Keyword Research – Free Tools to Get Your Blog Started
Before you actually start writing at your new blog, it's important that you do your preliminary keyword research. Your keyword research is going to drive all of your current content – as well as drive all of your future traffic.
Now, you can pay thousands of dollars to a search engine optimization consultant, or you can do a bit of keyword research on your own. If you want to get started on your own, here are a few tools that can be extremely useful.
Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool
If you want to drive a bit of immediate traffic to your blog, you might want to consider a pay per click campaign. And even if you decide against PPC, the Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool can still provide valuable insight into possible keywords for your future blog posts.
After entering your main keyword phrase, the suggestion tool will spit out a list of, you guessed it, other suggested keywords. The tool will also provide "Global Monthly Search Volume" which shows how often a keyword phrase is searched for during the month. Obviously, if no one is searching for your chosen keyword, there is no point in optimizing your website or blog content for that phrase.
The best part about the Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool is that it is totally free to use.
WordTracker offers an easy to use, free option. The downside to WordTracker is that its results mainly reflect searches done in the United States. But as long as your target market lives in America, I definitely suggest that you give this tool a try.
As I said, it's easy to use: simply enter your main keyword and click the "Hit Me" submission button. WordTracker will return a list of related keywords and phrases that have been searched for over the past year. While the actual search numbers are a little questionable (WordTracker does not get their data from Google) the results are nonetheless a great springboard into additional keyword ideas.
You can access the WordTracker too online at: http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/
WordStream offers a no-frills, free, online keyword research tool. What I like about this tool is that you can have the complete list of keywords emailed to you, which is very handy if you're continuing your research in another program or creating an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis.
The results that WordStream display are very bare bones, simple bar graphs of the keyword phrase popularity. No raw numbers are given. In my opinion, the WordStream tool is best for generating keyword ideas. You can then have those keyword ideas emailed to you and finish your research elsewhere.
The Google Wonder Wheel
Google's Wonder Wheel feature will display other relevant keyword phrases in an easy-to-understand graphical format. After entering your keyword into the regular Google search bar, just click "Show Options" and the Wonder Wheel link will be on the left side of the page.
Your main keyword will appear in the center of the wonder wheel, and related keywords will appear in the "sun rays" surrounding the wheel. Clicking on any of the related keywords will create a new wonder wheel branching off from the original. You can click away to your heart's desire, creating wonder wheel after wonder wheel of relevant keywords.
Just like WordStream, the Google Wonder Wheel is best used for generating keyword ideas, since it does not display any other information, such as number of monthly searches. The downside is that there is no way to export the keyword list, so you'll need to have your pen and paper handy.