Keyword research is an integral part of any online marketing campaign. Without knowing what keywords to target, how can you effectively optimize your website, target phrases for link building, or know what content to develop for your audience?
For a long time, Google AdWords Keyword Tool – now the Keyword Planner – has held steady as the head honcho of keyword research tools. Now, there is nothing wrong with qualifying your keywords with the Keyword Planner, but there is something to be said for not focusing so heavily on these numbers. Major business decisions should not be based only on reported search volumes because this data is constantly changing and, for all we know, may not be around forever (“Not Provided” dilemma ring any bells?). Which brings me to my next point….
Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
This is a great rule of thumb for most intelligent business decisions. You wouldn’t depend solely on SEO for your online marketing efforts – you would also engage in social media, email marketing, PPC, etc.. Just like you wouldn’t rely solely on SEO to bring traffic to your website, you shouldn’t rely solely on one tool for your keyword research, either.
Below are some more creative methods of keyword research and discovery I picked up from SMX East that I thought were worth sharing. Credit goes to Dan Shure of Evolving SEO – you can view his full presentation on slideshare here.
10 Unconventional Keyword Research Tools
1. Wikipedia + SEOquake Toolbar
For when you’re researching a novel topic and you need to discover “unknown unknowns” – or things that you don’t know you don’t know – quickly.
- Google search for your known head term.
- Click into the Wikipedia results page.
- Shut off CSS for the toolbar to work.
- Use the Keyword Density tool from SEOquake’s Toolbar to pull up the most recurring keywords on that page. You can delve into the 1-word, 2-word, 3 or more word keywords tables depending on what you are looking for.
- Discover new terms!
2. Amazon Book Search + Look Inside
- Search for your known head term in Amazon Book Search.
- Look specifically for the “Look Inside” books.
- “Look Inside” and skim through the table of contents or index to find “unknown unknowns.” Oftentimes you can also discover keywords in the titles of the books themselves.
3. Followerwonk + AllMyTweets + Tagcrowd/Wordle
When you want to know what the experts are talking about.
- Link your Twitter to Followerwonk and utilize this to find a social authority on the subject. Search for your head term and sort by social authority to determine who is most influential in the industry.
- Choose an influencer and run their profile through Allmytweets to scrape their tweets. Make sure to hide replies!
- Copy and paste the resulting tweets into a word cloud generator – such as Wordle – to highlight the most mentioned terms.
4. Followerwonk + Screaming Frog + TagCrowd/Wordle
When you want to know what the experts say on their websites.
- Again, use Followerwonk to find a social authority on the subject.
- Use Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl that influencer’s site.
- Export title tags (and/or meta descriptions and keywords, if they have them).
- Copy and paste these tags into Wordle to visualize keyword frequency.
5. Amazon Search Suggest
For when you’re looking for transactional terms.
- Go to Amazon.com and begin typing your known head term in the search box (without pressing enter). Experiment with different synonyms and versions of your keyword to extract as many keyword ideas as possible.
Alternatively, for when you want to automatically pull suggestions from multiple search engines quickly.
- Use Soovle to pull suggestions across multiple sites including Google, Bing, Amazon, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Answers.com, and YouTube.
For when you need longtail keyword suggestions.
- Use Ubersuggest to extract keyword suggestions from regular Web search or from specific search verticals like Shopping, News or Video.
- You can delve deeper into a search by adding “not” and seeing what [keyword] commonly does not do.
8. PR Distribution Sites
For when you want to scan newsworthy queries within your industry.
- Go to any free press release distribution site – PR.com is a good one – and search for files related to the industry in question. Set the filter to press releases.
- Scan through the resulting stories for keywords.
For when you need topic ideas for sharing unique content socially.
- Create a new Prismatic account for each client.
- Start adding topics to follow.
- Discover keywords by scanning topic feeds and secondary topics of relevant posts.
10. Google Correlate
For when you want seasonal keyword suggestions based on real-world trends.
- Go to Google’s Correlate Tool and search for your head term (preferably a seasonal term).
- Experiment in comparing monthly vs. weekly time series data. Different time series filters will give you different results such as terms most searched for before and after a given date.
Again, there is no problem with further qualifying the keywords you find on AdWords Keyword Planner, but at least now you have different sources of keyword discovery aside from the Keyword Planner. These keyword research methods might seem a bit out there but sometimes it’s the random, oddball methods that will set your content apart.
For the full list of SEO and inbound marketing tools, check out our SEO Toolbox.
Did we miss any hot keyword research tools or techniques? Let us know in the comment section!