How to do Keyword Research with free SEO tools

9 min read
3 Nov 2023
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Keyword Research with free SEO tools


Keyword research plays a vital role in a business’s growth online. It defines how well your blog content will perform on search engines.

It is a common misconception that keyword research is performed well with premium tools. In reality, the process of doing keyword research is backed by manual knowledge of SEO.

If you’re well equipped with manual expertise, you can find low-hanging fruits without using premium tools.

In this article, we are going to learn how you can perform keyword research with free tools available online. Here, the order, expertise, and conceptual flow of actions will define how well you find easy-to-rank keywords without using paid SEO tools.

Things to consider

Before we proceed, let’s learn how Keyword Research works and what are the ingredients of doing keyword research.

Keyword research is the process of finding people’s interests on search engines. As people use to search for information, products, and services on search engines, the process of keyword research helps professionals find topics with relevant information, including trends, variations, and business value.

Before we proceed to find keywords with free SEO tools, you need to understand the following key terms.

  • A topic list includes a list of relevant, ideal, and proposed keywords in a niche.
  • Search volume shows the number of searches of a keyword on a monthly basis.
  • Keyword difficulty refers to the efforts required to rank a page on search engines for a target keyword.
  • Domain authority (DA) shows the authority of a site based on the number of quality backlinks.
  • Backlinks are links from external sources to a page, often referred to as votes for a page.

Let’s proceed to learn how to find the above metrics for keywords with free SEO tools available online.

How to compile a topic list?

In order to find and compile a list of ideal keywords, you need to start by entering a seed keyword in an SEO tool. Seed keywords refer to the head terms in a niche. For example, if you want to find a keyword about health diseases, you will need to start by entering “Health” in an SEO tool.

One of the ways you can compile a list of ideal topics is by using Google’s autocomplete feature. When entering a seed keyword in Google, it can fetch and show related terms automatically.

Google Auto Complete Feature Ok
Google autocomplete feature

You can try different variations of terms to find relevant keywords for a head term. By using question words in the Google search bar, you can also collect trending questions people are searching for on Google.

Questions From Google Autocomplete Feature
Questions with Google Auto-complete feature

If you’re not comfortable with manual routines with Google autocomplete, you can automate finding and collecting topics with SEO tools, such as Ubersuggest.

In this case, enter a head term in Ubersuggest and export the list of topics by clicking on the Export option as shown in the screenshot below.

Export Option In Ubersuggest
Export option in Ubersuggest

How to find search volume for keywords?

Once you have compiled a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to find its search volume data with Google Keyword Planner, a free tool from Google that helps you find topics with search volume, impressions on search pages, and CPC data for paid advertisements.

Head over to Google Keyword Planner and use your Gmail address to sign in. Once you have signed into your account, you should see the following home screen.

Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner

Note: If you are using Google Keyword Planner for the first time, you may see on-screen prompts to set relevant measures. Choose appropriate measures for your location, such as currency and time zone, and follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.

Here, click on “Get Search Volume and Forecasts” and upload a list of keywords or enter them manually in the text box. After clicking on the “Get Started” button, you should see the following screen with keywords and their search volume data.

Search Volume
Google Keyword Planner with search volume data

Although search volume data is not fully accurate in numbers, it is better to get an idea of how people are using different terms to find information on search engines. You can also use the filter options to get ideal data for keywords.

Note: As you have a list of ideal keywords with search volume data, the next step is to see whether or not you’re able to rank for the keywords on Search Engine. This process of analysis is called Competition Analysis of Keywords.

How to find Keyword Difficulty for keywords?

Keyword difficulty shows if your site is rankable for a keyword on search engine pages.

There are two ways to find keyword difficulty of a keyword. You can use SEO tools to get a number that shows keyword difficulty or use your manual knowledge to assess a keyword’s difficulty on search engine pages.

