Most keyword tools run off of seed keywords. That means we have to provide an initial word or phrase in order for it to whizz off and do its thing.
So what is a seed keyword?
A seed keyword can be any number of things;
- A Topic or niche
- A Sport
- A Book
- A Hobby
- A Name
- An Animal
- A Condition
- A Color
We can use any of the following steps to find seed keywords. They are all around us and the opportunities to find them are plenty.
Chapter 1: Keyword Research
Chapter 2: Keyword Research Tools
Chapter 3: Competition Research
1. Google Keyword Planner
This is where it all starts. I recommend that anyone completely new to keyword research and niche sites start here.
What you will learn by using this tool firsthand is worth more than any course or ebook you will ever purchase. The best part about it…it’s 100% free.
Google created the Keyword Planner for its customers. Those who use the AdWords platform to pay for clicks back to their website.
The tool helps businesses to understand a number of things such as search volume, how much a click would cost them and the competition for buying those clicks.
Using The Google Keyword Planner
- The first column shows the list of keywords that are closely related to your seed keyword
- The second column shows the average number of monthly searches the keyword receives
- The third column shows how competitive each keyword is – this is Adwords competition and NOT organic competition
- Column 4 shows the average cost per click they would need to pay in order to compete with other ad slot buyers
- Columns 5 & 6 are for Adwords bidding only
There are forums on almost every topic imaginable (ok maybe not most but there are a lot of forums!)Check out this the Yahoo Groups search page to find boards and forums related to your niche.
The one thing you need to understand about forums is that this is where your target audience hangs out. They share stories and swap advice; they upload images and enjoy banter with other like-minded people.
It’s like a virtual coffee shop and everyone is interested in the same topic. There are also way’s we can capitalize on this.
- Use the forum threads for keyword/topic ideas
- Look for an FAQ forum section – forum webmasters generally use this to direct newbie questions
- Some forum platforms include a section in the footer which shows the related searches people have made to find that thread/forum post
- Look for user polls – this is an amazing way to understand your audience better and see what makes them tick
You can also use a simple search string in Google to find targeted forums:
Here are the Google search results related to the niche of “RC Cars”
Whilst having a forum show up in the top 10 search results for a keyword indicates weak competition, they are a quarry of useful information.
Don’t underestimate them. Use them.
Wikipedia is more than just a wealth of knowledge and facts.
4. Google Related Searches
At the bottom of the Google search results, we can see a small section of keywords that are related to our search term.
The results are often similar to Google Suggest (discussed below) however they do provide additional related search queries and keywords we can apply to our own keyword buckets.
Sticking with our example of “RC cars under 100” keyword phrase above, we can see a few suggested search terms that would be good to add to our keyword bucket.
- Gas powered RC cars under 100 dollars
- Cheap Nitro RC cars
- Best RC cars under 200
We can use these either inside of one large article or better still, use them to form the structure of our site and the content it contains.
5. Google Autocomplete
There is a high probability that you have seen this in action and not realized it’s potential when it comes to keyword research.
As you start to type into the Google Search bar, you will see suggested keywords appear underneath the bar. This is Google using their mass of data and making calculated suggestions to you based on what people search for.
We can use this to build a picture of our audiences search habits. Take the above search for example. We can see a few suggestions from Google which we can then use to dive even further into the niche.
Next, we take one of those suggested keywords and enter those into Google, we are then presented with yet more suggestions based on that search phrase.
I think you’re beginning to see just how powerful this can be in terms of building a profile of your niche and tapping into their search habits.
However, there is an even easier way to do this that involves just a single search term and a few free tools.
I love UberSuggest. It works based on Google’s AutoComplete feature we talked about above and simply appends a letter to the end of your given keyword.
The image above show’s UberSuggest in action. Within a few seconds, you have hundreds of long tail keywords at your fingertips.
Whilst you don’t know the search volume that these keywords receive each month, you could add them into the Google keyword planner in batches if you wish.
Alternatively, there is Jaaxy, which is one of my new favorite tools that gives you a search volume based on their own algorithm, as the numbers from Google are sketchy at best!
Soovle.com is a search completion tool that was written and launched by its founder in no less than 2 train journeys home from his day job!
What’s cool about Soovle is its speed and ability to capture both a number of auto-completion results, such as Wikipedia, Google, Amazon & YouTube Statistics plus others.
If your keyword centers around a product, then Amazon is best suited to you, for information and nonproduct related searches, then it’s Google.
That’s the great thing about Soovle.com, you get both sets of data. In addition, you have the ability to switch up the search engine for even more keyword suggestions.
We can also access keyword suggestions from the likes of Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Answers.com and Wikipedia right from the homepage.
Take a look at the image above and you will see subtle differences in the type of keywords returned by each platform.
Some have buyer intent, some are clearly looking for entertainment and other information. Understanding which is which is the ‘key' to keyword research (pun intended!)
