10 Ways to Do Free Keyword Research
Whether you are doing SEM or SEO, you probably know that you aren’t going anywhere without keywords. In fact, you can’t do much on the Internet at all without them. However, good keyword tools can sometimes be very expensive. But don’t worry! Today, I will teach you how to do free keyword research without any tools.
Just a little disclaimer before we move on. I am obviously not saying that tools are unnecessary or useless. On the contrary, some of them are really good and are definitely worth the investment!
However, if you are like me and can’t afford awesome tools like KWFinder or Semrush, there is no need to worry. You can still perform great research for your articles or campaigns without paying a single cent.
Can Keyword Research Be Done Without a Tool?
Yes. Keyword research can be done without a tool.
Paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz can be great investments to help you conduct keyword research.
However, it is possible to do effective keyword research without expensive tools like these.
This means you can do keyword research for free, and can avoid the hassle of deciding and committing to one of these expensive tools.
In this guide, I will show you how you can do keyword research for your website without any tools.
10 Ways to Do Free Keyword Research
You can do free keyword research by using the various features that Google provides within its search engine.
Yes, by using Google, you can do effective keyword research for your site to find lots of new keyword opportunities.
I will also show you some other platforms that you can use to do keyword research, which will help you answer the various pain points and problems that your target audience is facing.
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1. Google suggestions
The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is an absolute gold mine when it comes to free keyword research. It gives you something that many tools don’t: the actual searches of users on Google.
Yes, looking up the keyword volume is great. However, when you look up the volume of a keyword, you only see the keyword itself. Usually, accompanied by a few short-tail and long-tail versions in the list.
However, Google actually shows you the exact phrase that users type in the search engine bar. This is great because you can actually see the most popular queries within their context. As a result, you have a much better understanding of what and how your audience searches on Google.
Even without looking up the volume, you already know which are the most popular searches on Google for a specific topic. Which, consequently, can give you some great long-tail keyword ideas that you might want to work on.
2. Google’s People Also Ask
The next Google feature you can use to do keyword research without a tool, is Google’s People Also Ask feature.
This feature commonly appears within Google’s search engine results page (SERP), in the organic results section.
Similar, to Google’s auto-suggest feature, these questions are pulled from actual questions that users are typing into Google.
Once again this means that these questions are relevant to your target audience, have search volume behind them, and will usually be lower competition.
If you can answer your target audiences’ important questions on your website, this will help bring more traffic to your site, and keep your users wanting to come back for more.
Use any of the questions from Google’s people also ask section that you find relevant, and add them to your keyword list.
If you are not familiar with Quora, it is a website where people ask questions and get answers on basically any topic that might occur to you.
It is also an awesome source for high-quality keyword ideas and blog post titles.
But it is also an amazing tool for writing helpful content. The reason why is that on Quora, you can see the main preoccupations of actual users on a certain topic.
You can even follow their conversations and the answers they got from other users to gather more information about a specific question. And last but not least, the questions that people ask can you give you some good niche blogs?
This can give you an approximate estimation of the possible traffic that you might get to your website with this question.
To research keywords on a certain topic, just go to the search bar in the upper right corner. Then, type down the generic term that you are interested in, and let the ideas flow from all the results!
4. Free Keyword Research via YouTube
However, just as with Google, people who make content for YouTube should also make a lot of optimization. They want their video content to be easily understood by Google, and also easily found by their target audience upon searching for a specific topic.
Compared to Google, YouTube videos are significantly more difficult to optimize for Youtube´s search engine. The reason why is that there are not as many places to fit your keywords.
If you can place your keywords in headlines, text, images, meta descriptions, and more in a blog post, basically all you have for YouTube optimization is the video title, description, and a few tags.
This means that users who produce video content on YouTube make a lot of research to find the right keywords.
YouTube is also a good way to see how different keywords position against each other.
Of course, contrary to Google search, not everything on YouTube is about keywords. Personal branding, popularity, and even video thumbnail play a huge role in how well a channel positions its video. But it can still give you an overall idea of what you can expect with a certain keyword.
5. Google’s SERP Features
Google’s SERP features are various items and features that can appear in a particular Google SERP.
They can give you insights into the things that are important to your users when searching for a particular keyword, or topic.
Google’s SERP features can include:
- Featured Snippets
- Paid Results (Ads)
- Video Results
- Image Results
6. Google Ads
Advertisers spend millions of dollars on Search Engine Marketing to show up on top of Google’s first page for the best keywords. And of course, it’s not only the money – behind the scenes, there are hours and hours of research that go into the process.
For you, this is a great and completely free opportunity to catch popular keywords without a tool.
Let´s say that you are blogging about fashion and you want to write an article about how, or where, women can shop for cheap. Just type a couple of possible keywords that come to your mind, and see what ads appear.
Looking at ads related to your topic can be a great way to get some keyword ideas. These companies already did their research beforehand, so you can be sure that their ads aren’t full of random keywords!
Reddit is another great forum platform for finding questions that people are asking online with regard to your niche.
Similar to Quora, Reddit is comprised of a giant community of users that are organized into topics where they can ask questions and get answers to their passions, hobbies, and interests.
Enter a search term into Reddit, and look through the various posts, comments, and communities for the most popular questions that are relevant to your site.
8. Blog Content
I personally like to use the People Also Ask box not only for keyword ideas but for entire keyword titles or sub-headings.
In fact, the questions that pop up in this box are also perfect to use as sub-sections for your blog post. They typically represent all the possible questions that a user could be asking when typing a generic keyword:
And these are not random questions that Google simply made up to play a guessing game with the user. They are actually the most popular questions that people ask regarding a certain topic. Which means that they will have a lot of search volume!
For this reason, using one of these questions to write a blog title around, or taking them all into a single, long post, will almost always ensure you high volume. Without looking at any paid or free keyword research tool!
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9. Amazon’s Auto-Suggest
If you are in the e-commerce space, Amazon’s auto-suggest feature is a great non-tool you can use to do keyword research for products you could feature on your website.
Once again Amazon is a different search engine than Google, and people search differently on the two platforms.
Therefore, you can use Amazon’s auto-suggest feature to better dial in the products your target audience is looking to purchase.
Enter a product into Amazon’s search bar and let the auto-suggest feature do its thing, just like we discussed for Google and YouTube.
10. Social Media Groups
Another excellent way to perform free keyword research without any tools is by joining social media groups.
Channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to join industry or niche-specific groups where a lot of interesting conversations happen.
For example, I am a member of various groups on LinkedIn dedicated to Digital Marketing:
These groups allow you to either start a conversation or join one. It´s like you have a private feed in which you can see very specific publications on your topic by multiple members.
LinkedIn and Facebook groups are great ways to see what people are talking about and extract keyword ideas from them.