Learn how to find SEO keywords

The Basics of Keyword Research & Finding SEO-Friendly Keywords

Angela Uncategorized

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Top Keyword Research Tools List

Finding SEO Keywords (that work!) is easier said than done.

With so many different tools – and hundreds of strategies – it’s no wonder so many agencies have a hard time creating an effective and unique keyword strategy for their clients.

But with some time and consideration, you can begin to sculpt a competitive keyword strategy.

Read on to hear our suggestions of the best tools for keyword research, along with two of the most common keyword mistakes we see agencies and DIY SEO’s making.

Why Does Using “the Right” Keywords Matter?

If you’re reading this, you probably already know why keywords are so important for your internet marketing campaign.


But just in case of the off-chance that you don’t know, here are the top reasons:

  • Break Through the Noise with Niche Keywords: There’s no denying that there’s a certain degree of “content clutter” on the web. Without a hyper-targeted keyword strategy, your site will have trouble ranking in search engine results and reaching your target audience.


  • Gain a Competitive Edge Online: When used correctly, a keyword strategy can help you gain an edge against competing businesses in your industry.


  • Connect with your Audience: Keywords aren’t all about SEO. By selecting keywords (both long and short-tail) that resonate with your audience’s needs and beliefs, you can build a connection with the customers in your space – and increase your click-through rate.


Before we get into the best places to find keyword data, let’s take a look at the most common keyword mistakes we see made by businesses and digital agencies so you know what to avoid.

The most common keyword mistakes we see include


If there’s one keyword strategy mistake that we see most often, it’s cannibalization.

How it happens: It’s a common misconception that using the same keyword on multiple pages throughout a site is beneficial for rankings. As a result, many sites use the same keyword (or alternate between a list of preferred keywords) to achieve higher placement in the SERP’s.

Why it’s a problem: If you’re at an auction, you may have experienced someone who “out-bid themselves.” In the world of SEO, placing the same keyword on multiple pages of your site is the equivalent of outbidding yourself in the SERP’s.

For more information on keyword cannibalization, we recommend reading this detailed post on the subject, courtesy of Moz.

Picking Irrelevant Keywords:

Another common issue we see with keyword strategies is using keywords that are relevant to the page’s purpose as opposed to the target audience’s search intent. Let’s explain below:

How it happens: Let’s imagine that “Johnny” owns an apartment community and is new to SEO. Eager to get his website up, Johnny writes an About Us page for his community. Because the page is really “about the community” he uses that phrase as a keyword.

Why it’s a problem: While the key phrase “about the community” is relevant to the page content, there is no search volume that correlates with that keyword. Instead, Johnny would have been better off using something like: safe apartment complex in Denver, or luxury apartment community near Denver.

Places to Source SEO-Friendly Keywords

Long tail keywords are excellent for improving a site’s organic search. If you’re interested in expanding the number of long-tail keywords used throughout your clients’ sites, we recommend using the following tools:


Soovle is a little rough around the edges, but offers amazing insight into long-tail keywords related to your industry. That said, we don’t recommend it for sites that need localized long-tail keywords.

Google’s “searches related to” section:

At the bottom of every Google SERP is a “searches related to” section. This section is a goldmine of long-tail keywords with low competition. Often, these results are very niche and work well for local content strategies.

Although limited, Wordstream’s keyword tool is a great place to find keyword ideas and get a feel for their search frequency. To access additional information (like actual search and competition volume), upgrade to their paid services.

If you haven’t noticed, we reference the MozOSE tool often – mostly because their free SEO tools are (in our opinion) best on the market for small businesses without a huge marketing budget. If you need to find a list of keyword suggestions (both long and short tail), we recommend starting with Moz.


Time consuming but effective, forums are an amazing resource for finding new long-tail keywords. Quora and Reddit are both popular places to search for relevant keywords and topics in a range of industries, however to find more targeted keywords, we recommend getting involved in the biggest forums in your industry.

Adwords Keyword Planner

If you plan on running ads for your website, Google Adword’s keyword planner is a must-use. But be warned: because of the high-competition of these keywords, many results are not good selections for sites that plan to grow organically.

SEMRush is a powerful tool all-around, but it’s particularly useful for developing keyword strategies. Not only does the tool give you keyword suggestions, it also offers a live view of which domains are ranking – both organically and through paid ads – for a specific keyword.

Planning your keyword strategy carefully is crucial to building a website that ranks organically. We recommend using a combination of the tools we listed above to find both long and short-tail keywords that appeal to a very specific target audience.


If you’ve tried any of the keyword tools we mentioned above, tell us which one is your personal favorites in the comment section below.

FREE Printable:
Top Keyword Research Tools List