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Knowing how to search keywords on Google (who gets 80% of the search traffic) is fundamental to your success as an online business owner.

Here’s why:

Over 1 BILLION websites are online today and over 3 billion people are active internet users. Which makes it super important you break through the noise.

image: global internet use and penetration

And the right keywords will help you slice through the mayhem like a hot knife through buttah.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to find the most searched keywords on Google using the free Keyword Planner Tool so you can start optimizing your content and get more traffic.

(I came up with keywords and topics for 11 blog posts in just 33 minutes – see how I did it)

What is a keyword for a website?

Keywords are what someone types into a search bar when they’re looking for a topic. And search engines then deliver results based on the websites that most closely resemble that search.

But, while most closely associated with SEO, keywords are much more than that.

These terms are what drive organic traffic, which is what we all want: to have our content found by people who we can help and become the go-to expert.

If it’s not done right (or at all), keyword research can have some pretty big consequences, like:

    Being invisible to people – think of non-optimized websites as playing in the world’s largest game of “Where’s Waldo?”

  • Driving the wrong traffic
  • Content that gets ignored

keyword research | Lisa-May Huby

How to find keywords for SEO

Most people think that choosing a keyword is as simple as whatever it is you do or sell.

For example, if I ran a dog training business, then my keyword would naturally be “dog training”, right?


While “dog training” might be at the heart of my business, the keyword for my specific page or blog post could be a topic related to dog training, but not that term itself.

For instance, if I’m writing content that’s related to housebreaking a puppy – clearly something that’s related to dog training – it will have keywords suited specifically to that topic.

When selecting a keyword or phrase, it’s important to keep these things in mind:

– Is my keyword related to something people are actually interested in? (ie. are people actually searching for it?)
– Is my keyword specific or broad?
– How high is the competition for my keyword?
– Will people who find me using the search term get the answers to their questions?
– Will the traffic this keyword brings me help me reach my goals?

You also need to consider that there are three types of searches.

The 3 types of online searches

What people search for online can be boiled down to 3 basic types:

  1. Information – they want to know specifics on a topic, like how to train a puppy
  2. Navigation – looking to reach a specific website, eg. PetsMart Canada
  3. Transactions – where the person is ready to interact with the website in some way, eg. buying a doggy door, or applying for a pet insurance quote, etc.

This is important to know because an ecommerce store selling physical products will use very different keywords than say, a consultant who’s building their business with content marketing.

Let’s look at an example.

You have an ecommerce store that sells men’s luxury watches. Your keyword considerations might look like:

  • Men’s luxury watches
  • Men’s watches
  • Best men’s luxury watches
  • Men’s luxury watches on sale
  • Cheap men’s luxury watches
  • Stylish men’s watches online

Notice how these keywords are more transaction-focused. They reflect what someone ready to buy a men’s watch might search for online.

Now, if you’re a consultant, your keywords might look like this:

  • How to do X
  • Best way to do X
  • 7 ways to do X in 2018
  • What is X?

Notice how these keywords are more informational in nature.

See the difference?

Okay, so now that you understand the basics of why keyword research is important, it’s time to show you how to find the most searched keywords on Google.

How to find keywords using google keyword planner: A tutorial | Lisa-May Huby

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How to search keywords on Google

Watch this short video for a quick walkthrough of the Google Keyword Planner.

First, go to:

how to search keywords on Google

…then log into your Google account, or create one (it’s free).

Navigate to “Tools” in the main menu, then select “Keyword Planner” in the drop-down.

how to find keywords for seo

You’ll then see a screen like this one:

Select “Search for new keywords”, and enter the search term or keyword you want to see results for.

Test out your search terms with both broad and more specific keywords related to your niche. For example, if you search for “yoga” – an extremely broad keyword – you’ll see different results than if you search for “yoga retreats” or “yoga for busy women”.

You’ll probably find that the broader your search term is, the more competitive (and therefore more difficult) it will be to rank for. Additionally, Google loves “big brands” with higher domain and page authority, which means they pretty much “own” these broad search terms, making it even more difficult to try and rank for them.

Great thing is, you can find and rank for “unpopular” searches by going after long tail keywords, which are lower-hanging fruit.

