Are you doing keyword research before you write that article? Are you doing it after you write and optimize later? Are you doing keyword research at all? You should be!
If you’re writing for a blog, you want your content to be found, consumed, and shared. Search traffic still accounts for a huge percentage of traffic to most sites and that involves a sound SEO strategy. Keyword research is one of the most active components of an SEO strategy! Identifying good keywords to use for your post can be difficult and targeting non-relevant keywords can be a complete waste of time and effort.
Below, we are presenting a list of 6 tools for performing keyword research. They don’t require you to make an account so you won’t be stuck with any free trials or spammy emails asking you to purchase. There are still plenty of tools out there offering free trials (with account creation, sign up, etc) but we aren’t covering those here.
Google Keyword Tool
This is the main tool many SEM’s use for researching keywords. You can enter multiple keywords and it will show you those keywords (as well as a long list of Keyword Ideas) with global and local searches. This gives you a great idea of how popular your search term is as well as other possible keywords you can go after.
*Google will soon be requiring an Adwords account for access to this tool (although it is still free to use).
This is a bit different than a straight keyword research tool and can show you the historical trend of the keyword you’re researching. This is really interesting because you can see where in the cycle you are using the term. Is it a declining term? Increasing? This may affect how you choose to write about the topic you’ve selected!
This tool shows a little more than just search popularity. It shows how many times it appears in the title, the url, and anchor text. This can be useful when you strategize how to best incorporate the keywords you’re going after into your content.
SEMrush provides excellent keyword research all in one place for a given keyword. It gives organic keywords and ad keywords for the term you search. One thing I particularly like about it is the list of competitors it provides based on the term. This can tell you exactly who your competition is for a given keyword.
So if you’ve identified your competitor, Alexa lets you do a little more in depth investigation.
Analytics & Webmasters
If you use Google Analytics (or some other analytics tool) and Webmasters (Google/Bing) you can get a list of possible keyword targets simply by looking at your traffic. What have people found you for in the past? Identifying keywords which you already have some traffic for is an excellent place to start.
There is one final tool that I’d like to direct your attention to as part of the keyword research process. It is WordCounter.net. We’ve covered keyword density in another post that discusses the use of this tool. It (or something like it) should be an essential part of any keyword research tool box.
What is your favorite tool for performing keyword research?