5.5 Finding Keywords Using Free Keyword Tools

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In this video I discuss:

  • How to find high quality keywords using free keyword tools
  • The best free keyword tools currently available online
  • How to combine these free keyword tools to get useful data
  • Which keywords to target and which keywords to avoid based on search volume and competition
  • A step-by-step live demonstration of all of this in action

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5.5 Transcript Below

Okay, let’s finally get into actually digging in and finding some keywords.

I want to start with free keyword tools because I’m well aware that a lot of the people (probably the majority of people watching this training series) don’t have the upfront investment capital to pay for premium keyword tools – especially since all of the really good ones now are monthly fee based instead of one-time fee based. I don’t why that happened. That was a trend over many years. You used to be able to get some really good ones (mainly one really good one) for a flat time fee and even they went monthly based now.

And there are some reasons for that that makes sense as far as their expenses go up – especially with a lot of the data APIs they have to pay for – but at the same time, honestly, I think most of it’s a money grab and it sucks. They did it because they can and because it’s much better for their revenue. Unfortunately. I wish that weren’t the case but that is the way it is.

But you shouldn’t feel at all like you can’t do this just because you can’t pay for the premium keyword tools. I got started with free keyword tools, and admittedly, that was a much different internet marketing climate than now. But it’s still absolutely possible if you know what you’re doing and you’re using the right tools.

It can be a little bit overwhelming so just know that finding keywords using free tools is going to be much more overwhelming because the data isn’t as interpreted and crunched for you. You kind of have to do a lot of that yourself using free keyword tools versus paid keyword tools.

But by no means should you feel like you can’t do this. And anybody that has made you feel like you can’t do this just because you can’t afford premium keyword tools is just out to get another affiliate commission out of you. People do that to make people like you feel like, “Oh I can’t succeed unless I spend more money.” And they just do that so that you’ll buy more things that are affiliate links. And unfortunately, that’s all too common in this industry and it’s just a really scummy thing that I don’t want you to feel like you have to do.

So free keyword tools are absolutely sufficient. You’re going to have to put in a little bit more legwork, but I’m going to show you exactly how to do it in this video.

So I want to talk really quickly about the pros and cons of using free keyword tools. Unfortunately, the cons do fairly heavily outweigh the pros for free keyword tools. But the pro is… and this is going to be enough for the vast majority of people watching this video I think… is that there are no added expenses. After you’ve paid for your hosting and your domain name, you’re good for a year. Those are all of your expenses feasibly if you’re using free keyword tools.

And so, I know that’s a lot of people out there just saying, “This is all I have. I only have, you know, $150 to get started my first year.” And a lot of people in this industry I feel like make you think that’s not enough because most of them charge more than that just for training in the first place. But it is more than enough.

I think the biggest expense in this industry is training – and you’re getting all of that here for free which opens up a world of possibilities – after that, it’s only hosting and a domain name. And if you’re willing to put in the legwork with free keyword tools, you’ve got everything you need to make a profitable internet business happen. So now that, you know, kind of all of this is in place… (not too toot my own horn) but thanks to this really high-quality step-by-step free training being published, this industry should be a lot more approachable than it ever was before.

So the pro (the only real pro) to free keyword tools is there’s no added expenses. And like I said, for a lot of people watching this video, that’s going to be more than enough. And I don’t judge you for that. That’s where I was when I started. So good on you for trying to improve your life! Just be prepared to put in a little bit extra work.

The bad news on free keyword tools is that they don’t give us as much at a glance data on competition. You can get data for competition (and we’re going to look at it live later in this video after we finish talking about some of the stuff in the slideshow), but it’s not as good as premium keyword tools just flat out. Some of the best premium keyword tools will make it kind of at a glance easy to see whether or not you should try and pursue that keyword – nothing like that exists in free keyword tools; only in premium keyword tools. So that can make it a little bit tricky and it makes it a little bit more overwhelming when you’re looking at the data because you kind of have to manually interpret a lot of it; but you’ll get better at it with time. That’s just the nature of the beast. If you’re looking to save money, you’re going to have to spend more time to work around some of these things.

So you’ll see exactly what I mean when we look at the free keyword tool and how we interpret competition. There are some really good ways to do it that are very dependable. Frankly, they’re more dependable than a lot of the premium keyword tools out there; but it’s going to take literally like ten times as much time. And you’ll see why if you watch the free keyword tool training and the premium keyword tool training. You’ll see side-by-side why it takes so much longer.

Another con is that the data for some of these free keyword tools is often not as accurate or reliable. That is not true for the main free keyword tool we’re going to be using – which is put out by Google themselves – so that’s the one we’re going to be using mainly and looking at the most. So this doesn’t really apply to them, but unfortunately, they don’t give any competition data. So we’ll talk about that as we go through, too.

And as I mentioned, it typically is going to take a lot more time for you to find keywords using free keyword tools versus premium keyword tools. And it’s no exaggeration to say that it will (pretty easily) probably take five to ten times as much time using free keyword tools than premium keyword tools. And again, if you don’t have the money to spend on premium keyword tools from the beginning – it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have to spend the time anywhere around it. I just want you to be prepared and know that that’s the case going forward.

So there are a number of really good free keyword tools out there honestly. If you just Google ‘free keyword tools’, ‘best free keyword tools’, you’ll find some really good ones. The ones that I found really helpful – and the most reliable, of course – is going directly to the source and that’s Google AdWords Keyword Planner (also just called the Google Keyword Planner).

