How to Do Keyword Research for Free and Find Easy Keywords to Rank For

Finding the right keywords to target on your website is one of the most important things you can do to grow.

If you can figure out how to find the right keywords you'll be able to start raking in the organic search traffic and make more money.

But there are 2 problems people come across when trying to do keyword research.

The first problem is that most of the tools recommended are expensive. I've talked before about how much I love Ahrefs. But as good as it is, I just canceled my monthly subscription because I couldn't justify the $99 per month cost.

The truth is that the only thing stopping me from growing my website right now is time. I don't need more tools, I just need to put in more hours and create more content.

The other problem is that it can be really difficult to identify keywords that you can rank for. If your site is new or doesn't have a ton of backlinks, you're going to have a hard time ranking for competitive keywords. Writing articles that target really hard keywords is a waste of time since you'll never rank or get any traffic from them.

But over the last month, I've found a new method for keyword research that is 100% free and it finds KILLER keywords that I've been able to rank in the top 3 spots on Google with 0 backlinks.

My Organic Traffic Results

I just started using this keyword research method 2 months ago and the results have been pretty impressive.

Here's one of my articles I created and published with no marketing or link building. It was published on June 14th and has seen been on a really nice growth trajectory.

kgr organic search results

It took Google about 30-40 days to feel my post out but then it started to move up in the ranks. And the really crazy part? The keyword search volume for this term is 20 searches per month.

Obviously, that's not possible when I'm seeing 10-15 visitors per day and I'm not even ranking #1 for this search term (I'm usually ranked 2nd though).

So as you start to follow this method, remember that the keyword volume is VASTLY underestimated. Even if we find a search term that shows 0 traffic, it can still be worth pursuing.

Free Keyword Research Tools to Use

There are 3 tools we'll be using to find the keywords we want to rank for. These tools are totally free and have no limits so you can use them as much as you want without ever paying a dime.

The 3 tools are:

  1. Keywords Everywhere - Get search volume estimates
  2. Answer the Public - Get keywords people are searching for
  3. Keyword Shitter - Get search volume from Answer the Public keywords
  4. Google Sheets - Filter the results to find keywords to target

Tool #1 - Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a plugin for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox that displays the search volume for keywords everywhere you go. If you search for something on Amazon it will tell you how many searches per month that term is getting. If you search on Google you'll get search volume for the search term you type in and anything related to it.

We're going to use this plugin to identify keywords with an estimated search volume of 250 or less per month. These keywords are less competitive which means you can rank for them more easily.

Tool #2 - AnswerthePublic.com

Answerthepublic.com has one of the best/creepiest homepages I've ever seen. But ignore the unsettling old man rocking back and forth and enter any word into the search box.

AnswerThePublic will take your keyword and enter a bunch of different terms in front of it like "how","what","if", etc. It basically pulls every question someone could possibly enter about your search term and breaks them out into categories.

The default presentation is a visual map but you can also change it over to a data view to make it easier to read.

For our keyword research process we'll be downloading the data as a .csv which we'll dump into Keyword Shitter to get the search volumes.

Tool #3 - Keyword Shitter

Keyword Shitter is a beautiful tool that does exactly what it promises. If you put in 1 seed keyword (like dog), it will shit out a bunch of related keywords. The first 1,000 or so ideas will usually be decent and relevant. It even has a filter that lets you exclude keywords that contain words like "near me" which you usually won't want to target. 

But for our purposes we're just going to use Keyword Shitter to get the search volume which we'll cover in detail in a second.

Tool #4 - Google Sheets

You don't need to use Google Sheets to find keywords but it does make it a lot faster. When I first started using this method to find keywords I would just hammer everything out in Google manually. This spreadsheet I created will speed up the process and do some of the work for you. I'll get into more details on how to use it in the step by step tutorial below.

What Makes a Keyword Easy to Rank For?

Before we tear into this gigantic list of keywords and figure out which ones to go after, you need to understand what types of keywords you should target.

There are a million things Google looks at to figure out who should rank first for a search term. But for our purposes it can be boiled down to just two factors:

  1. How relevant is your page to the user's search term?
  2. How much authority does your page have compared to the other pages ranking for this term?

In my case, I have a pretty new website without many links. This means I have low authority in Google's eyes so I have to make up for it with relevance.

The way we'll do that is to directly target the search terms in the title of our article. For the search terms we're going to find using the tools I mentioned, you'll notice that most of them aren't even targeting the search terms we want to rank for. 

If you create an article with the exact title that answers the question people are searching for, that screams relevance and Google will reward you for it.

If the title of your page has the answer to their question and you deliver on it with insanely valuable content, Google will basically have to rank you #1. It's what the customer wants and it makes them and Google happy.

So let's get into it.

Using the KGR to Find Low Competition Keywords

A couple of months ago I stumbled across the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR from now on) on Doug Cunnington's site, Niche Site Project and I haven't been able to stop talking about it and using it on my niche sites since then.

