How to do SEO Keyword Research for WITHOUT Paid Tools (2019)

By | August 9, 2019


– What if I told you
that keyword research as you know it is dead? I’m Brendan Hufford. Today on 100 Days of SEO,
we’re gonna talk about keyword research for SEO. Is it dead?
We’ll find out. Let’s do it, whoo! (easygoing jazz music) Don’t freak out. Keyword research
for SEO isn’t dead. It’s just totally different from the way people have taught it and the way that SEO
research has been done since I started SEO
starting back in 2010. So let’s go hop right over here in my computer and get into it. What’s up, y’all?
We are in my computer. I believe that keyword research, the way it’s been taught for
so long, is completely dead. Today we’re gonna
talk about how to do keyword research the smart way. My goal is to turn you from
this sad keyword researching pug into Napoleon
Dynamite’s brother, trying to make you
now jealous that he’s been on the computer doing
topical research all day. Now, as with a lot of my videos,
if you watch until the end, I’m gonna make a
special offer for you. It’s free. You don’t have to do anything.
You don’t have to opt in. I don’t want your email
address, but it’s pretty cool, so make sure you
watch all the way to the end ’cause it’s gonna
give you the context for what I want
to help you with. If you’re new here, shout out. All my subscribers hear
me say this every video, but the goal here is to
build not a publication, not just have
subscribers watching, but I want new
people to discover this. So if you are
one of those people, if you’re new here,
I’m Brendan Hufford. Hi, how are you? I created SEO for the
Rest of Us and 100 Days of SEO. I’m also the SEO director at
this badass agency in Chicago. I’m a former teacher. I taught in the
classroom for 10 years. Pretty regular dude,
dad of three kids, married. Shout out to all
of the dads out there. And today in the
next couple minutes, you’re gonna learn two huge
keyword research mistakes, what smart keyword
research looks like, and the biggest
secret right now in SEO. This is not a gimmick. This is actually
something I’ve only seen maybe one other
person talking about. And not only am I gonna tell
you about that in this video I’m also gonna
link to the next video that goes into it
a little bit deeper. Let’s talk about
some stuff. Right? Let’s talk about keywords. We think about
keywords really being super important,
the end-all-be-all, and that’s because of this. Only 6% of content
ranks on page 1 in year 1. It’s really hard
to rank for even a single keyword
on the first page. There’s a lot
of noise out there. But here’s the thing. This is an example
from Kindlepreneur. The content that does
rank on the first page ranks for thousands of keywords. So the top one there,
Kindlepreneur, free book title generator tools, that thing ranks for
almost 3,000 keywords. How are you gonna do
keyword research for that? Can you do keyword
research for the next article that’s almost 2900 keywords? No, no, you can’t. And that’s why
I want to introduce kind of a different topic today, but first we have
to take a look back. We have to go look at old times. Now, in the past, it was
one keyword to one article. That’s how Google did it. If you’re an OG like me,
you remember the days that you would get one
keyword with one article, and that meant you had to create a separate article for
every different keyword you wanted to rank for. And what this led to was
a very vomit-worthy tactic called keyword stuffing,
where you would rank better the more times you used
the keyword on the page. And we ended up
with stuff like this. “We have the best
laptops in the market. “Our laptops have the lowest
price and the best quality. “The best laptops for business “and the best laptops
for home and personal use. “Buy our best laptops.” Like (groans). People were using “blue running
shoes” every other sentence. No, thanks. But that’s what happened. And then Google
came out with PageRank, and it was like, hey, maybe
there’s more than one factor than how many times they use
the word (laughs) on the page. And people
started to understand, “All right, there’s
more that I need to do here. “I need to make my
content better for humans.” And one of the
ways we figured out how to do that was with plugins. Now, this is a
plugin from back in the day called Easy WordPress SEO. And you notice
this looks very similar to how most SEO
plugins look today. You thought they
came up with that stuff? Nah, this is old school. The title contains the keyword. The title begins
with the keyword. You recognize this
stuff from your SEO plugin? Title contains at
least three words, etc., etc. And you could go
through all this stuff, the title, the URL, the meta,
the heading, the content, etc. They even had
readability and LSI in there. This stuff isn’t new. This is super old stuff. But the problem is it contained
all these terrible ideas. Content contains at
least one bold keyword, one italicized keyword,
one underlined keyword. You ended up with this really– If you see a
page like this today, you’ll know that they’re
using the old school tactics of trying to just underline
and bold their keywords. And it’s just like, “What, what?
What are you doing?” And don’t get me wrong. I did this. I did this. I bought Easy WP
SEO back in the day, and this is what
it looks like today. Here it is in Yoast. It’s the same stuff. Still trying to– one article, one keyword. I just showed you,
the best content ranks for 3,000 keywords. How are you gonna
optimize an article with this checklist
based on one keyword when you want to be
ranking for 3,000 keywords? Now, the problem is that most
of what they tell you to do in these plugins
doesn’t actually help. Should I use my key
phrase in the title? Yes. Should I link out
to other things? Yes. Should I link to myself? Yes. Should I make sure
I’m not doubling up writing about the same
exact content in the same way over and over on my website? Absolutely, but the rest
of these tips are garbage. They’re garbage. They don’t
