Keyword planning – How to find long-tail keywords to kickstart your traffic

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Episode 6 – Part 3: Keyword planning basics to find long-tail keywords with low competition for new bloggers to generate more traffic

I guess you came here straight from ‘Part 2 Google keyword planner free alternatives 2021‘. I’d also recommend reading ‘Part 1 of Keyword planning: What is Google keyword ranking and how to find keywords with low competition‘ so you understand why Google keyword search volume, search ranking and competition are such important factors when it comes to blogging, and how to check the Google ranking for your website. And then check out Part 2 where you can find out all about free keyword planning tools such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Etsy Keyword tool and many other free tools out there.

Top keyword research tools and keyword tracking software – with free options

After we discussed lots of free keyword planning tools in Part 2 about Keyword Research, I’d like to introduce you briefly to some of the top keyword research tools and keyword tracking software out there. As you can see, free keyword research tools are somehow limited in what they offer, which is fine as they’re free. They are a great starting point for any blogger. However, you might find their limitations hold you back one day and you might be interested in what paid keyword research tools can do for you, especially if you’re interested in accurate search volumes, keyword difficulty, Google ranking and keyword tracking software.

When you are serious about keyword research you will quickly find reviews about paid keyword research tools, with Ahrefs, MOZ and SEMrush (try their free trial) being some of the bigger and better-known SEO toolsets used for keyword planning. They are really fantastic tools with an incredible number of options including keyword tracking tools which are loved by SEO specialists and marketers. 

A quick overview of some of the best keyword planning tool benefits

  • Ahrefs for example will give you over 123,000 “phrase match” suggestions from their database of 9.9 billion keywords, that’s just a staggering number that will deliver really high-value keyword options within seconds. 
  • MOZ is an all-in-one SEO tool with over 500 million keyword suggestions and 180 million keywords. In the MOZ Keyword Explorer you can filter your keywords easily before exporting them. They also offer the MozBar which gives you live page metrics in your Chrome Browser, among other SEO tools (however there is another similar one with this cool feature but on a more affordable plan, check it out). 
  • Semrush is used by 1 in 4 Fortune 500 companies. Their databank includes 20 billion keywords and will return up to 14 million ideas for a single keyword! They also offer an on-page SEO checker and they came up with the tool ‘Keyword Magic’ which was named the Best Digital Tool at PubCon 2019 Interactive Marketing Award. You can try their 7-day free trial and check it out for yourself. 

How much do great SEO tools for keyword planning cost?

All these super pro SEO tools come with a (probably deserved) price tag of around $1,000-$1,200 a year for the entry-level plans. 

These tools are definitely worth the money if you’re really into SEO, digital marketing, Google rank tracking and are serious about blogging and want to spend your time creating content instead of doing keyword research. However, they also can be a bit overwhelming for people who have just started blogging and are not SEO savvy (yet). They’re also a bit too expensive for some people, especially beginners. But don’t despair, there are other options out there, we’ll come to them in a moment after finding out which part of keyword planning we really can’t do without and which ones are just nice-to-have.

Let’s have a look at keyword research basics, before moving on to some affordable but powerful keyword research tools.

3 most important keyword research basics to write great content

With so much keyword-related information out there it’s sometimes a bit difficult to figure out the basics – which ones are the most important to get started and which ones can wait until your site has grown, and has more traffic. 

For a small, medium blog most SEO pros agree that these three keyword information points are most important:

  • Keyword suggestions with long-tail keywords and related search phrases
  • Google keyword difficulty
  • Google keyword search volume for each one

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How will this keyword information help and what are long-tail keyword finder?

Keyword suggestions and keyword search phrases are also called long-tail keywords. These are keywords used by readers when they’re a bit further into their search and they are more specific about what they’re looking for. Let’s take the word ‘shoes’, which is very broad and would have high competition from websites with high domain authority. This can make it very difficult for a new site to compete, using that keyword. 

Keyword: Shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 92

Keyword volume: 469,000

keyword planning for shoes

However, when we now use the long tail keyword ‘children’s shoes’ the keyword difficulty is a bit better, but still not easy for a new website to compete with and the Google keyword search volume is quite low.

Keyword: Children shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 43

Keyword volume: 800

keyword planning for children shoes in the US

Let’s have a look at ‘winter shoes’ and ‘summer shoes’, now our keyword difficulty is only 3-14 which’s certainly achievable even for a new website with no or low domain authority and with a Google keyword search volume of 6,000. That’s not bad at all and the likelihood that you get at least a few per cent of that market is quite realistic even with a brand new website. Also, further subcategories such as men’s winter shoes etc are not too competitive.

Keyword: Winter shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 3-14

Keyword volume: 6,000

keyword research for winter shoes

And just in case you think winter shoes are not very competitive because it’s spring time (good point), let’s have a quick look at summer shoes and we see that the result is quite similar with 5,200 people searching for them this month and a keyword competitiveness of 2-14.

