I don’t always care about SEO with every blog post that I write. That’s because I’m not always trying to hit a home run with everything I publish.
But when you do care about SEO, and you’re aiming to write a great piece of evergreen content — something that will stand the test of time and bring traffic over the long haul — keyword research is a must.
Experienced SEOs and bloggers will surely recognize most, if not all, of the keyword research tools on this list. You can feel free to move along; nothing much to see.
But if you’re new to blogging or SEO, and need some help getting pointed in the right direction, here are seven different keyword research tools for bloggers and how you can use them.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
The godfather of keyword research tools. It works better if you have an AdWords/Google account, but you can use it without that. As with any keyword tool, don’t worry about exact counts that show up; focus instead on the relative count differences from one keyword to the next. Better yet, use it to brainstorm content ideas.
Google used to have a great tool called Insights For Search, but it’s been merged into Google Trends. You’ll want to use this to see how search activity on your keywords fluctuates over the course of time. You can also see charts of search activity based on geography, but only for larger metro areas. If you’re in a small city/town, read this old article (and the comments!) about when local keyword research is a dead end.
Google Search box dropdown
One of the most under-used keyword research tools is the Google search box. As you start typing a keyword, Google will suggest longer phrases that are currently popular with Google users. That’s the main thing that separates this from others on this list — it’s immediate data that’s currently popular with searchers.
Link: Google.com (natch!)
If you’re wanting to use Google’s search box for keyword research, Ubersuggest is actually the place to go. It goes out and gets the Google suggestions for you. You can choose from web search, image search and more.
Another tool in the same vein as Ubersuggest. It doesn’t drill down as far into keyword suggestions, but it shows suggestions from several sites at once: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Wikipedia and a couple others. Again, it’s a quick way to see what terms related to yours are currently popular searches on these different sites.
Another underrated keyword research tool. You have to skip the pop culture stuff on the main page and go to the Trends Analysis screen, where you can input your keyword(s). Like Google Trends, you’ll see search activity over time. You’ll also get demographic information — do men search the term more than women? What ages? What keywords do they search for before and after yours? Some great data in here. (As you can see below, moms do a lot more searching for bike safety than dads.)
WordTracker Keyword Questions
This is a long-running keyword research tool that lets you see questions that searchers have asked using your keyword(s). It’s a great way to get blog content ideas because you can write posts that answer these questions. The free version only seems to allow one search anymore, so you’ll need to setup an account for any serious question-based research. (As you can see below, the results for this phrase are a bit messy; that happens at times.)
My goal here was to focus on simple and free tools that will help bloggers and small business owners get quick ideas when they’re working on that next “home run” article for the company blog.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)