If you have a website, your ultimate goal is to be found online, ideally by potential customers. Your site’s ability to comply with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices is a critical part of its visibility in search. One of the most important aspects of your SEO strategy should be including high-ranking keywords in your metadata and in your site content. This will help you to rank higher in search.

Wondering, how do I find SEO keywords? Especially in the current economic climate, it may feel as if SEO research of any kind is out of reach or simply too expensive. Fortunately, you can try these DIY keyword research techniques, many of which are free or come at a low cost. Best of all, this is a perfect time to invest in your company’s website so it’s ready for business when the economy picks up once more.

Start with Free Tools

Depending on the type of business you run and how competitive the space is online, you may need only very basic keyword research to build an SEO-friendly website. If, for instance, you run a boutique hotel in Tombstone, Arizona, where tourism is plentiful but hotels are few, you may not have to compete quite as much as a boutique hotel in Manhattan would.

If your niche is narrow, you may be able to use only free keyword research tools and be very successful. Perhaps now is a very slow time for you, particularly if you are in the travel or tourism industry. It’s the perfect time to focus on improving your SEO footprint.

One no-cost resource you should explore is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool. By entering your domain, you have access to competitor insight, information about top-ranking pages for your keywords of choice, keyword and content suggestions, and even backlink data. It’s a great place to start.

Other great free keyword research tools include Rank Tracker, which actually contains 23 unique keyword research tools. You can use Rank Tracker to gain insight into the less-obvious keywords that you should be harnessing. That hotel in Tombstone might want to leverage “kid-friendly motels Tombstone” rather than “Tombstone boutique hotels,” if that’s where the business could get the most bang for its buck.

Don’t forget about the all-powerful Google Search Console. It’s a fabulous place to analyze your existing keywords and learn about their Google positions, impressions, and click-through-rates (CTRs). Knowing whether you rank on page four for a certain keyword or are buried 20 pages deep in search results can be powerful information to have. If you’re near the top, it means Google already thinks you’ve got a reasonably important article with relevant keywords and content. You might be able to turn a page-four listing into a first-page listing with just a few quick SEO tweaks. The key is your DIY keyword research, which provides the inside knowledge to power your changes.

Another free technique you can try when analyzing keywords is to check the websites for your high-ranking competitors yourself. While many free or low-cost SEO tools will tackle this task for you, sometimes it can be helpful to examine other websites yourself to see what your competitors are doing well.

How do you do this? Google the keywords you think customers would use to search for your business in your specific location (if applicable). Then, click on the top 5 sites. What keywords do they use in headers, on blogs, and in URLs? These are some of the keywords you might try for enhanced SEO results.

Use Paid Tools for Enhanced Results

Free tools for DIY keyword research are excellent first steps for enhancing your site’s SEO visibility. They also are excellent if you are just starting out, recently had to let your marketing or SEO consultants or team go, have very little competition for searched terms, or are on a limited budget.

However, many of these tools do have limits. Without an account, for instance, Ubersuggest limits the number of searches you can do each day. Many tools have a similar pricing structure in an attempt to entice you to sign up. Know the limits of each tool and maximize what you can get out of a combination of free tools whenever possible.

When you need more information to outperform your competition in search results, it’s okay to turn to paid searches. BrightEdge’s Data Cube technology for enterprise SEO is among the most powerful SEO tools out there. Powered by DataMind, this resource can tell you which websites and types of content are the most popular for any available keyword.

In addition, Data Cube shows you which of your keywords are currently ranking, and how to improve those rankings further. You might be surprised to see which of your keywords are providing you valuable site traffic.

Data Cube also takes advantage of natural language processing tools to provide a list of semantically related keywords to any keywords you enter to search. This way, you can harness the power of what users are actually most likely to type on Google or another search engine.

Another popular paid keyword research tool is available through SEM Rush. This service offers a convenient DIY keyword research resource called the Keyword Magic tool, which suggests lower-hanging fruit based on the keywords you are targeting.

For instance, if you are hoping to attract guests to your Tombstone, Arizona, hotel, it might suggest “southern Arizona lodging” to you rather than “Tombstone Arizona hotels.” Perhaps this is a keyword choice that receives good search traffic but is not saturated with competitors. By adding the less-competitive keyword to your site’s metadata and content, you have a better chance of appearing in search. By all means, however, include the other keywords in your content, too.

Research is Essential

Whether you choose free or paid keyword research tools as part of your SEO strategy, including keyword research at all is the most important element. Keywords are the backbone of a solid SEO plan, since they are largely responsible for dictating whether users will find your site when they search certain key terms.

Our SEO copywriting services and strategic keyword research offerings can help your team to position your business for online success. The research strategies you employ can help you earn higher search rankings and enhance your marketing plan. Whether you reach out to a consultant today, try some DIY approaches for the time being, or plan to outsource your SEO work when your business is back up and running, having a solid plan in place is the most important part.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your DIY keyword research strategy. Galileo Tech Media is comprised of SEO and keyword research experts, and we offer a variety of services to support your overall strategy.