Keyword Research in SEO: Part 2

Summary of Part 2

Putting together a list of keyword phrases, putting them through some SEO Tools and viewing the results.

Finding the Keyword Phrases from the Topic you are Exploring

Choose the right keywords for your keyword research.
Keyword Research Reports

In part 1 of “Keyword Research in SEO,” we decided to do research on ‘SEO Tools’. In case you missed it part 1 of how to pick your main keyword theme to research is located here.

In part 2 we will start generating a list of possible keyword phrases to use from numerous sources and run them through SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool.

Keyword Research Main Topics Statistics

If you remember we had these ideas above to work with for the main phrase. I like to color-code the background according to its difficulty to rank. That way when I have a list of a thousand or more I can quickly sort by whatever column I want and get a quick overview of everything. This makes narrowing down the list quicker.

The color-coding I created and the definition of how hard it would be to rank each keyword phrase comes from SEMRush which is what I use right now. This keyword research tutorial will also be a tutorial on how to use SEMRush’s tools as well.

From looking at the image above you can see that it is much easier to rank for ‘sem tools’ but is not searched for as much as the other phrases. You will find that the easier to rank for keyword phrases will typically be searched for less. But the good news is that when we do keyword research we can come up with hundreds or thousands of ideas that we can quickly sort by keyword difficulty, the number of searches, topic category, etc. This will help to find the gems that are searched for quite a bit with very little competition.

Also, you can look at your research overall and determine what people are interested in and looking for on a whole. Plus, you can even find out what questions people are asking and help them out by answering them on your website and gain traffic to your website at the same time.

When checking the SERPs (search engine results pages) I have found out the following:

  • SEO Tools (DA is Domain Authority and PA is Page Authority)
    • ‘Above the fold’ shows nothing but paid ads. (Above the fold means what you see without having to scroll.)
    • #1 position is a Moz blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #2 position is another Moz blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #3 position is a Backlinko blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #4 position is a Backlinko review blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #5 position is a Search Engine Journal post (High DA and PA)
    • #6 position is a Tech Radar review blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #7 position is an Ahrefs review blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #8 position is a Buffer Marketing Library post (High DA and PA)
    • #9 position is an SEO Book blog post (High DA and PA)
    • #10 position is a Neil Patel blog post (High DA and PA)
    • Then there are two more ads along the bottom

I also did a quick SERP analysis on the other main topic phrases as well and discovered they were very similar to the ‘SEO Tools’ SERP analysis.

What did we learn from this?

We learned that it is a very competitive market and it would be very difficult to rank for this phrase. Also, when I checked the other main topics I came across the same thing with the exception of ‘SEM tools’ which has a few listings in the SERPs that display lower DA and PA scores which means it would be easier to rank for this keyword phrase.

We also learned that the big companies are spending a lot of money on pay-per-click ads so you may want to consider adding that into your budget.

Did the SERP results match your goals? When looking at the SERPs the big pattern is to educate the people on what is out there for SEO Tools, giving them reviews, and explaining what they can be used for.

All the results were blog posts and reviews (2020 will mark more importance of content rather than backlinks). The examples of the SERPs with the exception of ‘sem tools’ show a large number of backlinks to the blog posts/reviews, however.

If you want to rank for ‘SEM tools’ then you can write a few decent articles and get backlinks to them then would stand a pretty good chance. But does it match your goals?

If your goal is to bring traffic to your SaaS (software as a service) company to offer them free trials for your own tools then these SERPs would align with your goals.

If your goal is to provide information for the general searcher and maybe have them sign up for your newsletter then this would match your goals as well.

Why would you want your website to rank for ‘SEO tools’? Personally I cannot think of a reason why these SERPs would not match any goals. Affiliate marketing, selling your own tools, getting people to sign up for your newsletter, promoting a service that is needed along with ‘SEO tools’, etc.

So now what?

Don’t get discouraged. Even though these are very hard to rank for we are just picking the main topic for the keyword research and soon we will have hundreds of phrases to pick from.

I will be using SEMRush’s new Keyword Magic Tool to help explain the process.

