How To Do SEO Keyword Research (Using Free Tools)

Article title image with keyword tools and photo of Simon Kelly

In this post I’m going to show you how to perform keyword research easily and just using free tools so you can increase your search engine rankings and bring in more relevant traffic for your website or blog.

The process is super easy and we’ll only be using free tools.

If you have a blog or website and create content, then you need to be looking at SEO. A lot of websites just create content then share it on social media a few times, but then they’re missing out on the long term opportunity for growing their traffic with organic SEO.

This is where keyword research before you begin creating content is really important.

Now, there are a lot of different ways to perform keyword research and it can get really technical and in-depth, but I wanted to produce a simple tutorial using free tools to make this as easy and accessible for everyone as possible.

Watch the video for the full tutorial and read the summary and the transcription below.

Let’s dive in!

3 Important Keyword Factors

1 – Keyword Volume – how many people are searching for this in Google every month? 

2 – Keyword Difficulty – how difficult is it going to be to get into the top rankings in Google for this keyword? How competitive is this keyword?

3 – Keyword Relevance – how relevant is this keyword for your content? How likely is it that your content is going to be exactly what they were looking for?

Keywords that you want to be targeting are high volume, low difficulty and high relevance.

Process for Researching SEO Keywords

Start with Google. Use the auto-suggest feature to start broad and then type in various words to see what

Collect keyword ideas into a research spreadsheet. Make a copy of this keyword research template.

Fill in the data using Ubersuggest so you know more about the volume of searches, difficulty, competitors and other related keywords.

View keywords trends in Google trends so you can see if the keyword searches are growing over time, declining or if there is some kind of seasonality that might be relevant.

Decide on focus keywords that you’ll target. Choose one primary keyword for each page or piece of content that you’re going to create.

Create multiple pieces of content with focused keywords around a particular topic. To rank well, it’s not about having one piece of content, you need to build a portfolio of content and keywords that you rank well for on a particular topic.

Track your keyword rankings in Ubersuggest so that you can see how your content is performing and how SEO is improving over time. SEO improvements usually take within 3 months to have a measurable impact.

Free Keyword Research Tools

These are the tools the I use in the video for keyword research.

  • Google – using the auto-complete feature to get initial keyword ideas
  • Keyword research template – a Google Spreadsheet to list keywords so we can decide which ones to focus on
  • Ubersuggest – to get more keywords ideas as well as the data for search volume, keyword difficulty, cost per click data, SEO difficulty and more
  • Google Trends – to see how our keywords trend over time and in the world

Hey, what's up, Simon Kelly here and this video I'm going to show you how to do some really simple keyword research. Now, keyword research is important if you're someone that produces content or you own a blog or a website, and you want to rank higher in Google and other search engines, and you want some more relevant traffic to be coming to your website, more customers, more leads and all of that good stuff. So I'm going to show you a really simple keyword research process that I use. And I'm just going to use free tools to make this as accessible and easy as possible. 

This video was inspired by a good friend of mine who has a travel blog, and he's wanting to increase the rankings on that. And he's asked me a few questions about how to do it. And I was letting him know a bit about keyword research. So this is to help him as well to be able to put all that together. So let's dive in. 

So the first place that I go when I get started with keyword research is just to Google. Now, you might notice that I'm in an incognito window. I'm using Chrome at the moment, which has incognito window, and Firefox and Safari, they both have private browsing mode, which means that Google isn't looking into your search history or your data or your account to craft the Google search results, which it does. If you're in incognito, or private browsing mode, it's not looking as much at your browsing history and all those things. It's still doing some crafty things, but it's cleaner than if you're signed in. Because when I use this feature called autocomplete, which is when you type into Google it autocompletes the search. So if you were to be signed in, it would use your search history. I don't want that. So the keyword that my mate was trying to rank for was to do with gorilla tours in Africa. So what I did was I just thought broad, so I'm just gonna type in gorilla and see what comes up. So type gorilla and then space, and then we'll see glue, tape, tripod. So nothing useful there. So I'm going to try Africa. So, okay, gorilla Africa, gorilla Africa, gorilla African guesthouse doesn't seem relevant there. Jungle maybe. So Africa is looking pretty good. So space. So now I've got gorillas Rwanda, Rwanda gorilla cost luxury price. Okay, so we're getting some more keywords here. So this is helping me to form an idea about the kinds of things people are likely to search for. So as I'm building up this kind of information, getting a clearer picture of what kind of content I'll probably put within this article. So gorilla Africa tours, so the cost, price, location, Rwanda, Uganda, TripAdvisor, these kinds of things seem like that'd be quite useful because it's coming up in autocomplete, which indicates it's pretty likely that people are searching for this. So I'm just gonna go back to gorilla now and type in trek. So we've got guerrilla trek Africa, trekking, trekking Uganda. So it seems like Uganda and Rwanda are the places for this, also is Contiki and not relevant here. So I'm gonna go trekking and see what comes up. Reviews. Okay, best time of year. That is interesting. Okay, so we'll go trekking then trek Africa, and then space reviews has come up again, prices and then the locations have come up. So locations seem like they're everywhere. So that's definitely important.

