Monday, 19 September 2016

Free Keyword Tool / Generator List

Top 5 Free Keyword Tool / Generator List

Anyone who is conducting keyword research on a regular basis needs to have access to tools that save time. Those who follow me will know that I have a specific view of tools -- they should only automate something you understand fully how to to manually -- and my reasons why.

(Hint: it's to do with tools being put beyond use.)

The following tools, by and large, are just time-savers. You can replicate their core functionality given a browser and some time, but they will make your life a lot easier!

KeywordTool.io

This was among the first general-purpose auto-suggestion scrapers. It has retained its simplicity, and in the paid version, has added some search volume and CPC stats. Since these are available through other channels for free, I'm not sure how much value access to these numbers adds, but it certainly streamlines the keyword research process further.

KeywordTool.io also works across sites -- Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc. -- and has a useful 'question seeker' mode which often uncovers valuable problems, needs, wants and desires in niches.

Ubersuggest.io

Somehow, I've always found Ubersuggest's interface to be somewhat cumbersome, but you can't fault the results. 

It does the same thing that KeywordTool.io does, but returns more results and lets you see them as text, alphabetically, or as a word cloud. Whether these are useful to you will depend on your point of view.

The ability to expand keyword phrases from within the interface, as well as explore each one on Google, Trends, and so forth also add to the power (but also make it a bit distracting). Nonetheless, it stays on my bookmark list because for the few times I've wanted to fool around with a phrase for myself or a client, it has worked wonders!

(Just remember to stay focused, or you can get easily drawn into spending hours mixing up phrases!)

SEO Book Keyword List Generator

SEO Book's free keyword phrase generator is a bit daunting at first. But, ultimately, it is rewarding once you get what it's trying to achieve.

Firstly, it only works if you know what keywords you want to combine.

Given up to five lists of words, it will then combine them in each and every way, allowing you to then input the list into other tools to measure the anticipated effectiveness of the keywords.

It's one of those tools that you need to play around with before deciding whether it's right for you, but it's likely to find a place on your bookmark list because it's a quick and effective brainstorming tool.

SEMRush.com

SemRush works in one of two modes: you can give it an URL and it will extract the keywords and measure the SEO effectiveness of the site, but equally, you can give it a keyword phrase for a report on what the keyword landscape looks like for that phrase.

It can make for very interesting reading: from the number of searches, available results, and anticipated CPC figures through to lists of related keywords and phrase matches. Of course, the free version limits the quantity of these keywords returned, but it is great for a first look at a niche.

Personally, I recommend it as a tool that can be of great use early on, before a site is created and optimised, and then later on to track the performance of a site in search engine marketing terms. Agencies and keyword research professionals will probably find themselves able to justify buying a license for the expanded results, too.

Individuals, not so much, as a lot of mileage can be got out of the free version as long as you only have one project to evaluate.

Google Keyword Planner

There's always one that breaks the rules, and this is it.

The Keyword Planner does something that cannot be done elsewhere. It matches advertising needs with Google's search database. The result is that you can use it to generate alternative keyword phrases and get search volume and PPC stats by keyword phrase.

Not to mention, that if you have a collection of keywords generated by, say KeywordTool.io or the SEO Book generator, you can test them using the Keyword Planner.

The Google Keyword Planner is available, for free, to those with AdWords accounts (not necessarily  funded accounts at present.)

(Note: the reason it breaks the rules is that, if you base your entire keyword research philosophy on it's output, then if it is ever taken away, you will not be able to replicate your own results manually.)

Which is the Best Free Keyword Tool / Generator Combination?

Of the five three free keyword generators listed here, my preference is for simplicity; and that's why I regularly turn to KeywordTool.io. However, if I'm working with a client who has a specific handle on their niche and keywords, then the SEO Book generator enables a list to be created based on combinations of sets of keywords.

It's a great time-saver if you already have the words, just want to know the best way to put them together!

Of the two evaluation tools, I personally use the Keyword Planner a lot. Probably more than I should, but then I'm also an AdWords and AdSense user.

What's great about SEM Rush is that it gives a great dashboard-style overview which can be replicated manually, and with more detail, using a combination of third party tools -- including the Keyword planner -- but is both prettier and more practical.

If you're a beginner, I'd use KeywordTool.io in conjunction with the Keyword Planner. But, the decision is yours!

Friday, 9 September 2016

3 Simple Ways to Multiply Keyword Effectiveness: Immediately!

A big part of my philosophy for strategic keyword management centres around three core activities:

  • Knowing how people become aware of your site;
  • Tracking how many of them actually visit your site;
  • Observing what they do whet they get there.

