Free Seo Keyword research tips for your content (Update 2021)

One of the most important parts of an SEO strategy is keyword research. If you want to be found in the search engines, you need to know how and with what intention your target group will search. In this article, I will show you 6 free Seo keyword research tips, with practical Keyword research guidelines and a handy template so that you can get started yourself.

Keyword research is the market research of the 21st century.

Brian Dean, Backlinko

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is research that you conduct to find out search terms (keywords) that people enter in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Youtube. This way you collect insights about which keywords your target group uses to find certain products and/or services. The last few years it has also been much more about the intent of the keywords than about the keywords themselves. More on this later.

Why is Keyword Research so important?

If you want to do SEO, keyword research is essential. It is the very first task in your SEO strategy because without qualitative keyword research all your other SEO efforts are worthless. It affects the way you will write content, how you will collect links, how your website will look … Many companies think they know how their target audience is looking. Often they are correct, just as often they are wrong, and then you have a big problem.

More than ever it is crucial to understand your target audience, really find out what they need or look for, and that starts with keyword research.

When you know that 91% of the internet pages do not receive organic traffic through Google, you quickly understand the importance of keyword research. Create content that your target audience is effectively looking for and make sure it fits your website’s ecosystem.

How to start getting free Keyword Research tips?

You have a concept for your content? Look for Keyword ideas.

There are many ways and tools to look for inspiration. A part of the free keyword research tips is a how-to with resources or tools I use when conducting keyword research.

Creating qualitative SEO content for your target audience doesn’t have to be complicated following below free Keyword research tips.

  1. Own inspiration

    First and foremost, I thoroughly check the company, problem or topic in question. What are the services, what products solve the problem, what are people talking about now? Try to think in themes as much as possible. Which major categories can I define to include later in my final document?

  2. Brainstorm with colleagues or friends

    Together you know more than alone. Talk to your colleagues, friends,… They often look at the products and services from a different angle, which can be interesting for your research.

  3. Google Auto Suggest

    From your own inspiration you can enter keywords in Google and see how the search engines complete themselves. They rely on popular search terms from the past. You can check this later to know how much is actually being searched for.

  4. Google related searches

    This can be found at the bottom of the Google page and works according to the same principle as the auto suggest above.

  5. YouTube Auto Suggest

    You can also consult the 2nd largest search engine in the world for inspiration.
    Don’t underestimate the power of Video Search.

  6. Google Image search

    This is a very underestimated and undervalued free keyword search tip I’m sharing. In many courses and information you find online there’s a huge focus on text, which lowers down competition in image search.

  7. Use Google Search Console

    Experience shows that your own data in particular is a true goldmine. Via GSC you view your website through the eyes of Google. The tool picks up the search terms for which your website is put forward. This may contain terms that you would never have thought of otherwise. It is often low-hanging fruit, because you already rank on it, so the base is there. It is only a matter of optimizing to conquer that number 1 place.

  8. Use Other Search engines

    There are many companies that are so large that they have an internal search engine. These too can often be a source of inspiration, like Amazon, Wikipedia …

  9. Check your competitors or similar topics

    Be sure to check with your competitors online. How is their website structured? What keywords do they focus on? Which Keywords do they rank for?

  10. Use some great tools to find your keywords

    There are also tools available for your keyword research tips that cater to getting additional keyword inspiration. They do not provide any data, but are often very useful in the search.
    There are many Examples like Keywordshitter and Answer The Public.

Support the collected keyword ideas with data

Now that we have gained inspiration, it is time we put our list of keywords into a tool that does provide us with the corresponding data. An idea and keyword research tips alone are never enough, you need to back it up with data.

Keyword Tools we use for this are:

  • Google Keyword Explorer (Free)
    Because data can never be as accurate as from the source itself! Especially for search volume, it is useful to look at this tool. The handy thing here is that when you enter your initial keywords, you get additional related keywords with the corresponding data such as search volume, competition and CPC immediately. Google provides keyword research tips for free.
  • Ahrefs (Free & Paying)
    With the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools you can obtain information about a specific keyword. Here too you will receive additional related search terms that you can add to your master document.
    There is also a paid version of this tool with extra functionalities and possibilities, but to start the free version is good enough.
  • KWFinder from Mangools (Paying)
    A great handy tool that you can use to check Keyword Difficulty, again providing better Keyword research tips. Based on this information, it allows you to make choices between different keywords at a later stage.
  • Ubersuggest (Free & Paying)
    A well-known tool from Neil Patel, that has the same functionalities. The free version allows you to view some keywords for free, afterwards you have to switch to a paying account. Ubersuggest has a handy Browser Extension.

Pay attention to the Keyword search details

Short tail vs. long tail keywords research tips

Ensure to create content with a good mix between short and long-tail keywords.

What is the difference between short and long-tail keywords?

Short tail keywords are keywords with a large search volume. These keywords are also often referred to as “fatheads” if you come across that term in the future. Long-tail keywords are keywords with less search volume and are often longer in nature.

Everyone wants to be found on the short tail keywords. The more people search for it, the more people on your website. Unfortunately, it is a bit more complex than that:

  1. Keyword Competition
    Many of your competitors think the same and also want to go for that main keyword. That makes it difficult to conquer that first position or even page 1. So you will have to invest a lot of time in the SEO of this, time that you may not have.
  2. Keyword Conversion
    Unlike short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords convert much better. Why? People search much less for long-tail keywords, but they are looking for something specific, something they want, which makes them convert faster.

For example, you have people looking for “Walking Shoes” (short tail) and you have people looking for “Walking Shoes for wide feet”. Who wants to buy Walking shoes? Right! The 2nd group. In the first group, we have no idea what exactly they want.

