If you’re a content-producing blog (food blogger, craft blogger, DIY blogger etc…) it’s likely that the #1 traffic driver to your site is Google. If it isn’t, you may want to look into ways to improve your SEO.
If you’ve implemented all of our simple tricks to maximizing your SEO and are looking for an additional way to drive traffic to your blog from Google, look no further than Google Keyword Planner. Today we’ll teach you how to use Google Keyword Planner for your blog.
Google Keyword Planner is a tool available in Google Adwords that’s supposed to be used to provide market insight to companies looking to purchase ad campaigns, however it can also be used for R&D for your blog.
Some bloggers like to use Keyword Planner to map out their content calendar. It can tell you what’s trending, highly ranked search-terms and what your competition is like for these searches.
You could in essence plan your entire blog around the Keyword Planner.
But that’s not how I like to use it.
While, I do think that Google Keyword Planner is an invaluable tool for your blog, I think there’s a time and place for its use.
In the case of my food blog, I like to use it to help name my posts and come up with variations on recipes that will help put me on page 1 of Google rather than page 10. It helps me to take a wide category and narrow it down to smaller one that is more likely to get searched. Make sense?
Here’s an example:
I decide I want to make Paleo Pancakes. I like pancakes, my readers like pancakes and paleo is all the rage.
I could post a recipe for “Paleo Pancakes” but that likely won’t get me on page 1 and is also way too unoriginal for me. Maybe I decide I want to make Paleo Banana Pancakes or Blueberry Pancakes or some other flavor? If I’m undecided, Google Keyword Planner can be a huge asset in helping me determine which recipe I should make.
Ultimately I decide to make Paleo Blueberry Pancakes. I’ll walk you through the process of using the Keyword Planner so you can see why I chose this recipe.
Step 1: Pick a topic
In this case I’m using “Paleo Pancakes”. For you it might be “ab workout” or “homemade bath bombs”.
Step 2: Sign-Up For Google Adwords
Technically this is kind of cheating the system and also where I got tripped up the first time I tried using the keyword planner.
First you’ll need a gmail account. Sign-up for one if you don’t have one. Then click here to set up your first campaign.
Go through the process of “buying” a campaign, but no need to actually put your credit card info in. The only thing you’ll need to enter is a price, which is where I put in $1. You just need to set-up a campaign before you can access the keyword planner. Just to be safe, I like to go to my homepage and delete the campaign I created before continuing (click the campaign tab –> click the campaign check box –> under edit select “delete”).
Now you have access to the keyword planner. From time-to-time you’ll receive an error message saying you have no active campaigns or they have expired. Just ignore this and continue on with your business.
Step 3: Access The Keyword Planner
Under the “Tools” tab you will see “Keyword Planner”. Click this.
Click “Enter Your New Keyword and Ad Group Ideas”. Fill in the first box with your search term. In this case I’m using “Paleo Pancakes”. Enter your blog URL under “landing page”. Click “Get Ideas”.
The first thing you’ll see is a chart, which shows you how popular your search term was over the last year (you can change the date range if you like). As you can see, “Paleo Pancakes” is least searched in June but highly searched in Feb-March so I’m better off posting a recipe then.
Below the chart you’ll see two tabs, “ad group ideas” and “keyword ideas”. Go ahead and click “keyword ideas”. When you scroll down, you’ll start to see tons of variations on “Paleo Pancakes”. This is your gold mine.
What you’re looking for are recipes with low competition and a high search number. This means that the term is highly searched but your competition in terms of websites publishing content within this category is low. In an ideal world you could just go off these two things.
Unfortunately this doesn’t tell the whole story.
Step 6: Cross-Reference
If you went ahead and searched Banana Pancakes (rather than Paleo Pancakes), you would find a similarly high search ranking but also “low competition”. Now try googling “Banana Pancakes”. Almost 5 million pages come up! So clearly their competition rating isn’t quite accurate.
This is why it’s always important to cross-reference your preferred keyword choice. In this case, I chose Paleo Blueberry Pancakes. I thought about making Paleo Banana Pancakes, but when I checked the competition on Google, it was over 400k. Not quite 4 million, but Paleo Blueberry Pancakes has less than half the number of pages for competition so that is far more ideal. Sure, there isn’t the same number of people searching for them, but an important lesson when you’re a small-medium sized blogger is to aim for the middle-ground rather than try and compete against the big dogs.
So there you have it! If you’re ever stumped for what variation of a recipe or creative project you want to create, make Google Keyword Planner your friend and watch your Google traffic skyrocket!