How to Estimate Your Web Marketing Traffic Using Google

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Estimating traffic is a good way for web marketers to determine what to add to their keyword list. Google’s free keyword tool predicts — based on the keywords, URLs, or categories you select — how many clicks and searches you’ll record for that month. This tool can also show you the amount of competition and peak months of the year for searches on your selections.

To access the keyword tool, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your AdWords account.

  2. Select the ad group for which you want to do traffic estimates.

  3. On the ad group’s Keywords tab, click the + Add Keywords button.

  4. Choose how you want to add keywords: Enter specific words and phrases, use suggested keywords by Google based on your website content, or click the link for the Keyword Tool.

    For these steps, click the Keyword Tool link to use the full capabilities of keyword list expansion in Google.

    The keyword tool opens on the Tools and Analysis tab.

  5. Select the method (you have three options) you want to use to generate suggestions. Then click Search.

    You can choose from these three methods to generate suggestions:

    • Type a “seed” word or phrase.

    • Paste the URL of a website or a category.

    • Choose a category from the drop-down list provided by Google.

    For these steps, type a seed word into the Word or Phrase box and then click Search.

    Google now shows you a list of keywords related to the term that you entered, with pertinent information like competition and estimated number of searches per month.

    You can filter your results further by changing the match type, adding words to exclude or include, or choosing one term and selecting More Like This from the drop-down list to see terms that are similar to your original keyword.

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Google also has a free site that’s dedicated to tracking trends on keywords over time. On the Google Insights for Search site, you can enter a keyword and see how many searches were made on it over time as far back as 2004. You can filter searches by location worldwide and by time ranges, as well as compare keywords.