How to Discover Profitable Keywords to Rank For [Using Free SEO Tools] by@favouragari

How to Discover Profitable Keywords to Rank For [Using Free SEO Tools]

There are not-so-sneaky ways to discover your money keywords without parting away with hundreds of dollars. Premium tools are designed to make your work easier, but since you're working on a budget, you'd have to make do with a few workarounds. Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest are available as Chrome extensions. Google's SERP is also a valuable resource for keyword research, but I thought to give it an honorable mention. Some keywords end up driving a lot more traffic than expected, even with lower search volumes.
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Favour Agari

Favour is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS. When she's not writing for clients, she's managing her own blog.



Keyword research is valuable.


So it’s no surprise that the best tools don't come cheap.


If the A-list apps like SEMrush and Ahrefs are currently off your radar, does that mean you’re doomed to shooting blindly with your content?


Not quite.


There are not-so-sneaky ways to discover your money keywords without parting away with hundreds of dollars.


Granted, premium tools are designed to make your work easier.


But since you’re working on a budget, you'd have to make do with a few workarounds.


These freemium tools not only help with keyword research, but with competitive research—so you can check out what’s working for your competitors, and what gaps are yet to be filled.


First, what are these free keyword research tools anyway?

There are a number of them, but I’m most familiar with Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest by Neil Patel.


Used together, they give you all the data you need to assess if a keyword is worth the investment or not.


Ps: Google's SERP is also a valuable resource for keyword discovery. It's a staple but I thought to give it an honorable mention.


With these free SEO tools, you can extract important search data such as:


  • Search volume
  • Number and quality of Backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Keyword density
  • Top pages and keywords
  • Average monthly traffic a page is getting from a keyword
  • etc


Keywords Everywhere and Ubersuggest are available as Chrome extensions. This is how I use them and what will be referenced in this guide.


Let's go!


How do I calculate the monetary worth of a keyword?

Search volume X CPC


It’s a simple formula.


For example, the keyword “time tracker app” has 4,400 monthly searches with a Cost Per Click of $21.88


In this case, the traffic value of this keyword is $96,272. (i.e, 4,400 * 21.88)

In this case, the traffic value of this keyword is $96,272. (i.e, 4,400 * 21.88)


We now have solid data to back up a $2000 investment in creating content for this keyword.


That said, with keyword value, you must take a holistic approach to it.


Some keywords end up driving a lot more traffic than expected (read: brand awareness) or monetary value (read: sales)—even with lower search volumes.


This is especially true for keywords with sky-high search intent. I.e, long-tail keywords targeted at searchers at the bottom of the sales funnel.


Please do not base the business value of a keyword on this metric alone.


There are diverse ways to measure ROI with content marketing.


Shares… Pins…


You can’t even measure some of the best.


Like word of mouth.


I've chatted to my marketing friends about an excellent blog post I read from a brand.


They'd go on to view it too.

They'd tell others about it.

The cycle continues.


What does the brand get?


Authority.


Knowing the monetary worth of a keyword is very important but often overlooked by content marketers.


It holds a lot of value especially if you’re going to pitch the article to a publication on completion.


What keywords do I target if I want to make sales?

It's easier to make a sale through content targeted at keywords searchers type in when they want to make a purchase.


SEOs categorize these keywords using the three stages of the marketing funnel.


We have specific keywords for the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the very end of the funnel.


So essentially, brainstorm possible keywords your prospects may use when they want to buy. Run them through SEO tests we talk about later on. Pick the best ones.


The further you go down the buyer’s journey, the higher your chances of igniting a purchase.


Common high-buying-intent content formats include:

  • Comparison posts
  • Reviews
  • Templates
  • Alternatives
  • Pricing guides


Select which makes sense for your product or service and get creating.



Image from LucidChart

Image from LucidChart


Steps to performing profitable keyword research

Discover your best keywords with these two steps.


1)Topic Analysis


You first want to type the broad topic you’re targeting in a Google search.


Lucky you if the topic turns out to be one with an enormous traffic value.


(Like the “time tracker app” illustration we did earlier)


The next thing you should check for is the estimated competition in organic search.


Both Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere coin this as “SEO difficulty score”


50–below = low hanging fruit (relatively) 50–70 = fair chance (also relatively) 70–100 = you have to be really on top of your SEO game to claim a ranking


For the “time tracker app” keyword, Ubersuggest estimates the SEO difficulty to be 64.


