How to use Google AdWords Keyword Tool for a Situational Analysis

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A situational analysis is the foundation of all successful business endeavors. First you have to analyze the market you want to enter. In SEO terms that means you have to find your main keywords under which you want to your website to be found. Many of those can be derived from the topic of your site. However, it is more difficult than that. You want to attract all sorts of people and everyone is unique. That’s why you have to find out what these different kinds of people search for on the internet and especially HOW they search it.

Search engines have become established and are frequently used for all sorts of research. And this is exactly the reason why you should invest into strategic SEO. Defining the keywords that match both your website and popular search queries is one of the more difficult tasks. But if you take the time needed to identify the right keywords you will have made sure to target the right people. After all, that is what counts.

You want people who are naturally interested in what you are writing about. So defining your target group will be the first step you undertake before even looking at the keywords you want to use.

Traditionally, targeting was done through demographical characteristics like age, gender, living situation or location. This approach had to be adjusted to new requirements. Targeting people based on outward characteristics turned out to be little effective. If you really want to attract the right kind of people you need to determine more specific characteristics. Instead of targeting age group 18-25, male, single and living in Austria you would now look at things like hobbies, preferences, ambitions, etc. If you write about SEO you might want to attract beginners, people who hardly ever heard about SEO. That can be any age group; it is not gender specific and not limited to a specific country.

How to use AdWords Keyword Tool to identify your keywords

Once you have understood that targeting the right keywords will lead to targeting the right people, you should now sign up for a Google AdWords account (if you don’t have one yet). Once you are signed in navigate to the Tools and Analysis tab and select Keyword Tool.

You will get to a page that looks something like this:

 google adwords keyword tool with arrow where to enter your keywords

Enter you main keywords that you have identified for your website. Make sure to enter one keyword / keyword phrase per line only. After that you need to determine your target market to a certain extend. Click on Advanced Options and Filters to select the country and language you are targeting. Even if you are trying not to limit your readership select a country. It will allow you to differentiate between global and local search volume later on. If you select all countries you won’t be able to narrow local search volume down.

As you can see from the above screenshot, I have selected Germany as location and all languages. This will allow me to see search volume for search queries regardless of the browser language of that person. It will also allow me to see how many people worldwide (globally) search for my keywords and how many of them are located in Germany.

You can narrow the research further down the AdWords Keyword Tool gives the option to set the Match Type to Exact in the left hand navigation. However, if you are still looking for more keyword ideas you should stick to broad match.

After you have selected all the settings you can now start your keyword research. The tool will give you results based on your entered keywords. Additionallyit will give you some extra suggestions.

 A screenshot of google adwords keyword tool search volumes of entered keywords and suggestions for keywords

The first block of keywords in the screenshot are my entered search terms. Those are my keyword ideas. As you can see 11.1 million people looked up the word “seo” on google (within a month). 368,000 of them were located in Germany. This is a pretty high search volume. If many people look for SEO it means there is a demand to get information on SEO. However, I don’t know yet if they were looking for information on SEO, a consultant, an agency, etc. For that, I would have to specify my keyword analysis more.

As I am trying to target beginners in SEO I have added “seo beginners” as a keyword. The search volume is significantly lower than for the general “SEO” keyword, but the competition for this target keyword is less, too. However, if I was looking at targeting Germans, I would – at the most – get 73 people to my website. That would be a pretty pittyful outcome of all my hard work.

Keyword suggestions

As you can see the AdWords Keyword Tool suggests some words that might (or might not) be interesting for you. It can be quite helpful to go through these suggestions carefully. You might just come across a keyword that you haven’t thought of yet.

When you are done, you can export the data in a .csv file and use it as foundation for your SEO efforts. However, I advise you to research some competitors (through a competitor back link analysis) and do a benchmark keyword analysis. Remember, there’s a triangle of factors:

  • Yourself – What are you offering, what information are you providing and who do you want to reach with it?
  • Your target group – What keywords do your clients use / enter in the search engine?
  • Your competitors – What keywords do successful competitors use?

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