Keyword Research Effective Processes

Do You Even Keyword Research?

Every keyword has its own power among the massive amount of search query data taking place all across the internet. Understanding how to measure the power of a keyword and how to branch out from using a head keyword into more variables like LSI and long tail to further increase the usefulness of your target keyword should all be part of your keyword research plan and in order to master your own keyword research process, you should build a checklist that you can refer to for each time you go about researching your keyword landscape.
Below I’ve used basketball teams as a reference to understanding the importance of proper use of keywords and why SEO is important in the bigger picture of improving your website profile on the web.
My References breakdown for easy following:
  • Keywords are NBA Teams
  • SEO’s are Team Coach
  • Google Search Results are the NBA League
  • Page 1 is the Playoffs
  • Position 1 on Page 1 is the NBA Championship
Imagine just for an example that keywords are NBA basketball teams and competing across the league for the Playoffs in our example Page 1 on Google.
You can then imagine that from making Page 1 these teams on the first page of Google. They are then playing off to get to the Grand Final Main Event. Now from that point aiming for the the championship Page 1 Position 1 of the search results beating off every other keyword.
Now imagine that you as an SEO or for business owners that the SEO hired by you is the NBA team’s coach so your hired SEO is the Pat Riley to the Miami Heat or Phil Jackson to the Chicago Bulls they help coach the NBA team (keywords) into the championship playoffs
That would be extremely difficult
 So we now understand the importance of selecting the right keywords and not selecting the Philadelphia 76ers as our keyword…..oh Ouch! sorry guys it’s kind of relevant why would you do that to your draft picks 🙁 I wish you a successful 2017 season and beyond.
Back to keywords and how smart selection can make your time spend on your marketing well worth the effort. Choosing keywords that underperform and having your whole strategy built around those keywords will be internal sabotage. You will waste so much time and for little to no reward hey Ill admit I’ve been there my keyword selection when I first started was solely based on what I thought was the best and it wasn’t I sucked so bad but what you do is work on your weaknesses and level up.

If you want to learn about keyword research start a blog, write creatively or start a Web Marketing business throw yourself in the deep end and it’s sink or swim.

Understanding your audience your unique selling position is the first step and then understanding how your target audience searches for your products or services is the next step master this and the rest is a breeze.

Identify What Keywords You Are Targeting

  • Head
  • Body
  • Long Tail
  • LSI

If you do not understand what some of the above terms are click the keyword research tools link on the next sentence Ive covered it there.

For an idea on some of the tools you can use to uncover these keywords read on here for several keyword research tools[/et_pb_text]

Setting up your checklist

We need to create a blank template to build out an actionable checklist for all future keyword research referencing.

First, sign in to Google Sheets and create a blank spreadsheet, you can also use excel spreadsheets I find Google Sheets easier.

You need to format the template by adding a title name for the sheet try something easy to remember like Keyword Research Checklist Template.

Now moving to the headers label each column so you know what goes where.

To make sure that you don’t treat your header as data when sorting your results, you should freeze the top row and add colour to clearly separate it.

Now you’ve got your spreadsheet, make sure you keep the link handy so you can create a powerful recurring process document later on using this guide.

Whenever you research a fresh keyword, open up the link, create a copy of the template and name it the subject of your content, like this:

Now we’ve got our blank slate, it’s time to populate it with keywords that are going to skew the SERP game in our favour.

Keyword Brainstorm

This is the start of our process, you want to start with the mindset of how you think your audience and potential customers would search for you what terms, phrases and words would they use to find your business on a search engine? write down every possible keyword and phrase.

Now go onto google and start typing your keywords and record the automated suggestions that Google is suggesting to you these will be very helpful. TIP down the bottom of the search results will be other relative keywords take note of them as well.

At the end of this step of the process you should have a very long list of keywords and phrases and don’t worry that is exactly what we want but we haven’t even touched the surface yet.

Build your own ideas on your keywords you want to be associated with your brand as talked about above

Build a list of keywords you think that your potential customers would use to search for your business

Now set yourself up a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet for your template.

If you want to see the search volume and CPC I use a chrome extension its called Keywords Everywhere and is simple to add although you will need to request an email so you can add the API and use it with the search volume and CPC real-time. You can use this to help determine keywords of interest at this stage or even eliminate words it is your choice.


This post is about keyword research, what is your keyword for your topic? write that down in your sheet as the first keyword this will be the keyword we will build our list around.

Be more specific

Is your topic about example the NBA Playoffs or is it more about example NBA the journey to the playoffs?

you need to write down the core topic that you will be building around the example NBA the journey to the playoffs is very specific it tells the reader right away what the content will be about where the example NBA playoffs is specific but still very broad in terms of what to do with the NBA playoffs, is it an overview, the predictions, a road to the playoffs or more there is a lot of room to move with that broad term.

Determine your topic and add that to your template.

