Why Do Keyword Research?

Using keywords that show some intent to do business with you is essential, because by using the right keywords and phrases, you can ensure your visitors are the right kind of visitors. Don’t rely on guesswork. When optimising your website, always check your assumptions and build on facts.

We believe it’s critical that you research trusted data about what people are actually searching for in search engines. All SEO work must be founded on actual facts, not assumptions, because often what you as a business owner understand about your product or service can be far different to how your clients think about it. The words they use to search in Google with will reflect these differences.

Both Google and Bing provide keyword research tools to get statistics. I recommend Google’s tool within the Google AdWords account management site. This is free to use and you don’t have to run any paid campaigns through AdWords to be able to access it.

  • Doing keyword research will help prove what people are actually searching for
  • Implementing the right words means attracting people who are ready to do business
  • Confirm your assumptions and actual volumes of keyword searches in Google

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Create a Google Account to access AdWords:

First, set up a Google account if you don’t already have one. If you already have a “gmail” address – then this is your Google account login. If you don’t have one and don’t want a gmail address, you can register your existing email address as a Google account address too. Set it up here:


Follow the directions to set up your new Google account.

Once you have been verified as the account holder, you can then create your new Google AdWords account here:


Follow the directions in the account to set up your details. You don’t need to add billing information or start a campaign. Simply skip those steps and access the menu item called “Keyword Planner” in the “Tools” section of the menu. You may see an error bar in red stating that you haven’t yet set up your account for running campaigns yet. Ignore it. You can still use the Keywords tool anyway.


Since 2017 the Google AdWords keyword tool has become especially restrictive in the statistics reported for keywords if you are using a fresh account with no campaigns running. It means the numbers you will end up getting here are indicative only.

To get more accurate data, you’ll need to have at least one active AdWords campaign running in the account.

See my further suggestions below for other ways to find keyword ideas.


For the purpose of this research the old configuration of the Keyword Tool is more productive in my opinion, but Google has updated and simplified this tool in the AdWords Beta. It’s up to you which one you try using, but the instructions below reflect the old version.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool (old version)

Google AdWords Keyword Tool (BETA)

Follow the directions in the account to set up your details. You don’t need to add billing information or start a campaign. Simply skip those steps and access the menu item called “Keyword Planner” in the “Tools” section of the menu. You may see an error bar in red stating that you haven’t yet set up your account for running campaigns yet. Ignore it. You can still use the Keywords tool anyway.

Click on the menu item to open the Keyword planner tool.

Using a ‘seed’ list:

The following directions will only tell you how to get statistics for your keyword ideas. There are several other elements you can research using this tool, but I will cover just this one.

NOTE: This will not generate an exhaustive set of keywords you should use: It will only give you an overview of some ideas. To get a complete analysis done for you, please refer to our SEO Services section for ways in which we can help.

Select the “search for new keyword and ad group ideas” item.

In the first box for products or services, enter as many words as you like that you believe are most relevant for searches that people might use to find you. Your keywords don’t need to be single words, you can add phrases here too. Add each new phrase or word on a new line. You can also select a specific page in your website it is relevant to, for example, if one of your website’s pages is about low cost clothing online. You can also select a specific category that Google will deliver results for in the third box. Each of these 3 boxes is optional, but using at least one is mandatory.

Finally, select the country you specifically target, and the language of the search words you want to research. You can experiment with the other targeting and custom settings later, but first try the settings I have just noted.

Click: Get Ideas.

You will first land on a graph element and a list of words in the tab called “Ad group ideas”. Click to the tab “Keyword ideas” instead.

Now you will have the search statistics for the exact phrases you will have added previously, plus also a list of other phrases immediately below with relevant stats. If your keyword ideas are not actually used, or seldom used, the figures in the “Avg monthly searches” column will be low. Ideally, you would search engine optimise your website for the words and phrases that have the highest Avg monthly searches figure.

