When people think of Google AdWords they don’t initially think of it as a free Google tool. But the truth of the matter is Google AdWords is not just for advertisers. It has some really helpful features that most people who focus on organic rankings may not consider.
Keep in mind you will need a Google account to use the tool, but it’s worth it. Even if you aren’t a Google fan, simply keep this account handy for using the Keyword tool in AdWords.
Take the Keyword Tool found under the “Tools and Analysis” tab. We use this tool almost daily for various reasons which are listed here:
Free Idea #1 – Competitive Analysis
So let’s say you are wondering what sorts of phrases your competition is being found for. What ways are there for you to find them? Well, using Google AdWords you can start to build a profile of what your competition is doing online.
No, it doesn’t tell you what they are paying per click for phrases, but it can help you figure out what Google sees as important phrases for them. So how do you find out?
Simple, in the Keyword Tool you will see a few different boxes at the top of the page. First is a “Word or Phrase” box which we’ll explain later.
The second box is the one you want – “Website”. Here is where you will enter your competitor’s website to see what phrases Google pulls off the page and considers important.
One other item you will want to adjust, especially if you are performing this analysis outside of the US, is to change the location in the advanced options area. Simply click on “United States” and you will get a drop down list of other countries. Select your country and then hit the “Search” button.
Shortly you will be presented with a list of terms Google feels are important and relevant to your competitor’s site. You will also see some other data which we will explain in the next section:
Free Idea #2 – Determining if Your Chosen Search Phrases Have Value
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide if a phrase is something people will use to search for your product or service online.
For example, sometimes there is industry jargon which you know if you are in a certain industry. For example, did you know that “bbl” is short for barrel? This is an example of such a phrase.
When you search for these 2 phrases in Google AdWords you will see in the results a few columns of numbers. You can probably ignore the “Competition” column as this refers to paying competitors – those buying AdWords for the phrases you have chosen.
Instead, focus on the other 2 columns – “Global Monthly Searches” and “Local Monthly Searches”. Global monthly searches show how often people everywhere searched for a keyword while Local Monthly Searches refers to searches on Google for each keyword in the locations, languages, and devices that you selected. In our case, we chose “Canada” as our option and we can see how many people searched for these 2 phrases in Canada, as compared to the rest of the world.
So if you work in the oil industry, for example, you know you know that “bbl” is short for barrel however according to Google AdWords more people searched for barrel than bbl. Therefore, while bbl is an important industry term, in terms of organic placement we would recommend using the term “barrel” for most of your SEO work because it is searched for more often.
If you scroll further down the page Google even provides additional search terms you may not have considered, along with the approximate search volumes for those phrases.
Free Idea #3 – Generating New Search Terms
Along the lines of Idea #2 above, you can use the tool to help you identify new search terms.
Take the “bbl versus barrel” example above. While we know that barrel gets more searches than bbl, we haven’t considered what other search terms there may be.
By scrolling down a little further on the page we can see other terms people are using to find websites on Google. Again, focusing on the Local Monthly Searches column we can see searches for things like “price of oil” “barrel of oil” and even “bbl meaning”. These are all phrases people have been using to find websites that supply this information.
So what you could do is review the list and pick some that are relevant to your website.
You could then even take this list, scroll back to the top of the page, and input the terms into the “word or phrase” box to generate even more search term suggestions.
Keep in mind these are only suggestions. There is no guarantee that you can position your website for these terms. The next step would be to go to Google and perform searches for those phrases to see who is ranking highly there and try to figure out why.
So there you have it – 3 ways you may not have known about to use Google AdWords free keyword tool to help you analyze your competition, determine if the phrases you chose are worthy, and even provided a way to generate new suggestions!
If you need help to perform any of these steps please don’t hesitate to contact us!