Keyword: Summer shoes (US market)

Keyword difficulty: 2-14

Keyword volume: 5,200

keyword research for summer shoes in the US

These examples show clearly why keyword research is so important and how these tools come in really handy. Who would have known that Winter and Summer shoes are so much more searched for than Children’s shoes, with very low competition? If you have Closed-toe summer shoes on your website make sure to create a separate category for them, and add the long-tail keyword into a couple of headers – there could be over 400 sales waiting there for you.

Why is keyword research so important?

I think the example above explained this nicely. If you don’t use the right keyword search phrases in your titles and headers, your content might be wasted. Even though your blog posts might be absolutely fantastic and full of useful information, you stand no chance of getting onto page 1 in Google if your competition is just too great. 

The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR (click through rate) of 31.7%. Only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

Here you can read the full post by Backlinko on What we learned about organic click-through rate, it’s a very comprehensive and really interesting read.

The infographic is a screenshot from Backlinko’s post, thanks Backlinko.

How can I get my website on page 1 in Google?

If you try to compete with massive sites which are around for years, they have very strong domain authority and probably a whole team of content writers working for them – it’ll be tough if not almost impossible as a new small blogger or website owner to compete. However, do not despair – there is a simple solution to getting on page 1 in Google in no time, and that’s by focusing on long-tail keywords.

It won’t happen overnight, but if you change your titles and headers to search phrases that are in demand, but a bit more specialised and with lower keyword competition, your site can rocket up in Google rankings and be displayed on page 1 easily. 

What is keyword difficulty and where does it come from

KD stands for Keyword Difficulty score and shows how much competition there is for that particular keyword. The number will be between 1 and 100 and tells you how difficult it will be to rank on the first page of Google for that search term.

As a general rule of thumb, with many keyword planners, anything under 30 is easy even for a new website. 30-35 is usually also achievable but then anything above 40 starts to get difficult if you don’t have strong domain authority.

Why would you want to compete with large websites that have a whole team of writers working for them? Figuring out keyword difficulty is why long-tail keyword research is so valuable, so you can pick the easily achievable keywords you want to focus on.

All premium keyword planner tools will display a keyword difficulty score, but each keyword planner software has its own range, so a specific long-tail keyword might have a keyword difficulty of 17-20 in one tool but it might be 25-28 in another. However, they all tell you which range is achievable for your website and often display easy to reach keywords in green, medium difficulty in yellow or orange, and very difficult ones in red.

They don’t all get their data from the same source either, some get it directly from Google AdSense whereas others buy their data from third parties (e.g. MOZ), or they apply machine learning algorithms to make predictions using their own models with various data sources from third parties, mixed with Google’s statistics and stream data.

It might sound a little confusing, but once you get used to one of them you will quickly figure out what long-tail keywords difficulty score is recommended and achievable for your website. Any of the keyword planning tools listed here are very user-friendly and intuitive. Whichever you choose, the knowledge gained from your keyword research will mean all the difference between your future blog posts showing up in search engines or not. 

Here are some good posts on Keyword Difficulty: What it is and why it’s important in SEO and How to analyse a keyword’s value and understanding the keyword difficulty score.

Most affordable long-tail keyword finders

I hope you understand now why keyword research is so important. However, as the keyword research market is so large with so many long-tail keyword finders to choose from, in my next post I will have a look at the best value and most affordable premium keyword research plans which offer quick, reliable and easy understandable long-tail keyword suggestions.

For the next post, I have researched lots of premium keyword planners to narrow it down to the two most affordable options if you need more than what the free ones offer but can’t afford to spend $1,000 per year. As we discovered, the free ones are a great start but do offer limited options and I haven’t found one yet which provides keyword suggestions and keyword search phrases, keyword difficulty and Google keyword search volume, all for free. 

Find suitable long-tail keyword to rank for with a new website that won’t break the bank

After trying lots of different keyword planning tools in the last few months I think I have found some winners. Of course, all paid keyword tools give you the 3 most important pieces of keyword information, but there are two providers which have the most affordable plans (c. $25-27 p.m. on their annual plan) and are very user-friendly and easy to understand. 

Even if you are just getting started with SEO and keyword research these tools are easy to use for beginners and competitive enough for SEO experts – they are called KWFinder designed by Mangools and Long Tail Pro. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Check out Part 4 of Keyword Planning: KWFinder vs. Long Tail Pro and how to get up to a 50% discount on annual plans! This 4 part series on Keyword Planning is part of our WordPress tutorial series ‘How to start a blog in 2021‘.

What about you, which of the free keyword research tools do you use?

Please let me know in a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging. Or perhaps ‘Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes‘ and ‘How to deal with website maintenance‘ so you can spend more time blogging and creating content knowing your site is secure.

I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.

Check them both out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops. 

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