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How to use Google to find the currently most-used search queries for a business like yours
04 April 2018 (Edited )
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Google does its best to deliver the most relevant results possible to every search query. But there has to be a certain amount of guesswork involved if the phrasing of the way you describe your offers differs from the phrasing of queries made by searchers looking for what you're selling.

For instance: if your website calls your business an "RV resort" and most people are searching for "campgrounds," you're going to miss out on some qualified web traffic, and ultimately on some bookings.

Google organic search returns provide an easy way to find out what people are currently searching for on any topic. You can use this free information to improve the relevance of your website content and/or AdWords campaigns.

All you need is a Web browser, and something like MS Excel to organize the data you'll be collecting.


Pretend for the moment that you're responsible for the official State of Maine tourist board.

Your website contains all kinds of information about tourist attractions, lodging, dining, transportation, local tours, outdoor recreation, and everything else of possible interest to people who are considering Maine as a leisure-travel destination.

The two most important resources with which you have to work are your website content, and your AdWords ads and keywords. How can you make those consistent with language people are using when seeking information about Maine?

That may sound like an insurmountable obstacle, given the vast diversity, on so many dimensions, of people searching: stage of the buying process, age, sex, location, social status, household income, ethnic heritage, interests, past experience, etc., etc. There's no way you can produce and maintain dedicated content for all those individual segments.

However: what you can do is eavesdrop on all the search queries that have been used very recently by people interested in visiting Maine.

And you can do that using Google to search for Maine tourism information, and capturing the language being used in "Related Searches" - something Google will give you for any query of yours.

Start with the single very most basic term for what you’re selling. In our example, I’m going to use visit maine.

That query at Google produces - along with links to various other people’s websites - at the bottom of the page a list of 8 Related Searches:

maine points of interest

maine destinations

maine tourism

visitmaine com attractions

portland maine

bar harbor maine

maine vacations packages

things to do in maine

(Just for speed and simplicity, in our example I’m going to pick my choice of the most relevant three of these suggestions to pursue further. You should follow all relevant leads, to see where they take you.)

My pick of 3 are:

maine destinations

maine tourism

things to do in maine

Note that these search terms are live hyperlinks in the Google page - with just a mouse click you can expand any of them to find more related searches.

Expanding each of these produces 8 more Related Searches, on and on ad infinitum.

Here’s where Excel or a similar spreadsheet program comes in: you need a way to organize all these data as you continue to identify search queries that are being phrased in language used by real, live people looking for stuff like yours to buy.

Next steps:

  1. Incorporate the language used in these search queries into the content of your site.
  2. Incorporate the same language into your AdWords ads and keywords, for a frictionless consumer journey from Google search to whatever conversion event we want to occur.

TIP: In the real world, this process works best when done in manageable chunks - do one product at a time, get that marketing funnel working well, then go on to another product.

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David Boggs MS    - David
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