How Search Engine Optimise your website
Part 3: Crunching the numbers – Performing a keyword analysis
Once you have your list of keywords, you can use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool to help you get the data on each of the keyword phrases in your list. This data may be useful to confirm or make you reconsider a keyword phrase you’re wanting to target.
If you find what is explained below much too complicated or technical, don’t fear. While the steps below can provide valuable data to aid decision-making, I would even dare to assert that it is not always necessary for a small business owner new to SEO.
If you refuse to do an analysis of your keywords, just know this – as a rule of thumb, the more generic your keyword is the more competitive it will be, meaning it will be much harder and take much longer to get that keyword highly ranked on Google. Targeting a more specific keyword (keywords that usually have multiple modifiers), which are often referred to as a long tail keyword, will mean it will be much easier to rank well for that keyword, and become even easier with each additional modifier word that is added to your keyword phrase.
To do a solid analysis however that will be of value, access the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool. To do this, you will need to have an account with Google by setting up a Gmail account or setting up any other of Google’s products.
Once you have an account with Google, login to Adwords: https://adwords.google.com, then follow the steps below…
1) Under the Tools and Analysis tab, click on Keyword Planner
2) Click on Search for new keyword and ad group ideas
3) Enter in your keywords into the product or service field, make sure to separate each keyword phrase so there is just one keyword phrase per line
4) The fields for Your landing page and Your product category can be left blank.
In the Targeting section, ensure that for the locations field you put in Australia (if you’re targeting predominately an Australian audience).
Also in the Targeting section, set the language to English.
Then click on get ideas
5) On the page that loads, click on the second tab labelled Keyword Ideas
6) You can then observe the data for the keyword phrases you have listed.
Export the data to a spreadsheet by pressing “download” if required
The most important piece of data for organic search engine optimisation is the average monthly search volume, which is found on the first column of the keyword ideas table. This indicates the average amount of times every month this keyword phrase is searched in Google Australia. Keywords with a high amount of search volume are generally more competitive and difficult to get top rankings for compared to those with a lower search volume. If you happen to see a dash in the average monthly searches column, it means that there are only few searches made for this keyword phrase a month or that Google does not have enough data to give an accurate figure.
A good way to determine how difficult a keyword will be to get onto top page of Google is to use the Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool. We at Sprout Online are fond of Moz products and find this particular tool useful and accurate in determining the extent of keyword difficulty.
Beware to not use Adwords Competition indications to assess keyword difficulty!One thing to not do is to gauge difficulty by the competition column in Adwords. This column indicates the competitiveness of a keyword for Adwords and not for organic SEO. Yes, they are very different! Because this article series is all about enabling small business owners to get ranked on the organic Google listings without having to pay a cent on Google advertising, this column in Adwords indicating the competitiveness of a keyword on Adwords should be avoided. The competitiveness of a keyword in Adwords and the difficulty to get a page that is highly ranked in organic listings are not related.
To use the Moz Keyword Difficulty tool, you will need to sign up to Moz. They have a trial period of 30 days, which means you can use the tool without having to pay for a 30 day period and can cancel before 30 days are up.
The Moz Keyword Difficulty tool itself is easy to use and involves the following 3 steps:
1) Entering the keyword
2) Selecting the country you are targeting
3) Clicking on Check difficulty
The ranking difficulty will then appear in the analysis section below
It may seem low, but any keyword that is above 35% in keyword difficult is generally quite competitive and may be difficult to rank really well for if you’re doing SEO yourself.
The Key to choosing the right keywords from your analysis
The key to choosing the right keyword is to determine 1) is the keyword likely to be entered into search engines by your target market 2) Assess the monthly search volume of the keyword using the Google Adword Keyword Planner and determine if it is a keyword that gets a lot of monthly searches 3) Assess the difficulty of the keyword using Moz Keyword difficulty tool or any other similar tool that indicates difficulty to get the keyword to top rankings.
The aim is to select the keywords that are 1) most likely searched by your target market, 2) ideally have a large number of people searching for that keyword phrase and 3) that is low in difficulty to reach top page. Finding a keyword that meets all three criteria will probably be equivalent to striking gold. Tensions in these criteria will usually mean that you will only achieve two of them. The most important two of these criteria is the first and the third. If you find a keyword that is likely to be searched by your target market (something no tool can assess for you other than your brain and a strong understanding of your target customers) and that keyword is low in difficulty to achieve top rankings, then it is advised that you consider adding that keyword to your list of keyword phrases to target for your DIY SEO campaign.
To view this series on How Search Engine Optimise your website from the very start, click here to go to the start of the series – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 1 – An Introduction to SEO.
To check out the previous post in this series check out – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 2 – Keyword Selection.
To check out the next post in this series check out – How Search Engine Optimise your website: Part 4 – Organising your website to target keywords for success
Our to use Sprout Online to SEO your website and get effective web rankings that provide a return on investment, just check out our SEO page.