3 Free Research Tools to Improve Your SEO Keyword Effectiveness

use free keyword research tools to find long-tail and negative keywords

To say that the competition in the content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) worlds for commanding good keywords is fierce would be an extreme understatement.

In fact – and I’ll say a little more about this at the conclusion of this article – if you’ve been trying to compete solely by winning good “organic” search engine results page (SERP) placement, it’s probably time to consider funding an Adwords (or similar) program.

Let’s look at some free tools that will dramatically aide your keyword research. The first two will help in both organic and paid campaigns; the third is only useful for paid campaigns.

2 free keyword analysis tools

The Simple Long-Tail Keyword Generator is a free keyword research tool where you put in your main keywords, some descriptive keywords and some modifiers. It generates a lenghty list of long-tail keywords. If you’re a local business and decide to use this tool, be sure that you include pertinent geographic locations among your modifiers.

Key Tools Limited’s Keyword Tool will generate 750-plus Google keyword suggestions for free. You can pay to get additional statistics for each keyword. This tool uses the Google auto-fill-in feature to find additional long-tail keywords, so it might suggest some keywords that you would never have thought of on your own.

Either of these two free keyword tools can be used to help you craft blogs and other content marketing materials to boost your SEO and they can also be used when you decide to opt for some paid keyword-based ad campaigns. However, when you take that step, if you want to be really efficient you need to understand negative keywords.

What are negative keywords?

When you start to pay for ads, you want to focus in as tightly as possible on the people who might actually want your product or service. Your first impulse might be to get your ad in front of as many eyes as possible. That just ends up costing you money with very few results to show for it.

The first step is to use long-tail keywords, but you can narrow – or filter – them down even more by using negative keywords. For example, if you own a jewelry store you might want to create an ad campaign to promote your “wedding bands.” If your store is in Santa Fe, a good long-tail keyword would be “wedding bands Santa Fe.”

However, if you decided to bid on this long-tail keyword and you closely examined your results, you’ll find that your ad is being displayed (and occasionally clicked on) by people who are looking for a wedding band to play at their reception in Santa Fe. In this case, you would want to make “music” and other similar terms (Top 40, Country, Dance, etc.) negative keywords.

Free negative keyword tool

WordStream has a negative keyword tool that you can use 30 times for free. It will help you get started and may be all you’ll need. Finding negative keywords can be a tedious job and many small business advertisers only discover them after they have a bad experience. This tool will eliminate some of the pain of paying for ads that have absolutely no chance of producing results.

Of course, there is always the standard Google adwords keyword tool and it’s a good place to start. But the keyword research tools I’ve mentioned here, will take you even further.

Finally, if you use long-tail keywords and negative keywords, and work at it for a while, you should be able to keep an advertising campaign within your budget and get traffic that would be virtually impossible to obtain if you attempt to depend solely on organic traffic.