Are you new to keyword research? Or maybe you’re struggling to find the longtail keywords that will help your business get discovered. I’m going to show you five easy keyword research methods that you can start using today. And best of all, four of the five are going to be completely free.
Be sure to stick until the end of this article, because I’m going to go over the only paid option that you should explore if you’re going to pay anything at all.
By the end of this article, you’re going to have a primer on what keyword research is and the exact methods that you can start using today to start finding longtail keywords that help your business show up on page one of Google.
Method 1: Google Autocomplete & People Also Ask
The first method we’re going to jump into is the classic old school approach of Google autocomplete coupled with people also ask. This method is one of the tried and true, and it still works today and it’s a hundred percent free.
Let’s say we’re doing some SEO work for a landscaping company, and we want to create some content around gardening projects. In that case, what I’m going to do is I’m going to go into my computer and I’m going to search for a phrase like gardening projects.
And as I put that into Google, what you’re going to find is that Google is autocomplete is telling me a ton of longer tail keywords that people often search related to gardening projects. I see things such as gardening projects for kids, toddlers, preschoolers, for seniors and so on. And so without any other tools, I already have some potential great candidates for longtail keywords.
Let’s go ahead and complete that search. So when I complete the search for the general term of gardening projects, and I scroll to the very bottom, I’m going to be able to find some closely related keywords that people often search as well.
That being said, I personally don’t use it just because I don’t really like the permissions that you have to give away to your analytics in order to use the platform. But it is a totally free platform for now.
There are things like gardening project ideas for school, gardening projects from junk, DIY garden projects. So these are some really easy ways that we can start to identify some great longtail keywords, as well as content ideas from these keywords.
Now, I’m going to show you a really cool trick that you can use to find even more longtail keywords. Just go to your search bar. And at this point, what you want to do is go to the very beginning and add an asterisk.
When you do that, you’re going to find a ton of related keywords to the term that you’ve already been looking for. So here you can see, when I add an asterisk in front, I see things like school gardening projects, grants for gardening projects, community gardening projects, and so on.
So there’s a ton of different things that come up that didn’t originally come up in the original dropdown, or even in the search related results at the bottom. This can be a second great way for you to maximize what you get out of Google autocomplete.
Let’s dig into a more specific example from our autocomplete suggestions. Let’s say, for example, we want to dig into gardening projects for seniors. I’m going to select that. And when I look into the results for this phrase, what I’m going to see at the bottom is probably some longtail keywords that are very closely related to this longtail of gardening projects for seniors.
And if I scroll down, I’m going to find a ton of related things, such as therapeutic gardening for seniors, adaptive gardening for seniors, gardening activities, gardening made easy for seniors. These are all potential great ideas that we can take on because people are looking for it and we can potentially make some valuable content that helps educate people on these topics.
If we want to take it a step further, all we need to do is just click one of these results and we can use that same process to find similarly related, longtail keywords to that phrase.
So for example, I could just look into therapeutic gardening for seniors. Scroll down. And what’s going to come up are even more potential longtail keywords. So we have horticultural therapy for seniors, gardening activities for seniors, garden therapy for dementia and so on. So there’s a ton of different keywords that are related to this phrase.
So as we peel more and more layers down the onion, in terms of the longtail keywords, we can start to group these keywords together and think about how these potential longtails can all relate to one another and be made into an evergreen piece of content.
Another helpful area of Google search is to check out the people also ask section, this is going to give you some other longtails that may not have been identified directly by Google, but it’s closely tied to the phrase that you’re looking at.
So in this particular example, as we look at therapeutic gardening for seniors, we have things like gardening, helping with anxiety, benefits of a garden. These are the sorts of things that would make for potentially great sub-headers in a piece of content marketing that you create. All you need to do if you want more suggestions from people also ask is to click this accordion to expand and collapse, and it’ll keep feeding more and more of these people also ask responses.
The next step we need to do is we need to identify how much volume as well as the competition of these particular long tail keywords. The sweet spot for a great long tail keyword is something that gets a ton of great searches, but also has a low competition score.
So to do that, we’re going to need to use another tool. For the sake of this article and the spirit of providing free resources, I’m going to go over really quickly four sites that you can use to help with discovering what the search volume is for each of these phrases.