correlate with ranking at all. They will not
help you rank better, especially with using your
keyword in the first paragraph. That’s the worst advice ever. It’s terrible copywriting.
It’s bad for humans. I don’t know why it’s taught. Here’s a video from Joel Klettke
talking with Ross Hudgens on Siege Media’s
show about this. I will link to that video
in the description as well. You should definitely
watch the whole thing. Now, don’t forget to
keep watching to the end. Like I told you, I’m
going to help you with this. You’re going to get my time
that you really can’t even buy to help you
specifically with this because I really want you to
understand where this is going. Now, the future
of keyword research. Keyword research as
we used to do it is dead. Optimizing for a single keyword as we used to do it is dead. The future is topical research. Get it, tropical? It’s topical.
I don’t know. We’re trying.
We’re trying too hard here. It’s topical research. Now, how do I do
topical research? I look a lot of
different places. Obviously, I look at
the search engine results, but I also look in Quora. I want to see, when somebody’s
looking for something, what do they
really want to know? I love that they actually
write little posts in Quora so you can see,
they ask a question about hiring a
wedding photographer, but then you get
the nuance of it. You get all the context of it. I love Answer the Public. If I’m writing an article
about how to learn WordPress, but I had no idea that
there were all these things. People are Googling “how to learn
WordPress without Hosting.” That’s crazy. I had no idea
people thought you needed to buy Hosting
to learn WordPress. They don’t know
about wordpress.com where you can make
a free WordPress blog. That’s something that I
discovered along the way here, and that’s why it’s so important to do this topical research,
to see the whole topic and make sure
we’re really addressing the whole topic when
we’re writing an article. That’s how you get the rankings
for those 3,000 keywords. Now, if I’m writing about
fun things to do in Chicago, I can see that it’s
really important to write about seasons, in winter, in December,
in November. Most people are Googling this
not really in the summer. They’re really looking
for this (laughs) because Chicago’s
amazing in the summer. It’s where I live. It’s amazing in the summer. The things to do are obvious. But all of a
sudden the winter hits, and it’s like, “Oh my god,
what do we do here? “What do we do now
that we can’t go outside “without the air
hurting our faces? “Why do we live here?” But that’s the
article that you’re writing. And now you have the
topical research to understand. I’m not just looking,
“Oh, there’s a keyword, “‘fun things to do in Chicago.’
I should rank for that.” No, no, no, get
the nuance of it. Look at the whole topic. And now look at,
these are all sections that you can
have in your article. In the winter, fun things
to do in Chicago with kids, fun things to do
in Chicago at night. Those should be
sections of your article. Next, I love to use
Keywords Everywhere. It’s a free extension
for Chrome and Firefox. It kind of aggregates a lot of what I’m already taking about, Google Search, Google Trends,
eBay, Answer the Public. It pulls a lot of information. It’s free. It’s not super
accurate compared to something like an Ahrefs, but it is extremely
helpful with topical research. For example here, if I wanted to write about how to podcast, what I want to look
at here is I now see that people are also
Googling “podcast hosting,” “how to create a
podcast website,” “how to listen to a podcast.” That’s interesting. I didn’t even know
that that would be something that people are
still wondering how to do. So if I’m talking
about how to podcast, I’d better tell people
how to listen to a podcast. All of these things matter, and all of these
things are super helpful because you want to cover,
again, the whole topic, not just a single keyword. Again, here’s another
one on intermittent fasting. I’m using Keywords
Everywhere to pull this up. If I’m gonna write
about intermittent fasting, I could also write about
intermittent fasting results, intermittent fasting benefits. Those things could all go into one epic piece
of pillar content, or they could be broken out
to separate pieces of content. Here’s other places
I like to find research. Go in forums. Go into mailing lists. I love meetup
groups and blog comments on big industry blogs. Obviously, social media groups,
LinkedIn, Facebook. Looking at the
replies in your industry. Go find some page
or find some account. Look at the replies,
not just their tweets, but go into the
tweets and replies, and look at the
replies to people, the questions they’re asking and the answers they’re getting. Now, this last one here,
the Amazon reviews. The 3-star Amazon
reviews is probably my best hack that I
want to share with you for topical keyword research. So for example, if I’m writing
an article on productivity, this is one of the most
famous books on productivity, The Power of
Habit by Charles Duhigg. Now, this is
great to look at it, but I also notice
there’s 4,815 reviews. So what I’m gonna do is look at how many of those are
5-star, 4, 3, 2, and 1. And what I want to start doing is looking at
the 3-star reviews. A 5-star review is usually
just gonna be this glorious, “Oh, this is the best book ever.
It changed my life.” 1-star reviews are like,
“This is a waste of time. “Read this blog post instead.” But the 3-star
reviews usually have something really
interesting in here. Because what happened
in the book is it was just a collection of stories to this
person, to Speed Reader 515. What they were looking for is concrete
tactics or strategies. So if I’m writing an
article about productivity, I don’t want to
just tell stories. It looks that really
irritated this person, that Charles Duhigg
was just telling stories and going on and
connecting the stories to stories to
stories to stories. They wanted tactics and
strategies to hack their habits, not just stories, and that
