Keyword Tools & Traffic Estimators: Eliminating SEO & PPC Guesswork

seo-keywordsAll the SEO skills in the world won’t help you if you don’t know which keywords to target. You might have perfectly crafted SEO campaign in place but if people aren’t searching for the keywords you’re targeting then you will see no benefit from your efforts. Clearly, it is important to find out which keywords to target so this guest post takes a look at the tools available to help you out…

Both SEO and PPC campaigns revolve around the all mighty keyword. Determining which keywords to use, how much to spend on your efforts, and managing your expectations can be a daunting process. Many people assume keyword selection is largely intuitive but without comprehensive data it is easy to choose poorly or miss a critical piece. Thankfully, there are free keyword and traffic estimation tools available which will help you generate keyword ideas and predict how each will perform. Since AdWords is the most popular PPC platform, it makes sense to begin your research with Google’s Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator.

The Tools to Get the Job Done

Whether you are managing your own SEO and PPC efforts or have hired an agency to do it for you, it is worth spending some time with Google’s Keyword Tool. It not only is easy to use, but also provides an excellent snapshot of the search engine landscape. A simple search merely requires a keyword or a URL containing related content. In turn, Google will provide you with 100 keyword ideas along with the level of competition (low, medium, or high) and the volume of monthly global and local searches for each. If you are signed into your AdWords account, they will supply the full set of data. They also allow you to refine your query by selecting specific categories, using advanced options, such as language, country, and device type, and incorporating filters. You can also include and exclude certain terms as well as select various match types. In this age of highly targeted advertising, you can gleam important information by comparing the nuances of several narrowly defined searches.

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AdWords Keyword Tool

Once your brainstorming is complete, you have two options. You can merely incorporate what you have learned into your organic content and hope for the best or you can also design a PPC campaign with the assistance of the Traffic Estimator.  Some of the data, such as the annual average of global and local monthly searches, is redundant. The average CPC, ad position, daily clicks, and daily cost estimates, however, help you clarify the needs and expectations of your PPC campaigns.  Being able to correlate volume with cost is an important piece of the PPC puzzle. You can identify not only which keywords are essential, but also which ones have untapped potential or should be excluded from your efforts entirely. There are a couple of caveats, however.

Alternatives to Google’s Keyword Tool

Most importantly, keep in mind that when you are using keyword and traffic estimation tools, the data provided is specific to that ad platform. AdWords will provide estimates based on Google searches, but if you want similar information for Bing and Yahoo, you will need to visit the Microsoft Advertising adCenter. Similarly, Facebook has its own estimation tools to help you target and manage your ads. While undoubtedly there will be some overlap, specificity is essential.

Also, do not forget that estimates are not guarantees; they are educated guesses. You cannot just set up your PPC advertising and expect it to take care of itself. Effective PPC and SEO campaigns require continual maintenance. What works today, may not tomorrow. Conversely, a new trend may arise, and you do not want to miss out on an opportunity. Even if you have hired someone to do this for you, it important that you are proactive. While you do not want to micromanage the person or team in charge of your online marketing, you should regularly check-in to make sure you are maximizing your potential. These tools are an excellent way to do your homework so you can have intelligent conversations with your online advertising agency.

Much of this may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised by how many people neglect to research something as essential as keywords or utilize these free online tools. They provide information and ideas that can help you shape the content of both your site and your ads. Your first foray into SEO and PPC can be overwhelming, but with the help of keyword and traffic estimation tools they do not have to be.

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