Include synonyms in your list

To mix up some of the results you should consider using synonyms to acquire words you may not have had in your mind that relate to your topic. Keyword research can make most people spend hours analysing and thinking its actually quite simple once you get this sheet created and organised

Search for your words and then the phrases, now go over to and search for your keyword and then the phrases. Basically you are searching for different ways to say your keyword “Playoffs” may return championship, finals, semi finals, face-off, grand final, main event and so on. You will find some very good returns and you will also have to eliminate some of the returned searches as they will not be much use and can often produce a laugh at how and why they showed up in the first place.

Add the results you like for each keyword and phrase, and then add another and repeat this until you have completed your keyword set and added all the alternatives to your template. We now have an extensive list of keywords and phrases but we are not done yet.

Search on Wikipedia for even more alternatives

Go to Wikipedia and search for your term and find an article with relevance to our search term. Many people overlook Wikipedia as a powerful place to find well constructed content with in-depth explanations of terms that people don’t know about, can not pronounce and just plain don’t understand what it is. Perfect for our keyword research strategy, One search on Wikipedia for NBA Playoffs returns a long list of correlated data on the history of NBA playoffs and the only place I imagine to have a database as extensive would the actual NBA offical website and even then I think Wikipedia may have them beat on that.

We now have even more ideas for our template add them to the sheet.

Now we have compiled a decent list of potential winners from our manual keyword research we now head over to a browser-based search engine to get some more data for our keyword research measurements.

Keyword research just got a boost

UberSuggest helps you seriously boost your keyword research by generating a large list of keywords it does pump out a lot of crap not helpful at all keywords but if you use it in the way that I advise here you will get some golden nuggets within the return data.

To limit the room for error just input the most basic keyword this example is NBA playoffs and let it do its thing you will get keywords and users phrases in your data return and from there you can sift through and add the keywords and phrases that you want to add to your template

Ill also run it again with another two keywords to get an overall view of my keyword landscape. This covers me for my main keywords on al possible angles.

If you alter from using the basic keyword terms and add something extra you will get a data return that is 90% unusable so keep it simple.

Uber Suggest is a valuable tool for keyword research and can return some crazy results but at the same time you do not want to skim on running your main keywords through this process once you see the variety the search query returns for your list. Any tool that can scrape the web can work faster than you can so use it in your processes and save time let it scrape the web for your keywords.

If you want even more ammunition then rephrase the placement of your keywords and rerun the scrape again this will help you have a very extensive list if it is not already running into the thousand’s of keywords.

Our next step is to search the web for real people speaking about your topic and related terms and research how they implement their keywords and on page elements.

Real Time Keyword Research and Your Process

To speak to communities and people passionate about what it is you are building your keywords around you need to research interested people in their niche communities, Facebook, Twitter the usual suspects of course but have you ever considered using such If I was targeting marketing I would be researching on Inbound and GrowthHackers for my target audience would be very active here. My example is NBA Playoffs so I would look more at Facebook groups, Bleacher Report, NBA official website and several passionate forum sites where true die hard fans hangout and engage with the topic.

My other alternative is Quora for getting questions answered you cant go wrong but be warned that self promotion is frowned upon in this community you can answer questions and have your own questions answered excellent for seeing what and how competitors are engaging with people of similar audience. You can find very helpful questions your market have on Quora.

Using Quora for research provides you with the exact questions and words used that your audience are using to search for answers. Its super important to go that extra step in providing value to your audience by answering questions providing value being 1Up on your competitor. Add your found search terms, questions and any keywords that stick out to your template.

Now I head over to BoardReader and look for the forums that appeal to my target audience and search for my basic keyword and a keyword phrase

This should return some questions that people ask, titles used for the questions further helping us identify the problem they are searching an answer for, and answers to those problems. Add these to your template we are almost done.

You may be surprised at some of the keywords and phrases on your template sheet that you would not of even considered when you first started this research process I know I am every time, thank you keyword shitter for the enjoyment.

Ever Reliable Google keyword planner

This process step was broadcast by Brian Dean of Backlinko he calls it the GKP hack and you will see why in just a moment.

Here’s how GKP works:

First Find Competing Pages

You want to find competing pages that have a lot of visibility and are offering lots of content.Put your high-level keyword in Google and see what comes up in the SERP’s now open another browser tab.

Sign in and go to Google Keyword Planner for this next step.

Click on the ‘Find new keywords and get search volume data’ option, and paste a competing page into the ‘Your landing page’ field.

Review all relevant terms that your competitor is ranking for use what you feel is most beneficial, sneaky I know but it works.

It’s as simple as that. Go ahead and any new keywords to your sheet, repeat as much as you like/need/can be bothered with, and let’s move on to the next step.

*You must have a active Adwords account to get accurate data.

Use Open  Site Explorer by Ahrefs for Competitor Research

Now you are going to want to reverse engineer your competitors keywords and you can do this by using the Ahrefs Site Explorer.

This feature of a paid Ahrefs account offers a powerful way to get competitor information in an easy to digest UI that makes it stupid simple.

