THE RELEVANCY SPECIALIST

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Are free keyword research tools for content marketers doing more harm than good?

I came across a new article on the Content Marketing Institute’s website today about free keyword research tools for content marketers. It lists the Keyword Surfer chrome extension, Google Keyword Planner, QuestionDB, Answer the Public, Rank Tracker, Google Trends and Google Console as solutions.

Do these have value? Absolutely, under certain circumstances… but they can also do more harm than good, leading content marketers to create generic content that already saturates the internet, adding to the noise and hurting ROI of that content budget.

Here’s my response.

free keyword research toolsHere’s the challenge with free keyword tools – without the right experience to know how to adapt a search to dig into what’s really meaningful, segmenting the data by search intent and leverage features deep enough that you can really analyze the data they serve up, these tools unintentionally contribute to brands creating content that is far too generic. They also have such limited features (such as showing only 40 results) that users can’t get a clear picture of what the meaningful keywords are. 

And using keyword tools that are based on current website traffic includes a pretty big assumption that the website traffic is well targeted, the SEO is done correctly, and those keywords are valuable to conversion.

It’s basing critical decisions that dictate the success of often-substantial content marketing budgets on dollar store data. Sure, it’s there and it’s easy, but it is actually helpful?

Instead, I throw out the idea that doing a free trial or one-month subscription of something much more substantial is worth far more. Using SEMrush or Ahrefs for a short period of time, and investing ample time to really analyze that data will generate much stronger results.

I’m working on a video series that takes a close look at different keyword tools and talks about their benefits, but also shares my opinions on their gaps and shortcomings related to SEO and content marketing, and what to watch out for. Then, I’ll offer a few suggestions I feel are much more beneficial. Stay tuned!

I came across a new article on the Content Marketing Institute’s website today about free keyword research tools for content marketers. It lists the Keyword Surfer chrome extension, Google Keyword Planner, QuestionDB, Answer the Public, Rank Tracker, Google Trends and Google Console as solutions.

Do these have value? Absolutely, under certain circumstances… but they can also do more harm than good, leading content marketers to create generic content that already saturates the internet, adding to the noise and hurting ROI of that content budget.

Here’s my response.

free keyword research tools

Here’s the challenge with free keyword tools – without the right experience to know how to adapt a search to dig into what’s really meaningful, segmenting the data by search intent and leverage features deep enough that you can really analyze the data they serve up, these tools unintentionally contribute to brands creating content that is far too generic. They also have such limited features (such as showing only 40 results) that users can’t get a clear picture of what the meaningful keywords are. 

And using keyword tools that are based on current website traffic includes a pretty big assumption that the website traffic is well targeted, the SEO is done correctly, and those keywords are valuable to conversion.

It’s basing critical decisions that dictate the success of often-substantial content marketing budgets on dollar store data. Sure, it’s there and it’s easy, but it is actually helpful?

Instead, I throw out the idea that doing a free trial or one-month subscription of something much more substantial is worth far more. Using SEMrush or Ahrefs for a short period of time, and investing ample time to really analyze that data will generate much stronger results.

I’m working on a video series that takes a close look at different keyword tools and talks about their benefits, but also shares my opinions on their gaps and shortcomings related to SEO and content marketing, and what to watch out for. Then, I’ll offer a few suggestions I feel are much more beneficial. Stay tuned!

 

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