labeled Keyword Ideas. In this search, I've defaulted to that tab, but you may find that Google is going to default you into the Ad Group tab, and if you're there, that's very specific to running paid ads, so make sure you've selected keyword ads from the tabs.
So you'll notice our keyword is on the left, and the first column to the right of that is the Average Monthly Searches and you'll notice that carpet cleaning is by far the most popular with 165,000 average monthly searches. Followed by steam cleaning, carpet cleaning Santa Barbara and then removing red wine from carpet. And so this is where things become important. You see, towards the bottom of the list we have here carpet cleaning Santa Barbara with 720 monthly searches and carpet cleaners Santa Barbara with 210, so carpet cleaning is a much more popular search term than carpet cleaners.
So as we use language on our site, we might want to be using the term carpet cleaning moreso than the term carpet cleaners. If you hover over the graph icon on the right, you can see the actual search volumes broken down by month which would give you a sense of seasonality. You can see that carpet cleaning clearly tends to be more popular during the summer than the winter months and we can see that there's a spike there in January which might be related to New Years' resolutions or results from that New Years' party. Another thing that you can do with this tool is select to download all of these ideas.
So once you have a list of keywords, you can download this with all of that search volume data and you can go into Excel and modify the data, sort it, and work with it as it fits your purpose. Now one thing we were looking at earlier was talking about looking at various articles to write. Perhaps we want to talk about removing certain types of stains from certain types of things. And what can help us there is using a list tool to combine keywords. So what I'll do is choose Tools from the top of the screen, and select Keyword Planner to go back to that main view.
So here we can select multiply key word list to get new keywords. So let's say we want to look at stains. In the first list I'm going to type remove, get rid of, clean, and any other terms that are related to this idea of upholstery cleaning. In the second list, I'm going to enter the types of stains: red wine, juice, white wine, dog urine, wine, tomato sauce, crayons, and so on. From here I'll choose the X which is the multiply icon on the right side and that will bring in the option for a third list and I can type from carpet, from upholstery, from rugs, from clothing and so on and so forth You can also do it without the from, you get the idea.
So what's going to happen is Google is going to multiply the first word to the second word to the third word, and you're going to end up with this really big list of ideas. From here, you want to pay careful attention to the button that you select at the bottom of the screen. If you select get forecasts, that's going to be specific to Google Adwords. What you want to do is instead, make sure you select get search volume. From here we're defaulted into that Ad Group ideas, so we want to select into keyword ideas and right away we're going to get a sense of all of the options.
So you'll notice that the most popular terms are remove red wine from carpet, remove dog urine from carpet, and cleaning dog urine from carpet. So we might be really interested in writing articles about those topics, which will help drive traffic to my site. Once you get to the bottom of the list, you can see that this information is lower and lower in popularity. When you identify just a hyphen in the average monthly searches column, in that case there aren't enough searches happening around that keyword or phrase, and so Google doesn't have any data there.
In the column labeled Competition, this is going to show you how popular these terms are and how many people are working towards getting them and this is specific to paid ads. But you can make a correlation here. If there's high competition in the paid advertising world you can guess that there's high competition in the organic world as well. So take some time and explore the options available to you. Compile a list, narrow it down. The more keywords, the more efforts, so prioritize them based on where you see the biggest value and start small. You can optimize a few pages and then scale up as you find more and more opportunities.
- What is online marketing?
- Exploring the components of digital marketing
- What makes a website effective?
- Working with a designer or developer
- Creating engaging web copy
- Choosing responsive design
- Understanding online analytics
- Using goal and event tracking
- Exploring the conversion funnel
- Defining key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Understanding SEO techniques
- Conducting keyword research
- Creating a content strategy
- Leveraging local SEO
- Understanding who's on social media
- Marketing with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest
- Creating compelling video marketing campaigns
- Building an email marketing plan
- Measuring the success of your marketing efforts
- Setting up a blog
- Running A/B marketing tests
- Looking at affiliate marketing