The most important Google Tool for businesses (that you probably have never used)

Yesterday, when I spoke at the New Media Expo I showed off the Google AdWords Keyword tool. Then I asked how many people had used this tool before. At least 1/3rd of the audience didn’t raise their hands. Now this is an audience of professional online content developers. People who SHOULD know how to use tools to find better ways to market their content.

If 1/3rd of this audience isn’t using this tool, the chances that most businesses are using it are between zero and none.

What does this tool do? It helps you see the searches that people are actually doing on Google. Let’s say you had a quilting store. Do you really know what searches people are actually doing to find information about quilting? If you haven’t used this tool, no, you don’t.

This tool also is important to figure out how many people are searching for a particular topic. This helps you test your assumptions of how many people are really searching for something. This will help you choose your title tags, and, even, your content.

It’s not the only tool that online marketers should be using, either. In this video Avinash Kaushik, who is one of the world’s top analytics experts, and now works at Google, gives you other tips for how to use tools like this one, along with measurement tools to refactor your Web site’s content.

Are you doing this stuff? Why/why not?

For those of you who do use this tool, do you have any advice for people who are discovering what this tool does for the first time?

82 thoughts on “The most important Google Tool for businesses (that you probably have never used)

  1. not attacking, just stating a fact. Your audience survey was the only reference point you used to draw your conclusion, so what was one to think? I would most certainly love to see the analysis you’ve done with corporate web site title tags and how it correlates to the use of keyword tools. I would find it quite interesting. Do you have your data published somewhere that we can reference? We are in the process of re-vamping our web site to ensure it has optimum reach. But my management needs something beyond an ad populum hypothesis before enacting any changes.

  2. not attacking, just stating a fact. Your audience survey was the only reference point you used to draw your conclusion, so what was one to think? I would most certainly love to see the analysis you’ve done with corporate web site title tags and how it correlates to the use of keyword tools. I would find it quite interesting. Do you have your data published somewhere that we can reference? We are in the process of re-vamping our web site to ensure it has optimum reach. But my management needs something beyond an ad populum hypothesis before enacting any changes.

  3. Hi Robert
    Great to see you in Vegas. You are handling a teleprompter and two cameras deftly! Thanks for the tips, and also for the videos at fastweb.tv. They are very helpful.
    D

  4. Hi Robert
    Great to see you in Vegas. You are handling a teleprompter and two cameras deftly! Thanks for the tips, and also for the videos at fastweb.tv. They are very helpful.
    D

  5. You’re right Robert, many people should know but that doesn’t mean that they do. I’ve been really surprised in the past with a variety of tools that people don’t know about. I had a conversation the other day with a well informed colleague and mentioned something about Google insights…she hadn’t heard about it…she is one of the smartest most informed people that I know.
    I read and track so much that even I forget about great tools to check out. This is one example of how reiterating the same information across multiple sites, sometimes multiple times, isn’t a bad thing. It helps keep people in the know.

  6. You’re right Robert, many people should know but that doesn’t mean that they do. I’ve been really surprised in the past with a variety of tools that people don’t know about. I had a conversation the other day with a well informed colleague and mentioned something about Google insights…she hadn’t heard about it…she is one of the smartest most informed people that I know.
    I read and track so much that even I forget about great tools to check out. This is one example of how reiterating the same information across multiple sites, sometimes multiple times, isn’t a bad thing. It helps keep people in the know.

  7. robert,

    this tool should be used as a benchmark at best. my colleagues have done extensive testing with the google adwords tool (and all the free seo tools out there). people should remember that it is not in google’s best interest to give accurate information about anything. they gives us a few ballpark numbers to play with and we go crazy. the numbers themselves don’t mean anything unless you compare them against other target words you are going after and even then the results are not always accurate. that being said the tool is better than nothing.

    jacob

  8. robert,

    this tool should be used as a benchmark at best. my colleagues have done extensive testing with the google adwords tool (and all the free seo tools out there). people should remember that it is not in google’s best interest to give accurate information about anything. they gives us a few ballpark numbers to play with and we go crazy. the numbers themselves don’t mean anything unless you compare them against other target words you are going after and even then the results are not always accurate. that being said the tool is better than nothing.

    jacob

  9. I’m just starting to learn something about Internet Marketing, though I’ve been (personal) blogging for a while. I figured there had to be some inefficiencies in niche markets for the SEO and IM businesses to grow as much as they had. But what I learned from watching the interview is the inefficiencies are probably a lot bigger than anyone outside the industry might have thought. Even more amazing, some of the most powerful tools that can help uncover this stuff are free. Truly useful information. Thanks.

