Build-in-Public – Episode 13 – Keyword Research

Today, I will be diving into the world of keyword research, a topic suggested by my friend Randy. Randy asked me to explore different tools for keyword research and discuss strategies to target specific keywords. I’m eager to share insights on both free and paid tools that can help identify valuable keywords for improving search engine rankings.

Additionally, I’ll provide tips on evaluating various keyword metrics and selecting the best keywords to target, depending on whether users are in buying mode or simply seeking information. Through this process, I hope to shed light on effective methods for enhancing search visibility and driving traffic to websites.

Key Takeaways

  • Various free and paid tools are available for keyword research.
  • Choosing keywords involves evaluating their volume, difficulty, and user intent.
  • Understanding keyword metrics helps in targeting keywords more effectively.

Personal Update

Hey everyone, it’s Day 13, and I’m feeling pretty good. I went to the gym for the first time in about two and a half years! Yesterday, I encountered a minor issue with my microphone; the original cable wouldn’t stay connected. I had to find a new micro USB cable, and now everything seems to be working fine again.

Today, I’ll be focusing on keyword research and how to target specific keywords, which my friend Randy suggested. I’ve tried various tools, both free and paid, for this process. Here are a few that I’ve used:

Free Tools:

  1. Keyword Sheeter: This tool uses Google autocomplete to generate plenty of keyword ideas but doesn’t provide detailed information about them.
  2. Moz: Although not as popular now, it still provides valuable insights with limited free daily searches.
  3. Uber Suggest: Created by Neil Patel, this tool offers some free options but has inconsistencies with search volume data.

Paid Tools:

  1. Ahrefs: Once a go-to tool for everyone, Ahrefs has changed its pricing, making it less accessible for small publishers.
  2. SEMrush: A direct competitor to Ahrefs, offering in-depth features.
  3. Keywords Everywhere: A Chrome widget that adds valuable keyword information directly in Google search results.

I’ll be using tactical flashlight as a keyword example today. For those interested in keyword difficulty (KD), search volume, and search intent, these tools provide varying levels of information to help you make informed decisions.

That’s all for now!

Keyword Research Overview

Keyword research is an essential part of SEO. It’s about discovering the right terms and phrases people use when searching online. This helps in driving more traffic to your website. There are various tools available, both free and paid, that can help with this process.

Here are some tools you can consider:

Free Tools

  1. Keyword Sheeter
    • Uses Google autocomplete to generate a list of related keywords.
    • Great for getting ideas.
  2. Moz
    • Allows three free searches per day.
    • Provides volume, CTR, and difficulty information.
  3. Ubersuggest by Neil Patel
    • Offers a mix of free and paid options.
    • Provides different data points for keyword analysis.
  4. Keywords Everywhere
    • A Chrome extension that shows keyword data directly in Google search results.
    • Displays trends, volume, related keywords, and competition metrics.

Paid Tools

  1. Ahrefs
    • Highly popular for SEO and search marketing.
    • Recently increased pricing targeting larger publishers.
    • Useful for in-depth analysis with features like Domain Rating and Keyword Difficulty.
  2. SEMRush
    • A competitor of Ahrefs.
    • Provides comprehensive data for keywords, including difficulty and volume.

When using these tools, pay attention to metrics like Keyword Difficulty (KD) and Search Volume. Lower KD indicates easier ranking for low-authority sites, while higher search volume means more traffic potential.

Search Intent is another vital factor. Keywords like “best tactical flashlight” indicate a buyer’s intent, making them more valuable compared to general information queries like “What is a tactical flashlight?”. Additionally, Long-tail Keywords (e.g., “tactical flashlight for self-defense”) are longer phrases that may have lower search volume but higher chances to rank.

Using tools like Google Sheets to organize and analyze keywords can enhance your research process. With clear strategies and the right tools, keyword research becomes a powerful way to boost website traffic and engagement.

Free Tools for Keyword Research

Google Sheets Integration

To work with keywords more efficiently, one can integrate Google Sheets. By copying the list of keywords and pasting them into a Google Sheet, it becomes easier to organize and analyze the data. This method is particularly useful when handling large sets of keywords generated by other tools.

Keyword Sheeter

Keyword Sheeter helps to generate a large number of keyword ideas quickly. By entering a main keyword such as “tactical flashlight,” it uses Google Autocomplete to produce a long list of related search terms. This tool is great for brainstorming but does not provide detailed metrics on the keywords.


