There are many keyword planners out there that are pay-to-play. Why not use Google’s free Keyword Planner to do your research? I have some keyword planner tips for awesome SEO to help you rank better in Google’s search engine.
Doing keyword research is one of the most important things you can do for your blog. Writing well (proper grammar, perfect spelling, pleasing graphics, etc.) is important. However, if you are writing well about something that no one is looking for, it won’t appear in the Google search and no one will read your beautiful prose.
I am told that about ten years ago all you needed to do to rank high in Google was to use a keyword over and over again in a post. Google has gotten smarter over the years. Now you have to do more than just use that keyword in the title, in the URL link, in the body, and in the image.
Keywords need friends
Google, the largest search engine, has two ways they keep track of the words on the internet. One way is called Latent Semantic Indexing. In normal human speak that means keywords have friends and they hang out together. If you write about using a math curriculum for example, you should also use the words teaching, subject matter, math concept, mathematics, student, book, and curriculum. The search engines are going to expect these other words to be with the main keyword. If they aren’t there, your post will get ranked lower than a post with these.
Another of Google’s methods is term frequency–inverse document frequency or TF-IDF. This doesn’t measure how often a keyword appears, but offers a measurement of importance by comparing how often a keyword appears compared to expectations gathered from a larger set of documents. Again, you aren’t going to write, “If you want the best math curriculum then this is the best math curriculum for your math curriculum student.” People do not talk that way and Google knows this by reviewing documents and ranking the words by often those words come up in regular conversation.
Keyword Planner Tips
Bing and Yahoo and the others get search traffic but currently Google had 75% of ALL search traffic as of December 2014, with Bing at a close second of 13%. They know what people are searching for and what words they use to find it.
Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner helps you find friends. To access Google’s Keyword Planner you need to log in to your AdWords account. Google has a step-by-step tutorial on how to create an AdWords Account using your gmail account if you don’t have an account yet. After you log in you will see Tools at the top of the page. Click on Tools and then Keyword Planner. A page will open with several options. Choose “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.”
After listening to webinars, attending events, and studying how to find keywords online, I have come up with a set of filters I use consistently. To change the options, click on the pencil icon. Once you set each parameter, click outside of the text boxes to close them.
Your product or service
Type the keyword or long-tail keyword your post is about–for instance, “Halloween costume.” You do not need to put anything in the Landing Page or Product Category text boxes. Those are mostly for advertisers.
- Location: Click the pencil icon and type in United States in the text box. Click outside of the box to close that.
- Language: We will leave the language as English.
- Search Engine: Click the pencil icon and choose Google and search partners.
- Negative keywords: Leave “negative words” empty unless you know of words you do not want to be in your search. This is useful if you are writing a post about high school math and do not want elementary math to be included. You would put elementary here in that situation.
I only go back one year for most posts and that’s the default. This is very helpful in planning your Editorial Calendar. It’s obvious that you wouldn’t write about Valentine’s Day activities during the summer. But when would be a great time to write about how to knit a scarf? Would it be in August so you’re ready for the winter, or would it be best to wait until a person needs a scarf? I can easily see that the best time for a post about this would be in November to get the most views.
Customize Your Search
- Average monthly searches should be set at greater than 3000 (leave the comma out). When you get the results, ignore anything over 100K. That is too much competition from the big guys. Anything less than 3,000 and it won’t be worth it to write about because not that many people are looking for that keyword.
- Suggested bid gets set at greater than .80 cents. That way I know advertisers are willing to pay something per click.
- Ad impression share and Competition are where the experts cannot agree. Leave it blank for the first try. You can always go back and play around with that later.
- Broadly Related Ideas is the last thing you need to change. We don’t want that. We want to make sure we are going for closely related ideas. Click on the “OFF” which will change the slider to ON.
- Keywords to include can be left blank.
We are ready. Just click on “Get ideas” and away we go.
Now The Research Begins
This page is a gold mine. It shows the trends for your word. I know that I should be promoting posts about Halloween costumes starting in July and August! (Does this explain your Pinterest feed a bit better, too?) Under “Ad group by relevance” will be the major keywords. There is only one for “Halloween costume.” Click on that to see more specific keywords.
There are several ways you can look at this chart. Average Monthly Searches tells you how many people use that keyword(s) in their search. Competition tells you how many other sites are vying for that keyword. This is where longevity is important. A site that has a lot of content and/or has a lot of great links coming in makes Google happy and they will rank that site higher than a new site starting out.
If you feel confident about the health of your site, you can try for the high or medium competition keywords. If you want to get ranked high on the first page though, go for the keywords with the highest search but the lowest competition.
Now I know that I want my post to have Halloween costume men as the main keyword (3,600 searches). I will also want to include last minute Halloween costume ideas (4,400 searches) and cute Halloween costume ideas (5,400) in the same post. I could also write three separate posts in a series and link them together on a landing page.
If you’re going for the money, sort by Suggested bid to see how much advertisers are willing to pay for posts with that keyword. This tells me that I am going to want to include “cute Halloween costume ideas” in all three posts because 5,400 searches are for that and it pays the highest at $1.84.
One Last Step To Check Your Google Keywords
Open a browser window in an incognito window.
Type or paste the new keywords into Google search. As you type, note what keywords Google guesses that you are looking for.
If your search is anything like mine, you will see at least one Pinterest board in the number one or two position. Pinterest is driving Google SEO and you should care how you use the descriptions in your boards and pins.
Note what words are in bold. Those are the words you must make sure to include in your first paragraph. How are the titles written? How is the description written? Write down all of these things in your notes.
Scroll to the bottom of the page. Also note what other long-tail keywords Google suggests you try.
There are 2 important things to keep in mind as you are doing keyword research.
1. Put yourself in your reader’s/customer’s brain. What question, or questions, are they hoping to answer? What jargon do they use? If they are new, will they know what you are talking about? Make sure you are laser specific in your meta descriptions for readers to instantly know what your post is about in Google search pages. You can use the jargon within your post to show your expertise to the ones who have been around longer.
2. Where is the reader in the “buying” process?
- Are they just looking for something to add to their Pinterest board? Make sure your image is pretty and your URL is on the pin.
- Use their pins to entice new readers. Make sure the viewer doesn’t have to guess what the post is about. Do that by making sure your image is optimized with enough information to entice others, who need your information right now, to come to your site when they see the pin in their feed.
Writing well is enough to get people to come back to your site but it won’t help you grow your blog. It is important to write as if you are having a conversation with a friend. You also want to make sure that you have enough interesting topics to keep them coming back to visit. Using these keyword planner tips will serve you well to continue to find great ideas for your blog.
This is the second post in a series of SEO-Coaching posts here on Homeschool Blogging – don’t miss it! Sign up for our newsletter list below.
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