Keyword research is an essential part of building an SEO strategy, but if you’re a small business, you may not be able to pay for popular industry tools like SEMrush, or have the time to learn how to use them. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t do keyword research. Here’s a list of tools and techniques for finding keywords that will help you get seen on the web.
A note about keywords; most keywords are actually going to be phrases. In fact, most search queries on Google use between 3 and 4 words. Google is also moving more and more toward prioritizing natural language search, so use keywords that people will actually type into Google when searching for products that you offer or topics related to that product.
1. Rank Tracker
Rank Tracker is a free SEO tool (with additional paid features) that’s kind of like SEMrush light. It’s going to have fewer features than the big paid tools, and the information it provides is going to be less specific. Still, it’s a great place to get started.
For a quick audit of your current rankings, it offers a ranking summary and a rank tracking tool. The ranking summary gives you information about how your page is ranking, and the rank tracking shows you what your site is ranking for.
Under keyword research, it has a variety of tools, including evaluating your main SEO competitors (these are people or businesses who are competing for the same keywords), searches related to your target keyword, questions related to your target keyword and so on. It’s very useful to have these lists; they’ll tell you what people are actually searching for regarding your product or service.
It also offers a search engine results page analysis tool, a domain strength tool, and competitive research. This tool may take a few minutes to learn, but I found the interface simple and intuitive.
2. Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a free search listening tool. It won’t give you search volume or difficulty, but it will give you a wealth of information about searches related to your seed keyword. I use Answer the Public every single time I do keyword research.
Type a relevant keyword into Answer The Public, and it will give you questions, prepositions, comparisons, and alphabeticals related to your keywords. These are essentially keyword phrases that are actually used in search and are related to your seed keyword.
It also gives you the option to download a spreadsheet of these suggestions for your reference. This will help you build a keyword strategy and a list of keywords to track.
There are limitations. Answer the Public restricts you to a certain number of searches per day, and this limit changes based on their traffic.
There are also a host of search listening features that you need to pay for. The cheapest option for a paid account is $79,99 per month, so it’s a considerable investment.
Who better to give you information on keywords than Google? There are a couple of ways to use Google products to perform keyword research. One, you can use the search engine itself. Just search for a seed keyword.
The search results will give you some insight. Check out the People Also Ask section on the results page. This will give you some information about what people are searching regarding your keyword.
Then scroll down and look thoughtfully at what’s ranking on the first page. A search for “SEO” brings up “ultimate guide” posts and “for beginners” posts. Since the Google algorithm is designed to give the user the pages that they are most likely to need, it’s likely that a lot of searches are looking for SEO guides and SEO guides for beginners.
Beware, though. These keywords might be very popular, but they’re also probably very competitive and difficult to rank for. In this case, you might use other tools to look for relevant but more specific keywords.
Twitter is especially useful for identifying trends. There are a couple of ways to use Twitter:
The first is to check out the Trending section on Twitter. This will give you topics and tweets that are currently trending. This is a way to gauge interest on certain topics. The main limitation to this method is that trending topics may not be (probably aren’t, statistically speaking) relevant to your product or service.
This is where the search box comes in. Search Twitter for topics related to your business. You might get a lot of results that aren’t really relevant. If that’s the case, you can search Twitter for hashtags. For example, a search for #SEO revealed much more relevant results than a search for SEO, which brought up tweets about Seoul, Korea as well.
You can do similar research on Instagram.
5. Google Trends
Google Trends is a wonderful tool for researching specific keywords in depth. You enter a keyword and it will provide you with a graph showing its popularity over time, a map showing which regions the keyword is most popular in, and a list of related keywords.
This is a great way to understand the behavior of users looking for your product or service, and it provides a wealth of information.
You can also go to Trending Searches to see what’s popular in search. These trending searches are arranged by day, and search changes a lot from day to day. This is the risk in chasing trends; by the time you know they’re trends, they’re often already about to decline in popularity.
These are all great tools and techniques to find and analyze SEO keywords that you might use to optimize your own website. They cover a few different stages of the keyword research process, and in combination can give you a really good start on your keyword strategy. Just remember to use natural language keywords and keep user intent in mind, and you’ll be able to improve your website’s visibility on the web!