How to find keywords | keyword research tool – In order to write compelling content that covers the needs of people interested in your niche, you need to know what they are looking for.
My first keyword research advice would be: Know your niche!
Keyword research allows you to have a deeper understanding of the sub-topics and recurring themes in your niche.
Let’s say you have a blog about hiking. You don’t need to be a genius to know that one of the keywords you want to rank for is “hiking” or “hiking trails”.
The issue with these keywords (sometimes called fat head keywords) is that they naturally have very high competition.
But if you dig deeper into the niche, you’ll find that people interested in hiking may also use keywords like:
- “GPS watch with heart rate monitor”
- “best android app for geocaching”
- “how long does it take to walk the Appalachian trail”
- “how many calories does hiking burn”
All of these are the so-called long-tail keywords. A typical long-tail keyword has these properties:
- Consists of 3 or more words
- Has lower search volume but usually also lower competition
- Is more specific = has higher engagement and conversion rates
As you can see in the image, the visitors coming through long-tail keywords may represent a significant share of all organic traffic you get.
Internet is a place to give information, answer questions and solve problems.
Your content strategy should aim at answering all the questions one can have about your niche. Long-tail keywords are a great way to find them.
Pro tip: Long-tail keywords represent specific sub-topics within your niche. It does not mean that your content should always follow the pattern 1 long-tail keyword = 1 blog post.
There’s an almost infinite number of possible long-tail combinations for a topic. It would be impossible to create a post for each of them.
There’s an almost infinite number of possible long-tail combinations for a topic. It would be impossible to create a post for each of them.
Let’s take a look at a few places that can help you find keywords people use naturally when discussing the related topics.
Google Keyword Planner | Keyword research tool
Google Keyword Planner had long been a go-to free keyword tool for many people.
Over time, keyword research has become more complex. Nowadays, most SEOs replaced GKP with more advanced tools.
To use the tool, you need to create a Google Ads account (it will take you a couple of seconds if you have a Google account already).
After the signup, go to Tools – Keyword Planner.
Select Discover new keywords and enter the seed keyword(s) to get the suggestions.
After that, you’ll see a list of keywords sorted by the relevance to the seed keyword.
Google Keyword Planner is a great tool that offers many valuable data for PPC campaigns (you can check our beginner-friendly guide in SEOpedia).
For SEO, it provides hundreds of keyword ideas but does not fully replace a keyword research tool.
It can still be a useful tool, as long as you remember two things:
- The search volumes are very often grouped based on the close variant keywords. Also, you’ll only see search volume ranges (e.g. 1K – 10K) unless you spend enough money in Google Ads.
- Google Keyword Planner is part of Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). Its competition column does not reflect the organic difficulty, only the competition in the PPC campaigns.
Keyword research tools
The most common way to find plenty of keyword opportunities is to use a keyword research tool. There are many tools on the market – KWFinder, KeywordTool, Long Tail Pro, to name a few…
You may ask – should I pay for a keyword research tool?
Of course, the answer depends on many things, but my recommendation is this:
“If your website or blog brings you money in any way, keyword research tool (or an SEO toolset in general) is a great investment that will return value.”
The main advantages of using a professional keyword research tool:
- It saves you a lot of time (you get hundreds of keywords ideas literally in one click)
- It offers data you wouldn’t find elsewhere (like keyword difficulty, search volume, SERP data)
- It gives you a competitive advantage (against those who don’t use any keyword research tool)
I mentioned that any keyword research usually consists of three main steps: FINDING, ANALYZING and USING the keywords. With a keyword research tool, you’ll cover both the first and the second step.
There are two basic methods to approach the research in a keyword tool:
- Search based on a seed keyword
- Competitor-based research
1. Search based on a seed keyword
As suggested in the name, this method starts with a seed keyword. This can be any phrase that describes the topic.
If you want to create content about coffee machines, just enter the keyword coffee machines into the tool.
Note: When talking about keyword research tools, I’m using KWFinder as an example tool in this guide. It supports both seed keyword and competitor keyword research.
The suggestions are based on the topical relevance as well as autocomplete feature – keywords containing the seed keyword + (an)other word(s).
Besides the keyword suggestions, a quality tool offers SEO metrics that will help you analyze and pick the right keywords.
You can quickly check the exact search volume, the difficulty of the keyword, and the search results page (SERP).
We’ll talk about the meaning of these metrics and the ways to analyze the keyword in the next chapter.