You will need an AdWords account to use this. That doesn’t mean you need to spend any money with AdWords. You just need to go through the process of setting up an AdWords account. And even if your AdWords account has been suspended… which has happened to a lot of us as we started in internet marketing, trying to run some pay-per-click ads, and we got kind of slapped on the wrists (myself included)… so don’t worry even if your AdWords account is suspended… you can still use Google’s Keyword Planner.

So when you go to use Google’s Keyword Planner through AdWords… and you can find the Google Keyword Planner, just search the internet for ‘Google keyword planner’. It’ll pop up.

And the first time, if you don’t have an account, it will kind of prompt you through like a campaign creation wizard. And it’ll be like, “What do you want to buy keywords for? How much is your daily budget?” And just either: never launch that campaign or be very careful after you go through that wizard to turn off the campaign if you launched it; because otherwise, you’re going to actually be buying ads on Google which is not what you want to do if you’re trying to not spend money.

So anyways, that’s just a little bit of information about the Google Keyword Planner. But you can find it easily online: just search ‘Google keyword planner’ or ‘Google free keyword planner’ and then it’ll pop up – and you’ll recognize it because we’re going to look at it later in this video.

There are also some other somewhat helpful tools. Keyword.io used to be better than it is now. They’ve kind of locked down so much of their data and filled their site up with so many ads that it’s really annoying to use, but there’s still some useful help there. And Ubersuggest.io is another really good one that we’ll look at really briefly. It gives no search volume, unfortunately, so you have to kind of depend on Google for the search volume which is a smart thing to do – even a lot of the times when using premium keyword tools – because nobody’s data is going to be more accurate than Google’s.

So after finding our keywords, we need to… this is a workaround for free keyword tools… we need to check the competition using the free MozBar and you will need also to create a free account with Moz in order to do that. Both things that you can do very easily. Again, just using Google, just search the internet for ‘install MozBar’. Just like that. M-O-Z-B-A-R. And you’ll get the bar that we’re going to be using in this video.

The only unfortunate thing is Moz metrics used to be… we’ll talk about them here in a second… but they used to be the industry standard and kind of what everyone depended on; and they were the strongest indicators for whether a site was going to rank and how much ranking authority a website had – and that’s not really the case anymore. Majestic is another company in the industry; and instead of Moz has Domain Authority and Page Authority (which will make more sense in a second), Majestic has Trust Flow and Citation Flow. And over the years in the SEO industry – at least in the internet marketing world – Majestic has kind of taken the cake away from Moz and Trust Flow is one of the best components to look at when evaluating a website’s link portfolio and competition and how high authority that page and that domain are. But the good news is – at least for now – Domain Authority and Page Authority are still pretty good indicators. They’re just not the industry leaders anymore.

So when we use MozBar, we’re going to be using Moz’s metrics to analyze competition. And I just wanted you to know going in, I know they’re not the industry leader anymore; but unfortunately, Majestic doesn’t put out any free tools like this (at least as of recording this video) so that we can interpret competition. So we have to use the next best thing which is the second best metrics in the industry for analyzing competition and website authority.

So when we get in here… this is going to make a lot more sense in a second and we’ll reference back to this as we’re going through and kind of doing over-the-shoulder training where you’re looking at my screen and seeing what I’m looking for… but the important metrics that we’re going to be looking at when using the MozBar and trying to interpret competition – one of the absolute (actually, I would say the most important) metric when you’re looking for page authority or when you’re looking for competition – is Page Authority.

The closer you can get to less than 10 (it’s on a scale from 1 to 100), the better. Unfortunately, it’s gotten harder and harder and harder to find anything that doesn’t have at least PA 15, 20, 25 on the first page on Google. The good news is we can find weaknesses and other things which we’ll talk about here in a second… but long story short, you want to get as close to less than 10 as possible and you want to see some big holes in the other things that we’re going to talk about as far as competition goes if you want to target that keyword and have any chance at getting ranked even when your website is kind of building that authority.

So we’ll look at all that in a second but Page Authority is that specific page on their website that is ranked in Google right there in top 5, top 10 – whatever you’re looking at. It’s a proprietary metric based on a lot of different things; but a really, really heavy component of that is their link profile and how powerful the link profile is to their website. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, it doesn’t need to at this stage; but a link profile is everyone else on the internet that is linking to their site. They have created a link from a page on their site to that page that you’re now looking at in Google’s listings. That’s a link profile: what a bunch of different people are linking to and also the links from your own website going to that page. But that’s pretty advanced. We’ll get there when we’re talking about on-page SEO. So for now, I just want you to know that Page Authority is a Moz metric for the exact page you’re looking at on that site – that individual page.

Domain Authority (abbreviated DA) is what the entire domain authority is. It’s exactly what it sounds like. So whereas Page Authority is the individual page that you’re looking at (every page on a website has different authority), the Domain Authority for all of Stopping Scams – for example – stays the same. That does not fluctuate. Domain Authority stays the same across the entire domain.

The exception to that would be subdomains. Subdomains are treated as their own website. So for example… I don’t know… if I had Training.StoppingScams.com, the authority that I have for StoppingScams.com would not apply to the subdomain. So an even better example would be this is why I installed StoppingScams.com/FIMP for Free Internet Marketing Project instead of FIMP.StoppingScams.com because by installing FIMP in a subdirectory (StoppingScams.com/FIMP – so that’s installing it in a subdirectory) I leveraged the Domain Authority for all of Stopping Scams that I’ve built over the past… I guess three years is about how old the site is… so I get to leverage all of that in my ranking authority for my new content that I’m creating for Free Internet Marketing Project. If I had created FIMP.StoppingScams.com, that would not be true. It would be treated like a brand new website. It would have no Domain Authority.

