Keyword research can involve lots of different strategies, but using a keyword tool is a pretty obvious option. We’ve looked at free keyword tools before, and have not been impressed. Years ago, I read a suggestion to use a dictionary to identify useful keywords, and the keyword tools we tested didn’t rise far above that idea.
However, we’ve had a new keyword quandary arise. A client with a pretty straightforward niche product is having trouble gaining high quality scores for Adwords ads when using Google’s suggested keywords. Competitors include companies like General Electric, websites with blogs and knowledgebases, and specialized ad campaign landing pages.
Yes, of course, the client should add regular blogging, a strong knowledgebase, and specialized ad campaign landing pages. For a startup, though, those items can have a hard time making it to the top of the budget priorities list, or even to the top of the in-house to-do list. Those steps end up on the list of things that need doing once the resources become available.
In the meantime, identifying keywords with lower levels of competition can help. Some of the keywords the client thought of have such low search volume that they’re tagged in Adwords as low-volume. Between the low volume keywords and the keywords which are getting low quality scores compared with the Goliath-sized competitors bidding on them, our startup client is finding it a challenge to get the desired results with CPC ads.
It’s kind of like a small independent local bookshop deciding to challenge Amazon for the keyword “books.”
So we went back to take another look at WordStream’s free keyword tool. The strength of WordStream over other free keyword tools is the sheer quantity of keywords offered. For this particular client, we don’t have access to data on the frequency of use or search volume for the various keywords within the client’s target market, so we need to rely on their intuitions as a starting point. For best results in a case like this, a large list is a help.
Using the tool is very easy. Type in the most generic keyword and you’ll receive a list of related keywords. When we tried this tool with less niche-specific terms, we saw just a few valuable suggestions in the flotsam and jetsam of the list — a drawback to high quantity. With this client’s more specialized terms, the lists were more focused and more valuable.
You can then filter out terms that contain words you don’t want to work with. In this case, we are removing mice, which are a bit of a red herring in this case. This automated step can be a real time saver. You can also manually remove terms from the list and narrow it down to a good selection of keywords for your particular organization.
WordStream will then email you the list as a spreadsheet so you can work with it easily (or as easily as you personally can work with spreadsheets).
The spreadsheet includes WordStream’s search volume estimate for each term. WordStream is confident of their estimates, but you can often use Google Trends to double check and refine your list further.
This freemium model offers more keywords and some competitive data as part of an enterprise-level suite of tools suited to larger organizations with a dedicated ad-focused marketing team. Find WordStream’s pricing info on their website. WordStream also offers a free Keyword Grouper and several related tools.
You may still need help figuring out what to do with your list of keywords. Call Rosie at 479.966.9761 to get that help.