Moz offers a limited number of searches per day for free, giving users access to keyword volumes, click-through rates, and difficulty scores. Although it is less popular than it once was, it still serves as a useful resource for initial keyword research.

Uber Suggest

Uber Suggest, developed by Neil Patel, is another tool that provides free keyword research options with the choice to upgrade for more features. It offers keyword volume, competition, and trend data. However, it’s important to cross-reference data from multiple tools as results may vary.

Paid Tools for Keyword Research


Ahrefs is well-known in the world of SEO and search marketing. It has become the go-to tool for many professionals. Recently, however, Ahrefs changed its pricing structure, targeting larger publishers and making it less affordable for smaller users. This change has caused some upset among smaller users. Despite the price increase, Ahrefs does offer some free keyword options. You can access information such as keyword difficulty (how hard it is to rank for a keyword) and search volume (how often a keyword is searched). These metrics help users choose keywords that align with their site’s domain rating for optimal ranking potential.


SEMrush is another major player in the field, often seen as a competitor to Ahrefs. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush offers a comprehensive suite of SEO tools designed for detailed keyword research. Users can analyze search volumes, track keyword performance, and explore related keywords. SEMrush also provides insights into competitors’ keywords, which can be useful for developing a targeted keyword strategy. The platform aims to give users a thorough understanding of the keyword landscape to better plan their content and advertising efforts.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a handy browser extension that integrates with Google to display keyword data directly within search results. This tool shows trend data, search volume, and keyword difficulty among other metrics. It also highlights related keywords and their performance statistics on the side of your search results. Even though it used to be free, Keywords Everywhere now operates on a paid model. This tool is great for quickly gathering keyword ideas and assessing their potential for driving traffic.

Analyzing Key Metrics for Keywords

Difficulty Level of Keywords

When looking at keywords, the difficulty level indicates how hard it is to rank for them. A lower difficulty score means it’s easier to rank on search engines for that keyword. This is important for websites with lower domain ratings, as easier keywords can help them appear higher in search results.

Number of Searches

Search volume shows how many times a keyword is being searched in a month. This helps in understanding the popularity of a keyword. More searches mean more potential visitors, but it might also mean more competition.

Purpose Behind the Search

Search intent is crucial. It tells you what users are looking for when they type a keyword. For example, if someone is searching for “best tactical flashlight,” they are likely ready to buy. On the other hand, a search like “what is a tactical flashlight” shows that the user is looking for information, not necessarily to make a purchase. Understanding the intent can help prioritize which keywords to target.

Approaching Keyword Strategy

Picking Keywords with Buying Intent

Choosing the right keywords is essential. To find keywords that indicate buying intent, focus on terms that show a user is ready to make a purchase. For instance, using phrases like “best tactical flashlight” indicates that the searcher is likely looking to buy. These keywords have higher competition but also a higher chance to convert into sales.

  • Examples:
    • Best tactical flashlight
    • Top rated tactical flashlight
    • Tactical flashlight reviews

Using Questions for Lower Competition

Questions typically have lower search volume but are easier to rank for. They can still attract valuable traffic, particularly from people looking for answers which might eventually lead them to make a purchase. Key tools can help uncover these question-based keywords.

  • Examples:
    • What is a tactical flashlight?
    • How to use a tactical flashlight?
    • What makes a good tactical flashlight?

Grasping Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific and less commonly searched. They may have lower search volumes, but they often have less competition, making them easier for smaller sites to rank for.

  • Examples:
    • Tactical flashlight with leather holster
    • Best tactical flashlight for self-defense
    • High lumen tactical flashlight with strobe function

Using these strategies helps create a comprehensive keyword plan that targets different types of searches, from high-intent buying searches to specific long-tail keywords that can drive niche traffic to your site. Keep experimenting with different tools and keywords to see what works best for your specific needs.

Technical Issues and Solutions

Problem with Microphone Cable

Yesterday, my microphone disconnected unexpectedly. The issue stemmed from the original cable that accompanied the microphone. This cable doesn’t secure properly in the back, causing it to continually disconnect. As a workaround, I replaced it with another micro USB cable. Micro USB is still used for this microphone model, similar to old Android chargers. The new cable appears to have resolved the issue, allowing for uninterrupted use today.

Published by

John Ward

With nearly two decades of experience in building, growing, and monetizing websites, I share insights from my journey—highlighting what works and what doesn’t. Whether you're new or experienced, there's something here for everyone.