For many of us using Google Adwords tool for keyword research has become a stable. After today’s blog post I’m hoping to shake that ground up a bit. You may know of or might not know about Google’s Insight for Search. It’s a free service that lets you see the top search terms over time and area of the world. Additionally it provides relevant search term data. So let’s take a peak under the hood and see what we can do for our keyword research with Insights for Search. Listed below is a step by step process to use Insights for Search for keyword research.
- Setup Excel sheet – This is actually a pretty critical step even though it might seem like common sense. You want to make sure you have a few columns setup in your Excel sheet to allow for recording of the keyword and a column for the average search volume over the past 12 months.
- Brainstorm on Keywords – Before we start using the tool you want to make a list of keywords that you think would be relevant and popularly searched. Put this down somewhere so you can use it in the next step.
- Search Insights – Next is the actual search step. What are critical here are the settings you choose for your search. Under the search terms column on the tool’s web page enter your keyword. Then under the filter column choose “Web Search”, “United States” or your country for the second row of dropdown options and in the third row of dropdowns, select “Last 12 Months”. This setup will give you the search volumes for each month over the last 12 months for those users in the United States or your respective country. Once you’ve done that click the search button to initiate the search process.
- Record Data – Your next step is to record the data returned from the search. Record the total number located under the “Totals” section. This will give you an average of the search volume over the past 12 month period.
- Rise and Repeat – Repeat the above last 2 steps (#3-4) for each keyword you came up with in your brainstorming.
- Discover Keywords – While doing the above for each keyword also take note of the suggested search terms under the “Search terms” section. Add any relevant keywords here to your list.
- Sort – After you’ve completed making your list and recording all average search volumes, now it’s time to sort the list. Using Excel’s sort feature sort the list from highest to lowest for the average search volume column.
- Analysis – Now that you have a beautifully sorted list of search volumes paired up with keywords it’s time to analysis and decide which keywords to use. Remember just because a keyword has the highest search volume doesn’t mean that it’s the best keyword for you to optimize for. Factors such as competition and keyword relevance to your site’s topic should be considered. Another tip; I like to use the custom highlighters in Excel to mark which keywords I’m going to be using so I don’t get confused for forget which ones I decided upon.
- Recheck Annually – As you may have guessed the search volume number change monthly. So I suggest performing this task annually to make sure the keywords your targeting still have significant searches to warrant optimizing for. Mark it on your custom printed calendars so you don’t forget.