Build a Keyword List:

Scroll down and view all of the stats of other words and phrases that Google thinks are relevant for your set of words, your landing page or your category that you selected earlier.

Select “Add to plan” for any phrases that you think are most relevant and also have sufficient numbers of searches to be viable as a phrase you would add into your search engine optimisation programme for your site.

Now download your words into a CSV file or save into Google drive. This will allow you to refer back to the file or document when you come to implement the words into your website.

The definite, maybe or never will be:

Compare your assumptions about which keywords are relevant for you versus the actual words being searched by people using Google. You may find that very few people search what you thought. If that’s the case, you have no choice but to change your ideas about which words to use when optimising your site, because it’s not helpful to optimise for something that never or seldom gets searched.

When selecting the words from the recommended list that Google suggests, don’t add words or phrases solely because of the number of searches that occur per month. Select words that satisfy both the requirement for high search numbers and also those that are most commercially relevant for you. Commercial relevance can be scored mentally by you by thinking about the following:

  1. If a word or phrase is definitely what people would use to find services or product you offer, then select the word.
  2. If a word or phrase might be what people would use to find services of products you offer, then select the word.
  3. If a word or phrase is unlikely to be what people would use to find services or products you offer, then do not select the word.

You will end up with a list of words that are either definitely, or might be relevant.

Depending on how relevant the ‘might be’ list is, you may or may not decide to include them in your SEO work.

To assist in planning your website structure, you should group words into sets that are ‘nearly the same’ or ‘very similar’ and the “Ad group ideas” tab in the keyword planner may help you decide which words to group together.

The number of pages of content you should create for your website depends largely on the number of groups you end up with.

You can optimise any single page for any one or two keywords phrases (or groups of very similar phrases) but you shouldn’t try to create pages optimised for more than two phrases or groups at a time or the result will dilute the targeting for any given page.

If you end up with far too many groups for your site to seem structurally sound or organised, then leave out any phrases of groups that were in the ‘might be’ list.

Be prepared to write about 20-50% more content that your competitors have for their websites.

There are many other factors other than just keyword groups that go into deciding what website structure you need and how many pages of content you should create.

For assistance in planning your content structure to make your website highly search engine optimised, consult a professional SEO services provider of your choice, or drop us a line.

Other Keyword Research Tools

Two other tools that I sometime refer to for Keyword Research are ‘Answerthepublic’ and ‘LSI-Graph’.

Answerthepublic (https://answerthepublic.com/) extracts user queries as actual questions, using ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘when’ and so on. It’s great to use if you want ideas on what to write in your content, because you can literally head a paragraph or two with some of these results and produce something that most likely works for SEO.

But there’s no search data for these, so you don’t know how common (or rare) any of them are. I’d say just use this for getting your copywriting creativity going.

LSI Graph (https://lsigraph.com/) uses scraped data from Google suggest – so in theory the words found on their lists are the most common keywords relating to how a user might start a query in search.

You probably noticed that Google shows suggestions as you type into search – LSI is generated from that data.

The bottom line is that these are both interesting and fun to use and will help create better SEO content.



How to Define the Ultimate Keywords for SEO?

You might find this ironic, but when you think about it, I think you’ll agree it’s smart.

The best way to discover really good keywords for SEO is to do the above research and then test them in AdWords but actually running ads. Then measure the results on a per-keyword basis in terms of how they performed for your business goals.

You’ll need good structure in your AdWords account and excellent measurement in place on your website for this to work well. But if you have those things, then the result will be invaluable to you.

It’s because this testing will prove if a keyword is really driving converting traffic, browsing traffic, or just nothing of any value at all. Just because a lot of keywords have good solid stats, doesn’t mean the people searching it are actually the best customers.

Plus, you can identify these words within months and don’t have to wait for a year for your SEO effort to start working! You get an idea right from the start what keywords are the real winners before you even invest in SEO.

Once identified – then you know if you get organic rank for them too, you’re bound to do well.

Good luck with your Keyword Research.

Perry Bernard – RankPower.