One of the most important aspects of most all websites (particular local businesses) is a solid SEO foundation with pages and content built around the most important keywords and key phrases that people will search to find their service or product. But the question is…how do you know which terms to optimize your site for? Enter: keyword research.

I’ve found that most web designers stray away from Keyword Research because it can be very time intensive and expensive (if you’re using premium tools) however, there are actually several ways to do it for free with Google and a handful of free tools! And if you at least know the basics, you can offer this as an add-on service for your clients and have another avenue of revenue for your business.

In this episode, my personal SEO guru Michelle Bourbonniere pulls back the curtain and shares her top secret tips and tricks for how to do keyword research primarily with Google. She also provides several other options for tools you can use, most of which have free versions, and should you have the need to upgrade, she gives tons of advice on what tools are worth investing in. But again…you can do so much FOR FREE which is amazing and will make you a super powerful web designer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this eye-opening conversation so I know you will too!

In this episode:

03:44 – Greeting to Michelle
07:09 – Keyword research
08:16 – Why it’s important
10:36 – Short tail or long tail
12:37 – Short tail examples
15:39 – Local keywords
19:28 – Keyword strategy
21:03 – Free research tools
23:32 – Example
26:18 – Benefit from “How to”
28:40 – Candidate keywords
31:31 – “People also ask” box
34:09 – “Related searches”
36:10 – Random search
43:58 – No one controls Google
47:05 – Attention to optimization
49:13 – Freemium tools
49:49 – Keyword
50:33 – Ask the Public
52:29 – Also Asked
52:49 – Keyword Surfer
53:48 – Google Keyword Planner
56:37 – When to invest in a pro
1:01:33 – Being intentional
1:03:55 – What Michelle offers
1:06:42 – Biggest free tool result

You can also view the full transcription of this episode below including a screen shot of Michelle’s example search.

Michelle’s Free Keyword Course

Connect with Michelle:

Featured links mentioned:


Episode #107 Full Transcription

Full Transcription

Josh 0:15
Hello, Friends, Welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 107. And I’ve got a treat for you. In this one guys, you are going to be hearing from somebody who is a repeat guest on the podcast. This is Michelle Bourbonniere, who is my personal trusted SEO expert. She was on on episode 55 on the podcast and we talked about how to optimize your website for for your website content for better, better SEO. But I wanted to have her on again to talk specifically about keyword research. And I know that’s kind of a scary term for a lot of you particularly those of you who are maybe new to SEO and you wonder, well, how does keyword research work? What are you know, like, do I have to buy a fancy program. And I’m here to tell you that you can go that route, if you want to, if you really want to go down the keyword research route, you can absolutely invest in yourself. However, there are a lot of free options and free ways to do keyword research. And that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this episode. Michelle dives into the hidden and roundabout ways to do keyword research that you might not know about, and some that I actually discovered while having this conversation with her. So I know you are going to love this, it’s a great way to empower yourself or empower your team to be able to know how to do some some foundational free keyword research. And we actually cover a lot of tools as well, we talked about a lot of the methods which primarily involve using Google and a lot of different ways. But there are a lot of free tools out there that can help as well. And again, there are premium options. But for most cases, for the average web designer, knowing the free ways to do keyword research is going to be all you need to know unless you want to partner with somebody like Michelle to do the really advanced stuff.

Josh 1:57
But I want to go ahead and power you right now to at least know how to do free keyword research because it’s awesome. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about, and I wish I would have known about years ago. So I’m really excited about that. Michelle is awesome. If you remember her episode before, you know she is just an open book. And she has a wealth of knowledge. She actually she did a training based off of this subject with keyword research back in February in my web design club, and it went over so well. Like, legitimately I got like raving reviews and raising raving messages about it that I decided you know what we need to at least strip the basics out and share with everybody. So that’s exactly what we’re going to cover here. So I’m excited for you.

Josh 2:37
Now, for those of you who are brand new to SEO, and you don’t really know anything about it, and you just find it scary and daunting. I do have an SEO beginner course. It’s just Josh’s SEO course, it is a foundational SEO course that has helped hundreds of students all over the world, to this point, with knowing the most important things with SEO because SEO is a really complicated subject and topic. And you know, there are people who devote their lives and their businesses just to one aspect of SEO. So if you want to just get the foundational understanding and understand what you need to know, to effectively optimize your sites for SEO, join my SEO course today. It’s open right now. And again, it’s helped hundreds of students all over the world. You’re also when you join the course you’ll be invited into my brand new Student Center, where you’ll be supported by other students in the course and folks like myself. And I’m really excited to help you with learning the basics of SEO through that. And now through this episode, because we’re going to talk about keyword research and ways to do it for free. It’s fascinating. It’s fun, it’s exciting. And without further ado, let’s get to it.

Josh 3:44
Michelle, welcome back on to the podcast. So great to have you on again.

Michelle 3:48
Thank you so much.

Josh 3:50
So you recently did an amazing and I’m being very, I’m being underwhelming with that word. I don’t know what’s called an awesome, extravagant, incredible presentation in my membership about keyword research recently. And I say that because I got so much good feedback. I’m continuing to get amazing feedback on that presentation. In fact, right before we went live, I just told you, one of my members, who was a new member just went through and watch it and was like that was incredible. So all that to say I wanted to have you back onto the podcast to talk specifically about keyword research. So we could at least you know, the presentation in the club is very visual, and there’s, there’s slides, everything goes with it. I figured we could at least scratch the surface for everybody when it comes to keyword research, because as you pointed out in the presentation is when you become a web designer, you don’t really sign up for this. But SEO is implicated in your website builds it doesn’t matter no matter what level you are into it whether you want to do SEO or not. It is going to be an application. So we’ve got to understand at least the basics. So I’m really excited to dive into keyword research for you. I know you’re pumped about this before we dive in Do you want to remind everybody who doesn’t know you where you’re based out of and what you do?

Michelle 4:58
All right. Yeah, so Hi, I’m Michelle Bourbonniere. I’m based out of Edmonton, Alberta, where it is my only becoming spring around here. And I am an SEO editor. So I have a company Edited By Michelle, and I edit websites. And I do SEO. So I do SEO audits, I do keyword research very much the topic of today. And I do on page optimization. So I’ll edit SEO edit your pages.

Josh 5:22
Yeah, well, you are my gal, you’re my SEO expert. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you on a deeper level for the past what probably almost a year now. Yeah, this 9 10 months, it’s been really cool working with you and I have worked together on my site for some SEO, seo keyword research. And I know you’ve been working with a lot of my students and a lot of my colleagues. So you’re making a name for yourself and my circle and everyone like it’s just glowing reports every time. So I’m really excited to dive into this topic, because again, it’s super, super important to at least scratch the surface to understand the basics. So I’d actually love to start out with the basics. And I think it’s probably worthwhile. Tell me if you would agree with this, instead of talking about keyword research first, we should actually look at what a keyword is. Is that fair to say? And if so, where should we start with what a keyword is?

Michelle 6:09
All right. So yes, I so my background is coming from an editing world, I became an editor first I edit websites. And I’m very interested in the words on websites. And so I just very quickly realized that keywords were a very important part of words on the internet. And so that’s sort of my background and how I got into this. And so a keyword is actually something that everybody knows, because we use them every single day, everybody uses Google every single day to find answers to their questions on the internet. And so a keyword is just, you know, SEO technical ease for the words you put into the Google search box to find what you’re looking for. So technically, most of the time, we’re putting in more than one word. So it’s not actually a keyword, it’s probably a key phrase. But in the industry, it’s always called keywords. And so um…

Josh 7:01
Key phrase key phrase research doesn’t have the same doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Michelle 7:07
Terrible, terrible phrase. So yeah, so keyword research is the process of finding out what words people are typing into that little box in Google, and then how to make that work for your website more broadly. So keywords themselves are just really just anything that you could put in that box, and then click go and look for what you’re looking for on Google or any other search engine. But Google is by far the dominant one.

