Some people are good at math. Some people are good at words, and of course, there are weird people who are good at both.
But, if you’re a math person, we know how to help you find the right words. And, we can help you find some for free.
When it comes to effective content marketing, there are few things more important than keyword research. Knowing which keywords will help fuel traffic to your site will improve your rankings in search engines across the board, as well as assisting you in drawing in your target audience.
It’s not just about finding the right words to help your content do well in the search results. It’s really about finding the right words that are the most relevant to your potential readers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) begins with keyword research. While you can (and should) hire a professional digital marketing company to handle your keyword strategy (we can give you an excellent recommendation!), there are a few keyword research tools that can help you with ranking your website and increasing the chances of your website showing up at the top of search results.
Will these tools help your content reach position one on page one? Probably not, but without keyword research, you’re pretty much throwing darts in the dark. We can show you some free SEO tools that can help.
What is a Keyword and why Should I Care?
Before we get into the details of keyword research tools and why it’s essential to have them handy, you might be that person how needs to know what exactly a keyword is.
A keyword is a word or phrase that pertains to your product, services, or business that search engine users most often type into search bars to find your product or products like yours.
The goal of a keyword is to utilize it better than the competition, thereby helping your content outperform those other guys. Content that is keyword rich tends to bring in more traffic and therefore more business, sales, and moola. Every business owner with a website should care greatly about keywords.
Keywords cannot single-handedly get you to the top of search pages, however, a reputable, professional digital marketing team will ensure that they employ additional practices that will aid your keywords in doing just that. Keywords are the foundation of every well-planned marketing campaign.
How To Choose The Best Keywords
In the old days of SEO (we’re going waaaay back to 2010!), it was a smart move to pick your favorite keyword and use it about a zillion times in your content. Now, that’s an excellent way to get your site thrown out of the search results.
But, how do you pick your favorite keyword?
Naturally, it depends upon what you do. Let’s say you are a dentist who blogs and you need keyword ideas. Think of what your potential patients might search to find you. Clearly, dentist, dentist near me, dental practice are all general keywords that might drive some traffic your way. From there, you’d want to focus on finding good keywords that someone might search to find what you do- teeth cleaning, cavity filling, root canals, etc.
There are primary and secondary keywords, but at Make It Loud, our SEO nerds have specific criteria we go by to select the best keywords (and there are usually a lot of them). Our criteria is that the keyword needs to meet at least 2 out of these 3 concepts:
- Relevant– the term or phrase needs to be relevant to the business
- Well searched– have good search numbers per month.
- Conversion focused– it needs to help turn browsers into phone callers
When we start working on SEO for our clients, we will frequently ask the business owner for a list of 10 or so keywords they think customers would search to find them. Out of that list, there are usually 3 strong keywords. The rest are always relevant (that’s usualy the easiest part), but usually don’t have good search numbers. This means people aren’t searching that term or phrase frequently enough to make it a good choice.
Finding examples of conversion-focused keywords can be a bit more of a challenge. Going back to the dentist example, if the dentist creates sleep apnea dental appliances then “sleep apnea dental appliances” would be a strong conversion keyword because when someone uses that as their search term, they already know the “what” part of what they’re looking for. They’re looking for the “Who” and “Where”. This means they’re ready to buy.
Where to Use Keywords
Once you have your list, people often think that the rule of thumb about where to use keywords is, well, everywhere. That’s not entirely the case, but it’s not entirely wrong either.
Think of is this way, you are creating content for two target audiences- your reader (the person or people that write big honking checks to you) and Google.
But, don’t think of them as two separate audiences because essentially, they are the same. If you make your customers happy, that pleases Google. So, write for your readers first and foremost.
Use the keywords on your list naturally. First, think of the single best keyword for that entire piece of content, and use that a few times (depending upon how long the content is). From there, use synonyms as naturally as you would when you are speaking.
It’s important to ensure that you don’t overuse your keywords, as Google will ding your website for stuffing keywords into your content for the sole purpose of gaining traction in search engines without offering any substantial or quality content to your readers.
Here’s a terrible example of how to use keywords:
When you need a dentist, Atlanta Dentists has some of the best dentists that have graduated dental school and gone on to become dentists in town…as far as dentists go.
Naturally, most of us would want to boink someone on the head if they spoke to us like that, so why would we (or Google) want to read that trash? Yet, we still see content written like that from the old SEO days.
