There’s been a lot of moaning and groaning since Google decided to remove the keyword data available through Google Analytics. Nothing gave marketers a pit in their stomach like the two simple words “(not provided).” Thankfully, Google didn’t leave us high and dry. They still provide some free ways to uncover valuable insight. Here’s five free keyword research tools you should be making the most of:
Yes, there is still some keyword data delivered via Google Analytics. Google stopped providing data but you’ll still see keywords provided by other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo!. So don’t completely ignore the organic search keywords that show up in the “Acquisition” section of your Analytics. Unfortunately, Google is so dominant that you might see 95% of your keyword data as “(not provided)”. Hence the outrage by marketers everywhere. But as I’ve said, Google didn’t leave us without additional resources, such as…
Here’s where your keywords are hiding. You can still find some keywords in the “Search Queries” section of Webmaster Tools, along with impressions, clicks, click through rate and average position for each query. Yes, it’s missing engagement data like visit duration and bounce rate, and you can’t view data past 90 days, but it’s still useful information.
The Keyword Planner is available within your AdWords account. Doing a quick search for “keyword research” shows other related keywords as well as the average monthly searches and level of competition for the keyword (see the screenshot below). Even if you’re not running an AdWords campaign, this is useful information to have. After reviewing the data provided here, I might decide that I don’t want to focus on the keyword of “seo keyword research”, because it has a high level of competition and a comparably low number of monthly searches. Instead, “how to do keyword research” or “keyword research tool” might be a better target.
Enter a keyword into this tool and it’ll return a list of suggestions based on your original word. While this isn’t a Google product, Übersuggest uses the Google API, so in essence this is a tool brought to you by Google. It’s pulling in the same suggestions you get when you start typing a term into the Google search box, but delivers a much more comprehensive list and makes it easy to save them in a list that you can then copy and paste into a document. In the screenshot below (which is just a portion of the list Übersuggest returned), you can see how my original phrase of “keyword research” turns up related keywords of “keyword research tool” and “keyword research tips”, among others.
Want to hone in on a keyword that’s trending? Google Trends provides insight into what’s popular and what’s on it’s way to the top. I can see that “keyword research tool” is quite popular, but that “free keyword research” has some momentum that I might want to capitalize on.
All of this data doesn’t replace seeing the plentiful list of keyword data for your own site, and in many ways those will always be the good ol’ days. Google has forced each of us to work harder and be more creative about uncovering data and using it to our advantage. And, ultimately, if you’re writing great content that’s relevant and targeted to your audience, and you’re using the keyword research tools that are still available, “(not provided)” is not an issue.