The ULTIMATE guide to using Google Keyword Planner Tool for your blog
I really struggled with this blog post title, which is ironic really, given the topic. Do as I do, not as I say I guess ;) Seriously though, if you're reading this you are probably pretty into SEO and trying to make your blog that little bit less invisible. Because that is honestly all SEO really is. Take away the fancy lingo and all the rest of it, because optimising your blog for search engines (aka SEO) is simply about removing the invisibility cloak. You work hard on your blog and I'm positive it is awesome, so you just need to tweak the little bits and pieces that help other people see how amazing it is too.
If you want some more guidance, head to my guide where I give you my best tips for SEO. Then come back here!
But back to why you're here. To understand what the fudge the Google Keyword Planner Tool is and how it can help you get your blog posts ranking higher.
WHAT IS IT?
The Keyword planner tool is within Google Adwords, which is typically where most people land, get confused and quickly click back to Twitter because it's all too alien. No judgement. I did this too.
Google Adwords is where those who want to pay for an optimised search engine listing (one at the top of the page) go to create campaigns and bid to get their listing at the top of their chosen keyword. If that sounds nuts, do not worry as you don't really need to know about it to use the keyword planner.
Although you don't need to know about the inner workings of Google Adwords to use the keyword planner tool, you do need an account. I'll go into more detail about that and walk you through what you need to do later in this post.
HOW IT CAN HELP YOU
How many times have you written a catchy title for your post only for it to bomb. Or seen someone else's doing far better? I'm not suggesting following this tutorial will suddenly triple your traffic, there are no quick fixes here. BUT, more often than not the blogger who takes note of what people are searching for, incorporating the right keywords into their post in the right way will have a better chance of getting decent traffic to the aforementioned blog post.
That's a very long-winded way of saying that the keyword planner tool is where you should start with every blog post. Because, if you're ONLY using your Yoast plugin and popping a keyword in, diligently following the guidelines to make the plugin turn 'green' -- which is to say that your post has good searchability for the keyword you've told Yoast you want it to rank for -- without researching the keyword first: you're missing a step.
If this is a facepalm moment and you're wishing you never read this post -- don't worry! I've not only got your back but I'm also here to tell you that keyword planning is EASY. It's simple. There are a few slightly techy things to note and then you are GOLDEN.
BEFORE WE BEGIN
Here's are the steps you need to take:
- Hit the 'create an account' button, and follow the instructions to get your Adwords account setup. It's free!
- Once that's done and you're signed in, you will see a screen that looks like this. IGNORE IT.
- Go to tools (the little spanner icon) & on the far left you'll see Keyword Planner under 'Planning'.
HOW TO USE IT
Right, so are we all on the same page with what the Google keyword planner tool is, and why you need it for your blog?
I'll presume the silence = a million high fives and joyous whooping, yes?! Moving on.....
- Using the top box ('your product or service'), enter your keywords. Think about what your audience would be typing into Google to get to your post and use those words.
- You can utilise the targeting options to narrow the audience, but if you want to keep it simple, click 'get ideas'
- The results are easier to interpret in Excel, so download and choose the option: 'download csv'.
- Save the file, and upon opening in Excel (which is the best way to look at the data) you will see a LOT of information.
- Delete everything apart from these two columns: Keyword and Average Monthly Searches (noting competition/bid is useful too, but to start with I always suggest you skip that bit)
Delete everything apart from these two columns: Keyword and Average Monthly Searches
So, how do you interpret this data? The keywords column shows you everything people are searching for around the product/service term you input. I've chosen 'solo female travel' in this example, and you can see that some of the search terms related to this are things like: 'travelling alone' or 'solo female travel destinations' etc etc.
This gives you a huge amount of potential keywords you could use in your blog post. Which one do you choose?
The next column you need to look at is the 'average monthly searches' column. Here you'll be given volume chunks, from '0- 10', right up to '10k -100k'.
TOP TIP: Because this is formatted as words, not numbers, you won't be able to sort it. I suggest you use a filter instead :)
If the keyword you choose is 'fun solo vacations', you'll see that between 0-10 people each month are searching for it. That means your post will be that much less likely to get decent traffic because people simply aren't searching for it. Conversely, using the term 'solo holidays' and you are looking at up to 100,000 monthly searches. So you pick the solo holidays keyword and sprinkle it throughout your blog post right?
Hmmmm, not really. The thing with picking the Marilyn Monroe of search terms is that everyone wants it. It'll be used by big travel websites, hotel booking sites, tourist boards......you get the picture right? Your beautifully crafted, witty personality blog is going to find it really hard to rank against big hitters, and why would you want to compete anyway? There are easier ways to rank. Smarter ways.
The sweet spot (I think there's actually proper Adword jargon for this!) is when you choose a keyword like 'travelling alone' which has between 1k - 10k monthly searches, and could fit into a blog post with more context. 'Why I decided travelling alone was for me', for example. Or, 'Travelling alone isn't for everyone'.
Finding that middle ground between decent monthly searches (even 500 a month is great if you think it's just for ONE post!) and a keyword that fits naturally into your post. Trying to shoehorn a search term you would never use just won't work. Be a person, not a robot!
Google likes people, so always remember that when you are going mad over SEO and frantically checking your Yoast score (I'm guilty of it too!).
What do you think? Does this all make sense?