Why Keyword Tools Are a Waste of Money
There was a time when my Chrome Extension bar had a million different icons, many of them specifically for keyword search. I have one now. Just one. And it tells me everything I need. And best part of it all, it’s FREE!
I gotta be honest though, when I first started blogging I didn’t even know what SEO or keywords were. Clueless. I just wrote and wrote and hoped that the billions of people around the world would just find mine awesome site and blogs.
Little did I know it doesn’t work like that. Keywords are super important. Cue the learning curve.
What is SEO?
Do we seriously need to go over this? Ok.
Reader’s digest version:
SEO means search engine optimization which means you need to optimize your content so search engines can find it…like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Pinterest, etc.
Now that we got that out of the way why is SEO so important? Well, you want people to find your stuff, no? They won’t if you aren’t writing anything people actually are interested in.
So how do you know if they are or not? We’ll get to that in a minute.
Why are keywords are so important?
Keywords are all the little jewels that people type in to find what they are looking for. Like this:
When I type in peanut butter cookies (because for real they are my fave cookies in the whole wide world) Google gives me suggestions but you can also see my FREE keyword tool, Keyword surfer tells me how many people search for this term monthly.
These suggestions are also keyword variations. Keywords you may want to put in your post because people are searching those terms too when looking for cookies (yum).
Not paying for a keyword tool is ok?
So lemme tell ya. I had Ubersuggest as a keyword tool, free but not one of my favourites, and then I had Keysearch but then suddenly they weren’t so free anymore.
I used a 7 day Ahref’s trial (after that was over I found it to be too rich for my cheap Italian blood) and I also even shared a SEMrush account with a few other peeps but just couldn’t wrap my head around how any of that worked.
You almost need to take a course just to learn how those tools work and YES they are great tools that do an awful lot more than provide you with keywords but, do we really need it all?
Yes and no.
If you’re just looking for good keywords for a blog post or an article then you definitely don’t need all the bells and whistles. Google search and Keyword Surfer will be your best friends.
Can I still get traffic and grow my site/blog?
Yup. The only tools I use to find keywords are the Google search bar and Keyword surfer, both FREE. That’s it, that’s all. I grew my new site to 10K monthly views in under 10 months just by using those two things.
Take a look:
Now is 10K views in 10 months a good number? Well, it’s not horrible and this is me only writing one blog a week. I used to use Pinterest to drive traffic but since this happened to me (you should really read this article):
I’ve Lost Another Business and I’m Tired of Fighting
On being frozen in fear and losing faith
…I now focus mainly on organic traffic and I’m happy to report that on both sites, my organic traffic is higher than Pinterest or social media (in your face Pinterest).
That’s a good thing.
But what about the other stuff?
I know what stuff your talking about. Rankings, competition, analysis, competitor analysis. All that hard core geeky stuff that yes, is good to have, but not quite so necessary. Especially if you’re just starting out.
Let me explain…
We need to know who our competitors are, yes. We need to know what some of their top posts are, yes. But you also need to know who’s ranking on page 1 for a keyword you want to write about.
You don’t need a fancy expensive tool for that. Look below:
Let’s say I want to write about how to attract a girl (really I don’t and that search term was so random), I can see the top spot belongs to theartofcharm.com. The second slot is wikihow.com.
I’m gonna go check out theartofcharm to see what makes their post so damn special that they got the top spot!
And then I’m gonna check out the other peeps and sites on page 1 and see what their articles are like and then…drumroll please….
I’m gonna write one even better than theirs!!! Yup. Just like that.
Google is gold
But wait that’s not all. Google TELLS you what people are asking and searching for. It’s right there in black and white. “PEOPLE ALSO ASK”
…and then at the bottom of the first page search Google gives you even MORE clues!
And all this is FREE! It doesn’t get any easier than this. I swear to God.
What to spend money on instead
If I had to suggest what you should spend your money on it’s this:
Education!!! (or a bottle of wine!)
Honestly. Learn how to do what you want to do before you start doing it and then end up wasting your time and money on things you didn’t need to buy because you had no fucking clue what you were doing in the first place.
I bought little ebooks on How to _________<(insert hard task here). I took an SEO course. I subscribed to LOTS of free 5 day email courses on how to grow your blog, site, business, subscriber list, you name it, I signed up for it.
You need to learn before you leap. Otherwise you will make a shit ton of mistakes that will have you back peddling for days to try to fix them. Trust me on that.
It’s a stressful but fun business
This whole blogging and running a site thing. It’s fun, it’s stressful, it’s challenging and yes, it’s rewarding but you have to learn how to do it before you jump in.
Don’t be like Iva. I had no clue and wasted about 3 years writing for nothing. True story.
Follow one or two gurus. I’m a big fan of the guys from Income School. And Neil Patel is still pretty resourceful. Pat Flynn is another great guy to follow. Find the big ones who are doing it right and sign up for their free stuff.
Find their YouTube channels and binge. Take notes and apply little tweaks. This is how we learn and grow our business. Not by throwing money around on ‘tools’ that you really don’t need.