Looking to attract new customers for a business through online searches on websites such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing? If so, there is a lot of competition out there as the concepts of SEO (used to improve visibility in the non-paid/organic search results) and pay-per-click platforms such as Google AdWords (used to run paid advertisements in the sponsored sections of search engine results) have become full blown industries over the last ten years. At times with all the jargon and terminology various “gurus” and “web experts” will throw at a business owner, it can be overwhelming to know where to even start.
As such, it’s best to begin with the fundamental concept that any search engine marketing strategy is going to begin with identifying the most relevant and impactful keywords and keyword phrases for a given business. For example, if a dog trainer in the Philadelphia area wants to begin running advertising through Google AdWords, how will they know which keywords are most likely to get searched and result in views of their ad? How much will each ad click potentially cost for various keywords? Thankfully, Google offers a useful free tool known as the Keyword Planner that can help our hypothetical dog trainer from Philadelphia answer these very important questions. Below is a review of how the Keyword Planner platform works:
- Upon logging into the Keyword Planner, start by selecting the option that says “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”
- Starting with the 1st field, labeled, “Your product or service,” take a shot at entering a view terms that describe the main services or products offered by the business. In the case of our dog trainer, try entering a few items like: Dog Training; Puppy Training; and Professional Dog Trainer
- Next, skip down to the section of the page labeled with “Targeting.” In this area, one can specify the geographic area for which the estimated number of monthly searches for each keyword to be calculated are desired. For example, our dog trainer is most interested in knowing how many individuals are searching for keyword phrases listed in “Step 2” only within the city of Philadelphia, so that’s should then be entered into the location field.
- Now hit the blue “Get Ideas” button and wait for the next screen to load.
On the next screen, there are two tabs of results, one labeled “Ad group ideas,” and the other labeled, “Keyword ideas”. For now, click on the “Keyword ideas” tab as there one will find the specific keywords that have been entered. Right at the top of the page, using the hypothetical scenario described above, the word dog training appears with the following statistical data in various columns:
- 320 avg. monthly searches. This means that an estimated 320 searches are done with the city of Philadelphia every month for the exact phrase, dog trainer. Note that this estimate is for this specific phrase only, and does not include searches done for the dozens or even hundreds of potential variations of the term.
- $4.12 cost-per-click. This means that on average, an advertiser can expect to have to pay roughly $4.12 per click on their ad when clicks are generated from searches for this specific keyword. Note that costs can vary based on time of day, advertiser quality score, and a variety of other factors, so these estimates are not exact projections.
As one reviews this data, look for opportunities/keyword phrases that may not have the highest search volume estimates, but may very descriptively target a niche service. Often these more descriptive terms are far less competitive and will cost the advertiser much less money per click. For example, take a phrase such as aggressive dog training. Although it is projected to generate only 10 searches a month, the cost is estimated to be exponentially lower at just $0.49 per click. “You absolutely have to cut through the clutter and competition,” as Columbia, MO advertising agency Caledon Virtual states. Look for niche opportunities using free tools such as the Google Keyword Planner, and enjoy far greater success with paid search engine advertising efforts online.