Want to know how to research keywords fast, instead of spending hours and crossing your fingers you come up with something usable?
How about uncovering hot, keyword-rich topics to create content around for your website?
Because, let’s face it: Keyword research and planning content can suck.
Truth is, I used to hate planning and writing blog posts more than going to the doctor, dentist…even more than laser hair removal. And keyword research took forEVER.
But then I discovered how to find keywords AND use them as my source for creating blog posts for topics that people actually want to know more about, quickly.
Using this process I sliced my time investment by more than 2/3.
And – more importantly – it will help me get my content in front of the right people at exactly the right time: When they’re searching for it.
In this blog post, I’m sharing:
➡️ How to research keywords fast: the exact process I followed using everyday free tools
➡️ How I find hot blog ideas and topics to write about (you can easily use the same method)
➡️ How I keep track of it all (a download for you)
➡️ How you can easily replicate my process for your business
Find out how to uncover Google’s top search terms with the free Keyword Planner Tool here.
Why Should I Blog?
That’s easy: to generate leads.
If you’re simply writing to hear yourself type, then you’re killing your business.
You want to blog with a purpose.
Blogging and content creation are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and generate leads.
But here’s the thing…
You don’t want to just be writing any old content. The stuff you produce needs to pull its business-building weight.
And if it’s not getting traffic – that is, actual EYEBALLS – on it, then it’s not doing you a smidge of good.
In a recent study, HubSpot discovered that more than 6 out of 10 marketers (63%) had NO IDEA how to increase their traffic. (If you fall into that category, don’t worry – this blog post will get you headed in the right direction.)
What if I told you that there’s a way to not only increase your traffic, but to actually get your content in front of people dying to read it?
Before we go further, I want you to decide what it is you ultimately want to get from your blog. Are you just writing for the love of writing, or is it something you actually want to leverage it as the incredibly valuable business tool it is?
If it’s the latter, then it’s time to get serious about building traffic to get eyes on that content.
And knowing how to do keyword research is the first step in getting the search engines to give you more than a passing nod.
But here’s the thing…
This is what most people’s keyword research process looks like:
(image courtesy of Backlinko)
Look familiar? That’s okay – until a few months ago, that’s how I thought of it too.
But if that’s the way you’re still doing it, then I’m here to tell you there’s an easier way to perform keyword research that won’t only get you better results, it will also give you content topics people are actually interested in learning about.
How to Perform Keyword Research For Better Results
First, think about how customers might search for what you’re selling.
For example, if you’re an online business coach, chances are slim that a) you’ll be able to rank for the highly competitive keyword “online business coach”, and b) that people are actually going to type “online business coach” in the search bar (some will, but most won’t).
If you’re looking for something in particular online, like a new vehicle, do you type “new vehicle” into Google? Of course not. You’d get a bazillion irrelevant results.
Instead, you narrow your search down right off by typing in the year, make and possibly even the model of vehicle you’re looking for. This ensures you’ll only get search results that are pertinent to your interests.
Now that you’ve thought about how YOU search for things online, think about how the people you want to get in front of might search. What are the words THEY would use?
People search for things online using everyday language like, “How can I grow my online business” or, “How to create a marketing strategy”, or “How to write a sales page”.
The majority of people are searching online for specific things – niche or sub-topics – they want to know about, not generic terms. And it’s in these niche topics where you’ll find keyword gold and ideas for content.
You can also use the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool in addition to the quick n’ dirty methods above to find suitable keywords.
How To Find Blog Topics To Write About
I hate to admit it, but I struggled with finding topics to write about for years. But since I’ve started planning content using this method, I’ve easily got enough ideas planned out for months of blog posts.
Going back to the online business coach example, there are several niche topics that would be of interest to someone looking to hire a coach. Some possibilities are:
★ Online marketing strategy
★ Content marketing
★ Building a sales funnel
★ Creating a virtual team
★ How to learn copywriting
But once you get past the low-hanging fruit, how do you dig in and find more topics to create content around?
Here are 5 sources you can use.
5 Sources of Blog Topics For Your Business
1. Your Products and Services: Take a look at the products and services you offer and what you help your customers do. What questions do most people have? Why is your product relevant now? Why are you the best choice?
2. Your Content: What’s your most popular content? Is there a sub-topic you can break out of it (for example, I wrote this post on blogging , now I’ve produced this one on keyword research)
3. Your Reader’s Desires and Pain: What are your target reader’s deepest desires or nagging struggle? What do they need help with most that you can solve?
4. Impactful Information: What studies, statistics or other concrete information relevant to your readers can you share (and why it’s important)
5. Your Competitors: What has your competition written about? What was popular for them?
Now, write down all the different ways someone might search for services or products you sell. You can keep track of it using a simple Content Idea Vault spreadsheet like this (inspired by Neil Patel ):
So, now that you have a better idea of how people search for your product or service and have an arsenal of hot niche topics, it’s time to do some legwork for keywords and phrases you can rank for.
How to find keywords fast: My ‘lazy’, step-by-step method
I recently needed to come up with 10 blog post topics and content in an extremely short timeframe. And I just didn’t have the time to perform hours of tedious keyword research, digging deeper and deeper to find the perfect phrase.
