How to do effective keyword research for free
There is a lot involved when it comes to keyword research. Keyword research if the process of gathering data on keywords and keyword phrases to determine which keywords you are going to try to rank for in your SEO strategy.
I am going to go over how you can do effective keyword research for free. There are many paid tools you can use, but free tools can sometimes work just as well.
Importance of keyword research
Keyword research is important to get your content out there and seen by as many people as you can. There are a few things you need to consider when doing keyword research. The main things you need to keep in mind are search volume, competition, and search intent.
Ideally, you want to find relevant keywords that have a high search volume. This isn’t always possible, because you will find that most keywords with a high search volume are very difficult to rank for. It’s important to be sure that people are searching for the content you are writing and that you are finding a balance between search volume and competition.
Sometimes it can benefit you to target more specific keywords. It will be much easier to rank for these specific keywords since there will be less content around those keywords. This is a good way to get some quick easy “wins”, instead of spending all the time to rank for more competitive keywords.
You also need to consider the search intent. You want to be able to answer people’s questions with your content. Take potential keywords and think about the content you are going to write for that keyword. Will your content align with the search intent for the keyword? Be sure that you can answer the questions or solve the problem with your content.
Best keyword research tools
Google Keyword Planner
While the Google Keyword Planner is not perfect, it is still a very useful tool. With this tool, you can type in a keyword and it will give you an estimated search volume, competition, cost per click, and other keyword suggestions.
The estimated search volume is a wide range, so this number isn’t going to tell the whole story. You can get an idea from this if the keyword is actually being searched through. You can also see from this example that “keyword research” has a medium competition according to the Google Keyword Planner.
Ubersuggest is by far my favorite free SEO tool. It is a powerful tool that was created by Neil Patel. I mostly use Ubersuggest for keyword research. It is more precise than the Google Keyword Planner. I like to start with the Keyword Planner to get other keyword suggestions though.
Once I get those suggestions, I plug them into Ubersuggest to get a more precise idea of these keywords.
Ubersuggest says that “keyword research” gets searched 5,400 times per month. The Google Keyword Planner said it gets searched 1k-10k times per month. Ubersuggest also gives this keyword difficulty of 31 on a scale of 1-100. This means it is relatively easy to rank for.
At this point, based on the analytics from the Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest, this looks like a pretty good keyword to target.
The next thing I like to do is run an actual Google search for this keyword to see what websites are currently ranked for this keyword.
If they are all popular websites that I know about, there’s a good chance this keyword will be difficult to rank for. However, if I don’t recognize many of the websites on the first page for this keyword, then there’s a good chance the tools are correct and that it will be relatively easy to rank for.
Keyword research is important because targeting the wrong keywords will either result in your content not being found or ranking for keywords that nobody is searching for. You want to find keywords that have a high search volume, low competition, and high cost per click. A high cost per click means advertisers are willing to pay a lot of money to receive traffic from that keyword.
My favorite keyword research tools are the Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and Google search. I start with the Keyword Planner to get an idea of keywords that might be a good fit. From there, I use Ubersuggest to get some more precise data on these keywords. After I have a list of keywords, I will run a Google search to verify that I will have a good chance of ranking for those keywords.
Even though I have subscriptions to paid SEO tools, I still use all the tools mentioned here. Although paid SEO tools can help you, these free tools can take you a long way in keyword research.
Learn how to use premium keyword research tools for free and how to steal your competitor’s best keywords in Matthew Woodward’s guide