And that’s not just by… Domain Authority doesn’t just exist in the world of Moz. They are the ones that kind of coined that metric but Domain Authority is a thing, regardless of whether or not you’re talking about Moz. So it’s not just like Moz created this thing that didn’t exist. It’s kind of like… I guess it’s kind of like Math. It’s probably a horrible and totally inaccurate analogy; but Math was always there. There were all kinds of laws that kind of controlled Physics and the way objects interacted with one another, et cetera; and so the underlying Math was always there but it took a while for us to discover it and we’re still discovering a lot of it.

The same thing is true for Domain Authority and Page Authority. These things exist even outside of the world of Moz or outside of the world of Majestic, but this helps us give them a name. And also, they have proprietary algorithms that crunch them and kind of represent them in a number form. That may not be totally accurate because they’re not Google and Google doesn’t release that information publicly, but Majestic and Moz are about as close as you can get to having a really good idea of how powerful that site is or that page is in Google’s eyes.

So, talked enough about that. But hopefully, that gives you a pretty thorough understanding of the concepts of Domain Authority and Page Authority – generally speaking – but as well as DA and PA when we’re talking about Moz’s proprietary metrics.

Another thing to look for is the exact keyword you are researching and considering trying to rank for is that in their meta title and description – which if you don’t know what those are, it’s okay. I’ll point it out as we’re going through live here in a couple of minutes. But that’s another very important thing, because fact of the matter is, you’re probably pretty much across the board going to see Domain Authority and Page Authority that are going to scare the hell out of you. The Page Authority is not going to be remotely close to less than 10 for most keywords you look at. So you have to start looking for the gaps in things like the exact keyword being in the meta title and the description, how well their content is ranked for regarding on-page SEO, stuff like that. So we’ll dig in and take a look at that when we’re looking through some of these keywords.

And another good thing to look for is answer-oriented sites Yahoo! Answers, old article directories like Ezine, and of course, answer sites like eHow and other things like that in the top 10 rankings are pretty good sign that probably means that there aren’t a whole lot of authoritative results there. This is not universally true, but it’s going to be true a lot because a lot of those sites rank based on their Domain Authority overall rather than their Page Authority for that individual page. And that’s actually really good for you because although they have really high Domain Authority, if you can come along and optimize them and have a more authoritative individual page, you could bump up above them. That’ll make more sense when we’re looking through the metrics live.

Another good sign is any kind of free blog site like WordPress.com… and I don’t mean a website that’s hosted on WordPress and they have their own domain name… like Stopping Scams, for example, is its own website hosted on WordPress. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about if you saw a website that was StoppingScams.WordPress.com, okay? Those are the kinds of ones that are a good sign. Same thing with Blogspot, Blogger – anything like that in the top 10, generally speaking.

Again, these last two are not universal; but more often than not, they’re going to be good signs that you could get rankings for those terms if you see those kind of really good signs; because again, they’re ranking more on their Domain Authority than their Page Authority. The competitors that are really hard to outrank are the ones that are ranking based on Page Authority. You can outrank someone that has high Domain Authority, but the really difficult thing to outrank is Page Authority.

So we’ll talk a look at all of this now – live – okay?

So the first thing I want to do is I want to pop in and show you a quick overview of a couple of the keyword tools and then we’ll take a look at a handful of keywords – hopefully without dragging things out too much. But I also want to make sure we go through enough that you actually get these concepts, because again, they’re essential for your success in the coming weeks and months and you really, really need to know how to pick keywords.

So let’s go ahead and hop in to Google.

So I’ve already popped in here ‘tattoo removal’. One of the nice things about most of these keyword tools is that you can pop in at what’s referred to as a ‘seed keyword’ and it’s going to give you all kinds of suggestions based on that seed keyword.

I do want to point out that you can change locations. Like I could narrow this down to my home city of Austin, Texas and get data just for Austin. I could do this for Texas, generally speaking; or I could do that for all of the United States; or just for Germany – or stuff like that. Typically speaking, that comes in really handy for when you’re doing research for local SEO… if you’re planning on getting local SEO clients – which, again, I hope to teach somewhere down the road. But that’s putting the cart before the horse for sure.

So when we’re talking about affiliate websites and just information-based websites, we’re going to probably end up getting traffic from all over the world. So we’re not going to concern ourselves with refining this too much. All locations is fine but I would make sure that I narrowed it down to English.

Something that people ask a lot is, “Can I run a website in French or German?” or whatever your native language is. And the answer is yes. Just make sure that you update the correct setting on Google’s Keyword Planner in order to do that.

So I guess that is one pro to Google’s Keyword Planner… that is not true for a lot of premium tools… is that you can change your language and get search volume for different languages. That is not true for a lot of premium tools. So that is also worth mentioning. I wish I thought about that for the slides. But just know that going forward.

So I’m just going to put in a broad kind of seed keyword. And as time goes on, you could take this broad seed keyword and find a handful of different ones and punch those into and come through and do this in several different cycles. I’m just going to – for right now – just show ‘tattoo removal’ generally speaking and we’ll see what this looks like in Google.

