10 Unconventional Keyword Research Tools to Include in Your SEO Toolbox

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?

Credit: http://unconventional.sg/

Credit: http://unconventional.sg/

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.

Wikipedia SERP

  • Shut off CSS for the toolbar to work.

Shut Off CSS

  • 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.

Keyword Density Tool

  • Discover new terms!

Keyword Density Tables

2. Amazon Book Search + Look Inside

  • Search for your known head term in Amazon Book Search.
  • Look specifically for the “Look Inside” books.

Amazon 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.

Look Inside Index

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.

Followerwonk social authority

  • Choose an influencer and run their profile through Allmytweets to scrape their tweets. Make sure to hide replies!

Scrape tweets via Allmytweets

  • Copy and paste the resulting tweets into a word cloud generator – such as Wordle – to highlight the most mentioned terms.

Word cloud generator keywords

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).

Export Title Tags

  • Copy and paste these tags into Wordle to visualize keyword frequency.

Wordle 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.

Amazon Search Suggest

6. Soovle

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.

Soovle keyword suggestions

7. Ubersuggest

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.

Ubersuggest keyword suggestions

  • You can delve deeper into a search by adding “not” and seeing what [keyword] commonly does not do.

Ubersuggest not +

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.

PR.com filter

  • Scan through the resulting stories for keywords.

Scan press releases

9. Prismatic

For when you need topic ideas for sharing unique content socially.

  • Create a new Prismatic account for each client.
  • Start adding topics to follow.

Follow topics on Prismatic

  • Discover keywords by scanning topic feeds and secondary topics of relevant posts.

Scan Prismatic 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).

Search Google Correlate Tool

  • 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.

Google Correlate chart results

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!

36 replies
  1. Angela Booth
    Angela Booth says:

    Wonderful article, Jessica. Thank you. I was getting really bored with SEO. I love your ideas for using Amazon, and Soovle.

    You’ve got me excited about keywords again. Your article’s a real inspiration.

    • Jessica Tomaszewski
      Jessica Tomaszewski says:

      Thanks for the input, Paul! I think the Bing Ads Intelligence plugin is great as well, but my only gripe is that it’s not yet Mac friendly. And I’m definitely going to look into hootlet for extra keyword insights.

  2. Maciej Fita
    Maciej Fita says:

    I think it is important to keep an open mind when it comes to keyword research. I see too many companies making their decisions on just search volume which should never be the case. There is more going on with SEO than just being on page 1. Yes page 1 for targeted phrases is very important but SEO is the process of being efficient with your online voice and there are many ways to do that.

  3. nathan
    nathan says:

    Thanks Jessica,

    Great article. I am super stoked to try ideas 1 and 4. I’ve been looking all over for some new keyword tools and now I’ve found my answers all in one place

  4. Makka
    Makka says:

    Jessica, thanks a lot for the great article, which was shared by someone on a forum I am subscribed to.

    I am a retiree dabbling in internet marketing, just for fun (and hopefully a little profit).

    Your great tips have given me inspiration to get a bit more serious with my efforts.

  5. Nica Mandigma
    Nica Mandigma says:

    Thanks for these tips, Jessica. I’m very interested in SEO though I am a virtual assistant and is always on the lookout for creative ways to look for keywords. I learned that trick on Amazon from Pat Flynn but the Wikipedia tip and the combo “Followerwonk + AllMyTweets + Tagcrowd/Wordle” are amazing! Looking forward and doing/testing it later.

  6. Nabeel
    Nabeel says:

    Very informative! Usually blogs share the same information/tools that we all have heard of but your write up offers something different to me. However, you forgot to add SEMRush and i believe it’s worth mentioning!

    Keep us posted Jessica such new ideas to get our routine tasks done effectively!

  7. Emilio
    Emilio says:

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  9. Ivan Palii
    Ivan Palii says:

    Thanks, Jessica! Great overview with important details. What do you think about our keyword research tool as http://kparser.com?

    Our team has developed it for own needs. But our colleagues have loved it in one day. So, we are happy to share it with everyone seo master. I’ll be happy to see your conclusion about our tool.


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