This is just a very short post for anyone who, like me, went to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool (external) to do some keyword research and found that there was no longer an Adsense CPC column available. Previously when you made your column selections you had the option to display the Approximate CPC on the right hand side of the results.
There have evidently been some changes to the tool and you now need to log into your Google Adwords account to be able to see the CPC column which is very useful in keyword research as it does give an indication of the sort of return you are likely to get if you monetize your site with Google Adsense.
If you do not have an Adwords account, don’t worry it is free and easy to set one up and you do not need to pay any money into the account or use adwords advertising. However, it does give you the opportunity to make full use of the tool.
For example, when logged in, you do not need to solve a captcha before you start your research. When you do start your researching, you will find that many more keywords are returned. In addition to the facility to download keywords for reference, you also have the facility to ‘star’ keywords and these are saved in a list which you can access anytime you log into your account to do more research.
How I Use The Google Keyword Tool For Research
My favourite method of doing keyword research is to find a word or phrase I am interested in as a likely niche and after starting the search, changing the search type from ‘broad’ to ‘exact’, setting the country for ‘local’ searches (in my case this is usually to the USA).
Then, I use the advanced settings to show only local search volume greater than a specific number (for main page keywords, this should probably be set higher, around the > 1500 mark but for supporting posts where I am aiming for easy to rank for keywords and phrases, I often set this to as low as > 200. Then I set the average cpc in the advanced settings. In the UK, for main page keywords, I choose > £2 (about $3 in the US) and for supporting posts at >£1 or >£1.50.
When I have identified some likely words and phrases that I want to investigate further, I do a normal, Google search on that phrase and see how much paid advertising comes up at the beginning of the search results or in the right hand column. This is a good measure of how likely it is that there will be sufficient advertisers targeting that keyword phrase to fill your ad slots with relevant ads.
If all that checks out, I then head on over to the free version of Traffic Travis and do a Keyword Analysis Check. You type in the keyword phrase, Traffic Travis will then search through and find the top ten or top twenty sites (depending on which setting you choose) for that keyword phrase in the country you specify. It then does an analysis and gives you a star rating based on various metrics including page rank, number of backlinks to that page, the quality of backlinks, whether the site is in the Yahoo or Dmoz directories, etc.
For a main page I am happy to go after 4* results where Traffic Travis rates it as relatively easy (although I have had some success with the 3* medium difficulty results). For a supporting post, I am going for easy to rank for, traffic building, quick results so I am looking for 5* easy results.
Then, I’m good to go (or “golden” as my friend Leo would say), just get the articles written and away we go!