Whether you’re building a service page or writing a blog post, keyword research will make or break your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy.

However, keyword research tools can be pretty expensive.

So in this post, I’m going to show you how to do free keyword research and all you need is an internet connection.

Let’s get into it.

3 Ways To Do Free Keyword Research

There are so many different ways of doing keyword research, which can be confusing and to be honest – unnecessary.

So my suggestion is to keep it simple by only using these 3 methods:

  1. Google Search
  2. AnswerThePublic
  3. Ubersuggest

You’ll never run out of topics or keywords for your website, and you’ll never need to pay for expensive keyword research tools like SEMrush (starting from $119/month) or Ahrefs (starting from £99/month).

Let’s look at these 3 methods in more detail so you can start using them today!

#1 Google Search

The most obvious, and often overlooked keyword research strategy is using Google Search itself.

Google knows better than anyone which terms and topics are being searched on their platform, so here’s how you use their own search engine to find profitable keywords for your website.

Start with a broad topic or keyword like “keyword research“.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to rank for competitive keywords like this, so you need to dig a little deeper to find the long-tail keywords (usually longer than 4-5 words) which are easier to rank for.

Type your broad topic into Google and click the search button.

google search free keyword research

Once the results have loaded, scroll down to the “People also ask” section.

Here you’ll find longer tail keywords that are often far less contested than the shorter, more competitive topics.

You can find more by simply clicking on one of the dropdowns, which will add another two keywords to the “People also ask” section.

google search people also ask more keywords

Each of these keywords could be a potential article topic, or YouTube video, or social media post.

The point is, Google (the data Gods), is telling you exactly what people are searching for based on actual searches by Google users.

There’s no better source of data than this.

But wait, there’s more!

Scroll to the bottom of the Google search results page or SERPs, and you’ll see more search terms to include in your content or use as content topics.

You can keep going down the rabbit hole by choosing an interesting suggested keyword and searching for that in Google.

google search long tail keywords

Once again, that will give you even more potential topics to choose from in the “People also ask” section.

google search people also ask long tail keywords

Set aside an hour of keyword research time and you could potentially find hundreds of blog topics to get you going.

Now, let’s move on to our second method for finding keywords for free.

BONUS FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH METHOD USING GOOGLE

Here’s another great way to use Google to do free keyword research.

This strategy is widely known as the Google Auto-complete Method.

It’s a great way to find really long-tail keywords with high search volumes and low competition.

Here’s how you do it:

Open google.com in your browser, so it looks like this.

google search home page

Start by typing your broad topic keyword into the search bar – but don’t press search.

You’ll see a few suggested searches pop up, these will be similar to the suggestions we looked at in the “People also ask” section.

Now, start adding onto the beginning or end of your broad keyword and see how the suggestions change.

Like this example where I typed the letter “a” after my main keyword:

google search autocomplete

You’ll see a bunch of new keywords come up, but not all useful.

Do this for every letter of the alphabet, both before and after your main keyword and you’ll find quite a few good long-tail keywords to go after.

Once you’ve done that, try adding prepositions and qualifiers like this:

google search autocomplete with preposition

Or you can get really creative and combine the two, like this:

google search autocomplete best for

Play around with different variations and I promise you’ll never run out of potential blog topics and keywords to include in your content.

If you don’t have the time to try every variation, there’s a tool that does it for you and it’s one of my go-to’s when I’m doing my own keyword research.

It’s a website called AnswerThePublic.

#2 AnswerThePublic

This is one of those tools that offers way too much, for free.

Seriously, AnswerThePublic will give you thousands of keywords with the click of a button.

Here’s how you do it.

First, go to answerthepublic.com.

Then, just like before, type in the broad search term you’re looking to target.

Like “keyword research” for example.

answerthepublic for keyword research

Click the “Search” button and AnswerThePublic will spit out hundreds or even thousands of variations of long-tail keywords for you to use.

You’ve even got the option of downloading the data into a neat CSV file.

answerthepublic keyword results

Variations of your broad keyword will include:

  1. Questions
  2. Prepositions
  3. Comparisons
  4. Alphabeticals
  5. Related search terms

So you’ll have no shortage of topics to use for your content strategy.

Currently, when the results load up, they’re placed into a “visualization” layout like this.

answerthepublic visualization keyword results

It’s annoying to work with, so I recommend selecting the “data” layout to make it easier.

answerthepublic data results

Keep scrolling down the page and you’ll see all the other variations, ready for you to pick and use for your blog or service pages.

The first two free methods of finding keywords will help you find a range of keywords to target, but if you’re wanting to get a little geekier about it – I recommend using Ubersuggest.

#3 Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a keyword research tool that doesn’t break the bank.

In fact, they have a free version of their tool that allows you to do up to 3 searches a day.

There are two main ways to use Ubersuggest for finding profitable keywords.

Method #1 – Keyword suggestions

Navigate to the keyword ideas tab where you can insert your main keyword to start your search.

ubersuggest keyword ideas

Remember to select the country you’re optimizing for as well because differences in spelling and grammar can impact your search visibility in different regions.

For example, “optimise” and “optimize”.

If you’re not sure where to target, I suggest targeting the United States as that’ll be the biggest potential market if you’re targeting an English-speaking population.

Once you’ve clicked “Search”, you’ll be presented with this list of keyword ideas.

ubersuggest suggested keyword

Since Ubersuggest is actually a fully-fledged keyword research tool, you’ll see a lot more data about each keyword than the previous two methods.

You’ll see:

  1. Estimated search volume – Take this number with a pinch of salt. I’ve seen many keywords with 0 search volume produce thousands of new website visitors.
  2. CPC (cost-per-click) and Paid Difficulty – This is only relevant if you’re looking to use Google Search Ads (pay-per-click or PPC).
  3. SEO Difficulty – This is the number you should pay attention to. SEO difficulty will determine whether you’ll be able to rank for your chosen keyword or not, based on the authority of your website relative to your competitors.

My suggestion for seeing the most amount of traffic within a short amount of time is to target low competition keywords, with at least some traffic.

Again though, I’ve had a lot of success targeting 0 search volume keywords in the past.

Targeting low competition keywords with Ubersuggest is easy, simply select to filter by SEO Difficulty.

ubersuggest low competition keywords

Now you can easily find and target the perfect keywords to quickly boost your website traffic, instead of competing for keywords you’ll probably never rank for.

So that’s the first method for doing free keyword research using Ubersuggest.

Method #2 – Spy on competitors

One of the very cool features of most keyword research tools is the ability to look at the traffic your competitors are getting.

More specifically, you can see which keywords they’re targeting that you aren’t.

This is called a keyword gap analysis.

Go to the “Similar Websites” tab, and paste your website’s URL like this (remember to select the right country again) :

ubersuggest similar websites

Scroll down and you’ll see a list of your competitors, including the keywords they’re ranking for that you aren’t under “keywords gap”.

ubersuggest keyword gap analysis

Spend some time browsing these keywords and find ones that your competitors haven’t done a great job at covering, and target those.

Especially if they’re low competition.

Conclusion

I’ve just outlined my exact process for doing free keyword research for you.

These methods have resulted in millions of visitors to websites we’ve had the privilege of working on, and they’ll work just as well for you too.

If you need help building, growing, or optimizing your website to gain more customers…

Get in touch and let’s take your digital marketing to the next level.

Categories: SEO

Shaun Els

I'm the Founder at nanopage and I specialize in search and conversion rate optimization. Feel free to schedule a strategy session with me.

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