This is such a fascinating tool that Google offers us for Free. Keyword analysis is not only the key for any Paid Search campaigns and Search Engine Optimization, but it can be used to gain valuable insights into consumer mindsets and your competitors.
This tool is not new. It has been around for years and various articles have been published about it. A simple search on Google for “how to use Google keyword tool” gives us 191 million results on Google.
Why do i bother to write another blog post on this topic. Well first of all it’s because many of the articles just talk about this tool alone and not about using Google Keyword tool in combination with other free tool to derive better insights. Secondly many articles are a bit out of date and the interface for Google Keyword tool has changed significantly recently.
Enough for the introduction, let’s dive in.
1. What is Google keyword tool
Well Google keyword Tool is a free tool provided by Google to help advertisers determine the search volume and other user behaviors related to keywords.
There are two versions of this tool, one is the Google External keyword tool. And the other one is the Internal Google Keyword tool.
The differences between these two are significant i.e. Internal Keyword tool use Google Adwords account data to provide shortcuts to keyword addition, better Cost per click estimation etc… I won’t go too deep into this since it’s not within the scope of this post.
Ever ask yourself these questions:
- How do i know which keywords are searched often in a certain market (country)?
- How do i know if a misspelling is more commonly used or the correct spelling one?
- My product is highly seasonal, how do i “guess” the search potential for the coming months?
If the answer is Yes, read on
2. Advanced Options Google keyword tool: country and language
This is always the first step that i do. For some of you, they may be ONE of the first few steps.
The reason that i want to do this is because i want to know local search result for a targeted market only.
Ok so what you need to do is to click on “Advanced Options” and choose the country & language that you want.
Please note that the language option indicates the language of the browser that users are using, not the language of the search terms they use. For example, a user in Vietnam may have the language of the Google page in English, however, they may put in Vietnamese search terms. Or a user in Singapore may have the browser interface in English but they use Chinese search terms.
For those who are new to the tool, i would recommend selecting All languages. Right now the tool does not allow you to select multiple languages at the same time say both English and chinese or both English and French etc… Also what you are after is the search volume of the specific search term so All languages should be fine for a start.
3. Enter search term/keyword or the website URL
Normally i would enter a few search terms that i think are relevant. You can put in the URL of your website as well to ask Google suggest suitable keywords for you.
If you are in Vietnam, you can put in keywords in Vietnamese or english, it’s up to you.
For Vietnamese, with or without tone mark i.e. “bat dong san” or “bất động sản” is fine.
In any cases, after putting in keywords/website URL, hit Search
As you can see, Google returns the following columns:
- Keywords: These are keywords that Google think would be relevant to your queries
- Competition: an indication of how competitive the keyword is for your targeted market i.e. if many other advertisers are bidding on that keyword.
- Global monthly searches: The approximate 12-month average of user queries for the keyword on Google search. This data is specific to your Keyword Match Type selection.
- Local monthly searches: this is the approximate 12-month average number of user queries for the keyword for those countries and languages. It’s specific to your Keyword Match Type selection.
You can click on local monthly searches column to rank keywords in order of search volume.
You can put in your products/services, your trade name, your competitors’ brands, products and services.
I often do this for clients and we see some amusing results.
4. Keyword Match type option
While this seems technical, it’s quite important to take note of them. First of all, what is keyword match type?
Well as you probably guess from your own search behavior, users can use the various combination of words to search. They search for generic things and specific things.
They can search for “keyword tool” or “google keyword tool” or “how to use google keyword tool” etc…
So Google uses the following concepts:
- Broad match: The sum of the search volumes for the keyword idea, related grammatical forms, synonyms and related words
- Phrase match: The sum of the search volumes for all terms that include that whole phrase
- Exact match: The search volume for that keyword idea
For example, if you want to know how many users in Vietnam search for the EXACT phrase “Google keyword tool” you should check the box Exact match.
As you can see from the picture above, there are 14,800 searches related to “Google Adwords” in Vietnam, however only 3,600 searches are for the exact word “Google Adwords”. The rest are searches like: google adword keyword tool, google adwords coupon etc…
Why is it important to understand this? Well it’s because short/generic terms may appear to have higher search volume, but in actual fact people may not search for that exact word, but they search for something else related. So when you build your keyword list, please include as many relevant variations as possible.
To learn more about Keyword matching options, refer to Google keyword matching option help
5. Google keyword tool filters
Sometimes Google may return lots of different keywords for you to choose from. Many variations may not be relevant. Filters may come in very handy for you.
The following filters are available:
- Only show ideas closely related to my search terms: Select this option to see only results that include your original search terms.
- Local monthly search: you can ignore keywords with too little search volume if you like
- Show ideas/statistics for mobile search only
- Show ideas/statistics for desktop and laptop only
- Suggested keywords must have certain terms
- Suggested keywords must NOT have certain terms
6. Google insight for search
While Google keyword tool gives you the 12-month average search volume for certain terms, it doesn’t show you trend over time. Trend over time is particularly important if your service is seasonal.
Trend over time is also very important for brand manager to check. So using Google Insights for Search together with Google Keyword tool can yield a meaningful conclusion.
7. How online world is following offline event
When i tell people that when there are major offline events, people often go online and search for more information, the response i guess is “of course, i know that, it’s not something new”. However, i don’t see many brands are applying this principle to their marketing campaign. They often leave their audience hanging when users try to search for more information online.
Let’s check one simple example:
As you can see from the picture above, there was a very strong interest on “Ho Ngoc Ha” in Mar 2010. Ho Ngoc Ha is a famous singer in Vietnam. Around Mar 2010, the news about her pregnancy was mentioned all across media in Vietnam. It attracted a lot of attention not only because of the singer profile but also because the singer was single when she was pregnant.
In any case, we see a complete sync between offline world and online search behavior from the above example.
You can try to test out other examples yourself.
8. Accuracy of Google keyword tool
I would say for markets in SouthEast Asia where Google dominates the search market share, Google keyword tool is very accurate, especially for local language. There may be a lot of tools for English language, or French but for SouthEast Asian languages like Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Google keyword tool would be one of the best tools, if not the BEST.
By the way, you can try Google keyword tool in your own language as well. Just check the top right hand corner for language setting.
9. Additional columns
If you log into your Google Adwords account, you can use additional columns like:
- Estimated average Cost per click: AdWords estimates your performance using a maximum CPC that is predicted to place your ad always in positions 1-3 with an unlimited budget to capture all available impressions.
- Ad share
- Search share
Please note that the average cost per click indicated by Google tool is quite inaccurate for non competitive markets like Vietnam. The actual cost per click that you have to pay is normally much lower than the values given.
10. Keyword tools from Yahoo and Microsoft
Well Yahoo doesn’t have an external tool that you can use. However, if you are a customer of Yahoo Search Marketing, you can use their internal tool i.e. you have to log in. The last time i used that tool, the results for non-English, Southeast Asian languages were quite poor.
Microsoft used to offer some fancy tools like Entity association, keyword forecast etc…
However most of the tools are not available anymore. You can refer to Microsoft Data mining tools.
Error pages like 404 pages are commonly seen. I find this quite disappointing from Microsoft actually. They don’t even have a decent 404 page.
Well that’s about it from me.
Have a nice weekend,
This post is also available in: Vietnamese