I hate the Keyword Tool (Or as it's now called, The Keyword Planner). I haven't used it in years, mostly because I found it a strange way to get serious topic ideas. For the last few years I've been using Google suggest instead.
I've had great success with Google Suggest (I can thank it, in the most part, for the 20,000 visitors a day I get to my pregnancy website). It gives me a real idea of what people are searching for, includes longtail keywords, and gives me a chance to also scan search results quickly for new topic ideas. Plus it has the bonus of being free and easily accessible.
With no further ado, here's how I use Google suggest to find good titles, then put them to use.
What is Google Suggest?
Google suggest is a list of suggestions generated by Google as you search. These suggestions are based on common words and phrases that people regularly type into Google.
Why Should You Use Google Suggest to Find Topics?
There are plenty of reasons that you should use Google suggest to find fantastic topics that no one is writing about. Here are a few:
- You can see what questions real people are trying to find answers about.
- Suggestions are based on real searches, so you know they get at least some traffic already.
- Using the right starter keywords in Google suggest (read more below) is a great way to find topics that authority sites have overlooked or aren't writing about.
- Many big sites write content based on the Google Keyword Planner or other fancy SEO tools, not real human searches.
- Even if you already have a general topic in mind Google suggest can help you phrase your title to match what people are typing in, including alternate words, synonyms and slang or phrasing.
How to Do A Google Suggest Search
It's easy to search using Google Suggest.
- Start typing any word into the Google search box.
- Look at the drop down list of suggestions and click on one which you either know about or find interesting.
Tips for Using Google Suggest Easily
- You can search using any combination of words, even if they don't create a logical sentence. Google will give you suggestions which include your keywords (see image 1).
- Less is better. Start out with two or three words then narrow them down more if you see a way to do so.
- Don't just use the main words that most people type into Google. Look for synonyms or related words and topics. For instance, instead of just flowers try roses, plants, leafy plants etc.
- Use pronouns to find topics that people are searching for that are more personalised. For instance I have, My plant is, or When will I (see image 2).
Ideas: Starter Phrases for Google Suggest
Not sure what to type into Google suggest? The 5 W+H and pronouns both work well! Here are some examples:
- What do [word]
- Where does [word]
- Why do [word]
- When does [word]
- Who is the [word]
- My [word] is
- I feel [word]
Not specific enough still? Try adding a single letter at a time from the alphabet to your phrase to narrow down even more specific search terms.
- When flowers n
- When flowers o
- When flowers p
How to Check the Competition on Google Suggest Topics
Once I've found an interesting topic I look at the results that come up for it in Google search. If they're all on sites such as Yahoo answers, forums or wikipedia, I find that they're usually easy to beat. For further information on how I check competition, check out my guide.
Incorporating Google Suggestions into Titles
I find that the two best ways to create awesome titles are:
- Creating lists. More specifically, the longest lists on the Internet. It's easy to do this, by collating the content from other related lists, forum posts and Yahoo answers into one article.
- Using a question as a title. Because people don't Google answers, they Google questions.
I also find that I can often use multiple Google suggestions in one title, so I can get traffic on multiple topics at once. I'll use an example from a recent post on one of my websites.
Can I Wear Contacts, Jewelry, Bra or Nail Polish During Labor or Csection?
Which was based on four questions:
- Can I wear contacts during labor?
- Can I wear a bra during labor?
- Can I wear nail polish during labor?
- Can I wear jewelry during labor?
And the last step...
I always add an MFP (Made for Pinterest) image onto my content, including the title in the description of the image. It's a great way to encourage Google visitors to pin the article straight to their own Pinterest boards, so you can get Pinterest traffic with no work on your part (other than creating the image of course!) Including the title in the image description means that the title will be included on Pinterest, increasing your article's SEO when it's repinned.
Rada Heger on May 21, 2020:
Very useful. I have my own site and I will definitely use your ways to get more traffic!
Trooly on February 13, 2020:
I just can't wait to start dealing with keywords.
I wish I know this long ago.
Reginald Thomas from Connecticut on January 19, 2019:
Thank you for writing a good hub! Lots of valuable information that I will use down the road. Thanks again!
L M Reid from Ireland on January 16, 2018:
This article is very interesting and useful. I find Google Planner very complicated and time consuming. I will use Google Suggest and create some user friendly titles.
K S Lane from Melbourne, Australia on January 05, 2018:
This is a great idea! I'll have to use google suggest when I'm planning my next title. Thanks!
WheelScene from U.S.A. on October 16, 2017:
This is a good read, thanks for sharing!