Josh 7:31
And I think it’s worthwhile pointing out to for web designers who are going to listen to this conversation and think, does this really apply to me, I’m not going to be doing blog posting, I’m not an authority, I’m not going to be doing advanced keyword research reports, I will tell you, 100% applies to you, because even just adjusting the title of your homepage, and your website, and some of your top service pages, is gonna have a huge implication to where you show up on Google. And as you build websites for clients, you have to understand the basics of even just doing some simple free keyword research, which I know we’re going to cover in this. So I just want to point that out that it is so important for everybody. Is there any thoughts on that before we go forward? Michelle, as far as just the very rudimentary aspects of this?

It just makes such a dramatic difference in the type of traffic that a website can get. – Michelle

Michelle 8:16
Yeah, I think it is. I mean, I think it is part of the the web designers job, even if maybe it wasn’t something you initially signed up for when you loved making beautiful high converting websites. The reason why is that your clients aren’t going to know about it right? Your clients aren’t going to know how important the words are on the website. And in particular, those really important spots where you need to put those words. And it just makes such a dramatic difference in the type of traffic that a website can get. So at the end, we’ll talk about sort of what to do with all of these keywords. But just even if you don’t do keyword research, and you’re not going through this process, your your website still going to have a presence on Google in some form or another like it’s going to get indexed, it will be available through the Google machine. And so it just, it’s important to sort of know how these things all work together. Because even if you’ve never hired an SEO, even if you’ve never worked with a big agency to quote unquote, SEO up your site, you’re still on the internet, and you’re still on Google. So it’s important to just know how these things all kind of work together.

Josh 9:19
And just think about it from a practical level. If you share your website design, if you didn’t adjust the title or didn’t do anything, any sort of optimization for SEO, it’s gonna look like something what’s it going to say? I remember my the first few years I never use Yoast or any other plugins and never did any keyword you know, optimizing or any SEO optimizing and they look so funky because it would just say home and in some of my cases I didn’t even some of my websites I didn’t even adjust where it said like word powered by WordPress or anything. So this was this is earlier on but it was it looked really bad when a client would show off their new website and I would say why is it saying home powered by WordPress or you know, something like that. So even just the very basics of it. You do have to have an idea, at least have what you want, how that you want to come to the site to come across. So very, very worthwhile. Now, let’s talk about the different types of keywords or key phrases as we’re sticking around. because like you said, it actually is technically key phrases. Nobody who Google’s one word, it’s always a phrase, but it just doesn’t sound as good. But I talked about this in my SEO course. And I know you’ll back me up on that there’s a couple different types of keywords, do you want to go into those? And what the differences between and I’ll just say it short tail, or long tail keywords, you want to dive? Absolutely.

Michelle 10:31
So so there’s different ways that you can split up keywords. So one way to think about taking a group of keywords and the types of things that we search, and separating them out into categories would be to take the short tail keywords, which are one, two, maybe three words, versus the longer tail keywords, which are five, six words. So some examples of some shorter keywords really short, the whole tail bet isn’t really very important. It’s really short phrases versus long phrases.

Josh 11:02
Where did that come from? Where did the “tail” come from?

Michelle 11:05
It comes from, I’m sure your audience can Google it. But there’s a there’s a graph, basically, because so many people search something that’s just one or two words, the actual search volume for those are in the 1000s. In the millions, right? How many people actually search YouTube, the word YouTube per month is just gigantic. And so the search volume on a graph, if you plot it is really, really high for these these head terms is what they’re called, okay, where the long tail of search is, if you were to if you were to plot, number of words, by against search volume, the long tail of search goes on forever, because there’s just so many different variations of ways that people can search things and you can add more words, and you might be searching seven words. And so it’s really that’s the long tail is that long tail on the graph.

Josh 11:55
Fascinating. I never knew that. I never thought about it. So you just said that. So I didn’t mean to derail us right away. But that’s really interesting.

Michelle 12:01
That’s the tail bet. So it only really matters. If you’re looking at a graph. Practically speaking, you can think of short, or head terms, one or two words, versus anything longer than that four words, five words, six words, you know, and obviously, it’s a gradient. So you could think of a mid tail as well. Things that are more like three or four. So anyways, the important part about this is that shorter phrases are, for obvious reasons, searched a lot more frequently, because people are inherently lazy. And we try to get away with typing in as few words as possible to get for what we’re looking for.

Josh 12:34
How might we build a website or something like that.

Michelle 12:37
Exactly. Like just these really short two words, if we can get away with it, then that’s great. If Google gives us the answer that we want with just one or two words, that’s what we’re looking for. So something like black dress is a very good example of a head term. Black dress is just two words. I don’t know how many people have searched it per month, but I’m sure that the number is very large. And it is very valuable to a business to be able to rank highly for black dress. Imagine how much traffic how many sales, how much sales you can make. The one thing to think about with shorter keywords, however, is we don’t really get a lot of information about what that searcher really wants. Because black dress might mean a whole lot of things. They might mean, maybe they’re searching it, because they want to know how to accessorize a black dress. They want to know what kind of shoes they should wear with it. Or maybe they’re looking to buy a black dress. But you know, there are lots of different kinds of black dresses. What are you really looking for?

Michelle 13:32
So short, key phrases had terms have very high search volume, but they’re not particularly targeted, because you really, there’s not a lot of information there about what the searcher really wants. Whereas by contrast, long tail keywords longer phrases might be something like black sequin dress comfortable, right? And I say that on purpose, because we often don’t search in grammatical phrases. So we don’t it probably somebody is searching black sequined dress comfortable, and not Where can I buy a black secret dress that’s comfortable? But those words really mean Where can I buy a black secret dress, it’s comfortable. So if you think of the first one black dress, how could we really help them, they haven’t really given us much information about what they’re looking for. Versus, you know, black sequined dress comfortable. Maybe you have an online clothing store and you sell exactly that item, well, you can really help that person that person wants to buy your dress. And so then if you describe your dress on your product page and your page title and your headers as that type of address, and using the same words that the searcher is using, you’re far more likely to be matched up that you’re far more likely to get that traffic and that traffic is just more targeted, that traffic is much more ready to buy what it is that you sell because there’s a much closer match between what they wanted and what is on your website.

Josh 14:51
I love that and I so practically for me, I think about that all the time because if I did learn web design, that’s a short Raise that short keyword. That’s a whole different ballgame than how to keep columns on mobile and divvy, you know, and that’s where that’s and I say that because that’s my top blog posts. That’s the most popular page on my site. And you know that because you did some keyword research with me, it was a much more targeted long tail approach. And that’s actually just a hidden secret for everybody who’s who’s doing SEO or think about thinking about doing SEO for companies, is if you want to make waves nationally or not just in a local area, long tail is the way to go. Because you can identify those really niche type of terms or answers to questions. And like practically law, I want to talk locally, real quick about keywords, because this is another big one. And this is where most web designers listen to this are going to fall, if they want to target their own sites for like a location. But they also potentially are working with clients who maybe it’s like a dentist, and I think I talked about this with you on our presentation in the club. But like for me, if I’m working with a dentist in Columbus, Ohio, dentist, Columbus is a short tail keyword that is going to be have huge competition competition. Whereas if we focused on, you know, pediatric dentist, Columbus or some of these other terms of types of services, they do, will likely get quicker results. What are your thoughts on particularly locally? How we should have that approach? Do you do you recommend having a mix of the two? Or we are what are your thoughts on that, Michelle?

