Recently, I was looking for a budget way to do some keyword research for a hobby website of mine. Normally I use and ahrefs, however, this time I thought I would use Google Ads. More specifically, I used their keyword planner. Overall impressed, I thought I would share how this can be done for the budget DIY business owner looking for an SEO upgrade.

What do I need to know?

(What even is a keyword?!?)
  • How your search results work: As a throwback when you search something on Google, they have ways of determining how worthy a site is of showing up in the results. First, there is a great video Google made about this. However, if you don’t have time to watch that, just know that it has to do with keywords, page ranking, links to the pages and more. Though, right now we’re going to focus on ranking.

  • What is a keyword: In short, it’s what you or your client is looking for on Google.  As an example, a freelance content writer. If someone searches that phrase, I want to eventually be on the first page of Google. That’s why I search this term on Google Ads and see what the rankings are and how many times people search for it.

  • What do I do with keywords? After you read this and determine what your keywords are, you will take them and use them to optimize your site. This is a whole post unto itself, however, suffice to say you need to make you use these words in the URLs, page titles, and in the pages themselves.

  • Will keyword optimization make me go to the top of the searches? Not all by itself, no. There are a lot of other factors that go into a Google Ranking. In fact, that’s where people like me come in. We are the ones that will go into your site and look at everything you can do to improve. There will be things you can improve like like external and internal linking as well as things you can’t like site age. However, keyword optimization is a great start.

How to Research Keywords For Free With Google

The first and most simple step is to go to the website and log in. It’s simplest if you can use a google based email to do this. However, there are ways to do it with non-google emails. Once logged in to that site, you want to go to the page that is called Keyword Panner. This is the section of the site that will let you do all the keyword research that you need.

Find Starting Phrases

Think about how a client would find you. If you are a flower shop that specializes in sunflowers, maybe they would search for sunflower sales near me. This is something you can type into the find a new keywords area. Also, try related topics like “flower shop” or “bouquet delivery.” Once you think you have the terms you are looking for, hit enter. This is where the real keyword research will come into play.

Interpreting Results

After a second or two, you will see a new page. This page will have everything that you need to know about your potential keywords. From here, you will be able to see the keyword(s) that you searched as well as related ones that may or may not be better. Each line will have the keyword, average monthly searches, and competition as well as some information that can be used to make Google Ads. Here is where a bit of skill and experience will come into play.

You want to choose a mix of keywords. THese will be keywords that get searched often with high competition to those that get searched less often but with much less competition. In general, I stay away from anything that gets searched less than 1k to 10k a month, but depending on your field this could change. Remember, this won’t be an overnight thing especially if you are in a high competition field.


With keyword research done and keywords in tow, it’s time to work on SEO and optimization. Though there will be a longer post on this, a few tips can help you to get started. You want to make sure you add your keywords on postings and pages, in relevant places. Try creating a blog where you can talk about topics relating to your keywords. Ensure that on these topics, the keywords show up in your title as well as your URL.

If you need help with this, check out Google Garage It’s a website that gives free lessons on SEO and Keyword optimization. Best of all, it was made by Google so you know you’re getting the real stuff. After all of that, if you still need help, I’m here to take a look. As with any new client, we will take two hours to sit down and go over your goals and ideas, a free consultation. After that, I can help you with anything from social media and content creation to website optimization and creation.