Search engine optimization deals primarily with keyword research, building links, and doing onsite work. Google Insight offers a new and very useful tool for researching keywords. In all SEO processes, keyword research is the most critical part. A mistake in the keyword research means a failure of the whole SEO campaign.
Traditional keyword research tools such as the Google Keywords Tool, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools offer only basic information; they can’t provide you with much more detailed information to address these very important points to be considered in full-scale keyword research:
- Trends that range over more than one year and doing a seasonality analysis of your targeted keywords.
- In-depth analysis of targeted locations, or the location of your targeted customers. This will answer common questions such as “Where could my customers possibly be located?" and “What are the most important localities on which I should focus most of the marketing budget?”
- Is the popularity of this niche increasing or decreasing? Is this a seasonally- based niche or an all-year-round business?
- If I am starting a global-based business, what countries do I need to prioritize in my marketing efforts? Where I could potentially get more customers?
These are just some of the very important points that need to be checked in order to build a successful SEO strategy. Since Google Insight ties in the long-term aspect of keyword research planning, it is a very useful tool for search engine optimization that relies heavily on strategies that will produce long-term results.
Google Insight’s front page is very user-friendly, just like any other Google products page. Below is a screen shot of the Google insight home page:
As you can see they have these main features:
- Search Terms
- Time ranges
- Web Search
- Time frame
These main features give the 4 most important functions of Google Insights:
Categories can be used to narrow data searches, especially if you target specific sectors such as finance, engineering or entertainment.
Seasonality can be used to predict in advance the ups and downs of your business. This will be used for planning preventive measures in case there are seasonality-associated problems.
Geographic distribution is a very important function that will be used to find where your customers are located.
Properties is a great function to use if you are optimizing certain products for other Google properties, such as image search or product search, which is commonly done by some SEO companies.
How to use this in detail is beyond the scope of this article, though as I mentioned the user interface of Google Insight is very user friendly.
We will now start to implement functions in relation to formulating the best search engine optimization strategies.
Let’s go directly to a real example. Suppose you have a prospective SEO client that needs your help to find out which are the best markets to target now to give them a better future with continued business. And we assume he specializes in selling online media such as movies and MP3s.
The following are the important key phrases that you need to examine for long term seasonality:
- Buy mp3 songs
- Sell mp3 songs
- Buy movies online
- Buy DVD online
In this seasonality analysis, it is interesting to know that “Buy DVD Online” was very popular in the years of 2004 to somewhere around 2006. Then in 2006, people start using “Buy movies online” about as much as “Buy DVD online.” There is, however, a decrease in the popularity of “Buy DVD Online.” This could be due to some recent video technologies being released, such as Blu-ray discs, or there might be other reasons.
As for the MP3 products, it shows they are not that popular when compared with selling movies online. So the best key phrase to target in terms of seasonality is “Buy movies online,” for three reasons:
- It will meet your client’s expectations as far as giving them a better or stable future, as evidenced by increase in, or stability of, searches on that keyword, as shown by the chart above.
- Targeting “Buy DVD Online” is risky, as the chart it shows it is slowly decreasing its popularity, and there might be a time when DVD technology might be replaced with another, increasingly popular video format(s). So to be safe, “buy movies online” appear to be less risky and more stable.
- Doing an MP3-based business will not catch more sales than selling movies online, according to Google Insight’s results.
Let’s continue using the example above. Let’s assume the prospect understands the positive benefits in terms of seasonality when targeting “buy movies online” as compared to other key phrases. Now his next question might be, “In what countries can I find the most customers, and in what specific cities?” This analysis falls under the geographic functions of Google Insights.
To do this, you can set compare by “locations,” and then set locations to “Worldwide.” After that, give the filters the following settings:
Buy movies online
When all of these are set, press “search.” The next thing you will see is the bar graphs showing the countries in which “buy movies online” seems to be very popular. It shows the top three (as of April 2009) as:
If you would like to know the US cities in which “buy online movies” is popular, just click the United States link and you will see the breakdown in terms of states and cities, as shown below:
It shows that the most popular localities are Utah, followed by Louisiana and South Carolina. If you also incorporate Google Local Business Search as part of your search engine optimization strategy, you can do local optimization targeted to these states.
The last part deals with choosing the best terms to target in other Google products such as Google Image Search. This is a very useful tool when deciding which things should be given the highest priority in order to maximize available resources. For example, if you have a client who is a wildlife photographer asking you which animals are constantly in demand in Google Image Search, you might want to compare the following:
To get data, you have to set Google Insights to compare by search terms, filter by image search, and deliver worldwide data in the last 12 months in all categories.
The following are the interesting results:
It basically says that the wildlife photographer should get more images for his portfolio for grizzly bears and Siberian tigers than the other animals.
This may be similar to getting data using the Google keyword tool, but note that the above bar graph covers a time span of four years, and the percentages are averages over that time. So Google Insights offers a more accurate analysis than the traditional Google keyword tool.