Gini Dietrich

Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Ideas

By: Gini Dietrich | December 13, 2012 | 

GEEK ALERT! Last night at dinner, I sat between Andy Crestodina and Jeannie Walters and we talked about content. Yes, we are a bunch of geeks who find this interesting dinner talk.

You see, like anyone else, we all have trouble coming up with ideas. And, she was lamenting how she doesn’t come up in search results around certain terms.

Andy whipped out his phone, brought up the Google Keyword Tool, and asked Jeannie what she thought the keywords were that she should appear for in search results.

She said customer experience. Andy typed in that phrase and then showed her the results.

He explained the global monthly searches means 135,00 people search for that term around the world and 49,500 people search for it in the U.S.

That gives her a pretty good idea of what she has to do, in terms of educating potential clients on the term so the searches increase. But also that the competition for the term is medium, which means she’s probably competing with deeper pockets and resources for the term.

But that’s okay. She knows a few things now: She should create a page on her site called “customer experience” (with navigation in the home page to it).

(BTW, when I’m logged into my Google account and search “customer experience” her new Google+ community pops up on the first page. So she’s already ranking and doesn’t even know it. Google already loves that she has that community.)

Then, Andy took it a step further. He scrolled down so she could see what Google suggests she should rank for when people search the term.

You can see there are lots of suggestions. But he recommended she focus only on the ones with low local monthly searches to start.

For instance, on her newly created customer experience page, she should have examples, case studies, testimonials, white papers, or other content that talk about customer experience strategy, customer experience research, and customer experience improvement.

Jeannie walked away from dinner with a full belly and some great ideas for content that will keep her busy for at least a few weeks.

And I walked away with a really good reminder (and a blog post) on how easy it is to create content when you’re stumped.

Now it’s your turn. How can you use this advice to create your own content?

(Ignore this, I’m testing something with SEO. Connect with Gini on .)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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82 responses to “Use the Google Keyword Tool for Content Ideas”

  1. flemingsean says:

    That’s really useful! Thanks for sharing Gini.

  2. This is perfect! Google has so much stuff that I probably am not even aware of 10 percent of it, this included. I’m going to use it to put together content ideas right now.

  3. And she laughed a lot.

  4. Sweeeeeeeet. @crestodina is one smart dude.

  5. This reminds me… I’ve been meaning to read up on Google+ Communities. Thanks Gini!

  6. RebeccaTodd says:

    Thanks for this! I do not use the suite of google tools to its full capacity. But what I really like about this post is a bunch of intelligent professionals, so passionate about their work, do not need to distinguish between “social” and “work” and freely encourage each other to grow and succeed. Your real life tribe sounds just as solid as your virtual one. Impressive.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @RebeccaTodd I have some very smart friends. In this group last night, there were a bunch of entrepreneurs so it’s fun to discuss leadership and growth and profitability with other people who are going through the same things.

  7. jeanniecw says:

    Now we have to do this, right?

  8. Great idea to use Google as and idea generator. I will try it out, when I have finished to write down my existing ideas for my blog postings…
    Cheers from Germany

  9. lbatzer says:

    This is really great thanks @ginidietrich for sharing.  Now I just have to connect the dots 1) pick a key work I want/think I should be ranking for, 2) use this nifty tool to see what the competition I am up again, 3) pick one a related local, low ranking key word (is competition is high around the initial word, 4) write, write and write some more.  Sounds easy enough 😉  Humm, now to select the keyword …

    • ginidietrich says:

      @lbatzer One little recommendation? Think about the types of questions you get from clients and prospects (if you sit in new business meetings). Those are the kinds of things people also search when they’re looking for a PR person or firm. For instance, I get a lot of, “What’s the difference between what you do and marketing?” So I wrote a blog post on that. Does that help?

      • lbatzer says:

        @ginidietrich Definitely.  It is so easy to get think “everyone knows that” (at least for me),client questions help me realize what information I take for granted.

    • Carmelo says:

      @lbatzer  @ginidietrich it seems to me that a higher volume word (of a keyword phrase that suits your audience) is what you would want. As long as the competition is low. In the example stated here, if Jeannie liked “what is customer service experience” she could “win” with that phrase. (8100 local search volume and “low” competition) That phrase probably doesn’t fit her audience, I know.
      I realize you’d get lost in the crowd with the highest volume words but anything under 10,000 searches should be doable? (under 50,000 – 100,000 even?)
      So, I think I would want the highest possible “relevant” keyword that had the lowest competition as long as it wasn’t a huge number. am I all wrong??

      • crestodina says:

        @Carmelo  @lbatzer  The low / med / high competition shown here is actually for AdWords, not for organic competition. But you can bet that if the phrase gets 10,000 searches per month, it’s competitive. 
        I think evaluating keyphrase competition is one of the most difficult parts of SEO. It’s all relative to the “domain authority” of the sites that rank for the phrase, compared to the domain authority of your site …so it’s tricky.
        Generally speaking, if you stick with phrases that get hundreds (not thousands) of searches, you’ll have a good chance of ranking well.
        …unless you’re guest blogging on a famous site with a powerful domain, like Spin Sucks. I love guest posting on sites like this because you can more easily rank for tough phrases. It’s like borrowing someone’s Ferrari. Thanks for lending me the keys, @ginidietrich!