Retailers who have primarily a bricks and mortar establishment can substitute "site" for "shop", "salon", "showroom", "office", and so on. The principle is the same; this isn't about pure SEO.

So, why are these three aspects of keyword research so important?

Keywords Help People to Find You

It doesn't matter whether you are the author of a book, a web site owner, or run a seaside café, people find you because they have needs or desires.

They will express those needs and desires in keywords; whether they want to ask someone in the street, or search online.

Someone who is looking for a latté in Bournemouth is going to be a lot more interested in a café that has a big sign in the window saying "Best Latté in Bournemouth or Your Money Back!" than one offering "Cut Price Cream Teas for Students".

It's the same online.

When someone performs a query, they're only going to click on a site that appears to confirm their needs or desires through the use of keywords. Not just the keywords they type, by the way, but also those that make one sit more attractive than another.

Knowing what keywords people have used to find your site (whether they've clicked through or not) is useful. It's also a measurable statistic provided by the Search Console, and also, via integration with SC, in StatCounter.com (although they still call it GWT!)

And, this metric is also useful offline: just ask customers how they found you, and from that you'll quickly work out what internal keywords they had in their minds when they made the decision to choose your establishment compared to the others on the high street.

Doing this analysis -- and acting on the results -- takes you from merely advertising, to attracting.

Measuring Attraction Helps Build a Better Campaign


Once you know which keywords are getting you visibility, you need to know which of them are also getting you visitors, or better still, customers.

Typically, a keyword campaign can have one of several goals:
  • building awareness;
  • attracting new customers;
  • re-attracting existing customers;
In the first case, all you want to know is whether your brand is getting seen. Search engines are making that a lot easier these days by including extracts from the landing page associated with a keyword alongside the result.

Managing that meta-data is a vital part of SEO.

The second case is linked to actions. You need to know, having gained awareness, which conjunction of keywords and search entry lead to action. That means putting non-active keywords in the meta-data so that it is displayed.

A non-active keyword is one that is not part of the keyword phrase which defines the primary motive for a search user: for example, the query "latté bournemouth" will return a page of results, and if one of the displayed meta-data snippets contains the word 'free', that café may well find the attract more custom, but "free" is not an active keyword.

The resulting campaign may well be a combination of the active and non-active keywords, for example, a PPC campaign using the keyword phrase 'free latté bournemouth'. 

(I'm not saying that's necessarily an example that will work in the real world, by the way, but if you go through the motions, the result may well be positive!)

Finally, using trackable keyword phrases in your re-activation campaigns also helps to improve them; re-attracting customers by email or physical mailing is much easier if you have researched the keywords that your target market uses to find your competitors.

All of these work online as well as offline. Offline measurement methods just tend to be a bit more involved. Offline or not, however, measuring the behaviour that stems from a simple customer visit provides the best measure of how effective a keyword campaign has been.

Behavioural Analysis Measures the Effectiveness of Keywords


There used to be -- actually, I still use a variation -- a measure called KEI. This stands for Keyword Effectiveness Index, and was supposed to represent the relative ease with which it was possible to score highly in the SERPs.

It was a simple measure: all it really did was manipulate the anticipated volume and number of competing sites to try and gauge your chances of hitting the top 10.

Here's a funny anecdote, though.

On one of my own sites that I use for researching strategies, I have a highly effective keyword that isn't in the top 10. It's barely in the top 100. And, in terms of the CTR alone, it's reasonably effective:
What's more, as you can see from the screen shot, it's also not an isolated case; there's one right next to it with a similarly impressive CTR.

When I dig into the "Visitor Activity" log provided by StatCounter.com, I can see that, for the target market, these queries both have above average engagement based on the landing page:

  • higher visit time
  • more pages viewed
  • repeat visits

This view is derived from knowing which page a visitor is likely to land on as a result of the query (by conducting a live query) and reviewing the Visitor Activity for that URL.

Expanding the search to related pages confirms that this query is more effective than many that appear nearer the top of the SERPs. That is, for the pages that are also returned as a result (but even lower down the SERPs) they also show high levels of engagement and conversion.

This is part of the attraction of the so-called long tail, of course. More specific pages with highly niche information that don't necessarily attract the most traffic are quite often the most effective when measured in terms unrelated to pure volume and cost.

Bigger, as they say, is not always better.

For a solid, step by step approach to keyword research that has consistently proven to be unaffected by algorithm changes, download the Keyword Research Blueprint!