This beginner's guide to keyword research using Google Keyword Planner is explained with simple and easy to understand terms. If you saw my earlier post on SEO basics, I had briefly touched on the "keyword research" topic. We will cover it in detail in this post. For a long time, I never paid much attention to adding proper keywords in a blog post. No wonder many of the posts didn't show up or rank higher on the search engines. Well better late than never. Now I am in the process of fixing my old posts one by one. If you have just started blogging, it is definitely a good idea to make sure you have keyword research on your priority list.
What are "keywords"?
Keywords are search phrases or words that a user types on a search engine like Google while looking for information. The keywords are ranked based on how often they are searched. The heavily searched words are ranked higher than the ones not searched as much.
For example "laptop handbags" are likely to be heavily searched, and ranked higher than "cheap designer laptop bags" which is very specific. If you use the latter keyword in your post, there is a likely chance that your page or post will be shown higher up in the SERP (Search engine results page). Obviously, it has a lower competition than just a broad term like laptop handbags. When we use many words or phrases, say four to six, in a keyword, it is called a long-tail keyword. The short phrases are called short-tail keywords.
Why should bloggers use keyword research in finding keywords for writing their posts?
Bloggers work hard to create and share informative posts. They most definitely want their posts to reach a maximum audience. Followers and readers may read your post once and revisit again if interested. However, if one is looking for consistent organic traffic, the posts need to be shown high up in the search engine results. Because hey! who is going to the 15th or further up pages to see the results? At the maximum, users will look at pages 4 or 5. This is where this post on beginner's guide to keyword research helps.
If you use the right keywords or "search phrases" that users may use to search the content they are looking for, chances are search engines like Google will rank you higher up in the SERP(Search engine results page). Instead of guessing what keywords users might use for their search, it is wiser to use tools that are specifically made for this purpose.
There are many keyword research tools in the market. There are some with really cool features of which few are free and others are paid versions. For beginners who are on a budget, there are many tools like Google keyword planner, Ubersuggest, or Kwfinder.In this post, I will go over the basics of using Google's keyword research tool.
How to use Google's keyword research tool without creating a campaign?
Create a Google Adwords account. If you already have a Gmail account this is pretty straightforward, you can log in with the same account. Make sure you check the option at the bottom (highlighted in yellow in the image below) that says "create an account without a campaign".
From the Tools/settings in the upper right hand corner, navigate to Keyword Planner (Use can use the slideshow to see the page )
Click on "Discover new keywords".That will bring up the interface below. If you find yourself lost on the page and do not find the "create an account with a campaign" on the first page. Look for the "switch to expert mode" option and that will help navigate to the right page as well. You do not have to enter your credit card information.
- As seen in the above picture, ensure that the highlighted Locations, Language, and Search networks are set up as expected.
- You can enter the keyword in the search bar. See laptop handbags high lighted in the above image.
- Note that there are options to broaden your search using the tool suggestions which you can add to the existing list by clicking on the + icon.
- You can also filter terms by for example "keywords contains", "keywords do not contain", "competition medium, high or low".
- There is also an option to refine keyword on the right-hand side as seen in the above picture. For instance, you can uncheck some of them if you do not want brand names to appear in the keywords.
How to narrow down your keyword for keyword research?
You do not want to choose high competition words. They are usually broad terms that are very high to rank. Those that have medium or low-competition are a good choice. You can check the "Avg month searches" and "competition" columns combined to decide which will fare better. Sometimes a combination of medium competition and average search of 10 -100 will be better than a low competition with a 10-100 range.
Once you shortlist and have a list of choices of keywords, narrowed down from the planner tool, use the google search engine bar as well to see what gets prompted when you type in the keywords. This will also give a fair idea of what keywords people are usually heavily searching for.
You can also use Google Trends to see how the keywords fare in the last few years. The graph of the search volume of queries is shown on this site. You can analyze the popularity of top search queries. Keywords and topics by region and such valuable information can be found.
Where to use the Keywords in the keyword research?
Finally, when you have narrowed down the keyword that you want to use, make sure the keyword is added to the title, keyword, meta description, page title, and alt tag of your image. Make sure not to overdo the addition of the keyword on the alt tag of all images, it may be considered spammy. Plugins like the Yoast SEO tool are very helpful in easily inserting these keywords and making suggestions for the same.
Other Keyword research tools
There are also other keyword research tools that are popular, some free and other paid versions as well. I found some of the following articles about keyword research tools very helpful. Do check them if you are interested.
More free keyword tools
Hope this post on beginner's guide to keyword research will help new bloggers and others who are not yet using them. Keyword research and using keywords are very beneficial and will definitely help boost up a blog post/page/business to reach a wider audience and get a higher ranking. Thanks for reading!