How to do keyword research on Google

In my post, I show you how to do keyword research on Google, step by step. Finding topics to write about for your blog is challenging. You want to write about subjects that bring visitors to your blog. Google is an excellent tool to help you with this task.

Once you have a list of searched keywords, you can focus on writing content that serves searcher intent. Publish blog posts so thorough and detailed that the searcher doesn’t have to go to another website. Produce high-quality content for your blog, become an expert in your niche, and Google will reward you with visitors.

Let’s get started.

Step one – Open Google in a private browser tab

Every time you are signed in and do a search on Google, your searches and sites visited are indexed to deliver better search results for you in the future.

Indexing your searches is not helpful when you are conducting keyword research because you don’t want your results influenced by your search history. Therefore, when doing keyword research, open a private or incognito tab and don’t sign in to your account.

Google also uses your IP address to determine the search engine for your area. For example, if you are in the UK, you are redirected to Google.co.uk. You need to ensure you are researching keywords in your target market.

To set Google search to display results for your target audience, go into ‘Settings’ and select ‘Search settings.’

Search settings

Next, scroll down to ‘Region settings’ and click on ‘Show more.’

Region settings

Select a country from the list and then select ‘Save.’

Select your country and save

Now you see search data from your target audience.

Step two – Enter your keyword into Google.

There are two factors you should consider before you write a blog post. 1. Are people searching for this? 2. Can I rank for this in Google search?

You probably have a bunch of ideas for content, but if no one is searching for your content, how will you get visitors to your site? If you go after a keyword that is competitive with a new website, your chances of ranking are slim at best.

I recommend you look for long-tail keywords for content ideas. Long-tail keywords are specific phrases or questions that people search for on Google. Producing high-quality blog content that answers a direct question increases your chance of ranking.

Start with a keyword that is a broad phrase for your blog or category. This keyword will be highly competitive but is how you start to find out what people are searching for on Google.

For example, let’s say I have a travel blog and want to write a post about travel insurance. I could never rank for the keyword ‘travel insurance,’ it is too competitive, but I can use it to find out what questions people are asking about travel insurance.

In a private browser, I type travel insurance. As you type your keyword, Google offers suggestions of the most popular search at that time for your keyword.

As of November 2020, anything to do with Covid is trending.

Type your keyword into Google

Step three – Add letters before and after your keyword.

The suggested phrases in my example above are short and competitive terms. It is also hard to determine the searcher’s intent, that is, what does this searcher want?

To get more specific suggestions, I am going to put a blank space before ‘travel’ and start typing question words. Typing letters of the alphabet also generates more content ideas.

Here are suggestions from Google when adding ‘how.’

Type question words

Now we are getting more specific suggestions. Here is another example using the question word ‘what.’

Add letters of the alphabet or questions words to your search phrase

Here are more examples when using letters of the alphabet.

Add a letter of the alphabet to your search phrase
Add a letter of the alphabet to the end of your search phrase

Once you have got some ideas, I recommend you put those search terms into Google again to get more suggestions.

For example, you want to write a blog post about travel insurance for Covid 19. Here is what Google suggests when I type ‘c.’

More Google suggestions

You can do this for an hour and get hundreds of ideas for blog content. Specific questions help you identify what information the searcher needs. This research method encourages you to focus on the information you need to contain in your blog post.

For many search results, there are two more features on Google you can use to get blog content ideas, ‘People also ask,’ and ‘Related searches.’

Step four – Use the People also ask feature.

The ‘People also ask’ feature usually appears below the ads and snippet. You can find more long-tail keyword suggestions.

People also ask

If you click on any one of the down arrows on the right, Google will add more questions to this list.

More questions

You can add the questions to your list or start a new search to start the cycle again.

Step five – Use the related searches feature.

‘Related searches’ appear at the bottom of the search page.

Related searches

Related searches give you variations of your keyword phrase and more blog content ideas.

You can add these suggestions to your list or, you can click on them to start the process again with a new keyword phrase.

Step six – Competition analysis

Once you have your long list of blog content ideas, it is time to check the competition.

I am guilty of writing many blog posts without checking the competition first. If you don’t check out who is ranking for your keyword, you could risk wasting hours writing content and then feeling sad when it doesn’t rank on Google.

When I do a competition analysis on a keyword, I use Google Chrome with the Moz toolbar plugin. The free Moz bar plugin gives you an idea of how established a site is. Data includes page authority (0-100), domain authority (0-100), and external links to the blog post.

I use this data to help me get an understanding of how hard it is to rank for a keyword

Make sure you change the settings to match your target audience. For example, if your target audience is from the USA, you need to see search result data from that region.

First, go into settings and select ‘Search settings.’

