In this article I’m going to show you the seven most untapped keyword research tools that don’t include the Google Keyword Planner. Number five is my personal favorite, so please keep reading!

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Every good SEO campaign is built on effective keyword research.

There are three critical steps for doing keyword research the right way:

Find keywords – This is exactly what I’ll be showing you in this video.
Qualify those keywords – This is the process of making sure that those keywords are actually worth going after and making sure that there’s actually interest in those keywords.
Prioritize those keywords – This is the process of analyzing the competition to make sure that your website is actually capable of ranking for whatever keyword you want to go after. In this article I’m going to focus on showing you how to find keywords and how to build a keyword database.

I’m going to take you through the process of how I build a real keyword database so you can see how this process works. I’m super excited to show you, so let’s jump in.

Tool #1: Print Books

The first keyword research tool that I love to use is print books.

Print books are probably one of the most untapped keyword research methods that exists, because not a lot of people think to use a book to find keywords and content ideas.

In this process that I’m going to be showing you for building a keyword database, I’m going to focus on the advertising niche. I’m going to find keywords as if I had an advertising website.

I’m not in the advertising space, but I’m going to show you how we would go about building a keyword database for that particular niche.

The focus here is a book called Cashvertising, which is a book about copywriting, sales and persuasion. This is a great book. If you want to learn how to do effective advertising, how to write copy the right way and how to persuade people online, this is a book you must read.

What I would do to find content ideas is I would dive right into the book.

I am inside the Cashvertising book on Kindle and what we want to do to find keywords and content ideas is to start with the table of contents.

Just go through the table of contents and try to find ideas there. Usually the table of contents is a good place where you can find more general ideas that you can expand on later on in the future.

For example, I could go through here and just take some of these ideas and add them to my keyword database. I wouldn’t necessarily want to add some of these ideas to my actual keyword database. These would more be ideas that I would need to do additional keyword research on.

Here is an example: “The Fear Factor, Selling the Scare.” That could be something I could focus on in a blog post, for example. You can go ahead and click through.

What makes print books really valuable is the actual content within the book itself, so you can go through here and you can try to find all kinds of content ideas and even possible keyword ideas, as well.

In this case, clearly this section is all about using fear to sell, so I could create a blog post that shows the psychology behind this particular principle.

Keep going through sections of whatever book you’re trying to get ideas from and just start to add those topics and ideas to your main sheet.

Just in the first chapter alone in Cashvertising I was able to find several ideas that I could expand on within my keyword research. Right away, you can see these are topics that are closely related to advertising. I can go much deeper into these topics.

What you want to do is build this idea section up, so you can then do deeper keyword research using the methods that I’m about to show you.

Tool #2: Niche Forums

My second favorite keyword research method is to use niche forums. All you need to do is enter your niche + forums. In this case I’m going to do advertising + forum.

Now you want to go ahead and click on one of these forums so you can start finding keywords and content ideas.

The first topic we find right away is “How to Drive Traffic to Website Fast” or “How to Drive Traffic to a Website Fast.” So right away this is a topic we should add to our idea list, because this is definitely something that we can expand on.

Obviously, this topic may be too broad to target, but we can definitely break it down into smaller subtopics that we could go after.

So all you need to do is go through this list and copy everything that is relevant to your business and add it to the idea list in your keyword database.

I’m back on the “Ideas” tab now. What I did was I went through this forum and copied a few of the ideas that I found that I believe I can expand on further when we do deeper keyword research.

Tool #3: Amazon

My third favorite untapped keyword research method is to use Amazon.

Amazon is the biggest e-commerce search engine. There are a ton of content ideas and keywords that you can find using their platform.

Let me show you how to do it.

I’m here on Amazon and what we want to do is to find keyword and content ideas using their search engines. I’m going to go ahead and use a very general term here, so I’ll just use “advertising.”

The first thing you want to do is look at the book titles. You can probably find some keyword and topic ideas just by looking at the titles of these books and listings.

Right away by looking at this we can tell David Ogilvy is someone of importance in the advertising industry. Therefore, he could be a topic to focus on on our website.

Here’s another interesting idea, which is The End of Advertising. You could create a piece of content that focuses on why advertising is dead.

Here’s another great topic: is behavioral biases. This is definitely something we’d want to add to our ideas list.

After you’ve gone through all these titles and added them to your idea list, what you want to do is click through on these listings. This is where you’re going to find all kinds of unique ideas, because they start to get more granular with the actual substance of these books.