I recommend using the same competitors that you used in the Google Keyword Planner step, search their URL to get their list of keywords and now add these to your template sheet and our list grows again.

!!! CAUTION !!!

Naughty words follow, Those not inclined to profanity skip forward.

Brought to you by marketing originals Keyword Shitter

Yes you read correctly there is a keyword research tool named Keyword Shitter. Branding and toilet logo aside it is surprisingly capable see it here Keyword Shitter.

You will notice that it is easy to use and quite powerful in the search data and volume returned per search, the data returned includes long tail variations, search volume and CPC. There will be some crud in the list but at this stage we have more than enough keywords that we can be picky with our list now.

Enter main keyword “NBA Playoffs” paste your list of keywords we have in the Positive filter box to the right.

Not wanting to deny the creative genius at Keyword Shitter you then quite simply press the magic button on this website that button is labelled “shit keywords”

and boom you start to see an instant run of keywords loading in an extensive list that goes and goes. The variety of long tail keywords returned is worth the sheer no they didn’t factor of the branding. Add the winners to your template sheet and we move to the final research step.

You have your own choices as far as best keyword research tools I switch between several for this example we’ll work with Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and then we start our run at the playoffs and eliminate keywords that don’t make the cut.

Generate relevant keywords

using Ahrefs keywords explorer for our final process in determining our keyword research winners. Our process so far has involved us doing the thinking but now we get to automate it with this neat tool. Access Keywords Explorer (paid Ahrefs account only) this finds related keywords and phrases for you and you might think why didn’t we just start with this? You could but its best to build your list yourself first then do it this way for optimal results.

It’s as simple as typing a few of your existing keywords into the search bar.

  1. Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter keywords
  3. Select country
  4. Search

You can now retain the results that you like and filter out ones you don’t want to include.

We can see above the top pages for our search term.

Laser Target your keyword research list

Now we have a short list of keywords and its important to cut this down to the most profitable and rewarding words (depending on your goal) I want content exposure for my goal on this example obviously if you were doing Adsense for example you would want more profitable keywords.

Now we know our end goal we have some cleaning to do, remove all duplicates,  If you are working inside Sheets, this is easily done with the Remove Duplicates addon. Install that, then follow these instructions:

Steps 1–4 won’t need changing, just ‘Next’ through it ’til you get to the last window.

Make sure ‘Delete rows’ is selected and click Finish.

If you are not in Sheets and using Excel you can use the search field query and manually look for duplicates. Just switch to Google Sheets you will thank me later.

We approach the finish line

You can enter your list into Google Keyword Planner Tool and get some more informative data, we want to get the search volume amounts for our keyword list and note the keywords that have undesirable search volumes.

You should copy your keywords from sheets into Google Keyword Planner Tool and then download the results into a spreadsheet when finished.

Now you’ve got this spreadsheet, you want to take the good bits and paste them back over to your original sheet.

Delete everything apart from the Keyword, Volume and Competition columns, then paste it back. Search volumes with zero can be left out these keywords aren’t popular enough for our liking.

Remove the keywords that do not relate

Formatting your content and the readability for the user should appear natural and not as though you are keyword stuffing and want to avoid phrasing like “website design cheap” or “build website now cheap” these are not good for

an example of keyword stuffing can often be found in Youtube where its not uncommon to see Youtube video descriptions that have for example

#websitedesign #websitedesign #websitesdesign

They would repeat this hashtag again and again and even more hashtags of their target keyword  or they will blatantly use repeat keyword sentences line after line in the lowest section of the description area to hammer the keyword in.

So now the bad example has been covered DO NOT DO THIS! pretty simple when its in capitals right? Grab the suggested keyword phrases and

If you grabbed everything you could see in UberSuggest, or dig a big export, then now’s also the time to get rid of the crazy ones like ‘NBA Finals MVP 2009’ and ‘NBA Finals Sprite’.

When there’s a year in a keyword (like ‘NBA Finals MVP 2009’), instead of removing it, you could simply substitute in the current year. Just be sure to update the correct year.

Indeed, if you’re in the final quarter of the year, you might want to consider including the following year as a keyword instead of the current.

Look at how the interest in ‘NBA playoffs’ dropped off and then picked back up and then dropped off and so on, using sport as an example has a downside it’s seasonal so there will be peak months and down months where the interest isn’t there.

Since my keyword research process includes some paid tools it wouldn’t be 100% accurate to call it ‘free keyword research’, so I get rid of that, too. Since keywords are mostly about the way people express what they want, use your logic and you’ll be fine for this bit.

Who makes the starting lineup and who gets benched?

Every word on your list has potential thats why we created a list of keyword opportunities but how do you select 5 or 10 words from a list numbering in the 100’s? You need to discard a wider view to focus on the keywords that will by data provide you with the best return. But keep the words you don’t choose you will have use for them at a later stage. Select the top 5 or 10 by search volume to solidify their place on your final list.