Search settings

Next, scroll down the page until you find ‘Region settings’ and select ‘Show more.’

Region settings

From the list of countries, make your selection and click on ‘Save.’

Select your region and save.

Now you get data for the region you are targeting. Let’s start reviewing the competition

Here is an example when I do a Google search for ‘Travel insurance,’ with data from the Moz toolbar.

Moz toolbar

You can see from the screenshot that the top results have a high page (PA) and domain authority (DA), and thousands of external links. For a new website, it would be impossible to rank for this keyword.

If your website is new, Google won’t trust you enough to rank for competitive keywords, so you have to get specific. Look for keywords that have websites on the first page of Google with low page authority and few external links.

Here is an example of a search for ‘Do I need travel insurance for Thailand?’

Competition analysis

The second result on this page is a blog type website with one external link.

Here are more websites listed on the first page.

Competition analysis

There are more blog websites with few or no external links. The next step would be to read each of the websites on this page to see how long they are and more importantly, do they answer the searcher’s question? If they don’t, then this is an excellent opportunity.

I would put this keyword phrase on my to-do list.

Free keyword research tools

In addition to using Google to find blog content ideas, I recommend two excellent free keyword research tools.

Whatsmyserp

The first is ‘Whatsmyserp.’ ‘Whatsmyserp is a browser plugin that shows you average search volume, cost per click for advertisers, a ‘related keywords’ feature, and a ‘people also search for’ section.

Here is this excellent plugin in action.

whatsmyserp browser plugin

To the right of the keyword, you can see that the average monthly search volume is 40, The cost per click for this keyword for advertisers is $8.64. This data is not accurate because Google does not share its data. So only use it as a guide.

On the right of the search results, you can see ‘related keywords’ and a ‘people also search for’ section.

To use this plugin, you need to have an account. You can create a free account at www.whatsmyserp.com/

Answer the public

My second free tool is ‘Answer the public.’ Another excellent free tool that helps you find blog content. There is a limit to how many free searches you can do per day, so use it wisely.

You do not need an account to use ‘Answer the public’ go to their homepage at https://answerthepublic.com/ and enter your keyword.

Answer the public

Enter your keyword phrase into the search box, select your target region, language, and then click on ‘Search.’

After a short delay, you get a list of questions and phrases from Google around your chosen keyword.

Answer the public search results

Google trends

My third free tool is Google trends. ‘Google trends’ shows you what is trending on Google search in any region in the world.

Google trends

Select your region from the menu on the top right, then type your keyword phrase into the box.

You have options available to refine your search and to compare different keyword phrases.

The first graph shows you the popularity of your keyword in the region you selected.

Refine your search and compare

Below this graph, you can see interest by subregion, related topics, and related queries.

Interest by subregion, related topics, and related queries

In ‘related queries’ you can see what phrases are trending around your keyword. ‘Breakout’ lets you know that there is a massive increase around those queries, a chance to publish content on a topic that is currently hot on Google.

Conclusion

Finding blog content ideas is challenging. You want to write excellent helpful content and rank in Google.

There is no magic formula to rank for everything you post. Put the time in to research your keyword. Is Google suggesting the keyword phrase when you type? Is it something you would ask? Can you write a detailed blog post that serves the searcher’s intent? Is it a competitive keyword?

Google is an excellent tool to help you with your keyword research. It has a massive database of search queries. Add question words and letters of the alphabet to the beginning and end of your keyword phrase to generate more ideas.

Continue to produce excellent high-quality content. Once Google trusts your blog, it sends visitors to your site.

I hope you found my blog post helpful. Before you head over to Google to start researching keywords, would you kindly spare one minute to leave a comment? I appreciate all feedback.

To read more about the ‘Whatsmyserp’ browser plugin, check out my ‘Keywords Everywhere alternative free browser extension‘ post. I talk about how to set up and use this excellent free tool.

If you are new to blogging, check out my YouTube channel, I have tutorials on using WordPress, SEO, and the Amazon affiliate program.

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. Great post!

    Keywords Everywhere is awesome and I have a couple tools that I also like to use. Check out answerthepublic for tons of longtail keywords and questions. And Google’s keyword planner is great if you’re advertising with google ads. You will have more detailed data.

    1. Glad you liked it. Excellent point about using Answer the public, I think I will update this post to include that. It is a fantastic tool to find hundreds of questions people are putting into Google.

  2. Thank you for this post, John, super helpful! I’ve been out of the WP blogging arena for over a decade (!) and recently started diving back in. So much has changed since the early days of SEO when I was originally active, so I’m finding your tips really useful πŸ‘πŸ½ Cheers

Leave a Reply to newblogr Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.