Back in the day, I used to do what thousands of other SEOs would do to find keywords. Go to the Keyword Tool, type some words and get a list of the keywords I would target.
But now, things are different. Now the keyword tool is completely different and long tail keywords are more important than ever. And on top of that, it is harder to know what people are actually searching for.
The rules of keyword research have changed and so has the game.
I won’t deny it. I still use the Keyword Planner. And let’s be honest, we all will. Because that’s Google’s data. And we are doing SEO to rank on Google. So we will take what we get.
But we will add our own techniques to find the best keywords outside of Keyword Planner as well. Just adding a little spice to the game and making sure that we are ahead of the competition here.
Remember, keyword research is one of THE MOST important steps in SEO and in Google Adwords advertising.
If you get this right, you have a very high chance of having a successful campaign.
First, we will cover the ideas and then we will cover some unheard methods of keyword research. So hold on to your chair because this is about to get exciting.
Start Thinking Like a Customer
As SEOs, we like to think that the customer already knows how to use the right keywords to get the right results. And we couldn’t be more wrong.
We think in the form of “which keyword has the highest volume.”
The customer just wants to know where that restaurant is.
This is the reason why we end up finding a ton of keywords with a lot of competition.
You would be surprised to know that more than 18% of searches that are being performed on Google have never been performed before.
How’s that for a mind-blowing fact?
This is the reason why you need to start thinking like your customer.
What would you do if you wanted to find that restaurant? What would you search on Google?
Maybe you would search for:
- “best restaurants to go on a first date”
- “best high school reunion restaurants in Michigan”
- “should you go to a restaurant on a first date”
Remember, at this point, we are just coming up with ideas. We are not focusing on the keyword volume right now.
My personal tip would be to completely get into the character of being your customer. Think about how your day might have gone and other commitments, etc. And then think about what you might want to search for to find that restaurant.
By completely putting yourself in their shoes, you will be able to know what they might search for.
Chat With Your Customers
It is very easy to lose touch with your customers when you are constantly working in an industry.
So it is always a good idea to have a chat with your customers and get feedback on whatever you are working on.
Having a face-to-face chat might not always be possible. But there are thousands of forums in almost every niche these days. You can just hop into one and start talking. And it’s not just the forums where you can interact with your customers.
You can talk to them in the blog comments sections, through autoresponders, etc.
You would be surprised what you uncover when you just have a simple conversation with a customer.
Recently I found out that the best way to get an SEO client is to give them certainty.
That’s the only thing they are looking for. If they can be certain that you can rank them for the keywords that you promise, they will be happy to give you their money.
And I got all of that from just a 5-minute chat. And now it has completely changed how I look at my marketing.
How easy was that?
User-generated content (UGC) and communities is the place where all of the information/content is generated by the users.
This is the place where people usually turn when they cannot find the answers they were looking for. This usually happens when no one has written any piece of content on that specific topic, but it has been talked about in these UGCs.
Now all you have to do is sift through these sites and just keep gathering a ton of keyword ideas that you can use later on. But that’s not it.
You will also be able to understand the concerns of these people and the questions they are asking.
These are the places where you will find ideas which you cannot find in any keyword tool in the world.
Now I know what you might be thinking, “But Nabil, most of these keywords do not have a high search volume. So they are of no use to us.”
You can answer multiple queries that are similar. And when you add up the search volume for all of those keywords, you will see that it is something that we probably shouldn’t be missing out on.
Time To Really Start Using Wikipedia
The world thinks of Wikipedia as some undeniable encyclopedia.
I think of it as another keyword research tool in my arsenal.
If you have never heard of using different types of search parameters in Google, now might be the time to look it up. Because that’s what we will be using in this method.
The process is pretty simple and straightforward. But when you do it in front of other people, you will be an SEO God in their eyes.
Here we go:
Step 1: Go to Google and then type “inurl: Wikipedia your topic”
Obviously, you should remove the quotation marks from the search. Once you do that you will get a completely different type of search result than you are used to.
Step 2: This is where you will be looking for the most relevant terms and possible keywords that you can use.
