Google-lytics Part 2: Using Google AdWords to find Keywords for SEO

3 Feb

I’m taking a Social Media/online tools class at DePaul this quarter and one of the things we’ve worked on is using free Google searches and tools to help businesses select their target audiences and find the best point of connection with them. I’m going to call this series “Google-lytics”  but I’m hoping to make a small series of posts on this and related topics. One of my Delta Gamma sisters, Sarah Eutsler, has a small business she’s just started, On a Good Note Designs, and I’ll be using her as a case study.

So in the last post we discussed how Sarah can use the advanced search features on Google to learn more about the internet conversation going on about and around her market and how to find bloggers to reach out to. Today’s post is going to focus on increasing Search Engine Optimization with keywords.

When you type a search into Google, one of the many many reasons a page shows up, is because the word of phrase you typed was in the content of the page. But how do you know what people are typing when looking for your product? How does Sarah know exactly what words people are using. What if no one in the world can spell stationary correctly, so they avoid using it in a search, but its the only word she uses on her webpage to describe her project? She’s going to have a much harder time getting found than if she does a little research and adjusts her page to reflect the mindset of her audience.

Don’t lose hope, this is surprisingly easy to do using Google Adwords (and even if you are not an industry person, it will make you seem impressive that you’re at least somewhat familiar with how Google Adwords works!) You can search for “Google Adwords” (ironically), or use the url https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.

Once there I typed “note card” in the keyword box and the results came up. The results tell you a phrase, how high the competition among other websites is for that phrase, what the number of global monthly searches are for that phrase and the local monthly searches for it. I sorted them by competition (low being first) and started looking for phrases with the most local hits.

Google Adwords results

Unfortunately for note cards there’s a lot of heavy competition key phrases but “write a thank you” has low competition and 90,500 local hits, “send a thank you” had low competition and 33,100 local monthly hits.

Sarah might want to consider adding a paragraph to the plain “note cards” page about how they’re perfect for writing a quick thank you, or easily personalized when writing thank you notes. The phrase “thank you note” had 823,000 local monthly searches, so she might want to put that somewhere in the top paragraph of the home page. She could also say something to the effect of “Struggling to write a meaningful thank you letter? Make it brief and sweet with a custom thank you card” since the phrase “thank you letter” had 1,000,000 local monthly hits.

If you scroll over the phrase and click the icon the black arrow points to (btw, I just started using Jing to do the screen shot and I love it!) it will open a new window showing you insights into that keyword or phrase.I clicked on “write a thank you” and this was what I consider the most useful of the insights for Sarah.

Sarah might have assumed that people search for “write a thank you” the most right after Christmas, but from these insights we see that is no longer the case. People search in May and early June, most likely to write thank yous for graduation and wedding gifts.

Say Sarah does all this research and makes adjustments to the pages on her website to optimize her appearance in search queries for note cards, how can she tell if it’s working? A little something called Page Rank. To save on word’s I’m going to steal an image from Ben Foster‘s powerpoint slides explaining how it works.

Explanation of Page Rank

Since Sarah’s page is brand new, unfortunately her Page Rank is 0. A competitor, http://www.fabulousstationery.com/, has a Page Rank of 5 while Hallmark has Page Rank of 6. The influence of the page grows exponentially with the rank. Meaning a Rank of 2 may be a page that’s 10x more influential than a Rank of 1, but a Rank of 3 is 100x more, a Rank of 4-a thousand, etc. So while it may look like Hallmark is not that much better than Fabulous Stationary, FS has a long way to go.
And here’s a great infographic on how to best lay out a page for SEO optimization

Infographic of the Perfectly Optimized Page

One Response to “Google-lytics Part 2: Using Google AdWords to find Keywords for SEO”

  1. Ellen Bro (@EllenBro) February 6, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Katie, this was enormously helpful. Thanks. : )

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