From this tool, you can quickly see the trends, volume, difficulty to rank and sort by any column which is nice. But the thing that makes this tool stand apart from others is the ability to get results between exact match, phrase match, and broad match. The addition of deleting certain words from the results to quickly narrow down your list is nice also. In the past, I used custom tools on Google Sheets to take care of this.

First, I would enter the keyword phrases in column 1

Second, in column 2, I would list the lowercase value of column 1 by using =LOWER(B2).

Third, in column 3, I would enter in phrases I wanted to exclude to narrow down the list. For example, the word ‘free’ is used to delete all keyword phrases that contain this word. In column 4, I would enter in =FILTER(C2:C, NOT(REGEXMATCH(C2:C, TEXTJOIN(“|”, 1, D2:D)))).

This would leave a list of keyword phrases that do not include any words that you entered in column 3. Below is a small example of using these formulas in a spreadsheet.

Enter Keyword List Here Lowercase List on left Enter Words to Delete Here Modified List
free SEO tools free seo tools free seo tools
SEO tools seo tools

I also added in a couple of more tools like a list of ‘Single Words before Modified List’ using =ArrayFormula(QUERY(TRANSPOSE(SPLIT(JOIN(” “,C2:C),” “)&{“”;“”}),“select Col1, count(Col2) group by Col1 order by count(Col2) desc limit 10 label Col1 ‘Single Words Before Modified’, count(Col2) ‘Frequency’”,0))

‘Single Words after Modifying’ uses =ArrayFormula(QUERY(TRANSPOSE(SPLIT(JOIN(” “,E2:E),” “)&{“”;“”}),“select Col1, count(Col2) group by Col1 order by count(Col2) desc limit 10 label Col1 ‘Single Words After Modified’, count(Col2) ‘Frequency’”,0))

Which gives me the results of how many times each word appears in your phrases to give me an overview idea on what is popular.

Below is an example of some past keyword research I did on types of flooring. As an example, it shows me that people are more interested in laminate flooring over vinyl flooring.

Single Words Before Modified Frequency
flooring 952
is 72
for 69
laminate 52
vinyl 44
to 40
near 37
can 33
with 31
me 30

This can be done for phrases as well.

Before Modified uses: =ArrayFormula(QUERY(TRANSPOSE(SPLIT(JOIN(“, “,C2:C),“, “,false)&{“”;“”}),“select Col1, count(Col2) group by Col1 order by count(Col2) desc limit 10 label Col1 ‘Phrases Before Modified’, count(Col2) ‘Frequency’”,0))

After Modified uses: =ArrayFormula(QUERY(TRANSPOSE(SPLIT(JOIN(“, “,E2:E),“, “,false)&{“”;“”}),“select Col1, count(Col2) group by Col1 order by count(Col2) desc limit 10 label Col1 ‘Phrases After Modified’, count(Col2) ‘Frequency’”,0))

Phrases Before Modified Frequency Phrases After Modified Frequency
remove_circle_outline 22 flooring for bathrooms 3
flooring for bathrooms 3 flooring for kitchens 3
flooring for kitchens 3 flooring near me 3
flooring near me 3 flooring and fitting 2
can flooring 2 flooring and installation 2
can flooring a car damage it 2 flooring calculator 2
can flooring be installed over tile 2 flooring for bedrooms 2
can flooring be put over tile 2 flooring for conservatory 2
can flooring go over tile 2 flooring for hallway 2
flooring and carpets 2 flooring for living room 2

This helps because when you glanced at the left column before the deletions and compare it to the right column after the deletions it gives you a better idea on the searchers’ intent. It turns out that the phrase ‘remove_circle_outline’ is a result of exporting data that I missed that is irrelevant.

Back to the Keyword Magic Tool

I selected ‘Broad Match’ because the phrase ‘SEO tools’ is too difficult to rank for and I would like to get ideas for similar searches.

When going over the list of suggested keyword phrases I make note of what does not apply to me and add them to the ‘Exclude Keywords’ portion when you click on the ‘Advanced Filters’ dropdown menu. You can also filter out keyword phrases that are too hard to rank for, not searched for enough times, are too expensive to bid on for pay-per-click campaigns, etc.