I recommend going through the Intro section, because there are going to be great ideas you can expand on later. In this case, “how to get a job in advertising” is probably going to be a great topic that you could create a content asset around, f your business was in the advertising industry.

Go through the intro and then scroll down. Another thing you can do is look at the suggestions that Amazon is giving you, because you can probably go deeper and find topics that are closely related to your primary topic.

One of my favorite things to do is to go into the comment section, because this is often a goldmine for finding keywords and content ideas. Go through each of these comments and see if there is anything unique in here that you can extract and add it to your idea list.

Tool #4: Facebook Groups

My fourth favorite keyword research method is to use Facebook Groups. These are a goldmine for content using keywords.

Let me show you how to find them.

When you’re on Facebook, all you need to do is use Facebook’s search function to find keywords and content ideas.

Traditionally, I like to use Groups to find these ideas. All you need to do is go to the search option and enter the topic at a very broad level.

In this case, I’m going to do “advertising.” Right away, before you even go into Facebook Groups, I highly recommend you just look at the search results that Facebook serves you.

Try to see if there are any topics there that you could expand on later on. Go through this as fast as you can, right away. One thing we find is “native advertising.” This is something we’d want to add to our main idea list so we can find keywords around that particular topic.

Secondly, right away, we have “how to advertise.” Obviously, that is a topic we’d want to cover, as well.

We can also see that Ad Age is a very popular business, so we could actually use their brand and create a form of clickbait, knowing that people have brand recognition for them. We could drive more traffic and more visibility by using their name in a particular headline.

As we go through here, we look at public posts as well. You’re seeing “Facebook advertising is too powerful to be given up easily,” so we could create a piece of content around Facebook advertising and why it’s not going away or something of that nature.

Just continually go through this and add as many ideas as you find.

Now I’m in the Digital Marketing Questions Facebook group. There are a few things you can do here. You can scroll through the group and look at the most recent posts and see if you can find any ideas doing that.

The other thing you can do is just use the search function in the group, which is very valuable. So in this case I’ll just use “advertising.” Right away, we’re going to find all the posts where that keyword phrase was mentioned.

“Facebook Ad gurus” could be a topic that we could cover. Another thing here is “Facebook advertising guidelines,” so that could be a topic that you could cover in great depth as well.

Continually go through this and look at all these ideas. Once again, we see Google AdWords, so that can be a separate topic.

Then here is an interesting idea, where someone is talking about how they would go about managing clients if they were selling Facebook Ads as a service. So that is a completely different topic that you could focus on as well.

Here’s another one about Instagram ads, so there is a ton of ideas you could find within these Facebook Groups.

Tool #5: Quora

The fifth untapped keyword research method is to use Quora. This is a website where people can ask questions about anything, and it is also a goldmine for finding keywords and content ideas.

Let me show you how to do it.

All you need to do is go into the search function, and just enter your target topic. In this case, there are going to be many topics related to advertising so, as you’ve been doing throughout this exercise, add these broader topics to your ideas list.

In this case I’m going to go into Advertising and Advertisements.

Right away, you’re going to find all kinds of unique ideas, and the best thing is that you can get a lot of qualification on these ideas, as well.

In this case, we’ll go ahead and look at this topic. We can see this topic has gotten five answers so it’s not super popular, but it has a bunch of upvotes and people are definitely engaging with this particular topic.

So this is definitely something you’d want to add to your idea list.

For example, you could add “most impressive ad targeting” or you could just add “ad targeting,” because, of course, we are going to be expanding on these ideas later on. So just go through Quora and add every single topic and idea that you find to your idea list.

Tool #6: YouTube

The sixth untapped keyword research tool that I love to use is YouTube. As you may or may not know, YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google. That makes it a terrific opportunity to find keywords and content ideas.

Let me show you how to do it.

Now I’m on YouTube and I want to go up and use their search function. Like a lot of these other tactics, you just want to scroll through these different topics and add anything you don’t already have on your idea list to the list.

In this case, that would be “Psychology and Advertising.” I probably already have variations of that, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add it to the idea list.

Here is another idea, “the history of advertising.” That’s definitely something you could add to your idea list.

Just continually go through all of these different titles. I highly recommend that you go through the videos, as well. You’re going to find a lot more micro ideas within the videos, but that takes a lot of time.

There are many other tactics that you can use that are a lot more scalable and faster, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re running out of ideas to go on YouTube and just watch some of these videos and extract ideas from them.

