Keywords are confusing right? When you’re first introduced to the world of SEO, keywords are one of the top WWs (Wank Words) that you’ll start obsessing over.

No doubt, you have questions about them:

  1. How do I know which keyword is right?
  2. What free tools can I use to check keywords?
  3. Is a keyword just a word?

So hold onto your hats, bonnets, caps, top hats and let’s delve into keywords.

When to start researching keywords:

You should be thinking about your keywords before you even begin to start writing your blog post.

As long as you have the idea of the topic to want to cover, then you’ll be ready to start your keyword research.

In essence, what you’re really doing is checking for what people search for when they’re looking for the topic that you want to write about. THAT in essence, is what a keyword is all about:

Making sure the content you write about matches up with what people are looking for.

Sometimes it also helps with format to show you what you can add your post in, but I’ll cover that another day…

Here are 4 FREE places you can go to start your keyword research:

1. Google.

Type in the topic that you want to write about into Google and see what suggested search terms come up. You can also check out the ‘what people also ask’ box either below the results or at the bottom of the search engine results page (called SERPs – another WW).

This will give you a basic idea for questions that people ask and may help you tailor the post that you write.

2. Answer the public

Answer the public is a great site to get some idea of what questions people are searching for. It gives you lots of suggestions based on your core keywords -but you’ll have to make sure you use the right keyword first!

It’s strongest when used to plan content as it pulls questions and longer tail keywords from searches to graphically show you that topic based on different types of questions – such as how, what when, where.

Use it hand in hand with Adwords to find out the search volumes for these longer tail search terms.

3. Adwords

Now, I know a lot of people get a bit worried when it comes to setting up Adwords as you do need to add card details and make your first advert.

But you can pause your campaign before any money comes out. You won’t be charged for using Adwords unless people start clicking on your adverts (if you publish any).

Once into Adwords, go to the top toolbar and select Tools and find ‘Keyword Planner’.

Add in your suggested keywords into the first box – you don’t need to enter any other information.

Google Adwords then gives you a list of suggested alternative keywords along with their search volume.

Search volume is measured from 100 searches per month but does not mean that you would get that volume of traffic. After all, your link would be one of many on the page that the person could use. Generally use this figure to work out how competitive a keyword is. The bigger the volume, the more competitive the keyword and the harder it is to rank for it.

If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest going after keywords with a lower volume, where your site will have some cut through to rank well.

It’s also not to say that you shouldn’t go after those with much lower search volume that doesn’t show up with volume in Adwords. If a search term shows up in any of these tools then it means that people do search for it… it may just mean that it’s not as competitive.

4. Moz Explorer

Now… I’ve saved the best till last.

You only get 2 free searches a day on Moz Explorer, but if you generate and weed out your list of suggested keywords from the above tools first, then this is a great tool to really analyse which one to go for.

Put in your keyword string and see what happens:

A lot of information right? It shows you:

Difficulty: How difficult it is out of 100 to rank in the SERPs for this term. You want this to be low.

Opportunity: How visible organic listings are for that search term (not including paid ads, images, featured snippets etc). You want this to be high.

Priority: shows difficulty and opportunity. MOZ generate a priority score to use to cross-compare keywords. This is only really helpful to you if you have more than one keyword side by side and need a bit of help deciding which would be easier.

Keyword suggestions: a list of keywords that you can even sort by question etc.

SERP analysis: This shows what the search engine currently looks like for THAT search term right now. It shows their key metrics such as Page Authority (how good their page is out of 100) and their Domain authority (how good their website is) out of 100.

You can find out your MOZ DA here: Moz’s OSE tool

Using the metrics above and using your noggin to work out how easy it would be to rank on page 1 for that term can help you to work out if that keyword is REALLY right for you.

That’s not to say that if Page 1 has giants like Amazon and Babycentre that it’s impossible to go after that SERP. As long as there is some room for lower authority sites, then I’d say go for it.

Here’s a recent blog post I added on bringingupgeorgia.com about toddler bubble bath, using the niche keyword: “toddler bubble bath for sensitive skin”.

As you’ll see, I’m now in position 8, even with a relatively low DA. Showing that it IS possible to rank well when you use longer tail keywords (although this is going through a flux as a new blog post to decide on where it sits best).

Summary

To review, here’s what you should do when looking at keyword research using free tools as a blogger:

  1. Stick to longer tail keywords.
  2. Use google and answer the public to work out the sort of questions people ask to find the wording that you want to use (or at least the wording you want to target).
  3. Use Moz keyword planner to check the SERP difficulty as even if it’s a low volume may have a high difficulty.
  4. Don’t be completely put off by high domain sites in the top rankings… If I can do it, you can too!

Now you know HOW to find the keywords that are right for you.

Of course… this isn’t the end. How do you use them to get on page 1 of Google? Once you’re on page 1 is that it? I’ll be going through these sorts of quetsions in upcoming blog posts. Make sure that you sign up for my email to make sure you never miss a new blog post.

If you have any questions, contact me on Twitter @JellyYoSEO. Would love to hear any positive stories and if it’s helped you.