While Keywords Everywhere says it's 54 out of 100.


This variation in scores between the two tools reminds us of two important things:


  • to always crosscheck important SEO data

  • why we shouldn’t 100% rely on what keyword research software tells us


In fact, SERP analysis is even more important when guesstimating how we might fare in search engine rankings.


We’ll touch more on that in the next step.


But for now, you can’t say you've done proper topic analysis without studying the long-tail keywords.


These are the top three for “time tracker app”👇

Traffic value for “employee time tracker app” is $49,946 (1300 * $38.42)

Traffic value for “employee time tracker app” is $49,946 (1300 * $38.42)

More specific keywords tend to attract a higher Cost Per Click.


This is because, of course, search intent is more defined and companies are willing to pay more for a top spot.


With data like this, you can easily map out topic clusters and create separate pieces of content where necessary, for a better shot at ranking.


Another approach is to combine similar keywords.


According to a study by Ahrefs, the average Google page 1 ranking would also rank in the top 10 search results for 1000 other related keywords.


Circling back to our “time tracker app” example…


The search intent behind “time tracker app free” and “free time tracker app” is the same.


There's no need to create different content pieces for each.


Also, you can combine “employee time tracker app” with “free time tracker app” to form the new keyword, “free employee time tracker app”


This is how SEOs evaluate and come up with search-optimized titles.


The best part?


You can do this completely free of charge.


To recap:

  • Figure out the topic you want to rank for
  • Check the traffic potential
  • Check who/what is ranking on the first page
  • Check if you stand a chance
  • Target long-tail keywords
  • Combine similar keywords to form new keywords


2) SERP Analysis

SERP Analysis is all about finding out how you compete for your target keyword by analyzing data from the Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs.


Things get interesting here.


I usually go down a rabbit hole with the sheer volume of search data that can be mined and the various insights they inspire.


The more data, the better.


Here are my top things to look out for:


  • What content format is predominant on the first page. I pay particular attention to what took the featured snippet or ranked as the first result. This reveals the specific—type—of content Google is rewarding. Create something different and you’re already out of the game.


  • The DA of the first page results. This score is pretty much a summary of the other points below. points below. If it's all 90+ DA’s and yours doesn’t come close, just look for another keyword.


  • The relevance of the first result. Drawing from Google E.A.T principles, if you have a tech site ranking for a marketing-related keyword, it’ll be much easier to displace them. That is, given you have a site in the marketing niche with a similar DA rating.


    Now, there’s no magic number to determine which sites are more relevant than which. But, browsing through the site to see what they’re about and what quality of content they’ve published previously should give you a bird’s eye view.


  • The number of backlinks the page has. The DA of the linking sites, plus, what anchor texts are being used to link to the post. This is important to spy into what off-page SEO strengths you’re competing with and strategize accordingly.


  • The slug of the first result. For companies that do on-page SEO right, this is the primary keyword they’re targeting. Use this insight to inform your slug selection.


Zapier takes the featured snippet position for our  "time tracker app" keyword.

Zapier takes the featured snippet position for our  "time tracker app" keyword.

Here's how I’d document a simple SERP audit:


Content Format: Longform roundup guide

MOZ DA: 77/100

Slug: best-time-tracking-apps

Number of Backlinks: 2,247

Quality of Backlinks: This page from Zapier receives backlinks from authority sites with 90+ DAs


Most of the anchor texts used to link to this article are keyword-rich.

Most of the anchor texts used to link to this article are keyword-rich.

With this audit, you should know that ranking for the keyword “time tracker app” would be no easy feat.


Asides from creating better content, you need to have a higher DA score and more quality backlinks.


However, it’s important to note that a website with a lower DA can outrank one with a higher DA score.


When this happens, either one or a combination of this is typically the case:


  • The high-DA website lags on the Google EAT side
  • The content quality of the low-DA site is far higher than the high-DA site (This could mean it's more original, better researched, more graphics, better ALT info, etc)
  • The content format of the low-DA site is what Google favors for that search term


Wrapping things up

It’s high time you started being more strategic with your blog.


The businesses who generate the most ROI from content marketing run through all these steps and more before ever hitting “publish”.


And now, you’ve seen that cost is no excuse. You can squeeze a whole lot of precious search data out of free SEO tools.


Create an editorial strategy that aligns with your revenue goals. Set KPIs to track performance. Cheers to aiming for the bullseye!


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