One of the things I often hear is, “What are keywords, where do I find them and how do I use them?”

In short, keywords are words or phrases used on a website that lead a user to your site. This is accomplished by search engines crawling a site and providing search results that match a user’s search query.

You can find keywords using Google Trends. Google Trends is an excellent – free – tool to use for keyword research.

Keyword placement is extremely important when Google crawls a page. So, ensure that your keywords are used in the right way to increase your rank in Google’s search engine results page.

Now that you know more about keywords, let’s look at Google Trends for some examples of keyword research.

First you will need to go to https://www.google.com/trends/.

Once you are at Google Trends, you will be presented with a search bar at the top and some featured insights below as well as trending topics. Feel free to look at the information, because both of these sections provide you with an idea as to what users search in Google. For our purposes, however, you will want to use the search bar at the top labeled “Explore topics.”

For this article I am going to use engineering as an example. Using the search bar at the top of the screen, I am going to search engineering majors. We will be presented with three different sections that will be described below.

Interest Over Time

This is a section that displays an index of the popularity of the keyword or keyword phrase used in Google.

Interest over time in Google Trends.

The date range for this data is from 2004 to the current time. The search volume for “engineering majors” peaked in October 2015 and has declined since.

Interest by Region

This section provides an interactive map that displays the popularity of a keyword or keyword phrase based on geolocation. For the example of “engineering majors” you can click on the map to drill down and discover more information about the popularity of a keyword or keyword phrase. I clicked on the United States and was presented with the following information.

Interest by subregion in Google Trends.

So, based on this information California and Texas are the top two states for this keyword.

You also have the option to click on the state and you will be presented with information about the search volume from cities in that state. A good use case for this information would be if you are attempting to reach a specific state or city. You could research various keywords to see what the people in those areas search for to tailor your content to a specific audience.

Related Topics and Related Queries

The last two categories provide possible examples for comparisons and synonyms in your body content. One thing to keep in mind is that Google does penalize your site for keyword stuffing. So, when using synonyms of your main keyword or keyword phrase you want to make sure you are not repeating the same words like major – throughout your body content.

Related topics and related queries for keywords in Google Trends.

Comparisons

At the top of the screen, Google Trends offers a comparison feature labeled in the image below.

Keyword comparisons in Google Trends.

Click on the plus icon and you will be able to enter another keyword to compare against the initial keyword.

In this example we are going to use “engineering degrees” to compare against “engineering majors.”

The sections will be the same as they were earlier, but now you will be presented data for the two keyword phrases.

Compared Interest Over Time

Below, the blue line represents the search volume for engineering majors and the red line indicates the search volume for engineering degrees. So, the search volume over time is greater for engineering degrees meaning a website using engineering degrees will receive more visibility than a website using engineering majors.

Compared interest over time in Google Trends.

Comparison of Locations and Related Queries

These are the two remaining sections when comparing keywords or keyword phrases.

Comparison of locations and related queries for keywords.

Engineering degrees not only has a higher search volume, but also has a wider reach to different parts of the world.

Without conducting keyword research you could be using keywords and keyword phrases that do not have a high search volume and will research less visibility. So, be sure conduct keyword research with this free tool when writing content for the web. Also, be sure to read the article linked above and here about keyword placement to ensure your page is optimized correctly for search engines.

For any questions please email mailto:webhelp@uark.edu.