Google has two keyword research tools (actually three, but I won’t count the Google AdWords internal toolbar) and you should be aware of how to use them.
The first tool is the Google AdWords External Toolbar. This is essentially the Google AdWords internal toolbar except that you don’t have to be logged into your Google AdWords account to use it. It’s a great tool if you are just doing cursory research that you don’t think you are going to use right away or you don’t have a Google AdWords account and want to do some keyword research.
You can generate ideas in one of two ways – using descriptive words and phrases or by associating them with a website. If you are generating a keyword list for a specific website that have already built then be sure to check the box for Website content.
Next, enter some keywords in the box and check “Use synonyms”. You can also filter your keywords to exclude unwanted words that you don’t want to target. For instance, if you are searching for keywords related to “widgets” but don’t want anything related to “red widgets” then you can exclude the keyword “red” or the phrase “red widgets”.
After clicking the box to generate keywords, you’ll see your keyword list pop up with the following columns:
- Advertiser Competition
- Local Search Volume (month specific)
- Global Monthly Search Volume
The match type will also be set to broad. You can change it to exact, phrase, or negative. I recommend starting with broad and you can narrow it down as you do more research. You can also expand the columns that are displayed, but if you aren’t planning to do any PPC advertising then the other columns won’t help you much.
You can use this list to see which of your keywords are the most popular from month to month and to judge what your competition for those keywords is. It’s a good tool to use.
Google’s Search-based keyword tool is slightly different. With this tool you can actually get more specific in your research initiatives. Since the data is based on actual searches rather than broad research data it should be more accurate, but that doesn’t mean it will benefit everyone. This tool is a great tool if you already have a website built and you want to expand your list of keywords for specific pages on your site.
The search-based keyword tool allows you to compare keywords generated for a specific web page on your site and the keywords in your Google AdWords account. If you are currently running a PPC campaign then you can find new keywords to target. It is a great tool for showing where you might be missing opportunities.
I challenge you to learn more about these to keyword research tools. Use them when the time is right.