Michelle 16:28
So that’s super interesting, because one way to think about keywords is that one is always contained in the other, right, so in my long term version of black sequined dress comfortable, the words black dress are in there. So okay, you’re eligible for that black dress, head keyword, if you were ever so lucky as to have a site that’s authoritative enough, so enough to get the black dress keyword. So similarly with the local one, if you’re a pediatric dentist, Columbus, you do have a chance of coming up for dentist Columbus as well, maybe maybe five years from now, your website, you’re far more known in the community have tons of reviews, like everybody knows that you’re the best dentist in town, you might start coming up for less specific terms, because it was always a subset of the keywords that you were targeting. But certainly, for a new site. And I think especially as web designers, we’re quite often working with new sites, right, we’re often working with putting making the first site for somebody. And for somebody whose business and so you’re often working with sites that almost by definition, don’t have a lot of authority. Right from the beginning, they’re just not established businesses, or maybe they’re just getting their online presence put together.

Michelle 17:35
So in that sense, you really do want to give them the best chance of coming up for relevant searches. And so if you made the whole website, just dentists, and you sort of like go for broke and try to try to get like the the highest volume terms, you’re likely to fall flat at the beginning. So it’s far better, to to find those specific, this will go into the keyword research process to find the words that people would use the more specific things that you could target. And so doing that. And then also, I think, as you mentioned in your course, paying attention to the surface area to pay attention to, you know, if you’re in New York City, and you’re a plumber, that’s going to be very hard if you’re targeting New York City plumber, whereas you might want to go much more local and the neighborhood in New York City, and at least start somewhere so you have some traction in a in a place rather than you know, you’re obviously not going to start off being the best plumber in New York City.

Josh 18:29
Right? That’s a good point. Yeah, cuz one of my colleagues, David, who started his web design business here locally, he did zero in person networking or meetings, he built his business 100%, on SEO in record time. And he did that by targeting the suburbs around Columbus, Columbus was a part of that. But for anyone who’s familiar with central Ohio, I’m in Grove City right outside of Columbus, there’s New Albany, there’s Westerville, there’s all these suburbs. And that’s what he targeted. And that’s what really elevated him above a lot of other digital marketing agencies is he specifically did that and crafted those pages to that. And I I know we’re spending a lot of time on keywords and key phrases. But this is important, because there’s no sense of doing research. If you don’t understand should you go for dentist Columbus or should we go for pediatric dentist Grove City, you know, or something like that, you’re probably going to get a much bigger return. So I just want to make sure we rest assured everyone listening who’s like Alright, get to keyword research, this is the most important piece to have in place, right?

Michelle 19:28
You need to be able to choose your keyword smartly, if you don’t choose your keywords smartly, and you don’t kind of make a decision about what it is that you’re actually you’re you’re going to kind of not go after anything, then or you’re going to you’re going to go after keywords that are just totally without outside of your reach. And then everyone’s going to be disappointed. So it is far better to take the time to do this kind of research at the beginning of a project so that you have a strategy going in. You can always change your strategy later. But it’s better to sort of know the landscape of the keywords around what it is that you’re building a site around. So the You know, the language that people are using to find sites like this.

Josh 20:03
It’s also really important to empower clients with this idea too, because inevitably, you’re going to get the question where clients gonna say, I want to be on the first page of Google. And I got that so many times, and I always had to tell them, okay, well, once I understood SEO pretty well, I was like, okay, automotive repair, Columbus is way different than automotive repair Grove City. So I had to kind of explain them, the short tail versus long tail, and then location based as well, depending on the density. So yeah, all really important stuff. So yeah, let’s transition into actual keyword research. So once we have a good idea, we’ve talked with our clients about, you know, what, maybe short phrases, we want to go towards short keywords. But then also some of the longer keywords which are generally going to be I found in relation to services, I feel like those are generally where you can really get more creative and precise with services, because we’re not even talking about blog posts. Yeah, this is just main pages on a website. What I would love to focus on some of the free versions, because there’s obviously premium tools. Most people this is why I love working with you, Michelle, because you have a h refs, which is one of the most robust platforms for keyword research. I don’t want to learn that it’s a whole nother it’s a whole business model. It’s a whole thing itself. So that’s why I hire you. And that’s why, you know, I have done some a lot, a lot of free versions, which I’d love to talk about first. But all that to say there’s free and premium, which I know will probably cover a spectrum of both, but yeah, so what are some of the options for the free keyword research available to us?

Michelle 21:33
So do you want me to go through I can go through free keyword research tools, but I think we should just start with Google itself. Does that make sense?

Josh 21:39
Okay, yeah. Because that’s what I did.

Michelle 21:41
Yes. Well, I think that this is, this is the key, right. So I mean, the main tool, if you are doing keyword research is, you know, Google. That’s, that’s where it all started. And so you should be doing your keyword research in Google, which of course, is completely free, before you then pick up a paid 12. So I think the best way to explain this is to start with Google. And then I’ll follow up with other free tools that are not Google, other free tools that you can use.

Josh 22:09
And I know this is gonna be a challenge, because we’re on a podcast, it’s not visual. So this is gonna be, I’m putting you up to the task. To be able to explain this without seeing it.

Michelle 22:19
I will do my absolute best to verbalize it. Also, I think I have, I think everybody here has used Google before. So I would just encourage people who are listening at home, if you’re in front of a computer, you’re welcome to kind of follow along with me. And we will put some screenshots on your website so that people can kind of see what I see. But I’m going to try to explain it as well, because I listened to your podcast on audio. So I understand how important that is. So the first step, if you’re going to be starting to do your own key free keyword research for yourself, or for any one of your clients, is to open up an incognito window in Google in your browser. So this is super important because we’re what we want to do in this process, is to understand the recommendations that Google would be giving to the general searcher not to you, you don’t want anything to be biased by what you were searching yesterday on the internet. So the first step is just always do an incognito window. Your audience should know how to do that, since you’re all web designers, and then just go to Google. So go to a regular, I’m going to pull it up in front of me because I actually can’t do this without seeing it. But I will do my best to verbalize so that’s first thing you’re gonna see is the search box, right? So regular old Google. And we’re gonna use an example today, which is a recipe.

Michelle 23:32
So we’re gonna do a watermelon smoothie recipe. And I’m gonna kind of go through the process of how to use Google and how to use free research tools. To find out the types of words that you would want to know about what types of keywords you want to know about in order to find the right one to target for your your imaginary watermelon smoothie recipe. So the first step, after you’ve gone into incognito mode, is just to start using your natural search phrase. So this is really just using you know, your own ability as a modern human who uses the internet. If you were looking for watermelon smoothie recipe, like the one that you have just produced, what words would you use to find that and so start with that, because that’s kind of what you know. So I would probably say something like watermelon smoothie so. So I’ve typed in watermelon smoothie. And what I see is auto suggest so we’re all pretty familiar with how this works. Google gives you a list of recommendations of the types of things that you might want to type after you typed watermelon smoothie. So I see watermelon smoothie bowl watermelon smoothie with yogurt, watermelon, smoothie bit booster juice, these are all things that Google is trying to kind of predict that I am going to search for. So these are all interesting things that I you know, wouldn’t I don’t know what a watermelon smoothie bowl is, but I could find out by searching it if I wanted to know.

