There are a number of free tools you can use to do keyword research for your websites. In part 1 of this series, I am going to look at free tools which Google offers. I recommend you add these to your favourites and use them regularly.
1. Google Insights for Search – I have published something earlier on this one – its a great service! The tool lets you compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. Google provides some good examples of how you can use this tool in their Insights for Search Help section. It is really easy to use.
2. Google Trends – lets you compare multiple terms and graph their usage in Google over time. Google returns broad search patterns. You can search for the last 30 days, 12 months, a particular year or month within a year.
3. Google Trends for Websites – provides you with information about the traffic and geographical location of visitors to websites. It allows you to compare traffic for between one and five websites. It also gives you what other sites they visited and what they terms they search for. This tool appears to role all of the websites with a vic.gov.au domain into the one bucket – so it is a little difficult to compare eg., health.vic.gov.au with betterhealth.vic.gov.au. However, you can use it at the aggregate level to compare state domains and the keywords visitors are using to get there.
4. Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Use the Keyword Tool to get new keyword ideas. You can tailor the results present to the language and country of your choosing. Because I am accessing this tool from Australia, when I first access the tool it defaults to the English language and Australia as the country. If you change this to United States as your country – you get a very different results set. It all depends on who your target market is as to what keywords you research. You are provided with match types to choose from which are broad, phrase, exact, and negative. Keywords shown will also give you search volume trends for the past 12 months – the month with the highest volume of traffic is listed in the next column.
5. Google AdWords Traffic Estimator – This tool will provide you with an indication of keyword search traffic and cost estimates for your chosen keywords/phrases. For each keyword you are provided with a maximum cost per click, search volume, estimated average cost per click, estimated ad positions, as well as an indication of the clicks your ad may receive for this keyword, and the average cost per day for this keyword. The estimates Google provides are based on how much you have bid and your geographical areas you are looking to target. You don’t need to use Google AdWords to use this tool. Use the keywords for your organic search engine optimization.
6. Google Analytics – your Google Analytics account will tell you the keywords and phrases which are driving traffic to your site from search engines. Also if you have Site Search enabled you will be able to see easily what keywords your visitors are are searching for in your internal search engine. Google Analytics provides help on configuring your profile to enable Site Search to appear in your reports.
Next time I will look at tools which are not provided by Google!