In our last article, how SEO difficulty scores are calculated. I showed you exactly how to identify how SEO difficulty scores are calculated. By finding those keywords that are “juuuuuust right,” you’ll be able to have YOUR content soar in the vast horizon of the internet. “But Cynthia, but Cynthia,” you might be thinking, “I don’t need to pay for a keyword finder. I can just get ALL THIS GOOD INFO on the internet for free!” Well, yes and no. Sure there are free keyword planning tools. The biggie? Google Keyword Planner. In this article, I’ll show how you can use keyword planner to identify keywords, then discuss exactly why you absolutely shouldn’t. Want to learn more? Keep on reading!
A Quick Introduction to Google Keyword Planner
As a quick caveat, the whole purpose of this article is to show you exactly why you shouldn’t rely on Google KW Planner. Yes, it’s free. But, yes, you will be wasting your time.
If you’re familiar with Google Keyword Planner and just want to cut to the chase, scroll about two paragraphs down. If you want to truly understand Google KW Planner so you can make a more informed decision about keyword selection, then keep reading from here.
What Is Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner (aka Google KW Planner) is a keyword research tool offered by the big G. This tool’s available for free and is a great resource for exploring and generating ideas. (Note: I said “ideas,” not “keywords.” Keep on reading.)
Google makes its Keyword Planner tool available in the AdWords platform. Google AdWords is an advertising platform you can use to market your blog or website. As an adviser, you pay money through AdWords to show text-based ads, graphic ads, video ads, or even in-app ads to market your blog or business.
Why Many People (Incorrectly!) Think You Can Use Keyword Planner to Identify Keywords
There’s a big (HUGE) misconception in the blogging world that you can use keyword planner to identify keywords for your content. In fact, it’s a misbelief that I bought into for a while, wasting a TON of my time.
So why do many people think you can use keyword planner to identify keywords?
Because when you’re on the platform, it kinda looks like you can. Here’s what I mean:
When you enter your keyword in the search box, like shown in the pic above, it seems like you can filter for low competition, high volume keywords. I mean, there’s even a checkbox for low competition, right? Unfortunately, using these filters won’t give us the Goldilocks keywords we’re searching for. To understand why this approach doesn’t work, we need to talk about why the tool exists in the first place.
Why Does Google Keyword Planner Exist?
Google provides the Keyword Finder tool to help advertisers choose the right words to use in their paid ads.
Let’s pause here because this is the main point.
I just said, “Google provides the Keyword Planner tool to help advertisers choose the right words to use in their paid ads.”
That RIGHT THERE is the thing you want to notice. Google Keyword Planner is showing keywords to be used to bring PAID traffic to your site, not help you rank for SEO.
In this whole keyword research series, we’re not talking about paid traffic. We’re talking about organic traffic. With organic traffic, we’re trying to identify those Goldilocks keywords and ideas that people use to help bring traffic to our site. That’s a very different thing than crafting paid ads to bring traffic to our site.
[bctt tweet=”Google Keyword Planner shows keywords to bring PAID traffic to your site, not help you rank for SEO.” username=”homebeautifully”]
Hold onto that thought ‘cause it will make a lot more sense as we move forward.
A Case Study between Google Keyword Planner and KWFinder
Let’s say you’re like me, and you learn best from examples. Instead of me telling you, let me show you. Let’s take a look at an example so I can show you why Google Keyword Planner isn’t a great tool for finding keywords for your organic traffic.
For our example, let’s look up the term “DIY Ideas.”
“DIY Ideas” Keyword Research Results from Google KW Planner
In Google Keyword Planner, let’s pop in the term “DIY Ideas.” In my search filters, I’m going to ask the tool to only show me keyword suggestions that have more than 1000 searches per month and are low competition.
These are the results that Google Keyword Finder gives:
You can see that even the seed keyword, DIY Ideas,” is shown as having low competition and high search volume. So is that a good keyword for us to use? Is that a Goldilocks keyword?
No. It’s not.
It looks like it might be since we filtered for low competition, high volume words. But it’s not.
Let’s do the SAME search in KWFinder to find out why. When we put the same keyword in KWFinder, we see that “DIY Ideas” is a pretty terrible choice for us to use as a keyword. The SEO Difficulty score is 67, which means it would be super hard for my content to rank on the first page of Google for this keyword.
So why would Google Keyword Planner recommend it?
Difficulty in Advertising versus Difficulty for SEO
The difference lies in what “competition” means on each platform. Bottom line: low keyword competition in Google Keyword Planner does not mean easy ranking for SEO. Phrases like “DIY Ideas” are so general and vague that advertisers know people wouldn’t click on ads with those words. Because of that, these words are low competition.
Keyword competition for advertising is not the same as keyword competition for SEO.
This article, called “Why You Can’t Bank on Google Keyword Planner” is a great supplemental read you should check out.
[bctt tweet=”Keyword competition for advertising is not the same as keyword competition for SEO.” username=”homebeautifully”]
In comparison, KWFinder actually calculates keywords’ competitiveness for SEO, not for advertising. How?
What SEO Difficulty Scores Really Mean
Okay so now you get that there’s a monster-sized difference between competition for advertising and competition for SEO, right? (Hopefully so!) So how are SEO Difficulty scores calculated?
Read this post really detailing how SEO difficulty scores are calculated. But the bottom line is this:
KWFinder calculates SEO rank for every page on the first page of Google SERP. This rank is mainly based on the quality of the link profile and Moz metrics. Moreover, we take into consideration Domain Authority (Moz) of each page. Once we have the rank of every page, we generate an average of these, which represents the SEO difficulty.
To summarize, they look at all of the sites currently ranking for the keyword and determine how hard it would be to outrank those sites. To make that judgment, KWFinder considers things like the sites’ domain authority, page authority, Moz Rank and Trust, links, and social shares.
Please research the tools available to you and make the right choice for you! No matter what though, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can use Google Keyword Finder to identify keywords for SEO difficulty. You’ll end up wasting lots of very valuable time.
In our next article, we’ll discuss how you optimize your posts for your keywords. Keep on reading to be a keyword PRO! Leave a comment below. Have you used Google Keyword Planner in the past to identify keywords? Do you believe you might make the switch to another platform?