Michelle 24:53
But here’s the trick. So this is this is really like step one. The ABC trick is after you’ve typed in your natural search phrase or part of your natural search phrase, press space, and then press the first letter of the alphabet. And so now I see a whole bunch of auto suggest that is starting with the letter A. So I see watermelon smoothie at Smoothie King watermelon smoothie, almond milk, watermelon smoothie at home watermelon, smoothie alcohol. So very helpful. All these these more specific, these longer tail versions, it’s like we’re stretching the keyword that we we put in, we’re stretching it to a longer version, something more specific. And really, this whole process is trying to find something that accurately matches up to the content that you’re going to produce, or you have already reduced. So what I see here, a watermelon smoothie alcohol, so I’m going to give that as my example. So step one is to work through the whole alphabet like that, put in your to put in your keyword press space, and then do A, B, C, D, one you should never forget is F because f is for so you’re going to get a lot of things like watermelon smoothies for babies watermelon smoothies for weight loss. And you never maybe that wasn’t on your radar when you were writing the article that you should pitch a watermelon smoothie recipe to be for or against weight loss. But it kind of gets you out of your head a little bit, it gets you out of your own natural search phase and into like how other people search, which is…

Michelle Bourbonniere’s example of doing Keyword Research for Free on Google

Josh 26:17
What about How to? Is How to worthwhile?

Michelle 26:21
So yeah, how to you could start it so then you that’s a very good point.

Josh 26:24
You know, most of my tutorials are, as you know, they’re How to.

Michelle 26:28
Absolutely. So you can do, you can do actually, I’ll give you an even extra trick that you don’t know, you can search in an incognito mode, what you are going to search and then go back and then just type in the words how to, and it’s going to give you sub headers that are related to the search that you just did. So it’s like it’s taking it’s um, it is paying attention to your past search. And then it’s giving you related how to’s that are related to your past search. So

Josh 26:56
Gotcha. There is so much time so gold, and I love what you just said. And the first time I saw this method was in the presentation that you did, and my jaw was literally dropped. I was like oh my gosh, which is where you have a key phrase. And then you follow it with just the letter A and then follow it with the letter B and then try with letter C because it really does like practical example. I just did web design Columbus. Now if I do A it says website design Columbus area, I would have never thought to do that. If I do B best web design, Columbus, Ohio, best web design Columbus, Ohio. If I do C web design companies, Columbus, Ohio, yes, what comes up for D. But if I do it like this, you know, it just goes through it keeps on going through each one. It’s so cool. And I never thought about that. I always just did you know, I just did a Google search. And I would look at what came up under suggested searches. And I’m sure we’ll talk about next, the other options that Google throws up for us. But that is such an invaluable trick. So that mean that’s worth the price of admission for this episode, which is free anyway. But that trick right there, just add a, b, c, d letter the alphabet and see what comes up. Because that will help you determine those long tail key words.

Michelle 28:10
It really helps you take that short tail, which you probably know, you probably know the short tail already. It’s the long tails that you need to find. Right?

Josh 28:17
Never thought about that area best companies. Yeah.

Michelle 28:19
Well in company, right. So like web design? Are you a web design business? Are you a web design company, I mean, these are strategic choices that you need to make. And so it’s good that you know the range of the ways that people are searching these words, because otherwise, you’re just not making a real decision, you should you should know the word so that you can make a decision. So what you’re doing here is you’re looking for something that is you’re looking for candidate keywords that are really good matches for whatever it is that you’re producing on the internet. So that’s that. So I’m going to take one of these examples to go on to the next step. And we’re going to go to watermelon smoothie alcohol, because it’s my it’s my favorite example. So here we go. So what I see as a as a search engine specialist is probably quite different than you probably see if you’re actually looking for a watermelon smoothie. And so one thing that you just really need to know about which is super powerful, is that you need to sort of switch your mindset with how you’re using Google in this way, because you’re not using Google to find a recipe. That’s what you would do every day, what you’re trying to do is kind of put on your critical set of classes and say, Why, like, Why are these results coming up? What are the results targeting that I can see and how does it relate to the content that I’m making on the internet. So what I see here is I’ve just typed in, or I’ve searched watermelon smoothie, alcohol, and lo and behold up comes what’s called a recipe pack. So it’s three recipes. One of them is watermelon vodka slush and other watermelon vodka, slushy watermelon vodka slush, so three different watermelon vodka recipes. So for starters, I did not tell Google that I wanted a recipe, but I actually did and Google’s pretty darn smart and without the word recipe in the search, it’s still pulling Yup recipes because it’s understood that the search intent for the vast majority of people that are searching watermelon smoothie, alcohol is in fact a recipe. And so if I’ve made a recipe, I want to make sure that I’m using the proper markup so that I can be in that box of recipes, because you better believe that’s where all the clicks are going. So that is super important to recognize. And then the other thing I see as someone who’s kind of looking at these things critically, is that nobody is calling it a watermelon smoothly, they’re calling them all watermelon vodka slushes. So like maybe my recipe wasn’t a watermelon smoothie. And I have a weird natural search phrase, which I did on purpose. I mean, I understand that that’s a weird way to call it. But that’s the important is to recognize that you’re not necessarily limited to the way that you search something because the world may well search something very differently than you do. And you use this process to make sure you understand what they’re searching, because you’re not optimizing yourself.

Josh 28:26
And then you can also create some content around those different you could do one for slushy. One for smoothie, you could create like a watermelon recipe for slushy than one for a smoothie, or different variations.

Michelle 30:58
Totally! So maybe the watermelon smoothie you have is with yogurt and not alcohol, and then your other watermelon slushy is the one with vodka, and you know, ice, then that’s just a different article. It’s a different recipe. And so you’re gonna have two different two different time you potentially if you have a recipe site, you potentially have two of these things on your website, and you want to make sure that they’re differentiated. Right? So the other thing to recognize here, so then as you’re looking at search results, and here’s where I think the screenshot will be useful is as you look down, you’re going to see things that you maybe didn’t notice before. You’re going to see what’s called the people also ask box. So that is AI generated questions that are related to the search that you just did. So I see is watermelon good with alcohol? How do you spike a watermelon with alcohol interesting. These are AI generated that’s very interesting in and of itself. So the people also asked box is very useful for thinking about how to write your content. So you might want to answer some of those questions. If they’re relevant to the thing that you’re producing, you might want to answer that in your content and give it a better chance of ranking on this search. And then the money is at the bottom. So if you go down to the bottom of the search results, you’ll always see related searches.

Josh 31:06
And I was going to ask what is the difference between the two? What’s the difference between related searches? And people also ask?

It shows up in about 80 to 90% of searches. So it’s a really important feature to recognize. – Michelle

Michelle 32:16
Okay, so that’s a very good question. The related searches are actual searches. I mean, those are actual phrases that other people search. The people also ask are questions, they’re always formed as a question. And they are audit, like, artificial intelligence generated. So it’s based on some language model they use. And they find questions that are related to the thing that you just searched. If you click on them, you get a little pop down with kind of the answer. So if you click on one of them, you’re going to get a specific site that you could go to that kind of like further explains that question. But those aren’t necessarily searches, meaning that there’s maybe not a specific number of people that are searching that particular question. It’s more like Google telling you, hey, like, we know, you might be confused here and the search results, let us help you on your way and find the questions that might interest you. It shows up in about 80 to 90% of searches. So it’s a really important feature to recognize.

Josh 33:19
Yeah, I never really knew the difference that makes total sense because I just for testing purposes did how to build a website. Under people also ask it’s how do I create a website with Divi? How much does Divi cost? Which if I click that…

Michelle 33:33
Cost often comes up in the end?

