For a long time now, Google has offered one of the most used free tools for keyword research with information on popularity, competition and suggestion variations. Originally tied to Adwords, the Keyword research tool worked to try and help people better understand Adwords. More recently however, this has become more closely integrated with the platform and they've since rebranded it to the Adwords planner. Sadly a lot of the useful research functionality has also been stripped away.
So with our Wordstream Keyword Research webinar just around the corner, we thought we’d offer up some alternatives and whet your appetite ahead of next Tuesday’s event. Here are seven other possibilities to head to other than Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
1. On-site content
Your own site’s analytics has a lot to answer for when it comes to figuring out the terms people are associating with your brand or product. If you’ve been following best practises when it comes to copywriting, your blog posts should follow a theme or discuss an area that you’re most likely to rank for.
Internal site search is a great way to grab data from Google Analytics to figure out what content your readers want and also whether or not you are providing it.
Here’s how to set it up for your site:
Login to your site’s Google Analytics.
Click on the Admin tab which will be on the top right of your screen.
Select the website you are analysing and the profile you want to set up site search on.
Head to the Site Search Settings tab.
Select “ track site search”
In the query parameter field, enter the words or letters that designate an internal query.parameter. To find out what your query parameters are run an internal site search. If you’re using WordPress chances are you’ll see something like this: www.yoursite.com/?s=search-query. The query parameter in this case is just the letter “s”you don’t need to enter the question mark.
Select whether or not you want Google Analytics to strip the query parameter from your URL.
Select whether or not you use categories, such as drop-down menus to refine a site search.
If you select “No”, you’re done, and just need to click “Save Changes”.
If you select “Yes”:
In the “Category Parameter” field, enter the letters that designate an internal query category such as ‘cat, qc,’.
Select whether or not you want Google Analytics to strip the category parameters from your URL.
And you’re all set! Be aware though, it may take up to 48 hours for you to start seeing data coming through.
2. Google’s related search
Load up the Google homepage and begin with a relatively broad search for your industry – in this case, it could be ‘photography’. Enter that keyword into the search engine and then scroll down to the bottom of page one to look at the cluster of related searches that crop up from this initial query. You can then click through into a subsection of your initial search – perhaps that might be ‘photography magazines’.
You will then get a whole new targeted selection of keywords to use within that sector. eg. art photography magazine, photography magazine listings or subscriptions and you can start to flesh out your keywords list from the very core purpose and function of your business into all of those long tail terms that could pick up a different community or following.
It’s not just all about Google when it comes to keywords either. Soovle is a natty little tool that helps you schlep through a whole ream of other platforms where you could be targeting your content at a different audience. The integration with YouTube here is interesting and pretty useful if you’re considering expanding into video and are looking for the relevant keywords within this platform.
This free keyword suggestion tool makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services. You can pretty swiftly pick up thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries. It can also offer vertical results for things like images, shopping, video and news.
5. Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool
Brit writer and cleric, Charles Caleb Colton once remarked that “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. So when it comes to hunting down the best keywords for your business, take a look at some of your closest competitors to see what they are ranking for in the SERPs. Our clever chums at Moz have a Keyword Difficulty tool which is ideal for this. Sling in the keyword you are considering and the tool will go and fetch the top ten rankings for it as well as assign that keyword with a difficulty rating based on the other pages currently ranking for the word. This insight will help you figure out an area you can really work to find your niche.
SearchMetrics is great when it comes to a competitive advantage. Head into the main dashboard and simply add in your main domain - for instance, 'Amazon' and all of the top keywords will appear on the left and your competitors on the right hand column. You can also go in and segment through paid and unpaid here too. If people are paying for keywords for a long period of time, chances are they are probably making money from them.
7. Google Trends
Google Trends can help you choose an advertising message that fits and resonates using those optimum keywords to do so. Similarly to social media trends, Google Trends takes a look at web interests over time and can provide an interesting snapshot in forecasting keywords. Just take a look at the rise of certain terms within the last three years. This is also an insight into regional trends and search terms that might be more prominent within different communities.
Of course, Wordstream are the pros when it comes to this stuff so what better way for you to pick up some pointers on search engine success at next week's free webinar. Join Wordstream's CTO Larry Kim and Will on 17th June to hear more. You can RSVP here and it’s entirely free to attend.