Google Keyword Research: The Gold Standard of Keyword Research Tools

While there are many keyword tools out there, the best one available is most definitely Google’s  keyword research tool.

It’s called Google AdWords Keyword Planner, and it helps tremendously with your keyword research. It is by far the most comprehensive in regards to volume, data and trend.

For readers who have worked with pay per click (PPC) or run a Google AdWords campaign, you will be familiar with Google keyword trends already.

Master the Google Keyword Planner with Findability University

If you really want to learn how to use the Google Keyword Planner you can take Findability University’s SEO Training Webinar Series. If you haven’t set up a Google AdWords account, please do so RIGHT AWAY since Google has more than 65% of the market. To set up your AdWords account:

  • Go to and follow the prompts.
  • You will be asked for a credit card, but you won’t be charged a dime until you decide to run ads and turn on a campaign.
  • You can do all the keyword research you want for free!

Google Keyword Research – How to Use Google Keyword Planner

Once you have an AdWords account set up, you can start using and abusing this incredible keyword tool. The top-level navigation includes Home, Campaigns, Opportunities, and Tools.

  • Click on “Tools,” and the drop-down menu appears.
  • Go to “Keyword Planner;” it opens a screen where you can start conducting your keyword reconnaissance.
  • On the left side, you’ll see two options. Click on the first one, “Search for new keywords…” to enter the keywords you want to check out.

Here’s the cool thing : You don’t have to guess anymore, and finding keywords becomes easy!

  • As you enter keyword phrases or ideas, separate them with a comma.
  • Use phrases that are two to four words long. You can do several at once.
  • Remember, long tail keywords produce better results. They contain 3-4 keyword phrases that are very specific and get higher Google keyword ranking.
  • Then click on “Get Ideas,” and you’ll discover all kinds of great ideas for content you should be building, whether it’s pages, social media, or blogs.

You are trying to identify the keywords that people are currently using instead of the keywords that you guessed people used to find your site.

Using the Keyword Tool eliminates the guesswork. Your ultimate goal? Creating a high-quality targeted keyword list, perfect to attract your ideal prospects.

How to Select the Best Keywords

The selection process includes two important factors:

  • 1) Search Volume – The average number of searches for the term over a 12-month period.
  • 2) Competition – The number of advertisers that showed on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google.

Rule of Thumb Table for Keyword Search Volume

Search VolumeBest Use
<500Good for blog posts or social media.
500 – 1,000Satisfactory keyword for web page.
1,000 – 5,000Perfect keyword for web page.
>5,000Great number but not always easy to find keyword with that volume.

Google Keyword Research – Competition Can Be Low, Medium or High

You’re looking for terms with low to medium competition. Next to its volume, the Keyword Planner ranks the competition low, medium, or high for each phrase.

When the competition is low or medium, you have a better chance of competing for the term. Low competition is an opportunity to optimize one of your pages and rank for it more quickly.

Phrases that are highly competitive are a problem because they will be very difficult to rank for. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but getting found is a heck of a lot easier when you pick a keyword phrase with lower competition.

What Do Your Ideal Customers Ask Google – Keyword Research & Pain Triggers

After you conduct a search for the terms you used to guess about, be sure to look at all the different questions your customers are asking Google that will be listed as related options.

You’re going to notice questions listed as phrases that reveal pain points. These keyword “triggers” are terms that searchers add onto the front or back of the core phrase.

Triggers identify a higher intent for problem resolution, and often have higher conversion rates than the keyword alone.

Multi-word or long-tail phrases that pose a question are powerful keywords. Whenever you see a “what is,” “how do I, “or “what causes,” those phrases are incredibly high converting terms because the user has made a very specific inquiry.

Phrases that read as a question are like striking GOLD from a conversion standpoint. Pay close attention to this type of phrase.

Google Keyword Research – Check on the Neighborhood

Another way to qualify a keyword phrase is to make sure it puts you in the right “neighborhood.”

Before choosing a keyword, actually Google the term to see what comes up. When you look at these other listings, ask yourself if they are appropriate for your business.

Is this the “neighborhood” you want to be associated with, and does it make sense to be found among these search results?

Google Keyword Research – Know the Neighbors Before You Move In

When using the Keyword Planner, you will often see search terms with loads of search volume and think, “This is perfect for me! Look at all those searches and low competition. Wahoo!”

Unfortunately, when you type the phrase into Google, unexpected things may come. You want to be sure you check out the neighborhood to see if it makes sense for you.

Do you want your company to be found next to these results when a potential customer types the keyword phrase you are considering into Google? For example, as a “professional speaker,” I don’t live in the same neighborhood as “car stereo speaker.”

While ego surfing, I might type “SEO speaker” into Google. What shows up on the first page are a few of my competitors including, Scott Wilson, Internet Marketing Ninjas, Dixon-Jones and Darrin Cates.

This is good company for me to be seen with, so the keyword phrase “SEO speaker” is a great neighborhood.

The Power of Cumulative Search Volume & Data Analysis

More important than the search volume for an individual keyword, is how they score together, cumulatively:

  • Let’s say you have a search phrase under the threshold of 500 per month. Multiply it by 12 months and you’ll see the annual search volume, which can still be a respectable number.
  • Keyword phrases of at least two or three words with less than 500 searches per month do have value. You can use them as the focus of a blog post.
  • All the different keywords give you opportunities to create content and they add up over the course of a year to help you get found.

Also, your Google keyword research becomes more than simply finding keywords – you get to know how your ideal customers think.

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