“I despise paid advertising in search engines, as it’s against the main rules – top rank is for the best resources, not the best-paid ones! I’d better invest in SEO software.” Have you ever heard thoughts like this one? Me too. But instead of starting a tantrum on “how evil ppc is,” I’d better make use of some of the AdWords tools for my SEO campaigns!
In this article, you will discover how to manage your keyword analysis, where to find websites to place your ads at, test landing pages, check search rankings, and build tightly themed keyword lists.
No more captcha in keyword analysis
The keyword tool provided by Google has been sooo much appreciated by SEOs-it does provide valuable information in a clear, concise way. But, using the external keyword tool is not that convenient, as you have to type in an anti-spam captcha each time your session expires. Besides, you are limited to the first 100 results, and this fact bothers me much-much more. I want to get the whole picture of the search behavior, and think you’ll agree with me. So, let’s see what you need to do to unlock the powers of the keyword tool =)
1. Login to your Google account
2. Go to adwords.google.com/
3. You’ll be redirected to the AdWords interface where you need to set your time zone and currency preferences. Click Next.
4. Congrats! Your AdWords account has been created. All you need now is sign in.
5. Go to the Tools and Analysis tab and choose the Keywords tool. Now you have a fully-functional tool that shows times more keywords for free.
I carried out a tiny experiment. To learn what I could have missed without signing up for the account, I made the same query in Google AdWords, and in the external keyword tool, it was winnie the pooh book (just watched the 1977th version of the Disney cartoon and got inspired =) So, without the AdWords account, I wouldn’t be able to learn about such related keywords, as
winnie the pooh poetry 1,600 searches
winnie the pooh colouring book 1,900 searches
pooh puzzles 3,600 searches
Probably, someone would be interested in misspellings and variations:
winniethepooh 8,100 searches
win the pooh 9,900 searches
Now, you know how to find more keywords for your SEO activities, and if you haven’t been aware of this opportunity, I recommend you to try it as soon as possible.
Learn about the ad platforms
There may be different reasons for you to learn about the websites that place ads on their pages. For instance, you would like to set up your own Google AdSense account and have no idea how to organize the layout of your ad pages. Or it might be that you yourself would like to advertise, but hate being limited to the two lines of text (not even mentioning brand restrictions, if you are an Apple iPhone developer, you won’t be able to write that in your ad). So now, there’s a chance to learn which websites place ads on their pages.
Again, under the Tools and Analysis tab, you find the Placement tool:
Type in the keywords you are interested in, choose the location and the language (you may even filter your results according to the ad size, demographics, and various devices, but I skipped the step, choosing “All”). Here it is-a complete list of websites that place ads. What can you do next?
a) If you are interested in monetizing your AdSense website, you can analyze the top results, study the layout of the pages, look through the data in the DoubleClick ad planner for Google (available when you click on any URL from results’ list), and work out what you need to do to your pages.
b) If you are interested in placing your ads, but your idea cannot be limited to a tiny text ad or a standard image ad, then you are free to contact the website owners directly and discuss the advertising options with them!
Get smart keywords with the Contextual Targeting Tool
I know I’m obsessed with keywords, but who in the SEO world is not? One more tool to enrich and structure your keyword lists is the Contextual Targeting Tool. According to Google, this tool helps you build tightly themed keyword lists for your Display Network campaigns. But who said you can’t use it to build those keyword lists for just segmenting the topics, optimizing your content, and re-structuring your website within your regular SEO activities? Let’s see how it works.
Type in you keywords, select the location and the language, and press “Search.”
Whatever you topic is, you can analyze your keywords through the categories and groups Google suggests. One more important thing is that when you do SEO for the language you are not so good at (I know it sounds weird, but it’s quite a common thing), you get, so to say, some semantics hints. For instance, I’m interested in the topic of garden schools in German (Gartenakademie), so I just conduct a search and get a number of cool words!
Rank tracking with Google
Though it may be not so fast and easy as with professional rank tracking software, the option I’m going to tell you about still deserves some attention from SEOs.
This time, I’ll choose the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool. Probably, you already know what to do? Right, type in your keyword, choose the location and press “Preview.” The natural question is why on earth I need this tool to check the search results pages, when I can go directly to Google search. The thing is, when you try to go the google.co.uk when you are not actually in the UK, the results will be different. I’ve checked that:
The Google preview tool results
The Google.co.uk results (I’m not in UK and I’m not British)
And I’ve seen it dozens of times. Google identifies your IP address and this can impact the results you are shown. The difference can be slight, but you can try the tool yourself and decide whether it’s worth your time at all. At least, you can do that once and forget about it =)
Testing makes perfect!
The last but not the least tool I wanted to recommend for your Internet Marketing campaigns is Website Optimizer. Yes, much has been written about A/B tests, but as I talk to some of my customers, I realize how neglected this tool is. It’s really easy to use, though you will need some webmaster’s skills for creating the page versions. The main set-up steps are in the image above.
Also, it’s important that the page you test already has a good traffic flow. If it receives only 10 unique visitors per month, the experiment won’t give you enough data to act on. So, choose the page that ranks well.
Some SEOs say that A/B testing is for conversion tuning only and has no connection to SEO. I wouldn’t agree with that, since after running some tests, you’ll be able to see which page has a high bounce rate and little engagement time. Working on the usability issues will help your pages engage users to stay longer on your website, which eventually will be considered by Google in ranking.
Now you know how to:
– Work with the Google keyword tool without captcha and full keyword representation
– Quickly learn about the advertising websites for your keywords
– Use the Contextual targeting tool for building themed keyword groups for your pages
– Check ranking for multiple location with the Ad Preview/Diagnosis tool
– Rank better with the fixed usability issues you may learn in A/B testing
Hopefully, this information will be of use to you. Share your experience and ideas in the comments below!