When it comes to creating epic content, sitting down and just writing something isn’t enough. Even if you write the most helpful blog post in the world, if it can’t be found, it’s not going to help anyone. A requirement of epic content is that it’s easy to find when people need it most.

When someone needs to find an answer to a problem they’re having, they often turn to Google to find the answer. If your content was created with data from Google, your ideal reader should be able to find your article through a Google search and solve their problem.

So how do you create content that uses data from Google? By using one of Google’s own tools, Keyword Planner, to research exactly what people are searching for. Google’s Keyword Planner will tell you the terms people are searching for, how many times per month they’re searching for those terms, and how competitive those terms are.

From there, you can take that information to craft incredibly useful content for your ideal customers.

Here’s how to use Google’s Keyword Planner to create epic content.

The basics of using Google’s Keyword Planner

First thing’s first: To access Google’s Keyword Planner, you need a Google Ads account. But don’t worry — you don’t need to run any ads or even enter you’re billing information. Just follow the steps below. First, you’ll need to go to Keyword Planner‘s homepage.

Once you’re there, click “Go to Keyword Planner.” If you don’t have an ad account, you’ll be prompted to create one. Go ahead and do that.Next, you’ll be asked about your main advertising goal. Just click the link “Experienced with Google Ads” underneath all the goals.

You can click this whether you have experience with Google Ads or not. Clicking it will skip a few steps that aren’t required for using Keyword Planner.On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select a campaign type.

You can skip this question too by clicking on “Create an account without a campaign.”You’ll go through a few more screens that will ask you to confirm your business information. Just click “Submit.” This won’t ask for credit card or billing info.At this point, you should be in your Google Ads platform.

Now you just have to open up Keyword Planner. Google hides this a little bit. To get to Keyword Planner, click on “Tools & Settings” in the top right of the Ads platform. And then click “Keyword Planner.”

There’s one last step before you can start using Keyword Planner. On the next screen, you’ll be given two options. One that says “Discover new keywords” and another that says “Get search volume and forecasts.”

Click the button that says “Discover new keywords.”

Now the fun starts. You get to enter in your keywords that you want to target. In the box that appears on your screen, enter a keyword that’s related to your business.

Keyword Planner will give you the ability to search 10 keywords at one time, but we suggest just focusing on one keyword at a time. Doing one at a time will make your keyword research much more organized.

A NOTE ABOUT YOUR KEYWORDS:

When trying to decide on a keyword to use, don’t go too broad. For example, if you run an ecommerce company that sells outdoor gear, don’t target the keyword “outdoor gear.” It’s too broad, and you won’t get any great ideas for content. Instead, make your focus a little narrower.

Focus on specific product categories you offer, like “hiking boots,” “camping tents,” and “rock climbing shoes.” This will help narrow down the searcher’s intent so that you can actually create content that searchers are interested in reading.

If you have a list of a few of these root keywords but aren’t sure which one to target first, enter all of those keywords into Keyword Planner at the same time to get the average monthly search volume for each root keyword. Then, start with the root keyword that gets the highest number of average monthly searches.

How to find keywords that will drive a lot of traffic

The goal of keyword research is to find keywords that relate to the products or services that your website sells. Then you can use those keywords to create content that will attract your ideal customer.The best way to do this is to start by seeking out the keywords that have low competition but a high number of monthly searches.

That combination will give you the best shot at outranking your competitors and getting a lot of organic traffic.For Google’s Keyword Planner, competition actually refers to the number of companies who are advertising on that keyword. Even though it’s a metric based on advertising, it’s still useful for content creation because highly competitive keywords not only have a lot of ads targeting them, but they also have a lot of people creating content for those keywords.

To start finding low competition, high-volume keywords, you’ll first need to download the keyword ideas from Keyword Planner into a spreadsheet. Since we’ve already mentioned the ecommerce company that sells outdoor gear, we’ll stick with that as our example. Let’s say you work in marketing for that company, and you’ve decided to create content for people searching for the root keyword “hiking boots.”

You’ve entered that keyword into Keyword Planner, and it has given you a list of 957 keywords. Not all of them are useful so you’ll need to download the list into a spreadsheet to find the best keywords.

Now that the list is downloaded, you need to filter out all of the high-competition keywords. This returns a list of medium- and low-competition keywords. Let’s take it one step further and find the lowest-competition, highest-searched keywords.

To do that, filter out all the keywords that have a search volume under 100. This number might change, depending on the specific keyword you’re targeting, but the point is to get rid of the keywords that get very few monthly searches.

The remaining keywords are your “low-hanging fruit” keywords that you’ll want to tackle first. This list will be very small, and of the keywords that appear on this list, not all of them will be good keywords to build content around.

Here’s how this looks for the “hiking boots” keyword:

There are six keywords left on this list, but only “men’s hiking footwear” and “hiking tips” are worth building content around. The others likely don't have the right search intent, which means you shouldn't waste time creating content for those.If you’re not sure of the search intent of a specific keyword, do a Google search with that keyword.

When you look at the results, you should be able to tell if it’s a keyword that relates to your company. For example, the results for “women in boots” are definitely not related to outdoor gear. Back to our two useful keywords; we still have one more step to find a good content topic.

Our next step is to find other keywords that can tie into these two. This will help give us a structure for an overall blogging strategy. Remove the filters from your spreadsheet, and manually sort it looking for keywords that fit your first keyword. You’re looking for commonalities here. How do other keywords fit into your original low-competition, high-volume keyword?

