If you rely on SEO and the traffic from the search engines, it's essential to perform a keyword research before writing your content.
First of all, a keyword research will help you determine what people are searching for online.
Secondly, a keyword research will give you an idea about the level of competition of a specific keyword. Based on that data, you can determine whether you should target or not a specific keyword phrase.
Normally, the longer the keyword is, the easier it usually is for your content to rank for it in the search engines results.
Knowing precisely what keywords to target before creating your content, will also help you to write more SEO friendly content.
The longer keywords are usually known as long tail keywords.
These extended keyword phrases will also help you to get more specific about a chosen topic and give your readers exactly what they want to hear.
Before starting a keyword research, you need to have a subject in mind and a base keyword (for example "affiliate marketing").
In order to generate long tail keyword ideas, you can use the multitude of online tools and services.
The majority of these research tools require a monthly subscription and their prices are usually not very affordable for everyone (the cheapest services of this type usually cost about $50/month, and the most advanced ones can go up to hundreds of dollars per month).
Fortunately, there are also several very good free tools for finding long tail keywords. A few of these tools are 100% free, but some of them also have a paid plan that unlocks more features.
I made a list of the keyword research tools I use, including only the services that do not restrict your options very much.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a tool provided by Google for the people who use the Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) advertising platform.
Even though Keyword Planner is intended for the advertisers that promote their business using Google's paid ads, it can still be used entirely for free by anyone who has a Google account. If you don't have one already, you can just create one for free.
Once you have a Google account, you have to register with Google Ads. You just need to fill a few information, and there's no account validation process or anything complicated. Also, you don't have to fund your account or start a campaign to be allowed to use this tool.
After you log into your Google Ads account, you can access Keyword Planner Tool here.
Or, you can find it inside your account under the "Tools" menu, "Planning" section.
Once you access the tool, you can choose between finding new keyword ideas starting from a provided keyword, or you can get the search volume and forecasts for one or more key phrases you provide.
Both of these options are very useful, but since our goal is to find long tail keywords we can target in our content, we'll use the first option (find new keywords).
On the next screen, you will need to provide a keyword/phrase to start with or the URL of a page where keyword planner to extract the keywords from.
You can even add multiple keywords at the same time.
To get the new keyword ideas, click the "Get Started" button.
Keyword Planner will give you the estimated traffic volume for the chosen keyword and a list of other related keywords and their search traffic volume.
Usually, the shortest keywords have the most traffic and the highest competition.
To speed up the process of finding the longest key phrases, you can play with the filters. While I don't think to be an option to allow you sorting the keywords by the number of words, you can sort the listed keyword in descending order by the number of average monthly searches.
You should now notice that longer expressions are displayed at the top of the list.
Even though these phrases don't have a high search volume as the short keywords shown initially at the beginning of the table, it's easier to rank for these than for the short keywords.
To find keywords for your articles, just scroll through the list and find the expressions that are long enough (4+ words).
The number of monthly searches is not always relevant for organic traffic since those are estimates for the paid ads.
You can apply more filters, by clicking the "filter" icon from top-right.
Ubersuggest is another super useful free online service for finding keywords.
This tool has been for years and was always free.
Recently, Ubersuggest has been acquired by Neil Patel and the keyword research tool was moved to Neil Patel's domain name.
Don't worry, this tool is still free.
In fact, Neil Patel has not only kept this tool free, but he has also added several useful features to this service, features that can compete with many paid keyword research tools.
Besides the improved user interface, there were added a bunch of cool features and graphics.
Here's the new look of Ubersuggest.
You get a cool graph at the top of the results, with an estimated search volume, an SEO difficulty score, a difficulty score for the paid ads, and an estimated cost-per-click.
Under the graph, you get a list of several related keyword ideas.
To see the complete list, click on "View all keyword ideas".
Below the keyword ideas, you'll find a section called "SERP Analysis."
This section lists the pages that rank in Google's organic search results based on the chosen keyword, along with an estimated number of visits for each SERP position, number of social shares for that page, and a domain score (the higher this number is, the harder it should be to outrank this page).
There are many other useful filters and options for sorting the results.
Ubersuggest also gives you an estimated ranking chance for each keyword. Still, I think the only real way to determine the chances of ranking for a specific term is to manually analyze the first ten results in SERP.
Ubersuggest looks now like an improved version of Google Keyword Planner.
Thank you, Neil, for keeping this tool free and for making from Ubersuggest an excellent keyword research tool.
Keywordtool.io is a keyword research tool that enables you to use the data collected from several sites to generate a list of keywords based on a chosen search term.
This service gathers the keyword suggestions from the following sites:
As a free member, you only have access to the "Find Keywords" function of Keywordtool.io.
There are also two other useful tools (Analyze Competitors and Check Search Volume), but these are only available for the premium members.
Nevertheless, the keyword finding tool is incredibly useful for discovering long tail keywords and because you can perform research for six different websites from a single place, which makes this service invaluable.
The free version has several limitations, but as far as I know, the number of your daily queries are not limited.
As a paid user you can get more keywords, see the keyword's search volume, CPC, and the level of competition, which are hidden by default.
If you need those metrics and you don't want to upgrade to a premium plan, you can just copy a keyword from Keywordtool.io into Google's Keyword Planner, or Ubersuggest, and you'll have access to the missing info.
