One of the most difficult search engine optimization (SEO) tasks is coming up with good keywords for your content. Trying to guess what search terms people will use can be aggravating, and if you aren’t using a keyword research tool, the results can range from ineffective (no one finds your site) to counterproductive (people find your site but were looking for something entirely different). Multiply this by every blog entry, product or article you put on your site, and it’s easy to wonder why the heck you’re bothering to update your website in the first place.
Never Fear: It’s Robots to the Rescue!
No, Robbie the Robot won’t come to your desk, peek over your shoulder, and give you a list of brilliant keywords guaranteed to drive traffic to your site. But Google has the next-best thing (as they do with so much in life): the Keywords Planner, a part of their AdWords service. The AdWords keyword tool will walk you through keyword research so you’re choosing the best search terms to reach your target audience.
Step-by-Step, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool How-to
Here’s how to use the AdWords keyword tool. You must have an AdWords account. If you have a Google account, you can use it to log into AdWords.
- Log in to AdWords and navigate to the Keywords Planner (Tools > Keyword Planner).
- Under “Find New Keywords,” choose Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.
- Under, “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” type one or more keyword ideas that are related to your blog entry or article topic in the box labeled “Your Product or Service”. You don’t need to use any of the other fields.
- Click Get Ideas.
- On the next page, click the Keyword Ideas tab under the graph.
Keyword Race: Choosing the Right Keyword Candidate
The Keyword Ideas tab displays a long list of keyword candidates. Not all of them will be relevant. How can a keyword planner tool help you choose which ones to incorporate into your content? Here are some guidelines for better keyword picks:
- First, narrow the list by focusing on the less-competitive candidates. You can sort the list by clicking on the Competition column heading. Look for “Low” values in this column.
- Within the less-competitive candidates, look for keywords with high search volume (as indicated in the Monthly Searches column).
- Choose a few candidates that are directly relevant to your topic. Note that the point of this exercise is merely to come up with good keyword discovery, so you can stop here in Google’s AdWords process without actually creating an AdWords campaign (which costs money).
Sometimes, none of the low-competition candidates have high search volumes. In this case, disregard the search volume and simply choose from the low-competition candidates.
Why use this method to choose keyword candidates? Keyword planning should result in terms that are searched on frequently, but not used very much as keywords by other sites. In theory, a good keyword research tool should help you pick the best keywords to elevate your article’s ranking in the search results, making users more likely to find you.
When you have your short list (three or four, tops) of good keywords, incorporate them into the text, title, and graphic alt-text (if your post or article includes images). SEO experts recommend using each keyword several times in an article, but don’t go crazy. Search engines can tell if you are “overloading” your article with keywords, and doing so can hurt your ranking.Simple, right? Using the Keywords Planner might sound like a lot to do at first, but as soon as you start flexing that Google keyword research tool muscle and practicing, you’ll find the above explanation is simply a detailed description of something that happens quickly and intuitively. Give it a shot, or just give us a call and we’ll help out. Either way, give the Google AdWords keyword tool a try and watch how choosing the right keywords helps you optimize your content to boost your readership.