Keyword research is the backbone of an effective SEO strategy. One goal of content marketing with blogging is to demonstrate expertise on a web of relevant and related topics (and, consequently, improve your SEO). Keyword research helps you identify which keywords you should target with your blog copy. It also gives you a look into what potential clients really care about when they head to search engines.
What Makes a Good Keyword Research Tool
There’s a reason we don’t name any single keyword research tool as “the best.” What makes a tool a good fit for you is entirely dependent on your specific needs. There are some pieces of information that will be helpful to you regardless of the nuances of your marketing.
Search Volume and SEO Difficulty
You may know what you want to rank for, but that doesn’t mean you know what keywords potential clients actually use on Google and other search engines. This is where Search Volume and SEO Difficulty come in. Search Volume tells you how many people use a keyword each month. SEO Difficulty gives a sense of how difficulty it is to rank for that keyword. Generally speaking, it’s good to use keywords with high Search Volume and low SEO Difficulty.
Some keyword research tools will provide you with suggested keywords based on your search. This is helpful for a number of reasons. If the keyword you initially search isn’t very promising, there may be something more fruitful in this list. It also can be a treasure trove of unexpected content marketing inspiration. For example, in researching the keyphrase “wedding bouquet,” you would come across the suggested keyphrase “wedding bouquet preservation.” It has a high Search Volume and medium Search Difficulty, and it could easily become a topic for an advice article on your blog.
1. Keyword Generator
Ahrefs is a platform that provides SEO tools and audits for businesses. Their Free Keyword Generator provides straightforward data, including the SEO Difficulty (called Keyword Difficulty on Ahrefs) and Search Volume.
This is the first keyword research tool that I’ve found that is designed for other search engines in addition to Google. You can even do keyword research for Amazon and YouTube. Keyword research for platforms like YouTube is valuable if you plan on doing content marketing with videos in addition to blogging. If you think of YouTube and Pinterest as search engines rather than social media, it’s easier to come up with SEO-based marketing strategies specific to those platforms.
The free version of the Keyword Generator is very bare bones in terms of the data it presents compared to some other free keyword research tools. To get easier to read graphs and a more detailed breakdown of data, you have to pay a minimum of $99/month. That’s not the worst use of a business expense, but it may not be the best fit for a small business.
2. Keyword Magic Tool
Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool provides data in a more aesthetic and helpful arrangement. In addition to keyword research, you can use this tool to analyze web traffic.
Like many keyword research tools, the Keyword Magic Tool provides a limited number of free searches each day. However, that may be all your small business needs. You get the usual information such as Search Volume and SEO Difficulty, but you also get a few cool features that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Semrush provides information on user intent to help you understand if people are looking into services, trying to find a specific site, or finding the answer to a question. The platform also provides a small chart to show how the keyword has trended over the last twelve months. For seasonal industries, this can be invaluable in blogging strategically to get ranked by the time people are really searching that keyword.
The level of detailed data you can get with the Keyword Magic Tool can be overwhelming for beginners. It’s easy to get distracted from the basic information you need for an SEO strategy. If you can keep your eye on the prize and pace your exploration as your understanding of SEO deepens, it’s worth checking out. Like the other keyword research tools featured here, you get a handful of free searches each day.
Ubersuggest is the keyword research tool from Neil Patel, a company that offers SEO consulting services and AI tools.
Ubersuggest provides a lot of the same data and features as the Keyword Magic Tool with the added benefit of pretty intuitive design. The “Traffic” section gives big-picture information on who is visiting which parts of your website and how they get there. (Google Analytics will always be the most accurate for this, but Ubersuggest is more user friendly to get quick data.) The platform has two features to help with content ideation. One section, “Keyword Ideas,” suggests similar keywords for comparison. The other, “Content Ideas,” shows you what other creators are doing with that keyword. Subscriptions for small businesses are relatively inexpensive at $29.00/month, but you can do a lot for free too.
Ubersuggest doesn’t give quite the level of detail as the Keyword Magic Tool. Again that could be a good thing depending on how new you are to analyzing this information. We have had a lot of success using Ubersuggest for Brandcendent and our clients.
Since keyword research is the foundation of SEO-driven copy, we include it in all of our website copywriting and blogging services. Learn more about how we can help you come up with a keyword strategy to get you ranking on Google and connecting with your dream clients.