So when you’re brought into Google’s Keyword Planner after searching, you’ll get a lot of data here and you can adjust your keyword up here that we just put in on the last page. But you have Ad group ideas… and personally, I don’t spend really any time in here… I look at the individual Keyword ideas – because again, I’m not using this for Google pay-per-click. I’m using this for search engine optimization inspiration. And so, I’m using this tool very differently than it was originally created for – all SEOs do. But just know that. You’ll probably be operating in the Keyword ideas tab close to 100%, if not 100% of the time.

So we can just kind of scroll down here. I have these sorted by the Average monthly searches. And really quick note: Competition here is not SEO competition. The Competition you see here is for pay-per-click advertising which is a very different thing. There may be some overlap, but it is not dependable enough to say, “Oh, it’s low competition. I can go ahead and try for that with search engine optimization because it says it’s low competition.” That’s not the case at all. (Forgive me, I need to remember to breathe here. I’m just talking so much that I’m like running out of breath. Excuse me. Okay, that’s a lot better.)

So I mean, like Suggested bid… again, these are our pay-per-click metrics. We’re not going to concern ourselves with them too much. The main thing we want to look at is the keyword itself and the monthly searches. We can research competition individually.

So before we dig too deep, I’ve also punched ‘tattoo removal’ over here into Ubersuggest.io to give you an idea of what’s going on over here. So you can see all kinds of options here as well and they kind of break it down alphabetically (this is a really great way to get keyword ideas and long tail keyword ideas); and you know, just kind of click through and say like expand this keyword. So now, it’s going to search ‘tattoo removal equipment’; and obviously, this is going to be a much shorter list (because this was a much more specific seed keyword) but still worth showing.

So Ubersuggest is really cool in that sense and very helpful. Just know that it’s there at your disposal. Especially when you get to the point that you’re having a lot of trouble finding new keywords, Ubersuggest is really good. Even though it doesn’t give you the search volume, it’ll give you some ideas that you can then bring over to Google’s Keyword Planner and put them in and check their search volume and also get even more ideas from Google. So these things kind of stack on one another.

Again, I wish I could make it less overwhelming and less confusing; but this is just the nature of using free keyword tools. So you’re going to have to kind of find a groove of how to use these and it won’t be hard once you use them enough that you get a good feel for them.

So I’m going to re-sort by relevance (which is the default sort) and now you can see like this. As much as I would love to get ranked for this keyword, it is not going to happen remotely quickly. This is the kind of keyword that I could probably spend a year or two years trying to rank for and still probably only be creeping up page one. So I’m not even really going to pay a whole lot of attention to keywords that have really high search volume. I’m going to kind of skip down to the ones that have somewhere between 100 and 1,000 searches a month and even the ones that have between 10 and 100 searches a month.

Let’s take this one for example. I think this is a decent one because it’s fairly long tail. But you see there are a fair amount of these here saying ‘tattoo removals’, ‘removing a tattoo’, ‘cheap tattoo removal’, ‘best laser for tattoo removal’… and I haven’t looked at this really extensively before this video because I think (again) in this industry, you get coaches that hop in and they kind of stage a play-by-play and then they get in and then all the dots connect really quickly and you’re like, “Oh wow. That happened really quickly!” And you start doing it yourself and you’re like, “Why the hell is it taking me six hours when it took him 15 minutes on camera?” So, I try to keep it fairly unplanned so that it’s pretty representative of what it will look like when you’re doing it yourself.

So I’m actually going to take this one: ‘can tattoos be removed’. I might look at some others as well (I’m going to close out this tab from Ubersuggest) and we’re just going to punch this into Google. Again, assuming you have already installed the Moz free toolbar… and you can turn it off and on by clicking this little icon up here. Just a heads up: that’s how you turn it off and on because it can get kind of annoying if you’re not using it and it’s constantly popping up. So when I’m not using it, I have it turned off.

So the keyword ‘can tattoos be removed’… I’m not going to search it with quotes or anything like that… we want to see what this looks like. And the other nice thing for Moz is that you see this drop down here. It’s automatically removing the personalization from Google.

What will happen a lot of the time when people get into this industry is say, for example, I wrote an article about ‘can tattoos be removed’. And I wrote that article, I published it, checked it out at my website, I was so happy with it because I felt like it came out really, really well. And a week later, I searched ‘can tattoos be removed’ and of my God, there I am! I’m in the third position on Google! And then, people get super excited – rightfully so – but what they don’t know is Google has started personalizing search.

So you actually need to either de-personalize your search by using something like the Moz keyword tool or you just have to open a new private browsing window when you’re searching for your rankings, because otherwise, you’re going to get your hopes up and it’s going to be really disappointing when you find out that you’re not actually ranked anywhere near page one. That’s just Google personalizing search and they’re showing you that page that high because you went to the site previously.

Okay. So just disclaimer there. I’ve broken a lot of hearts with that information and it breaks my heart to tell people every single time because people are so excited; but it also explains why you rank for a keyword that gets a thousand searches a month and you’re not getting any traffic. It’s because you’re not actually ranked.

So that’s another nice thing about Moz’s keyword tool or the free MozBar is that it makes for non-personalized search results automatically.

So as we scroll down, you can see for the search term ‘can tattoos be removed’ which Google showed had somewhere between 100 and 1,000 searches a month – which sucks that it’s that big of a swing… that it is that broad like they couldn’t be more specific than that. But I know at the end of the day, that’s a keyword that I’m interested in it as long as the competition is low enough.

So we scroll down here for ‘can tattoos be removed’ and the first thing we see is a very, very authoritative site… WebMD.com and sites like Mayo Clinic and stuff like that. For anything health-oriented, they’re going to be very, very difficult to outrank. So I look at this and I think, “Could I get number one?” Very unlikely. But it makes sense that WebMD is ranked there, because at the end of the day, ‘tattoo removal’ is health-related.