Tool #7: Ahrefs

The seventh untapped keyword research method is to go through popular blogs and find content ideas and keywords that are already qualified based on the user engagement around their content.

This is one of my favorite methods, because you can find these content ideas and you can create something far superior than what they’ve created, knowing that that topic is something that this particular niche is very interested in.

Let me show you how to go about doing it.

Now I’m in Ahrefs. What we want to do is go ahead and add a competitor’s URL into the search. In this case, I’m going to use Ad Age, because I know that they are a monster in the advertising space.

After the analysis is complete, go to the Organic Keyword section. Out of all the tactics that I’ve showed you today, this is the most granular of all of them, because what we’re going to do is we’re actually going to export these keywords. These keywords already have search volume attached to them.

We’re going to know what we’re up against and also what we can expect from those keywords as opposed to the previous methods which were purely based on finding ideas that we’re going to expand on in the future.

Now, go ahead and export these results. Then you’ll just add it to your actual keyword database.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to go after all these keywords. In fact, you probably won’t even go after 80% of these keywords, because you then have to go through the process of qualifying each of these keywords and then prioritizing them, as well.

But that is an article for another time.For now, we are just building up our keyword database, which will be a very rough database, and then we’ll go through that process later on.

So that is it for the untapped keyword research methods that I love to use. There are many ways to find keywords outside of just these seven, but these seven are very effective.

You can build a very big keyword database that you then have to go and make sure you qualify those ideas and then, most importantly, prioritize those ideas to make sure that you’re targeting the right keywords for your particular circumstance.

BONUS: Keyword Research Methods from the Pros

Have you ever wondered how the real SEO experts do keyword research?

I chose eight vetted experts including myself to answer the following questions about keyword research:

“1. What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?”

“2. And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?”
These experts are in no particular order.


1. Nick Eubanks

SEO Blogger at

1. What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

My go to strategy for finding the keywords for any campaign is first scrape the entire universe of suggested terms for every possible variation related to a small set of seed terms.

Then manually reviewing them for modifier patterns, things like specific verbs or adjectives that provide more insight into intent. Then I create buckets; usually 4-5 based on the topics that I’m able to group the keywords into.

Themes quickly emerge and I’m able to then go out and start exploring what content might look like for these types of topics.

Once I have a sense of the content I can figure out who the tangential audiences are and can think of how to maximize the appeal of content that fits within the keyword set.

Performing this content research also lends direction as to who, where, and how I might promote this content, what format that content should take, and who’s site it should live on.

2. And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

Determining the quality of a keyword for me is pretty straightforward;

Does the implied intent of this term match with the goals of the business or website?
Does the keyword have at least 5 long tail variations each with at least 50 searches/month?
Are there pages currently ranking on page 1 with less than 10 links to the individual ranking URL’s?

2. Jayson DeMers

Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

Well, the whole idea of search “keywords” has changed a lot in the past decade.

Stuffing keywords and trying to rank for specific words and phrases simply isn’t useful anymore.

That, combined with the fact that Google Analytics and Google’s Keyword Tool in AdWords tend to hide data, means if you’re using a keyword research strategy from 2010, you’re not going to be successful.

For me, searcher intent is my biggest priority in selecting keywords and topics to optimize for.

I usually start with a general topic related to the site in question—let’s say “online marketing”—and use a variety of different tools to help point me toward what people need most. I look at online blogs and forums, particularly at topics with lots of recent traction, I look at Google Trends to see what people are searching for in the past month or two, and I plug myself into social media conversations to see what people are talking about.

From there, I usually have a pretty big list of potential content topics, general subjects, and phrases that I’ll want to target in my campaign. I use AdWords to find information on search volume, and weed out topics that aren’t going to be a good long-term fit.

At that point, I use factors like degree of difficulty/competition and potential value to find my top picks.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

For me, quality is about value—getting the most traction with as few obstacles as possible.

For that I need keywords that are visibly popular with searchers (which you can see in Google Trends, social media conversations, etc.), statistically reasonable (based on search volume), non-competitive (see who else is ranking for a query and how strong their domain/page authorities are), and valuable (topics that could feasibly win you good leads, direct conversions, or a higher reputation).

That’s a lot to look for at once, but popularity and business value are probably my top two considerations.

3. Sujan Patel

Marketing Blogger at

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

My approach is to find the highest volume keywords that my site could rank for in 6 and 12 and 18+ months.