  10. I’m just starting to learn something about Internet Marketing, though I’ve been (personal) blogging for a while. I figured there had to be some inefficiencies in niche markets for the SEO and IM businesses to grow as much as they had. But what I learned from watching the interview is the inefficiencies are probably a lot bigger than anyone outside the industry might have thought. Even more amazing, some of the most powerful tools that can help uncover this stuff are free. Truly useful information. Thanks.

  11. I use this tool and I recommend it to my clients. So many newbies to internet marketing don’t understand the value of keywords or the value of content. I believe that is why many people fail at internet marketing or they spend way too much money trying to get ahead. I am committed to make a difference by spreading the word that keyword selection and keyword content is imperative to successful internet marketing. By the way, your article is excellent and will spur people to think about using it.

  12. I use this tool and I recommend it to my clients. So many newbies to internet marketing don’t understand the value of keywords or the value of content. I believe that is why many people fail at internet marketing or they spend way too much money trying to get ahead. I am committed to make a difference by spreading the word that keyword selection and keyword content is imperative to successful internet marketing. By the way, your article is excellent and will spur people to think about using it.

  13. Jerry: I have tons of other evidence that most people who produce content on the Web have never used this tool too (all you have to do is visit 100 corporate Web sites and look at their title tags, if you really want to start looking for evidence). But you seem more ready to attack than to have a conversation or learn something new either. Oh well.

  14. Jerry: I have tons of other evidence that most people who produce content on the Web have never used this tool too (all you have to do is visit 100 corporate Web sites and look at their title tags, if you really want to start looking for evidence). But you seem more ready to attack than to have a conversation or learn something new either. Oh well.

  15. @jerry. good point. most of the people in an organization that would use adword keywords tool would not have the time to be at a new media expo show listening to mr. scoble.

  16. @jerry. good point. most of the people in an organization that would use adword keywords tool would not have the time to be at a new media expo show listening to mr. scoble.

  17. ericabiz is correct.. Freekeyword tracker is easier to use compare to this. I don’t have enough experience in blogging but the google tool makes me dumb. I’ts hard to use maybe because I don’t have enough knowledge on it.

  18. ericabiz is correct.. Freekeyword tracker is easier to use compare to this. I don’t have enough experience in blogging but the google tool makes me dumb. I’ts hard to use maybe because I don’t have enough knowledge on it.

  19. or it could also be a 1/3rd of the audience didn’t raise their hands because they’ve been out of grade school for years. Nice post on the tool, but I wouldn’t put any credence whatsoever in your “poll”. But that’s just me. I prefer to use polling that is more statistically accurate to draw conclusions. I could very well be in the minority with that type of thinking.

  20. or it could also be a 1/3rd of the audience didn’t raise their hands because they’ve been out of grade school for years. Nice post on the tool, but I wouldn’t put any credence whatsoever in your “poll”. But that’s just me. I prefer to use polling that is more statistically accurate to draw conclusions. I could very well be in the minority with that type of thinking.

  21. This tool is great. I use it for SEO and I’ve come across several other tools. I’ve even tried SEO software, and they have a feature called KEI. This cool little feature calculates a words value based on how many people are searching for it and how many competitors are competing for that very same word. I find it to be a time saver.

  22. This tool is great. I use it for SEO and I’ve come across several other tools. I’ve even tried SEO software, and they have a feature called KEI. This cool little feature calculates a words value based on how many people are searching for it and how many competitors are competing for that very same word. I find it to be a time saver.

  23. Erica it may be easier to use, but the difference in quality of predicted searches is extrem. Wordtracker and co are good for nice searching around and synonyms but other than that, combine googles tool with other systems if you want results.

  24. Erica it may be easier to use, but the difference in quality of predicted searches is extrem. Wordtracker and co are good for nice searching around and synonyms but other than that, combine googles tool with other systems if you want results.

  25. There are a few more tools that you are missing here:

    + Google webmasters tools
    http://google.com/webmasters/tools

    This for checking out how Google looks at your site organically.

    + Google traffic estimator
    https://adwords.google.com/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox

    To see “some” competitors activities.

    Lots of mistakes are made by these tools. The estimation of traffic is not by any means what you should use as a tool for a business case. The real traffic and analysis will come from running test (A/B tests, multi variant, etc).

  26. There are a few more tools that you are missing here:

    + Google webmasters tools
    http://google.com/webmasters/tools

    This for checking out how Google looks at your site organically.

    + Google traffic estimator
    https://adwords.google.com/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox

    To see “some” competitors activities.

    Lots of mistakes are made by these tools. The estimation of traffic is not by any means what you should use as a tool for a business case. The real traffic and analysis will come from running test (A/B tests, multi variant, etc).

