Keep your keyword matching options in mind when you use Google’s Keyword Tool. You can set the tool to show you how many people searched using exactly and only the keyword you want to know about, or any search containing that keyword and variations. If you want the most accurate measure of any keyword, head to the Google External Keyword Tool and make sure you set the setting for “Exact” match. Then you will see precisely how many times each keyword is searched for month over month.
“Broad match” means searches that come close to a particular word or phrase. You may want to have a look at those search volumes as well, because you will also get people typing in your keyword with a variety of modifiers. Don’t get discouraged when using exact match if you see lower search volumes than you hoped for, as you are looking at only one exact way of searching at a time.
You just can’t preplan for every way people will search. So don’t be afraid to include some keywords that get low or no search volume if your common sense tells you they are worth experimenting with. When we look at analytics, we have often seen traffic driven by keywords that the keyword tools said were useless. Focus on keywords that get real search volume, but do some experimenting based on your own intuition as well.
Do several rounds of brainstorming and many hours of research across multiple tools to accumulate a set of high-, medium- and low-level terms you can target when you get to the on-page adjustments phase (actually changing the text on your website’s pages). Make sure you make a map of the content on your site to see if you have landing pages to support the inclusion of your most desired keywords.
What’s been your experience with the Google Keyword Tool?