If you've never seen Doug's site before, go check it out. He's got a ton of great content about SEO and also interviews with people who are in the early phases of building niche sites. I love hearing stories about people with regular day jobs who build affiliate sites on the side and start making thousands of dollars every month. 
Sometimes it can be hard to stick with building websites because it takes months to see results. It's nice to hear other people's success stories to stay motivated. Ok, back to the KGR.

The KGR is a simple formula that helps you find low competition keywords. The formula is:

easy way to calculate keyword golden ratio for low competition keywords

2 important things to note here!

The monthly search volume should be below 250 searches per month. This helps limit our search to lower competition keywords.

The Allintitle: line is just a Google search modifier that will limit your search results to only look at the title of the article. This is one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors and if a site has the search term in their title, it's a very clear signal to Google that they want to rank for that keyword. 

So basically we're looking at the ratio of sites targeting a keyword to the estimated monthly search volume.

How and Why KGR Works

A lot of people on the internet shit on this keyword research method without understanding why it works. So let's break this formula down and think about how and why it works. 

If....

  • Your monthly search volume is always less than 250 and...
  • The ratio of allintitle to search volume has to be less than 0.25 then...
  • That means that the allintitle search results needs to be less than 62.

So even for the highest search volume keywords we'll target which have 250 monthly searches, we'll only go after those keywords if there are less than 62 pages on the internet targeting that specific topic.

This means as soon as you hit publish, you're going to be on the first 4-6 pages of search results. If you make great content and people like it, you'll shoot up to the 1st or 2nd page in just a few weeks.

If the search volume is lower, say 10 searches per month, then you'll want to see fewer than 3 allintitle results (.25 * 10 = 2.5 results to fit within KGR criteria).

If there are only 3 articles on the entire internet with a search term in the title, Google basically has no choice but to show your page when someone searches for that keyword.

By putting the search term in the title of your page you're screaming to Google "THIS IS WHAT MY PAGE IS ABOUT!". With only 3 competitors you'll be able to quickly rank in the top 4 search results and with a little bit of effort into creating epic content, you'll have a good shot at ranking #1.

A Hidden Secret that Paid Keyword Research Tools Miss

Ahrefs is an awesome tool for SEO and is INSANELY helpful when you're doing research on your competitors and finding keywords. But one of the things it misses is when websites are ranking for terms because they're using a PBN aka private blog network.


PBNs are websites that people control and use to link back to their own affiliate sites. It's trivial for the owner of these sites to block crawlers like Ahrefs so the links from the PBN are invisible. 


This is important because the way Ahrefs calculates how difficult a keyword will be to rank for is by looking at the number of links a page has.

If a page ranked #1 has 0 links, then you will only need 1 or 2 links to beat it (all other things being equal).


But Ahrefs (and most other SEO tools) can't see PBN links. So while Ahrefs is showing 0 links and telling you the keyword is super easy to rank for, the truth is that website might have 30+ links all coming from their PBN and unless you can build higher quality or a higher number of your own PBN links, you're going to be out of luck. 


But the KGR method doesn't fix this problem. In fact, it doesn't even try. We're going to go after keywords that are such low competition and so infrequently targeted by our competitors that we'll almost always be up against weak websites with 0 links.


Sometimes you'll accidentally end up targetting a keyword that someone with a PBN is going after but there's nothing you can do. The KGR method can't guarantee you'll rank for keywords but it will drastically improve your odds.

Step by Step Instructions to Find the Perfect Keywords

Alright, enough background. Now that you understand everything about the KGR method and I've given you an introduction to the tools we're going to use, let's get into the step by step process I follow to find these keywords.

Step 1: Install Keywords Everywhere

Go to keywordseverywhere.com and install the plugin for your browser. Go to Google and search for something to make sure it's working. You should see the keyword volume populate in realtime as you type as well as the right sidebar of the search results.

Step 2: Get Your Keywords from AnswerThePublic

Now head over to AnswerThePublic.com and enter your main keyword. This should be really general. For example, if your website is about dog food and you mostly focus on reviewing and comparing dog food, just enter "dog" as your keyword. AnswerThePublic will do all the work to narrow your search terms down and come up with hyper-focused, low competition keywords.

You'll see a fancy visualization of these keywords like this:

It looks cool and if you were doing manual keyword research or just looking for interesting topics, you could scan through and find some good keywords.

But we're going to download this data instead. Right above the visualizations, there's a button on the right side of the screen that says "Download CSV". Once Answer the Public has finished running and has created all of the visualizations, click the download .csv button.

Open the .csv file and you should see all of the keywords from Answer the Public.

Highlight all of the keywords in column C and hit ctrl + C to copy them to your clipboard. Then go over to Keyword Shitter and paste them into the big white box. DON'T CLICK ANY BUTTONS OR IT WILL MESS UP! We don't want Keyword Shitter to create more keywords. We're just going to use it to get the search volume.

After you've pasted the search terms in, scroll down and you should see all of the keywords we just dropped in there with the search volumes populated thanks to Keywords Everywhere. Here's what it should look like:

Highlight all of the keywords with search volume and hit ctrl + C again to copy them. Go into the Google Sheet I created and make yourself a copy so you can edit it. Open up the copy and paste it in column A where the example keyword data is.

