Marketing & Advertising

Quick Keyword Research Tools

At the core of many search engine optimization campaigns is keyword research. In order to target what Internet users are looking for, the choice of words they use to describe those things must be known. By following tendencies in keyword choices, a website can target searches for those terms to capture traffic from search engines, internal searches and even social media entities.

Consider Google Suggest

There are many keyword research tools of varying size and complexity, but often only a quick and simple reference is needed. When a large number of pages is being optimized (as they often are in ecommerce situations, such as creating or improving product pages) the subject is obvious, time is of the essence, and only a cursory amount of keyword research is needed. An effective and basic tool for this scenario is actually right at your fingertips: Google Suggest.

Google Suggest began as a separate interface within the Google itself as an experimental page that would offer a dropdown menu of suggestions relevant to a term (or even a few keystrokes) typed into the Google field. Its primary use was to auto-complete searches for users to speed up the process of searching, but the auto-complete suggestions are derived from popular search phrases used in Google, with the more popular terms displayed at the top of the list. According to the Google Suggest FAQ (Labs.google.com/suggest/faq.html), “Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers…Google Suggest does not base its suggestions on your personal search history.”

What’s even handier is that Google has added Google Suggest into the Google Toolbar search box, which can be downloaded free for all popular browsers. So, while looking at a given page in your browser, you can use Google Suggest right at the top of the browser to test and compare various keywords.

Great for comparing words

The tool works great for comparing keywords or terms that start with the same word or keystrokes. It has limitations, though. You can’t, for instance, compare “laptop computers” with “notebook computers.” But for quick and easy keyword research, this Google tool is sweet.

Yahoo! has a similar tool called, quite creatively, Yahoo! Suggest. There are varying reviews on its usefulness as compared to Google Suggest, but I’ve found it to return a lot more junk than Google Suggest. Still, it is another quick tool to keep in mind when doing cursory keyword research. While neither of these interfaces is a replacement for more advanced tools like Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker, for fast keyword reference, keep the Suggest tools in mind.

Jeff Muendel

Jeff Muendel

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