Step 3: Now open the Wikipedia entry and repeat the same process of identifying the relevant terms and finding possible keywords that you can use. If you want to make this process quicker, just sift through the first couple paragraphs and try to make out the keywords from them.
You can also try to morph the keywords you have found into a couple of long tail keywords. This will only help you further with your campaigns.
Step 4: Also identify other potential keywords from Wikipedia’s table of content list.
Step 5: See if there are links to any other associated subjects. If so, click on them to find even more keywords that you can use.
Wikipedia ranks as the 6th most popular website in the world.
Remember, if Wikipedia has a page about a topic, then you can be damn sure that people are searching for it. You can mimic what they do and give the people the information they are searching.
Obviously, it will be pretty hard to outrank Wikipedia. But you can definitely rank for some long tail keywords and pull in your piece of the traffic.
Ever noticed that Google tries to predict what you are going to type by giving you a couple of suggested queries?
This feature has been around for such a long time but I see so many SEOs skipping out on this method. They are just in too much of a hurry to even notice that this is just another opportunity to find out what people are searching for.
These autocomplete suggestions that you get are completely based on real queries that were searched by real people.
Not only that, these suggestions can vary based on your geographic location and language.
This is one of THE most accurate representations of what the people are searching for out there.
If you haven’t been using this to do your keyword research, then you have definitely left a ton of money on the table.
But it is time to start using it. Because nothing can be better than this.
Step 1: Start searching for any keyword you want more ideas for. The autocomplete suggestions will start giving you some of the most popular keywords that people have searched for.
Step 2: You will also get long-tail suggestions which is the main reason why I love this so much.
Step 3: All the suggested keywords are ranked by the freshness of them. Meaning, keywords that are more popular (popular during the time of your search) will appear first, aka, rank higher in the suggestion list.
Step 4: You want to make sure that Google is not autocompleting your queries based on your previous searches. So to avoid that you should open a new “incognito” tab and then search.
Step 5: Type your main keyword or the long tail keyword that first comes to your mind. For instance, “garage door repair.”
Step 6: You will start seeing suggestions appear. You will want to write them down.
Step 7: You want to see more relevant keywords. So you will type “A” after your main keyword and write down the suggestions that you see. For example, you will type “garage door repair A.”
Step 8: Repeat Step 7 until you have enough keywords that you think will suffice.
Or if you are too lazy to type all of that in the Google search, there is a tool that can give you all the suggestions you will need. Basically, this tool will add the alphabets after your main keyword. After that, all you will need to do is copy and paste that keyword in Google and see what it suggests you.
The tool is called Ubersuggest. It is a pretty nifty tool.
If you do choose to use it, do keep in mind that it does not suggest keywords based on popularity. Only Google does that.
Google Related Searches
We all agree that Google is the almighty G of the world because it is the biggest search engine in the world. So, we need to start taking more cues from its algorithm and use it to our advantage.
Although it might be a little daunting for some of you, the rewards are better than what you think. Because it is highly possible that your competitor might not be using these methods to do keyword research.
More money for you.
So, here’s what you do.
Step 1: Search for any keyword that is relevant to your niche in Google.
Step 2: Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. I want you to ignore everything in between. Just focus on the keywords that are just above the number of pages.
That is where your reward is. All these keywords that are highly relevant to what you are searching. Just sitting there for someone to pick them and start optimizing for them.
These keywords are similar to what you get in the autocomplete suggestions. But these are different because Google is mixing up the keyword you searched for with other keywords.
But make no mistake, those keywords are related to each other in some shape or form.
And believe, throughout my SEO career, I have found some mind-blowing keywords with this method. Not just mind-blowing, but wide open for total domination.
Keyword research is a basic skill that every SEO has. But it depends on how they use that skill to their advantage and are able to deliver it either to their clients or for themselves. That is what sets them apart than others.
Remember, you do not need to have expensive tools to find untapped keywords. You just need to be creative about your methods and very soon you will have hundreds of keywords that you wouldn’t know what to do with.
What are some of your most favorite ways to find amazing keywords?