This article provides you with a tutorial on how to use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. If you want to see a tutorial on my personal favorite keyword search tool, then click here.
Keyword research is one of the first steps to laying the foundation of your successful online business. Making “educated” guesses at what people are typing into the search engines is like trying to shoot an apple with a medieval crossbow 100 yards away.
You’ll need something more accurate to help you find good-quality key phrases.
This is where keyword research tools comes in. These tools will give you a clearer picture of what users are typing into their searches.
They also provide you information on how often a keyword is used, and its traffic potential. You can also learn how competitive a key phrase is.
Basically, a keyword search tool provides you with a wealth of information on which keywords to keep, or to toss.
The goal is to find the “low hanging fruit.” In other words: Look for keywords that are used often in the search engines but few-to-no other websites have discovered. This is very important when building your website.
Being the new kid on the block, you’ll want to keep the competition as low as possible. Your new site won’t rank right away because it has to earn trust with search engines like Google. Build your trust by constantly updating your site with high-quality content articles/blog posts around your keywords.
Keywords Research Scenario
For the sake of this tutorial, let’s say you’re an avid bowler. You have a lot of knowledge about the sport, and you want to monetize a website by promoting bowling balls (these can price over $300 by the way). For this scenario we’ll use the keyword “bowling balls.”
Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!
Steps to Keyword Research
Below is a brief outline on how to perform your keyword research.
- Gather keyword ideas
- Refine your keywords
- Check keyword relevancy
- Determine traffic potential
- Determine competition
- Create content
Now, let’s go into more detail.
Step 1: Gathering Your Ideas
Alright, find something to jot your ideas on. A spreadsheet usually works best for this. If you don’t have spreadsheet software, then you can download the Apache Open Office suite, or use Google Sheets. These a free alternatives to Microsoft Office.
Brainstorm a list of keywords. At this point you’re going to make educated guesses, and that’s perfectly fine. Think like a consumer. Let your ideas flow as naturally and freely as possible. Write/type your key phrases down.
If you’re having trouble with this step, then you can use a method we over at Wealthy Affiliate like to call, “The Alphabet Soup Technique.”
Open up a private/incognito window, and go to the Google search page. If you want, you can clear your web cache and history for good measure. Now type, “bowling balls” into the search bar. Do you notice how Google came up with other suggestions related to that keyword?
This little feature is called Google Instant. It tries to predict the next word you’ll type into the search bar.
To use the alphabet soup technique, type the letter “a” after the words “bowling ball.” Notice how Google Instant gave you another list of keywords. Now, delete “a”, and type “b.” Delete “b” then type “c,” and so forth. Each letter will result in a new list of suggestions. This technique will help you brainstorm possible key phrases for your niche. Google is secretive on how Instant actually works. Many say it’s based on real-time searches from other users, while others say it’s localized to your own personal searches. From my personal experience, I tend to lean towards Google Instant pulling its data from the searches from others.
Either way, using the Alphabet Soup Technique in conjunction with Google Instant will help you brainstorm many different keyword possibilities.
Step 2: Refining Your List
Sign into Google Adwords. If you don’t have a Google account, then create one. You’ll need it to access the Keyword Planner. Once you’re in, select the first option: “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.”
Click the “Keyword ideas” tab, and you’ll see a list of keyword suggestions. These phrases are what users are typing in their searches. This list will give you extremely valuable information about your niche, what kind of articles/blog posts to write, and your competition.
The keywords in the screenshot below are sorted by “Competition.” The screenshot is cut short, but there are a total of 800 possible keywords. If you’re following along, then scroll down to see the what the keyword tool came up with.
Step 3: Are the Keyword Suggestions Relevant?
Look through the list of suggestions. Determine if the key phrases are relevant to your niche. Your results will most likely include phrases which are irrelevant to what you’re promoting. Find keywords which are most closely related to your niche.
Step 4: Determine Traffic Potential
Look at the “Avg. monthly searches” column. The more searches a keyword has the better. Choose phrases which at least have a minimum of 50 searches per month.
Step 5: Determine Your Competition
Find out how many websites are competing for the exact key phrase you found. The keyword planner will indicate if the competition is “Low,” “Medium,” or “High” in the “Competition” column. This is all well and good, but finding an exact number will help you find keywords with the lowest competing websites.
At this point you should have a list of low-competition keywords along with their monthly searches.
Suppose you chose “how to choose a bowling ball” from your list of phrases. You want to find how many websites are competing for that exact key phrase.
Find How Many Websites Are Competing For an Exact Key Phrase
Open a new private/incognito tab, and go to the Google search page. Type the phrase “how to choose a bowling ball” in double quotes.
At first you’ll see a large number of search results. Ignore them. Keep going through the SERP (search engine results page) until you’ve reached the end. You’ll see a much smaller number. This number represents the number of webpages and videos which are competing for this exact keyword.
As a rule of thumb, use keywords with less than 300 competing websites. According to the picture below, the keyword “how to choose a bowling ball” has only 87 competing websites. That’s a great number!
Step 6: Create Content
Now that you know how many websites you’re competing with, your job is to outdo your competitors. Create an article/blog post discussing a variety of topics. You can elaborate on topics such as, which weight to use, the bowling ball’s composition, and the composition of it’s core.
You can even discuss whether to go with standard finger holes, semi-fingertip, or full-fingertip. If you’re promoting a specific brand and type of bowling ball, then this is where you’d do it.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a decent tool to use if you’re on a budget. It gets the job done, and will help you look for low-competition keywords to use in your articles/blogs. It’s not as powerful as my search tool of choice, but hey, it’s free!
Wait a Second! Who Uses Quotation Marks Around Their Keywords?
Well, practically no one. Quoted searches are very useful if you’re looking for an exact match for a specific key phrase. I use them quite frequently, even when I’m not mining for keyword ideas. However, quoted searches are rarely used by the average user, if at all.
The point of using a quoted search as an affiliate/online marketer is to determine if a keyword is viable. It’s an invaluable search technique in determining if your site can rank with a key phrase. This is a useful step in researching keywords.
Questions or Comments?
I hope you found this tutorial useful! If you have any questions then comments on how to perform keyword research, then I’d love to hear from you.