Free Keyword Research – The Smarter Way!

Let’s take a step back for a minute and analyze how we find Keyword Phrases to target, optimize our content for, get ‘traffic’ which, if we’ve got it right, will equal sales – “YAY!” ( but is this the ONLY way?)

At the risk of flying into the face of all that’s holy me say NO!

The perceived wisdom has always started with the Google External Keywords Tool – originally created by Google for their Adwords customers but now the most recommended ‘starting point’ for free keyword research.

Then we have the paid for research tools that  essentially access Google’s free tool and extrapolate information from it better than Google does – which is great! I’m talking about tools I love and use everyday like Market Samurai and Keyword Blueprint.

So Let’s Be Clear: If you are using any of these tools, free or paid, then you are WAY ahead of most people trying to monetize a site for affiliate revenue, Adsense revenue or any of the other myriad ways most of us look at monetizing a WordPress Blog (self-hosted naturally!)

Let’s look into this a bit ‘sideways’ and see what Google are doing ( always a good idea right?) plus whatever the big ‘G’ is doing will eventually be followed ‘toot sweet’ by Yahoo and Bing!

The thing is that what Google are saying in their External Keyword Tool ( to the likes of you and I) and what they are actually suggesting to their visitors i.e. their principal audience – ain’t necessarily the same! Wooh, interesting!

So let’s have a look at this new Keyword Research Plan shall we?

Check this video out:

What do you think? A pretty cheap and cheerful way to find what search phrases you should be possibly concentrating on writing new posts for your blog perhaps?

If you are starting a blog from scratch around a certain topic I would suggest that this is a great way to decide what your ‘Categories’ are going to be within your blog and you’ve got some good ideas for a few ‘pillar’ posts too. Maybe even make them ‘pages’ rather than posts – something I will expand upon at a later date.

Google will no doubt appreciate the fact that your site’s structure kind of imitates their breakdown of Search information in there Wonder Wheel etc. – or maybe I’m being to Googlish here ?

Feel free to comment below regarding your definition…

About the Author

Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.

Comments (11)

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  1. Aniket says:

    Hey, Clive can you write a post detailing how to earn using adsense. I have tried most of the things but still not able to make even a $0.5/day. I have tried making sites around high paying keywords, high traffic keywords, high competition keywords, high CPC, long tail, but nothing helps. I used on google keywords tool for this. I have tried using original and spinned contents as well. I have tried various ads placement but all in vain. Some of my sites even got good place on google.

    • Aniket says:

      They are pr2 – 3.
      Just wanna know, if you are building sites around adsense then what kind of keywords to use high competition or high CPC. And what about no. of monthly searches? Because in many forums people have claimed to earn $2o, $70 or even $150 per month sometimes. I think you can explain the things well.

  2. Bradley Will says:

    Love your blog Clive. Looks amazing.

  3. karlene says:

    Is there a tool that tells you what keywords your competitors are using?

    Kind regards


    • Clive says:

      Hi Karlene,

      The quickest way is simply to ‘right click’ on some white space when on your competitor’s site and, from the menu that shows up, click ‘View Source’. This will open a window showing youall the code behind the page ( and is what those SEO Bots see). Look closely at the tag and see what they have titled their page and <meta name="description" to see how they describe it. You should be able to work out what keyword phrase they have focused on for that particular page. They might also have a <meta name="keywords" tag too which will help you analyze what they are up to.

      Meta Keyword tags have little or no relevance to SE results these days but most sites leave them in their anyway.

      Another good ruse is to go to and enter your competitor’s web site and find what keywords they are ranking well for ( intentionally or not).

  4. Morgan says:

    This is great information that really helps with organizing your site into a structure that makes sense, not only to your visitors, but especially to Google for SEO purposes. I like how you highlighted the differences between what the AdWords tools suggests compared to what the suggestions are for normal user searches. lots of people miss this!

  5. Donald says:

    This is so awesome to know. I find it harder and harder sometimes to find interesting info to write about on my blog. With this amazing little tool from Google(of course, I can not only find interesting things to write about but also hopefully drive more traffic to my site with specific keywords. Thanks again Clive for helping us out in the web community.

  6. Ian says:

    Clive thanks for the great post. Google in it’s continued quest for complete world domination is again leading the way in making the web better for anyone who is serious about finding the right words to drive traffic to their site. Google(SPYNET) is incredible.

    • Clive says:

      Thanks for the comment Ian. My point is that if you want to find out what Google thinks are relevant, associated keywords/phrases to focus on it’s easy to find out just by ‘asking’! Straight from ‘the horse’s mouth’ as it were! BTW I think it’s ‘SKYNET’! (‘Terminator’ film reference right?)

  7. Evan says:

    Brilliant! As someone who just started a new blog and is trying to decide where to start in driving traffic to their site this is just what I needed to know. I will take any advice I can get and yours is so useful and most importantly easy to understand and initiate. Thank you, Thank you.

  8. Clive says:

    googlish (ggôl, ggl, ish)
    Anything that relates to what Google might do or care to do in the future – e.g. an ‘unknown factor’, with no real decisive, foreseeable result: QED – common parlance: “Stop being so bloody Googlish!” or – “I expected an answer and he went all Googlish on me.“.

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