Choosing SEO Keywords - Using Google's Keyword Planner

When I first look at a website to potentially optimise, some of the questions I ask myself are "are they specifically targeting a keyword with a page?", "Are they ranking as expected for that phrase" and "is the phrase ideal to target?" Choosing SEO keywords, that is, choosing effective keywords to target, is a difficult process that can be made easier with Google's keyword planner tool.

The thoughts and hunches I form, become the hypothesis of an opportunity. I then dig deeper to identify what words people are using to find that business online. That's when I use Google's keyword Planner Tool to find out really what the opportunity is.

The Keyword Planner is designed for planning out Adwords Campaigns, so it can be difficult to cut the clutter and make sense of the keywords.

What Keywords Should you Enter into the Keyword Planner?

The tool can use your keywords and find similar and reverse orientations of the words and tell you how many people are using it. The more related phrases you input, the broader and more useful the output will likely be.

How to Enter the Keywords

Choose the first tab: "search for new keywords..." and enter keywords in the "your product or service" box. Tweak the location if needed and leave the other options unchanged. Hit "Get Ideas".

How to Make Sense of The Output

The "Keywords" tab is a quick way of seeing the traffic for the phrase you entered, and other suggested keywords. Click on the column headers to reorder the list to find the results with the highest traffic.
These results are cluttered and hard to manipulate; so the next step is to download it as a spreadsheet! Hit "Download" and open in your spreadsheet processor. Here are a few tips for organising the keywords.
  • Hide all of the columns expect the keyword and traffic column. Keep it simple.
  • Freeze the top row to easily see what the column is for. I like to change the top row to bold form[li]at.
  • Select both of the columns are apply a filter. Order the lines from highest traffic to lowest traffic.
  • Work your way through the list and highlight the relevant keywords - keep going until the traffic is not enough to be worth targeting. Often less than 30/month.
  • Apply the filter again, this time to the cell highlight colour.

You now have a processed list of keywords related to your website! The results can be useful for search engine optimisation and Adwords Campaigns. Happy Campaigning!

How to Add More Keywords

You will likely think of more keywords from different angles you can pitch your business. To add more keywords, unhide the keyword type column in the spreadsheet and use a text filter to only show the "seed keywords". Copy and paste these keywords back into the keyword planner, and add your new keywords. A new file will be created and you will need to organise the sheet again.