I love answering the questions that my readers and viewers have. And there is one question that is asked more than any other. It's simply highly sought-after information by bloggers. Here it is—"How do I use the Google Keyword Planner?"
Most bloggers know that SEO keywords are important, but the way that the Google Keyword tool is set up makes it a little tricky to figure out. If you have tried in the past and failed because Google tried to make you create an ad, don't be discouraged because you are not alone. This is a common mistake that happens.
Since I know how frustrating, yet important, this process is, I decided to create a video to help you out. You can hop over to check out the full video where I walk you through each step here and subscribe to my channel Allison Lindstrom.
A quick overview of keywords
Even if you are just starting out in blogging you have probably heard of keywords. But just in case you haven't, let me give you a quick breakdown of what they are and why they matter.
Keywords are the words that your readers are searching for in the search engines. When you use these same keywords in your content it makes it easier for your audience to find you. Bam- it's a simple as that!
I don't write a single blog post (including this one) or record a single video without first researching keywords. I want you to be able to find me, so you can get the answers you need.
The problem is that there are many ways to say the same thing. That means it becomes your job to figure out what words exactly your audience is searching.
The good news is you don't have to figure this out by yourself. There is a Google keyword search tool that is going to do the hard work for you. You can access this tool by searching for "Google Keyword Planner" or clicking the link here. Then the fun begins.
How to use the Google Keyword Search
1. Sign in
The first step is to simply sign in or create an account. This is easiest when you already have a Gmail account. If you have run into problems in the past of being forced to create an ad in order to use the keyword search this is where the process likely went wrong for you.
I have never paid for a Google ad before and you don't have to either. One way to get around this problem is to use a Chrome browser, click the three dots at the top right-hand corner and open a "new incognito window". This allows you to search like you have no history, so you can access the site for the first time.
Once you have that done, either sign in with your Google account or click "start now". Once you are on the "start now" screen DO NOT enter your information. I repeat, DO NOT ENTER YOUR INFORMATION ON THIS SCREEN.
Instead, click the link that says "skip the guided setup" above the box where you enter your email information. Once you make it to the next screen, you can fill out your information and create an account.
2. Find the Keyword Planner tool
In the upper right-hand corner, you will see an icon of a wrench. Click the wrench. Under the "Planning" section choose "Keyword Planner". On the next page choose "Find Keywords".
3. Enter your topic
This will bring you to the next screen where it's time to get started. Think about the main topic of what you are going to be writing about or creating a video about and enter it into the box and click "Get Started". You will notice as you type in the box it will provide you with options that you can select as well.
4. View your results
At this point, you are going to see a screen that has a long list of words and phrases related to the topic you entered in the box. You can start looking through them, but I highly recommend that you do a little additional work to narrow down your results.
5. Sort by relevance
You will probably notice that some of the results that have come up might not be closely related to what you are looking for. If you click on the words "Keyword (by relevance)" it will re-sort the results to show the most relevant results at the top of the page.
6. Know how to read the results
If you don't really know how to read the results on the keyword generator then it's not going to help you. Here are the things that you need to pay attention to:
Avg. Monthly Searches - This is showing you how many times that word, or phrase is searched for in a month. The higher the number the more people are looking for that keyword. I try to stay around the 1,000 to 10,000 and never go lower to the 10-100 keywords. You want to choose keywords that more people are searching for.
Competition - I'll talk about this more in the next step, but this column is showing you how much competition is out there for that keyword. It uses a low, medium, and high-ranking system.
7. Narrow your search
One of my favorite things about the Google word search is that it allows you to narrow your search results with filters. This will help you choose a really focused keyword that will apply to exactly what you are creating. To add a filter, click the funnel icon in the top right corner.
The first filter that I recommend using is the "Competition". Google describes this as, "Competition: The number of advertisers worldwide bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google. In the "Competition" column, you can see whether the competition for a keyword idea is low, medium, or high. (Source)"
I know that Google is using this Competition section to describe the number of advertisers but I still try to always use only low competition keywords. I figure, if people are paying for ads with those keywords then it may be more helpful to increase my chances of growth with other low competition keywords.
You can also use filters to add additional words to the keyword you are searching for or to exclude words from the results. Here's an example: If your original search is "Whole 30" you may find that the search is too broad. But, you can play around the filters to find words that have a high number of searches and low competition.
You could try adding the words "meal plan" or excluding the word "diet" from your results. As you continue to see the results and alter your filters you will come up with a list that is perfect for the focus of your content.
8. Choose your words and phrases
Now that you have filtered out everything you don't want, you will be left with the results that are the best fit for your content. They should be keywords that are searched by enough people to make it worth your effort but have low competition.
And there you have it! The most important things to remember are to skip that guided setup so you can bypass the ad creation process and know what results you are looking for. Don't be afraid to play around with this for a while. Don't just search your topic and take the top result on the list. Continue adjusting your filters until you are getting the best results that will help your audience find you.
The walkthrough video that I created, and this "how to" guide are a great example of the lessons that you gain access to when you sign up for the Intermediate or Advanced packages in my Blogging to Win Course. Click here to see if our enrollment period is going on, and be sure to join the waiting list if it's not! If you are ready to build a profitable blogging business this course will walk you through exactly how to get it done.