How to Use Forums for Easy and Free Keyword Research

In the early days when you’re building your website, it can be really difficult to rank for those top three spots on Google, especially when your domain authority doesn’t have what it takes in order to get those top spots. In this article, I’m going to be sharing with you an exact tactic that I have personally used on a number of my websites and seeing great success with in order to identify great topic ideas to create content on.

Tactic for today: Internet forums

Digging right in, the tactic for today is to use forums to your advantage. A lot of times when people are approaching keyword research, they go onto YouTube, they learn about all the different tools like Keywords Everywhere, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and they use the keyword tools in those respective tools. However, the challenge is with those tools is, is that everybody is looking at those same tools.

And oftentimes, there can be some low-hanging fruit in terms of keywords that exist from forums. And so what you can do is you can do research within your particular niche by just combing through some of the commonly visited posts within popular forums. This is because these are actual places where people are hanging out, talking about the topic that you’re creating your site about, and they’re actually asking the questions in the ways that they would likely search it as well in Google.

What’s also nice about this tactic is that it essentially serves as your initial proof, that interest in this topic exists, which is really powerful because sometimes when you’re using keyword research tools, you’re kind of just guessing whether or not actual traffic exists around this particular topic that you’re writing content on.

How exactly do we use this tactic?

So how exactly can you use this tactic? Well, let’s jump right into our browser and essentially see how we might use this exact tactic if we were building a particular website. All right, so digging right in, the first thing you want to do is you want to start on Google and what you want to do is you want to search for your particular niche along with the word forums.

So in this situation, I’m going to imagine that I am building a site around cars, all things cars. And so I’m going to search for something like car talk forums or something like that. And so from here, what I can actually see is that there’s a community called car talk forum, and you can see that this site is around car advice, tips, troubleshooting, as well as answers to your car questions.

You can also see there’s another set of websites like automotive forums and also things like low offset forums, which is talking about the best car forums. And the purpose of this first step in the process is just to identify what are some of the popular sites that are talking about the niche that I’m interested in.

So on this site, what I can see is that car talk is one of those posts. And what I can see from this is that it’s an active forum. On the right-hand side, you can see that the last post was as recently as 12 minutes ago. And there’s also post-dating all the way back to the last week or so. So this is clearly a popular forum for people to talk about cars.

And then similarly, when I go to the next forum on automotive forums, what I can see is that there’s a ton of other categories and you can also see that this one is a little bit less active, so you can see the latest dates in terms discussions were back on February 2nd. So this site might not be as relevant in terms of day-to-day activities. However, I still may be able to use it in order to find information that people are asking about around the topic of cars.

How to apply this tactic to keyword research?

So at this point, you might be wondering how might I apply this knowledge of these two respective car forums to then do keyword research? Well, the best way to do that is to combine your knowledge of search operators within Google.

I went over a ton of the most common search operators that you want to learn and how to master in order to be able to use Google to a higher level of fidelity. So in this situation, what I’m going to do is I’m going to use these search operators in order to dig into these forums and find exactly the sorts of things that are really interesting to me for keyword research.

So let’s go ahead and take a look. If I start with the car talk community, what I can do is I can pull the URL, and then what I can do is can just use the site operator of site:community.cartalk.com. And from here, what I can do is I can just run through the five W’s and how. So who, what, where, when, why and how. So if I just search, what for example, what you can see is that here are all the questions that people have asked on this forum.

And from here, what I can do is I can start to work backwards on these sorts of ideas and see which of these threads were more popular than others, or which of these threads saw more responses than others.

In other words, it’s a commonly talked about topic in my niche. So just by using the search operator, I can see that people have searched for questions like what is engine performance, restoration service, or what size power inverter can my truck run? What gas grade is required for a 2018 Lexus and so on. So you can see, these are the sorts of questions that people are actually going onto forums and asking other people.

And these are the sorts of things that are also commonly some people also ask phrases on Google or there things that people are going to be going onto Google for and they’re ending up on these forums because there’s nobody creating customized content answering these particular topics. So what you can do from here is you can actually dig into these posts and learn more about this topic and whether or not it’s something interesting.

