Saturday, 4 May 2013

How To Do Quick, Effective Keyword Research Using All Free Methods

Keyword Research Using Free Methods
If you want to goad an internet marketer into a passionate reaction, use the "K" word - "keyword research"! Everyone has an opinion about the best way to go about it.

I am afraid I am going to disappoint you - this article isn't about the best way to do it. It is about an eclectic way to do it, using all free methods (which should be music to Potpiegirl's ears!).

Eclectic: To obtain from different ideas, sources and styles and mesh them all together.

Over the last 6 months or so I have used several methods to research keywords:

  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool (GAKT)
  • Market Samurai
  • Jaaxy
I could have spent even more of my hard-earned on shiny new objects - the keyword research tools options are endless. Thankfully, I didn't.

It seems to me that the main pros and cons of each are:
  • GAKT 
    • free, straight from the horse's mouth, a measure of commercial potential (CPC), crude indicator of competition, exact/phrase/broad match options, 800 results per search
    • no quoted search results (QSR), a bit cumbersome to use
  • Market Samurai
    • one off fee, strong indicators of commercial potential based on CPC, strong indicators of strength of competition (including domain age, PR, etc), exact/phrase/broad match options plus phrase-to-broadmatch ratio, 800 results per search
    • can be slow, fairly complicated, for more advanced users, no QSR
  • Jaaxy
    • easy to use, quick, one click QSR
    • expensive at >$200 per year, no measure of commercial potential, exact match only, typically 20-50 results per search
What if we could take the strengths of each of these tools and combine them into a method (not a tool) that was 100% free? What should this method include?

For me, the main requirements are:
  1. Traffic
  2. Competition
  3. Commercial Potential
Many internet marketers also like the ability to sort  keywords based on phrase length, because they can then consider the long tail keywords first. That is often where you find the gems.

Also, wouldn't it be nice to be able to generate 20,000+ long tail keywords in a few minutes? You're joking, right? No, let's add them to our list:
  1. Sort  keywords based on phrase length
  2. Generate a huge keyword list in minutes


There are a few things to do to get set up for this method:
  1. If you aren't already using Google Chrome, it is easier to switch to it. Then, instal the Context Menu Search extension from this link. Be careful, there are more than 1 with the same name. This one allows easy right click keyword assessment.
  2. Go to Window-Extensions and select Context Menu Search-options.
  3. Enter these 4 additional search options:
    1. Google QSR"TESTSEARCH"&start=900# 
    2. Google video QSR"TESTSEARCH"&tbo=p&tbs=vid:1&source=vgc&hl=en&aq=f&start=900# 
    3. Bing QSR"TESTSEARCH"&first=900#
    4. Yahoo QSR"TESTSEARCH"&pstart=1&b=900
  4. If you don't have a Google Adwords account, open one.
  5. If you don't have Excel, instal Openoffice.
  6. You need to be able to merge .csv files. If you don't want to use your console and the DOS command (cat), which is a bit fiddly, instal one of these free tools:
Right - you're set.

The Method

Step by step:
  1. Set up a folder for each project. Log in to GAKT and do your keyword research. After each search, download the .csv file into the folder, by selecting "download-all search results".
  2. Merge the .csv files using your file merge tool from above.
  3. Open the merged file in Excel (or OpenOffice Calc). I'm not an expert on OpenOffice, so you will need to find the Excel equivalents as we progress.
  4. First, we need to eliminate the duplicate keyword results from our list. Select the keyword column and then data-advanced filter-unique records only. Duplicates are gone.
  5. To sort the keywords by number of words, create a new column B (say). Throw this formula into   it: =VALUE(LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2," ",""))+1 & "." & TEXT(LEN(A2),"0000")
  6. You can now sort by this column and you will have the whole file sorted by number of words.
  7. I like to start by going through the file and selecting the words I like by traffic and CPC (an indicator of commercial potential). Mark these words (with a number in a new column) and sort them to the top.
  8. Print/save the spreadsheet to a pdf file.
  9. Now, open the pdf file in Chrome, select the keywords and right click on them. Select Context Menu Search from the menu and you can go straight to the QSR for that keyword phrase. Add the QSR number to your Excel sheet.
That's it! Once you are set up, and you have done it once, it really isn't hard to do. And it's pretty quick. With Jaaxy you have to click each keyword to get the QSR. So, using Context Menu Search isn't really any different. You just have to get your spreadsheet into a form readable by Chrome. I think a PDF is the best way.

I'm sure there are more experienced keyword researchers than me who can add refinement to this.

Anyhow, it is pretty comprehensive. Oh, and I didn't mention - you can see Google video QSR, Bing QSR and Yahoo QSR quickly too. A nice little bonus.

Most importantly, it is all FREE. Enjoy!

If you want to give me some feedback, please feel free to comment below.


  1. I knew that there were a lot of Free Keyword Tools. I did Not know about all of the ones you listed. I'm bookmarking this.

    Many thanks!


    1. I hope you find it useful, Meredith. Please let me know if anything is missing or hard to follow.