Filter option on SEMRush's Keyword Magic Tool
Filter option on SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool

I also applied the filter to only show me keyword difficulty from 0 to 60 and a volume of 100 times per month on up. This narrowed down the list considerably but I do not only rely on just SEMRush for keyword research. I get ideas from many different sources.

Then with the new list, I export the phrases to a new ‘Keyword Manager’ in SEMRush.

Manual (Non-SEO-Tool) Research

Of course, from part one of this article, I hit the Thesaurus and added the keyword phrases to my manual research.

  • SEO Tools
  • SEO checker
  • SEO software
  • online marketing tools
  • SEM tools

SEMRush’s tool gives me these phrases to add to the list.

  • SEO reporting tool
  • enterprise SEO tool
  • SEO rank tracking tool
  • group buy SEO tools
  • best SEO audit tool
  • Moz SEO tool
  • SEO tool rank tracker
  • SEO tools plagiarism checker
  • SEO website analysis tool
  • white label SEO tool
  • Etsy SEO tools
  • rank tracker SEO tool
  • SEO tools comparison
  • SEO tools plagiarism
  • Google tools for SEO
  • Neil Patel SEO tool
  • seo reporting tools for agencies
  • SEO site analysis tool
  • Shopify SEO tools

If you look at this list you can see that most of the searches are done by people looking for more information to purchase or use a subscription service. Keep that in mind.


Ubersuggest was taken over by Neil Patel but I still use their tool. They have added a few more nice options to it. You still have the option for limited information for free which is what I do because I am just going to plug in the phrases into my SEMRush tool to get the statistics.

Oops, it looks like you can no longer export the keyword phrases and when you try to copy and paste them into a spreadsheet it does not format right so it looks like I will delete this from my arsenal of free tools.

Google Keyword Planner

Next on the list is Google’s Keyword Planner which you should not trust the volume numbers for. I have found them to be way off.

I ended up with 1,951 keyword phrases to go through. Time to use the quick deletion tools I described in my spreadsheet. You can use the formula =unique(F2:F12088) to delete the duplicates.

Or you can add these keyword phrases to the SEMRush Keyword Manager tool. I’m glad they have this advanced filter here as well. Otherwise, I would have to take a lot of time going through these manually. Now I can just import this into their tool, lower my time, and pass the savings to my customers. The Keyword Manager Tool does have a limit of 1,000 keyword phrases to add per project so I just create extra projects, delete out the bad keyword phrases, then add them to the original project folder. Then deleted the other folders I used. This is a little bit of a hassle but it still saves me a ton of time.

After I deleted the phrases with the word ‘free’ in it, are searched for less than 100 times per month, and deleted the ones with a keyword difficulty of higher than 60 I ended up narrowing down the list from 1,951 to 847.

Google Trends

Next, I’m going to Google Trends where I will get an overview of what is trending for the phrase ‘SEO tools’ and get more keyword phrase ideas. I have found out that the searches and trends for SEO tools are going up and not going away any time soon. If you follow the Google Trends link you will discover which states it is the most popular in, which can help you for targeting your pay-per-click campaigns. At this time New York seems to be the big winner. Surprisingly only one phrase popped up for suggested phrases to use.


Next on the list is SEOBook where I have been a member for 10 years and 11 months (it reminds me whenever I log in). Aaron writes great articles here if you are interested. This tool returned 394 entries which I will add to the Magic Keyword Tool and filter out the ones that I do not want.

Google Suggested Search

Now I will be using Google Suggested Search. This resource is an excellent resource because according to Google’s search engine it shows what related phrases people are searching for and you can get an idea of what is on people’s minds when they search for ‘SEO tools’.

Google is spending a ton of money on artificial intelligence research so it is a good idea to use this. At the bottom of the page, you are given eight suggest phrases to also search that is the most relevant. Then you can click on each of those eight phrases to get eight more phrases that are relevant to the one that you just clicked on. The further you click the further you get away for ideas on ‘SEO tools’. You will find some duplicate phrases as you click deeper so I open the links in a new tab and copy and paste the relevant ones. How deep you go will depend upon what results you get. I usually do not go deeper than three clicks.

