There are many keyword research tools available for purchase and free of purchase online. In this article, we’ll explain how to use two free, easy-to-use tools from Google: Google Trends and Google AutoSuggest. These tools are great for determining terms to include in your landing page content and blog posts. They are not designed to provide you with search numbers, but instead to show you common trends in search.
How To Use Google Trends
To use Google Trends, visit www.google.com/trends. Google Trends’ homepage will show you popular search trends across the web that may provide you with some inspiration for a blog or social post. To do more customized research, visit the “Explore” section. Once on the Explore Trends screen, you can begin to customize your research. At the top of the screen are drop down selections for your geographical focus, time period, category, and type of search function. Keep things basic to start; simply select your geographical focus, then start typing in related search topics or search queries. I’ve provided an example below:
As you can see, the geographical focus is set to California. This means that the results are all going to be based on what people in California are searching. Because of this, we don’t have to include the region in our search. We can start with a head term such as “auto insurance.” A head term is a popularly searched one-or-two word term. The search terms you submit will generate a list of related search queries.
You’ll notice that Google Trends does not provide numbers to the extent that Google AdWords does, but even Google AdWords provides rounded numbers instead of exact. With Google Trends, you are seeing which terms or phrases are trending more commonly in your target region, so you can adjust the language you use. By using the phrases that people are actually searching, you are more likely to answer a visitor’s question, thereby providing a more positive user experience.
How To Use Google AutoSuggest
Google’s AutoSuggest, or AutoComplete, is probably one of the easiest ways to do keyword research. Just go to google.com, start typing in a search query (but don’t complete the phrase), and the box that drops down while you’re typing is Google AutoSuggest. Google is trying to guess what your search query is by making suggestions of other top trending search queries. This is a great, quick way to get some keyword ideas.
Google’s suggestions are based upon your region and language, both of which can be adjusted in your search settings. If you are targeting a specific region (state/city), be sure that your search settings reflect this.
You can also add a geographical reference to your search phrase to further customize your results. By using a geographical reference, you will be given more geo-specific search suggestions that help ensure the queries are related to your focus region.
Google AutoSuggest also offers up additional modifiers, such as “requirements,” “quote,” or “buy” that will help you create long tail keyword phrases. Long tail keyword phrases allow you to better answer search queries that people are using because they are targeting more specific questions. For example, instead of using the generalized phrase “car insurance” which could relate to any number of searches, “California car insurance requirements” is much more focused and is more likely to answer a specific search query.
So the next time you’re prepping to write a piece of content for the web, research your topic in Google Trends and Google AutoSuggest. Doing so will help you better-target your audience and answer the questions they REALLY want answered.
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About the Author
Megan is a Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish, spending most of her professional time fine-tuning inbound strategies, evaluating websites, and researching, researching, researching. After studying Marketing Communications in Western Massachusetts she dedicated herself to the online world through online retailing, web usability, and search engine optimization. Megan is a native Rhode Islander who loves baking crazy confections in her spare time. Have you ever tried an 8 layer cookie cake? YUM.