I’ll also purchase intent and difficulty into consideration and sort them into those 3 buckets.

The key is to be realistic and grab some short term success to justify further attention.

The last thing I look at is how the keywords (or theme of keywords) is trending and if the demand is increasing or decreasing.

The few tools I use are UberSuggest, SEMrush (my fav and go to tool), Google keyword planner and trends. I also use Open Site Explorer to size up the competition.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

To me the ultimate quality guideline is purchase intent. I often test doing PPC for my target keywords to validate intent.

4. Ryan Stewart

Founder & CEO of Webris, a Miami SEO Agency

I use paid search to find the most valuable keywords. I realize doing so requires a larger budget and longer project scope, but it’s by far the most effective method. If I get a client inquiry in the lead generation / services vertical (i.e. attorneys, real estate, SEO) I build paid search into the SEO strategy and I won’t take them on as a client unless they invest in both.

This really helps kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

We know the keywords that drive the most volume, clicks, on site engagements, micro conversions, form submissions, phone calls and most importantly, closed leads. We then optimize service pages around the most profitable keywords and build out a SEO content calendar/plan for synonym keywords.
It drives an ROI on their marketing spend and buys us time for SEO. We do our SEO and link building 100% white hat – no PBNs, no link vendors, all outreach based. While this is incredibly effective, it takes time. You’re looking at a solid 6 – 8 months of work before rankings and ROI come into play. Paid search alleviates that need for ROI by driving phone calls within 30 days.

When I first got started I would use Google Keyword Planner but honestly, the data is shoddy, you’re really just guessing. Paid search provides concrete market research data that guarantees a profitable SEO campaign (assuming you can rank them, of course).

5. Josh Bachynski

SEO YouTuber, SEO Hangouts with Josh Bachynski

This is the BEST formula for finding the top keywords for a campaign in 2016:

1) what the company sells / what do they want to rank for;
2) what competition is already on that SERP;
3) what is the best broad match / exact match variation that will…
4) have the best CTR and search termination (at that level in the sales funnel);

1. If the company sells “blue sprockets”, then the main keywords are mostly already chosen for you – you have to advertise exactly what you offer on that page

2. However, if the SERP for their head term keywords looks unfeasible (you have to do proper correlation based competitive analysis – ask me what that is if you don’t know), then depending upon their marketing / business strategy, you may need to choose other SERPs to compete on (low hanging fruit, or even all different products!)

3. Check Google’s Adwords Keyword planner for the best broad match / exact match keywords – look at the broad match keyword family that gets the most traffic. Then optimize for the exact match keyword variation in that family that makes the most sense given all the steps.

DON’T optimize for plural variations or misspellings anymore – google will switch those out – only have 1 main keyphrase / topic per page.

4. Once you have optimized for it (how to write the best title tag advertisements is in ART – ask me how to do it), and you are ranking, make sure that traffic clicks on the title you have chosen (make sure google is not rewriting it, and that it has high CTR in Google’s Search Console – anywhere from 20%-60% is good… yes you can and should get that high CTR)

Also make sure people are searching your brand name PLUS the keyword, for e.g.: blue sprockets, and getting 60%+ on that search as well


The title tag / keyword is a promise. If they don’t find what you said was there (under 3 seconds, above the fold, easily in a non-convoluted design, at a price they think is valuable enough (so sell properly – build value around the offer)) then they will do the wrong things mentioned above, and your rankings WILL suffer

This is just a start to 2016 SEO, but it is an important component!

Need help? I am always here to help you! [email protected]

6. Charles Floate

SEO, Marketing Blogger at

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

I start off by going to (you guessed it) Google.

I’ll come up with a few keywords myself and fire them into the search bar, noting down anything that stands out from the auto-suggest, then I’ll grab every page that’s on the first page for those keywords, and fire them through Ahrefs position explorer and SEMrush (Note: SEMRush doesn’t allow sub-domains, but Ahrefs does) and export all of the keywords into an Excel doc from both of the services.

Note: Make sure you keep reference of every domain you put through SEMRush and Ahrefs, as later in your SEO campaign knowing what keywords the competitors you’re trying to beat are targeting and ranking for is very useful.

I’ll then manually sort through the keywords of every competitor spreadsheet I’ve pulled off, and add it to one super Excel doc, removing any duplicates once I’m done. If you want to separate spreadsheets into things like “Buyer Intent Keywords” “Longtail Keywords” etc.. then follow the next step via using keyword planner’s “multiple keyword list” tool.

