Have you come across Google’s Wonder Wheel yet? Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue what I’m on about, because it seems very few people have discovered the delights of this hidden feature. It doesn’t really add a great deal that isn’t already able to be achieved using other tools within Google’s SEO toolbox, but the real difference is the fact that it lets you do the job in a more visual way. Today I’ll take you on a short guided tour of Google’s Wonder Wheel, and show you how it could be used for both keyword research and even website content structure.

If you haven’t yet come across Google’s Wheel of Wonder then simply enter any basic search term in Google and look down the left hand side where various options are displayed, including options to change location, search only for pages from your country and such like. At the bottom you’ll probably have a link that says ‘More search tools’. Click this to expand the list of search tools, and in there you’ll find a link to ‘Wonder wheel’. Don’t worry if you haven’t ever noticed it before – it’s only actually been there since early 2009…!

When you click the link for ‘Wonder wheel’ your search query will be displayed in a different way. Rather than just a list of web pages relating to the search term you’ve entered, what you’ll see is a sort of spider diagram with your main search query in the middle, and various contextually related queries branching off from it.

Let’s take an example, and assume you’re selling tin whistles. If we enter ‘tin whistle’ in Google and then head over to their Wonder wheel we get a diagram which looks like this:

google wonder wheel keyword research
What is interesting about this diagram is that it reveals something about how Google sees contextually similar topics and search queries. If you were building a website or resource section of your website you could take this structure and create content relating to each of these search queries, with each sub category linked from your main category page.

But there’s more, because this diagram, whilst very pretty, has another trick up its sleeve, because it also happens to be interactive. So, for example, if we were to click on the link which says ‘tin whistle traditional’ we would see an expansion to our diagram, as below:

Google wonder wheel website structure

As you can see, what happens is that our chosen subcategory is expanded, creating further sub categories. It’s a visual way of brainstorming keywords by association, whilst at the same time seeing not only how Google perceives the subject to be broken down and what subjects it assumes should be closely related to those keywords, but you also get to see the results of those keyword searches in real time, just by clicking on them.

Although Google’s keyword tool provides more precise data as far as traffic, competition and cost is concerned, the Wonder Wheel provides a quick and intuitive way of identifying contextually similar or contextually related keywords and keyword searches. Who better than Google to nudge you in the right way?

If you were about to create some content for the keyword ‘tin whistle’, then this little activity will have quickly revealed a number of popular keyword searches relating to the main subject. By incorporating these phrases into your content (in as natural a way as possible of course, and without keyword stuffing or writing exclusively for bots and spiders) then it is likely that Google will pick up on the breadth of contextually relevant phrases and consider your content positively.

But if you were looking to create a microsite, either as a separate, discrete subject specific website or as a sub category within your main site, this tool could provide you with a quick and visual way of structuring your content. A great deal of SEO focuses exclusively on words, lists and numbers. Sometimes looking at data in a visual way like this can make a welcome change if nothing else.