So make sure you have a good mix between keywords that are often searched for (short tail) and keywords that are more specific (long-tail). You do need search volume to drive traffic to your website, so just betting on long-tail is not an option.

Search Intent

Search intent is the why behind a particular search query. Why did someone enter this query? Do they want more information? Do they want to buy something? Do they want to compare?

This has become a hugely important aspect within SEO in recent years. You want to offer the right content to the right people. It can therefore backfire if you rank well with informational content for a commercial keyword. If the visitor does not find what he is looking for, he leaves your site, which will eventually result in a drop in your rankings.

There are 4 different types of search intent.

  1. Informational search intent

The user is looking for information about a particular product or service. Here you give an answer to a specific question from the user. Although this does not always have to be in the form of a question. With one or two words you can also say with certainty that someone is looking for more information. Some examples:

“What is email marketing?”
“How to draw a rose?”
“Walking shoes for Trails”
“Keyword research tips”

  1. Navigational search intent

The user is looking for a specific website. These are people who know very well what they want or where they want to go. They could just as easily have typed in the URL directly, but it is often easier via Google. Some examples of Navigational search intents:

“Life-central”
“Life Central income tips
“Gmail login”
“KFC opening hours”

  1. Transactional search intent
    The user wants to buy something here. They often already know something, but are still figuring out exactly where to buy it. These are keywords that often contain the words “price”, “buy”, “cheap” or signals from local searches. Take these powerwords with you in your keyword research tips, for instance:

“Cheap mattresses”
“Buy walking shoes at discount prices”
“Dentists close by”

  1. Commercial
    The user is also in buy mode here. Only they are still looking for the best possible option. They are still weighing up and will often enter comparative terms and look for reviews.

“The Best Walking shoes for women”
“Android vs IOS”
“Ahref reviews”

Always keep this search intent in mind, both for inspiration and when linking keyword research and the page, the keyword mapping.

PRO TIP: Be sure to check out the SERPs to see which content is currently ranking for that specific keyword.

So try to match your content with the type of content that already scores well for your search. That way you avoid wasting time and you can really play for rank 1.

Structuring data with Keyword research

We now have a nice list of keywords research tips and we know where we can get data for these keywords. Now it comes down to structuring this data so that you can easily select keywords in the next phase. It’s useful to use a template for this.

This keyword research template is useful for several reasons:

Every research you conduct is structured in the same way;
You can spend more time on the research instead of the layout of the document;
It is structured and clear to the end user (your boss, a colleague …).
What does the template look like?

Category: structure your document by working in themes. This way you can easily navigate through the document. If you are a kitchen builder, themes or categories can be: kitchen cabinets, worktops, hobs …

Subcategories: for more structure you can divide your category into subcategories. In the example of the kitchen builder, we can also place “gas hob”, “electric hob”, “induction hob”, “ceramic hob” … under “hobs”.

Keyword: place your relevant keywords for each category or subcategory. In the research itself, it is better to have too many than too few keywords. So work as broadly as possible, so that you certainly do not overlook any opportunities. For the subcategory “induction cooker”, keywords such as: “induction cooker price”, “induction cooker benefits”, “induction cooker vs gas”, “how to clean the induction cooker”, and so on.

Average monthly searches: of course we want to properly document which keywords are most searched for by our target audience. This is important to determine your target keywords at a later stage. I also indicate these with gradations of green, so I immediately get a good idea of ​​which keywords are being searched a lot or just very little.

Top of page bid & bottom of page bid: sometimes you are not only busy with SEO, but you also choose to start a SEA process. Keyword research is also crucial for SEA, because we also want to know how our target group searches for certain products or services, but we also want to know the CPC of the keywords. It is then a small effort to include the prices in your keyword research. If you are purely conducting keyword research for SEO purposes, these 2 columns are not necessary.

Keyword difficulty: we give all keywords a score out of 100. You can find this out by means of various tools and gives an idea of ​​how difficult it is to score for this keyword in the SEO area. The closer to 0, the less competition you will face, the easier it is to get to position 1 for this.

What after the Keyword Research?

Simple: select and prioritize keywords. When I make a selection of which keywords are feasible to score in my situation, I always take 3 things into account.

  1. Search volume
    Why am I doing SEO? I want to sell, I want turnover. How can I do that? By getting traffic to my website? How do I do that? By offering content that my target audience is looking for.
  2. Keyword Difficulty
    Once you’ve viewed search volumes, it’s time to analyze keyword difficulty. This is a score out of 100 that indicates how difficult it is to score for a particular keyword.
    If you have a keyword with a nice search volume, but with tons of competition and therefore a high KD, then it is sometimes not worth investing time and energy into that keyword.
  3. Business Potential
    This part especially applies to the prioritization of keywords. If you have limited time & resources, you have to make choices. Then it can sometimes be useful to view the selection from a business point of view. Where can I get business from in the short term? With which keywords and in which type of content can we best present our product or service?
  1. Business Potential
    This part especially applies to the prioritization of keywords. If you have limited time & resources, you have to make choices. Then it can sometimes be useful to view the selection from a business point of view. Where can I get business from in the short term? With which keywords and in which type of content can we best present our product or service?

Keyword Mapping

So, you now have a nice document of relevant keywords. You have indicated your selection that you want to bet on in the coming period, taking into account search volume, competition and search intent. Then there remains one exercise: keyword mapping.

Here you list all your selected keywords and link them to an existing page, which you can optimize, or a new page. You can immediately turn this into a content plan in which you will also define your title, a CTA, your meta data, etc.

Now it’s up to you 🙂

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