2. Competitor-based keyword research tool
Competitor keyword research is one of the most valuable features of keyword tools.
Why? Because it is super tedious work to find your competitors’ keywords manually. You would literally have to go page by page and guess the keywords your competitors focus on.
But it is a matter of few clicks with a proper tool.
There are two basic ways to do it:
a) Check your competitor’s domain to get new topic ideas
By checking the keywords your competitor ranks for, you can find new interesting topic ideas you can cover with your website.
In the example below, I have entered the domain of a popular blog about coffee homegrounds.co. The tool shows a list of hundreds of keywords this website is ranking for.
As simple as that.
b) Check specific URL to get keyword ideas for a specific topic
This technique is usually used if you already have a topic in mind. Let’s say you want to write an article about “pour over coffee” for your coffee blog.
Just enter the keyword into Google and see who ranks for it. If it’s not you, it’s your competitor 🙂
Once you found the competitor, just enter the URL of his article and you can see other keywords the article ranks for. All of them are keywords closely connected to your main topic.
In the screenshot, you can see that one article about “pour over coffee” ranks for other related terms such as:
- “pour over coffee temperature”
- “pour over filter”
- “pour over coffee instructions”
- “what is pour over”
All of them are keywords you can use in your own piece of content.
Pretty cool, right?
Google offers many keyword suggestions directly in the search to help people find the most relevant results.
Let’s take a look at the 3 features you can leverage to find new keyword ideas:
You probably noticed that Google tries to suggest related search queries directly in the search form. As these are based on real searches by people, they can be a nice inspiration for interesting keywords.
Start by typing your seed keyword into Google search and add letters (or numbers) to see the suggestions.
We can try various combinations:
- Email marketing a, b, c…
- Email marketing ab, ac, ad…
- Email marketing 0, 1, 2…
- Best email marketing…
People also ask
One of the features you can find in Google search results is the so-called “people also ask” snippet. It appears mostly for question queries and suggests other related questions.
These can serve as an inspiration for long-tail question-type keywords.
Pro tip: If you click on one of the questions, more related questions will appear. This way, you can load the “infinite” number of questions.
Searches related to…
This feature is very similar to autocomplete, but the suggestions are at the bottom of the results page.
Pro tip: Besides Google, almost all the other search engines offer their own suggestions and related terms. You may not get many keywords you wouldn’t find in Google, but it is worth the shot. You can try Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo.
An even easier way to extract the autocomplete suggestions is to do it automatically. One of the tools that do it for free is AnswerThePublic.
Just enter your seed keyword and it generates the autocomplete suggestions from Google and Bing for each letter in the alphabet.
The feature I like the most is generating keyword suggestions based on:
- Question words (when, how, where, what, can, will…)
- Prepositions (for, without, to, with,…)
- Comparison words (like, versus, and, or,…)
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
Although keyword research for this platform has its own specifics, it can be useful for Google keyword research too.
There are thousands of searches behind the most popular topics. There is a high chance that popular topics from YouTube will have high search volumes in Google too.
Let’s take an example.
If we search for “water filter” on YouTube, we’ll find an obvious keyword idea in the title of one of the video results – “diy water filter”.
A quick check of the search volume tells us that the phrase is really popular in Google search too.
Another way is to use the YouTube Autocomplete feature. When looking for videos on YouTube, people usually use search queries that are more “practically” oriented.
If you compare Google and YouTube autocomplete suggestions, you can see they are different.
There are some useful tools such as YouTube Keyword Tool that scrapes the autocomplete results automatically.
Google Search Console
A great way to find highly relevant keywords is to check what you already rank for in Google Search Console.
If the article already ranks for some keywords, there is a high chance you’ll find other long-tail phrases it ranks for too.
Let’s take a look at 2 ways to find keywords with the best potential:
1. Check keywords with high impressions but low number of clicks
Keywords with a high number of impressions and very low number of clicks may indicate that there is a big traffic potential but you are not ranking high enough (or you were ranking for a short period of time and not anymore).
Note: This applies to keywords you rank for on a 2nd or lower SERP. If you rank on the 1st SERP, but the clicks are very low, it is an issue with low click-through rate.
Go to your Search Console and select Search results in the Performance section.
You can check all the keywords you rank for with the domain (default Queries setting).
Or you can go to Pages, select a specific URL and then click back to Queries to see keywords you rank for with that specific URL.