You can see how it progresses after a few clicks.

1st click 2nd click 3rd click
cheap seo tools seo checker google seo checker
open source seo tools seo software seo ranking checker
seo tools and their uses keyword tool best seo checker
seo tools meaning what are seo tools seo value checker
top 5 seo tools buy cheap seo tools seo audit
open source seo tools php seo friendly website checker
seo software meaning
seo softwares list
moz seo
seo powersuite
best seo tools
wordstream keyword tool
how to find keywords
buy ahrefs cheap
flikover group buy
group buy internet marketing tools
group buy seo tools coupon
group buy seo tools reviews review
seo group buy india
seo tools package
open source seo audit tool
php seo script open source
seo audit open source
seo checker open source
seo panel demo
seo panel review

I still use the suggested results from here because from time-to-time gives me some ideas that the other sources do not. When I look at the results they did not disappoint me there are a lot of fresh ideas here as well such as SEO tools for excel. You can click deeper than the first click like Google’s search results as well. The phrase ‘SEO tools for excel’ opened up a whole new avenue to explore. I’ll be clicking deeper for that one. I added 33 good phrases from here.

Yoast Suggested Phrases

Yoast makes a great SEO plugin for WordPress that I use quite a bit. There is a free version along with a paid version of the plugin. This has become one of my sources for hunting down keyword phrases as well. When you visit this site it will resemble what the old Ubersuggest used to look like so I will just use this one instead of the Ubersuggest I used to use above. It gives you results that are separated by category. This one returned 245 results.

Here is a quick tip for you. Sort the results alphabetically to quickly delete some irrelevant phrases. Also, you can enter this as a formula to quickly delete duplicates.


Note: (F2:F11253) is the range of cells that you examine to delete any duplicates. You will have to change it to what matches on your spreadsheet.

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is one of my favorite resources. You input a term and it will spit out a ton of phrases that are related to questions. It also has a version like the old Ubersuggest where it returns non-question results by the alphabet.

I liked it so much that I even created some formulas in Google Sheets that will help narrow down the list quickly. Here they are.

=IF(RegExMatch(A2,“(?i)who |what |where |when |why |how “),“YES”,“NO”)

Possible Questions
=IF(RegExMatch(A2,“(?i)are |which |will “),“YES”,“NO”)

Possible Preposition Questions
=IF(RegExMatch(A2,“(?i)can |for |is |near |to |with |without “),“YES”,“NO”)

Possible Comparisons
=IF(RegExMatch(A2,“(?i)and |like |or |versus |vs “),“YES”,“NO”)

You will find that when you research questions that a lot of them will get deleted from the list because the search volume on questions always seems to be lower than non-questions. So I give these results some slack for volume when I add them to my main list. To me, they are more valuable than non-questions.

This website returned 592 results that 140 are possible questions to use. Here is a small snippet of what it looks like in my spreadsheet. You can sort the columns to display the yeses at the top. It makes sorting through it a lot faster. For example, the first keyword phrase, “are SEO tools worth it” is obviously a question that did not use who, what, where, when, why, or how but the next column ‘Possible Questions’ picked it up.

Keyword Phrase Question? Possible Questions Possible Preposition Questions Possible Comparisons
are SEO tools worth it NO YES NO NO
what are SEO tools YES YES NO NO
are Bluehost SEO tools worth it NO YES NO NO
what are the SEO tools do you use YES YES NO NO
what are best SEO tools YES YES NO NO
what are Bluehost SEO tools YES YES NO NO
what are SEO audit tools YES YES NO NO
how SEO tools work YES NO NO NO
how SEO tools work YES NO NO NO

Keyword Phrases are Compiled

3,239 keyword phrases were discovered now I will begin narrowing down the hard to rank, low volume, irrelevant, etc. The list was still very large so I ended up deleting anything with a search volume of 200 or less. So far I have it narrowed it down to 551 keyword phrases.

In the next article, I will go over narrowing down your results.



, ,




One response to “Keyword Research in SEO: Part 2”

  1. […] Part 2: “Using the Best Resources to Start Your Keyword Research” […]

Leave a Reply