If you are an organisational OCD type you could place the next most useful keywords into a sub header on your list to be used next for content and so on and so on this will also help provide some loose content planning structure for future implementation. It’s important to know that even Andre Iguodala came off the bench to provide much needed firepower for the Golden State Warriors, and yes Im one of those guys 🙂

The Most opportunity keyword selection process

To identify from your list what will be the best keyword selection measure by:

  1. Relevance. You need to accurately describe what you’re writing about because if you mislead or inaccurately describe your content you will incur a high b ounce rate and a high bounce rate will kill your ranking, even if you do manage to get on the front page.
  2. High (enough) volume. For niche and specific topics, like client onboarding, you’ll be lucky to find a relevant keyword with more than 30 searches per month. If there are two similar keywords with drastically different volumes, however, the higher volume keyword is the obvious choice (provided it passes the rest of the criteria).
  3. Low difficulty. Putting it simply, a keyword with low difficulty has pages and domains with low authority on the first page. If you target the same keyword with better content and get a few backlinks, you can take that slot and steal their traffic.

So once you’ve chosen a few keywords from your list which are high enough volume and relevant, it’s time to see how difficult they would be to rank for.

If the first page is crammed full of super-high authority sites or pages with 1000s of backlinks, you’re out of luck unless you’re Wikipedia.

In my review of Ahrefs vs. Moz, the Keyword Difficulty tool was one of the only places Moz surpassed Ahrefs on quality of features, but that review is in dire need of an update because now the Ahrefs keywords explorer does difficulty.

To quickly get KD on a list of keywords you can paste them as a list into keywords explorer and choose ‘Exact Match’ from the sidebar:

Keywords Explorer > Enter keywords > Select country > Search > Results: ‘Exact match’

Some of these are ridiculous, and it’d be very tough to rank for them. Instead of taking the more broad, high volume keywords, I look further down the list to check some lower volume, more specific terms — perhaps ones with a better intent.

The best way to judge the searcher’s intent of a keyword is to just Google it.

I was thinking of writing an article about customer support for enterprises, and thought I’d found an absolutely ???? keyword with ‘enterprise customer service’

Googling it revealed it to be useless trash because the intent was people searching for the customer service contact at Enterprise car rental. Of course the difficulty is so low on that! I felt particularly silly. And the moral of the story is: Google a keyword before you target it!

Googling a keyword also gives you an extra layer of insight into the keyword difficulty metric. You can see why the keyword is hard or easy to rank for. Take, for example, the KD 6 keyword ‘fun board games’:

Neither of the top two results even optimize for the keyword they rank for. That’s a sure signal to you that it’s going to be a #1 ranking if you follow it up with the right SEO strategy. (That, and the fact that Popular Mechanics isn’t exactly known as a stronghold of board game content.)

Once you find a relevant, in-demand keyword which has vulnerable pages in the top spots, you’ve found a winner. Highlight it in a lovely shade of green on your sheet to celebrate ????

Quite a long post but to really get the most from your keyword research you need a process of identifying, understanding and executing the plan.

The full 19 step keyword research process

Here’s a quick recap of the full process:

  1. Create a spreadsheet template to use as your checklist template
  2. Format your template sheet enter headlines and colour coding
  3. Identify your core keyword and then Google them taking note of auto suggest feature.
  4. Try using syonyms
  5. Search Wikipedia articles for new opportunities
  6. Generate variations using UberSuggest
  7. Search in Quora for new questions and answers taking note of specific words & phrases used.
  8. Search BoardReader for even further opportunities
  9. Competitor lookup with Google Keyword Planner
  10. Competitor lookup with Ahrefs Site Explorer
  11. Generate long tail keywords with Keyword Shitter
  12. Use Ahrefs Keywords Explorer for generating a massive keyword list or your go to keyword tool.
  13. Remove all duplicate keywords, with extension or manually
  14. Copy the remaining keywords into Google Keyword Planner
  15. Remove unrelated keywords
  16. Filter by search volume returned
  17. Again remove irrelevant keywords
  18. Remove high competition keywords
  19. Remove low volume keywords (if there are better options)

 Keyword Research Checklist Complete!

Get the Step by Step Checklist PDF here! No Email Opt-In! Just download or make a copy.

Parts of this process have been matched with Benjamin Brandall’s processes at Ahref’s.

So, there you have it my keyword research process developed from Brian Dean’s methods, a variety of exciting tools and my own experimentation.

Do you think this keyword research and application process will help you?

Now lets dive into the keyword research tools that can cut down the time to create the lists of keywords you need.

Alternative Keyword Research Tools Paid and Free Versions.

Keyword research enthusiasts the world over, have had their boat rocked. Google keyword planner had become a pay to play tool in the Google toolset. Many forums and popular marketing blogs erupted with the news and marketers were left scratching their head. I honestly feel if you devote your entire focus on just one tool that you dont own or control and then that one go to tool is taken from you you have a problem.

when Google Adwords changed the way that the keyword planner tool returned search volume data to

when Google Adwords changed the way that the keyword planner tool returned search volume data to non paying and lower spending account holders. This change in fair use policy created a storm in a tea cup among the internet marketing community, since then there has been a lot of people making quick “hacks” and “tricks” to get around this.