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on September 23, 2017:
Great suggestions... about Google suggest. You reminded me how useful this tool is. I am just getting started at HubPages again after being away a few years, sadly ignoring my hubs until only a few were still featured. I will be using Google suggest... a great way to find long-tail phrases people search for.
Sudipa from India on August 26, 2017:
Thanks..keyword planner is much confusing for me. This is simpler.
Besarien from South Florida on August 21, 2017:
I admire your tenacity!
pen promulgates on July 28, 2017:
Kiluwasha from Tanzania on July 19, 2017:
Thank you !
Sally Farrington on June 11, 2017:
Thank you! Keyword planner just confuses the crap out me. THIS makes sense :-)
Nancy Lewis on June 09, 2017:
Great tips, will try them! Thank you
Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on March 15, 2017:
Thanks for sharing. Will experiment with google suggest as I can do with more traffic.
McKenna Meyers on December 14, 2016:
Thanks for teaching me about Google Suggest. I'll start using it today!
L.M. Hosler on December 05, 2016:
Some very good interesting ideas that I am going to try.
Jo Lim on July 08, 2016:
Great tips. Will try and hope it works well. Thanks
Mariam Shams from Sheffield on May 26, 2016:
Amazing and highly appreciated
Ngozi Ebubedike Ahumibe from Lagos, Nigeria on October 18, 2015:
This is indeed a very valuable information. There is always something to take away from your hubs.
Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on October 17, 2015:
These are great tips for generating more traffic. Thanks for sharing this information.
Jose Juan Gutierrez from Mexico City on September 13, 2015:
Very informative hub! I will start searching with google seach. Thanks!
Paola Bassanese from London on August 25, 2015:
In one word: brilliant. Thank you for this explanation - very useful!
Lana Adler from California on August 23, 2015:
I love this hub. I come back to it again and again to solidify key points. Very helpful, especially since I hate the Keyword Tool too!
Mary Wickison from Brazil on August 18, 2015:
Thank you for this, I will give it a try.
I like the idea of starting with a question word. It makes sense, people are searching for an answer . So to write a post which can answer their question, we need to know what they are asking in the first place.
All this time it was staring us in the face.
You always have such helpful ideas.
Karine Gordineer from Upstate New York on August 18, 2015:
Great hub! I will need to try this out.
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2015:
This is amazing. I can't wait to try it for myself. Awesome and useful.
Susannah Birch (author) from Toowoomba, Australia on August 16, 2015:
@younghopes, I've covered that in the section of the article titled "How to Check the Competition on Google Suggest Topics"
Shadaan Alam from India on August 15, 2015:
But i wonder what about the competition level then? Google suggest doesnt tell us that, it just gives us the keyword. What if a title we choose has a high competition and we couldnt get ranked for that. Plz suggest
twoseven from Madison, Wisconsin on August 15, 2015:
Thank you so much for this idea! I have a number of hubs in various stages of (non)completion, and I'm not sure which ones to focus my energies on. I'm going to play around with Google suggest to help me choose, and perhaps to tailor my hubs according to what I learn!
poetryman6969 on August 15, 2015:
This is some clever thinking. Voted up!
Shadaan Alam from India on August 15, 2015:
Very informative hub Wrylilt, you are amazing really.
M L Morgan on August 15, 2015:
Great hub with information that was delivered perfectly. I'm sure many will benefit from your advice :)
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 15, 2015:
Thumbs up and useful - I have dabbled with using Google Suggest, but when I looked at the keyword planner, it said no one was searching for that info. I had already written the article, so I posted it anyway. It is two weeks old but getting a few views everyday, maybe it will take off in time!
Alex moya fernandez from Barcelona on August 15, 2015:
Really good info! As always, straight to the point. Thank you ;)
Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on August 15, 2015:
That's solid advice and I really like your example on the title of what can you wear during labor. Hubs with logical sections like that do well.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 15, 2015:
I also stopped using the keyword tool a long time ago. Google Suggest is so much better and actually it's even easier to use. Bing also has the same tool and I use both Google's and Bing's Suggest to find what people are searching for.
I use it to improve titles on existing hubs, even on old hubs, not just new ones.
You introduced a great tutorial here to get the most out of this method. The starter phrases you recommend are definitely the way the get started. And the idea of changing just one letter at a time is brilliant! It's a way to show many more things people are searching.
Jasmeet Kaur from India on August 15, 2015:
Its a new idea and it sounds working. I am going to try it now... :)
Mark Ewbie from UK on August 15, 2015:
I really need to start doing this more. My best results have come from searches I did that did not give me very good answers - so when I figured out my own answer I wrote a page on it.