Open the keyword research template

Keyword Research Template (Please create a copy)

Google your primary keywords

By Googling your keywords (Use this Google UK setting), you can see what Google suggests at the bottom of the page.

Some suggestions are just obvious variations, but some are related topics and totally different keywords.

Add your primary KW and all relevant suggestions to your sheet.

Substitute in synonyms

Some words are universal, some are specific jargon terms. 

For universal words you can check for synonyms using Thesaurus for example.

Get keywords from the Wikipedia article

Wikipedia is perfect for well-written content that explains concepts in terms people understand and search for.

Go to Wikipedia and search the topic of your page.

Quality related keywords will be both in the text and as suggested categories. For example:

Add these categories and keywords as new entries to your sheet, and see if you can create new keywords by combining them with existing entries.

Use UberSuggest to generate variations

UberSuggest scrapes the suggested searches from Google for a seed keyword. 

Put in UberSuggest your shortest, broadest, most relevant keyword.

Select keywords that fit well. At the end grab all the keywords and paste them in your sheet.

Don't check for duplicates, don't calculate anything else, just build the list.

Repeat this for other derivative keywords if you like.

Search in Quora

Using the same seed as you chose for UberSuggest, search in Quora to find questions real people have about your topic. Add new keywords and phrases to your sheet.

Repeat this for other derivative keywords if you like.

Click Search: used cars

Search BoardReader

BoardReader scrapes a huge network of forums for conversations matching your keyword. Search your keyword in BoardReader and get ideas for quality keywords people will search for.

Add the keywords to the sheet.

Competitor lookup with Google Keyword Planner

Search for one or more of your target keywords in Google, and note down a high-ranking page's URL.

Set it as 'your landing page' in Google Keyword Planner to see the keywords it is ranking for as well as suggested terms.

Add keywords to your sheet.

Competitor lookup with SEMRush

SEMRush Organic Research tool offers a powerful way to get competitor information.

Search a competitor's URL in Organic Research to get a list of keywords like this:

Add any relevant keywords to your sheet, repeat as many times as you feel is necessary, then go to the next step.

Use Answerthepublic to create long tail keywords and questions

Open Answerthepublic.

Type your root keyword into the main box then and choose your country.

You can export to .csv to make it easier to copy into the sheet.

Use the SEMRush Keyword Analytics to get relevant keywords

Use Keyword Analytics for exact and phrase match keywords.

Use the Keyword Magic tool once it is available in the UK as well for getting related — not just exact or phrase match — keywords.

Also use this to generate more keywords from your less specific topic areas. Check the full report to see the keyword difficulty, you'll be able to quickly see some easy pickings.

Either export and filter the full list, or just grab a few you like.

Use Google Keyword Planner to get more relevant KWs

Use Keyword Planner to generate more keywords. (Use this on top as Google is a bit biased on what keywords it shows to you.)

Select "Search for new keywords..."

Either export and filter the full list, or just grab a few you like.

Remove duplicate keywords

Get the Remove Duplicates addon. Go to the Add-ons menu in Sheets and select the 'Remove Duplicates' section.

Press 'Next' the whole way through but be sure to have 'Delete rows' selected, then 'Finish'.

Copy the remaining keywords into Google Keyword Planner

Get all your keywords out of Sheets and paste into Google Keyword Planner to get the search volume and competition.

Get rid of keywords that don't have any search volume.

Once the keywords are in Google Keyword Planner, hit Download.

Tidy up the downloaded sheet and merge it with your original

Open the downloaded Google Keyword Planner sheet.

Delete everything apart from the Keyword, Volume and Competition columns, then paste it back. If there’s no volume data, then don’t bother.

Remove the keywords that don't make sense

Remove keywords that aren't grammatically correct English. Remove all keywords that fall under the criteria listed in the sub-checklist below.

  • 1
    Keywords that don't make sense (in a sentence)
  • 2
    Branded keywords
  • 3
    Non-evergreen keywords (2012 etc.)

Sort by potential

The list contains several highly competitive search terms which we wouldn't have a shot at ranking for, so by sorting by potential, one can find keywords with high volume but low competition.

Just click the green button 'Sort by potential' while a cell of the column 'potential' is active.

Remove irrelevant keywords

Get rid of anything which doesn't accurately describe the page you're optimizing.

Remove low volume keywords (if there are better options)

The final decision, all else being equal, goes to the keyword with the highest volume or highest potential

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