Ok Google but why? there are so many tools out there to help you get the job done seriously free and paid and all there easy to find.

I decided to make a video for people being SEO’s, Marketer’s and the DIY business owner’s, to learn about other alternatives to Google Adwords keyword planner tool. I will guide you on how to find them all the while by searching for “vegan pizza”, something I enjoy partaking in the consuming of on a regular basis. Having yourself a keyword research process that you can replicate and collect the appropriate data is so important, as to not waste your time and allow you to collect profitable and strategic data. The benefit of having your systems follow processes is a business strategy 101 technique, I swear by processes and encourage you to think about adding them into your business.

“Keyword research when done correctly can help David take on Goliath” True words.

Using several keyword research tools to compile your data, makes for a more effective process and not putting all of your vegan pizza in one delivery box (watch the video to understand the reference). Successful research of your target keywords provides revenue or leads, and saves you from pouring your precious time into something that does not convert. Our aim is to remove the wasted time and improve your productivity by using a follow along process and by identifying keywords with potential. One perfect example of wasted time was my first virtual assistant hire, I sent the task to identify a hot topic in the beauty industry for a client that we could create a mammoth Jumbo slice 8,500 word article on do i t yourself beauty tips and application methods for her products, this resulted in a huge waste of time because the keyword research was focused on the wrong words. My first hire of a virtual worker was not successful just like that massive article I slaved over, it  received a dismal visibility score and has almost no traffic except the lonely 10 monthly visits. I can understand sucking but that published edit was not even sucky, it was good content but the keywords were under utilised and targeting the wrong search terms.

Have no fear as recycling content is a thing! you can refresh content to be more relevant and useful, Ill cover more on this another time.

Keyword Research Strategy for the Search Engine

First Make a list of your core business elements being products services based on your knowledge of your business and industry

Second picture yourself as the consumer or client and imagine what they would search for and be using as words when looking for a service or product like what you provide and related terms that lead back to or out from your product or service this will allow you to circle in on keywords that you may not have considered before and when used effectively will attract new leads.

Third I like to use Google, Amazon or Youtube for a competitor landscape and type in my search term that I want to rank for. Doing this will allow me to see who is ranking for that term, what their headline titles are, what meta descriptions they use including any calls to action in the meta display and I recommend using SEO Moz toolbar a free chrome extension that helps identify specific domain metrics crucial in determining your competitor strength.

Now you have these key points you have the basic foundation for your keyword research. I would suggest reading on how to implement a keyword research process like the one we went through above.

Alternative Keyword Research Tools and Pricing Plans

Ok alternatives to Google Keyword Planner and lets dive into this. So I created a video that traverses the keyword research landscape providing an overview of a handful of free and paid keyword tools that will help you no matter what approach you have to keyword research. #veganpizza
Types of Keywords Research

Search Query

Looking for search terms that would come from interested buyers and people seeking more information about your service or product that type into example search term query on Google “Best Vegan Pizza Crust” you can type this into google but notice as you type Google will auto suggest the next words I take note of these words and add them to a text file for use when compiling URL titles, meta descriptions and content.

Related Search Terms

If you’re struggling to find keywords think more in terms of finding related words that people may use when searching for your product or service.

think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, go to and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug in a keyword. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, you’ll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to take into consideration buyer intent
Head Keywords
These are usually single-word keywords with insane amounts of search volume and competition (Using our example, “vegan” or “vitamins”). Because searcher intent is very broad within what “vegan” related topic they are looking for its hard to cater to someone searching for the word “vegan” when you are offering the best tasting vegan pizza served 100% organic when they may be looking for “vegan” headbands the search term is too broad to cater for the query directly this makes it quite hard to attract that user with a head keyword the conversion from a single head keyword is significantly lower than say a long tail keyword.

Body Keywords

Body keywords are 2-3 word phrases that get decent search volume (at least 2,000 searches per month), but are more specific than Head Keywords. Keywords like “vegan pizza base” or “vegan pizza” are good examples of using body keywords and this search query now allows us to have an increased relative appeal to the search query than a head keyword as we now can relate to more than 1 word generating more closely affiliated relevance to the user intent.

Body keywords can still be competitive but also allow for some less competitive term success

Long Tail keywords
The best way to describe long tail keywords would be to take your head & body keywords and add another word or two to extend them further creating a long tail keyword. These are specific words describing in an extended form your target keyword like example “affordable vegan pizza oven” or “Vegan pizza topping recipes” while they are not going to be getting 50,000 searches per month they will pull their weight with attracting visitor’s to your website.

Long tail keywords convert better as they attract visitor’s that have typed in a more specific search term meaning they know more about what they are searching for where someone searching for “pizza” may just be cruising the web looking for pizza or pizza deals but someone who searches “mouth watering vegan pizza” is one hungry SOB looking for warm tasty vegan pizza and would be more inclined to purchase said pizza over the user searching for a very broad very generic “pizza” search term. It is understanding this search query demand that can make your keyword research more profitable just from understanding the pending conversion thought process.

Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords

LSI Keywords are essentially keywords related to the keyword that you search for on search engines such as Google. Using semantically related words referring back to your target keyword increases the power of your keyword phrase and this has been fully endorsed by Google as a significant page ranking factor and you should consider using this method in your content marketing think more about the user than just creating content aim for your target audience by thinking as if you were looking for information on your product or service.

While it sounds like a super complex conspiracy theory type of substitutionary phrase its not that complex at all its similar to long tail keywords but using words that are more commonly associated with these body keywords.

I quite enjoy using LSI graph for finding LSI keywords the user interface is very smooth and its simple to use, they offer a free download of the best ways to use LSI keywords and its well worth the read. They also offer a opt-in for their plugin.

One thing I am on the lookout for is a reliable ecommerce keyword tool specifically aimed at Shopify, Amazon and Ebay. Ive tested several that don’t meet my standards and the tools mentioned in this review are the ones I use currently and they help identify opportunity. There is always something bigger and better out there maybe someone could drop a comment on what they use for ecommerce keyword research in the bottom of this article.

Keyword Difficulty

Can I really rank on page 1?

In all cases you need to assess the keyword popularity and the competition separately you can not associate example “vegan supplements” in the same way that you would research words like “vegan pizza napkins” the two vary in search volume in a massive way one is extremely competitive while the other is relatively unheard of so approaching your research the same every time will not be viable and you need to assess your keyword’s landscape for competitors, popularity, work involved to rank highly and success ratio’s involved.

We go back to the David and Goliath reference where if you do your research effectively you can compete with the page 1 brands but starting out with a new brand new website and relatively low industry authority you will have to put in some work and this can be an uphill battle at times but is entirely possible to compete. Do not under estimate the difficulty of the competitive keywords so using body keywords wont be enough of a plan you need to unleash long tail and LSI into your keyword application to capture the wiser market and then hone in on those competitive terms as a wise sansei once said to his pupil “crawl before you walk and walk before you run” the same rule applies here.

One hidden gem i will disclose here is that to really fine effective keywords you should be mining your analytics dashboard for the popular search queries used used for and on your site this will provide you with the data you need to understand your users in far more detail and the search queries they make mainly long tail terms, saying that long tail still comes with its own downfall being they don’t pull in 50,000 searches per month you cant expect them to be the sole reason people visit your site, so in order to really attract and capture your market you need to pump out hundreds if not thousands of long tail keywords to cast a wide net and bring people into your website from a expansive keyword funnel but you need to be aware of Google’s panda penalty as gunning for thousands and thousands of long tail keywords may run you close to the line but can easily be adhered to by monitoring your webmaster tools for declines in rank.

I still recommend incorporating long tails into your content marketing and on page SEO strategy. My other key point for keywords helping you get to pages numbered 1 are using LSI, semantic and synonyms to extend the use and coverage of your target keywords.

The ranking factors voted most influential were

  1. OnPage SEO
  2. Backlinks
  3. Page Load Speeds

If you can master OnPage and know how to implement good solid keyword research you will find your pages have the foundation to harness any backlinks x10 more and produce x10 more results by having a proper foundation in place. OnPage and Keyword Research go hand in hand at ranking your sites. Page load speeds are also going to affect the way websites rank, especially moving towards a mobile first index. As marketers you need to keep your head on the swivel with change and adapt as Bruce Lee would say like water in a glass. I know the bulk of my readers view on a desktop computer and not on mobile device, my top viewed from browser is Internet explorer and the average time on site is 7 minutes.

There is no point reinventing the wheel when taking a moment to look at what is already working and use that as the framework for what Google really wants.

Competitor Research

Reverse engineer your competitor’s keywords, backlinks, logo and company director’s name…wait what did he say? yes you heard me but wait its a complete joke just like the SEO & web design global leaders that offered to replicate a unnamed business owners competitor website and provided the finished website to the business owner in the complete same way that the competitor website was copied word for word but with the business owners company name as the title of the website and his profile image was used but the other company director’s name was still on the website 🙁 oh man oh man yes cheap ineffective web design and SEO who can copy a competitor website for you DFY service I would dare say that he paid more than $99 for that “Ultimate service”.

This highlights the fact that you should NOT just cut copy and paste a competitor website they may have unique leverage that you do not or they may be doing naughty things with their SEO so take a look at what they do analysis it and make up your own damn mind if you want to be the copy cat or the one being copied, Now think about that for a moment.

Things I look at with my clients competitor’s

  • Keywords and topics used
  • OnPage
  • Backlink Profile
  • Images and multi media being used
  • Site Layout – Silo and navigational elements
  • Calls To Action – CTA
  • Content Quality and cross linking
  • Social Reach & Engagement

Just to start me off Ill gather intel on these factors and make up my mind what we would replicate and what we would exploit as a weakness or avoid as they have the firm grip on until we are in a position to engage head on. I like to seek out of the ordinary keywords that the competitor isn’t ranking for and seems to not have much care for again unique market positioning can help increase reach or alienate from the market and thats what we can target.

