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The Total Guide to Keyword Research – Find Your Online Gold Mine

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases which people use to search for products, services or information online. By understanding what phrases are popular and searched for often, you can optimise your site to target those exact phrases. Within any industry, different phrases for essentially the same thing will have dramatically different search volumes.

For example, 1,900 people search for the term “dance classes London” every month, which makes it much more popular than the term “dance workshops London”, which only gets 70 searches a month. By knowing that far more people are searching for “classes” rather than “workshops”, you can optimise your website for the more popular search term, therefore hopefully putting yourself in front of more potential customers.

However, there is much more to keywords than just identifying a popular search term. As you can imagine, certain search terms have a lot of different companies competing for the top position in Google, which means that some keywords are so competitive that it isn’t worth your time to pursue them.

This is where long tail keywords come in.

Long tail keywords are specific, niche terms which receive far less searches than broader, generic terms, but which are usually less competitive and therefore easier to rank well for.

SEO experts target long tail keywords, because most of the time a website will get viewed by far more people if it is on page 1 for a more specific term, rather than page 11 for a very generic and popular term. This is because 92% of people who search the internet do not click past the first page of Google. So although you might be ranking on page 3 for a very popular search term, only a tiny fraction of those people are ever going to see your site!

By targeting a large number of different long tail keywords, your site can rank for many different terms. So, although each individual keyword might not have a huge search volume, cumulatively, they can add up to a large number of visitors to your site.

How to Use Google Keyword Planner

So, now we know what keywords are as well as what we need to look for to identify a good keyword. What you really want to know is how to actually find these precious keywords!

Thankfully, Google provides you with a great free tool, the Keyword Planner. The Google Keyword Planner allows you to:

  • 1. Search for keyword ideas
  • 2. Find out how many searches key terms get
  • 3. See how competitive they are to rank for

In this example, we’ll try and find some good keyword ideas for Pilates classes in London.

1. Go to the Google AdWords page and sign in. You will need a Gmail or Google account to use the Google Keyword Planner. If you haven’t already got a Google account, go here and sign up for free.

2. Once on the Google AdWords page, hover your mouse over “Tools” and select “Keyword Planner” from the drop down menu.

keyword research

3. The Google Keyword Planner offers a number of services. We’re interested in searching for keywords, so select “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”.

keyword research

4. Fill out the required information

keyword research

5. As you can see, the term “Pilates Classes London” gets many more searches each month compared to the other terms. You can see in the “competition” column, that all of the relevant keywords (we aren’t interested in Pilates classes outside of London) are highly competitive. Therefore, we would want to target “Pilates Classes London”, because if everything is going to be difficult to rank for, we might as well go for the term which people tend to search for!

keyword research

6. Because searching for “Pilates Classes” didn’t really show any low competition long tail keywords, I have adjusted the product or service so it just says “Pilates”. Having searched again, we can see that an ideal long tail keyword would be “Pilates benefits”, as the competition is low, but it has a huge number of searches. Therefore, knowing this, we would want to blog about the benefits of Pilates, or add a page to our site about Pilates benefits.

keyword research

As a free tool to get some general ideas, AdWords is great. However, if you’re serious about identifying high value keywords which will bring traffic to your site and result in more sales, we strongly recommend you have a look at Market Samurai, one of the best keyword research tools available! You can get a free trial of Market Samurai by clicking here.

Now that you know how to find your keywords, it’s time to optimise your page for SEO.


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  1. This was extremely helpful for my research in the quality and infection prevention field!

    Thank you

  2. Very good quality post. However, It seems that Google Ads has changed the layout to create a campaign so that the functionality ‘KEYWORD PLANNER’ is not there any more? thanks. f

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