Saturday, 23 October 2010

How and Why to use the Google Keyword Tool

This is a tool that always astounds me not everyone is using as I consider it essential for anyone who writes content for the web - Google's Keyword Tool is a relevation and there are several great reasons for using it.

1. It's free. Totally, absolutely free - so there's really no excuse not to make use of it.

2. It's ridiculously simple to use, and once you've started you'll want to use it for everywhere on your website, from title tags to images.

3. It will show you what people are actually searching for, rather than what you think they are. For example - you may think that you should be calling one of your categories 'Fashion Footwear'. It has a good ring to it with a bit of illiteration thrown in for good measure, but take a look at the results in the keyword tool and you'll discover that, last month, there were 3,600 searches for 'Fashion Footwear', and a whopping 74000 for 'Fashion Shoes'. Which term should you use, several times over from your title tag to your meta description to your header to your content? Well obviously - Fashion Shoes.

Try it for yourself, use words you might not immediately think of, such as 'vanity case' vs 'cosmetics case' and you'll see what I mean.

4. It will save you money - cosy up to the keyword tool before you start spending money on Adwords or any other type of paid marketing. You will be throwing money away if you don't get your SEO right first, and this is one of the most important ways. Once you've established what people are searching for, and how to use the tool, you'll never look back.

To use the Google keyword tool you need to sign up for a Google Account which, because I'm sure you're all already using analytics (!), you probably already have. Then just go to the keyword tool and start using it before you write anything.

Don't get carried away with the thought that you can find all your key words and phrases at once, you can't. Pick just one at a time and drill down using different options to find the most searched for phrases, and ones that aren't what I call 'saturated', meaning that everyone is competing for them them. Example again; use the keyword tool and put in 'jewellery case', you will see that there were 18000 searches last month, and there is white space in the bar on the left. If you put in 'jewellery box', there were 368,000 searches, but the bar is fully green, and you are unlikely to get anywhere near the top on search if you use that phrase.

You have two options for using the keyword tool, and I suggest that initially you familiarise yourself with how it works by clicking on the 'Descriptive words or phrases' option and test different categories on your website.

Then you can select 'Website content' and input the URL of any page on your site you would like analysed. Hey presto! within less than a minute Google will have analysed your page and all the phrases you are currently using, giving you the search volumes and alternatives. This can be an enormous amount of information so as what you're really looking for are the most relevant key phrases try this and see if it works for you.

In essence what you are looking for is a high search volume which tells you that a particular phrase (of two or three words) may well work for you, but low competition, where you are more likely to get results.

If you aren't already using the keyword tool have a play with it as soon as possible, everyone who writes content for the web needs it.

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