So here’s another article ’10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Laser Tattoo Removal’ for RealSelf.com. I’m going to open that up and just see what kind of site that is. Okay, so RealSelf seems to be some sort of cosmetic-themed website where people talk to you, where people can review and write information about different cosmetic treatments… it looks like from dental to plastic surgery to cosmetic… or dermatological treatments which is technically what laser tattoo removal is. And you can see they’re ranked here, too. You can see they have pretty high Domain Authority overall. Here. Here.

Anything ranked on YouTube is going to have a Domain Authority of 100. But again, we’re not looking at Domain Authority too much. We’re looking at Page Authority. And another thing: whenever you see a PA 1 with a blip of all these other PA 50 or PA 47, either there’s been a reporting error from Moz or what’s also potentially happening here is that Google is giving this as kind of a localized result. (Man, I’m getting so tongue-tied today. I apologize.)

So I actually know that Eraser Clinic is a local business. They’re actually my tattoo removal clinic but they have a lot of locations around Texas. And so, that’s probably why they’re getting ranked here. This is not an advantage you’re going to have. So if you see something like a PA 1 or a PA 4 or 6 among all of these other PA 50, PA 40, PA 70 type websites, don’t think that just because they got there, you can too. It’s either a reporting error or there’s a special exception that applies to them that will probably not apply to you as a blogger. In this particular case, it’s because this website has a lot of really, really good unique content and they’re a local business – and again, that is not going to apply to you. You are not going to get that same advantage.

So this is a pretty scary keyword competition-wise. The lowest one is PA 29. And like I told you… I mean, again, without the exception of Eraser Clinic… I told you it’s going to be really hard to find PA 10 or less just in today’s search climate. It doesn’t really happen that much anymore. But I don’t really want to end up in 30, 40, 50, 70 in competing with these guys.

So the next thing you can look at too is how well are they optimized for this exact keyword. The exact keyword ‘can tattoos be removed’… you don’t see in the… remember, I mentioned meta title and meta description… you don’t see that. This is the meta title and this is the meta description right here. You do not see a single instance of that exact keyword ‘can tattoos be removed’ in this meta description or meta title. Same thing here. There is no exact match keyword for ‘can tattoos be removed’. (Good. I remembered the keyword correctly.)

So as we keep going down, ‘it can remove’… again, we see the keyword broken up throughout the content but we do not see anything with a meta title or meta description and also in the URL slug. We do not see anything that is fully optimized for ‘can tattoos be removed’. So that is the only good sign from this page. That’s a tough call.

And again, this is the thing when you’re using free keyword tools: it’s always going to be a difficult thing to call. I would be much more comfortable seeing like a bunch of PA 20-ish, maybe going up to 30; and nobody having optimized for ‘can tattoos be removed’ in their meta title and meta description. If I saw those two things combined, I would think, “Yeah. This is a keyword I’m going to write on.” If your site’s brand new, I would not expect to rank for it for several months; but again, you may have a shot at it as your website authority builds in the coming months. So I might add it to my list as somewhat moderate competition but I wouldn’t really get my hopes up for this one. I would aim for lower hanging fruit.

So it took us all that time. Granted, it will take you less time because you’re not sitting there talking about it over and over and teaching a video on this particular topic. And as time goes on (just like everything else) this gets easier and easier. But it took us all that time to rule out one keyword. And you’ll see how that is night and day compared to the premium keyword tool we’re going to be looking at in the next video. So just keep that in mind. Expect to spend some time here.

And so, let’s look at ‘best laser tattoo removal’ and see if we have any better results there. So I’ll just scroll back up. Moz’s pop-ups get pretty infuriating sometimes so you just have to deal with them unless you want to pay like $130 or $100 a month for their premium subscription. That’s the only way you’re going to get rid of these little pop-ups that keep coming up.

So again, you could see they’ve kind of localized this result by the fact that we’re seeing a map. This is the exact tattoo removal clinic that I go to. This is an ad. In fairness, they’re not up there at the top through SEO; but they are at the top through SEO up here. And again… man, we’re seeing a couple of things… I think Moz may have given me a notification about this as I hit Enter… could be wrong. Okay. They’re loading better now.

So again, when you see this PA 1, don’t think, “Oh, it’s PA 1! I’m going to be able to rank for this now.” It’s actually kind of a bad sign because Google very clearly thinks that this is a local-oriented search phrase. So someone searching ‘best laser tattoo removal’, they (Google) feel clearly like that is someone looking for the best laser tattoo removal locally. They don’t think this is someone that’s looking for the best type of laser tattoo removal. They think this is someone looking locally for the best tattoo removal business. And so, I wouldn’t even look at this one extensively because although it’s possible that we may get ranked somewhere down here at the bottom half of page one, the top half of page one for this term (pretty much across the board) is going to be dominated by local results. And so, that’s not going to be worth my time to get really deep into.

So, let’s see. Let’s look for another 100 to 1K. ‘Laser for tattoo removal’… let’s see what that one pops up. See what Google thinks is relevant there. Again, local listings. Anytime you see this map pop up, that’s an indicator that Google thinks that this is a more localized search term.

‘Tattoo removal clinic’ is definitely going to be a localized search term. (Excuse me while I get some water.) Let’s see because this is different than ‘best laser tattoo removal’. Let’s see if they think this one’s local, too. Yeah. It’s clear that Google thinks that that’s a local result as well because they’re putting the maps up top. You can see that there’s kind of a general discussion just below that. But again, like Eraser Clinic, Eraser Clinic, Westlake Dermatology – those are local businesses. Google thinks that this is a more local-related term.