The first one is Surfer SEO. It has a free Chrome extension that you can install and it’ll give you some estimates for volume. Note, in my past experience of testing this out because I was considering it as an alternative to Keywords Everywhere. It wasn’t always super accurate in terms of the volume that it was giving me.
The next one is UberSuggest. All you need to do is log in with your Google account in order to check out things like the volume and the competition scores for keywords.
The third one I want to go over is Searchvolume.io. All you need to do here is you need to start creating your short list of keywords and then paste them in here and it will output the estimated volume based off of what their database says.
And then the last option is LinkGraph search volume tool. It is very similar to Searchvolume.io. So with these four resources, you can kind of alternate between them and compare what each one says about the long tails you’re looking at. This way you can kind of get a better sense of the average and overall nature of how good this particular keyword might be.
I like to look for keywords that are between a hundred and monthly volume to a thousand. For the sake of this example on gardening projects for seniors, I’m going to use LinkGraph’s tool as well as Searchvolume.io.
So I’ve gone ahead and copied some of the long tails related to gardening projects for seniors, and I’m not going to put them into Searchvolume.io. And then what I see here is that two of them came out as potentially having some monthly searches. There’s about 20 estimated for benefits and gardening for seniors, as well as 74 gardening activities.
That seems a little low for all the ones that I have already copied in terms of the long tails. So now I’m going to double check that against the LinkGraph tool. So as I look into LinkGraph here, I’m going to paste that same list and as I scroll down, I start to see some different results in terms of what the average monthly searches are.
So as you can see here, this is why I am giving you four different tools is because everyone has their own way of estimating traffic. And so you kind of want to look around and see what everyone says, and then take an average when you’re trying to figure out which long tails to go after.
My sweet spot that I like to start with with a space where I don’t have a ton of authority is between a hundred to a thousand monthly volume. And that’s because that’s substantial enough in which if I’m creating 20 to 25 content pieces related to the keyword research that I’m doing, I’m going to build a ton of organic traffic that way.
Also, I like to go after phrases that are between a low and medium competitive score, that will vary based off the platform you’re using as to whether or not they give that in a percentage or as a low, medium high, as you can see in this case. But generally it’s something below 50%.
So as I go through these results, I’m starting to see that some potentially good longtails to target could be garden games for adults, gardening activities is a good one as well. And as I’m starting to look deeper and deeper here, I’m noticing that in gardening activities for seniors is potentially not as great of a longtail as I thought it might be.
So this would be an example where maybe I have to go back to the drawing board in the beginning of this method, in which I just searched for gardening products. And I go through another set of longtails to try to figure out what could be a better piece of content to create.
The other thing that I noticed is that a related phrase like gardening made easy for seniors is actually getting a decent amount of volume. In fact, it’s estimated to be around 170 a month.
So if I were to create that gardening products for seniors posts and also couple it with something related to gardening made easy for seniors, if I were to actually win for that placement, I’m going after potentially upwards of 190 monthly traffic, as opposed to just that 20, that was there for the estimate for gardening projects for seniors.
So, what you can start to see is that if I’m building some of these sub-headers to be the other related phrases, to the longtail that I was originally looking for, I can start to stack these monthly volumes together and create a meaningful piece, even though the longtail for gardening therapy for depression, for example, only gets an estimated 20 monthly visits.
If it’s coupled in a post with nine other headers that also has 20 other visits, then we have potentially 200 monthly searches, which then meets the criteria.
So the key takeaway here is that you always want to be thinking about how you can stack the different longtails that you are seeing in the results into an awesome epic piece of content, because that’ll increase your chances that your content gets seen and also increase your organic traffic.
Method 2: Soovle
The second easy keyword research method I want to show you is Soovle. The reason why I like Soovle is because it takes the whole idea of looking at similar related searches to a whole nother level. And I’ll show you what I mean.
When I pull up the site, it’s a quick way for me to look at things beyond just Google’s autocomplete. Let’s take, for example, the example that we’ve been using for gardening projects for seniors.
As you can see as I input the phrase, gardening products for seniors, I’m starting to get a ton of different related keywords that may not have shown up on Google, but show up on these other sites like Bing, Yahoo or answers.com.