Josh 33:36
Yep. Yep. Is Divi bad for SEO classic. And then under related searches, it’s like Divi layouts, Divi sale, Divi tutorial, you know, it’s like you said it’s…

Michelle 33:48
Those are real search phrases. And if you click them, then it actually performs that search for you. The people also ask if you click them, it brings down a pulldown, which is going to take you to one particular page that directly addresses that question, if that makes sense. So they are different. So what I do find is that the searches at the bottom, the related searches, those ones tend to be even further away from your natural search face. And so these are these are really good ones to pay attention to because that’s those are the really watermelon Margarita, watermelon drink names watermelon cocktail, those things that are coming up at the bottom in the related searches. I would almost give them more priority in a sense than the ABC trick. Because they’re less you less made them up. And it’s more Google that’s really providing you things that you didn’t kind of prompt as much.

Josh 33:50
That’s a great point. That’s a great way to think about it. Yeah. So yeah, cuz he would The trick with the alphabet type of scenario. Yeah, it’s giving you all these options. But like you just said, Those established searches are what is you know what Google is pulling up as the most popular search.

Michelle 34:55
I think that one way to think of it is it’s more likely that those related searches Have a significant amount of search volume behind them, meaning there’s a significant amount of people that are searching enough to make it. I mean, I know from practicing the back ends of people’s sites, that if you see it in that related searches box, there is search volume around it. Where if it’s in the autocorrect, especially as you get more and more longtail, at a certain point, the autocorrect say you’ve put in six words, it’s still gonna keep on recommending you more words, like almost to infinity. But at a certain point, I’m fairly sure that it just turns into predictive text. So it’s not necessarily a promise that there’s actual people searching that. It’s just like, you’ve gone down into the weeds, and they’re like, well, we think you’re gonna say this word max. It’s more like the predictive text on your on your iPhone. So, you know, there’s there’s diminishing returns there where the I mean, I can almost tell you that the related searches are a promise that at least 50 people probably Googled that.

Josh 35:53
That makes total sense. Yeah, why would Google throw it up there? If it wasn’t prominent?

Michelle 35:58
I’m sure there’s the highest ones.

Josh 35:59
So what Google? Oh, sorry, go ahead and show. Okay.

Michelle 36:02
So there’s one other set of very similar related ones. So I’ll do that. And then I’ll answer whatever question you have about all this, because they’re really, really close. The other ones do is you choose any one particular search results. So really just at random, click on it. So I’m just clicking on one of the search results that came up. When I, when I searched watermelon smoothie alcohol, I click on it as if I was going to go to look to that site, then I use the back button on my browser. And then I’m back at the search results. And you’ll all almost always get another set of related searches. And because what you’ve just done is you say, oh, maybe this is what I want, you know, you click and then you do what’s called Pogo sticking. You’re like, it’s not what I wanted. And then you come back to the search results. And Google says, oh, but, you know, can we help you like, we really want you to find this, this dress for you’re looking for. And so I see a different set of related searches in these ones to our real search search phrases. And again, these ones are even further away from ones that are further away from your original search. So when we did this in the club, what came up was refreshing fruits, vodka, smoothies, or something, it wasn’t even watermelon. And so the sense that it kind of even brings you a little bit further away from your searches, which you can just stick on your list for things you might create content around later.

Josh 37:22
I’ll be honest, I forgot about that trick. I completely forgot about that. Because I’m just I’m doing this along with you, which I’m hoping everybody does as well. You could do this on your phone too. Not when you’re driving, hopefully. But you know, if you’re sitting there listening.

Michelle 37:33
You might get different results on mobile, in fact, if you really have a mobile audience, you might want to try it on your on your mobile device.

Josh 37:39
Well, this is genius, because I’m sticking with the Divi layouts thing. So I just clicked a related search term, and before I had Divi tutorials, Devi, you know, blah, blah. Well, when I went back, it did throw up a whole different set of search related searches. And now it says Divi layouts, download premium Divi layouts, Divi templates, 2020, by Divi layout. So it’s interesting that literally, Google is tracking you. And as you like you mentioned, it’s like, well, I didn’t find people smart enough to say, Well, hey, here’s some other stuff that I mean, this is fascinating. And here it is, guys, this is the free. This is the easiest way to do simple keyword research to kind of just highlight these main ways we can use Google, what’s the standard search bar, and then it’s going to give you some suggested searches. You can do the alphabet ABCD, blah, blah, blah, after your turn. Or you could always just choose what letters you think would be like, as a web designer, I’m assuming agency firm company, these type of terms are going to go after a web designer Columbus. And then there is the people also ask, which isn’t always going to come up. If you search automotive place,

Michelle 38:46
Local, you probably won’t get a lot of people.

Josh 38:49
So ask that’s what if you get if you search, how to keep columns and mobile Divi, you’ll see yours truly, and you’ll see a bunch of other people on there as well. And then related searches. There’s the related searches, which as you articulated, Michelle, that’s those are the money terms right there. Well, not literally money yet until we get into, you know, paid keyword research. But those are the big terms. And then again, if somebody didn’t catch that, if you click on one of those, and then go back, you will see different related searches. That’s fascinating. Yeah, again, is that a good? Good summary?

Michelle 39:20
That is how you use really, that is how you use Google itself to mine Google for keywords. You’re mining Google for keywords, because you care about what other people are using. You don’t want to know about what your search search habits are, you want to find out about other people’s search habits. And so that’s how you do it. And you use Google that way and it’s totally free. And what is great about this is you do not need to have an established site in this industry in order to get these keywords right. You don’t have to be a Divi designer to get Divi designer words. Anybody can use Google like this. So if you have a new client, and it’s maybe in an industry that you have never worked in before, or a niche that you’re not familiar with, this is really actually a great way to sort of understand the shape of this industry, the types of words people care about the types of words that people are searching, which will I mean, just be gold. If you come back to your client and say, you know, like, I really do think you do need a sub page on this specific part of your industry, because I see people are searching It is like very convincing, right, because most clients won’t have have kind of used Google in this way, they will know they’ll Google they know how important it is. But most people wouldn’t have known to go and kind of like research inside of Google. But it’s actually wrote this process.

Josh 40:33
I’ve been in web design for a decade, I didn’t realize how extensive you could do free google keyword research, the only thing I did when I built my brand here, which as you know, is 100% Seo based because I went from a business previously where it was 100% referral based, I did very little SEO, optimizing. And then with Josh Hall CO, it’s 100%. SEO, I just did the first couple of steps, I just looked at suggested terms, and I just searched what I would do, I would just you know, this is how I would search for something. So those are the two steps I took. But this is genius, particularly for people who are doing more local based businesses you can look at, if you do like a chiropractor, you can look at what other terms are being searched with, you know, a chiropractor type office, or one of the services or when it comes to like the auto mechanic, that’s an easy one, you can look at that there’s probably gonna be like brake services or car maintenance or other terms that are likely, you’re going to want to include in your homepage or make service pages for. That’ll give you like, that’s like the proof, that’s the result that you could say, listen, client, you know, as a part of our monthly agreement, or you want to add some more hours to do some additional work, here we go, these terms are sitting there, and there’s not much competition, we could, you know, rise up on Google what we’re targeting.

