Thursday, November 7, 2013

Keyword Planner - More on How to Use the New Keyword Planner

Google has tweaked the Keyword Planner Tool, just a bit. Now on the left-hand side, you can see some new options.  Once you "sign in," to the Keyword Planner and enter a search to get started, you get to the "real interface."

Closely Related Ideas: Keyword Planner

Keyword PLanner
Then on the left side, look for "show broadly related ideas." There, click on the little pencil icon and change that to OFF.  Now the tool will respond with only closely related ideas to your initial search. This is much better. One of my criticisms of the tool is that it gives you too many ideas, too many matches, it goes too far afield for keyword ideas.

Someone at Google paid attention and now the tool allows you to at least focus it to closely related terms.  We are still stuck with only getting data on exact matches, however, and not phrase or broad match. So in that sense the Keyword Planner is still pretty lame.

The old tool was far superior, and you wonder why Google forced this transition on everyone.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Keyword Planner - Using the New Google Keyword Planner Tool

Google's new and not-so-improved keyword planner tool has been befuddling SEO experts and marketers alike, since Google AdWords transitioned to make it the defacto tool for keyword research.  Keywords, of course, drive both SEO and AdWords as users search by keywords, Google evaluates websites by keywords, and advertisers input keywords to coordinate their ads on Google. Keywords are also in the drivers seat on YouTube.

> To watch the YouTube video, click here.

What are some tactics to use the new Google Keywords Tool.  As explained on the Google Keyword Planner Website (, here are your options.

Using the Keyword Planner Tool: Step-by-Step

First, you need to sign up for a free AdWords account. Don't worry. You don't have to advertise; you just need a free account. Second, when you sign into AdWords, go to the top menu and select TOOLS AND ANALYSIS, then KEYWORD PLANNER.  Next, enter your target keywords into the box that opens on the left, marked "Search for New Keywords."

Now you are in the tool and the fun begins!  Revise your search at the top by entering search keywords and hitting "get keyword ideas."  Remember that the new Google Keyword Planner ONLY gives data for EXACT MATCH; it no longer gives data for phrase or broad match, so sometimes the results are a bit strange.

Watch this informative YouTube video for more information:

Use the left column for keyword ideas.  The middle column for competition and the suggested bid for an idea of the true cost-per-click.

Remember, you are looking for high value, high volume keywords.  And riches are in the niches!

Monday, September 23, 2013

YouTube Video and Explanation

The New and Improved Keyword Planner

Google has "improved" (SIC) its keyword functionality with the new Google Keyword Planner. This new tool will replace the older Google Keyword Tool so now is the time to learn how to use it, and how it compares vs. the older Google Keyword Tool. This video tutorial explains how to use the Google Keyword Planner for SEO (Search Engine Optimization purposes). The YouTube video below explains how to use this new tool from Google for SEO and AdWords.

Watch a Free YouTube Video:

          How to Use the Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner: How to Use the Keyword Planner Tool

Sign in via AdWords to the Google Keyword Planner


Google now requires that you have a (free) AdWords account, so first log in to your AdWords account. Next, click on Tools and Analysis and then select Keyword Planner. On the left click on 'Search for keyword and ad group ideas' to get started with the Keyword Planner. If you're already signed into a Google account, you can just click here:
  • In the first box, under 'your product or service,' enter one (and only one!) keyword phrase. In this example, we'll compare
    knee pain
    knee surgery
    knee surgeon
    best knee surgeons
    So start with just 'knee pain.'
  • Hit 'get ideas' in the blue box in the bottom left.

Get Keyword Ideas


The Keyword Planner defaults to 'Ad group ideas,' which is pretty useless. So instead choose the 'Keyword Ideas' tab. This is the workhorse of the Keyword Planner! Let's understand:
  • Search terms = the term you just entered.
  • Avg monthly searches = average searches for the exact match (!) of this term. Note: theKeyword Planner does NOT give 'phrase match' volume!
  • Avg. CPC = amount people are willing to pay for a click.
Point #1. It's very important to grasp that the 'average monthly searches' are for 'exact match' only. That means 'knee pain' was the ONLY thing that the user typed into Google. Not 'treat knee pain,' or 'treatments for knee pain,' etc. But just 'knee pain' and THAT'S IT!. This means that for both SEO and AdWords we are stuck trying to figure out phrase matches and phrase patterns! Lord knows what crazy Googler thought that taking away this functionality was a 'good idea,' but there it is!
Point #2. Target location. Here there is an improvement. You can now see how many searches occur in the whole world, the United States, New York state, or just New York City. To do this, click on targeting on the far left and adjust accordingly.
Point #3. Removing garbage from the tool. The tool oversuggests, giving you way too many keywords and going far afield. You can fix this by going to include / exclude and repeating your term. Let's try that with 'knee pain.' This resets the tool and removes all the garbage selections!

Comparing Keywords


How do you compare two keywords or keyword phrases? This has gotten a lot harder in the 'new and improved' Keyword Planner vs. the old keyword tool. But you can do some of this. The trick is to list the keywords in the top box with commas separating each one. Like this:
 knee pain, knee surgery, knee surgeon, best knee surgeons
Notice how now you can see the volumes and the values. Let's talk about value. The higher that people are willing to pay for the click (the CPC column), the closer a keyword is to the transaction. 'Knee pain,' for example, is just people who have knee pain vs. 'Knee surgeon' is people who are ready to get surgery. So the CPC for the first is just $1.12 and the CPC for the latter is $4.03. Your competitors are telling you which one has more value! Which one is more likely to end in a sale!
So in terms of SEO, we can optimize on the higher value keywords and the keyword planner will help us see which ones they are!

Use the Keyword Planner to Reverse Engineer a Competitor


When you are just starting out, it's often helpful to reverse engineer a competitor web page for keyword discovery. The Keyword Planner has this functionality. Take a competitor web page, get the URL and enter it into the tool. We'll take one of these URL's:
You can also pop your own web page into the planner and see what Google thinks you are saying. It's not incredibly focused, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Useless Features of the Keyword Planner


Google has jumbled up the planner with some useless features, both for SEO and for AdWords. For example, the 'Ad Group ideas' is pretty much useless, as it creates very disorganized groups. As I teach in my AdWords class, you need to be hyper, hyper organized with your AdWords campaigns and AdWords groups. The keyword planner is just a starting point, and not a very good one in terms of an organizing tool. So I do not recommend using this feature!
Similarly, the negative keywords feature, the filters, and the options are all both useless for SEO purposes and pretty nearly useless for AdWords as well. If you were to use the tool to create an AdWords campaign or group, you'd be so disorganized in the output that it would really hurt you, both at your quality score and performance level. I think what happens is that the people who produce the tools (the 'Googlers') actually have little experience doing any real AdWords advertising or SEO, so they are pretty blind in terms of how it actually should be used. And people like me or you who actually use the tools have no mechanism to communicate with Google.

Focus group Google? Survey, Google? They could really do some testing and improve the tool. But oh well, rant, over.

And what's really sad is that Google has taken away the ability to compare exact match vs. phrase match and look at keyword volumes, and values. That means that we will have to guestimate based on exact matches and can't really use a phrase match to get ideas. This is a terrible oversight in the tool (including for AdWords research, not just SEO!) and I hope that Google will remedy this in a future version. This is just another 'What the Heck was Google thinking' sort of moment. Sigh.

Get My List of Favorite Keyword Tools


There are other ways to get keyword ideas for SEO, namely Google suggest. Let me just show you some tricks using Google suggest and the keyword planner. That's one of my favorite tools.
If you'd like to download my list of favorite keyword tools, just fill out this form.