One reason that I am so fond of SEO – besides it general efficiency and useful properties – is the way the basics always stay the same. The niche evolves, processes change, the way we approach it differs from year to year. But the core, fundamental elements that make it SEO always remain the same. Making it a great skill to build on and update, rather than replace like so many online marketing or visibility tactics.
Keyword research is a good example. The way we utilize keywords (to discover less competitive options), include them in content and apply them to websites/blogs has changed a great deal with each new incarnation of Google. But how we find those keywords still comes down to the powerful tools we choose for the task. Thanks to high demand and the expansion of websites for the average user, there are more tools to choose from than ever before.
One thing with keyword research tools: You can never have enough of them. Each tool gives you a new insight; going from one to another lets you understand more about the content you are providing…
These are my own personal favourites, and every single one is free.
Google itself has arguably the most popular keyword research tool on the web. Considering they hold an almost global monopoly on search, this isn’t a surprise. You can do a search on one or more elements, including word/phrase, website or category. Once you have those you can choose your search parameters in the left sidebar. Those are including/excluding terms, match types (broad, exact or phrase) and saving keyword or ad group ideas.
To see trending keywords or the average Cost-Per-Click be sure to go to the show/hide columns option and select “show all”.
A lot of people rag on Bing as useless for SEO. I disagree; sure, it isn’t as much a focus as Google is. But it is still a helpful tool that can give you another angle on the same process. They have their own keyword research tool you should be sure to utilize. It gives you up to six months of data on organic searches, lets you research keyword history and allows you to sort through keyword ideas and suggestions through country/region or language.
This is not a tool for short tail keywords. While it technically works, there are so many in this database that you will be flooded with results and it won’t be at all targeted. Instead, search for long tail keywords that are more specific in order to see how particular phrases are being used. This will be much more effective. You have thirty free searches available before it switches to paid results, so use them well.
Do you like tools that help you visualize data? That is what this keyword research tool is all about. Easy to read, attractive and visually inclined, you can get a quick or extensive look on various keywords with a simple search. You can also keep an eye on your competition and avoid over-saturated keywords, and find out what keywords are being used to link to your site already. They have the free version, but their paid is only five pounds per month.
This tool allows you to choose between different search engine regions in order to better target your keyword search. They have Google for the US, UK, Canada, Russia, Denmark, France, Spain, Brussels, Italy and Australia. You can also search Bing for the US. Currently, they have more than 95,000,000 keywords in their database, more than 40,000,000 domains and hundreds of thousands of regular users.
Do you know of any good keyword research tools out there that are free? Let us know in the comments.