While we want to achieve high rankings quickly and for the popular terms we also need to understand the longer drawn out picture of capturing a larger market by expanding our net to drag in smaller searches in a larger frequency all working towards the main position for all of these keywords and it is possible with work and planning the application.

So now we have more of an understanding on the importance of keywords and what keywords we want to be targeting we can move into the various tools and what they do for our keyword research.

watch the video for the run down approx run time is 50:10 and covers paid and free alternatives for search query and competitor keyword research, enjoy!

Alternative Keyword Research Tools Overview

As referenced in the video here are some honourable mentions and links to where you can access them. I do want to openly advise you that Keyword Supremacy, Market samurai and SEMRush links lead to their official websites and if you decide to purchase you are helping a Aussie battler (me) by allowing those companies to provide me an affiliate payment for helping them make a sale but at this point we are pizza buddies and you know a good thing when you see it.

Top 5 competitor keyword research mentions


The go to tool for so many marketers, there is an allowance for a 1 project on the free account and this access allows for quite a comprehensive reporting overview of your project. However most agencies and marketers will have more than 1 project at one time the paid plan will help you immensely I find this the best tool for competitor research and website maintenance the project feature is so helpful.

The free trial last for 30 days and then you have the choice to use a paid plan and the variations of these are

Pro plan offers 5 projects at $69.95 monthly,

Guru plan offers 50 projects at $149.95 monthly and

The Business plan account provides unlimited projects at $549.95 monthly. A very powerful tool that every marketer should have at least used once.


This is a very powerful research tool that helps drive targeted leads, provides competitor keyword intelligence and overfall increase conversions by allowing you to see buyer intent keywords that you can in turn use for your campaigns. They offer 4 pricing options ranging from $29 to $299 monthly of course the higher the price the more features you will have access to very handy to have in your arsenal.


Now Spyfu is and can be used for search queries and competitor keyword research its one of those versatile tools that can do a multitude of things. You can find profitable keywords and eliminate the words that are not as effective saving your time and allowing you to focus on words that will improve website traffic and increase rankings. They offer 3 monthly payment plans $49 to $139 and this is a steal for price and functionality I find this tool to return quite in depth data and covers using multiple tools and thats quite handy if performing a lot of research.

KW Finder

I really like the interface of KwFinder its easy to use and returns data that you can use to your advantage, Competition, long tail variations city modifier and they are offering 3 monthly pricing plans but you can use the free version for up to 5 times per day so you can include this one in your supplementary tools list.

Free – 5 searches per 24hrs – 5 keyword evaluations per 24hrs and 25 search results returned

$12 per month – 100 searches per 24hrs – 100 keyword evaluations per 24hrs and 200 results returned (Great value)

$25 per month – 500 searches per 24hrs –  500 keyword evaluations per 24hrs and 700 search results returned


Using Alexa to determine website traffic is great and really helps determine popular websites but it also helps with enabling you to view the most popular search queries of that website extremely useful if you have ever dived into your search console of the Google Webmaster Tools you know how search traffic queries can benefit your marketing. Alexa offers 3 pricing plans per month from $9.99 to $149.00 and should be on your list for competitor analysis.

Top 5 search query research mentions


Moz is the ultimate white hat leader of SEO I love the branding of Moz and the more than anything else the community of people that interact and offer free helpful insights on the forums. As far as keyword research goes Moz offers a keyword explorer tool that while not the most informative tool it still holds its ground on the top 5 list in my eyes you have two options when using the keyword research search bar when the search has been run you have two columns one has keyword suggestions and the other has SERP analysis both with ability to export your research.

Keyword suggestion helps you identify potential keyword opportunities showing search volume and relevance to your search term

SERP Analysis is just that it shows the top 10 for the search results of your search phrase

You can easily identify the Moz Toolbar (chrome extension) with the keyword tool on very similar functionality. Very handy and can help you with your keyword research with super simple steps to get it done like the pro’s I use the toolbar almost daily. Moz makes the list #veganpizzaresearchtoolskeywordsstuffandmoz #longesthashtaguseonablogpostawardyesorno ?

Answer the public

Keyword research has never looked so good, this is one of the most unique webpages on the innernets, you are greeted by an older gentleman in a turtle neck skivvy with a trending beard and cool glasses who performs some minor but intriguing movements while you use the search bar on the page. I urge you to visit the page just to see this, but it gets better once you have entered your search term you are brought to yet another unique design layout and a very impressive relationship image of your keyword and some simple question based relationship links for example these questions are linked back to our search term “vegan pizza” I’ve Bold text the relationship arm leading out from our search term keyword.

Who sells vegan pizza?

Are Domino’s pizza vegan?

Where is the best vegan pizza?

How to make vegan pizza sauce?

Whats vegan at Pizza Hut?

