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My 5 Favorite Free Keyword Research Tools (and Tips)

WordPress Keyword Research and Writing

If you search my site for the terms “keywords” or “search engines,” you’ll quickly see a common theme. When it comes to keywords, guessing or surmising isn’t good enough. You need to do the research and due diligence to target your market.

What are your potential customers using to find your products/services/business? Do you know? For sure?

Research Customer’s Keywords

When it comes to SEO, most think “keyword” — instead, you should be thinking keyword phrases. You’ll never rank for one word, even 2-3 word competitive phrases are difficult. More on that later.

Keyword phrase research should be part of your site development from the start and is an ongoing effort. It is a never-ending process as you grow your site and add new content.

By constantly reviewing your keyword phrase pool, you’ll discover nuggets along the way that may not be as competitive and more targeted in the process. That means more potential site visitors for you.

Forget One-word “Keywords”

Many online businesses create a list of terms off the top of their head. They all start with one word “keywords,” that they want to rank for. Not going to happen. In addition, these are usually the words they “think,” not know, customers will use to find their website—big diff.

What would surprise these very same site owners is that their target market may be using an entirely different set of keyword phrases when searching for their products or services. Then add tags, typos, and misspellings into the mix, and you would be surprised at the number of keyword phrases used in searches that you probably never even considered.

SEO is Not Set and Forget

How can you expect to get found if you are not actively thinking about SEO in everything you do on your website? SEO must be considered for every piece of content created for your site.

That’s why I use and recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to help you with this effort. My favorite feature is the Readability score that, combined with Grammarly, enables you to become a better writer for the web.

How can you begin to add content to your site that will proactively target your market? First, integrate the actual terms used to find what you have to offer; that’s how.

Getting found in search engines, which means getting ranked, doesn’t happen by osmosis. Every site owner needs to do their homework to increase their site’s “findability.”

The reality is that ignoring or disregarding SEO efforts is simply a lost opportunity. Pin in a haystack kind of stuff. Here’s a handful of online tools you can use to investigate what your potential customers may be using to find what you have to offer.

Keyword Research Tools That I Use

  • TagCrowd:  This site allows you to create a tag cloud to visualize your keyword frequency.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is like a workshop to build new Search Network campaigns or expand existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. A free AdWords tool, Keyword Planner, can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns.
  • Übersuggest: Use this site to quickly find new keywords not available in the Google Keyword Planner, such as images, shopping, and news.
  • WordTracker’s Scout: A browser extension for Chrome that helps you determine what your competitors are up to. Once the extension is installed, you visit any webpage, hover over the content, and hit the “W” button. A tag cloud then displays showing you what your competitors are targeting! Cool, huh?
  • WordStream Free Keyword Tool: This allows you to narrow down suggestions by industry and country.

Create Your Lists

Use the above tools, and you’ll have a pretty comprehensive list, probably an overwhelming one, of keyword phrases that you can potentially use.

You’ll want to create two lists.

  1. 2-3 word keyword phrases. Come up with a list of 25 2-3 word phrases that apply to what you have to offer.
  2. 4-6 word keyword phrases. These are called long-tail and tend to be more focused and less competitive.

Don’t forget to include common misspellings, typoes, and plural versions. Now that you have your lists, you know what phrases to feature in everything you do: page titles, image alt tags, meta descriptions, headlines.

Your next step? Check out my bulls-eye marketing tips to get your core terms in place through your website.

At your service,

Judith: WordPress Consultant and Business Coach