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The Google Keyword Tool

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The Google keyword tool is an extremely useful tool for looking at potential market sizes, search volumes and competitiveness of keywords in any given market.

A major part of local SEO is performing keyword research to determine which keywords are going to be most profitable to target when optimising your website.

How to use the Google Keyword Tool

The Google keyword tool can give you keyword ideas, traffic estimations, and uncover some really good suggestions for new content on your website.  It can also be used to do detailed research on the keywords your competitors are using as well as finding new keywords to use on your website.

Once you arrive at the tool, you need to type in the keyword or phrase that you are looking to do some research on.

The Google Keyword Tool

Once you have entered your keyword and specified the country you are interested in, then a list of results will be displayed.

The Keyword Tool in action for the keyword “books”.

Keyword – The first column lists the different keyword ideas that related to keyword you have typed in. This list contains a wealth of keyword ideas, new markets and even new products that you could expand into.

Competition Level – Either high, medium or low.  The higher the competition, the more expensive and therefore more valuable the keyword is.

Global Volume – Shows the total number of searches from around the world. If you are only targeting one country or a specific location, this figure isn’t really useful.

Local Monthly Searches – This is the most useful metric. This shows the estimated number of monthly searches in your specified location. These numbers are hard and fast – they are more a guide of the relative volume compared to the other keywords.

Keyword Match Types

Google Match Types

In order to get the best results out of using the keyword tool, you need to take into consideration the three different match types of keywords:

  • Broad match
  • “Phrase match”
  • [Exact match]

When you are using the tool, it is a good idea to only use phrase and exact match to do your keyword research as the broad match includes synonyms of keywords and can often contain totally different meanings.

The examples below are taken directly from Google’s explanation of how the match types work.

Broad match:

Broad match keyword: Ads may show on searches for:
tennis shoes tennis
buy tennis shoes
tennis shoe photos
running shoes
tennis sneakers

Phrase match:

Phrase match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
“tennis shoes” red tennis shoes
buy tennis shoes
tennis shoes photo
shoes for tennis
tennis shoe
tennis sneakers

Exact match:

Exact match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
[tennis shoes] tennis shoes red tennis shoes
tennis shoe
buy tennis shoes


How to use the Keyword Data

The best way to use the Google keyword tool is in discovering new keywords that you hadn’t thought of, as well as discovering the relative volumes and competitveness of various keywords.  The total number of searches are to be taken as more of an indication of relative volumes rather than actual number of searches made.

Once you have identified the most valuable keywords in your market, you need to start optimising your website’s content for these particular phrases. This can be done by changing your page titles to include these new keywords, and creating new blog posts or static content on your website specifically targeting these keywords.

Google Insights for Search

More detailed researched can be done using the Google Insights for search. This is a very useful tool and SEO Book has done a great analysis on how to use it. It can be used to give you a better understanding of the relative volumes of various keywords as they compare to each other.

This can be very useful for working out what terminology searchers tend to use when looking for certain products or services.

Google Insights for Search


The Google Keyword tool is a very useful little tool for discovering new keywords, finding the relative competition and estimating approximate search volumes for particular keywords in your market.

To get the most valuable keyword insights from the Google keyword tool, it should be used in conjunction with other keyword/market research tools such as Google Insights for search, Wordtracker Keyword Tool, your website analytics and your general knowledge about your market.

So give it a try, you might uncover some new ideas for content or even a new market for your website to target!

About Andrew Webber

I'm an avid basketballer who is passionate about internet marketing. I love local SEO and helping small business get more visibility. I am also the founder of SEO Maverick. Find me on Google+ at +Andrew Webber
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There are 5 comments. Add yours.

  1. Sam

    Hey Andrew,

    Nice write up! Really informative and easy to read.

    Question – how can I find out how much keywords will cost me if I want to use them for Google Ads? How exactly does all that Cost Per Click jazz work?

    • Thanks for the feedback Sam!

      There is another tool called the Google Traffic Estimator – that allows you to plug in a few variables including; keyword, bid price and daily ad budget to give you some rough estimations for your: estimated daily clicks and estimated ad position based on the bid price and ad budget your enter for that keyword.

      If you already have a Google Adwords account set up, then you will be able to find this tool under “tools and analysis” heading. You might be able to find more information in my pay per click marketing section or the resource section for Google Adwords!

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SEO Maverick is an Adelaide SEO and website design agency specialising in local SEO services. Director Andrew Webber has been in the online marketing industry for over 8 years and has worked with some of Australia's biggest brands including: Elders, Rural Bank, Cancer Council and Ouwens Casserly.

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