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Case study: Using Google Keyword planner for keyword research

An example of how to use Google Keyword to do keyword research for cottage rentals in Canada

In our previous article we told you all about the theory of doing keyword research for Google ad words or search engine optimisation using Google keyword planner. However as with pretty much anything, just knowing the theory of something cannot be very helpful. Hence we decided to give you a practical guide in the form of a case study. Going through this case study will help you understand the practical application of how to use Google keyword planner for doing keyword research.

What you need to understand about Google keyword planner

Before we can get started, let’s take the time to understand that the keyword planner is not a perfect tool. It can only give you output as per the inputs that you feed it. If you don’t give enough inputs then it won’t give you all the relevant outputs, simple as that. You have to give it some varying suggestions before it can give you enough relevant outputs. For example, cottages or holiday homes (as they are called in various English speaking countries) are also known as cabins in some regions of Canada. Keyword planner is just a dumb tool. It would not understand nuances like these unless you told it.

Doing keyword research for cottage rentals in Canada

Searching for you basic search terms

Now let’s go to http://adwords.google.com and bring up the keyword planner tool. As described in the previous article on Google keyword planner, open the ‘Find new keywords and get search volume’ section. Enter the keywords “cottage rentals Canada” in the your product or service box. Put the URL of any canadian cottage rentals company into the URL box. Set the region to Canada and let all other parameters be as they are.


You will get something like what is shown in the screenshot below. Sort these results by descending order of traffic volume and start adding them to your keyword list by clicking on the double right arrows. We are going to pick keywords with a decent traffic volumes, decent commercial value and low or medium competition. However if you are picking some keywords for the sake of running an Adwords campaign then you may want to pick some high competition keywords as well.


Why you need to try variations

Coming back to what we said earlier, the keyword planner is not a very smart tool. For example it may or may not make the connection that Niagara is a part of Canada and when you’re searching for cottage rentals in Canada it should give you cottage rentals in Niagara as well. If it does make the connection then you’re safe. However if it does not then you are losing out on some potentially good keywords. Why take a chance? So enter cottage rentals in Niagara as your product or service and run the search again. Use the same criteria as cottage rentals in Canada to pick the keywords.

As we said earlier keyword planner tool cannot account for regional linguistic variations. It cannot for example know that what is known as a cottage in Niagara is known as a cabin in Jasper. So it’s your job to make sure that it knows. Once again modify the search to ‘cabin rentals in Jasper’ and see what results you get. Continuing with this trend you will have to search for cabin or cottage rentals for all of the popular tourist destinations in Canada.

You need to understand your business well

Now let’s take a moment to understand the business of cottage or cabin rentals. What are they? They’re the same service that is provided by Airbnb. Basically homeowners let their homes out for short stays and tourists coming from various parts of the world rent these homes or the duration of their stay. If you have been paying attention to the number so far you will have realised that the volumes for cottage or cabin rentals in Canada aren’t so high. For example if you run a search for cabin rentals in Banff you will find that there is hardly any search volume at all for cabins. So what are you to do if you are a business owner? Are you supposed to simply give up? Of course not!

Think of what would people be searching for that would fulfil the same needs as these rentals? Hotels of course! Hotels have a huge amount of search volume in any part of the world. If you target people looking for hotels, there is a very good chance that a few of them will be interested in holiday homes. So let’s run the search query hotels in Niagara Falls and see what we get. Aha volumes lots and lots of volumes! Now run hotels in Banff. Volumes again!

Try to cover all possible bases

Even under hotels you can try out a few variations. If you are selling pricey accommodations for example run a search for five star hotels. Something like five star hotels in Melbourne or luxury hotels in Montréal. If you have a beachfront property run something like beach resorts in Canada. If you have a property near the airport try hotels near airport in Niagara. Make sure to try enough variations so that people searching for your property through different search terms can all be covered.

Thinking outside the box!

But wait don’t stop there! What about people looking for flights? They need accommodation at whatever destination they are travelling to. Try “flights to Montréal” for example. Since we are talking about accommodation try entering that directly as well. Enter “accommodation in Montréal” and see what results you get.

The purpose of entering all these variations is to make sure that you have all your bases covered and haven’t missed out on any important keywords. Having said that keyword research is not as easy as it seems to be. If you find yourself needing some help doing your keyword research then do write to us at info@digitree.in. We’ll be happy to help.