Did you sigh when you heard Google is revoking free full access to its Keyword Planner? Your first reaction was probably like mine: Google is sticking it to SEOs, once again.
What are we going to do?
Of course, we could invest in a third-party tool. Some of those tools might help fill the gap, but they are expensive and only as good as their sample size.
And that got me thinking: If I would have to pay for a keyword research tool anyway, why not use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for my keyword research? If I create a small PPC campaign, I can get keyword data and several other advantages, too.
So, in this article, I will show you how I've done keyword research using Google's Keyword Planner; and, in contrast, what the advantages are of using a small PPC campaign to do keyword research instead.
PPC can help me identify new keywords
When you use the Keyword Planner (or a third-party keyword tool), you start by brainstorming a list of potential words.
Typically, this is what I've done:
- I brainstorm a list. I will get the client's (or my boss's) input, too. From there I try to think of synonyms for this keyword. Let's say my keyword is "widgets"; they could also be referred to as "doohickeys" or "whatchamacallits."
- I then try to find words that modify the original keywords. Here, I'm looking for long-tail opportunities. I ask myself, "What kinds of ways would someone want to use what I have to offer?" This could be modifiers like color. It could be solutions like "services" or even "solutions." I might add geographical modifiers, too. A couple of great tools to help identify modifiers are ubersuggest or keyword.io.
- I try to organize all these on an Excel sheet. Each column contains rows of synonyms. I try to add modifiers in adjacent columns, with mutually exclusive modifiers in each row. I do this so I can take several columns to mergewords.com to assemble these lists into all the possible variations.