Trying to find the best keywords for your industry can be expensive, and many businesses are not yet able to invest in high-quality SEO tools to help with the search.
For those with limited budgets, effective keyword data is not out of reach. There are a number of keyword data resources and tools that can be used for free or offer free versions. By leveraging several free tools, marketers can gain enough information to make informed decisions on keyword targets and set themselves up for successful SEO campaigns.
1. Add a Search Bar to your Site
Having a search bar on your website accomplishes several goals:
a. Customer Service: A search bar is a great way to give your website visitor immediate answers to their questions.
b. Keyword tracking: When your visitors type in questions, it gives you insight into what your customer is thinking (or searching:) As visitors use the search bar you’ll get a closer look at what they expect to find from your content which in turn means more insight into their pain points. Using Google Analytics, you’ll be able to track search queries from your website much like you would have from Google’s search tool before.
2. Google’s Keyword Suggest tool
With all their changes and updates over the years, it may seem that Google has hung you out to dry, in terms of keyword research. But in fact, Google has several keyword tools hiding-in-plain-sight that most marketers miss. Google Keyword Suggest is a great research tool and is something you probably already use but don’t know it’s full ‘keyword research power.’ Let’s say you’re looking for information on how to do keyword research (I know it’s a novel idea!) You could search for keyword, but that seems a bit too broad; information; so you enter keyword research in the search bar.
The keywords that drop down show the long tail keywords that Google is suggesting you use. Now it’s time to use ‘wildcards’ in Search suggest to find even more long tail keywords.
Here’s are some suggestions generated by using an underscore at the beginning of the search:
how to in front of your original search gives you more options.
Google Suggest is a great tool to help you find keywords that people are actually searching for.
3. Google’s bottom of the search results page
Let’s use the last search from above; keyword research, now click the search button. Now scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and Google gives you 8 more long tail keywords to consider:
This bottom-of-the-page listing is an excellent source of long-tail keywords and can give you hints at what your customers may be searching for.
4. Yahoo/Bing Keywords
Ok, so far all we have talked about is Google, Google, Google. But, let’s not forget Google’s super cool sisters, Marsha, and Cindy, um, I mean Yahoo and Bing. Though information from these search engines is more limited, and may not have the depth that Google results once did, it can still help you gain insight into what people are purposefully typing into the search bar to find your page.
5. Keywords designated to your top blog posts
If you have already published blog posts then it’s time to look back and see which of those blogs are garnering the most views. When you’ve identified the top 10 posts, then take a look at what keywords were associated with these posts. Pop those keywords into the Google Keyword Planning Tool and look for long-tail keywords that spring from the suggestions. Long-tail key terms are becoming invaluable as Google begins catering to more natural, conversational search queries.
6. Buyer Persona Research
What if you don’t have any keywords to plug into a search tool? If you are just starting out and don’t have any solid keywords; look to your buyer persona. In fact, you can’t begin to find keywords for your customers until you KNOW your customers.Buyer personas can be an invaluable tool to keyword research. When you discover your personas challenges and opportunities it will give you insight into the terms for which they are searching.
If you have ever researched competitors or looked to see how you stack up against the competition then you have probably been on sitealerts.com. Not only does this website give you great insight into your competitors it also gives you a list of organic keywords. Simply type in the URL of your biggest competitor and you will see a list of organic keywords and their ranking. This is a great start to helping you build a keyword list.
I’m not too proud to admit that I’m a thesaurus nerd. There is nothing more sublime to me than taking a plain-old word and turning it into something stupendous. As well as giving old words new life a thesaurus is a great resource to help you brainstorm relevant terms.
You’ve built a solid list of keywords, now what?
You did it! You created a comprehensive list of keywords that are sure to be searched by your potential customers. But don’t stop there – once you’ve landed on a keyword, do you know how use it effectively? Ensure that your hard work isn’t wasted and that you optimize your web pages by following SEO best practices by including the term in key areas which will help to improve your search rank. Some of the best areas to place your keyword include:
- Page Title (Title Tag)
- Header Tags
- Image Alt Tags; and
- Text that is Bolded or Underlined
Include natural variations of your keyword within throughout your content. Search engines pull from the content of web pages to best suit a searcher’s query, it is likely that you will appear on page results for a variety of search terms besides the one you are targeting.
In the ever-changing world of SEO and keywords, the most important thing to remember is that if your write quality, relevant content with your buyer personas in mind, your keywords will almost automatically become part of that content. Happy creating!