Confused by keyword research? You’re not alone. Terms like “phrase match” and “broad match” are tossed around a lot, but what do they really mean?
Let’s look at an example keyword search. Say you’re in the weight loss niche, and you want to find a keyword phrase to use for your new article marketing campaign. You head over to Google’s handy keyword tool and type in weight loss, and up pops a few hundred possibilities. If you’ve chosen broad match, your monthly search figure for the term “weight loss” should be around 5 million searches. But does that mean 5 million searches are performed for the term “weight loss”? No.
What it means is that 5 million searches related to weight loss are performed every month. These searches might be for “easy weight loss”, “lose weight”, “how to lose weight”, or even “gain weight.” Broad match includes every search that includes all or part of your search term, in any order.
Phrase match brings you a little closer to what you’d expect. If you change your settings to phrase match, you’ll find your search numbers go down to about 4 million. Phrase match searches will include every search term that includes the phrase “weight loss.” So searches such as “weight loss tips” and “foods for weight loss” will be included in that number. What is excluded is a rewording of the phrase, so “loss of weight” doesn’t make the list.
Exact match numbers are where it’s at. When you change your parameters to exact match, you find out that roughly 60,000 searches are performed on that term each month. That means someone typed “weight loss” and nothing else into Google’s search box. They didn’t search for “how to lose weight” or “best tips for weight loss.” They searched only for “weight loss.”
It’s All Relative
Regardless of the tool you use or the numbers you chase, keep in mind that the only true measure of value for a specific keyword is against other keywords in that same search. In other words, if you generally use Google for your research, and you find your keyword has 3,000 exact matches per month, you can’t expect to get 3,000 visits, even if you land the top spot. What you can expect, though, is that your keyword will fare better than one that shows only 1,000 exact matches.
Remember, too, that you cannot reasonably compare numbers from one keyword tool to another (Wordtracker vs. Google, for example) and you can’t really compare keywords across niches. The only real comparison you can make is between keywords within the same niche, using the same tool, with the same settings.
It’s really not necessary to spend hours on keyword research. Nor is it necessary to spend a lot of money on fancy tools just to pull keywords from Google or Wordtracker. A simple search should be enough to show you what search term meets your requirements for the article or post you’re writing. Choose exact match keywords with a promising number of searches per day or per month, and get to work.