So in this case, for this question on what is engine performance restoration service, you can see that from here, there are tons of people talking about what that exactly is. So this engagement is really high in this case. And what this signals to me is that a lot of people have interest around this topic.

And so what that probably also means is that this would actually be a really good content idea. What I could do is if I was building a car website, I could essentially create a long form content piece that better organized this answer to this question than this forum post. And because I would do that in many situations, you can outrank this result in terms of the form result, because the forum result is just an aggregation of user generated content. These are just the responses of maybe 20, 30 people around this particular topic.

And you can take the same approach over and over again. So if I go ahead and jot down this idea of what is engine performance restoration service, I can go ahead and move on to the next thread and take a look at the next topic.

And you can see here that this has 30 responses and what this particular question was what size power inverter can my truck run? I would imagine there are tons of people that own the trucks that asked this exact question. And here, you have somebody that has already proven to you that this topic is something of interest.

And to really hammer this point home, what you can do is you can just right click the hover over section and then search this particular result. But then when you can see, as you can see some of the other content that’s been created around this particular topic, and what you can see is that there are other pages around finding the right inverter size, power inverters per trucks, how big of an inverter can my car power? And what’s really cool about these search results is that they’ll give you signal as to how hard it actually is to rank for that particular phrase.

In this situation, it’s not going to be super hard. And here’s why believe that. In this situation, the top result is that car talk forum but on the same time, there’s also another forum in the top five results. In fact, right here in spot number four is survival podcasts in which the same question or similar question has been asked. So this is a great tactic that you can use over and over again. It requires no paid tools is just general intuition and learning about the sorts of ways that people are asking questions in your space.

Nex steps

So, where might we go from here? Well, what we would do is we would just simply go through the top three to five forums in our particular niche and go through the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.

Those are always the easiest places to start, because those are legitimate questions that people are going onto forums and asking. But from here, what you could do is you can then research, either, those topics and prioritize for yourself which one of these topics are more interesting to me, as well, as in general, in this space, do I think are inherently more valuable or more searched for, and what you can do, as you can cross-reference that with the number of search results that are in the particular phrase that you’re searching for.

So to find that, for example, what you can do is you can go ahead and look up here and you can see how many search results exist for that particular phrase. And then what I would do personally is I would prioritize writing content on the ones that have less search results because what that means is that it’s likely a less competitive longtail keyword phrase.

So in this case with the topic, like what size power inverter can my truck run, I can see that I’m getting 5.7 million results for that search. At the same time, if I were to go ahead and search for that first question I looked at, which is what is engine performance restoration service, you can see that there’s full close to 41 million results.

And so what this tells me is that this is likely more competitive of a phrase than the other question, so what I would do is I would prioritize creating content on this topic as opposed to the first one that I looked at. And you can take this approach over and over again with all the other forums. So once I go ahead and exhaust car talk, what I can do is I can take that same approach with automotive forums.

What I’ll do here is I’ll just go ahead and replace that. And from here, you can see some of the questions that people are also searching for on this other site. And as an extra pro tip, what you can do is after you’ve exhausted the actual forums that exist solely for your niche, you can actually look at the corresponding subreddit to find even more great questions to go after.

Digging into potential content ideas for cars

So let’s take a look at how we might figure that out in the context of cars. So in this situation, if we’re building a site on cars, I might search for something like Reddit car forum. And then from here, you can see that cars is definitely one of the top ones. So then from here, I just do site:reddit.com/r/cars and then I go to the same approach. I just searched for what, and so what you can see here is that there are all these questions that people have asked, and then you can start to prioritize things based off of which ones are getting the most responses or which ones are getting the best views. And from there, you can start to figure out which sorts of longtail keyword phrases to go after.

Hopefully, if you take away nothing else from today, it’s that keyword research doesn’t have to be super hard. I don’t like the fact that tons of people out there say that you have to download or buy certain tools in order to actually conduct keyword research. If you’re just starting out in building out your website, this can be a simple and free way to do your keyword research. What’s also great as well is it’s already validated it’s something in which many people are talking about this particular topic. And so, you know that you have a pretty decent shot of hitting some piece of small gold for your particular website.

This is really great when you’re in the early days of building your website because you have no domain authority. And so Google is unlikely to rank you for other keyword phrases that might pop up in a keyword research tool.

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