Now, the results and answers.com is really not that applicable obviously. But the ones in being could potentially identify a few things that Google didn’t pick up, for example, gardening projects for senior citizens. I don’t think that we saw that earlier. So I could potentially add this phrase to my existing list in Searchvolume.io or LinkGraph’s tool, whichever I’m using to find the estimated volume.
So I’m going to go ahead and do that. I’m actually going to add gardening projects for senior citizens into my LinkGraph list. So, what I’m doing is I’m essentially using Soovle to compliment my original Google search to start to find even more related longtails that potentially weren’t picked up by Google the first time.
The other thing I can do is I can take a step back and start again with that general phrase of gardening projects. And if I were to do that, I’m going to see a ton more general results because I haven’t gone as detailed as the phrase gardening projects for seniors. So Soovle is a great way that you can compliment the first method to find potential stragglers that you weren’t able to find using Google autocomplete.
Method 3: LSIGraph
The next easy keyword message I want to show you is LSIGraph. And LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. I have an article on that topic if you want to go more in-depth on that, but pretty much what it stands for is closely related keywords to the general phrase starting with.
So if I go to the LSIGraph, I’m going to be able to search for a few different queries that I might be interested in and see all the potential results in both search volume, as well as difficulty at the same time.
The only downside is that their free account restricts you to three searches per day. So you’re going to have to be thoughtful as to when you use this tool.
What I’m going to do here is I’m going to just search for the general phrase of gardening projects again, just so I can see some related things to that phrase here.
All right. So as you can see here, here are the results for gardening projects. There’s a ton I can actually sort by volume. I can also sort by competition percentage. This is what I mean, in terms of some tools, give you a percentage for the competition scores. As I’m going through this list, I’m seeing some potential great ideas that fall into that sweet spot of a hundred to a thousand volume with low competition.
But LSIGraph is actually reporting a ton of super high competition. So like I said before, what you might want to do is check against all the other free keyword research tools to see what their competitive scores say, just to make sure that it’s not necessarily a potential false positive. But what I’m seeing here is that a keyword phrase like school garden ideas could be a potentially great piece of content to create since it gets 210 monthly searches and it has a really low competition score.
I’m also seeing potential opportunities in DIY garden crass. I know it’s below the hundred minimum, but if it were coupled as a subheader in a broader post, it could potentially be something really good. So as you can see here, LSIGraph will give you a breakdown of some of the commonly related keywords to the phrase that you’re looking for.
You’re going to want to use this tool in combination with the other methods I’ve shown you so that you can validate what you’ve already been finding as to whether or not it is a legitimate keyword opportunity.
Method 4: Keyword Sheeter
The fourth method for easy keyword research is super easy to use. It’s called Keyword Sheeter, and pretty much what you’re gonna do is you’re going to start with your general phrase and it’s going to output all the potential longtails that relate to your keyword.
So I’m going to look for something like gardening projects again, and from here, I’m just going to click to start out putting some results and you can see that it’s going to start running all the potential combinations and permutations of longtails related to this phrase.
For the sake of time here, I’m going to stop this list. I’m just going to copy over this list once I’ve gone ahead and put that list from keyword cheater, into LinkGraph’s tool. I will sift through the results and quickly try to look for anything that falls into my criteria.
And as I’m going through this super quickly, I’m honestly not seeing anything that might be promising. The closest ones would potentially be something like gardening products for kids, which gets 210 monthly searches. It is ranked as a high competitive phrase though. So what I’d want to do is I want to validate that by potentially looking for that phrase with another keyword tool, to see what that tool tells me in terms of the competition.
To be honest, sometimes these free tools are completely whack in terms of their competition scores. And I can actually rank quite easily for gardening projects for kids. So I’d have to do a little bit more due diligence, but from this, you can see that Keyword Sheeters are really quick way for you to put a ton of keywords at once and start isolating for which ones are potentially good opportunities.
Now that we’ve gone ahead and gone over four methods that you can do keyword research for free. I want to show you the difference that using paid tools can potentially have in your keyword research.
Method 5: SEMRush + Keywords Everywhere
This is my favorite method and it’s my preferred method, mainly because it saves me a ton of time. And so that is by using a combination of SEMRush along with Keywords Everywhere.
Something that you need to understand is that SEMRush is a pricey SEO tool. It’s $99 a month for their lowest tier plan. They do have a free trial though, which I will provide a link in the video description in case you want to check it out.
