How to use Google Keyword Tool for SEO

By August 23, 2017Search Engines, SEO

Google’s keyword tool was originally developed with Google Adwords users in mind. I’ve been using Adwords for more than ten years now and whilst it’s essential for this task, it’s also the basis for SEO research and many other business decisions including product development.

From the perspective of gaining rankings in Google SERPs, and thereby increase the number of visitors to a website through SEO, Google’s keyword tool can be used in a number of ways.

Before going any further I should point out that I’ve been in this game so long I still call it Google Keyword Tool when it’s proper name is now Google Adwords Keyword Planner.

By using this tool the user is able to get a good understanding different keywords related to your topic whilst estimating the monthly search volumes for the keywords and also providing the competitiveness of the keywords from an Adwords perspective.

The initial round of keyword research is one of the most important elements of SEO and understanding how to use the tool is extremely important.

I’ve mentioned the competition column of the tool. Many people in SEO believe this isn’t important when working out a keyword strategy, however, I consider this to be a crucial part of the research. One of the reasons for this is many people will tailor their PPC landing pages based on the results of Google’s keyword tool and these will then be indexed and form part of the competitive landscape for organic search.

When thinking about the search volumes, ensure you are only viewing the results of one location rather than all location. Depending on your targeting, it’s likely you will only want to or be able to effectively rank within a specific geographic location. It’s not, therefore, necessary to review global search trends – just the trends of the location you want to target. As an SEO consultant in the UK, I mainly concentrate on UK terms.

In addition, you’ve also got to remember that the search volume figures are very accurate. They are more of a guideline than actual search figures. This is why I only advise people to make keyword comparisons rather than using them to work out exactly what traffic you’ll get if you get the first position in each SERPs.

OK. You might be rubbing your hands together now thinking you can get started with your keyword research. Historically you could use the Google Keyword Tool without being logged into Google Adwords, then Google changed it so you had to have an Adwords account. More recently you need to have an active campaign in Adwords in order to be able to use the full functionality of the Google’s keyword tool.

A Step By Step Guide To Using Google’s Keyword Tool

Step 1) Sign into Adwords. As mentioned you’re going to need an active PPC account. You can set one up and then set up a campaign in such a way that it won’t cost you any money. But it will need to be active.

Step 2) Got to the ‘Tools’ link on the top navigation. From the drop-down select the ‘Keyword Planner’ link.

Step 3) Select the  ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’ option.

Step 4)  Getting your head around Google Keyword Tool settings

i) Your Product or Service – in this box you want to enter your keywords

ii) Your Landing Page – in this box you can use your landing page or website home page

iii) Your Product Category – don’t worry too much about this box. Just leave it blank.

iv) Locations – if you’re in the UK ensure you are targeting the UK

v) Languages – change this to English (by default it will be All Languages)

vi) Source – makes sure this is ‘Google’ rather than ‘Google and search partners’

vii) Negative keywords – remove any default negative keywords and leave this blank

viii) Date range – change this to the last couple of months (bear in mind seasonality)

ix) Customise your search – leave this as it is

Step 5) Understanding Google Keyword Tool’s Find Keyword function

x) Your product or services – add your products, services and keywords in this box and the page you want to rank for in the other. Then press Get Ideas.

xi) Adgroup ideas & Keyword Ideas – make sure you’ve got the Keyword Ideas tab selected.

xii) Download – downloading keyword data can be useful. Especially if you’ve got a lot of keywords to analyse. However, you don’t need to worry too much about this.

xiii) Add all – ignore this button, It just lets you all the lot to your Adwords account.

xiv) Search term(s) – this is the output of Google’s keyword tool.

xvi) Average monthly search – this is the average monthly searches over the time period you’ve specified. This is handy to know if it’s worth going after the term.

xvii) Competition – Low / Medium / High. You should use this as a steer about how competitive the search landscape is, but remember that this is really an Adwords metric.

xviii) Suggested bid – just ignore this, it’s only really useful for Adwords.

xix) Keyword (by relevance) – this is a list of associated keywords by relevance to your landing page and or keyword set.

Step 6) Add about 10 keywords to the ‘Your Product or Service’ field. You want to include a good selection of keywords in here, look at broad keywords, more generic keywords, as well as the really specific and industry keywords. You should also include a couple of your regional keywords here too. When thinking about the keywords you want to consider speak to your employees, your customers and your suppliers. Perhaps even to your friends and your family. They may associate your business with keywords that you don’t. They may provide you with a list of non-industry keywords which will have a higher search volume.

Step 7) Click ‘Get Ideas’

Step 8) You’ll now get the results. In the top section, you’ll see the keywords you entered and their respective search stats.  Handily, you’ll also get a list of “related keywords”. These are the keywords Google suggests you should also consider.

Step 9) Press the download button and get you.CSV file.

Step 10) Open the .CSV file, then cleanse your data set. By that I mean go through and remove any keywords that aren’t related to your business. Don’t be too brutal though. We want a good selection there.

Step 11) Remove any keywords with search volumes of less than 10 (these aren’t worth considering at this point).

Step 12) Align by the monthly search volume.

Step 13) Sit back and marvel at your work! At this stage, you should have a list of up to 100 keywords that are relevant and have reasonable search volumes.

The next stage is to begin to take this list and to use it to work out how achievable the keywords are. I’ll leave that for another blog. If you want any help with your keyword research in the meantime please get in touch

Open the .CSV file, then cleanse your data set. By that I mean go through and remove any keywords that aren’t related to your business. Don’t be too brutal though. We want a good selection there.

Step 11) Remove any keywords with search volumes of less than 10 (these aren’t worth considering at this point).

Step 12) Align by the monthly search volume.

Step 13) Sit back and marvel at your work! At this stage, you should have a list of up to 100 keywords that are relevant and have reasonable search volumes.

The next stage is to begin to take this list and to use it to work out how achievable the keywords are. I’ll leave that for another blog. If you want any help with your keyword research in the meantime please get in touch

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