Step 3: Analyze the Keyword Data in Google Sheets

The next step is to identify any keywords that have a monthly search volume of 250 or lower.

The spreadsheet will automatically parse out the search volume, number of words in each search term, and calculate the KGR once you've entered the allintitle: data.

Once your search terms are in column A, go to column B and create a new filter that only shows values less than 250.

Now go to column C and click the filter button then choose 'sort Z->A'.

This will sort our list so the search terms with the highest number of words show up at the top. These are usually the least competitive terms.

And clearly, there's a trend....Apparently fleas are a big concern.

So we'll head over to Google and type the first result from the picture above into the search box exactly as it's shown:

allintitle: how long can dog fleas live on humans

And you'll get something like this:

So our allintitle result is 2.

Go back to the Google Sheet and put a 2 in column D next to that keyword. Column E will be auto-populated with the KGR which in this example is (2/20)=0.1.

Since this is smaller than 0.25, this is a good KGR candidate and we'll add it to our list.

Some people out there are probably a little skeptical right now. In the keyword screenshot there were about 5 different ways people were asking the same question about fleas living on humans.

And if you type in different variations of the allintitle phrase like "how long can fleas live on humans" vs "in humans", you get different search results and a higher number of allintitle articles, like 7 pages. If you do 7/20, you get a number over 0.25 which would disqualify this as a KGR term.

But the KGR method isn't meant to perfectly catch every keyword variation. The goal is just to guide us towards low competition keywords.

If you had a really obvious example like a typo such as "flae" giving you 2 results but the correctly spelled term returning 100+ allintitle results, then you should avoid it. But for the most part you can ignore any duplicate search queries that are variations and if you see just a few allintitle results, run with it.

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Just make a note of what the ratio is and move on to the next one. After you've collected 25-50 of these you'll move on to ranking them and writing the articles.

Step 4: Rank the Keywords

After you've repeated this process and gathered 25-50 keywords, go to column D and filter out any blank values so your keyword list only shows search terms where you filled in the allintitle volume.

Then go to column F and filter it 'A->Z' so the smallest numbers are at the top of the list.

The items at the top of the list are the "most KGR" keywords. They have the lowest ratio which means the fewest number of exact match titles relative to their search volume. Theoretically, this should mean you'll rank quickly and get more traffic.

As you go through the list just put a note/grade in column G about how appealing the keyword looks to you. If you see a keyword that doesn't make sense or you just don't want to write about, skip it and go to the next one. I usually rank mine on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being highest priority and 5 being the lowest. Then I just go in order from 1 to 5. It's OK to have multiple keywords ranked 1 or 2. It's just a way to group them so you know where to start writing.

Our goal here is to narrow the list down to 15-25 actionable keywords that we can go out and create content to start ranking quickly. Find the best keywords and move on.

Step 5: Write Epic Content

Now that you've got your keywords, take the first one and start writing an article. But not just any article. Make it insanely great. Make it 10x better than anything else that's out there.

So how do you do that?

In the example above about how long ticks live on humans, look at the other pages that are showing up in the search results. How long are they? Do they include any data? Any facts or infographics?

You have to go above and beyond to create exceptional content that will keep people glued to the page. This isn't easy and your first article will probably be crap. So will the second one, then the third might get a little better, and maybe the 4th or the 5th one actually starts to rank and get some traffic.

It's a slow process and nobody masters it out of the gate. It takes time, patience, and effort. But if you put in the effort, you'll be rewarded. Just don't give up until you've written an article for every single keyword you identified in the previous steps.

My method for writing these articles is to do a Google search on the topic and look at all the articles ranking on the first page.

Then I scan through looking for headings and I make my own outline based on these headings so I can make sure I'm covering all of my bases. 

I'll usually just write until I feel like I've exhausted the topic which can be anywhere from 1,000-3,000 words. Sometimes it's even longer if the topic lends itself to that.

In the example above, people want to know how long a flea can live on a human. This probably doesn't need to be a super long article. Deliver the answer right away at the start of the article then go into more detail later on things that affect the flea's lifespan, how to deter fleas from living on you, dog shampoos that can kill fleas, etc...

One Last Tip

People don't like to be sold to and they don't like to go to websites that are just review, review, review.

Try to make your content informational and help answer someone's question, then you can make a recommendation in your post about relevant products that you recommend.

In the example above about how long ticks live on humans, maybe you can add a link to some anti-tick bracelet on Amazon or a spray for your dog that keeps the fleas off. There are a million ways to monetize your posts so don't make that the sole focus of the article. 

The money you make will be a direct reflection of the value you provide to your readers. Provide a ton of value and you'll reap the rewards.

Got any questions or still need help? Leave a comment below!

Some links on this website may earn me a small commission if you click on them at no extra cost to you. For more information please click this text to see the full affiliate disclosure.

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4 comments

  1. I’m also in the TASS program and I can’t thank you enough for putting together this guide. This is exactly what I needed at this moment and it goes a long way to clear up the major keyword confusion I had from their (otherwise great) process.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Me too, also in the TASS program! I stumbled on the GKR just a few weeks ago and was looking for this exact step-by-step guide! You lay it out SUPER clearly – thank you SO much!

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