UNLIMITED CONTENT IDEAS
Welcome to a guide and list of the keyword research methods. Keywords, they are pretty much the backbone and very first step in the SEO process. After all, keywords will give us an idea of what content to write, and which related information to include.
However, this can be a rather challenging process for beginners. Everyone seems to have a different way of doing keyword research, and there are a number of different research methods out there. Just to name a few of these methods:
- Alphabet Soup
- Competitor Analysis
- Question and Answer
- Related Questions
Tapping on these research methods can literally give you unlimited content ideas, but just how does each one of them work? Who is correct and which is the best method? Read on to find out!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Alphabet Soup is one of the easiest methods and one that I will personally recommend. No “special” tools required, just some patience and time.
HOW IT WORKS
The Alphabet Soup method is disgustingly easy to do. Notice that as you type into Google’s search box, they will try to autocomplete and predict the relevant search terms? For example, if you type in “how does in”, autocomplete will suggest “how does insurance work”. That is what we will “abuse” in this method.
- First, think of a basic topic idea. That could be any topic that you have in mind from running to sewing to music to whatever.
- Then search for your selected topic and append alphabets behind, starting from A. For example, “youtubers a”.
- Magic happens, and the autocomplete will give you a list of related topic ideas. For example “youtubers age”, and “youtubers arrested at area 51”.
- Rinse-and-repeat. Do the same for “youtubers b”, “youtubers c”, all the way to “youtubers z”.
Just from the “basic topic” itself, you should already have plenty of keywords. But if you really need a sh*t ton of content ideas, then here are a couple of things to stretch the Alphabet Soup further:
- Append or prepend “who, where, why, when, which, with, without, how, do, can, tips, hacks, lists, basic, advanced” to your chosen topic. For example, “how youtubers”, “why youtubers”, “which youtubers”, “do youtubers”, etc…
- Dig deeper. For example, “how youtubers M” will give you “how youtubers make money”. Dig further into that by searching “how youtubers make money A-Z”.
- Dig deepest. Don’t stop at A-Z, go from AA, AB, AC, all the way to ZZ.
- Don’t stop with just Google. The Alphabet Soup method also works with Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and even YouTube.
GOOD & BAD
The Alphabet Soup method is super easy to do, it does not require any tools, and it will give you hundreds of keyword ideas. Problem is, it is extremely time-consuming to dig out everything, and it does take skill to find good topics.
Beginners will probably get into the trouble of digging short competitive keywords, or too deep into topics that not many people will search for. For example, “how do YouTubers make money at home without ads”.
So for a quick tip – Go for the long-tail keywords that are between 3-6 words. Estimate for yourself if a certain topic even has sufficient interest, and worth it to spend time writing.
The Skyscraper technique is SEO guru Brian Dean’s baby. The basic idea behind it is simple – Find the tallest skyscraper in the neighborhood, and build another one that is even taller.
HOW IT WORKS
The intro above is kind of cryptic, so here’s how it works in a nutshell:
- First, we have to look for the tallest skyscrapers – Worthy pieces of content that are already doing very well.
- One easy way to find the top trending articles is to enter a keyword into content aggregators such as Buzzsumo or Social Animal (not sponsored links).
- Next, we simply copy the competitors’ content ideas. Yep, why spend so much time looking for topics when we already know what does well?
- Of course, blind copies will not end well. So we have to build taller skyscrapers – Create content that is even better than the competitor.
- For example, a trending article for “writing tips” is “10 Best Websites for Writers”. We take that and create a way better one, for example, “Top 100 Best Websites for Writers”. That is not just writing tips, but also includes resources, spelling checkers, tools for screenwriters, and all sorts of useful stuff.
- Finally, promote the article like crazy. If someone else can do well, we can copy and do even better.
GOOD & BAD
Sure thing, the Skyscraper Method sounds good in theory, and it works great for finding the top keywords. But think twice about how much it will take to knock your competitors off – You have to come up with content that is even better than the current best. You have to promote it even more than what the competitors already did.
It sure will be great to get to the top, but this method is virtually useless for the new sites. Without authority, without trust, without any proper resources, there is absolutely no way a newbie can beat the best.
While we are still on the topic of competitors, here is the cousin method of the Skyscraper technique – Competitor Analysis.
HOW IT WORKS
Please don’t confuse this one with the Skyscraper technique. It is not about finding the top articles and trying to take over. But it is similar in a sense of looking through your competitor’s articles and determine what works best for yourself.
- First, find a competitor that you can actually beat. For example, you may have a new blog on shoes. There is no chance of winning against the big boys such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. So look for other smaller personal blogs about shoes.
- Enter your competitor’s URL into online tools such as Ubersuggest and Moz, that will show you the articles that are doing well on your competitor’s site.
- Think you catch the drift – Copy your competitors’ best ideas and create better content than they do.
GOOD & BAD
Competitor analysis works, but it is often fairly inaccurate. The analytic tools that you find online sure don’t have all the data, and they also use estimation to gauge – There is no way to tell the exact level of trust and authority that your competitor has. There is also no guarantee that you can beat them.
It is best to use competitor analysis as a ballpark estimation only. Use it to see what kind of contents work best in your niche, and use it to inspire your own contents.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
This next method, questions and answers (QNA) are not quite the “traditional” way of looking for keyword ideas.
HOW IT WORKS
As you can probably guess from the title, QNA is not about looking for keywords in the “traditional” way. It is more about looking for questions and creating guides to answer them. This is another method that I will personally recommend, as long as you have the knowledge to answer correctly.
- There are plenty of sites to hunt for questions – Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Facebook Groups, forums, etc…
- Once you have found a question, do a search on the Internet first. For example, “what is VPN used for”.
- If you see that the question already has an answer snippet, YouTube videos, and the top 5 results are on-point… It probably isn’t an easy one to rank for.
- Rinse-and-repeat. Find more questions that you can answer, and find the ones that you are confident of ranking.
- As an extra, you can use the Alphabet Soup to help you dig deeper as well. For example, “what VPN A-Z”.
GOOD & BAD
QNA is only good for one type of content – Answering questions. Not that it is bad, but you need the patience to dig through hundreds of questions to find good ones, and have the proper knowledge to answer them.
As you can also guess, Google is extremely careful in certain niches such as health and wealth. They don’t trust the answers from any Tom, Dick, Harry who pose as “experts” easily… It can be very challenging to rank in these specific YMYL (your money your life) niches.
HOW IT WORKS
So you already have a keyword in mind? Then pop it into Google and just do a search. For example, “how to play mahjong”.
Notice how Google also suggest “People also ask”? If you scroll down all the way there is “searches related”. Yep – More freebies from the good old Google.
GOOD & BAD
The related terms may not give you new keyword ideas, but it is a good way to find out what related information you should be putting into your article.
That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.
EXTRA – CREATE GOOD CONTENTS!
Once upon a time in the iron age of the Internet, it is all about putting in the right keywords, in the right amounts, and creating a ton of backlinks. Today, that no longer works. It is not about creating that “article with the right amount of keywords for search engines”.
Modern SEO is all about the users. Good content, reverse psychology, and relevance – Why did the user search for this term? What is the user looking for? What information will help them? User experience and user signals probably outweigh backlinks and keywords now.
So don’t be too obsessed with finding that “perfect” keyword or building that “perfect backlink profile”. Spend more time on creating a rock-solid article instead, the happy user signals will eventually award your efforts.
LINKS & REFERENCES
- The Skyscraper Technique – Brian Dean
- How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique – Ahrefs
- 12 Competitor Analysis Tools That Will Improve Your Traffic – Neil Patel
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and explore ways to mess around with tech gadgets.