Business technology

Basic keyword research for beginners

- March 20, 2014 4 MIN READ

This basic keyword research guide was written for business owners who have minimum tech knowledge. I’ve used screenshots and an example. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Enter “Google keyword planner” into your google search bar

Ideally you’ll find the correct link at the top of the results, but click on the link that takes you to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner start page. If you haven’t signed up for Google Adwords you’ll have to do this now, but don’t worry, signing up doesn’t mean that you have to use Google Adwords, it just gives you access to the keyword planner.

There should be a question that asks, “What would you like to do?” and then four options below it.

The first option should read, “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” Click it.

Step 2: Pick a relevant keyword

In the first open block, enter a keyword that’s relevant to your idea, product or service. For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll use the simple example of “plumber”.

Don’t worry about the next two options yet (“Your landing page” and “Your product category”), you don’t need to enter anything in these fields to get basic keyword research done.

Step 3: Pick targeting specifics

There are two more categories of information left on the page, these have to do with targeting (on the left) and then customising your search (on the right). Don’t worry about customisation options, they just muddy the waters when all you need is general keyword ideas.


  • Country: If you click on this you can enter as many countries as you want and then remove or interchange them at will. For the purpose of my example I’m going to set it to Australia and nothing else.
  • Language: This lets you choose which languages to focus on. I’m going to choose English, which for most people will be the default option, but Google bases it on your location.
  • Search Engine: You can search on Google alone, or include the other search engines that Google associates with. I’m just going with Google for now.
  • Negative Keywords: This is where you can specify keywords or phrases which you don’t want Google to use as a trigger for showcasing your ads. For beginner keyword research, don’t worry about this.

Now, hit the blue “Get Ideas” button at the bottom of this section.

Want more articles like this? Check out the SEO techniques section.

Step 4: Click the “keyword ideas” tab

You’ll arrive at a page that shows the Ad group ideas by default, but for now, click the tab next to it called “Keyword ideas”.

The first result at the top under “plumber” (or whatever you typed in) is your primary keyword result. All the keywords below are called “relevant keywords” which are keywords that are similar to your root keyword. Let’s look at the data you’re offered. This is the nuts and bolts of basic keyword research.

    • Avg. monthly searches: This number gives you an idea of what kind of monthly search volume your keyword is drumming up. The word ‘plumber’ gets anywhere between 3,600 to 5,000 searches in Australia, in English on Google every month.

As you can see, it varies from keyword to keyword. This is an average, but enough to give you an            impression of what you’re dealing with.

  • Competition: There’s low, medium and high. These are ball-park figures, you have to pay Google for the much more in-depth analytics.
  • Suggested bid: The better the keyword the higher the bid will typically be. This number should only really concern you if you plan on paying for paid advertising using Google AdWords.

Keyword tip

Our process when researching targeted keywords and phrases typically begins with Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, and then branches out to other resources which help to validate against the Keyword Planner data.

But for beginners who won’t be using various tools, here’s my tip. For a start-up plumber in the Gold Coast, your potential customers are predominantly going to be local. So rather than targeting broad search terms such as ‘water plumber’ or ‘roof plumber’, consider: ‘Plumber in Gold Coast’, ‘Emergency Plumbing Gold Coast’ or perhaps ‘blocked drains Gold Coast’. These are the types of search terms that your customers would type in.

That’s it!

That’s as simple as it gets. I’ve shown you how to get the basic traffic information and pricing for paid advertising based on simple keywords. You simply head to the Google keyword planner, input a keyword, choose some simple specifics and then look at the monthly searches and competition to get an idea of how valuable it is, or how undervalued it may be.

What sort of keyword research tool do you use?

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

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