Michelle 41:45
Or just sort of point out that they sell this product, meaning they do brake repair. And so there’s no one particular place on their website for those people who are really looking for brake repair. So you’re really helping out your client, but you’re also helping out the end customer by matching up people who need brake repair with people who sell brake repair. And so Google can’t, if you’ve not mentioned brake repair anywhere on the website, well, then Google kind of assumes that you don’t do that. And so you do need to make sure that you’re you’re you’re you have the full range of what’s being offered by the company, or the full range of whatever it is the industry is really represented on the website in a smart way, so that you have the best chance of, you know, making this out.

Josh 42:25
Yeah, and I do want to say as a quick like result, case study type of thing. Somebody who you helped out who’s who’s a student and member of mine, John, he is a web designer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And he revamped his website and launched it in the first week of January 2021. Three month not even three months later, he is on page one of Google for Ann Arbor web design, or in our Ann Arbor web designer, with web design, which is a different term. He’s He’s like, I think spot two on the second page. So he’ll get to the first page with that pretty quickly. That was under two months, no blogging, no additional content, all he did was did basic keyword research and worked with you. And on some of the the additional keywords to re vamp the content on the front page, title, metadata description. And that was it like there really, I mean, you know, disclaimer results will vary depending on the competition, but it really does make a difference. And you can actually make a lot of damage pretty quickly, because we’re recording this in the beginning of March. This episode is going to come out in the beginning of April. But he just shared that with me and actually was…

Michelle 43:32
So happy to see it. I mean, how awesome is that? It is it’s one of those it’s SEO was a hard industry to be in because you basically can’t make any you shouldn’t make promises to your clients that you’re going to get them to number one, you really just don’t have a lot of control, right? I mean, you are, you’re optimizing the best that you can, following best practices, finding the keywords, but then how Google reacts is quite erratic at times, meaning you can do all of the best things. But you really don’t control Google. And so sometimes it happens more quickly than you expect, which is lovely. And I love it when that happens. And then sometimes you could be so sure that you nailed it. And then Google is just like, sluggish. You know, a month later, you’re like winter is my keyword. I gotta say, as someone who does this day in day out, it really depends on the site, a site that’s been around for a long time can have a lot of better luck site than super new, you’re going to have to wait longer. And then the competitive industry around it really matters. And so I think it’s important to not oversell your abilities to rank somebody, especially if you’ve not done it before. But but also to be to be humble enough to say yes, I’m doing all of the best things. And then just be pleasantly surprised when it works out. And then and then if it’s not working out after a couple months, come back and adjust your strategy and that kind of stuff.

Josh 44:50
Well, I told him he was like, dude, did you see the results on Google? Because I told him I was like it’s gonna take a few months for for Google to do anything. And hit page one with that. Which Ann Arbor is a decent area like? Yeah, man. Like, that’s incredible. So hats off to you and john with graphic kitchen. We’ll link that in the show notes too. If anyone wants to check it out, actually, you know what? No, just search Ann Arbor Web Designer.

Michelle 45:16
Click on GraphiKitchen.

Josh 45:16
Click on GraphiKitchen. It’s Yeah, there you go, john, there’s some free SEO boost for you. And YouTube is something to think about as well in relation to this because Google owns YouTube. And obviously, that’s huge for me, but anybody else who is doing video marketing, or if your businesses or your clients, if they’re doing video marketing, you can tie all this together as well. Michelle, I wanted to see if you would do this for me, would you do manually migrate WordPress? And do you see me come up? Because I have this is my most popular tutorial now on YouTube. And I haven’t been doing tutorials much just because it’s mainly all the podcast. But does it come up for you on the front page? Or is it in the first couple of pages?

Michelle 45:58
So here, this is interesting. So you manually migrate WordPress in a private window in Canada is coming up with manually migrate WordPress, your video is coming up in the search results. So there’s like a video pack and you’re the number one of the videos.

Josh 46:12
There we go.

Michelle 46:13
It’s nice and in color. So I suspect it’s getting a lot of clicks.

Josh 46:16
And does it is it breaking it down for you does this because for me it says Wow, it’s cool down. And I’m not showing this to like beat, you know, boastful. I’m saying I did not have any control over this. Google and YouTube just took the video. It’s been helping a lot of people. And it just did like I just looked one day. I was just curious. I said, I wonder. I wonder if you know, if you do migrate WordPress, what would what would come up and then lo and behold, I was number one, as far as the video popping up there. And it shows the segments of the video, which again, I did not target at all, I just added timestamps to that video, because I thought, you know, I should probably, I should probably do that. So all that to say, you can do amazing results. Sometimes it takes longer depending on the competition. But yeah, you don’t have necessarily all the control, but you at least want to make Google happy and do what you need to do.

Michelle 47:05
You need to have an optimized site. Like if you don’t pay attention to this stuff, it’s almost for sure that you won’t have an optimized site and you’re leaving clicks on the table. So it’s it can be such a small change. It’s almost ridiculous. Sometimes the tiny little changes that I recommend people make to their websites. I mean, I was I was somebody else in Ann Arbor, I was like, you really just need to use the words and and arbour on your page titles, and like that will make a huge difference. And it’s so funny that sometimes that’s as simple as it is, it’s as simple as changing the site title in your WordPress back end. But that can make it just a gigantic difference in that. In those words, you just need to have the you need to have the words there, if that’s all it is.

Josh 47:47
You don’t even think about like a lot of businesses and even web designers would target the whole state. And like a lot of people doing web design, Michigan versus web design, Ann Arbor, you’re gonna get a lot of quicker results with Ann Arbor because it’s a small areas, not as much competition as statewide.

Michelle 48:02
So you’re not like you’re not up against bigger places. And remember, again, what I said about long versus short is that often the longer tail keyword contains the shorter keyword. So if you’re targeting Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then 10 years from now, you’re a huge agency, you’ll probably rank for the Michigan ones, right? Because it’s part of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And so it’s not that it’s not there. Normally a longer term has the shorter one inside of it.

Josh 48:28
Yeah. Okay, this was awesome. Michelle, let’s talk about so this, you know, Google is our tool or free tool, that’s the easiest way to start. There are some other options. What do you suggest and have you used that would be good for still free, and maybe even very affordable keyword research options, because Google does not show domain authority on other sites or any of the numbers. And then one thing we didn’t talk about, which I intentionally didn’t want to talk about in this, which was the the different levels of keywords, meaning there are some keywords that are more literally more valuable than others, because people are paying for them to be up there. But yeah, if we, if somebody is more serious, or maybe they want to either partner with you, or they’re working with clients where, you know, they need to have a more serious approach, what’s kind of the next level up as far as keyword research goes?

Michelle 49:13
So in terms of keyword research, there’s actually quite a few free tools, like literally free, I mean, there’s always an upsell, it’s the freemium version is quite useful, basically. And so a couple that you really should know about is one is called keyword And that one actually basically does what we just did with the ABC and the scraping. Because it’s, as you can imagine, it gets tedious actually, you know, typing out all of the things that you see while you were doing this kind of research in Google. So I do recommend that people do that because you want to see your keywords in context, you want to see what else is coming up. But Keyword will export like a comma separated value sheets so that you can get all of those keywords all in one go. You don’t have to waste your time.