  10. dwaynealicie says:

    Fascinating.  Did fireworks just go off in my head? I think there are also implications here for helping explain content marketing to non-believers. “X people are searching for Y and aren’t currently finding you.” Have I made that connection correctly?  And it’s nice to know it’s okay to be a marketing geek!

  11. Carmelo says:

    Keyword research is so tricky … especially to a non-geek like me. And especially when you hear about Google’s penguins and pandas and changing their algorithms almost daily. it’s hard to know who’s slapping whom these days and for what reason! Makes me want to dine with Crestodina myself!
    Yet, at the same time, I suppose that good content is good content and if you’re not out there to snag unsuspecting buyers with crappy stuff, you should be alright, huh? All their changes are really designed to make searching more effective.

  12. Kim Clink says:

    Great article.  I do love that Keyword Tool.  
    I find it is really helpful to take a webpage url and plug it into the KW tool to see how Google reads my content in relation to keywords.

  13. chelpixie says:

    Gini, have you tried the search logged out as well.  Google’s “Search Plus Your World” gives you rankings based on your relationships. You should always log out of Google to see the true results for your efforts.
    And I *love* this idea. 🙂

    • Listen to @chelpixie , @ginidietrich . She rules.

    • crestodina says:

      @chelpixie There’s a little button to “de-personalize” your search results in the top right of Google for those who are logged in.  You can toggle between the little person (personalized results) or the globe (for de-personalized results). It’s a little faster than logging in and logging out…

      • chelpixie says:

        @crestodina Neat.  Have you compared the two searches to see if they are indeed different? (Curious!)

        • crestodina says:

          @chelpixie Yup! They’re almost always different. It depends on who you circled and what they share. If I circle you and you share something about juggling clowns, it might affect what I see next time I search for a circus. 🙂

        • chelpixie says:

          @crestodina I’m wondering if the “de-personalization” works as well as logging out.  Good to know. 
          I know that it’s vastly different when you are logged in vs. when you are logged out. In fact, I wrote about my displeasure of it when ‘Search Plus Your World’ hit Google.

        • crestodina says:

          @chelpixie I know! Frustrating…
          It’s probably impossible to ever see a completely neutral search. Probably, every search is personalized at least a bit.  Have you ever tried It’s supposed to strip out some search signals like personalization. But I just use a separate browser that’s never logged into G+

    • ginidietrich says:

      @chelpixie Yeah – I only looked at it while I was logged in. I was too lazy to log out and redo the search. 🙂

  14. AnneReuss says:

    You and Andy make so much sense. Rock on!

  15. Carmelo says:

    @timbo1973  I think of keyword research as an adjunct to what you want to really say. Google is trying to reward “natural” writing and not keyword stuffed writing that is designed for rankings only. So, you’re probably on the right track!
    Nice to meet you Timbo … this is a great place to hang out and learn! @ginidietrich Gini can be awfully mean at times, however. So keep your guard up! (She’s going to make me pay for that.)

  16. ExtremelyAvg says:

    I’ve been wondering something about the nature of blog readers. We all want to build a following and finding the sticky readers is tough. Gini has succeeded, because one can simply pick ten posts at random and many of the comments will be from familiar faces.
    My question is, do people who leave comments and become regular readers, all have their own blogs?
    I ask, because I feel like the tipping point for a blog is when she or he can find a readership that is loyal from outside the blogging community.
    Is using SEO and ideas like you suggested here, the key to finding that non-blogger readership?
    I feel I’m on the cusp of an epiphany…any help in pushing me over the edge into that pit of “caring about SEO” would be greatly appreciated.

    • @ExtremelyAvg It depends. Depends on your goals, on what you’re writing about and who you’re writing for. You can accomplish ALL those things “without” SE). You just need to be super awesome and tap into a community that will share your stuff. think of The Oatmeal as an example. His stuff is not done in an “SEO” way – but its shared nonetheless, by raving fans.
      I think there’s a “community” or “market” out there for nearly everyone. People who like to knit socks? There’s an expert out there somewhere doing great blogs, vlogs or podcasts, I bet.

  17. ginidietrich says:

    @timbo1973 First, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you! Secondly, be careful with the crazies here. They are, in fact, crazy.
    While Andy was showing Jeannie some things last night, I thought, “OMG! The Arment Dietrich site doesn’t have an integrated marketing communications page on it.” How would Google know to send people there if we’re not talking about it? Jeez.

  18. I think too many people get way too fixated on a single phrase and then miss out greatly on the low hanging fruit of their industry, with much less competition.
    Google Keyword tool is a great idea generator for long tails but I also recommend a very inexpensive tool that rocks– Long Tail Pro.
    Good stuff G’ 🙂

  19. JayBaer says:

    You might also investigate and that suggest keywords to you based on volume + competition while you’re writing. Both have excellent WordPress plug-ins, too. 
    Also, when we’re doing major content marketing strategies for clients, we overlay deep keyword research with social chatter analysis. Helps flesh out trends and topics.

  20. JVON says:

    This is one of the core things you should definitely be doing when you’re doing keyword research. I recently read a short study (I can’t find it again, sorry!) that went through and looked at the relevance between Bing and Google keywords. It found that (at least for the terms used) Bing had more relevant suggestions to the product the study was done for. Might be worth to check out Bing if you feel like Google didn’t provide what you think it should have and then run it through AdWords to check the Google inventory as well.

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