So let’s kind of flip the script a little bit here. I’m going to sort by Average monthly searches. I’m going to sort ascending so that they go from the lowest to the highest. And another thing that’s worth mentioning is whenever you see a keyword like this that doesn’t make sense syntactically… like someone has just totally cut out a word here and kind of searched the way you search on the internet… and that makes it very hard to optimize an article for that keyword. And I personally just totally skip over these unless there’s a clever way to go about it – and hopefully, I come across an example – but writing an article that the title is ‘Getting a Tattoo Removed Cost’… the best way you could do that is something like that. So technically, that’s fully optimized for that keyword; but it’s just not the greatest user experience overall. And I think it’s also up for debate as to whether or not that actually has any payoff because Google’s algorithms (their bots, their spiders) now are smart enough to know when someone is just writing important English to try and appease an exact match for a keyword. So unless I could do it in a way that really made a lot of sense, I would just skip over those.

So let’s check ‘permanent tattoo removal price’. Ah, good! No local results. We’re seeing some fairly high Page Authority… not as high as before… so I would actually say that this is one that I would write for. Again, we’re seeing RealSelf. That’s apparently going to be a common theme for this particular niche. But these are all ads. This is what’s commonly referred to as ‘result zero’ or ‘position zero’ because it’s above all of the other ones. This only came about within the last couple of years. But you can see I’m not dealing with as high a Page Authority overall. Maybe the top two or three. But again, they’re RealSelf and they are not ranked for the exact match keyword ‘permanent tattoo removal price’.

So I could write an article that was like ‘Permanent Tattoo Removal Price: How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?’ and that way, I’m going to rank for a lot of keywords. And this could just be a general topic. It would take a fair amount of research on my end because I know that my particular tattoo cost about $300 a session because it’s a really big one. But that’s not necessarily true for every tattoo. A lot of people have tattoos that are that big that they want to have removed or they have someone’s name that’s this big. Not everyone’s trying to get some almost two-foot tattoo removed from the front of their torso because they were a really, really stupid 20-year old. So yeah, that’s worth mentioning. But I would probably write an article somewhere around those lines.

So if I were doing keyword research manually, what I would do is I would have a little notepad open on my computer somewhere and I would take note of this one. I would take note of the search term; I would take note of the search volume (which of course, again, we’re only getting a range from Google); and I would probably take note of the average Page Authority throughout. You know, just kind of eyeball it. I wouldn’t actually crunch the numbers. So we see 43, 52, 36, 17, 48, 25, 30, 35, 19, 29… so I’d probably say PA 30. And I would also take note along the lines of (I’m just going to have to open up and do this. I’m going to create a new document. Show you how I would do this)… I would also take note of whether or not they were optimized for the exact keyword.

So I would come over here and I would take ‘permanent tattoo removal price’, drop it in here. Okay. And then, I would… an Excel spreadsheet would probably be better, actually. Let’s do that. I’m starting to run around so much. Again, I use premium keyword tools. I haven’t done manual keyword research extensively in quite a while. Fortunately, it hasn’t change that much. The main tools when I was doing it were Moz and Google Keyword Planner and that hasn’t changed. But yeah, so I don’t really keep spreadsheets and stuff like this anymore. My premium keyword tool that you’ll see in the next video keep track of all my list and stuff like that. But I would have a Keyword column, I would have Search Volume, and I would have Average PA, and I would have Optimized for KW?. And this is, again, going to be the meta title and the meta description. Are they optimized for the keyword?

So, ‘permanent tattoo removal price’ (sorry about that, I opened up all kinds of crap here)… okay, ‘permanent tattoo removal price’ number of searches is 10 to 100; average Page Authority was I said 30; optimized for keyword, No. Or I could just put ‘N’ there. So now we’ve got our first keyword. This keyword… we would write an article specifically for this keyword. I mentioned what I would call that article, ‘Permanent Tattoo Removal Price: How Much Does Laser Tattoo Removal Cost?’ That’s going to kind of double optimize for those two keywords and probably optimize for a ton of other keywords. But, as I went through and I wrote the article, I really only focused on doing this. I’d just throw this in there for extra (hopefully) bonus SEO points.

So, that’s one and then we would just keep going through. And I would say in one session, I would aim to get at least ten keywords like this that meet kind of the same criteria. Hopefully, we can get even lower average Page Authority if you kept looking… even lower than kind of an average of 30… and hopefully somewhere, find some keywords around average Page Authority of 20 or maybe even as well as 15. But like I said, that’s going to be really hard in today’s search climate and it’s only going to get harder and harder as time goes on.

So I think this has been really helpful overall. You know, we saw examples of like… what was it? Health MD? I don’t know what it’s called… anyways, the really authoritative website that we saw… and kind of an example of yeah, we’re never going to outrank those guys. But then also, we saw a lot of different examples for local keywords. Remember, if you see the map pop up, it’s probably not worth going for unless you’re a local business because Google clearly is going to give preference to local businesses for those terms. And at the very best, you are not going to rise above the map… you know… you’re going to be bumped halfway down the page just because the map is there.