Josh 49:56
Because I do remember you saying that? Yes, you can do it all for Free. But that’s the trade off just like anything, you can do everything on the world for free with Google, but the trade off is the time. So yeah, this method is great for experimentation and playing around with things. But at the end of the day, if if you know, if you’re offering SEO for clients, and you want to save time is better, because a lot of these tools basically have that all set up, right, like, so you’re doing it manually they have at all…

Michelle 50:21
It’s literally exactly the same thing. It’s just saving your time, it’s automating a process that is otherwise tedious, because it’s literally doing the same thing that I’ve just showed you. So keyword is great for that. Another one is called Ask, Ask The Public. And that one is it gives you you give it a like a seed keyword like a beginning keyword, and then it’s going to give you variations of questions that are related to that keyword. And why I love ask the public is that as humans, we’re really good at answering people’s questions. So almost like it’s hard to sometimes understand how to solve somebody’s problem if you only see the keyword. But if it’s phrased as a question, it’s kind of more pointed, you know how to answer that. And so the questions can be quite valuable. If you need ideas for what to produce content around or sort of like what people really mean with that keyword, the question version can be useful. And then there’s also…

Josh 51:10
We should probably say, too, for when it comes to answering questions, that’s more ideal for a blog post, right? I mean, you could make that a service. But generally, those are best to lead into a service or.

Michelle 51:21
They’re normally informational, right. So they’re not, if somebody doesn’t have their wallet out, they’re not ready to buy breaks, they just for one to know about whether or not their breaks actually need replacing, that would be the informational version, where somebody who’s searching something like break shop near me, those people probably just have broken breaks, and they know it already. And they want to buy a service. So there are one way to separate out keywords is by short and long. The other way is to separate it out by the types of searches. And so big categories of searches are transactional searches. So meaning people are looking to buy something, versus informational, which is people have questions that they need answering. And then the other one is, is branded keywords. So when people are really just using Google like a phonebook so they’re they’re putting in Josh Hall because they want your website, because it’s too hard to type in Like that is I mean, we all use Google like that. And so quite a few keywords are just just navigational there just to get somewhere on the internet.

Michelle 52:24
Sorry, side side, side, guys good side thing there. But Also Asked is a great tool free tool, and that one scrapes the people also ask boxes, so you don’t have to do that yourself. So certainly look at that. The other one that’s actually very generous meaning of all these tools that I’ve told you this is the one that kind of closely most closely replicates, the type of information you’d get in a paid search tool is called Keyword Surfer. And so it is a Chrome extension. So you plug it into your Chrome. And then as you’re searching going about your everyday life, it will have a box that they actually place into the Google search results beside the Google search results with just a huge list of related keywords and information about them as well, actually. And so it actually is doing the different kinds of keyword research, they’re really accessing a database of keywords, not so much the scraping version. But because it’s a different type of keyword research accessing a database, it ends up being a different set of words. So that is a really good thing to check out. Also, when people like family members use your computer, they’ll always be confused, why your search results look different than everybody else’s. So just like people will stop using your computer, which is nice. So that’s keyword surfer. All these I’ll send these links. So they’ll all be in the show notes.

Josh 53:39
Yeah, I was gonna say we’ll definitely getting them linked up for sure.

Michelle 53:41
The last one that I’m sure many people have heard of already is Google Keyword Planner. So Google has created a tool to help people who are buying Google ads, choose which keywords they want to target. So obviously, when you buy ads, like cost per click Google ads, you need to know keywords, because that’s literally what you’re buying. So they produced a tool that helps people choose which keywords to target. It really is more made for people who are buying ads, but you can use it for free if you want. And you can use it to sort of understand the keyword landscape, you do have to give them your credit card, you have to have an account. But if you don’t start a campaign, then they will never charge you. So just so that you know, your credit card.

Josh 54:25
Like when you were talking about your example earlier with a black dress, well, somebody is in the market to buy a black dress, that’s where that term is probably going to be very expensive if you’re gonna run which we’re not talking about ads in this episode, but that’s where it’s gonna be a whole different ballgame.

Michelle 54:41
So you’ll get it you’ll get an estimate for something like black dress or any other keyword that people are buying ads on, you’ll get an estimate of how much it’s gonna cost in Google Keyword Planner as well as you get a fairly wide range of how many people search it per month. So you’ll often see things like 100 or like I think I’ve even seen like one 100 to 1000 like, well, thanks, but no need to know where it falls in that large range. So the search volume, meaning the number of people that search per month that Google Keyword Planner gives you is, you know, almost useless. But useful, I mean to know anything if you don’t otherwise have access to other information. But Google Keyword planner is kind of the base set of information for many of the paid search tools. So they take those numbers, and then they try to refine them and provide like a more accurate estimate is a lot of what you get in the page search tools. Google Keyword planner is absolutely great for anybody who is just getting their feet wet and want to see sort of what’s available, and maybe even just to see what a what a keyword research tool like that might work like or be like, Google Keyword planner is a good one.

Josh 55:48
That’s perfect. That’s so great, Michelle. Yeah, I mean, Google’s the biggest one, but then all those you just mentioned will list those out in the shownotes. For reference for everybody. The last thing I wanted to ask you was because this episode is particularly focusing on free keyword research, and the options that we just went over to wrap this up, though, when is it worthwhile investing in key keyword research? When is it worthwhile either either upgrading to something like h Ras or investing in an SEO person like yourself? Like, when should people listening to this as web designers look into that? Is it for a high level client that has like a lot of domain authority with a really established website? When I guess on average? I know it’s kind of a hard question to answer. But when is it? When is it time to take the next step? You know, just let for our reference?

Michelle 56:35
That’s a really good question. So you need to be a big website to benefit from professional keyword research, I really I mean, I’m not just selling something, I really mean that that that, you know, everybody can benefit. And to a certain extent, if you are a very big, big company, you probably already did this already. And you also have a ton of information in your own Google Search Console. So Google Search Console, also has keywords. So once you have an established site that is coming up for things, then you’re going to find a lot of this keyword data within your own Google Search Console. So I actually have a tutorial for that on my website. So if people want to go and check that out, I have a tutorial. I can do that on an audio file.

Josh 57:17
Can you send that over because I’ll make sure we link that in the show notes as well. There’s plenty of links and resources in this one.

Michelle 57:23
So just yeah, tons of links. Sorry about that. So just to say that, investing in keyword research, you needn’t be a big company to benefit from it. However, I just maybe just to tell you a little bit like what they offer, what do those tools offer that you can’t get for free? The big, big things is one is Keyword Difficulty. So one example I like to give is, if you are making a brown fizzy drink, like a carbonated beverage that is brown, and you’re trying to rank up against Coca Cola, you probably aren’t going to win that fight. Right. So if you’re a small site, probably you’re not going to rank for cola. Right. Now, that’s super obvious. I mean, if you already knew that already, but the problem with SEO is that Google doesn’t give up that information in the search results, you never really know how strong your competitors within the search results are, unless you have some kind of access to data. Because they don’t want to tell people that. And so once you’ve had access to these tools, you start realizing Oh, that’s why that one is a little bit higher than this one. And this, you know, you start kind of piecing the pieces together. But without access to paid research tools, you’re never going to exactly know what you’re up against. So that’s one reason why you might consider using a paid research tool or working with an SEO. The other one is search volume. So some of these tools do give you some search volume, I believe, I mean, Keyword Planner does give you some, I think keyword surfer gives you some as well. But it gives you an idea of how many people are searching this per month because my example of watermelon smoothie alcohol. You know how many people really search that? Is it 10? Or is it 10,000? That’s a huge difference on whether I’m going to spend my time and energy making a page on my website that is targeted to that term. Similarly, for your example, migrate manually migrate WordPress. I mean, you kind of want to know before you made that video, which probably took you a lot of time whether there was even a market for this thing that you were making. So so what you always want to find out with keyword research is, is anybody interested, you want to find some some evidence that it’s not just you that’s interested in this topic. But you also probably have a lot of things that are on your plate, you probably have 10 different things that you could produce content around in any given moment, and you have to make a choice. And so knowing the competitive landscape of each of those topics that you’re planning, and then also knowing how many people search it or other things in that topical area. What was your idea of which one to choose?

