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This course was updated on 10/12/2012.
- Understanding why indexing is important
- Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool
- Dealing with frames, iframes, and popups
- Working with SEO-friendly URLs
- Using meta tags
- Clearing source code clutter
- Building links within the site
- Working with Google+
- Reviewing page content
- Building and submitting an HTML and XML sitemap
- Garnering links outside the site
Skill Level Intermediate
- One very popular keyword analysis tool is the Google AdWords keyword planner. It's really designed for use by AdWords pay-per-click advertisers, but it's still popular with SEO people, mainly because it's free and it's great data. You don't need to spend any money, but you will need to create an account. This used to be open to the public, but these days you must have a Google AdWords account before you can use it. If you don't have an AdWords account, go to AdWords and create one.
It will only take a few minutes, and you won't have to actually pay anything. Once you've done that, load the keywords tool. Select Tools, Keyword Planner, and we'll get started. This tool is going to find keyword ideas for us. We're going to give Google either a sample keyword, one of the words on our original list, and Google will provide a list of related terms. Or, we're going to provide the URL of a website, perhaps a competitor's, even, and Google will give us terms relating to that site.
So let's put a term into this first box, we're going to be promoting TwoTreesOliveOil.com, so we'll begin with the term Olive Oil. Now we have a few filters in Settings. If I click on this component in the Customize area, Google will only retrieve terms that are close to the term I've entered. Mostly terms that include the term I used, such as "Best Olive Oil," "Bulk Olive Oil," and so on. You may want to experiment with that, but for this example I'm not going to select this control, because I want Google to provide a wide range of terms.
I can also ask Google to include adult terms, if that's appropriate. As you can see, we can also tell Google the location we're interested in. We'll keep that set to the United States. I can also select the language and where the data will come from. From Google or from all the search sites using Google data. I can also enter negative keywords to stop Google from returning keywords that include those terms. For instance, I might add the words "make" and "making" so that Google doesn't return search terms related to making olive oil.
I might also ask Google to provide me only with popular search terms. Over here in the Filters box. Or perhaps, with less commonly used terms. When we're ready, we click the "Get Ideas" button. And in a few seconds, Google returns a bunch of keywords with a trends chart at the top. We can get that chart out of the way by clicking this button. Google has provided two sets of keywords. The current tab is the Ad-group ideas tab. Remember, this is really a pay-per-click advertising tool.
This area shows the keywords it found broken down into categories. The Extra Olive group, the Cooking With Olive group, the Best Olive group, and so on. Under the Keyword Ideas tab, though, we see an uncategorized list of keywords. The one at the top is the one we gave the tool in the first place. Olive oil. And it tell us how often the keyword is used. 110,000 times a month on average in the region we've selected, in this case, the United States.
Then below that, we see Google's suggestions. We can sort the list by average monthly searches if we wish. To see the most popular terms. So let's say we want to use the list we've created. We can download these keywords into a spreadsheet using the Download button. For out purposes, we want to use the Excel CSV format. That's a format that can be imported into a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. If you don't have a spreadsheet program, that's okay, you can use Google Docs.
Click this checkbox and then Download, and Google creates a Google Spreadsheet doc for you. In a few moments, you can click the Open File button to see it. And so here it is. The spreadsheet file with your keyword list. Most of the columns are related to pay-per-click advertising. We don't care about them for SEO purposes. What we care about is the keyword column, of course, and the average monthly searches column. Now, you won't just do one search.
You'll go through, entering a variety of keywords, searching multiple times to see what comes up. You can then merge the various downloaded spreadsheets and remove duplicates that come up with a master list. Excel has a built-in de-dupe tool and a unique records tool as well. Google Docs also has a unique records tool which works like this. Create a new sheet, then with the top left cell selected, type "=unique(" then click the other sheet and highlight a few rows of data starting with the second row, then change this last number to any number that exceeds your total number of rows.
Doesn't really matter what you put in here. I'm going to put in 10,000. Then add the ending parentheses and press Enter. We're now back in the other sheet with all the duplicates removed. All these entries in the sheet are unique. Finally, you should know that this is not the best keyword tool out there. It has the best data, you can't beat Google's data, of course, but there are commercial services that provide better keyword management tools that will help you group keywords into projects, sort keywords, export keywords, and so on.
One of the best-known is WordTracker, but there are various others such as KeywordSpy and KeywordDiscovery. Remember, don't skip the keyword analysis. Spend some time and really understand the keywords that are important to you.
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