So some very creative suggestions for planning content and page layouts and even URL structure and its super helpful seeing these questions laid out so you can see your keyword research opportunities at a glance.


Soovle provides a unique circular layout for the various search terms using 7 search engines and is very easy to use, the data can be downloaded and you can search for several terms the search engines used are:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Amazon
  • Youtube
  • Wikipedia
  • Answer

Soovle is a very powerful free tool for research and even just mapping out keywords it includes search volume and cost per click CPC of these search terms and the ability to see it all displayed on the different search engines on one screen is a huge benefit.


Freshkey is a paid tool at $49.95 its a couple of years old but still relevant in todays market I use this as a supplementary tool to my go to tools and it opens new opportunities for me in the research phase helping me find buyer search terms and phrases and the results are returned in measure of popularity so you can easily see whats working and find new opportunities for your research. Freshkey is a downloadable program it is not browser based unlike 98% of tools mentioned here.

Freshkey uses 7 search engines and is one of the only tools that incorporates Etsy and eBay in its search engine. If you want to add some variations to the norm for keyword research methods and views use Freshkey.

Ahrefs is Solid!


Ahrefs is more commonly associated with backlinks, but is rarely associated as a keyword research tool. I rate Ahrefs as a keyword explorer beast of a tool.  Ahrefs keyword and content explorer features are very powerful and I see them making a play for most useful tool if you could only pick one paid tool. They hold a very reputable mention in this list and if I had to pick the best overall tool, I would raise the hand of Tim Soulo and his team as the best overall tool hands down.

Noteworthy feature the content explorer

Ahrefs boasts a powerful keyword explorer feature and offering a visually similar dashboard to SEMrush. The tool is available by a paid plan unlocking a sweet dashboard where you can view your tracked keywords, rank of keywords, access to site explorer, indexing of backlinks, check competing pages.  Also very noteworthy is the powerful content explorer containing all the usual suspect metrics you may be accustomed too. I like this tool for more than just backlink profiling it has more useful features and is a must for improving your keyword landscaping along with your back linking profiles and overall your content marketing.

There are 4 monthly plans available. Lite is $99.00 for 5 campaigns, Standard is $179.00 for 10 campaigns, Advanced is $399.00 with monitoring of 25 campaigns and the largest plan available is the Agency at $999.00 monitoring up to 100 campaigns at one time.

Honourable mention goes to Rank Tank seen here for his community contributions worth checking out. *Update Rank tank was sold and Sean no longer represents the brand.

Rank tank is 98% FREE to use as long as you subscribe to the email list and its good karma to follow Sean on Twitter. There is 1 paid product that uses the API from SEMrush into a Google Sheet this runs at $15.00 and from user feedback is awesome.

Keyword Shitter

This tool gets a mention for the depth of the data returned for a search and for the unique branding. I still recommend using this despite the use of foul language in the brand name it does return some useful opportunities and should be included in your keyword research tools list.

Market Samurai

I currently use Market Samurai as one of my main keyword research tools and it provides much more than just keyword research I use it for a variety of reasons being opportunities for Adsense, competitor mapping, search query

With the full version you will have access to an SEO competition analysis feature great for mapping out the competitive landscape

Domain research helps you choose a domain that will boost rankings and provide the best results for climbing the SERP’s

Provides opportunities to generate income from your website traffic by allowing you to publishing display ads onto your website.

Content Marketer allows you to research and find articles, to repurpose & publish content related to your target keyword.

Promotion engine allows you to build and promote high authority backlinks to your website that help your overall search listing.

Free Trial

Full Version

Purchase the full version and get bonus of Lifetime Market Samurai Software Updates

giving you access to our new and updated tools as they evolve

(value: $295 per year) & Priority Email Support – contact our help desk with any questions, and receive a personalised priority response (value: $695 per year)

The BEST for Keyword research tool period!


Keyword Supremacy

Most Anticipated keyword tool release is without a doubt Keyword Supremacy which comes out for public release on 10th October 2016 and is created by two very SEO savvy dudes being Todd Spears & Herc Magnus very down to earth guys that actually have a vested interest in creating a community around their software developments as I can personally vouch with the release of their Schema injection plugin for WordPress Project Supremacy. Keyword Supremacy is a one time purchase fee and then runs on credits included below is the link to the Keck Plan with 65 credits.

Keck Plan 65 credits

Free trial of Project Supremacy

Welcome the MEGA POWERS welcome the Winners!

I hope you have enjoyed this overview and now feel hungry for some mouth watering cheese-less vegan pizza, and consequently indulge yourself  to a nice tasty treat.

If you have any Keyword research tools that you use that are not on the list, please feel free to add them in the comment section. There really are so many new ones coming out all the time it is hard to keep up to date with the latest trend in Keyword Research.

Having the understanding is only half the battle, I suggest you invest in implementing a process that you can follow to halve your time spent on research. I created a 19 step checklist that you can follow along when doing your very own keyword research.

Thank you for reading and see you on the next one.

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