So I started the timer, set that sucker for 50 minutes, and got to work.
My results? 11 blog post ideas and keyword research in 33 minutes.
Here’s the process I followed.
Step 1: The Google Keyword Planner
This much-overlooked free tool is a wildly helpful source of information. From the list of ideas you came up with from your niche topic brainstorming, enter what could be a good keyword for your business.
Next, set any additional criteria to customize your results.
Then, click Get Ideas.
Out of the results that Google generated, look for some low-hanging fruit in the longtail keywords (search phrases of more than a couple of words). Longtail keywords generally net better results, because that’s how people are searching.
Make note of these possibilities in your tracking spreadsheet like this one:
Step 2: Google’s Search Auto-Complete
The next thing I did was enter a search phrase from my list of ideas into Google to see if and how anyone was searching for it.
Google’s auto-complete feature is extremely helpful, because it supplies a list of possible search criteria. The trick here is to use an incognito browser window to do your search so any of your past searches don’t pollute your results.
Make a note of what Google’s suggestions are in your tracking sheet.
Step 3: Other information supplied by Google
Google serves up keywords and search information on a platter. It’s just there for you to see it and start leveraging it.
There are two other golden sources of information on the Google search results page:
1. People also ask
This box shows you other things people want to know about, and is a goldmine of keywords. Write these questions (which are keywords) in your tracking spreadsheet so you can include them in your content.
Quick note: Something I’ve noticed is that this feature does not appear on all search results pages, which may mean that particular topic isn’t that popular.
2. Related searches
Anytime you do a Google search, scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see related searches.
These are the LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) and topics related to your main search criteria. Be sure to make note of the most relevant items in your spreadsheet.
Step 4: Check most popular posts
Next, I wanted to check what the most popular content on my topic(s) was. To do this, I used a tool called BuzzSumo.
I simply entered my target keyword into BuzzSumo…
And was presented with the top-performing content on the web related to my search.
And now I knew 2 things I didn’t before:
1. The topic was popular (people were sharing it around the web), and
2. Who my main competitors were on the topic
By this point, 20 minutes had passed and I had a sizeable list of keywords, possible popular topics related to my business, and I know who my competitors are.
Now, I could’ve stopped here, but I did two more checks just to make sure I was on the right track.
Step 5: Quora
A valuable source of marketing research is Quora, a question-and-answer platform that a growing number of online marketers are learning how to leverage.
Anyone can ask a question on Quora and get it answered by real-life business experts. For free.
I find Quora better than wading through forums to find relevant questions, and generally the quality of the answers are better.
So I spent a few minutes here checking out what people were asking about my chosen list of topics.
To use this valuable tool, simply add your question and Quora will deliver the top answers. Their Related Questions column in the right sidebar is also extremely helpful, much like Google’s LSI results.
Step 6: Wikipedia
Last, I checked Wikipedia, a resource that’s jam-packed with keywords and yet overlooked by most marketers.
You may find Wikipedia more helpful for certain niches than others, but it’s always worth a drive-by.
The peeps over at Wikipedia are masters at keyword use (why do you think they appear in the results for virtually every search?).
For instance, I entered “marketing funnel” in Wikipedia, and got this result.
When using Wikipedia, it’s easy to get stuck if you don’t see what appear to be good keywords. First, scan the body copy for possible keywords, paying close attention to the anchor links (highlighted in blue).
Then, check out the table of contents, which is usually loaded with usable information.
Lastly, take a look at the “See also” section, which could point you to a LOT of other topics related to your niche.
And that was it. 11 blog topics AND keyword research, done and dusted. In under 33 minutes.
Your Action Plan
Now you’ve got the foundation to find hot topics related to your niche that you can create content around AND the ability to generate a large list of keywords in a bite-sized chunk of time.
First, pick a keyword you’ve brainstormed for your business and enter it on Google.
Take a look at the content related to that keyword. This is stuff people want to know more about.
For example, I’ve entered “best sales funnel”, and these are the top 3 results that came up:
Clearly, 17 Best Sales Funnel Examples is a high-performing article, since it’s snagged the #1 position.
So, if you were writing an article about sales funnels, you could easily “out-content” that article using the Skyscraper Technique by writing about the “25 Best Sales Funnel Conversion Hacks”. Then, you’d reach out to key influencers to see if they would like to share your article with their audience.
Next, take a look at the additional related searches (the LSI keywords) that Google has served up at the bottom of the page.
Click on any of these to see results for additional related topics ideas and articles that are performing well.
Here’s a quick list of the steps I followed so you can do your own research:
1. Google Keyword Planner Tool: For keyword ideas related to your niche, topic or industry
2. Google search auto-complete, “People also ask” and related search sections: These 3 sources are a great supply of additional longtail keywords
3. BuzzSumo for most popular content: Find out what the top articles are, pay special attention to the title
4. Quora: For the top questions people are asking related to your topic or sub-niche
5. Wikipedia: Find hidden keywords and/or anchor text you can use
Over to you: How many blog topics and their keywords can you come up with in 33 minutes using my “lazy” research technique?
Let me know in the comments!