For “men’s hiking footwear,” when we sorted through our keyword list, we noticed a number of keywords that could tie into this. We found a few different combinations of “boots or shoes.” That fits perfectly into our first keyword, and now we’ve got a working title for our first piece of content: “Men’s Hiking Footwear: Should You Buy Boots or Shoes?” We also found other combinations:

  • There were a few instances of winter-related boot searches. That gives us a topic, “Men’s Hiking Footwear: The Best Winter Hiking Boots”
  • “Hiking sandals” was another common keyword. From that, we could create, “Men’s Hiking Footwear: Are Hiking Sandals Good for Long Hikes?”
  • The keyword “leather” is also common. For that, we could create a blog post called “Men’s Hiking Footwear: Is Leather the Best Material for Hiking Boots?”

All of a sudden, we’re starting to build out a hub-and-spoke model for content creation. Our hub is going to be “Men’s Hiking Footwear,” and our spokes will be each of the secondary topics.

The hub and spoke model is a great strategy to structure your content in a way that sets it up for success, regardless of how competitive your overall keywords are.

Now, go back to the beginning, and repeat this same process with our other low-hanging-fruit keyword, “hiking tips.” Once you’ve done that, restart the whole process, but this time focus on keywords that are slightly more competitive. Keep repeating this process as many times as you can, and then switch your main root keyword to another product category.

For example, once we’ve exhausted the “hiking boots” root keyword, we would switch and go after “rock climbing shoes” as our next root keyword.

Advanced tactics for using Keyword Planner for content research

We’ve covered the basics of using Keyword Planner. Now let’s go a step deeper and use some tactics that are slightly more advanced. These tactics will really help you dial in your content.

HOW TO FIND COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Commonly asked questions are always great starting points for content. Commonly asked questions can drive a lot of traffic to your website.Luckily, Google’s Keyword Planner makes it relatively simple to find commonly asked questions.

  • After you’ve entered your keyword into Keyword Planner and gotten the keyword ideas, you now need to add a filter.
  • In the filter, click “keyword text” then “contains.” Enter in your question operators: “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,“ “why,“ and “how.”
  • When we do this with our keyword “hiking boots,” we find multiple questions that we can answer with content. Here are a few:
  • “What is a good brand of hiking boots” could be a comparison guide where you test and compare different hiking boots that your website sells.
  • “How to size hiking boots” should be an in-depth guide about how to find the best fitting hiking boots.
  • “How to shop for hiking boots” should tell readers exactly what to take into consideration when they’re looking to buy hiking boots.

When you’re going through this process, there will be plenty of keywords that won’t work well for blog content. Anything location-specific, like “where to buy [product],” isn’t going to be good because the search intent isn’t right. That searcher is looking to buy, not read content.

HOW TO FIND YOUR COMPETITORS’ KEYWORDS

Want to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for? Google’s Keyword Planner can help with that too. Here’s how:

Restart your keyword search altogether. When you click on “Discover new keywords,” you’ll want to enter your competitor’s URL rather than a keyword.  

After you click “Get started,” you’ll be left with a list of keywords that Google thinks your competitors are ranking for, or should be ranking for.

Next, you’ll want to exclude your competitor’s brand name from the keyword results because you're not going to rank for their brand name.

To do this, add a filter of “keyword text does not contain” and enter the brand name.  
We’ll put this in action by using our fake outdoor ecommerce company. In this example, REI is our main competitor. Let’s see what they rank for. We started by entering their URL into the search box, and then we excluded “REI” from the keyword results.

Now we would go through the process of downloading and filtering the list to look for keywords that we can reasonably target.

This tactic becomes especially useful when you add the question operators as a filter, like we mentioned in the previous advanced tactic. That will return a list of questions that your competitors rank for.

Other keyword tools

Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool simply because it’s free. But there are other keyword research tools that work even better. Here are four of our favorites:

ANSWER THE PUBLIC

Answer the Public makes it easy to find questions that people are searching for. This takes our advanced tactic from above and makes it much easier. All you have to do is enter in your keyword, and you’ll get a list of commonly asked questions.

This tool works by giving you all of the questions that are suggested by Google’s and Bing’s autosuggest features.

What we like: It’s free for basic searches, and you can download the questions into a CSV.

What we don’t like: The default user interface is difficult to understand. It puts the questions into wheels that are hard to read. Luckily, you can change this with one click, but it still seems like an unnecessary step.

KEYWORDS EVERYWHERE

Keywords Everywhere is a browser add-on that gives you all sorts of data about the keywords you’re searching for. Right on the SERP, it will give you keyword volume, competition, related searches, and related keywords.

What we like: It’s so simple to use. There’s no difference between using this and a regular Google search.

What we don't like: While it can still be useful for content creation, the tool's best use case is PPC advertising.

KEYWORD TOOL

Keyword Tool helps you find keywords based on Google’s autocomplete. Start with your root keyword and it will tell you what else Google searchers are pairing with that keyword.

What we like: In addition to Google, Keyword Tool also gives you results from Bing, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, and other search engines.

What we don’t like: The free version is very limited. You only get data from three keywords, even though you’ll get a full list of related keywords.

SPYFU

We built SpyFu specifically for keyword research. Our keyword research tool gives you an overview of your keywords, tells you how competitive they are, suggests related keywords, provides organic history, and so much more.

One of my favorite features of our keyword tool is the backlinks feature. This feature tells you the backlinks that the top-ranking content has gotten. You can use this data to go after those same websites with the new, better content that you’ve created.

What we like: The free version gives you a lot of features that most other freemium keyword tools don’t give you.

What we don’t like: We’re a bit biased, but we truly like everything about our tool.

Epic content requires in-depth keyword research

If you truly want to create epic content that gets a lot of attention and ranks highly in organic search, you need to take a strategic approach to it. Keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner, or with another keyword research tool, is the first step to creating a strategy for your epic content.

Keyword research takes a lot of time, but if you skip it, you’ll just be guessing at what type of content will rank well for your website. That’s going to lead to a lot of wasted time and energy.