Okay, so I've been searching quite a few things here. Now, I've stored a couple of things just in my head, but I've also got a spreadsheet to make it much easier to put all this research somewhere. 

So let's get to it. Really simple template. I'll start by just putting in the topic or group. And I'll say like gorilla treks, for example. And then I'll just type in all the keywords that I'm that are coming up in autocomplete quite high, and they're coming up. They're relevant as well to what we're going to be writing about. because later on, we're going to look at the volume of searches that people are doing per month, the cost per click, which in Google, you've got at the top, you've got the ads, people pay a cost per click for those ads. And then below that, you've got what's called organic results, which is search engine optimisation. So what are people paying for cost per click, it gives you an idea about how competitive this keyword or key phrases, and then paid difficulty so how difficult is it to rank if you're paying for the cost per click, and then SD, which is SEO difficulty, so how difficult would it be to rank if you're trying to rank organically in the organic terms there and then position. So if you do rank already, then just put the position in there in the top 10, or whatever it might be. So this is what I do for my clients when we're doing this keyword research. But first of all, just put in the topic and then the keywords that we're researching at the moment. And then in a moment, we're going to move over to the how-to fill in these details. 

So from here, we've got gorilla trekking, we've got the locations. And now we want to get some of this data so we can get an actual idea about how many people are searching for this stuff, and how difficult it's likely to be to rank for it. So the tool I like to use is called Ubersuggests So you can just type in and it will take you there. I'm going to go gorilla trekking, and I'm just gonna leave it as English, United States for now, but you can change the country there. I do recommend logging in. But I'm not going to at this point because I do have this open in another window. So do recommend creating a free account and logging in for this. There is a free version and a paid version. And I'm sure with the free version, they'll probably try to market you and get you to buy the premium version. But I haven't experienced that yet, which is good, but the free version is awesome. I've been using it for quite a while now. Okay, we have at search volume, difficulty, paid difficulty cost per click great. We've got the data that we want here. We've also got a graph that shows how this is trending over time, which is awesome as well because I'm seeing this going up. Fantastic. It could be something it's seasonal because it's travel related. It's highly likely that it's seasonal. Okay, we've got the age range of the people that are served So you get to know your type of audience, which is important for the way that you write your content. You've got the SEO results versus the paid results as well. And no clicks at all. And then we've got keyword ideas, which is fantastic. So this shows this keyword against other keywords that are similar or related. And you can see the search volume, cost per click the difficulty against each other. So you can compare and contrast and choose the one that's going to be most relevant for you. Because it might be that something is more relevant and has better search volume. And then you've got some content ideas here, which shows different kinds of content and how shared it is on social media. So not just about search engine optimization, but how, how likely is this to go viral, get a lot of shares to be just popular, generally, but because we're talking SEO, the keyword ideas are what I'm interested in here. So I'm going to go view all keyword ideas. Right. So, we have gorilla trekking 480 is the search volume versus 720 for gorilla trekking in Uganda, so being specific, seems to be better for volume. Same with Rwanda. But then if we've got Rwanda versus Uganda, not a lot of people are searching, but also it's not that difficult to rank for that. Okay, then we've got gorilla trekking in Africa so that's not as difficult but also not that many people are searching and it's very competitive when it comes to the cost per click.

All right. Cool. So I wanted to see if I can have a look at some other high volume search terms. So might try gorilla tour words. We'll just go to and see what happens. Alright, so gorillas zoo, I think the gorillas and tour which is not relevant. 

