Top 10 Free Tools for Keyword Research

SWOT word cloudOne of the most important preliminary steps to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process is having a solid base of key term phrases to embed in your copy in order to help create higher visibility in the SERPs. Search engine spiders crawl sites and look for specific key term phrases that help them organize and rank websites.

How Do I Find the Best Key Term Phrases?

Keyword research is vital to understanding how your potential clients search for the goods and services they need. People may not know or understand specific industry jargon, so they will probably not be searching for those terms. Keyword research can help reveal to you exactly what words you should be using in your site’s copy so clients can find you.

Where can you find good keywords? The following is a list of the top 10 best research tools to help you in your keyword quest:

  1. Google AdWords: This free site from Google will give you keyword ideas based on the word or phrase you type in. It will add suffixes, prefixes, and additional words as well to give you a full range of possible keywords for your topic. You can also type in your own URL to see the types of keywords you can incorporate based on your topic.
  2. Competitor’s Web Sites: If you are not ranking on search engines at the top spot, find out who is and why. Find your competitor’s sites, read their content, and figure out which keywords they are ranking for. You can also look at their title and navigation for keyword incorporation. The best way to outrank your competition is to beat them at their own game.
  3. Friendly Search Engines: If you conduct a basic search on any of the search engines, you can see what other terms are associated with the phrase you typed. This can lead you to other keywords to incorporate into your site.
  4. Thesaurus: Yes, you read that correctly. Using a good, old-fashioned thesaurus (print or electronic) can lead you to many new keywords. The majority of words in the English language have several synonyms that could be used in searches. Knowing these possibilities will give your content farther reach to more potential clients.
  5. KeywordDiscovery.com: This Web site offers a free trial of their services; finding keywords is a literally a click away. Type in your word and within seconds you are presented with dozens of possible keywords along with their relevance and search frequency. You can also save your searches on Keyword Discovery and view past results.
  6. Server Log Files: The log files on your server are like the fingerprint of activity; it can tell you what phrases people used to find your site. This is an invaluable tool since it is coming directly from your visitors.
  7. WordTracker: This is another keyword generating site that offers a free trial. By using WordTracker’s advanced keyword tools, you will be given thousands of relevant keywords that target your niche market. With these keywords, your content can become optimized for the clients who are looking for you online.
  8. GoodKeywords.com: Keyword idea generating software is available through GoodKeywords.com. With the free trial offer, you can find out why the Keyword Strategy Studio software is so valuable. It uses information gathered from current trends of social networking sites, news headlines, products, and top ranking Web sites for a given subject to generate keyword suggestions. It also gives you a keyword library in which to manage your searches.
  9. Offline Advertising: Yes, non-Internet-based materials can be used to help generate ideas for keywords. Find popular magazines, newspapers, and other print advertising to see what is trending on your subject. What’s the latest craze in your market? And how can you use this to your advantage?

10. Your Client: As always, look to your client (or your own trade, if you are your own client) for ideas on keywords. Ask about the industry jargon, methodology, philosophy, and practices for the groundwork of your keywords. Clients may not be able to look outside the box of their industry, but they can give you a running start.

Keyword research is literally the foundation of your Web site; every bit of content used on the site will be created based in your keyword researched. Knowing the best ways to find the keywords you need means you are one step closer to high ranking and more customers.