5 FREE Ways to do Keyword Research

Tools to guide your content strategy, increase your rankings and bring you closer to providing a better experience for the user and SEO success.

Keywords are the building blocks of internet marketing - the starting point. Keywords are critical to how your website and your ads get found on the Internet. So, it stands to reason that with so much competition in every industry, having a Keywords strategy is of paramount importance to your online success! A key factor of that strategy is Keyword Research.

Think about how your customers find you online. Chances are they will start with a search and herein lies the opportunity for you to ensure that your website is optimised with keywords that are most relevant to your business and how your customers find you. Fundamentally, your website should be designed and optimised around the keywords you select.

The goal of Keyword Research is to find words that are going to drive high quality traffic to your site and if you are using search advertising, relevant and keyword driven text ads with a solid call-to-action.

Taking the time to research relevant keywords will provide you with key benefits of: 

  • providing you with content ideas to strengthen the authoritativeness of your website
  • determining which keywords in your niche have the highest search volume and are the most competitive 
  • learning more about your competition and how to stay on top of them
  • Increasing your search ranking 

There are a number of tools available for keyword research, some paid, some free. In reality, the free tools are all that is needed to give you a list of quality terms that will bring you results in search rankings and provide ideas for quality useful content for your site. Here are five free tools to use.

1. Keyword Planner in Google Ads Manager

Even if you aren’t using Google Ads you should at least have a Google Ads Manager account. It doesn’t cost you a thing to set up, you don’t pay unless your ads campaign is generating clicks and what you can discover using this tool is gold. Just set up a test campaign and pause it!

The key benefit of Keyword Planner is the ability to pull information from the source i.e. Google.

Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is straight-forward to use, simply enter the keyword(s) in the search box and you are presented with keyword ideas that you can download into a spreadsheet. In addition to the Keyword Ideas, you can view search volume and forecasts, determine the level of competition for keywords and what the bids are (if using Adwords). And the same applies to Grouped Ideas as below.

 

2. Google Search Console 

Google Search Console is a must have tool for every website owner. If you don’t have GSC set up for your site then we’d highly recommended. 

As well as helping ensure Google can crawl your site and advise you of errors and performance issues that may be occurring on your site from the search perspective, GSC will give you insight into the top search queries for your site. 

You will see the keywords you use and how many click throughs each keyword received in a given time frame and their average search position which is useful to determine if the keywords are still relevant.

3. Google Trends 

It may seem that we’re favouring Google with three tools in a row, but the fact of the matter is Google is the source of search information so it is logical to use the tools they provide. 

As it’s name would suggest, Google Trends is a trends analysis tool that shows the popularity of a search term on Google. With it you can determine if a search term is rising or declining and compare it against a similar term. You can refine the data by region or country, segment by category and types of searches (Image, News, Google Shopping, You Tube). 

Importantly, Trends shows you 'Breakout' terms which are terms that new trends!

Trends Breakouts Example

Although not the first point of keyword research, Google Trends is useful once you have determined your initial list to ensure you have selected the right keywords i.e. words that are relevant now and even words that are becoming relevant as they breakout. You can even test the popularity of different related phrases all at the same time to see how they compare.  

Google Trends is ideal for competitor analysis to as you can compare search performance for brand name as an example over time. 

Before we leave the suite of Google tools it’s worth noting that the standard search bar is a useful Keyword Research tool as well. Firstly, use the auto-complete function to gain insight into what people are searching on when it comes to your keywords. Start typing the words and let Google present some options:

auto complete

Secondly, from the Google search window simply type in: site://www.yourcompetitorswebsite.co.nz 

All web pages of your competitors site indexed by Google will be displayed. 

For example:

Site Results

From here you can analyse the keywords they use  with the Trends tool and determine the relevance to your business. Note: I’m not suggesting that you copy a competitors keywords one for one - that won’t improve your ranking. You must differentiate your website from that of your competitors. 

With your Keyword Research always try to reflect what people are searching for usually to solve a problem or find an answer, and balance this with what Google is looking for - originality and authenticity. You have the opportunity to ‘sell the sizzle’ so to speak and differentiate your website from the rubbish that others put out. 

 

4. Soolve.com 

Soolve is a keyword research tool that provides autocomplete suggestions from a variety of sources such as Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Answers.com, Bing, buy.com, ebay and Amazon.

The first thing you do is choose your source. Google is the default, but you can change this by clicking on one of the icons below the search box.

Soolve

The results aren’t the most advanced, but you’ll find a few suggestions that you can use and experiment with. 

 

5. Answer The Public

I’ve saved what I think is the best for last. It’s a little gem! Answer The Public is the piece de resistance of long tail keyword and content generation tools!    

This site gives you a series of questions across the - who, why, how, what, when, where, which, can and are options.

Ask The Public

Not limited to Questions, you can select Prepositions across - with, without, is, near, can, to and for

How about Comparisons? Yep, it can give you those too across - versus, vs., like, and, and or

How about downloading an A to Z of first rate keyword terms - you betcha, it can do that too!

Ask The Public_Alphabeticals

You get a couple of free searches every 24-hours from what I can see, after that it’s their Pro Plan so make the most of the free offering! 

How’s that for keyword and content idea generation!

BTW, long tail keywords are essentially descriptive phrases four words or more in the keyword body. Spending time crafting long tail keywords is important because users conduct a long tail search when they are interested in a topic. 

Users who type descriptive key phrases (long-tail) are generally closer to making a decision than those who type head keywords or short tail phrases. As a result, conversion rates are higher for long-tail keywords when compared to head keywords.

So, there you have it! Five tools that you can use to eliminate the need for guesswork and find the right keywords for your website. This research can guide your content strategy, increasing your rankings and bring you closer to providing a better experience for the user and SEO success.

 


 

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