Something I keep mentioning is relevance and volume. Three key things are important when it comes to keywords:

  1. Keyword Volume - how many people are searching for this? 
  2. Keyword Difficulty - which is how likely is it that you're going to be able to climb up the search engine rankings for this. 
  3. Keyword Relevance - which is how relevant is it if you were to rank for this, that someone's going to visit your website, and it's a keyword that's important to them, and they'll read your content or they'll purchase the thing that you've got. 

So just a bit more on relevance. If you want it to rank for if you were a shoe shop, let's say and you want it to rank for the keyword "shoes". Sure, that could have a huge amount of volume, but it would have volume for things like cleaning shoes, or shoes for kids or shoes for hiking, or all these different kinds of shoes, shoes with orthotics, but you may only have children's shoes or something like that in your shop. So it's not going to be as relevant just to rank for shoes. And it'll be incredibly competitive as well because Wikipedia is usually number one when it comes to these broad key phrases. So relevance is important. 

You also want to be looking at these longer key phrases that are much more specific, much more relevant to get started, because they're not going to be as competitive, even if the search volume is a little bit lower. 

All right, so when we're looking at the gorilla tour, we've still got the location seems to be quite important near Rwanda. And whatever biscuits tourism, no idea that timeframe. So that's gorillas again, gorilla trek Rwanda gorilla trek Uganda, gorilla tour and safari. Alright, I might try that. Gorilla Safari. Okay, so not quite as high. So it seems like well, it seems to show that gorilla trekking is key. So gorilla tracking with the location, that seems to be very important. So really for this, for this article, it was related to gorilla trekking in Uganda, I would put that in the title. And I'd be talking about TripAdvisor, I'll be talking about costs I'll be talking about I'll be using the word Safari, I'd be using the location, I'd still be mentioning things like Safari in this article, I do some research into some of these top-ranking articles as well and seeing what kinds of things they're talking about. And that's how I would craft what this content is going to be. 

So I'm just gonna come back over here and just show you one other tool that some that I use as well. And it's the Google Trends tool. So you can explore what the world is searching for and you can see how it's trending over time. So I'm just going to go gorilla trekking right to see if there's anything seasonal, so I'm just gonna go worldwide as well. Just to add some other keywords there, gorilla trek, gorilla tour. So now we can see these different keywords over time but also side by side. They're quite similar, but we've got blue, so guerrilla trekking, with more volume and increasing and I'm just going to set it to the past five years so we can see if there's any kind of seasonality going on here. All right. So it looks like got a bit of a spike there in January doesn't seem there's a little bit of a spike again in January, and then again in January. So it seems like there are spikes around the new year. And then there's a couple of other related queries there. So that can just really help to fine-tune this keyword and just what you know about this keyword so you can produce better content. So that's how I go about doing the keyword research initially. And then I'll put the keywords into a keyword tool. So I can track the ranking of this as I'm producing content because I want to see how that changes over time. 

When it comes to producing content for keywords tt's less about creating like that one piece of content that's going to rank for that keyword. It's more about producing a portfolio of content that supports that keyword. So we're talking about gorilla trekking, we don't just want one article called gorilla trekking, we'd want an article about best gorilla treks in Africa, or gorilla. And as well gorilla trekking in Uganda, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, cheap places to stay while on a gorilla trek. So all of these different pieces of content together are going to create the body of work that's going to help you rank for this particular keyword, this particular key phrase, it's not just about having that one piece of content. Alright, so that's a common myth that happens, people just think it's this one piece of content. 

In a future video, I'll talk about how you go about crafting a piece of content. So you can do some on-page SEO optimisation. So it's more likely that that content is going to rank well in Google. 

So the next thing to do is to go and follow this process. Have a search and use the autocomplete feature in Google to do some research to see what kind of keywords are coming up, go to type in the keyword sign up for that for free. Put your website in, put your keywords in and watch the rankings over time and then start producing some awesome content. Right, I hope that helps - see in the next video!

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Hi, I’m Simon.

I help fast-growing businesses attract more of their ideal clients through their website.

I also help in-demand coaches and consultants to leverage their time and expertise in groups.

My clients take massive action and are committed to growing their businesses while making an impact.