YNOT – Choosing the right keywords is among the most crucial factors in a successful search engine optimization program. An unsatisfactory or incomplete keyword list can create a snowball effect that disrupts search engine visibility and ultimately leads to poor results. The keyword research and selection process is time-consuming and requires patience, but it forms the backbone of any effective search strategy.
Google AdWords provides several tools that have proven to provide quick and often thorough looks at not only keywords themselves, but also at how individual pages and entire domains stack up against competitors. Google’s tools can help webmasters generate keyword ideas, search volumes and other competitor data.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is used primarily to generate keyword suggestions based on Google AdWords programs. Though AdWords programs revolve around paid search, Google states that the keyword suggestions and related search volumes the tool displays illustrate the approximate number of search queries performed on Google’s network as a whole. Therefore, the results returned by the tool are not limited to paid search terms only.
The keyword tool is useful for generating keyword ideas and variants based on phrases you provide. The tool also finds keywords related to the content on individual web pages and entire websites. The import and export feature is easy to use, making the data available for external manipulation and evaluation by software like Microsoft’s Excel.
For best results, users should be logged into a Google AdWords account in order to use Google AdWords Keyword Tool, as the tool tracks cumulative data based on previous searches.
How to use the tool
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is used to break down the keywords that are most relevant to your business. To understand which keywords are most relevant, before you begin to employ the tool, you must:
- Make sure you understand your website’s target market(s).
- Research competitors’ sites.
- Know what you want to accomplish.
This tool is beneficial to the success of any natural search campaign and is very useful for the extensive keyword research process. After creating a list of 15-20 keywords, you can insert them in the tool one by one. Every time the tool completes the research, you can export the data in .csv format and group all the data in a unique spreadsheet for further analysis.
For example, about two seconds after inserting the keyword “dating,” you should receive a list of 150-200 related keywords along with the search volume generated by each in one month.
Generating keyword ideas
Here is a step-by-step approach for using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to generate keyword ideas by keyword:
Understanding the results
Deciding how any or all of the keywords presented by the tool may fit into your SEO campaign is no easy task. There are a number of factors to consider.
How many keywords should you focus upon? There is no definitive answer to that question. However, as a general guideline, a small website might aim to optimize for 50 keywords site-wide, using no more than three per page. Large websites often optimize for 200 or more keywords.
This column was contributed to YNOT by the SEO staff at RIVCash.com.