Before the advent of all these modern keyword tools, keyword research was done manually.
In this article, you will see how it was done back when there were not much tools.
How To Do Keyword Research Manually Without Tools (2019 Best Guide)
For a start, manual keyword research requires a lot of mind work.
You’d have to come up with lots of useful ideas yourself, and you have to be creative.
As always, the first step to keyword research is finding seed keywords or terms in your niche.
While you can just generate them with some tools today, I will show you how to do it manually.
To get seed keywords or terms, you will have to make a list.
Making a keyword list manually
To make a keyword list using the manual method, you’d have to think deep and write down every term or idea you can think of, in your niche.
You can visit google and search for the synonyms of the terms you already have in your list, to generate even a bigger list.
Put your keyword list in a spreadsheet
Always seek the opinion of others so you’d get to see the whole picture from an entirely different perspective.
When you generate a huge list of keywords, you have to conduct proper screening on them.
You have to make sure your list has only the most important terms in your niche (i.e, you have to omit all terms or keywords that are not closely related to your niche).
After re-organizing your list, you have to use your seed keywords to find what people search for, while looking for contents in your niche.
Finding out what your niche audience search for
This is a very essential practice in keyword research.
You have to know what your target audience are looking for, in order for you to give it to them.
Remember, we are doing it manually.
Here are ways to find out what your niche audience are searching for.
Google has always remained the main channel for getting terms people search for.
To get keyword phrases for seed keywords with google, you just have to type the keyword into the search bar.
When you do this, you would see several predictions (keyword phrases).
You can copy them and paste them in your spreadsheet.
While on the google search result interface, you can also get more useful keyword phrases by checking out the “related items” area.
It is mostly located beneath the search results.
You can generate a whole lot of keyword phrases for your seed keywords with them.
Use Ubersuggest To Do Keyword Research
This will also help you to find keyword phrases.
It makes use of the google auto prediction feature, so if you want to get a longer list than what you see on the google predictions, then you can tryout ubersuggest.
It is more like using the google auto predictor indirectly.
You can easily export your list to spreadsheet format.
It is a very good alternative to using the native google autocomplete functionality, for getting keyword phrases.
Use Quora To Find Keywords Manually
Quora is for sure the biggest platform to gain and share information.
It is a question and answer site where you ask questions, answer questions, and they have a very large community.
What you need to do is find the questions that your target audience ask on Quora.
This is a good idea for getting more keyword phrases in your niche.
You have to answer these questions and write posts about them in your blog/site.
You can also share them on social media to get more traffic to your blog/site.
Find Keyword Ideas Facebook Groups
Going even deeper in the quest for keyword phrases your target audience search for, you have to join facebook groups in your niche.
Such kind of Facebook groups mostly have members who are your target audience.
Be an active member in a group like this.
Answer questions in the group and encourage other users to always ask more questions.
Observe questions that go with the most likes and supports.
These are the hot cakes. They are keyword phrases containing things most of your target audience are looking for, and thus, get high search volumes.
This is a good way to generate keyword phrases in your niche, that people really search for.
You can even become a member of upto four of these kind of groups to maximize your discoveries.
- Forums (Nairaland):
You can join forums like Nairaland and locate categories in your niche.
This will also help you to generate keyword phrase ideas, as these categories are filled with millions of people who are mostly your target audience.
You will get to join discussion trends, and know more about what the audience in your niche really want.
This can help you to generate hundreds of keyword phrase ideas.
All that is needed is creativity.
You can also use “Reddit”. It is one of the biggest forums online today, and is a good pick for global audience.
- How To Find Competitor’s keywords.
Visit the sites/blogs of your major competitors and gather keyword phrases from them.
After doing this, hit these phrases on google and copy other terms people hit on google while searching for such contents.
This can help you to gain more keywords that are trending in your niche.
It also enables you to discover the areas your competitors haven’t targeted yet.
One of the manual ways to get keywords from your competitors is by checking the meta descriptions of pages in their sites/blogs.
To do this, you just simple need to right-click on the page to see available options.
In the options menu, locate “Page Source”, and left-click to enter.
This will pop up the source code of that page. In here, you will find all the keywords of that page in the meta descriptions area which is around the top.
You will find several useful information from the source codes of some sites.
It’s worth the try.
You can also just visit their sites and gather keywords from their latest posts.
Amazon is one of the biggest tools to get keyword phrases (especially for ecommerce).
So many people use Amazon to search and purchase products.
With Amazon, you will get to see the latest products consumers want, the products that get the highest searches, and more.
This is a big tool for ecommerce site owners.
- Observing your keyword competition manually.
While it is clearly easier to get the competition level of your keywords with professional tools, it is still useful to learn how to do it manually.
You can use google to know if your keyword phrase is highly competitive or not.
It is natural that keywords with very high popularity often go with high levels of competition.
Search for a keyword or keyword term on google and observe their popularity.
To do this, you have to look at the volume of search results which appears just above the results.
The higher the number of results and the accuracy of your keyword phrase, the higher the competition.
This is a good way to know if a keyword is highly competitive or not.
You can check the accuracy of the keyword placements of your competitors, and use their flaws to your advantage.
Always look out for similar phrases when you find out that the volume of results for a keyword is too much.
Some keywords even get billions of results on the google search page.
A good example of what I am talking about can be seen below;
If I type in the phrase “How to save fuel” in my search bar, I’d get millions of results.
This is an indication that the phrase is very popular and at such, has a high level of competition.
On the other hand, if you change it to something like “How to conserve petrol”, you will notice that it won’t be up to a million results.
This is an indication that this term is searched, but it is not as popular as the first.
It shows that this term has a lower level of competition.
This is so far the best way to know if a phrase is competitive or not.
Although it is not 100% accurate, it will surely let you know whether a keyword is competitive or not.
Always remember that the higher the total number of results for a keyword, the higher the competition for that keyword.
You can also monitor the top ranking pages for your search, observe how they arranged their posts, or answered a question, and see if you can offer something way better.
This will surely let you know if you have a chance of ranking for that term or not.
If you can’t offer something better, just look for a similar term with lower popularity, that people search for while looking out for same contents online, and make your keyword placements with them.
This is a good way to get good results in the seo keyword research without tools.
You can follow them to get the most from your keyword research manually.
It is priceless, gives you in-depth knowledge on seo, and goes with a benefit of more traffic by the side.
The only problem with manual keyword research is the time it takes.
Unlike the automatic way (using tools), doing keyword research manually takes way more time to achieve success.
Aside from this, It is clear that doing manual keyword research gives you that “expert feeling” as your success is mostly based on your real observation of these keywords.
Nonetheless, if you find manual keyword research too stressing and you’d like to use some tools, you can try out tools like semrush, kwfinder, serps, and MOZ keyword tool.
Up to this point, I hope you found this write-up helpful.
Do you like manual keyword research or you prefer to pay for expensive tools.