And you know, there’s going to be all kinds of keywords as we dug deeper and deeper into this that we could have pulled from Google or from Ubersuggest. For example, like I could put in here ‘does tattoo removal hurt’. Get ideas. Sometimes you get a little error like that. Typically, clicking back and forth helps. But I guess not. There we go. This time. Cool. So you saw that I got an error and I just clicked back and forth in these tabs until it worked. Again, just tricks of the trades you learn over time. So this is probably too high a search volume for me to optimize for. But let’s see. Like this keyword doesn’t make any sense: ‘how much is to remove a tattoo’. I wouldn’t ever, ever go for that just because it just doesn’t make sense.

Keyword Planner’s having issues for some reason. Okay, I re-sorted by relevance here. So ‘does tattoo removal hurt’ is still up there at the top. I’m still getting a lot of unrelated keywords frankly. There you go: ‘is tattoo removal painful’. Let’s check that one out really quick. Come over to Google, ‘is tattoo removal painful’, and you can see at least we’re not seeing local listings. But we can see PA 72. WebMD – that’s what I was thinking about, not Health MD. WebMD is all the way down here at the bottom; but again, it’s not directly related so I wouldn’t worry about it too, too much. ’10 Things You Need to Know About Laser Tattoo Removal’… this one’s kind of a coin toss. I would probably lean towards avoiding it because we see some fairly… I don’t know… that’s tough. It’s tough because we’ve got RealSelf again and none of these guys are directly optimized for ‘is tattoo removal painful’.

There’s a lot of ‘does laser tattoo removal hurt’ and there’s a mention of it being painful here. This is actually a really good representation of what we’re talking about, how we skirt around these things. Because you can see here that this site… if they have low Domain Authority… and it’s distinctly possible that this is an accurate readout of PA 1… we can always open up the… you only get a limited number of these every day if you have their free membership, but I just click this little Link Analysis… I think you get three free per day and we can kind of look at the detail metrics. And it does look like they in fact have a Page Authority of 1 and they don’t have any links that Moz is aware of.

Majestic or Ahrefs is another premium tool, but again, they’re very expensive. Each one of those is like $100 a month. But you can get really, really in the weeds with these stuff. And at the end of the day, if you just focus on doing your best as far as these metrics go; and writing really, really high-quality content; and putting out a lot of that really high-quality content – you’re going to see results.

So at the end of the day, if you feel really overwhelmed by all of this… again as always, take a deep breath and remind yourself: big picture. I don’t need to do this absolutely perfectly, I’m doing the best I can, and I’m doing it a hell of a lot better than most people trying to get started this industry. If you can’t afford premium keyword tools, this is what you’ve got. Right? Work with what you’ve got and just stick with it. Work the course. Work the program.

This is a perfect example of what I’m saying that we’ve got some really high Page Authority sites here but nobody is directly optimized for ‘is tattoo removal painful’. The one site… the article is about a little over a year old so that’s about all that has going for it and a little bit of Domain Authority… but the one site that directly optimized… and their meta description isn’t even optimized, it’s only their meta title.

So actually once I saw that, I was about to say I’m not sure I’d write for this one. But now, I absolutely would because you can see what a page with almost no authority, a very unestablished website… just because they optimized for this keyword and there are some other things at play… remember, they do have Domain Authority… they have little bit older website than you would have at this point… so there are other things at play. You shouldn’t expect to publish an article (even a really high-quality article for this) and get ranked immediately. But this is absolutely one of those articles that you could publish – you could write about and publish.

And as you begin to build authority as you’re writing about all of these other topics and people start talking about your website and linking to your website and finding your website and staying for a while and reading, you’re going to see articles like this go up and up and up over time – which is exactly what this person is experiencing right now. They wrote a good really high-quality article, they optimized it as far as even the URL slug has a partial match for the keyword, and let’s… ‘is tattoo removal’ and so if we search ‘painful’, they… wow. They only have one mention of ‘painful’ the entire article so we could very easily optimize for this.

(And my God, this is horrible tattoo removal. Okay, right after the first treatment. Never mind. I thought they were showing these as they’re finalized. I just got lost in the industry. I apologize. I thought they were showing these as finalized results. These are just directly after treatment and they always look a little bit funky immediately after treatment.)

So anyways, this is a perfect example of what we’re aiming to do. That site is writing some really high-quality content and it does look like they’re at least doing lead generation. Ah, no. They’re a local business. Okay. So that’s another reason why they’re ranking – which goes back to what I said of them being a local business. So remember that they’re going to get some advantages that you’re not going to have.

So, would I write about this with that in mind? ’10 Things You Need To Know…’ Everyone else is just so under-optimized for the exact match keyword that I’d probably still do it. I’d probably still do it even knowing that that’s a local business. But so anyways, we’re getting really into the weeds here. I want you to see this firsthand and hear everything about how I interpret things and why I’m thinking about it this way, and why I’m saying it’s good and why I’m saying it’s bad. I would still write an article on this one. I think I could get ranked for this one. Again, it’s not giving total preference to local because we don’t have that map up top.

So I don’t know. Maybe I don’t write about it immediately, but at the very least, I add it to my spreadsheet. So I would come over here, I would say ‘is tattoo removal painful’ (delete that extra line there), and it has 10 to 100 searches a month. Oh, no. That one has 100 to 1,000. So that’s one of the reasons it’s a higher competition keyword, too.

So keeping that in mind… yeah, I probably don’t write for it; because again, higher search volumes is almost always going to mean higher competition – at least at this stage in my business. A year from now… if I wrote constantly for a year and I started building that authority, I would not be so afraid of a higher competition + higher search volume keyword. But immediately right off the bat, just the odds of getting ranked for it are not super high.

