Knowing what keywords people are using to find what you have to offer is basic to optimizing a website to be found by those people. There are many tools available that take the guesswork out of knowing how people search and they all make the job of keyword research easier than Google’s Keyword Planner but they all get their data from the same place. There is something to be said for getting it from the horse’s mouth, even if said horse doesn’t make it easy.
Digging for Gold: A Case Study
Even though Google doesn’t make anything easy on their AdWords, Analytics, and Webmaster websites, which is funny coming from a company that preaches quality user experience and has several thousand software engineers at its disposal who could be working on making it easier, but I digress, Google still provides basic search data free of charge and it only takes a minute to set up a free AdWords account.
Getting off of my soapbox, let’s run through a real research case to see what it takes to find those golden nuggets of search data. With a little persistence you can use Google AdWord’s Keyword Planner to unearth keywords that are used frequently but may get missed by either using a 3rd party keyword suggestion tool or by just doing cursory research using Google’s tool.
I got an email from a custom electric bike builder in Palm Springs who wanted to expand into the greater Los Angeles area and had gotten a sample website design from LinkNow! Media. Doing a little research on their SEO claims he ran across my article comparing LinkNow! Media’s offerings to mine.
Since this was a niche market I didn’t start with “electric bicycles los angeles” but rather started with a more generic “electric bike” and got the usual 800 keyword ideas. I don’t bother with their Ad Group Ideas because I think I can do better going through the data myself, thank you very much. I then downloaded all the data to an Excel file and used its search tool to find keywords with “la” and “los angeles” in them and found only “electric bikes los angeles” with 90 average monthly searches, “electric bikes la” with 110 searches, and “electric bike los angeles” with 50 searches for a total of 250 average monthly searches. Had I stopped there I would have missed quite a few opportunities.
Sometimes I will take the initial finds and use all of them together in the search field to find more keywords or I’ll use each one of them separately. Using both methods is advisable but for this case study I started with the first one on my new, three keyword list and searched again using “electric bikes los angeles.” After doing this I got a new keyword to ad to my list which was “electric bicycle los angeles” with 70 monthly searches. Not wanting to quit there I used that new result and searched again and got another 5 new results which were “motorized bicycle los angeles”, “long beach electric bikes”, “electric bikes santa monica”, “electric bike la”, and “la electric bikes” with a total search volume of 160, adding keywords that increased my total keyword search volume by 50%. Previously I had also used my Excel search function to search for keywords that contained “electric” just in case people in one of the suburbs also searched for electric bikes and so found “long beach electric bikes” and “electric bikes santa monica” but only after using “electric bicycle los angeles” as the original term which I wouldn’t have found unless I had used “electric bikes los angeles” after searching with “electric bike” in the first place.
The moral of this story is to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner several different times and also several different ways such as using generic terms, location specific terms, and several terms at once because you never know when Google will dish up a golden nugget that will help your SEO campaign.
Getting Beyond Keyword Research For Local Opportunities
Though this prospective client was looking to expand his internet-only business into Los Angeles, which is much easier and affordable compared to trying to use SEO to target a national market, doing thorough keyword research uncovered niches in the national market that may bring more Return On Investment. For example, after manually sifting through one of the lists of results I had downloaded to an Excel file I noticed “folding electric bikes” with 880 searches nation-wide which was twice as many searches as all of the Los Angeles area searches for “electric bikes”. Furthermore, the competition for “folding electric bikes” was less than for most of the Los Angeles specific searches so should be easier to target with an SEO campaign. I base that on the suggested AdWords bid which is a fairly good indicator of what it will take to rank for a keyword, at least in comparison to other keywords. Sifting through the data uncovered some other gold nuggets as well including “custom electric bikes” which had 40 searches nationally, and “rent a bike in los angeles” with 10 searches.
One way to become an authority site is to have a bona-fide review site. I noticed a number of searches for “electric bicycle conversion kit review,” “electric bicycle forum,” “best electric bikes reviews” and the like. For those willing to make the effort to maintain a review site it would be worth it to buy a domain such as electricbikereviews.com or similar and offer expert product reviews as well as solicit others to review electric bicycles.
As you can see there is a wealth of information available for free to discover a profitable internet marketing channel. It just takes a bit of work to find them.