Keyword research is one of the most overlooked practices when it comes to building a website. In fact, it’s the first step when building a website that you should take. How on earth do you know what to build your site around if you don’t understand what people are looking for? You can literally build your entire strategy around the wrong set of ideas and keywords if you skip this step thus wasting valuable time and money.

Doing keyword research is actually rather simple and it’s a great way to lay the foundation for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Our friends over at Google have made it painless to find out what people are searching for to find your product. Outside of Google there are several tools and websites that provide the ability to conduct keyword research such as WordTracker, but for our purposes today, we’ll use Google’s in-house Keyword Planner Tool.

To access the Keyword Planner Tool simple follow this link (Or you can Google Keyword Planner Tool and it’ll pop up first.)

Keyword Planning Google Adwords

You’ll need to sign into your Adwords account to access the tool, but if you have a Gmail/Google account, you’ll be just fine.

From there, you click on “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category” underneath “Find New Keywords”.

Google Keyword Planner tool

Once you click, options slide down allowing you to enter and select various criteria for your research. The important factor here is to select your targeting. If you’re only concerned with search volume in your area, you’ll need to select your area. For example, if you’re a dentist in Raleigh, don’t really need to know how many people are searching for a dentist in San Francisco.

Google Keyword Planner tool

For our example we selected “Raleigh, NC” as our target and used “Raleigh Web Design” as our search phrase. (You can search for multiple phrases at once) Once you click “get ideas”, you’ll be taken to the results page. On this page you’ll see the monthly search volume average, the competition ranking for each keyword, and a suggested bid for Google Adwords.

Google Keyword Planner tool

  1. Monthly Search Volume: Pretty straight forward. This number is the monthly average of how many times someone has searched for this keyword.
  2. Competition: This ranges from Low, Medium, to High. This is Google’s way of telling you how easy or difficult it will be for you to rank for this keyword.
  3. Suggested Bid: If you were going to select this keyword for one of your Adwords‘ campaign, this would be the average bid to place for your ad to show in a decent spot.

I strongly encourage you to take the time to research your keywords in order to correctly plan your website content and overall online marketing strategy. You’ll be glad you did!