Finding the right keywords is important not only in terms of link building, but also in terms of knowing what type of content to offer on your site. Keywords can even give you insight into your market by showing you what people want (because they are searching for it). If you take those things into consideration, you’ll understand why it’s so important to have a good handle on keyword research.
There are a slew of paid keyword research tools, many of which are well worth the money if you’re promoting multiple sites. There are also some excellent free keyword research tools out there – they are effective for the professional as well as someone that is just looking to get their feet wet.
Google External Keyword Tool
The first tool everyone should be familiar with is Google’s External Keyword tool. If you’ve ever used AdWords, this is the same tool provided inside accounts. The external keyword tool is one of the quickest, easiest to use tools out there and doesn’t require much (if any training).
WordStream offers a simple keyword suggestion tool that is free to use. Their goal is to return keywords with commercial intent so you target terms where money is actually being spent. They claim to have more than a trillion keywords in their database, so you can probably find good terms to target or include in your content by taking it for a spin. WordStream also offers paid options.
Another excellent keyword tool is Keyword Spy. Technically, it’s a paid tool, but you can use the free trial and get quite a bit of information out of it. It does exactly what the nae says – it lets you spy on your competition by checking out their keywords. You can also take a look at what they are spending on AdWords (if anything). Thought it’s not as simple to just pick up and use as Google’s tool, you might check it out if you have a competitor you’re interested in spying on.
Other free keyword tools (most which offer paid versions with more functionality) include:
Keywords are an integral part of any SEO campaign, but they’re only one part of it. Using them as a springboard for content creation and helping your market is the best way to go. They can also help you to diversify your anchor text profile, making it look as natural as possible to Google.