Next, refine your search further. These are optional, but will help you narrow down the results.

what is a keyword for a website | Lisa-May Huby

You can narrow the targeting to see only specific results. Just click the pen icon to edit each section. For instance, you can change what country or language to get results for, or even date range.

find the most searched keywords on google

Tip: Set negative keywords to eliminate certain results. For example, I set my negative keywords to “free” and “near me” so I don’t see results for free items or local businesses.

Then, customize your search further based on volume, bid, or competition.

(Note: Ad impression share shows you how many impressions your ad has received. Unless you’re an AdWords advertiser, you can ignore this.)

You can also choose to show only results for keywords that contain a specific term. For example, “puppy training”.

Enter the term you only want to see results for, and click Save.

Once you’ve refined your search criteria, click “Get ideas” to see the results.

How to find search volume data and trends for existing keywords

If you want to see volume results for a list of keywords you already have, this is useful. But, it won’t help with finding any new keyword ideas.

how do you rank for keywords | Lisa-May Huby

To use this feature, simply copy and paste your keywords list or upload your .csv file, adjust your targeting (just like you did in the previous section).

Once you’ve set and refined your search criteria, click “Get search volume” to find out how many people searched for the keywords you entered.

How to find keywords for SEO by multiplying lists

A particularly useful feature of the Keyword Planner tool is the ability to plug in mix and match keywords for a mashup of virtually endless keyword combinations, without straining your brain.

Here’s how it works:

First, enter a list of keywords into List 1. Then, enter another list into List 2. If you want to add a third list, click the grey “x”, then add the keywords to the List 3 box.

how do I choose keywords for SEO

When you’re done populating your lists, click “Get search volume” to see what keyword gold the tool has generated for you.

No matter which of the three options you choose to uncover keywords, they’ll all bring you to the Keyword Results Page, which looks like this:

What you’re seeing here is the average monthly search volume for keywords associated with your search term.

As you can see, our search term “dog training” returned 1 million to 10 million average monthly related searches – that’s a lot of people looking for help training Fido and Fifi.

To see different results, you can always modify or edit your search by using the refinements available.

Tip: To make it easier to see more relevant results, I find helpful to sort the Average monthly searches in decreasing order.

If you’re happy with what’s come back, you can download the results to your computer or save directly to your Google Drive.

Sometimes your search doesn’t turn up what you were hoping for…or maybe you’re just having a tough time figuring out related terms for your niche.

In that case, the “Ad group ideas” tab is an excellent source of related keywords grouped together by topic.

By clicking on the “Ad group ideas” tab in our example, it returns these results:

To see keywords in each grouping, simply click on the Ad group name.

In this case, I’ve selected “Puppy Classes”, and received a handful of potential keywords. (Notice the “in my area” result? If I don’t want to see it again, I can simply add “in my area” to my negative keywords.)

In addition to serving up Average monthly searches per search term, Google also categorizes each by how competitive the terms are.

To see exact search volume data, you need to be running an active Adwords campaign. Otherwise, you’ll just see a range.

But these ranges are helpful in choosing keywords, since you can tell the popularity of a term by how high the monthly search volume is.

Obviously, the higher the volume the better that keyword is, because it means more people are searching for it. But that shouldn’t be your main deciding factor. Truth is, choosing a super high-volume search term is usually harder to rank for than selecting a more “unpopular” search term that has slightly lower volume.

You also don’t want to go too far in the other direction and choose a search term that’s so unpopular that very few people are using it.

For instance, trying to rank for “puppy training classes” might be a challenge, given the monthly search volume of 1k – 10k.

On the other hand, “cheap puppy training classes” have a pretty low search volume, of just 10 – 100, which indicates there’s not many people looking for this.

So, try for somewhere in the middle, say 100 – 1k. In our example, “puppy socialization class” would be a good keyword to try and rank for.

You’ll notice that Google ranks search results by Low, Medium and High. While these classifications aren’t very specific, they’re still excellent indicators of how difficult it would be to rank for certain terms.

And that’s it!

Now you should have an impressive list of potential keywords you can start using to optimize your content.

When you find a good candidate, don’t be afraid to dig deeper by using it as your main keyword search in order to get a whole new list of different results.

You never know what you’ll find:)

Over to you: What’s your biggest headache when it comes to finding keywords for your niche? 

Let me know in the comments!