Keyword research is the first step to building an efficient search strategy. SEO or SEM, keyword research lays the basic foundation to all your online marketing efforts. If you go wrong with it, a whole lot of time is sure to go wasted!
While there are many keyword research tools, small and big available today, the crux of keyword research is in finding what works for you. Many a times, keyword research tools give you a lot of data, and its difficult to find stuff that makes sense to you – unless of course, if you know how to drill down to the super precise details.
Here are some fairly simple, yet super effective tweaks I found on the most common keyword research tool available today – Google AdWords Tool.
1. Find keyword traffic data by device type
In a scenario where traffic from mobile devices are increasing algorithmically, it makes sense to precisely target search traffic based on device type. 5 years back search traffic from mobile devices were too little but not today. It makes sense for a small business owner, for instance, to target traffic from mobile devices more than desktop devices. Google lets you sieve through and target traffic specifically from mobile devices using the filter as shown in the below screenshot.
There are three types of mobile traffic data.
a) All mobile devices – A comprehensive list of all types of mobiles.
b) Mobile WAP devices – The less popular old generation WAP enabled devices like Nokia mobiles.
c) Mobile devices with Internet browsers – The smartphones.
It would be interesting to see if Google will provide more segmentation here (as they show in Google Analytics) like Tablets and OS based differences.
2. Use custom combinations to find niche categories
One of the useful features in Google Keyword research tool is the custom combination of filters that can be used. I use it typically to weed out the obvious data. As you might already know, if you search for keywords with the default settings, the same data would be shown to millions of SEOs, there by making your efforts even more competitive. But if you weed out the unnecessary data using custom filters, you can find some really interesting gems.
For example, in the above screenshot, see how you can find specific keywords that are low in competition and beyond the 2000 per month local monthly search volume level. With the default setting, you would find only the obvious and super broad data.
3. Make sure you’re not looking at broad match types
This is an obvious one, but I’ve seen even seasoned search experts overlook it.
When you search for a particular word or phrase, if broad match type is selected, the tool will show you basically everything related to the word in all possible orders. That is, if you search for apples, it will show you red apples, apple pcs, apple trees and apple orchards.
In most keyword research strategies, search experts try to find related or closely related words to a particular word. For this you have to opt for either “Phrase match” or “Exact match”. Phrase match will find you “red apples/brown apples/yellow apples” when you search for “apples” and exact match will get you the search volume for “apples”.
4. Find keywords restricted to a particular niche
Being able to find all the keywords in one particular niche sounds too good to be true right? After all, this is what online marketing folks want to and have been trying to find day in and day out.
There are no sure-shot ways to finding this from my experience, however there are work arounds.
One way to find keywords related to one particular niche is to first find websites that are very closely related to that niche and them using the keywords tol to extract out keywords from that website.
For instance, we know that ehow.com has almost everything in the world covered in their articles. Also, lets assume that we found an interesting niche like “Insurance” (A bad example, right?). So, in order to find all the interesting keywords from ehow’s insurance category, that has low competition but has a pretty sizeable volume of say, more than 5000 local searches in USA, I would use the following combination.
Word or phrase: insurance
Category: You could narrow down to a specific category, but I don’t think this categorization by Google is helpful, so skip it.
Location: United States
Local Monthly Searches: 5000
This narrows down the keywords to the following. Far better than a boat load of broad keywords, right?
Well, still this is not a final, fool-proof way of doing keyword research. The key is to try different combinations and finding the right thing that matters to you. Life would have been a lot more simpler, had there been a fool-proof, short-cut way to keyword research, right?