Keywords are a big deal. In fact, they pretty much make the marketing world go ‘round. They’re how search engines and customers alike find your business website, and ultimately, how you make your conversions.
A few words about Keyword Optimization
In the case of keywords, there can be too much of a good thing. Keyword stacking, or using the same keyword over and over in your content, is now frowned upon by most search engines. Instead, those looking to optimize their search engine rankings (and thereby winning customers) are encouraged to use a variety of short and long-tail keywords.
It may seem that predicting what keywords will attract the right audience would require a crystal ball or advanced mind-reading skill, but in fact, there are plenty of tools available online to help you research the best keywords for your business right now. Even better, many of these tools are free.
Let’s take a look at five free keyword research tools that can help you entice your audience and inspire your content at the same time.
Google Ads: Keyword Planner
This may seem like an obvious choice, but sometimes the right tool for the job is sitting right in front of you! While we can’t ask Google how they rank keywords, we can ask the search engine how your keywords are performing, compared to other sites.
For some business owners, Keyword Planner is both a first and last step in the process of choosing keywords. After all, if you’re using Google Ads, what better resource to use than the site itself for gathering information regarding keyword competition and bids for paid traffic?
If you have a Google Ads account, you have what it takes to use Keyword Planner, including keyword discovery services, as well as checking average monthly searches for each term you include.
Some marketing gurus recommend keeping Keyword Planner open alongside one of the following sites to check all of the other keywords you might brainstorm. After all, being creative is a blessing, but you need to make sure the traffic will follow your train of thought!
You know that feeling, when you’re trying to brainstorm, but your mind goes blank? AnswerThePublic is happy to help you out of your brain fog with an onslaught of keywords, based on the words you enter.
One interesting feature of AnswerThePublic is that users can choose their country and language to drill down into keywords that are regionally relevant.
Enter a word of your choice: say, “horses”, and discover the who, where, can, and how that people are searching for that term.
“Will horses eat oranges?”
“Where do horses roam free?”
Scroll down to learn prepositional searches related to your term, including “horses for sale near me” or “horses to adopt”. Below that are comparisons related to your term, eg: “horses vs ponies”.
At the bottom of the screen is an alphabetical list of searches related to your keyword. You can even save these keyword search results to refer to later, or double-check against AdWords bids.
There is a Pro edition of AnswerThePublic, which provides unlimited searches for unlimited users, along with a data comparison tool. But for those who are stuck in a rut and need a quick, free brainstorm buddy, the free version is a handy solution.
When you first arrive at Keyword In, it doesn’t look like much. In fact, it’s pre-populated, which might be a little confusing at first. Head to the upper right hand corner of the screen, and click on the “Generate” button. The site will then demonstrate what it does, by making all of those strange terms on the screen into a list of long-tail keywords for instant use.
Now it’s your turn. Click “Clear” to remove all entries, and start throwing your own terms and words in the boxes.
While this site isn’t going to help you discover new keywords or suggest additional terms, it will inspire you to put your keywords together in a way that will make sense on your site.
You can choose between “broad match”, or terms loosely related to what you enter, “phrase match”, which is helpful when using a specific phrase, like “horse for sale,” and “exact match,” which will use only the words that you type into this tool.
This is a great place to fine tune and adjust potential keywords, especially before taking them to AdWords or incorporating them in your campaigns across the internet. Just be sure the end results make sense in the context of your content, and let them fly!
When you first arrive at Soovle, you’ll see a map of the top search sites, including Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon, Bing, and Answers. Initially, this means nothing. But type in a term of your choice in the search box in the middle of the screen, and each of those areas will start to auto populate with top searches based on the term you’re entering.
What does this tell you? As you look around the screen, not all of the phrases you see will be meaningful to your particular business. But this does tell you what people are searching for. In fact, you can click on each phrase to see exactly what it leads to. For those of us working hard to sell a product via our websites, the Amazon section can be telling as far as current trends.
From here, you can save searches, in order to compare results over time. This will help you gauge if your keywords are still being used as search terms, and adjust as necessary. Over the course of a few days or weeks, you’ll quickly gain insight into trends and seasonality related to your keyword, especially if it’s the specific name of your product or niche.
There’s also an option to see an A-to-Z listing of the top current keywords. This list will include the date of results, as well as the site upon which it ranks.
Clicking on the keywords from the list allows you to view search data across the sites included on Soovle. By doing this, you can compare how well a certain keyword performs on YouTube versus Yahoo, for example. After all, it won’t make sense to pay a lot for an ad on YouTube if the subject matter is largely irrelevant!
Ubersuggest offers a unique insight into keywords, as you can enter not just keywords, but domains. Furthermore, that domain doesn’t even have to be your own. As such, you can take a peek into what makes anyone in your niche tick. You can also use this tool to research your own site for a deep dive into how your audience is interacting with your site.
This includes a look into monthly traffic, top ranking pages, popular Facebook and Pinterest shares, along with top keywords by volume, position, and number of visits.
For those wishing to search strictly by keywords, however, type in a keyword rather than a domain. This keyword research tool will reveal keyword density in terms of the sites that users are ultimately choosing, volume of clicks per month, cost per click rates, and competition rates in both the paid and organic market.
There are paid versions of this tool available, but anyone can receive a limited amount of reports each day for free. Those with a Google account can store their results for future review and trending data, as well.
The internet offers a large variety of free keyword research tools, all of which do things just a little bit differently. Remember, keyword analysis is an on-going purpose, not a static science, so it may be necessary to use all of these tools – and then some – throughout the lifetime of your business.
The beauty of having free tools for marketing use, however, is that you can use many resources without losing any income.