There are tons of great in-depth articles on keyword research across the web, but they all try to be comprehensive when most of us want “good-enough”. So, is there a Pareto Principle version of keyword discovery and research? Is there a way to get 80% of the value with 20% of the effort? I think so. Today, I am going to walk through how to build a good-enough keyword list in under 11 minutes. To be clear, this is Keyword Discovery, not Keyword Research. Once you have your keywords, you will have to look to use other tools to determine their value.

Two Ways to Skin the Cat

Traditionally, there are two methods to go about getting at keyword discovery. The first approach is keyword-first, the second is URL-first.
  1. Keyword First: In the keyword-first method, you start with a set of known keywords (normally head terms with which you are familiar) and then you use that to find related terms. The advantage of this method is you can find keywords for which none of your competitors are optimized. The disadvantage of this method is you are constrained by your set of known keywords. Perhaps you are missing some big head term that your competitors know about and you don’t.
  2. URL First: In the URL-first method, you start with sites that are your competitors and you mine their rankings data for keywords. The advantage of this method is you can get a wide assortment of related terms, potentially those that don’t match any of the head terms you first imagined. The disadvantage is you will miss out on any keywords for which your competitors are not optimized. Maybe they missed a diamond in the rough.

A Marriage Made in Keyword Heaven

So, I am going to propose a simple solution that takes about 15 minutes to complete and handles both of these techniques, even if you aren’t registered at the sites. It is really simple and really fast. For the purposes of this example, we are going to pretend that you sell baseball cards and have no idea who your competitors are.

What You Need

There is always a catch right? Tools are nearly always a part of the equation. Here is a list of the tools you will need to get this done fast.
  1. Free Keyword Discovery tool from Hive Digital
  2. The Get ’em all bookmarklet from SERPScape (installation tutorial). There is a free 2 week trial for a million rows of data, you should be easily able to get all your data for free.
  3. The free Merge and De-dupe CSV Tool from Hive Digital.

Step 1: Priming Data

Estimated Time: 3 minutes Get a couple of related keywords. Go to the free keyword discovery tool, type in “Baseball Cards” and hit the Go button. You will get back some results for related keywords. Leave this tab open for later. step-01

Step 2: URL First

Estimated Time: 5 minutes Search Google for the top 10 recommended keywords from the keyword recommendation list in Step 1. In this case they were baseball cards, topps baseball cards, most valuable baseball cards, baseball cards value, baseball cards for sale, etc… Each time you search, press the “Get ’em all” bookmark to download all the keywords that all the pages in the results page rank for. Yeah, that is right, this will get all the keywords the #1 page ranks for, plus the #2, plus the #3, all the way down to #10. It should only take a few seconds for each term. step-03What is really great about this is it will pick up phrases that don’t have “baseball cards” in it, but are relevant to the pages that rank for baseball cards. Keyphrases like “card boxes” and “hobby boxes” will show up. This is the benefit of “URL-First Keyword Discovery” which I mentioned before.

Step 3: Merge Your Files

Estimated Time: 3 minutes Use the free merge and de-dupe CSV tool to merge all of the CSVs you just downloaded. step-04

That’s All Folks

Of course, you can expand this even further by just including more base words to start off in Step 1. It really is that easy.