Josh 59:53
Yeah, so funny because I just think about the my most popular pages and tutorials and they’re all ones I just was not anticipating to be that what was the one where I did, I did a tutorial on circling an image with preview on Mac. And that is getting like 1000s of views a month, that just stupid little tutorial where I only put that out because I was answering that question people want to know, how are you doing that little red circle? And I was like, Well, here’s how I just like little phrases like five or 10 minute video on just how you create a circle, the program preview on Mac. And because no one did a tutorial on that come to find out 1000s of people all over the world are searching that and it’s one of those wildly popular pages on my site. Yeah, unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t lead to anything, because no one’s gonna see that and be like, Oh, now I know how to use preview, I’m gonna sign up for Josh’s business course. Unfortunately, I didn’t really, you know, playing that through. But either way, it’s kind of cool. Like, it just shows you that if you just do some basic keyword, I mean, I’m the prime example of just very common sense approach to keyword kind of stuff, you can do a lot of damage. And I’ve worked with you we’ve done several keyword research reports on some of my courses to plan certain content around SEO, around maintenance, which maintenance was an interesting one, because we found out and this is this is a worthwhile point to think about is if it’s a topic like maintenance plans, for example, well, I had to be really careful about how I plan content around that because I want to find people and I want to target that content for people who want to build maintenance plans, not for clients who want to have their sites maintained. And that’s a big, big, this is where keyword research is really important. Because I need to be very intentional about how that stuff comes across. I don’t want to get a bunch. So

Michelle 1:01:36
It’s so easy to miss miss aim. So you really have to when you’re looking at keyword lists, whether it’s when you go for your free, or whether you’re working with an SEO, I mean, one of the big jobs that I do is sorting those things out to understand who would be searching this phrase versus who would be searching this phrase. And then which one is the smart one to target because often, especially in an industry like yours, where there’s just numerically less people selling WordPress maintenance packages than people who want to buy a word best press maintenance package. So the search volumes are always going to be higher at the end of product, right? Where if you’re looking for people who want to learn how to do this thing, because you have a course on it, then the search volumes will be lower, but it’s going to be more valuable to you. I mean, those are the right people. Those are the people you want at your site. If you had a whole bunch of small business owners, they’d be like, why am I here? So it’s really important to get the words correct. So that you’re you’re really grabbing the right audience. So you could the people that you can actually help. And so that and I yours, it happened. I mean, it happens. I gotta say it basically happens with every client. At some level, there’s some ambiguity in the words. And we really need to think about where the line is why one person would search one thing versus another group of people searching another thing and really be very clear about which keywords we’re targeting. It’s actually I find it part of the fun because every industry is very different. But I do find that that comes up quite a bit.

Josh 1:02:59
Yeah. No, that’s great. Michelle, wow, this has been a blast. Obviously, we could talk about this for 10 hours. But I want to stop it here. I do have one big question for I have one final question for you. But I think this is a good place to keep this as we’re gonna keep this particular discussion on free keyword research, maybe we can do a whole nother separate episode on Google Search Console. Or maybe that needs to be another training or something,

Michelle 1:03:21
I will have some kind of a, I have like a walkthrough video, one of the clients actually one of the people in your club has volunteered for me to use her site as an example. So I will go through the free keyword research that you can do in Google Search Console on my website, and it will be live by the time this podcast goes. Perfect.

Josh 1:03:37
Well, before I ask my final question, speaking of your website, where would you like to go for people to find out more about you? And for those who like I said, who may be like myself, I don’t want to do the keyword research myself, even the simple version, I really don’t want to do it. I’d rather just work with somebody who knows what the heck they’re doing. Where can those people find you and connect with you.

Michelle 1:03:55
On my website. So I offer keyword research packages. So unlike most agencies, I don’t package it with everything else. You can just by keyword research, and I will hand you the words when

Josh 1:04:08
What a great idea! Do packages Michelle.

Michelle 1:04:11
They’re wonderful. You should always take Josh as advice. Josh, Josh told me to package it up. And I’m very happy that I did because I think…

Josh 1:04:19
Didn’t you do that after the last episode you’re on I think?

Michelle 1:04:22
I think it might have been Yeah, so this is this is the ongoing story of Michelle. What I’ve found is that most people come to me because they have talked to other SEO agencies, but they can’t just get the keyword research. They want somebody who knows how to do this stuff to give them the list of the keywords that matter to them and explain what the heck it all means. And so that’s what I do and I actually just love that piece of the job. Almost more than anything I just love getting dirty in that keyword research tools.

Josh 1:04:52
Well and I love that he it makes it less overwhelming for people who’s like I just don’t know quite know like I would rather say let’s just shoot for five key in this package and then get a report on this, that’s, that’s, I think it’s just a more a more simple approach to go, that’s less overwhelming for the average clients and web designers. That’s great.

Michelle 1:05:10
And I do work with people. So I because of your club, I’ve met a lot of great web designers. And I work with some of their clients to help them find the right keywords. And then my approach is quite educational. So I always do walkthrough videos for any spreadsheet that I send you. And so I will really explain what each column means and sort of what I see in your data. So that it’s not just an overwhelming pile of words, that you actually can use it in your business to grow your website to come up for searches that matter to you. So it’s I just love my job to be honest.

Josh 1:05:41
You do such a good job. And that’s one of my favorite things. I love getting little videos that outline the spreadsheet, because yeah, I would I would be a little confused otherwise. So that’s

There is information that I could understand that anyone can understand, to really help them build their online visibility. – Michelle

Michelle 1:05:49
I just remember what it was like when I started I remember being like, Huh, and, and to be able to help people move from that position of just like this sounds overwhelming to like, Oh, these are just words that people use to find content on the internet. I mean, it doesn’t it’s not as complicated as I think a lot of people make it sound. And so I like to bring people past that position of like, I don’t even want to touch SEO with a 10 foot pole to like, Oh, I have some control here. And there is information that I could understand that anyone can understand, to really help them build their online visibility.

Josh 1:06:23
Well, that’s a perfect segue to the last question I have for you, which is what has been your favorite free keyword research win that you’ve seen? Is there a certain like, you know, was there a client that you were just like, holy crap, you got great results from you know, just a little bit, a little bit of this.

Michelle 1:06:42
It’s so funny, because in keyword research land, it’s like, it’s, you know, you really can’t get away somebody else’s keyword. I’m quite, I’m quite careful, because data is so important. And if I’m going to tell you if I’m going to say what clients one on something, however, while being still vague, I’ll give you an answer. Okay. When I first got started, and all of this, I was working for a client, I will not say who the client is. But boy, oh, boy. The related searches gave away all of the answers. So I didn’t know anything about this industry going in. I looked at the modifiers that showed up in the related searches box. So service service, and then an extra word service service, extra word, those extra words, the modifiers. I mean, that was her whole sitemap. Basically, years later, the best keywords are still sitting down there and the related searches. And without knowing much about that industry going in, we made great decisions as we were building out that site because we looked in those related searches. So go look at those related searches. Go put in your main service, and just see what modifiers people are bringing in. Because I can promise you, there’s things that people are searching that you probably don’t know about that deserve to have a place in your website.

Josh 1:07:52
There it is great way to sum this up and wrap this up soon. Michelle, thank you so much for your time again, this was a blast. I know won’t be the last time we’ll have some fun on the next one. So thank you for your expertise. Thanks for all you do. And thanks for coming on.

Michelle 1:08:21
Thanks for having me.


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