So we can see there’s an average. If I had to ballpark this Page Authority, I’d say probably around 35. Optimized for keyword? No. The only one that’s optimized for keyword was that local one and it was ranking okay.

So I would just keep going until I found at least 10 of these. Also keeping in mind, maybe you have another kind of section. You have maybe a column here and a column down here that’s like Maybes? because you’re going to find some that… you know… you’re kind of up in the air about and maybe one day you get to a point and you’re like, “What should I write about today? Hmm. I don’t know. I’m going to do this because I just don’t feel like doing keyword research” And yeah, there’s a chance that we’ll get ranked for it at some point. And you’ll be surprised how many of those over time could pay off.

And the other thing to keep in mind is if you write about this keyword, you will also potentially get rankings for a lot of longtail keywords that you weren’t directly optimizing for that are related to that topic, too. So a good piece of content’s a good piece of content. It’s going to be an asset to your business any way around it.

But just keep these things in mind, okay? Some of these competition authority notes that we’ve talked about. And just, again, work the program. Stick with it. Practice, practice, practice. This is going to be super overwhelming and possibly very confusing even if you’ve watched this video once, twice, three times and you start doing a lot of it yourself. But the more you stick with it, the better you’re going to get.

Now, this in contrast to premium keyword research tools is night and day. And this is where you’re going to see like, “Oh. That’s why people pay for premium keyword research tools even though they’re really expensive.” Because everything we just did… I don’t know how long this video has run… there it is. It’s run like an hour now. We’ve run from slideshow to going through and probably at least 40 minutes of that was actual keyword research. That’s just the process of free keyword research tools. Period. It gets a lot faster when we get into premium keyword research which is the next video.

So if you don’t have the budget for it, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel crappy. Don’t feel like you’re doomed. You’re just going to have to get really good at everything you just saw in this video. Make sure to search the Facebook group to see if anybody else has been talking about this and ask questions there if you have them.

But at the end of the day, whatever you write for as long as you’re optimizing on page, in time (if you stick with it) we’ll start ranking for long tail keywords or the exact keyword you were targeting. Just keep that in mind. Even if it feels like a waste of time today, if you do it correctly and it’s really high-quality, it may start paying a year from now, eight months from now, six months from now, two years from now as you continue building your site. Just know that, okay?

Very important note: you want to keep the big picture in mind, because otherwise, you’re going to get really overwhelmed and feel really defeated throughout a lot of this process.

But that’s free keyword research tool or free keyword research – and I guess, keyword research using free tools would be the correct way to say it. That’s as good as it gets. And you would probably need to carve every couple of weeks eight or ten hours out of your work to just research keywords and find high-quality keywords. The good news is… you know, we went through this; and of course, I walked you through every step… you could probably check out individual keywords within two or three or four minutes of one another and knock it all out much quicker than this. But just remember: it takes time, it takes practice, and there’s nothing wrong with these free keyword research tools. You’re just going to have to work at it a little bit harder.

So I’m done rambling. I hope I did this topic justice. Very, very complex topic… as we’ve discussed also very, very important.

So as always, if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the Facebook group. And I will see you over there or I will just see you in the next video where we’re going to take a look at how different and how much quicker and more efficient this is if you do have the budget for premium keyword research. See you there!


15 thoughts on “5.5 Finding Keywords Using Free Keyword Tools

  1. Hi Ian,

    In the video you have been consistently avoiding high search volume keywords, i am a bit confused, doesn’t high search volume mean more people are interested in the topics? What’s the rationality in choosing a low search volume keyword to write about?
    Thanks

    • Hi Ian,

      Another question. I thought you said the lower the Page authority is, typically the better the content quality, but then you also said you would choose keywords with low PA to write about, isn’t that hitting the strong opponent right on the head?

      Thanks.

      • Hey, pangweisan! I think you’ve misunderstood a couple of things based on this question and the other one you’ve posted just below it.

        Could you please post this in the FIMP Supporter Only Facebook Group for more details on that group and how to become a FIMP supporter? Please visit this page.

  2. Ubersuggest now has Search Volume, as well as “Show suggestion from: Google Suggest // Google Keyword Planer”. It was updated it seems. Just wanted to inform you while watching.

  3. Not really related to the content of the video…but as a science major, I loved your Math analogy! Great job with this project!

    • Hey, Christian! No, there should be plenty of background in Lessons 5.6 and 5.6.1 to get you on the right track, if you’re willing to pay for premium keyword tools. That’s definitely my preference, as well.

  4. Ian, do you have a couple of exampkes of websites you have done/ posted on some that you would recommend to getting an idea of what it means to post high-quality content?

    • High quality content is the entire focus of section 6 and will be taught great detail. You will have abundant clarity on that topic by the time you finish the next section.

  5. Ian….I thought that lesson was very well laid out and straight forward. I know a lot more about choosing keywords for my articles than I did before I started it. The lower search metrics makes sense but was an eye opener.

  6. Ian, thanks a lot for this lesson. Especially for expaining that low PA can be misleading for local businesses. That I did not know.
    Like your course a lot.
    I have a question – I want to use your affiliate link as a thank you gesture, but I just do not want to use hosting you recommend currently.
    Do you have other affiliate links I can use?
    Thanks! FIMP is cool.

    • Do you have a hosting provider that you prefer more? Or are you just asking about general affiliate links for other software/courses?

      Also, is there any particular reason you don’t want to use Bluehost? I’d be interested to know so that I can improve everyone’s experience, and FIMP’s ability to stay free.

      Let me know!

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