How To Perform Quick-And-Dirty Keyword Research To Jumpstart Your Content Marketing

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Keyword research is anything but exciting. In fact, trying to do it after a satisfying dinner and glass of wine is more likely to end with your forehead on your keyboard than a list of low-competition, high-value phrases.

Unfortunately, the research has to be done. Without knowing which keywords people are searching for, it's difficult to target the phrases that will draw search traffic to your site. That traffic is the lifeblood of your business. Whether you're running a blog, operating an ecommerce site, or trying to position yourself as a thought leader in your niche, it begins with targeted traffic.

And for that, you need the right keywords.

There are lots of ways to perform keyword research. On one extreme, you can devote months to the task, drilling down into every iteration of every phrase you can imagine. Or you can do some “quick and dirty” research, using a few tools available online. There's definitely a place for both approaches. But today, we'll focus on the latter one. Read on for 3 quick ways to find out what type of content your audience is searching for.

How to Perform “Quick and Dirty” Keyword Research to Jumpstart Your Content Marketing

What Does Google Think You Should Search For?

When the Google Suggest tool first reared its head a couple of years ago, users nearly revolted. They couldn't stand the obtrusive box that dropped down with suggestions every time they tried to perform a search.

Fast forward to 2013. Not only are people used to the feature, but many folks like it. The suggestions are actually helpful in getting folks to the information they want.

If you're focused on content marketing, it's important to understand where the suggestions come from. They're made based on past search data. In other words, the phrases offered by the Suggest feature are those that have been used, in volume, by searchers in the past. And that means they offer a glimpse into the topics you should be addressing in your content.

Side note: type “google is” (without quotations) into the search box. Google's suggestions may give you a few chuckles.

What Are People Watching On YouTube?

YouTube's search function is equipped with the same Suggest feature that you'll find at Google. That shouldn't be a surprise since the property is owned by the search engine with a link to it placed on Google's topside navigation.

The important thing is that you can identify the types of video content people want to see. That can be extremely useful. For example, suppose you sell golf instructional DVDs. You're looking for a way to reach people who want to become better golfers. Visit YouTube and type “golf” into the search bar. Notice some of the suggested phrases…

– golf swing tips
– golf trick shots
– golf lessons

Now type in “golf tips.” Here are a few phrases you should see…

– golf tips driving
– golf tips chipping
– golf tips putting
– golf tips for seniors

Can you see how creating short videos around these topics can introduce you to a hungry audience? We mentioned recently that folks consume content in different ways. Some like to read. Others like to listen. Still others like to watch. And with more businesses providing video content these days, people are getting used to watching videos designed to promote products.

Of course, the content still needs to be useful or entertaining if you want it to have an impact.

What Keywords Are Advertisers Buying With Adwords?

The Google Adwords keyword tool has been used by millions of people to figure out which keywords they should focus their time, effort, and budgets on. Plug in a keyword phrase, and Google will provide a bunch of data, including related keywords and the number of monthly searches performed for each one. If you're logged into your Adwords account, you'll even be able to see CPC (cost-per-click) data.

For example, access the keyword tool here, and type “golf tips.” Notice some of the keyword phrases that signal an interest in learning how to be a better golfer…

– golf putting tips
– golf tips for beginners
– golf tips videos
– golf swing tips
– golf driving tips

Can you think of ways to incorporate this type of data into your search engine optimization efforts, your content marketing, and your product creation?

I'll bet you can!

Keyword research can obviously be much more involved and complex. If you're entering a new niche or even launching a new site in a familiar niche, it's worth taking a lot more time to map out the keyword territory. But if you just need a way to perform “quick and dirty” research without spending a lot of time and effort on it, now you have three ways to do it.

Give them a try. You might be surprised by how useful they are and how much time they can save!

Your Turn!

Have you used the Google Suggest feature to research keywords in your niche? If so, how helpful have you found the tool to be? Did it help you uncover keyword phrases that you had previously missed? Enquiring minds want to know. Share your experience by leaving a comment below!


Christine OKelly Headshot 300x300 4 Tips To Optimize Your Content For GoogleChristine O’Kelly is the co-founder of Online PR Media, the press release distribution site that supercharges traditional media press releases with multimedia, social media, and search engine optimization. A recognized expert in SEO press release strategy and distribution, Christine teaches marketers, advertisers, and business owners how to gain more online visibility and publicity for their businesses. For a FREE copy of Christine O’Kelly and Tara Geissinger’s e-book, “The Results Driven Press Release Formula,” visit:

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Carla J Gardiner
10 years ago

Great article and loved the tips for searching for keywords. This is an area that has driven me nuts for years…and I’m still learning how to conquer the beast.

Kim Garst
Kim Garst
Reply to  Carla J Gardiner
10 years ago

You can do it Carla!

Kim Garst
Kim Garst
10 years ago

Christine has some great tips… can’t wait to hear how they help you, Jackie!

Jackie Harder
Jackie Harder
Reply to  Kim Garst
10 years ago

I will be sure to keep you posted, Kim!

10 years ago

The part What Does Google Think You Should Search For: is very meaning full for me. Thanks for this.

Kim Garst
Kim Garst
10 years ago

I would do a Google for ‘captacha plugins’. I don’t use them so do not know one off the top of my head. Hope this helps!

Mike Dooley
Mike Dooley
10 years ago

Great article! I have really struggled with finding the right keywords for my website, I have been pretty terrible at it!

Boom! Care Squad
Reply to  Mike Dooley
9 years ago

I think a lot of people have problems with that. Look at other photographers in your field and visit their websites to to what they have listed as tags. Sometimes it’s all about research and paying attention to what is already being done. Boom Care Squad – Aida

Neil Ferree
Neil Ferree
10 years ago

I think you’re right Kim, unless your longtail keyword shows up in Google Suggest dropdown list, the demand for that query probably won’t be as strong as you would like. I also pay attention to the PPC panel. If the PPC is there, you know the demand is there too.

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