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One of the most important aspects of any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is the keyword research. There’s a famous old saying that says that if you ‘Fail to Prepare, then Prepare to Fail’ and that adage is very much true when it comes to the Keyword research component of SEO. There’s a whole host of different tools out there that you can utilise to help improve your SEO efforts. In this article, we will be mentioning 3 free tools for keyword research that will help to give you an edge in SEO and provide you with the quickest way to get the maximum results from your efforts.

Firstly, it’s important to understand how critical good keyword research can be. The thing with SEO is that it’s CONSTANTLY changing. There are literally hundreds of updates happening every month and you need to make sure that your on top of these changes, especially with a lot more changes expected within SEO as we head into 2020. However, there are some solid foundations of SEO that will always remain constant. For those with limited time, focussing on these core aspects of SEO will allow you to get the most out of your SEO efforts. One of these critical aspects of SEO is effective keyword research, something that most SEO experts would advise.

One of the reasons why many SEO campaigns never maximise their potential is through poor keyword research. Remember, it’s not just about any single ‘keyword’ but more about getting VERY clear on the types of search queries and questions that your customers are putting into the search engines. Long tail keywords are in many ways the secret to getting a lot of traffic to your website given the low level of competition although they are not popular. SEO keyword research is not the sexiest of tasks to do however, depending on your level of commitment to keyword research, you could save yourself a considerable amount of time and money by making sure you target the right keywords.

There are so many tools out there today and plenty of free ones that can really benefit your SEO campaigns, especially when it comes to effective keyword research. We’ve put down 3 of the most common free tools that you can use which can provide you with valuable information, metrics and data that will allow you to have a more focussed (and intimately successful!) SEO campaign.

Google Trends

This one is probably the best of the lot and is an excellent keyword research tool that can give you the bigger picture of what’s going on. As well as the basic information on the popularity of a given keyword, Google Trends also allows you to get very specific information such as valuable regional variations as well as information on the overall trends and changes with the volume of search engine queries.

One of the benefits of this is that you can use the data to predict the future trends as well as letting you know which keywords are perhaps not as popular as before. You can setup Google trends to show you the traffic trends over the past 5 years and this is invaluable information with regards to your audience trends. To put it simply, if the trend for the keyword is upward, then it’s worth spending more energy on those keywords. If the trend is downwards, then this suggests that your audiences consumption of content is changing which means you might have to adapt your targeted keywords.

People Also Ask (Google Feature)
The next tool is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to Keyword Research, however, we have found the People Also Ask (PAA) feature to be a brilliant tool for helping us to determine similar keywords that we might not have come up with initially. As we all know by now, Google is an amazing source for any questions. It’s now very normal to tap into Google and get a response or answer immediately and this information can also be harnessed by smart marketers. This trend is only likely to continue as ‘Voice search’ becomes a lot more popular.

When you type a question into Google, what happens these days is that a section called “People Also Ask” normally pops up with similar queries to the one you just typed in. These queries use some of the most popular questions that people have asked on the platform in recent times. By analysing these questions, you can create high quality content that seek to answer these questions and then aim to rank on the first page for these questions.

Of course, having the authority to rank for the PAA SERP features requires a strong content marketing strategy along with solid link-building but again, if you can answer the question succinctly and efficiently, then that will make your efforts to rank even easier.

SEMrush (Free Option)
The SEMrush software is an integral part of our SEO strategy and there are some excellent features in the paid packages that can make a big difference in your SEO efforts. SEMrush starts at $99 per month and we think that it’s well worth the price considering the amount of data you can extract to help you on your SEO efforts. The free version also has numerous features that you can use to help you identify what the best SEO strategy would be.

Although there is are some limits on the free option, there’s still more than enough for quick keyword research which as we have mentioned before. The dashboard is very simple to use and the Keyword Research tool is an excellent free resources, although there are daily limits on the number of keywords you can search.

There are a few other tools that we could easily have mentioned. The two that were in the running for being included in this article are Google Analytics and MOZ (free version). Moz has a free option which has many of the same features as SEMrush. Google Analytics is the bread-and-butter tool for any SEO strategy and we wanted to mention some other lesser known tools that would help SEO’s. Just remember to do thorough keyword research before starting any SEO campaign and this will ensure that your SEO efforts won’t go to waste.