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I often suggest to in-house content writers to use two main keyword research tools as your thesaurus.  Looking for a word?  Instead of hitting your thesaurus, open up a browser tab to the Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest.

The Google Keyword Planner is an Adwords focused tool. Since the searching habits of people looking for ads are usually in line with organic search clickers, SEOs rely heavily on this tool. In the old days we had meta engine keyword tools, but the industry has really centralized on Google’s.  For any search, it will return an estimated search volume, competition (from a PPC standpoint, but helpful in considering the popularity advertisers think a keyword has), global monthly searches, and local monthly searches (domestic).  These estimated searches are not 100% accurate – use them more directional than actual.

Very basic example – If you’re writing about pants for your ecommerce shop, and you’re using the word bottoms, this tool would quickly tell you that “pants” gets  over 5,000,000 more monthly searches.  It makes sense to choose the words that answer the most searches.  By offering loads of alternative terms, and some similarly matched terms, you have a huge “SEO thesaurus” at your fingertips.

Ubersuggest is my second favorite tool, using Google Suggest as the data provider. When Google tries to fill in search queries for you, it’s likely coming from the same processor that Ubersuggest pulls from.  You’ll get more long tail, detailed searches here.  Usually lesser searched keywords, but higher converting.

For example, enter in “dog house” and one term you’ll find is dog house kits.  Maybe you weren’t aware that they made dog house kits – now you can write about them, or pepper them into your currently planned copy.

In the end, Ubersuggest doesn’t give estimated searches, so you can try entering these terms back into the Google Keyword Tool.  Sometimes you’ll get an estimated search count, sometimes you won’t (which doesn’t mean the count is zero – it’s just not high enough for Google to bother processing with their keyword tool).