There’s never been a better time for small businesses to get to grips with SEO. Thanks to Google’s “local pack”, a small business can appear at the top of search rankings for even the most competitive keywords, so long as they’re local to the searcher. Almost half of the people searching will never go beyond those initial three suggestions, so getting yourself amongst them can provide a real business boost. To do just that, you’re going to need to optimise around your keywords, the search terms people use to find your business. Luckily, Google has a dedicated tool designed to help you do just that!
Get a Google Ads Account
The Keyword Planner is part of the larger Google Ads suite, used to run premium digital ad campaigns, so to use it you’ll need to set up an Ads account. Don’t worry, you don’t need to actually run a campaign through the account to use the Keyword Planner, so you never need to put in a penny if you don’t want to. You’ll just need to provide Google with some information about your business and your website and you’ll be ready to go. Once your account is set up, you’ll want to select the Tools icon and click “Keyword Planner”
Once you’re in, you’ll find that the Keyword Planner is made up of two tools: “Find keywords” and “Get search volume and forecasts”. The latter is mainly used to track specific keyword performance, so we’ll be focussing on the former. Start by entering a term that’s related to your business. The screen that follows can seem quite intimidating but really we’re only going to be looking at the first two columns, as the rest are used for Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns.
The first column shows various keywords, including the one you entered and related terms that the tool thinks might be relevant. The second shows the average monthly searches for those keywords. You can use these two columns to compare multiple keywords and see which ones are coming up the most often. Depending on your type of business, you might want to narrow this down by geographical location. To do so, head to the top of the page and select “locations”. Hit the X to clear all current selections, and put in your desired location. It’s that simple.
Find keywords also offers you the opportunity to enter a URL, which it will use to generate a list of keywords related to that page. Most people use it on their own blogs and pages, to identify gaps in their keyword coverage and maybe spark up a few creative ideas. Its real potential though, lies in the fact that it works on sites other than your own. You can plug a competitor’s blog straight into the tool and it will give you a great idea what keywords they’re ranking for.
Ask The Right Questions
A surprising number of Google searches come in the form of questions. Now, you could do your best to put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and guess what these are, or you can create a filter to do it for you. Above the column headings, you will see an option to “add filter”. Click it, then click keyword text. Paste the following into the box that appears: who, what, why, when, where, how. Confirm, and just like that the Keyword Planner will hand you a list of the most common questions asked about your keywords.