Good content is hard to come by, and well-written content that is also well-optimized for search engines is even more difficult to develop. Forward-thinking business owners will hire web copywriting services or a professional SEO services company like Consorte to write effective articles, product descriptions and other material for their websites. If you own or work for one of these online companies, then it’s helpful to have a broad understanding of the planning behind SEO-content so that you understand where your budget is going. On the other hand, if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional copywriter or you simply enjoy writing, then it’s equally important to know how to properly optimize your own content for search. There are many tools available to help you with this process, and one of my favorites is the free Google Keyword Tool. Using our step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to use this tool effectively and other SEO-copywriting tips for producing blog articles and other content for your website.
What is the Google Keyword Tool for Adwords?
This keyword tool was designed for people who advertise using Google Adwords, however it can also provide powerful insight into the keywords you should include in your website content for SEO. If you’ve never used this tool before, its basic use is pretty simple: enter a list of keywords, press “search” and it returns a list of related keyword suggestions as well as estimates on how many people search for those phrases, and the associated level of competition among advertisers. You’ll see that there are three different match-types shown in the left-hand column of the tool’s homepage: Broad, Exact and Phrase match. For the purposes of this introductory article, we’ll stick to using the Phrase match-type.
Start With an Article Title, Summary and Outline
Before you begin writing, you’ll need a topic to write about. Pick something that is interesting and shareable – you want people to enjoy your article, learn from it and share it with their peers though links, likes, tweets and other social bookmarks. If you’re just writing content for the sake of SEO, it might help you rank for the targeted keyword, but it’ll often be boring and ineffective for organic link-building. Got your topic? Great, now create a compelling title and don’t worry so much about including keywords. Then, come up with a basic summary and outline for your article. Keep the summary short – it’ll serve as the basis for your Meta Description (Tip: keep your meta description between 110-140 characters in length so that it’s descriptive and doesn’t get truncated on desktop web browsers). For your outline, create a set of topical bullet points you want to address.
Break Your Title Into Two- and Three-Word Phrases
To use the Google Keyword Tool effectively, you’ll need to seed it with some phrases related to your content. If these phrases are too long, then you won’t get many recommendations. By contrast, if these phrases are too short, then many of the recommendations you get might not be relevant. Therefore it’s a good idea to come up with some two- to three-word phrases as a starting point. Let’s take this article for example. The title we originally came up with was, How to Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Development. From this, we derived the phrases, Google keyword tool and content development.
Next, plug each of those phrases into the tool separately and be sure to mark the checkbox to only show ideas closely related to my search terms. If you put all of the phrases in at once or leave the box unchecked, you’ll be inundated with too much data to analyze and get a lot of irrelevant noise from unrelated keywords. So for this example, Google keyword tool produced a list of keywords that included free Google keyword tool and we added the word, free to the article title.
Try Some Synonyms and Related Phrases
The phrase, content development also produced a number of keywords, but we wanted to explore further, so we looked for synonyms and related keywords. One synonym for content development is copywriting. It’s ok to use a one-word phrase in this case because it’s a very specific keyword. However if you use a broader keyword such as writing you’ll see a list of irrelevant suggestions that come up. In other words, don’t rely entirely on Google’s tool – use it to supplement your own good judgment. Go ahead and plug copywriting into the tool and you’ll see SEO copywriting near the top of the list of suggested keywords. We liked that phrase and ran it through the tool and found the long-tail result, SEO copywriting tips – eureka! Replacing how to with tips creates a title that is more likely to be searched for while remaining on-topic.
Let’s break it down. Original title: How to Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Development
Phrases derived using the tool:
- Google keyword tool –> free Google keyword tool
- Content development –> copywriting –> SEO copywriting –> SEO copywriting tips
New title: SEO Copywriting Tips: Using the Free Google Keyword Tool
Break Your Outline Topics Into Keyword Phrases
Now that you’ve got the idea with the article title, you can do the same for your outline topics. I won’t bore you with a line-by-line example again; it’s the same methodology that you used for the title. The only difference is that you’ll use the outline topics as subheadings throughout your article, and/or as keywords within the paragraph text.
Use Keywords Throughout Your Content Development Process
Be sure to take your time and read through a number of the recommended keywords that the tool compiles for you. Even if you don’t use them for your title and subheadings, you’ll want to take note of a few relevant phrases and synonyms that you can pepper throughout your content. Just make sure you’re not keyword-stuffing and keep your content sounding natural. As you write, you’ll find that it’s easier to add these keywords if you’ve already seen a list of them using the tool. After you’re done writing, you’re likely to come up with more words and phrases that you can test with Google’s tool. Keep it open while you write, similarly to when using a thesaurus, and refer back to it periodically as needed. Highlight the keywords you insert into your content in bold, so that you can refer back to them when you’ve finished writing. If you find that your article is unnaturally dense with keywords, then take some of them out. By contrast if you find too few, then play with the tool and insert some more. Take your time to edit your content for the right balance between developing interest among readers and getting ranked on Google, Bing and Yahoo.
This is only a primer to using the Google Keyword Tool while writing copy for the web. Our internal process is even more thorough, and yours will become robust too, as you develop your SEO-copywriting skills. We use a number of paid tools in addition to the free one provided by Google, and our editorial process is rigorous as content is passed through an SEO, a copywriter, an SEO editor and a professional copy editor to optimize, fix and finalize grammar, keywords and voice before the content is pushed live and syndicated. When your budget is small, you’ll find yourself filling some or all of these roles yourself and relying on friends for feedback. Keep at it and before long, you’ll be writing like an SEO pro. If on the other hand you’ve hired us or another Search Engine Optimizer then we hope that you’ve developed an appreciation for the amount of work involved with this one segment of the SEO process.