was super important to them. Here’s another one. Again, you see here, EspnDave,
awesome name, is saying the same thing. “If you’ve read Malcolm
Gladwell’s Tipping Point “or Outliers, you’re
gonna see similar stories “once you hit the
second half of the book.” This is another
person looking for a list of tactics and strategies
and not finding them there. Look at this,
another 3-star review. Now, these are separated. The previous review’s from 2017. This is from 2013. The three chapters are
interesting and useful, but the thing that makes people hate this book is the stories. So if you’re thinking about
writing about productivity, you’re planning on
telling a bunch of long stories and going really
deep into stuff that, people just want to know
how to change their habits. They have a specific thing. The intent behind
this and the topic that you should be writing
about is tactical and strategic. It is not just dragging
things out with long stories and examples of what
you’re talking about. Even if you just read this, “So, there you go.
Saved you money. “Unless you enjoy
random success stories “then this book would
be a great read for you.” So we don’t want to
just do success stories. When we’re doing
topical research, we want to look
for painful emotions. And that’s why we’re looking
in the Amazon 3-star reviews and everything we see on forums. We’re looking for these feelings ’cause this tells us, when
people are feeling this stuff or we can read these
feelings in their comments, we understand these are
big pain points for them, and then we can
write about that. That’s the core of what
we need to be writing about. And to do a deep dive on this,
look at things like this. Is it their first
time posting somewhere? Are they replying to comments? What emotions do
they seem to have? I love doing this
in Facebook groups. Get a little sip of coffee here. (slurps) Delicious. So I love doing
this in Facebook groups and you see when
somebody comments and then there’s
like 27 threaded replies. It’s like, “Oof.” I do the Mr. Burns,
like, “Mm, excellent.” And I can’t wait ’cause I know that they just went
really deep with somebody back and forth
and back and forth. And we want to note the pains
that came from their actions, their reactions,
their lack of actions. And see what they’ve tried. See what hasn’t worked for them. This is really
good topical research. If you want to write
and want to rank in search, you have to
understand the pain points and why people are
searching for things. So here’s kind of my
topical research checklist. You’re like, “Brendan,
summarize all of that for me.” I got you. Did I leverage my own expertise? Did you look on Quora? Did you look on
Answer the Public? Did you look at
the “people also asked” and the “searches
related to” in Google? Did you review the
recommended searches in YouTube? And then finally, like I said, do some of that pain deep dive, especially the
Amazon 3-star reviews. Now, the genius move here is, the most important thing that
I’m gonna talk to you about– and I got another video. If you check the description or you watch kind of
the end card of this video, I got another
video for you on this, so we’re not gonna
go super deep right now. But the genius move here is
matching the search intent. Shout out to all my
Cruel Intentions fans. But matching the
intent of the search. What are they
actually looking for? Like when people bought– I’ll give you an
example from Amazon. When people bought
Charles Duhigg’s book, they were really looking
for strategies and tactics, and what they
actually got was stories. He didn’t match
the intent perfectly. Now, that’s obviously
a weird example. But for Google, we have
to match their intent. They’re using
keywords to search, but they have
feelings behind it. They have intentions behind it. We have to match that intent. So make sure you check
out that video as well. But before you go,
before you go, Napoleon, I want you to tell me
in the comments below, how are you struggling with
keyword research right now? Like I said, the
model of keyword research and the model of keywords
we’ve had in the past is dead. So let me know
in the comments below, go right below this video. Let me know the topic
you are writing about, you don’t have to let
me know your website. Let me know the
topic you’re writing about, and I will personally
do some research for you. Now, I’m only– it doesn’t say on the screen. I’m only gonna do this
for the first 10 people. The first 10 people
that watched this whole video and are seeing
this and comment below with what they’re writing about, I will do some
topical research for you. You’ll get all of my expertise
and things clients pay me thousands and
thousands of dollars for. I will do that for
you in the comments below. I’m stoked to see
what you put down there. I’ve been Brendan Hufford. Don’t forget to work hard,
be nice to people, and don’t get too lost trying to create something that matters. (easygoing jazz music)

11 thoughts on “How to do SEO Keyword Research for WITHOUT Paid Tools (2019)

  1. David Martin Post author

    Really insightful, thanks for this one! I want to build out some relevant content for my personal website that leverages my expertise in the field. Would love to see how you approach research done for ‘Design Development process’. HMU on TTT so we can chat more @david 😬

    Reply
  2. Simeon Simeonov Post author

    I’ll be glad to do a research for my website but it is in Bulgarian and I don’t think you will can. Anyway you can see a working test version of it on http://obook.in2.bg. Great video Brendan!

    Reply
  3. Auom 120 Swnasiqubulotosife Post author

    A local graphic and web designer

    Reply
  4. menotu18 Post author

    I'm looking to help rank for Immigration Solicitors in the UK, I know Brexit can be a big part of it but I am struggling to get the website at the top at the moment. I hope you are able to help 🙂 great vid, subbed.

    Reply

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