For YouTube suggestions we can see:
- RC cars drifting
- RC cars racing
These are clearly someone searching for entertainment.
For Answers.com we see:
- Radio-Controlled Car
- Racing PC compatible game
This time these searches are being made by people who are looking for information. The “Hockey Puck” keyword, however, could also have buyer intent.
Which brings us on to the Amazon results which shows:
- RC cars gas powered
- RC cars electric
- RC cars electric fast 100 mph
So we can see here that these keywords do have buyer intent. People who search on Amazon are looking to buy a product.
When we look at Google, we are presented with a mix of keyword suggestions:
- RC Cars – Mixture
- RC Cars for sale -Buyer Intent
- RC cars videos – Entertainment
As you can see, I have highlighted the intent of the user next to the 3 keywords above.
This is why Google is the number one search engine, they provide relevant results, and where they are not sure what the user intends – they provide a mixture of possible results in order to provide the very best search experience.
8. Google Webmaster Tools
An often overlooked and free resource of keywords is sitting right there inside of your own Webmaster Tools account (provided that you already have a website up and running of course!)
Google will provide you with keywords that your site has been displayed for or even clicked on when a user performs a search. They include the following information:
- Actual keyword searches performed
- Your average position in the search results
- Your click-through conversion rate
- How many impressions you had per keyword
If you have an existing website and are looking for content ideas, this is your answer.
Increasing your organic traffic can be as simple as finding those search terms you are ranking on page 2/3 for and improving the content of the page that’s ranking.
There’s nothing like being told by what you ‘could’ rank for if you optimize your site.
9. Google Trends
INFO: Somewhere between 15 & 20% of the Keywords or phrases that are entered into Google on a daily basis are BRAND NEW TERMS never before seen by the search engine.
The above clearly shows just how important keyword research is, and Google Trends can help us not only find new products and keywords but also the history and popularity of a keyword.
As new products are created, new crazes become viral and technology evolves, we need to ensure we are ahead of the curve. That's not to say you should jump on every new trend in your industry, they can be profitable however evergreen topics and keywords are more effective and also stand the test of time.
If you don’t follow this advice, you run the risk of building a website based on a trend, which will eventually die out and leave you with a site with no traffic and ultimately zero revenue.
Remember Napster? How about MySpace?
10. Google Correlate
This is a feature not used by many but it is actually quite helpful.
Google Correlate is a part of the Google Trends suite and actually acts like Trends…but in reverse.
Rather than returning trend data for your search term, Correlate returns search queries similar to your given target.
Let's take a look at this in action.
As you can see, our search for “radio controlled cars” returns data taken from historical search data that closely aligns to our search term.
Correlate provides us with a number of new keywords/avenues to explore:
- Gas powered remote control
- Model Cars
- Remote Controlled Cars
Each of these correlated keywords can open up new channels for your website, which will enable you to capture new segments of the market.
Quora.com is a platform for question and answers and was founded by two former Facebook employees in January 2010.
The platform is a powerful keyword research tool and one I often use once I have an established website that I am looking to grow by adding additional content.
When you enter a topic/keyword into the Quora search, you are presented with hundreds of questions that have been asked by previous users.
This is a goldmine of information as not only can you use this in your keyword research but also on your content strategy.
Writing super-specific articles that aim to answer the key questions being asked by an audience is a great way to get long tail targeted traffic.
KWFinder is one of my new go-to tool for finding keywords. iT's quick and easy to use and comes with its own algorithm to calculate an “SEO Score”, which is a way of telling us how difficult a keyword will be to rank for. You can find more in keyword competition in chapter 3.
In chapter 1, we touched on long tail keywords, these 4+ word phrases that people enter into Google to find something really specific.
These users are smart and know that by entering more words into the Google search box, they are more likely to find what they are looking for.
We can use this to our advantage as generally other SEO's and niche site builders will overlook these keywords due to their low search volume.
However, from experience, I can tell you that over 80% of your traffic will come from these long tail keywords and not the high search volume keywords you decided to target.
KWFinder helps you to quickly run through a long list of keywords, spotting the opportunities and calculate an SEO Score on the fly for each.
You are then able to add the ones you like the look of into a “list” to save for a later date. This is a premium tool and is constantly being improved to add more features and improve speed and performance.
KeywordRevealer.com is a web-based keyword research tool that helps you to find great low competition keywords and measure the competition against the top 10 results in Google by providing their own calculated “Keyword Difficulty” score.
One feature that makes this tool stand out from the crowd is the filter feature shown above. It allows for super fast filtering of your data that is instant, no ‘apply' button is needed, it's all done as you type. I love this part of the tool as you can quickly dive into long tail keywords by setting the minimum number of words to 4.
They have a quirky keyword difficulty calculator which explains in no uncertain terms if a keyword is worth going after or not. Take a look at the image above, there's no mistaking that keyword revealer is suggesting I give this keyword a miss and move on.
