Keyword research can be as limited or as detailed as time and budget allows. youtube, facebook and google all contain information that will point you in the right direction, but there are also free and paid tools which can give you more insight, depending on your needs.
Google is the heart of search. It’s the most common search engine and is the leader in search technology, so many of the main social and content channels follow the same methodologies, so it will always be the place to start.
It is also well worth using chrome as your browser, as there are a range of extensions that can help, and are exclusive to chrome.
Most of these tools work by scraping google’s auto suggest or related search terms, so they are acting to automate what you can do manually.
Keyword search tools
This is a chrome extension for brainstorming. It takes a keyword and searches for the top ten most popular searches on a range of platforms, returning literally hundreds of statements, questions, keywords and phrases. There is no detail on volumes, but it’s great for idea generation
This is another chrome extension that lets you look at how popular a keyword or search term is. As you enter a search term it displays estimated search volumes and CPC rates for the territory you specify within the search bar, a list of similar terms ranked by search volume and similarity. it also gives some limited information on the top 10 web results.
Moz bar gives you a bit more information on each site, and is more related to off pages SEO. the extension adds detail to about page and domain authority to each web result, plus access to details on backlinks, but this is limited without paying for Moz
This extension is designed to help you improve your content writing by offering suggested words or phrases that can help you broaden out your writing, both from a readability and SEO perspective. However, it can be effective for keyword research. If you find an article that you like, it can identify the most common keywords on the page. you can use this to analyse the most popular searches on a page for example
This extension gives details about videos and channels on Youtube, like number of and trends in subscribers and views. It also exposes the tags on each video and channel which can give you a read on what keywords are attached to popular videos. Going deeper , there is a suite of additional tools like keyword explorer which will assess specific words, but you may need to pay.
This is a good research tool, which gives you monthly search volumes, trends, estimated CPC rates, and a rank of the competitiveness of the word. It’s a bit clunky and you can’t specify a region, but it’s generally a good tool.
this is a great tool if you want to see details about youtube, twitter or instagram. It also tracks keywords popular on ebay and amazon. say you want to come up with thought leaders on instagram for Accounting? this tool will list the most popular people and hashtags. the down side is that it doesn’t give you volumes for free, and I am not sure that the lists are ranked. However, from a pure ideation perspective, it works very well
Competitor and site activities
Analysing popular and competing sites can be exceptionally powerful to assess where they get their content from, what they rank for, who links to them etc. and these range from the free to the exceptionally expensive enterprise-level tools.
Just a word of caution. Information costs money, free tools will have limited info, detailed sites will be expensive. it;s also worth noting that Google doesn’t give out this kind of information, so these sites provide data based on their own databases and estimations, so there will be discrepancies between each tool.
This is a great place to start as it will give you basic information on a range of criteria using either a domain or keyword as a source. This can give you detail on which keywords a particular site ranks for, which pages are the most popular, where they get backlinks from and what content is popular for a particular subject.
It’s increasingly being pulled behind a paywall as user numbers increase, but it’s a good place to start.
Moz vs Ahrefs vs Semrush
These are the pro level tools, and are exceptionally good for managing your own site, running keyword and competitor research and a whole host of arcane and specialised tasks. They tend to be very close approximations of google, and can give you exceptional insights on keywords, competitors and popular sites.
But they aren’t cheap. expect to pay 100 per month minimum for access, with more complex tasks and tools adding significantly to this. Competitor analysis on Semrush will set you back at least 300 per month for example!!!
Unless your business is online marketing or you have a high ad spend, it’s debatable whether you will get the value from it. However, if this is a one off project, Moz and Semrush give limited time trials, during which you should be able to capture a lot of information.
Customers sit at the heart of keyword research because you are looking to identify what they want to know and how they search for it. Conversations with customers will highlight phrases and words that commonly come up. If your customers are using the same words and phrases over and over, chances are they are going to use the same lexicon when they search.