Keyword selection is the be-all and end-all of search engine marketing success. Get it right and you have a good chance of capturing more traffic by being seen for the most appropriate phrases. Get it wrong and no matter how visible you are for your selected terms, you’ll never experience true online success. So simple. So complicated.
Fortunately, there are many keyword research and keyword suggestion tools available online to help. Use them periodically to select phrases for a new PPC ad group, check suitability of SEO words, and confirm that you’re not missing a trick with new search trends.
1. Tool: Google Sets
Good for: Compiling keywords for PPC adgroups
A Google Labs innovation, Google Sets helps create lists of keywords based around a common theme. It gives you a choice of a small set (a list of 15 words or less) or a larger set. Simply type in a few terms, hit ‘Large Set’ or ‘Small Set,’ and the app will create a suggested set of other words to fill out your list.
2. Tool: Keyword Map
Good for: Discovering synonyms for SEO, developing tag clouds for use in your social media efforts
Type in a single keyword and this useful tool will search the web to display a helix of related words and phrases. Keywords found are also displayed alphabetically and can be clicked on to generate even more keyword suggestions. The site is extremely easy to use and a great starting point if you need to fill out your keyword lists. You can also use the site to populate your PPC campaigns with synonyms that you may have missed.
3. Tool: Meta Glossary
Good for: Broadening SEO keyword lists, suggesting synonyms for use in optimized web content
A virtual repository of information, MetaGlossary is dictionary and keyword finder in one. Type in a term and it will display a comprehensive selection of related terms and synonyms for your keyword lists. What’s more, a second tier displays concise, direct explanations for terms and phrases including technical jargon and slang, extracted from around the internet.
4. Tool: WordStream Keyword Niche Finder
Good for: Creating a deeper, more dynamic keyword structure for your PPC campaigns and SEO copy
WordStream’s relatively new Keyword Niche Finder tool is an excellent asset for content writers, providing in-depth long tail keyword variations for any given word or phrase. The tool creates groups of tightly related niche groups of keywords, ideal for making longer tail additions to paid search campaigns. Keywords are organized into groups for ease of use, taking hours out of the campaign creation process.
5. Tool: WordTracker
Good for: Finding popular, low-cost keywords for PPC campaigns, finding longer tail search terms and synonyms for SEO
WordTracker is the doyenne of keyword research tools. While it is primarily a subscription service, you can use the free version to generate lists of keywords restricted to 100 phrases. The full version combines the extensive search term database with useful tools for mining the data, but the free version is a great starting point and an ideal try-before-you-buy solution for skeptics. The trial allows you to find keywords that include your specified search term, so it’s a useful resource if your PPC budget is being used too quickly by expensive terms.