Keyword research. The big KWR. For the majority of those wanting to succeed online, this is a core element of both PPC and SEO, and if you’re not targeting the best keywords for your business, then you may be selling yourself short.
But where do I start?
Fear not, brave soul. While keyword research can seem like a somewhat daunting task, with some good practice and a refined set of tools, you can make a great start and very quickly gather a fantastic seed list, which is what I’m here to help with.
For those of you who are new to KWR, the seed list is the first process in keyword research, and is the process of gathering as many keywords as you can humanly find, search volume or not. It’s about finding any relevant idea you can, and will form the base of the rest of your research.
In this post, I’ll be taking you through 4 of our favourite tools (other than Keyword Planner) that can help you produce an extensive seed list, quickly. Ready? Let’s begin.
Term Explorer is a powerful keyword gathering and analysing tool that allows you to generate keyword lists, ranging from 1,000 per job, to 90,000. It also analyses the keywords generated and compares it against your competitors, so you can see immediately what’s worth competing for, and what’s not.
First things first, create an account with Term Explorer – you can create a free account (which is what I use), or there are three levels of membership ranging from $34 to $499, depending on your needs. As mentioned, I use a free account, which allows me to do 5 ‘tiny jobs’ per day, which we’ll come on to shortly.
After signing up and logging in, you’ll be presented with four options:
Feel free to explore the other tools in your own time, they also have some good functionality, but for now we’ll stick with the Bulk keyword tool. Once you’ve clicked through, you’ll be presented with two options, start a bulk keyword tool job or view saved bulk keyword tool jobs – go ahead and start a new job – Bulk keyword tool
The next page is where you setup your job – start by giving it a name, whatever you want, Keyword job 1, client job 1, blah blah blah. You can then enter a couple of seed keywords; you may wish to enter a small number of top level keywords. In my most recent project, I aimed to gather keywords for a range of products that the client offered, so I entered the primary keywords for each product. Next, select the aforementioned ‘tiny job’ option.
Now a ‘tiny’ job claims to give you up to 1000 keywords, but in my most recent test I got 1139, so you can actually get a few more. Nice. There are a couple of advanced options, but for now, start the job and proceed on to the next tool.
Tip: You can use the ‘bulk shallow scan’ to enter 1000 keywords, and the tool will return the traffic stats for each. Not bad, considering the Google Keyword Planner will only let you do 800 at a time.
While your Term Explorer job is running, it’s time to start getting some ideas of your own, and where better to look than your competitor’s (as well as your own) website.
The swiss army knife of SEO tools, SEMrush boasts a wide range of tools within its platform, but we’re going to be using its keyword research functionality for this part.
Firstly, if you’re not signed up to SEMRush, do so. Now. There’s both free and paid versions – what are you waiting for?
Using SEMRush, you can input a URL, and it will return a bunch of data for that URL, most importantly the keywords that it thinks it ranks for. Before you begin looking at competitors, quickly input your own pages, and export any keywords that are returned. This helps you to see what Google thinks you’re already ranking for.
Once you’ve done that, take your top 5 competitors, and enter a number of their best/relevant pages into the search box, and export all the keywords you find. Remember to focus not only on your (or your client’s) competitors in the offline world, but the online world too – their search competitors. Search competitors will likely reveal better, more relevant keywords.
Combine all your exports quickly, and bang, you’ve got a good list of extremely relevant keywords that your competitors are ranking for. Nice.
Note: Not every URL will return data unfortunately.
MergeWords is a personal favourite of mine.
In five minutes, you can quite easily put together a list of at least a few hundred keywords. Depending on the scale, you can quite easily stretch this to over a thousand. MergeWords allows you to stitch three sets of words together, and each set can be as long or as short as you’d like – perfect for both short and long tail keyword variations.
So to give you an example, you have 5 products, 5 modifiers, and 5 location tags:
Now order these correctly, for example – [large] [villas to rent] [in Spain] (you can also use it to find long tail question keywords, such as ‘how do I…’ or ‘where can I…’) and very quickly you’ve got 125 long tail keywords. Now let’s say you have 15 of each, that’s 3,375. Yeah you heard right, 3,375 long tail keywords! Now there’s a possibility that only 100 of those keywords will have any search volume, but hey, it’s worth trying!
Also, (cue M&S advert) that’s not just a list of 3,375 keywords, that’s a list of 3,375 relevant keywords. Nice.
The final tool we like to use here at White.net is Keywordtool.io, and I’ve found that it’s used in two different ways.
Before we dive in, make sure you’re signed up – you can get 750+ free keywords with a free account, so go ahead and get yourself signed up.
Keywordtool.io uses Google autocomplete to generate long tail keywords. As they explain on their website, “The search terms that are suggested by Google Autocomplete are based on a number of different factors, one of them is how often users were searching for a particular term in the past.”
Firstly, Keywordtool.io is great for gathering large numbers of keywords, although the range of keywords is very broad and can pick up a fair amount of keywords that are irrelevant. To start, simply enter a term and keywordtool.io will give you a load of keywords that you can quickly download. You can do this for a bunch of keywords, great for focusing on a few larger terms that you want to find. The only downside I find with this is that you may have to wade through a lot of results to find the good ones.
The second way is to use the tool to find some selective terms. Instead of quickly exporting all of the results, I go through the list, and using keywordtool.io’s helpful ‘Copy to clipboard’ feature, start to build up a smaller list of more focused terms. I find it especially helpful at finding good opportunities I might have missed, or good modifiers.
By now, your Term Explorer job should be finished, hurray! So download the report and combine all your keywords together in a simple list, and voila, you’ve got yourself a hefty seed list – ready to chuck in to the Google Keyword Planner tool! The best part is that you can easily put this all together in under an hour. Nice.
Of course, you may need to delve a little deeper into the keyword research process, but we’ll look at that another day!
Bonus tool: Keywordshitter.com – as the domain name suggests, this tool figuratively (phew) shits keywords at you. I’d highly recommend checking it out!
So there you go, that’s how you create a quick and dirty seed list. Do you use these tools or other tools to create your seed list? Do you use these tools but in other ways? Do you like turtles? Then get in touch, we love sharing knowledge and discussing tools here at White!