This is slightly more complicated than it used to be, because you have to actually create a live AdWords Campaign as part of the process! This puts many people off, as it looks as if you have to actually advertise in order to use the tool. You don’t — you can just setup the campaign and then pause it before it runs so you don’t have to spend a penny.
1. Create a New Project. By clicking on the “+” icon located at the left upper corner, a new pane will show up allowing you to: enter your new project Title; choose your project’s Country (which affects the total of local monthly searches and top 10 Google results shown); pick your project’s Language (which affects generated keywords and the top 10 Google results for users that use that language); select your Search Network (which affects the number of reported searches depending on your choice between “Google” or “Google & search partners”); and toggle the Adult Ideas switch on or off.
Be sure to re-evaluate these keywords every few months -- once a quarter is a good benchmark, but some businesses like to do it even more often than that. As you gain even more authority in the SERPs, you'll find that you can add more and more keywords to your lists to tackle as you work on maintaining your current presence, and then growing in new areas on top of that.
Although more and more keywords are getting encrypted by Google every day, another smart way to come up with keyword ideas is to figure out which keywords your website is already getting found for. To do this, you'll need website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot's Sources tool. Drill down into your website's traffic sources, and sift through you organic search traffic bucket to identify the keywords people are using to arrive at your site.
I use Ahrefs to find ideas for keywords to add into content, and content to create around keyword opportunities. I like how Ahrefs shows keyword difficulty, search volume, traffic potential (how much organic search traffic it’s possible to get when you rank #1 for a parent topic keyword) and lets you group keywords together to create lists. It’s really useful.
Wordstream is a free keyword tool that makes it easy and fast to get those keywords that your business needs most in order to drive traffic through paid and organic search. All you need to do is enter a website URL or keyword and you will get hundreds of relevant keyword results that are tailored to your country or industry. Every keyword has an estimated CPC, competition score, and a proprietary opportunity score that will assist you in budgeting for your online campaigns. You can download your list in a CSV format and upload it in AdWords directly and begin to work on your new campaigns.
"With Google giving over the home page to ads and their own properties for commercial keywords, the Long Tail keyword is more important than ever. If you have a website, you know that most of your traffic comes from keywords you never would have thought of. With Keyword Researcher, you can find them in advance and make sure that you're the one that snags this traffic. I use it for all of my e-commerce site planning."
The team at E2M is taking this opportunity to analyze other significant (and free to use/try) keyword research tools out there. We are asking ourselves what data and logic should ideally go into keyword research, how this logic can be programmatically applied to the creation of tools, and what the best ways are to consolidate and use their output. Here’s a quick look at 25 other keyword research tools, some well-known and some you’d do well to know. These are not alternatives to the AdWords Keyword Tool on their own, but each of them performs some function of the AdWords tool in its own unique way, and all of them aid and abet your keyword research quite well.
I also want to emphasize that Microsoft Excel and Google Docs perhaps play an equal, if not more important role in keyword research than any of these tools, because at the end of the day, the mountain of data you end up with is of no use if you can’t perform calculations, sort, filter, present or store it in a way that’s best suits the task at hand. Head over to Distilled for a comprehensive Excel for SEOs guide. Alternatively, bug this guy—he’s the Sensei who trains Excel ninjas in the dark of the night.
How do you figure out what keywords your competitors are ranking for, you ask? Aside from manually searching for keywords in an incognito browser and seeing what positions your competitors are in, SEMrush allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
Keyword Overview looks at the entered term on its own and addresses expected searches per month, the difficulty of competing against Page 1 results for the same term, a rough estimate of organic click-through opportunities (versus paid ads and non-organic positions on the search engine results page), and the perceived priority that the user should assign to optimization for this term, where the higher the score, the higher the demand and a lowered level of competition.
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Following a very busy (and lucrative) 2015, I’ve decided to take the majority of 2016 off and use the time to invest in various relationships and things that really matter in the long run. But in the midst of this “time off,” I’ve learned so many lessons and picked up new skills and seen new perspectives that I would never have been exposed to had I just kept on grinding away at the existing business.