Keyword Research with Google Ads Keyword Planner & Answer the Public

In this video I give a real life example of undertaking a super simple and fast keyword research exercise, using Google Ads Keyword Planner & Answer the Public. Both of which you can access for free to follow along.

This is part one in a series on keyword research for SEO. Part one, above, is all about data collection and collation.
Part two will be about theming, grouping, and planning out content based upon your keyword analysis findings.
Stay tuned!

Check out Answer the Public here.

Checkout Google Keyword Planner here: https://ads.google.com/aw/keywordplanner/ideas/new

A common problem: You’ve built a website, but nobody’s coming to it. How do you find out what search terms people are using to optimise your site to get those people to your site? Well, I’m going to show you how right now.

Backstory: I have a friend who has started a website during lockdown. She wants to know how to get people looking for sourdough to her website to sell them some sweet sourdough.

Step one: We find out what people are actually searching for. Now, the way we do that is by using Google’s very own Keyword Planner tool. It’s free, it’s available to anyone, all you need is a Google Ads account. You don’t have to run any ads, you don’t have to spend any money. As long as you have signed up for an account, you have access to this tool. I want to find out what search terms people are actually using when they’re looking for sourdough. All I do is put in my root keyword there, make sure I’m searching within Australia because that’s all I’m interested in at the moment, and I click “Get results”. The Keyword tool does its magic and comes back with a cool little list of keywords here, and each of them will tell you how many average monthly searches each keyword is receiving. By default, it’s going to be ordered by relevance. Now, what I really want to do is get all of the data for all of these and have a look at them myself and filter out which ones I think are actually great, which ones don’t apply, which ones are worth targeting.

What I’m going to do is download all of these keywords and then start filtering them. We’ll select all 523 keywords. Now that we’ve added all of these keywords to our plan, let’s go to the plan overview and see what we can expect per day for our plan overview. Over the next 30 days, we could expect to get 3,000 impressions, 37 clicks, at a cost of $62 if we were running Google Ads. But we’re not going to run Google Ads; we’re going to get this traffic for free. The forecast over the next year: they expect these keywords to get more search volume. Let’s go and download this information and start manipulating it.

What I like to do is download it to Google Sheets. Okay, so now we can open our sheet, and here is all the data that we saw in that really nice presentation before, just spat out as rows and rows of data. What I want to do with this is grab all the keywords. I know I don’t need this stuff; it’s just the summary of all keywords, so I’m going to delete that. I’m going to delete the empty columns because they provide no value, and what I’ll be left with is the data I need to start making decisions on which keywords I want to target for my website.

Now, basically, all we want to be left with is the estimated impressions in Google search and the estimated clicks. Now, we can take our keywords and our estimated clicks and impressions, all 523 of them, and then we can add them to another sheet I have prepared earlier, and we can start filtering. Let’s apply a filter to these guys and let’s order by impressions, highest to lowest, and then we’ll get a feel for what kind of keywords get the most volume in Google search. I just have to format these columns to be number format, and now I have ordered it by estimated impressions in Google search, and we can see the most popular keywords.

“Sourdough” by itself was going to be really hard to target by itself, but then we can get into more specific key phrases like “starters,” which is what you start with when you make sourdough. Obviously, the bread, “Sourdough machines,” “cultures” (I think that ties back into “starters”), “cooking it,” “buying it,” “buying it from Coles,” “buying more artisan versions,” “making it yourself” — so all of this is really great information, and these are the keywords we want to optimise our website for.

But there’s one more source of data that I want to have a look at, and that is: What are the kind of questions people are asking around sourdough, more specifically than these kind of base search terms? And the way I do that is to use a different tool called Answer the Public. I’ll provide a link in the description, but this is it. With this creepy-looking guy kind of approaching us, we can see a report in his face, so let’s get rid of him ASAP and put “sourdough” in as our search term. I’m again looking in Australia and in English.

Now, this is an awesome tool. It gives us the questions, prepositions, kinds of search terms that people are using around the core phrase of sourdough. It gives us this cool kind of visualisation, but effectively that’s useless unless you want to print it out and put it on your wall or something like that. Let’s have a look at the data. “Is sourdough bread healthy?” So these are the “R” questions, these are the “Can” questions, these are the “How” questions: “How sourdough-powered bread is made,” “How sourdough starter works.” Now, these question-based results are super, super, super important for developing the content on your website that is going to support the key phrases that we want to rank for, and is going to drive lots and lots of people to your website because they are looking for specific things that you can write content on, that you can film videos for, that will drive traffic to your videos and to your website.

Let’s download the CSV; let’s just take the suggestions, that’s fine. Now we’ll put this in a separate tab. Now, an additional step you can take is to try to get volume for these, but when we filter volume in the Keyword Planner as well, at the country level, it’s super difficult to get actual results because you’re so far down the long tail of the keyword that Google is actually not going to give you search volume on those. But it can be interesting to see which ones do give you search volume. Just restart our planner tool and get volume and forecast for our keywords. So this time, a little bit different than last, we’re not putting one keyword in; we’re putting all of them in that we got from Answer the Public, and let’s see what it comes back with in terms of volumes.

We’ve got our keywords in there, but we can see very few of them actually have any data. Let’s change our location from Australia to most English-speaking countries with search volumes, so we’re looking at things like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and let’s see what kind of volume we get with that kind of targeting. So now, what I hope to find is some of the questions: “Is sourdough gluten-free?” There’s a big one. “Can sourdough starter go bad?” There’s a big one. So the questions that actually return search volume numbers in terms of impressions, they’re the ones that are going to be super important to go after. Our first day, low-hanging fruit that you can specifically target with well-written content and/or well-produced video.

So let’s open that up in Google Sheets. Okay, now I just have my keyword, which should be my question, my estimated clicks, and estimated impressions. In this case, you probably need impressions because there’s not going to be a super high amount of clicks at the question level. Let’s go back to our Answer the Public data and maybe make a new little couple of columns over here. Let’s filter these bad boys in order, so we’ve got to format this as a number again, and then put them in order, which is Z to A.

Alright, now we have a prioritised list of question-based keywords that we can start to build a content plan around. But what we want to do with our top search volume core keywords is start to put them into themed buckets and start to look at how we can optimise our existing website for the keywords, which keywords belong to be targeted on which pages, and which pages we’ll need to add to our existing website to take advantage of the available search terms, try to get those search rankings, and visitors to our site. We’ll have a look at that in the next video. Stay tuned and make sure to check it out.

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