How to Figure Out Your Best Search Terms Using Google Search Bar and Google Keyword Tools—FREE!

Last week we touched on how to do the initial brainstorming for keyword research—some good ways to find out which keywords you may want to actually research.  So, you’ve got the list of terms that you think people may use to look for you, your product, or your service on the internet (to solve their problem).  NOW what?

It’s time to find out what the numbers say.

Where do I go first?
Well, there are a number of products you can use to find out which words are working and which words are not.  The good news?  There is a free version of almost all of them.  Google offers: Google Search bar, Keyword Tools, Insights, and Trends to help you with your keyword research. Some other products out there include: Wordstream, Worktracker, and Keyword Discovery.  For now, we’re going to focus on Google Search Bar and Google Keyword Tools.

Let’s start with the Google Search Bar.
Sound familiar?  It should, because you probably use it every day.  We’re talking about the exact same search bar you type your searches into when you’re looking for something.  Maybe you haven’t noticed it before, but whenever you search for a term or phrase, when Google provides your results page(s), Google indicates how many results are yielded (and how long it took for the results to appear).  Example: Search “mashed potatoes” and you will see that 17,200,000 results were found within 0.16 seconds.  “Mashed potato recipes” yield 357,000 results in 0.19 seconds.  Google Search Bar is the easiest, least complicated tool to use.  If you’re looking for terms to be found for, you can decide pretty quickly whether or not you stand a chance (competition against 17 million other results for “mashed potatoes” and you want to land on the first page?  You can probably stop right there…)

Let’s pretend you searched “mashed potatoes” or something else, and your results yielded 24,000 results instead. We would advise you to proceed checking out the statistics on your term (as a rule of thumb, 30,000 or less is a good place to start).  Head on over Keyword Tools, through AdWords or Google.

From Keyword Tools, you will be able to search terms and find out the volume and competition for searches, as well as learn some groovy stuff about your website and the websites of your competitors.

Next visit www.adwords.google.com.
From the tabs at the top, choose, “Tools and Analytics,” and from the dropdown, choose “Keyword Tool.”  From the landing page, type into the word or phrase box whatever it is you’re looking to see.  As an example, let’s continue with our “mashed potatoes” theme.  Type it into the box, click search, and look below to use the tools.  You will find that under “search terms” you will see your keyword, how many searches are completed each month locally, yearly, and what your competition will be like.  One goal when choosing keywords is to have terms that yield HIGH VOLUME and LOW COMPETITION.  This combination means a lot of people are searching for your term, but not a lot of websites are using that keyword to be found.

Below “search terms” is a laundry list of terms and their stats under “keyword ideas.”  These results are Google’s recommendations of similar terms.  The similar terms may be terms you have already come up with as possibilities OR may offer terms you never thought to consider.

Already have a website?  Check this out…
Head back up to the top of the Keyword Tools page.  Directly below where you typed your keyword(s) is a search bar for “website.” This tool is what you can use to see the keywords Google believes are relevant to your website. Moving out of the realm of potatoes, we’ll search www.searchwithsam.com.

Now, let’s examine the results.
Google thinks that “pay per click on Google,” “pay per click with Google,” “pay per click at Google”… are the most relevant to www.searchwithsam.com.  It’s possible that you may even see some search terms that you used to get here listed below.  This is a great tool to see how Google sees your website AND the websites of your competitors.  Go ahead, choose your own website and try it out.

Some key tips to remember:

-        The more words you have in a keyword, the more targeted you can get (it’s easier to optimize)

-        The goal is to be found on the first page of search results

-        High volume and low competition are ideal when choosing words to be found for (will make being found on the first results page more realistic)

Check us out next week for how to read insights, trends, and How to use the “Long Tail.”

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