And also Keywords Everywhere is going to be about $10 for their lowest credit plan. But that gives you a hundred thousand credits, which is a ton of keywords. I reload my account maybe once every nine months or so.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to jump into SEMRush and I’m going to search for the phrase gardening projects for seniors and see what it tells me.
When I do that, I get this result. You can see that it pretty much does everything that I was doing before, all in one step. I just had to put in gardening projects for seniors and the keyword overview tool. And what I’m seeing is that it gets about 50 and monthly volume, keyword difficulties on the harder end. And the global volume is probably closer to a hundred versus the US 50 monthly volume.
All right. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to click related keywords or this phrase on gardening products for seniors. And what I’m going to get is I’m going to get a ton of different related keywords. I’m going to go more in depth in the keyword magic tool and a follow on video, but pretty much what you can see here is that I can quickly sort by volume, by competition, by keyword difficulty, all in one place.
So what I can do is I can do everything I was doing before in the earlier methods, but in half the time. So I can just put it in a volume of a hundred to a thousand, keyword difficulty percentage up to 80% like I said. I can even add a word count limit. In terms of a minimum and a maximum, I’m going to output that.
And here you can see just like that. I have filtered through to garden crafts activities for older adults, gardening for seniors, garden craft ideas, gardening made easy for seniors. There’s that keyword again. DIY garden crafts. That’s another one that we identified earlier with those free tools and gardening tools for seniors.
Something I hope you’re seeing though, is that what we’re getting from SEMRush is very comparable to what we found in the free tools. The only difference is how fast I was able to do it with SEMRush. And so you can totally get by with just free tools and beat up people that are using paid tools. The main benefit of the paid tools is saving you a ton of time in your research process.
The next tool I want to show you is Keywords Everywhere. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to activate it in my browser. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and search the phrase gardening products for seniors. What you’ll see is that Keywords Everywhere will pretty much output all the estimated volumes as well as competition scores for me at once.
So here you can see that they estimate that gardening products for seniors only gets 10 monthly searches. The competition is super low though. It’s point 18. And then on the right hand side here, you can see some related keywords. That are often tied to this phrase. So here I can quickly start to see some other longtails that are potentially better candidates.
I already have a setting in my Keywords Everywhere that pretty much gives me the criteria I like to look for. So as you can see here, it’s highlighting it for me. That dementia garden is potentially a better, longtail to go after, but this is a really good way for me to again, look at things at an aggregate level super quickly.
Notice how I don’t have to copy a list into Searchvolume.io or LinkGraph’s tool. I pretty much get it all in one place. And that’s why like Keywords Everywhere. It’s so cheap that I think it’s totally worth it. I’ve tried free tools like Surfer SEO Chrome extension, and I just don’t find it to be as helpful or easy to use as keywords everywhere.
The other thing is what you’ll notice is that if I want to find the related keywords for these related keywords, all I have to do is just click it and it’s going to output the results for the phrase that I just clicked as well as more related keywords.
So what I like to do is this, I essentially like to find what are some of the potential longtails they’re good candidates. I validate that against SEMRush’s keyword magic tool, along with SEMRush’s keyword overview tools. And when I get as a result are some really great longtail keywords that I’ve been positioned, content pieces around. So, if you’re going to pay for any SEO tools for keyword research, I recommend SEMRush and Keywords Everywhere.
There are two big takeaways I want you to remember from this article.
- The first one is that I want you to always be thinking about how to pack the biggest punch with a single post. Think about how you can connect them into a single evergreen post. It’ll save you a ton of time and also get the biggest impact for each content marketing piece you put out there.
- The second thing I want you to remember is that paid tools are completely optional when it comes to doing easy keyword research.
As you saw, in my example, with SEMRush, we got a lot of the same results with the free tools that we did with SEMRush. The biggest difference was just the amount of time we spent in order to find the sorts of things like search volume, as well as the competition score. So don’t feel like you’re going to be limited if you’re only using free tools.
In fact, I recommend that you start out with free tools and then over time as you build up your confidence, as well as your competence in keyword research, try out the paid tools and see how much further it takes you. That’s the appropriate time for you to be paying for SEO tools.
In my next post, I’m going to go over how to do keyword research using SEMRush.
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