SEO tools provide a number, from 1-100 based on a number of factors such as backlinks and DA, that show how much a specific keyword is difficult to rank for on Google. On the other hand, the manual approach of keyword assessment on search engine pages helps you assess a keyword’s difficulty in ranking with relevancy, searcher intent, and manual assumptions.

Let’s learn how to find a keyword’s difficulty with SEO tools.

Enter a keyword in the Ubersuggest and hit enter. The keyword’s metrics on the next page include a number for keyword difficulty on Google’s 1st page. The higher the number is, the more it is difficult to rank for the entered keyword.

Keyword Difficulty
Keyword Difficulty in Ubersuggest

Similarly, if you are manually assessing a keyword’s difficulty in ranking, you will need to look for irrelevant sites on the search page of a keyword. For example, if the majority of sites on the search page are irrelevant, you can target and rank for the keyword, much easier.

How to find Domain Authority for a site?

Domain Authority is a number that shows a site’s authority based on the number of backlinks. The more a site has backlinks, the high it will have its DA.

Domain Authority is not a ranking factor though. However, high-quality links can give a site competitor an advantage on search pages.

To find a site’s DA, install the Moz Chrome extension first. Once installed and you’re signed into your Moz account, you can see the DA of sites on Google pages.

moz DA
Moz DA

As described above, the DA of a site helps in ranking higher on search pages. In this case, if you’re doing competitor analysis to find ideal keywords, you will need to find low DA sites in your niche. By doing so, you can pick the ranking keywords of a low DA site for ranking your content on search engines.

Here, the philosophy is straightforward. If a low DA site is ranking for a keyword, so can you on Google.

Once you have found a collection of relevant low DA sites, you can proceed to find its top pages with the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension.

Top Pages
Top Pages with Keywords Everywhere extension

Once you have a list of top pages on a low DA site, you can find its main keywords to target. Use the data in Keywords Everywhere to find the primary keywords for the top pages. If done correctly, you can proceed and create similar content to target keywords derived from low DA sites.

Main Keyword
Main Keyword with Keywords Everywhere extension

The number of linking domains to a page shows its difficulty in competing with search pages. Let’s learn how you can find the number of backlinks to a page with Ubersuggest’s free Chrome extension.

Install the extension and turn it on in Google Chrome.

Every time you run a search on Google, you can see the number of linking domains to the ranking pages on Google.

Backlinks with Ubersuggest extension

You can also do the same with the Moz extension. As discussed above, you should have installed the Moz extension in the previous step above.

After you have run a search query on Google, you can see the number of backlinks with the Moz extension.

moz DA ok
Backlinks with Moz extension

Similarly, you can also find backlinks for a site’s homepage. Enter the site’s homepage address in Google and see the backlinks with extensions.

Note: To find easy-to-rank keywords on Google, you will need to pick pages with minimum or zero backlinks. In this case, you can also rank for a keyword without building backlinks.

Summing up

Keyword research is the art of finding ideal keywords with manual knowledge. SEO tools can provide mass data for keywords; however, without manual expertise in how things work, tools may fall short of providing prominent results for you.

In this resource, we learned how to use free SEO tools to find relevant keywords, their search volume data, difficulty, and factor(s) that influence ranking, such as Domain Authority and Backlinks.

Keep in mind, that your marketing campaigns’ ROI highly depends on how well you perform keyword research. More than SEO tools and automation, the process of keyword research is well-performed with manual knowledge of SEO.

For more information on how to do keyword research or talk to a professional, you can consult our professionals for a quote or custom plan.

Written By
I've worked in digital marketing for 10+ years and founded 3 agencies. I am the CEO of Lakewood media Limited and our digital marketing agency I also head, a support and maintenance company and, our premium design and development agency.I currently spend my time developing strategies for digital marketing, covering everything from SEO, PPC, lead generation, email marketing, analytics and conversion optimisation. My role is to ensure our agencies are at the forefront of the industry so we can provide the best solutions and remain agile.I also manage the daily operations at our parent company, where I enjoy the business side of running a group of agencies.
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