As a good inbound marketer, you’re always looking to create great content that will be a good magnet for your target audience. If your content can somehow address their problems, opportunities, questions and thoughts they had, then you’ll have a good chance of them finding your site in a Google search, and staying around to experience the content.
There are many useful keyword research tools out there. Some are paid, and some are free. Here are just a few of the free ones. Even just one of these will give you a ton of great starter ideas for your content.
I mean, hey, it’s Google, right? If anyone should have the best keyword reporting, shouldn’t it be them?
Even from the beginning, though, it wasn’t ideal for content marketers. First, Keyword Planner was always intended to be a tool for advertisers using AdWords, though everyone figured it would be useful for SEO as well. But just because a term is competitive in the ad space, it might not be the same in the organic results. Also, there might be terms that are very relevant to your audience, but it’s not a term that people are bidding on in AdWords.
Since 2016, you now need an AdWords account to even use Keyword Planner. Plus, if your campaign spend is low, then the search volume data isn’t going to be as good (you get broad ranges instead of actual numbers). If the AdWords account isn’t active at all, Google might even block your access to Keyword Planner completely.
One great way to get content ideas from organic search data is to use Google Auto-Suggest. Just start typing a keyword, and Google gives you additional suggestions. It’s not only handy when you are the searcher, but it’s also very useful when you’re looking for new content ideas.
Also, remember to check out the suggestions that appear at the bottom of the search results page as well.
In addition to these 2 resources that Google provides, here are are some free tools available as an alternative to these 2 approaches.
Google Auto Suggest is a great resource, but it can be time consuming and tedious to manually run through all of the different possibilities. Infinite Suggest provides a tool to automatically generate suggestions, plus some very handy tools to save, hide, and filter keywords. Plus if you have an SEMrush account, you can link it for even more insights.
If we want our content to really align with the interests and concerns of our audience, sometimes it’s good to turn our keyword starter ideas into something that’s more like what a person would type into Google. Sometimes seeding the auto suggest with terms like “for” or “with” can yield very interesting results. Answer the Public does all this automatically, and present the data in some interesting ways.
Just enter your keyword (but FIRST, be sure to update the Country setting. This is a UK-based company, so if you’re in the US you’ll want to set it accordingly.)
You can get results that are either questions, prepositions, or alphabetical. You can download the data for further parsing, or use their artistic visualizations as a way to spark creativity and discussion.
Visuwords is an interesting tool for generating new seed ideas for your content. It’s based on WordNet, an open source database built by language researchers at Princeton University. Enter a head term to start, and it will build a visual map of semantic relationships. Double-click on nodes to expand even more ideas.
SEOquake is a free browser plugin that provides x-ray-like data into websites and web pages as you search them in Google. It can provide insights into which content is already popular on competitor websites, providing useful knowledge for your own content marketing. SEOquake has been around since 2006, and is always evolving and improving. In fact, it was the development of this free toolbar that led to creating the popular SEMrush search marketing platform.
As a content marketer, it’s always great to have a wide range of ideas. Consider using a collection of various keyword research tools to keep your content fresh, relevant and engaging. Practice using them, understand both their features and their limitations, and you’ll be more than ready for your next content project!
Get your SEO and SEM questions answered by me at the Philly HUG Technology Roundtable event on September 19th. I will be joined by other technologists to discuss topics from podcasting and web development to content and social media. See you there!