The keyword research tool also has a few various filter and options. For instance, you can choose to search the keywords returned only by Google Images, News, or videos and you can filter the results even more by Google's domain name (the country location), or the search language.
Take a look at a few of the long keywords phrases that I was able to find with the help of this tool starting from by base term "affiliate marketing."
And these are just a few from a long list and only pulled from Google Search autocomplete feature. I still have the option to search in Google Images, News, Videos.
Then, I can simply repeat the search using the remaining five sites. Even more, after the search form, there are two tabs: keyword suggestions and questions.
If you switch to the "Questions" tab, this service will filter and display only the questions key phrases. I got again an impressive list of extended questions type keywords that I can target in the content of my blog posts.
Because this tool is so amazing, you even have the possibility to copy all the keywords or to export to a .csv, or an Excel file (similar to what Google Keyword planner allows you to do). Keywordtool.io is one of my favorite websites for finding long tail keywords.
Answer The Public
Answer the public is a tool that generates a list of suggestions starting from a simple phrase or a few words.
The data displayed by this service is provided by Google and Bing auto-suggest results. Answer the public allows you to look for keywords in several different languages but doesn't have too many other options.
Enter your base keywords in the search form on the homepage, and the service will generate a set of questions, prepositions, comparisons, and a list of alphabetically sorted search terms related to your query.
Even though it keeps things simple, Answer the public displays some of the data using a few fancy graphics, which is quite nice. Below are the questions regarding affiliate marketing.
Below are the comparison terms.
And here's a fragment of the list of terms grouped alphabetically.
Overall, Answerthepublic.com is a free, simple, but powerful tool for finding long keywords, questions and related search query to a given term. The best part is that's completely free.
Insta Keywords is a free long tail keyword research tool, but which has a paid plan.
If you want to see the competition score for the keywords, you'll have to upgrade to the premium version.
The data returned by Insta Keywords it's very similar to what Google Keyword Planner Tool displays, but this service focuses on delivering the longer keyword variations. In fact, probably, some of the data displayed by Insta Keywords is collected from Google Keyword Planner.
This tool is the simplest service mentioned so far in this post. You just enter your main term in the search form, choose whether if you want to return a quick list of results or a more comprehensive list and you click on "Generate suggestions."
Here's a preview of the results.
Soovle is not very fancy, doesn't have a lot of options and features, but does its job and it's free.
This service can simultaneously check for the same keyword over several different websites and search engines and display the results instantly on screen.
The way Soovle displays the results on screen, it's a bit messy, but as long as it's free, I can live with that. You can also download the list of keywords as a .csv file if you click on the download icon from the top-left of the page.
Keyword Everywhere is a free browser extension for Google Chrome web browser.
This tool displays the search volume, CPC, and competition for 15+ websites.
It also displays keyword suggestions on the right side of Google's search results based on the searched phrase.
Let me give you a few examples.
When I perform a search on Google for "keyword research tools," on the right side of the page, I also get the following keyword suggestions.
As you can see, Keywords Everywhere displays the estimated search volume for my target keyword right under the search box.
On the right side of the results, this extension inserts two panels: "related keywords" and "people also search for."
These panels display a set of keywords, phrases, and questions related to what I've typed into the search box, along with their estimated monthly search volume and their paid cost-per-click.
But that's not the only magic trick this extension can do.
When I access "performance" menu in my Google Search Console account (Google Webmaster Tools), next to each keyword, Keywords Everywhere automatically inserts three additional columns that display the search volume, CPC and the SEO competition for each keyword.
These columns are not there if I don't have this extension enabled.
My Google Analytics account also has these additional columns thanks to Keywords Everywhere plugin.
This extension also works on YouTube.
And even on Amazon.
According to the information displayed on extension's presentation page, Keywords Everywhere supports the following websites:
- Google Search - data displayed under the searchbox and in the right hand side (People also ask for & related keywords).
- Google Search Console - data shown in the Search Analytics page.
- Google Analytics - data displayed in the Organic and Search Engine Optimization -> Queries pages.
- Google Trends - data displayed in the queries widget.
- Google Search - data displayed under main keyword as well as related searches.
- YouTube - data shown under the search box.
- Bing - data shown under the search box.
- Amazon - data shown under the search box.
- Ebay - data shown under the search box.
- AnswerThePublic.com - data displayed in popup on each spoke of the wheel, data also shown in the alphabetic listings.
- Soovle.com - data shown next to each keyword all over the page.
- KeywordShitter.com - data shown under the main text area next to keywords.
- Majestic - Anchor Text Report.
- Moz Open Site Explorer - Anchor Text Report.
This tool also allows you to save the keywords in Excel CSV format or PDF. That's a very useful feature if you want to target these keywords with Google Ads or Bing Ads, or to make a list of keywords to target in your posts.
The SEO competition has reached a very high level of competition for many niches.
A proper keyword research can make a huge difference between having your posts listed on the first page of Google, or on the fiftieth.
If you want to have a chance for your content to rank on a superior position in the search engines, I recommend you to focus on optimizing your content for long tail keywords.
Even though these keywords won't bring you as much traffic as the short key terms, at least you have a chance of occupying a decent position in SERP.
Furthermore, if you optimize the same article for multiple related long keywords, your content may rank well for several of those. Hope you've found this post useful and don't forget to put these tools into practice the next time you write an article. Don't forget to add this post to your bookmarks. I'm sure you'll need it later. Also, if you know other free tools for finding long tail keywords, let me know in the comment area.