Google Adds Keyword Popularity Tool

We have discussed the importance of keyword research when optimizing your church website.  In a previous article, “Keyword Research”, I mentioned two of the top keyword popularity tools, WordTracker and Keyword Discovery.  Both are decent tools, but base their estimates on data from several smaller search engines and both cost a several hundred dollars a year to use.  Now there’s an alternative.

Google Logo

You can now add the Google Adwords Keyword Research tool to your list of keyword popularity tools.  There are two key benefits to the Google Keyword Research Tool.

  1. The information is based on Google’s own database.  What better place to get keyword popularity info.
  2. It’s free.  That’s a pretty good price.

Screenshot of the Google Keyword Research Tool

In the past Google had provided keyword popularity in terms of a 1-10 rating with 10’s getting a lot of traffic and 1’s getting little traffic.  It was modestly helpful in that you could see obvious popularity differences, but when keywords can be searched anywhere from 0 to millions of times a month, a 1-10 scale didn’t have the really have the detail needed for good keyword research.  After all the difference between 1 and 50 searches a month is significant, but both would probably show up as a traffic rating of 1.

With Google’s new keyword search volume statistics, you can see the approximate number of searches performed last month for a particular keyword and the estimated average number of searches performed on a monthly basis based on the past years statistics.  You can also see a graph of the search monthly search volume over the past year so you can see trends and seasonal changes.  This can give you a pretty clear picture of how many searches to expect from each keyword.

Screenshot of the results of Google's Keyword Research Tool.

There are four “match types” settings.  The match type setting is found just below the “Choose Columns to Display” setting and just above the keyword results.  The match type settings determine what statistics are shown for keywords.

  • Exact – Only shows the information for that exact keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Phrase – Includes the information for all keywords that contact the keyword or keyword phrase. For example, if the keyword is “church marketing” and you used the phrase match setting, the statistics displayed would include search volume for “church marketing”, “online church marketing”, “church marketing online” and any other keywords with the phrase “church marketing in it.
  • Broad – This setting includes the information from all keywords containing the words of the keyword you are researching regardless of order. For example, if the keyword is “church marketing” and you used the broad match type, the statistics displayed would include the search volume from “marketing for you church”, “marketing to a church”, “church marketing”, “online church marketing”, etc.
  • Negative – produces a list of words from keyword phrases that have been combined with the keyword you are researching.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the Google Keyword Research tool:

  • Notice the word “Approx” in the title of the search volume columns. These are not absolute figures.
  • Keyword popularity fluctuates. Keywords that get 1000 searches one month can very easily get only 500 or over 2000 the next month. Use the Search Volume Trends statistics to get a better picture of what to expect.
  • The search results are filtered by language and location unless you tell Google not to do so. The language and location options are located just above where you enter your keywords.
  • I’ve seen a lot of “Insufficient Data” results. It’s not entirely clear whether this indicates the Google tool simply didn’t find enough info or if it indicates there simply isn’t anyone searching for that keyword. Chances are they aren’t searched for often.
  • Use the “Exact” match type to get the search volume information specific to just the keywords you are researching. The other match types are only useful with Adwords advertising.

I encourage you to check out Google’s new keyword search volume tool.  At first glance it appears to be a great alternative to either WordTracker or Keyword Discovery.

About the author

Kurt Steinbrueck

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