  27. Hey Scoble,

    I’m currently the Tech Lead for the suggestion systems as part of the keyword tool. We’ve been working on improving the quality of these systems for a while now. A couple of related features/products you might want to try out (also out of the Kirkland/Seattle Google office):

    1) Campaign Optimizer — http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=52944 — We take a look at your entire campaign (as opposed to the Keyword Tool that only works at the adgroup level) and make suggestions on how to improve it, including setting your budget, bids, keywords and common creative gotchas.

    2) Website Optimizer — http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer — tools to set up and track both simple A/B UI experiments on your page and more sophisticated multivariant experiments.

    (I’m going to cross post this to FF)

    Joe

  28. Hey Scoble,

    I’m currently the Tech Lead for the suggestion systems as part of the keyword tool. We’ve been working on improving the quality of these systems for a while now. A couple of related features/products you might want to try out (also out of the Kirkland/Seattle Google office):

    1) Campaign Optimizer — http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=52944 — We take a look at your entire campaign (as opposed to the Keyword Tool that only works at the adgroup level) and make suggestions on how to improve it, including setting your budget, bids, keywords and common creative gotchas.

    2) Website Optimizer — http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer — tools to set up and track both simple A/B UI experiments on your page and more sophisticated multivariant experiments.

    (I’m going to cross post this to FF)

    Joe

  29. This tool is definitely an extremely useful one for anyone with a website. To start off, I would enter your website, to get an idea of how Google views your website. Then, you should enter in successul competitors websites, and see what sort of keywords come up. You might discover a few popular niches that you have been missing, even though they are related to your interests.

    The most important field to look at is the number of monthly searches. Often you will find different ways to phrase things that can suddenly yield quite a bit more traffic (for example: “optimizing adsense” vs. “optimize adsense”). You will want to start exploring all keywords which relate to your interests, and write down a list of all the high traffic ones. Refer to this list when making titles,tags, categories, or anywhere else. It also helps to have a high density of these keywords in posts or articles.

    Other useful information you can gather from this tool include the advertiser competition, and average CPC. Often times you will be writing about a very niche topic that might not have too much search volume, but that yields very high payouts for AdSense, and other revenue streams. Keep track of these highly competitive keywords, and use then just as you do the high traffic ones.

    The other thing you you can to with these keywords is create forced searches through your site with them. By driving people to search your site on these keywords, you will get a higher yield than if the users were to simply search for a related phrase on their own.

    The AdWords tool us by no means exact, but once you get familiar with it, you will find it indispensable. It was meant for advertiser, but it is excellent for publishers.

  30. This tool is definitely an extremely useful one for anyone with a website. To start off, I would enter your website, to get an idea of how Google views your website. Then, you should enter in successul competitors websites, and see what sort of keywords come up. You might discover a few popular niches that you have been missing, even though they are related to your interests.

    The most important field to look at is the number of monthly searches. Often you will find different ways to phrase things that can suddenly yield quite a bit more traffic (for example: “optimizing adsense” vs. “optimize adsense”). You will want to start exploring all keywords which relate to your interests, and write down a list of all the high traffic ones. Refer to this list when making titles,tags, categories, or anywhere else. It also helps to have a high density of these keywords in posts or articles.

    Other useful information you can gather from this tool include the advertiser competition, and average CPC. Often times you will be writing about a very niche topic that might not have too much search volume, but that yields very high payouts for AdSense, and other revenue streams. Keep track of these highly competitive keywords, and use then just as you do the high traffic ones.

    The other thing you you can to with these keywords is create forced searches through your site with them. By driving people to search your site on these keywords, you will get a higher yield than if the users were to simply search for a related phrase on their own.

    The AdWords tool us by no means exact, but once you get familiar with it, you will find it indispensable. It was meant for advertiser, but it is excellent for publishers.

  31. Very cool, a great tool for ranking. Not to be to negative could we get to a point where these tools are counter productive and cause search results to be more span than useful?

  32. Very cool, a great tool for ranking. Not to be to negative could we get to a point where these tools are counter productive and cause search results to be more span than useful?

  33. It is a great tool for optimizing one’s website.

    We use it about 5 times daily for our clients.

    Before that, we used the former Overture keyword suggestion tool – for years.

    Those tools were essential and valuable resources getting rankings for phrases you might have never thought of.

    Mastering those tools can actually quadruple your Website traffic for relevant search terms – even if you don’t use PPC

  34. It is a great tool for optimizing one’s website.

    We use it about 5 times daily for our clients.

    Before that, we used the former Overture keyword suggestion tool – for years.

    Those tools were essential and valuable resources getting rankings for phrases you might have never thought of.

    Mastering those tools can actually quadruple your Website traffic for relevant search terms – even if you don’t use PPC

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