Keywords, or search phrases, are the words used by internet users in their queries. Search phrases come in many shapes and sizes; short (such as football, shoes, or doughnut), long (Blue football shirts, grey tennis shoes, buy a jam doughnut), detailed (who won the 1966 football world cup, which are the best tennis shoes for grass, How do you make a jam doughnut), or even varied (footballs, shoe, donut).
As we can see search phrases can vary greatly, and understanding the volume and nature of of these keywords is essential in planning your online success. Google Adwords offers a simple tool which can provide insight into relevant terms for your business; its keyword planner shows the search volume for relevant keywords, along with potential variants to consider.
Understanding the data in the keyword planner can greatly assist in ensuring your business is an online success, and we advise business owners to take consideration into the potential conversion rates from sought after terms, as well as potential traffic, ease of ranking, and ROI. Below we will look further into using Googles Keyword planner before reflecting on how to use this data in planning your digital marketing strategy.
Accessing the Keyword planner
Your first step in planning your keyword strategy is logging into Google Adwords. This is done by logging into your Google account (done through any of its products from Gmail to Play). If you do not have a Google account Adwords will prompt you to create one. Once logged in click on the ‘Tools and Analysis’ button in the main tool bar, then select ‘Keyword Planner’. Here you have four options;
- Search for new Keyword and Group Ideas
- Get Search Volume for a list of keywords or group them into Ad groups
- Get Traffic Estimates
- Multiply Keyword lists to get new ideas.
These options provide access to various forms of similar data. For the purpose of Keyword strategy we will focus on the ‘Search for new keyword and Group Ideas’.
This is the first port of call in setting up your keyword campaigns. As you can see from the screen shot Google requests the answers to some basic questions to build an idea of your audience. Simply enter your product or services, landing page (or website), product category, and any other additional filters such as location and languages. From here, click on ‘Get Ideas’ to receive a list of potential Ad Group and Keyword ideas (distinguished through two tabs).
The Ad Group and Keyword ideas age offers some decent insight into which search phrases could provide converting traffic for your site. Data includes recommended search phrases, average monthly searches, competition, and suggested bid. Please see the drop down sections for insight into each of these areas.
The recommended keywords, phrases, and Ad Groups should be viewed as potential options for your keyword strategy. Though not all of them will be relevant (in fact all most 98% will be redundant), this is a great place to start. This section will offer you ideas across all keyword varieties; short, long (also known as longtail), complex, varied etc. Looking through this list will highlight some options to you, with initiative usually providing enough information to build a starting platform.
Average Monthly Searches
The average monthly searches provides a numerical value for the number of people searching the query on a monthly basis, as determined through your location filters. If no filters are set this number could represent a global value. We would advise filtering this information to a more local area to provide data from your exact user base.
Competition highlights the bidding nature of the search phrase in Adwords. Terms with a high competition value are usually highly sought after. This tell us two things; they are likely to convert to sales very well, and they are also going to be difficult to rank for. Ideally, we would advise searching for terms which promise a modicum of both. It’s all about ROI.
Adwords is a PPC (Pay Per Click) Platform allowing users to immediately rank for keywords by paying for each visitor (this differs from SEO which are the ‘free’ listings). You can read more about paid PPC advertising here. This section may not initially seem relevant to non-PPC accounts, but bidding prices can actually provide additional insight into the competition on search terms.
Planning your strategy
Now we have a list of viable keywords for your campaign it is time to begin filtering the data further. We advise first downloading this list and filtering it through Excel (or other database programme).
Step One – Filter by Search Volume
There is little point considering the search terms which have no visitors, hence we advise businesses to first filter by search volume. As a rule of thumb we delete any keywords which have fewer than 100 local monthly searches, though this does depend upon the audience we are targeting. This step is quick and easy to complete, and should take no longer than 5 minutes.
Step Two – Filter by Suggested bid
Again, due to the speed at which this step can be completed we advise doing this next. Filter your list by suggested bid and delete the most expensive keyword options. Experience tell us that if businesses are bidding £25 per click to draw traffic from a keyword, they are likely also spending big to rank naturally too. Of course, if you have a huge budget you may wish to keep these in, but deletion will provide a more succinct list to work through later.
Step Three – Begin Combing
By this point you will have deleted a fair few options from your ‘potential keyword’ list, but it is likely still quite sizeable. Step three can take some time to complete as it involves carefully combing through the entire list deleting those which are either irrelevant, or would not rationally provide a conversion (though another option is to run these phrases through a paid campaign to get actual feedback on which do convert. This does depend on your budget though.)
Ideally we are looking to garner a list of 10-15 keywords/search phrases which should provide your website with converting traffic, and decent numbers. Do not be afraid to be ruthless, and bear in mind that longer queries will be easier to rank for, and can offer better conversions due to the specific nature of the query.
Now we have a list of keywords we feel will provide relevant traffic to our site we can begin to delve deeper into the math of the conversion. The precise numbers across industries does vary, but typically speaking the website in position 1 on the search engine rankings page (SERP) will receive around 30% of the total search traffic for the phrase. So, if your search phrase has 1000 LMS (Local monthly searches) and your website ranks in position 1 you could expect to see around 300 unique visitors from that term.
The traffic you can plan to receive from each term does drop off significantly the lower down the SERPs you go, with position 2 typically receiving 20%, position 3 10%, position 4 5%, etc.
If you now calculate your conversion rate with the margin in your profit you can determine the value of these keywords to your business, justifying any spend you may allocate to ranking for them.
Creating your keyword list is essential in beginning your successful digital marketing campaign. The process discussed above should have lead you to a list of 10-15 keywords which should provide quality traffic to your website. Now we have this list we need to understand what to do with it, correct? We will be looking into how we begin to rank for these terms in following articles, and we welcome all users to either contact us or stay tuned to our company blog for more details.