Are you using Google Suggest to supplement your keyword research? I was talking to one of our clients the other day about keyword research and which keywords we both felt were best for his site and business. I would love to mention his site here and drop a link but because we are considered our clients “secret weapon” they typically do not want to reveal their search engine marketing secrets to their competitors.
As we were talking he mentioned something about “this keyword shows up in the drop down menu” whereas “this keyword does not”. I had no idea what he was talking about so I asked him for clarification. He was referring to “Google Suggest”. Google suggest is what you see when you start typing a query in to Google.com. Google is trying to guess at what they think you want to find and it can give you some great insight in to what potential searchers may be using to find your products, service or information. After doing some research I realized this is not exactly a new concept but certainly one worth visiting.
My clients rationale was when someone starts typing his keyword in to Google what comes up first in the suggest list MUST be a “good” keyword. Is his rationale right? I think it’s pretty safe to say it is.
After our conversation I went to Google.com and started typing in “link building service” which is one of our primary keywords here at Vertical Measures. By time I got to “link bu” I immediately spotted a new keyword we had not been focusing on. See illustration below:
The fine folks over at SEOmoz had a post on their YOUmoz blog about this same concept recently if you want to read their take. Tony Soric also did a nice piece on it last year you can read here as well.
Here are some quick tips if you want to use Google Suggest for supplementing your keyword research:
- Open notepad or your favorite text editor
- Be sure to sign out of your Google account
- Type one letter at a time and watch carefully! As you type each keystroke can reveal some valuable keywords.
- The words that show up first in the suggestions with the fewest keystrokes are the most competitive which means they may not necessarily be the best.
- Watch carefully as some words disappear as you type
- As you see possible keywords add them to the list in notepad each on a new line
- Repeat with other variations of your keywords
- When done use the free Google adwords keyword research tool and check the search volume of the keywords. The reason I had you create the list in notepad and one per line is because now you can just copy and paste the whole list in at once. Be sure to click the link that says “filter my results” and check the box that says “Don’t show ideas for new keywords. I only want to see data about the keywords I entered.” Since these keywords did show in Google suggest it’s safe to assume they have search volume but this tool will allow you to quickly see which have the highest.
- Sort by either global or local search volume and export
- Because you may have chosen keywords that are trending now but may not have solid long term search interest you may want to consider checking them in Google Insights before you bet the whole farm on them.
We would love to hear more about your experiences using Google Suggest for keyword research or any other keyword research “secret weapons” you would care to share with us and our visitors below in the comments.