To SEM or Not To SEM, Part 3

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To SEM or Not To SEM, Part 3

In our last article, we talked about finding answers to some questions. We also mentioned the necessity of becoming knowledgeable about one’s products and services. Most importantly, we need to know and understand why people would look for them. Armed with these questions and bits of information, we are about ready to think like a customer.

Before we go into the Google Ads Keyword Tool, it helps if we to do some basic ‘field’ research or spot SWOT analysis. Fire up your favorite browser, open up a major search engine site, and ask yourself this question:

If you were someone who needs one of those products or services,
what relevant term(s) or phrases would you search for?

Enter whatever pops up off the top of your head (2 to 4 keywords would be great) in the search field and see what comes out on the search results page.

Your top competition for potential customers who use those keywords are the companies or businesses whose web sites show up in the first 10 results entries (excluding anything extraneous like wikipedia entries, the usual entry for images, references inside documents like PDFs, and advertising.) If your website is in the list, then a thumbs-up is in order. It means you’re doing alright in relation to the keywords/phrases you used.

If you haven’t done so already, we suggest that you make a copy of these website addresses along with the keywords/phrases you used. We will use the keywords and the top 10 entries (excluding yours if its there) of the results page as our guide for working on our web site’s keywords. It’s time to fire up the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Once you’ve entered your data and clicked on the Search button, the tool populates the two tabs below the form with its ideas. The first tab (Keyword Ideas) gives us keyword suggestions and also provides per-idea statistics. The second tab (Ad Group Ideas) presents the keyword ideas organized in what are called Ad Groups (a set of keywords that can be used to support an ad campaign.) At the moment, we’re not really interested in starting an ad campaign, so we can ignore the second tab’s contents.The tool bases its ‘ideas’ on the keywords/phrases and other data you enter in the form that’s provided. Use the words/phrases you used in the search engine. As an option, you can also enter your website’s URL in the field provided. This allows the tool to extract and use your website’s existing meta keywords in its search for keyword/phrase ideas.


What we would like to do is to come up with a list of keywords and phrases we can use in editing our existing website content, as a guide for producing future content and for modifying our website’s SEO meta data. We can use this keyword tool to help us come up with ideas for other words and phrases to add to our list. To help us in our selection process, we suggest using the two statistics as basis.

Just so we’re clear, the first statistic, Competition, gives us a general idea of the number of ads that use each keyword, while the Global/Local Monthly Searches statistic gives us the number of searches that occur monthly that use each keyword. To give you a boost, here’s a general rule of thumb you can follow:

Select keywords/phrases that have a high Local Monthly Search value,
and a Medium or High Competition rate.

Below are some tips and words of caution when using this tool and selecting keywords:

  • As we mentioned in the previous article, the tool may provide some results that are not appropriate for your business. Having said this, knowing what is and is not appropriate for your business offerings will allow you to make more intelligent keyword/phrase choices.
  • To reach customers more effectively, select specific keywords that directly relate to your business’s offerings.
  • Be careful not to make keywords too specific. If you do, your site may not show up in as many peoples’ search result pages.
  • Take some time to go through the Google Adwords Help website. There’s a lot of info in there that you can use to make your keyword lists and selection process more effective. As a sampler, take a look at some of these help topics that can be found in that information treasure trove:

In our next and final article, we’ll walk through a simple live test to test the effectiveness of the keyword list we’ve come up with. In the meantime, if you have any questions or wish to try out our SEM and other services, please feel free to get in touch with us via our Contact page.


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