Welcome back to our blog series on keyword research! If you haven’t yet read our previous installments, it’s important you do so or else you’ll be missing some crucial information and advice! Click on the following links to complete your education:
Before we move on to take a closer look at keyword metrics, it’s worth considering a fantastic article written by Forbes’ Top 10 web marketer, Neil Patel. In the article titled Four Ways Google’s Keyword Planner Might Be Tricking You, Neil explains:
“There are many keyword research tools out there, but for the most part, they just pull data from Google’s keyword planner anyway. They may do it in a more effective way than you could on your own, but it’s important to understand that they still have limitations. Why?
“Because Google will never tell you everything it knows, just bits and pieces. So, while the keyword planner is a fine starting point for keyword research, it is not enough. If you only use the keyword planner, you will end up missing out on many opportunities and spending your time and resources on keywords that aren’t as good as they appear.”
Here is a summary of the four points Neil raises in his fantastic article, which you can Read Here.
1. Averages Don’t Tell The Whole Story
The monthly average search volume is an important metric to pay attention to when selecting keywords or phrases for your SEO campaign. However, if we take a closer look at HOW Google Adwords calculates the monthly average search volume, you’ll see that it’s an average of the previous 12-month’s worth of searches. If you don’t understand this point, it could have a serious impact on your results.
If you’re the first (or one of the firsts) to write about an emerging subject or trend, it may be possible that Google Adwords won’t show up any relevant keywords for it, since that particular topic is only a day, week, month or few month’s old.
Alternatively, when Google Adwords does start showing up these keywords, they will likely have a low to negligible monthly search volume. This means you could totally miss out on some super hot keywords, which could have you ranked for the # 1 position on Google search results for emerging stories and latest trends!
You don’t want to miss out on keywords that could put you ahead of the pack because they’re too “young” to show up or register as “highly searched for” on Google Adwords.
2. Beware Of Rounding
Following on from the previous point about averages is the fact that the numbers used aren’t really all that accurate because there is some heavy rounding and sorting going on behind the scenes, so what you see aren’t “true averages”. The explanation behind this is fairly complex and is brilliantly explained in Neil’s article (again, you can read that Here).
To briefly illustrate this point, you might be considering two different keywords: Keyword 1 (1,000 searches per month) and Keyword 2 (1,300 searches per month). You’d think Keyword 2 would be the better option because it gets 300 more searches per month, right? In reality, those numbers could be something like 1,149 and 1,151 searches per month respectively, which means those two keywords are pretty much identical. Alternatively, those numbers could be 1,149 and 941 respectively – a 20% difference!
The point of this discussion is to point out that the numbers yielded by Google Adwords for the monthly average search volume are not always accurate and so you should bring into the equation other metrics to help you select the best and most relevant keywords for your campaign.
3. Misspellings And Variations Affect Search Volume A Lot
On this issue Google Adwords isn’t misleading, but you certainly need to be aware of the fact that users frequently enter incorrectly spelled search terms or variations of keyphrases when using Google. So frequently in fact, that these phrases rack up decent search volumes that could be useful to your campaign. As such, you should consider all the variations and misspellings of commonly searched for terms and phrases.
4. Google Hides Keywords!
As a rule, Google won’t simply procure ALL its data to those looking for keywords and phrases. However, some of these limitations are not intentional at all: rather, they’re a result of the way the Google Adwords tool works and unfortunately this can have a significant impact on your keyword research.
The example used in Neil’s article is the search term “wooden decks,” which he ran through Google Adwords. The list of associated keywords provided omitted a handful of potentially good and profitable keywords, such as “how to build a wooden deck,” which showed a monthly search volume of 210. If you own a local hardware business that is not an insignificant number of searches!
Once again, the take-home message here is that Adword Planner is a fantastic platform on which to start your SEO keyword research and it provides you with some important metrics, such as average monthly searches, competition, cost-per-click and more. This brings us neatly to our next topic!