After I have a spreadsheet filled with keywords, I’ll run them through each through keyword planner, pulling off search volume and the CPC for every keyword, then export that spreadsheet from keyword planner.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

Once I’ve got that list in an excel doc, I’ll manually put each of them through Google (via an incognito browser tab) and check the pages ranking on the first page.

I use a mixture of my own knowledge of good sites (e.g. if the top 3 sites are Wikipedia, Amazon and eBay, it’s not going to be an easy keyword) and the Moz & Majestic toolbars to check the metrics and number of incoming links to that page.

If a keywords too competitive, I’ll mark it “Bad” in Excel (which overlays the highlighted cell in Red.

If the keywords easy, then I’ll mark it Green (“Good” in Excel) and if the keywords got a medium level of competition I’ll mark it Yellow (“Neutral” in Excel).

7. Nathan Gotch

Founder & CEO of Gotch SEO

Did you think I would have an “expert” roundup on my blog without including myself?

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

I always start my research by looking at industry forums.

A simple search string like “your niche + forums” will work.

Go into the forum and look at the main categories.

These will likely act as content categories for your site. After you have scoped out the forum on the surface level, jump into one of the sections. See what questions people are asking and what problems they are having. This intel will guide your content and keyword targeting.

Toss the ideas you found into the Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro to see the search volume.

Picking a keyword to target depends on two factors:

The authority of your website
The competition

If your site isn’t authoritative, then you should focus on uncompetitive keywords first. Long tail keywords with a search volume between 100 – 500 is a good place to start in most scenarios.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

A “quality” keyword I would create content for has to meet this criteria:

The keyword must have more than 100 searches per month according to the Google Keyword Planner

The keyword must drive revenue for the business in one way or another: some keywords drive direct revenue like “pink nike shoes”. While others can send traffic into a sales funnel like “backlinks”. I always ask this question: how can this keyword grow my revenue? If you can’t think of way, then skip it.

The keyword competition needs to be low if the site has low authority. If the site has some authority, then it can target more challenging head keywords. However, targeting only long-tail keywords is a good policy for ALL websites.

To determine the competition level, I quickly examine:

PA, DA: if every site has massive PA and DA, then it might be a keyword to avoid. You especially want to look at PA because that is based on the links and authority going to that specific page that is ranking.
Big brand dominance: if the first page is overwhelmed by big brands, then I might reconsider the keyword. You can beat big brands, if your site is more relevant, but it isn’t easy.
Keyword optimization: I quickly examine the title and META description for every site on the first page to see if they are optimized for the keyword I’m going after. If they aren’t, then that’s typically a green light (if it meets the other criteria above)
“Weak” pages ranking well: I define “weak” pages as forums thread, Q&A threads, PDFs, web 2.0s, and videos. If you see any of these pages ranking, then it’s an indication that it’s a low competition niche.

8. Daniel Wesley

Founder of

1. The obvious starting point is putting your product or topic into your keyword tool of choice. Dig for those related searches, match up intent, run through all the fundamentals to get that perfect spread of keywords you want to campaign for. Something I find myself spending much more time on, though, is the competitive analysis.

Look at the contenders on a given SERP, and compile a list of every keyword these pages are ranking for. Go even further to find the keywords that other pages on these domains are ranking for, and chart out how they relate to your core topic. Especially in more competitive niches, you’ll uncover a lot of correlations between these pages, their rankings and how they interplay.

While your approach may become less linear, you’ll benefit by covering more of the proverbial “dartboard” in your strategy.

2. The biggest criteria for quality of a keyword is always intent. Your best visitors are the ones who unequivocally find what they were looking for on the page they landed on. No matter if you’re selling a product, providing an informational resource or addressing a particular pain point – the more specific, the better. Usually you can use estimated CPC as a barometer for this, but don’t let that dictate your approach on its own.


Keyword research doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated. Use your mind and the tools you have available to you.

The top tools mentioned in this guide are:

Google Keyword Planner
Your mind

Always validate your keywords ideas before jumping into any campaign.

The most important part of keyword research is to analyze and understand the competition.

After you have settled on some uncompetitive keywords, then test them through Google AdWords.

Never settle on keywords just because you think you could rank for them.

Settle on keywords that you KNOW you can rank for and you KNOW will increase your bottom line.

Do you have questions?

Leave it below and thanks for reading!