Next, sort the results by the number of impressions. You should look for keywords that could be relevant for your content but have low number of clicks.
Analyze the keywords to see whether they are worth the effort (especially in terms of search volume and difficulty – see the third chapter).
If they do, you can improve the optimization of the article for these keywords.
2. Check what you rank for on the 2nd or 3rd SERP
By checking the average position for the queries, you can find that you rank on the 2nd or 3rd SERP for keywords that were not the main focus of the article and yet, bring you impressions and clicks.
All you need to do is to select the Average position in the Performance section (it is not displayed by default). Then sort the queries by this dimension.
Although it is by no means the most accurate way to see your rankings, it will help you find low-hanging fruit among the keywords you already rank for.
Let’s say you wrote an article about different types of coffee machines.
In Search Console, you find the keyword “4 cup coffee maker” with an average position around the 2nd or 3rd SERP.
Since the keyword is relevant and has a solid search volume, it could be a great source of traffic for your blog.
There are two things you can do:
- You can improve the current article to put more emphasis on the keyword. (However, you probably don’t want to cover such a specific subtopic in a general article.)
- You can write a new post focused on “best 4 cup coffee makers” and link it from the main article.
With a quality article dedicated to the topic, you have a high chance of ranking for the keyword on a better position than with the general post.
Tip: If you’re new to GSC, check out our simple Google Search Console guide and learn all the basics.
Reddit is one of the biggest online communities that cover almost any topic you can imagine. As such, it can be a great place to find people interested in your niche and discover the topics they discuss.
Let’s say your niche is aquascaping (I discovered this niche when writing this guide and I think I found my retirement hobby).
Firstly, search for subreddits related to your niche. As you can see, even a specific niche such as aquascaping has thousands of followers in various subreddits.
You can select a specific subreddit and look at the most popular posts. Alternatively, you can search for question-type posts within the subreddit.
The search terms you can use:
- “how can I”
- “how do you”
You’ll find various questions related to the niche. They can be an inspiration for your next piece of content based on what people discuss online.
In the screenshot above, you can see possible topic ideas for the aquascaping niche.
Pro tip: You can use a free tool called Keyworddit to extract the frequent keywords from a subreddit of your interest.
Quick and practical, right?
Although forums are not as popular as they were in the past, various forms of narrow-oriented niche forums have survived.
You can use these search queries to find forums related to your topic:
- “keyword forum”
- “keyword” + “forum”
- “keyword” + “forums”
Here’s an example of an active forum in the board games niche:
Tip: Look at the number of posts/comments and the last post dates to identify whether the forum is active or not.
By diving into a specific category, you can find a lot of threads and possible keyword ideas based on the topics people actively discuss.
If you see a niche forum that looks like it came straight from the 90s, with thousands of threads and last post from an hour ago, you’ve found a gem.
Did you know that Amazon has its own search engine called A9?
Similar to Google and YouTube, it collects data about popular search queries and offers automatic suggestions.
You can search for them manually or use one of many free tools that do that automatically.
The relevance of the suggestions is based on the product conversion rate and buying behavior.
These keywords may be especially useful for content with transactional intent.
Are you an affiliate marketer? An e-commerce store owner?
Don’t forget about Amazon.
Wikipedia is a great source of keywords too. Thanks to its nested structure, you can go from a broader topic to narrow sub-topics. Browsing through tables of contents and sub-chapters is a great way to do it.
Here is an example of the search going from a broad keyword to a very specific topic:
Exercise (main topic) – Fitness (subtopic) – Physical fitness (article) – Aerobic exercise (article) – Types of aerobic exercise (chapter) – Indoor rower (article) – Indoor rowing techniques (chapter)
I got from a wide topic such as exercise to a specific sub-topic/keyword like indoor rowing techniques within minutes. keyword research tool
For some big topics, you can find a comprehensive table of related subtopics at the bottom of their Wikipedia page. This can give you a great insight into the structure and depth of the topic. keyword research tool
Last but not least, you can use a free tool (like this one by Karooya) that will scrape the topic ideas and keywords from Wikipedia for you:
Quite a huge source of keyword ideas, right?
Of course, there are many other places that can be a source of keyword inspiration. Just look for places people from your niche gather online. It could be:
- Twitter threads
- Quora questions
- Facebook groups
- Content curation platforms
Keyword ideas can be found everywhere. But not all keywords were created equal.
How to analyze them to find the ones worth targeting?
Let’s take a look at the third chapter.