The practice of using your keywords naturally is essential to the success of your content, but keywords need to be used in:
● Landing Pages
● PPC Ads
● Facebook Ads
● Blog Posts
● Website Pages
● Social Media Posts
Basically, you can use keywords wherever you like within your content, as long as you do so responsibly. Also, make sure that your keywords make sense for your content and your brand, or else it will be difficult for your customers to locate you.
Free Keyword Tools
While free keyword tools notoriously have fewer features, you might find that they’ll work just perfectly for you. After all, fewer features don’t always mean less effective!
Google Keyword Planner is free as long as you have a Google account, and it’s a good way to get started regarding understanding the right keywords for your niche and the amount of traffic that particular keyword receives.
Depending on where Google is with the changes they constantly make, you might only get a range of search data for each keyword. For example, you might find people search “dentists” between 1000-10,000 times a month. Is that helpful? Eh. Welcome to one limitation of this tool.
The folks at Google really want you to use this tool to plan your Google Ads campaign, so you may have to set up an account to get full access to all the toys. You can always check out Bing webmaster tools.
This tool has plenty of aspects that business owners new to the keyword research world can benefit from. Limited competitor research is available, as well as a decent keyword suggestion feature.
Simply put in your keyword and the geographic area you’d like data on (i.e. number of people searching “dentist” in Georgia), the industry, and click go.
You’ll get information on monthly search volume and cost per click if you’re interested in doing Google Ads. You’ll even get information on search volume for that keyword on Bing. Remember that search engine?
Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that allows you to see the success of your potential keyword, as well as how difficult it might be for your business to rank successfully while implementing it. When used correctly, it will provide great insight.
You don’t have to create an account, but if you use it a few times, you’ll really want to. This is one of the most robust free keyword tools out there. There are too many ways to use what Neil Patel’s developed for you to mention in this article, but just know this, he’s one of the guys we follow. So, if you compare SEO nerds to Star Trek nerds, Neil is definitely on deck with William Shatner.
You have to create an account, but KW Finder has a fantastic view into the direction that your business should take when it comes to keywords. It offers a tremendous amount of information, but keep in mind that you will only be able to utilize it a few times each day without paying.
Unlike Google Keyword Planner, you can simply use this tool to type in up to 5 keywords (separated by commas) and see search trends. This is an excellent tool to use if you want to see which term ranks better- dentist or dentistry.
You can even click on the map of the United States and see search trends geographically. It’s simple to use and uncovers, well, trends that you’ll find useful.
Paid Keyword Tools
Paid keyword tools will work perfectly for any business looking to dig into implementing keywords. They range in prices substantially but have the potential to propel your business to the next level.
SEMRush will give you an insane amount of information into the keywords that your business should be using, how much you’d have to pay for them within a paid ad, and what your competitors are using. It can even break down the URLs and keywords that your competitors use.
This is definitely a tool the big boy SEO nerds use, so it may be a bit overkill when it comes to just wanting to check on a keyword or two.
As amazing as KWFinder is when it comes to the free version, the paid version is even better! KW will help you get a firm grip on all keywords, including the long-tail keywords you’ll likely use in your blog content.
This tool comes in both a free and paid version, and you’ll find right away that you can’t do much with the free. The paid version, however, will allow you to look deeply into the keywords that you plan to use, determine whether or not they’ll be beneficial for your plan in the long-run by showing you how they work for your competitors. This is one of the best SEO tools on the market.
You can’t mention keyword tools without mentioning Moz. The staff at Moz do an outstanding job with their White Board Friday lessons, and the resources they provide SEO nerds are simply amazing. Even as a business owner, these tools can really give you as much data as you want.
Professional Keyword Planning
Make It Loud has been in the business of helping clients take their businesses to the next level from a digital marketing perspective for many years. We don’t consider ourselves successful until our clients are, and we are ready and waiting to get you started on your keyword journey.
If all this seems too overwhelming for you and you just want a list of good keywords to use on your blog, simply call us and we’ll help you with your keyword research. We’re happy to provide customized keyword research plans.
For the past 12 years, the SEO nerds at Make It Loud has been providing local SEO as well as on a national level. If you need help with your search engine optimization, we’re happy to help with that as well. Call us for any digital marketing needs.
Contact us today for more information!