Keyword research. Blah. Or maybe yay! It depends on the approach that you want to take.
In this post, we should cover the yay stuff to make sure that Keyword Research never has to seem like a chore. And more importantly, we need to look at ways that you can do keyword research for FREE using tools that won’t disappear.
Is that possible?
It definitely is and in this post, we will cover 3 different ways you can do keyword research for free. But first, we need to get a better understanding of what keyword research is and why it’s such a hot topic in the world of SEO.
What Is Keyword Research?
To understand keyword research first, you need to understand how SEO itself works. When someone goes to a search engine they run a search by typing in a word or phrase.
This much you know.
To the search engines, this is considered the keyword. So if you go to Google and search for how to make money with blogging, then you’ll get presented with a set of results. How do the search engines decide what to show in these results?
There are a number of factors, but they want to make sure they are showing the reader results that are relevant to the keyword that they just typed in. This is why so many people are obsessed with keyword research because they want to know what people are searching for so they can create content for it.
So instead of blindly creating content with the hope that one day someone reads it, you do keyword research to help you understand what type of content you should create because it’s the type of content that your audience is searching for.
Is Keyword Research Still Relevant?
This might seem like a silly question to ask in a post about keyword research but with SEO always changing it’s a viable question to ask. And the answer is yes, but you have to approach it differently than you did in the past.
What do we mean?
Before you simply focused on keywords and that was it. That meant if you wanted to target a keyword in a topic then you could write a post on it and then move on to another topic. But not anymore.
Now Google favors Topical Authority. They trust sites that thoroughly cover a topic so targeting a single keyword doesn’t help in the big scheme of things if you also aren’t covering the keywords around it.
There is a reason why we have one of the most extensive blogging libraries around.
This is why before you do any keyword research, usually you’ll focus on planning out a Topic Cluster. Then within that topic cluster, you can focus on keywords.
This post itself is an example of that. With a Topic Cluster around SEO, keyword research makes sense as a keyword within it.
How to Do Keyword Research for Free
There are two approaches you can take with SEO:
- Make it hard
- Make it easy
It all comes down to what philosophy you have around it. We like to go with easy because we don’t want to live in the land of SEO.
So what does that mean for us? It means we focus on creating quality content that does the major things for on-page SEO and then focus on other things.
It has worked out pretty well for us over the years. And this is why we rarely pay for any SEO tools and there are a lot of great ones out there.
But using the tools that are freely available to anyone will get you a large majority of the keywords that you want and here’s how we do keyword research here at Odd Noodle.
1. Google Search Results
If you want to show up on Google then you might as well go straight to the source, right? So how do you use Google to do free keyword research?
There are actually 3 really cool ways that you can use Google to find keywords that you should target.
A. The Alphabet Soup Method
If you’ve done a search on Google then you know that when you start to type in a search query Google offers you some suggestions. These are queries that other people have searched for before and so that gives you an idea of what people are searching for.
What does the alphabet have to do with this? You start with a big keyword (ex. blogging) and then type in the letter ‘a’ to get the suggestions.
Now we have 10 keywords that we can target that all fit under the blogging topic cluster. Now, this doesn’t mean we would target every single one. We have to evaluate if it makes sense for us.
For example, for now, we might stay away from blogging and podcasting for beginners because we don’t know much about podcasting but that could change in the future.
B. People Also Ask
Next is to do a search on Google and see what pops up in the People also ask box.
Sometimes you’ll get keyword ideas that will help to supplement the current keyword and other times you’ll get keywords for new blog posts.
For example, with these questions, we would create 3 new blog posts:
- $500 a month with blogging
- $1,000 a month with blogging
- $10,000 a month with blogging
C. More Searches
After the first 10 results, Google will suggest some other searches that might help you find exactly what you’re looking for if the current query didn’t bring optimal results. Again, this is a great place to find supplemental or brand new keywords to create content around.
Using the Alphabet Soup Method alone feels like you’ll have unlimited keywords to target. Throw in the People Also Ask and More Searches boxes and you could very easily do all of your keyword research simply on Google if you wanted to.
2. Pinterest and/or YouTube
The one thing these two platforms have in common is that they are mainly search engines and because of that you can find the things that people are searching for.
Using Pinterest is pretty similar to Google. You type in a term and look to see what things pop up. Sometimes Pinterest will offer more specific phrases that will help you get an idea of what works for people.
Reddit is an absolute goldmine for understanding what people are looking for but if you never used it before it can be very confusing. So how do you do keyword research using Reddit?
Find a subreddit that covers the topic you’re writing about and then go to the Top tab and filter by either This Year or All-Time.
From there you’ll have to read about what is popular for people. Looking at the top post over the past year we can see that people love blogging tips so that’s a keyword that we could focus on.
Make sure to also read the comments to see if there are questions people are asking that would make for good content.
Plenty of Other Free SEO Tools
There are also other free SEO tools that you can use like Answer Socrates. However, these tools come and go and sometimes throw up new payment options that can slow you down.
That’s why we focused on the 3 tools above to show you how you can do keyword research with no money.