Putting together an SEO strategy can seem like a very daunting task. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of Google tools that can make this task much easier for you. One of the most important is Google Keyword Planner. This allows you to check how many people are searching for particular terms and understand the amount of competition that there is and whether there are any seasonal trends or other patterns that you should be aware of. Once you’re armed with this information, you’ll find it much easier to put an SEO strategy together. In this guide, we’ll explain how you can most effectively use Google Keyword Planner and what you can do with the information it provides to improve your search engine rankings and drive more relevant visitors to your website.
Setting up Google Keyword Planner
You can use Google keyword Planner in a few ways. The best option will depend on how familiar you are with SEO and how much you already know about your website’s Google profile. If you already have a list of keywords that you’re aiming to rank for, then you’ll want to select ‘Get search volume data and trends’.
If you don’t have this type of information and you’d like Google to make some suggestions for you then select ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’. If you select this option then type in a few details about your product or service (for example flower arranging or hot dog cart), and the page that you would like to rank (this may not be your home page, it’s often easier to get subpages to rank for longer-tail keywords). Finally, select the category of your product or service from the list provided by Google. It can sometimes be a struggle to find the perfect fit so it’s worth spending a little time digging to find the right option. Don’t worry if you don’t find an exact match, it’s still well worth running the search.
Working with Google Keyword Planner data
Once Google has crunched the numbers it will present you with a range of keywords. If you’ve decided to let Google choose which keywords to use then it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the enormous list that it provided. If this is the case then it’s worth exporting the data to Excel as it’s easier to manipulate and work with the data there than in Google’s online environment. Once you’ve downloaded the data, we’d suggest sorting your spreadsheet by monthly search volume in descending order. Once you’ve done this, take the time to pick out five keywords that are important to your website and that you think you have a chance of ranking for.
An effective SEO strategy is all about picking your battles carefully. There’s no point in trying to compete with the big boys straight out of the gate as you’re unlikely to succeed. Instead, try to find a niche keyword with a low competition rating that you genuinely think you can improve your ranking for and that your potential customers will actually be searching for. Then, before you do anything else, pop the search term into Google and see who is already ranking. Ideally, they’ll be competitors of yours or information pages about whatever it is that you do. If the results that appear are not relevant to you and your business, then there’s little point in trying to optimise for that keyword as it’s unlikely that your potential customers are searching for it.
Tracking your performance with Google Keyword Planner
Once you have your strategy up and running, it’s worth continuing to use Google Keyword Planner to monitor your strategy and make tweaks to what you’re doing. The world of SEO doesn’t stand still and if you’re not regularly auditing what you’re doing then you’ll be missing out on opportunities and will be at risk of competitors leapfrogging you. Once you’ve come up with a list of keywords that are important to you by following the steps above, make sure you save them somewhere on your computer and run them through Google Keyword Planner regularly (we’d suggest that you do this at least once a month).
Pay particular attention to the competition rating and search volume. This will alert you to any new competitors that may have started a PPC advertising campaign on your key terms. Whilst not directly related, if a company is buying traffic on a particular search term then it’s very likely that they’re trying to rank for it to, which could cause issues for you in the longer term. It’s also worth keeping an eye on search volume as trends change, particularly according to the season and what’s in the news. It’s well worth setting up Google Alerts for your main keywords and brand and monitoring them using Google Trends so that you’re quickly informed about any changes that could have a detrimental impact on the SEO work that you’ve been doing.
Google also rolls out changes to Keyword Planner so even if you don’t think your keywords will move around that regularly, it’s worth logging in at least a few times a year to see if they’ve come up with anything new that can help you to improve the search engine optimisation work that you’re already doing. If you’re not proactive about SEO, then you’re at serious risk of falling behind your competitors and losing vital sales and customers. Without regular monitoring, it could well be too late before you know you have a problem.
Google Keyword Planner is most effective when you use it in conjunction with other tools. If you’re a Google Search Console user for instance, then you’ll know which keywords are driving people to your website. You’ll then be able to feed these into Google Keyword Planner to see how much competition you’re facing and what volume of the search traffic you’re capturing. All of this will help you to build an SEO strategy that delivers effective returns for your business.