Another great feature is the ‘Keyword Brainstorming' tool which allows you to literally brainstorm keywords based on the user intent. You can enter a wildcard character to expand your search and to go very specific with your search criteria.
The tool works much like UberSuggest we covered earlier in that it will append letters, number and characters to your search string to reveal yet more keywords for your keyword bucket.
What you are presented with is a very useful and interactive tree diagram, like below:
Jaaxy is different to all of the other tools out there in that it doesn't rely on the Google Keyword Planner for its search volume. What Jaaxy does it use its own unique algorithm to calculate a search volume and an
They offer a free trial and a paid membership option which gives you access to more data and searches.
What makes Jaaxy even more unique are the two scores are given for each keyword you calculate.
Take the image above for our search term “RC cars” you can see the results returned and also several columns.
The first is an option to add the keyword to our list, just tick the checkboxes of the ones you like the look of and you can save them for to a new or existing list.
Secondly, we have the returned keywords. You will notice that the list that Jaaxy brings back is very different to other tools. You will find many terms that you don't see elsewhere and this is what makes Jaaxy great for keyword research and uncovering hidden gems.
Avg – The average number of searches the keyword gets per month based on its own data.
Traffic – The estimated volume of traffic you could expect to get if you hit the #1 spot in Google
QRS – “Quoted Search Results” – this is a way to see the true number of pages optimized for each keyword. You can do this manually like so:
This returns 29,100 results as opposed to the normal search below which returns over 6 million. It is said to be a more accurate way of assessing the competition.
KQI – The “Keyword Quality Indicator” is a RAG status (Red, Amber, Green), which tells us XX. Green being high quality and red low.
SEO – This is a score from 1 to 100 and is based on traffic and competition. The higher the number the better chance you have at ranking for the keyword.
Domains – Like Long Tail Pro, Jaaxy allows you to search for exact match domain names for each keyword. This is a little old school however EMD's do still work when combined with good keyword research and on-page SEO.
You can try out Jaaxy yourself for free below – it has helped me to find a ton of low competition keywords that I now rank for with ease.
Scrapebox is a paid tool which has a million and one features. It has been used for years by SEO’s to build links en-mass and find consistent footprints across websites in which to target.
What we are interested in however is it’s keyword research powers. It's the way it processes the information that makes it so powerful.
(I have a Scrapebox license, however, I have since moved over to a Mac so cannot use it to grab screenshots)
You can scrape a set of keywords starting with a single seed keyword, you can then add those to the master list and scrape a new set of keywords based on the original set.
So your list of keywords will grow exponentially as you add and search, add and search.
Note: Be careful, this method will build a very large list of keywords very quickly.
This is a gem of a tool I have been using recently and they are adding more and more features weekly, you must give this one a try. It’s 100% FREE too.
KeywordTool.io combines the features of both Google Autocomplete and UberSuggest (discussed above).
We will stick with our “RC cars” keyword and enter that into the search bar. Within a few seconds, we are presented with 547 related keyword results.
The tool appends/prepends letters and numbers to our keyword to drive even more results. This provides us with even more keyword ideas:
- RC cars nitro
- RC cars mudding
- RC cars at toys r us
- how to drift an RC cars
- RC cars buggy
You can see how this would be helpful to our keyword research.
In addition to using Google’s Autocomplete, this tool takes it one step further and allows you to search YouTube, Bing and even the AppStore!
One final feature which is super slick is the ability to switch the country your results are generated from, right in the search bar.
However very few people realize the power it holds, I would go as far as to call SEMRush a game changer when it comes to keyword and competition research.
The feature that is so powerful is their “Organic Results” as seen on the right.
What this tells us is what are the keywords our potential competitors are ranking for, where they are ranking and a calculated ‘value’ to those keywords.
If you rank organically for your chosen keywords, then you will pull in traffic, for free, that others are paying for.
Let's take an example from the image on the right.
The term “how to make money with Facebook ads” would cost you around $11.61 per click. If you ranked top 3 organically in Google, you stand a good chance of getting a percentage of those 50 searches to click on your website, for FREE.
So how can we use this?
Generally, sites will rank for hundreds if not thousands of keywords they don’t specifically target. This is the power of Long Tail keywords and SEMRush combined.
If you have a paid account with SEMRush you can export every top 20 organic rankings your competitor has and form a strategic plan around your website and content.
Ultimately this feature hands you keywords on a plate – often those that you wouldn’t have thought of or found in any of the other methods discussed above.
Being able to see how many searches (roughly) those keywords get each month, together with how much people are willing to pay for a click to their website from that traffic is truly priceless.
You've reached the end of Chapter 2 – Keyword Research Tools, as you can see there are many options available and it comes down to time and budget.
If you have the money and are looking for quick results I would go for one of the paid tools, however, if you have lots of free time and are looking to learn the manual way then there are some great free tools at your disposal.