Using Google Ads as a keyword research tool for SEO
Is Google Ads (what was AdWords) up to the task as a research tool for SEO?
Google’s rebrand of AdWords to Google Ads is complete and with it the promise of a “simpler, better” version of its former self. The big question on our mind is – Is it up to the task as a research tool for SEO?
Keyword research is just as important for paid ads as it is for organic search. Your keywords need to match searcher intent as much as possible. Organic keyword research differs from keyword research for paid advertising in that it focuses on organic search results, rather than the adverts which appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). However, some of the same tools can be used for both approaches. When it comes to keyword research, which is the lifeblood of your PPC advertising and SEO campaigns it’s imperative that you use a tool that factors in all the requirements needed to evaluate how valuable a keyword is – including click through rate. Googles Key Word Planner, included in Google Ads, is a great place to start.
The Google Adwords keyword research tool is primarily designed for PPC management but can be extremely useful for organic keyword research.
You have to have a Google ads account to use the Keyword Planner. Luckily though, you don’t have to be running paid ads to get access to this tool. You can set up an Ads account and pause your first ad campaign. A paused campaign won’t appear in live search results or cost you any money but beware – you must make sure to turn it off right away!
Know your options
There are two main options to choose from inside of the GKP:
1. Discover New Keywords – as the name suggests this option is ideal for finding new keywords. Use this by entering in specific word or phrases (keywords) separate by commas.
2. Get search volume and forecasts for your keywords – this is a useful tool if you have a long list of keywords and just want to check their search volume. It is important to realise that this won’t help you find new keywords.
Filter and Sort the Results
The next step is to filter the list of keywords down to a smaller list of terms that are best for you using the four targeting options: Locations, Language, Search networks and Date range.
Next you will want to add a filter: we’d recommend filtering by competition. This will show you keywords with “Low”, “Medium” or “High” competition. It’s important to remember that the Google Keyword Planner is designed 100% for Google Ads… not SEO.
So how do you know which keywords to choose?
There are many factors to choose from, but we like to focus on the below:
Our opinion on using Google Ads as a keyword research toolis that the Keyword Planner’s suggestions and forecasts should be a starting point for your keyword research, not the conclusion. The latest version of the Google Keyword Planner is simpler and better than the old version. The harmony between SEO & PPC is all about striking a balance, so we’d suggest including the most expensive terms in an SEO strategy and keep the low-cost keywords in AdWords.
Do you need help finding valuable keywords for your SEO or PPC campaign? We have fine-tuned our key word identification process taking the hassle away from our clients. Contact us today to discuss your keywords.