If you are a low spender on AdWords, Google Keyword Planner now shows only very broad traffic ranges for suggested search terms.
This is inconvenient for the many writers out there who like to use this tool to plan their content.
Here’s a really quick roundup of five genuinely useful and fun alternatives if you are looking for content ideas.
They don’t all show traffic figures either, but are easy to use and will hopefully provide inspiration.
NB click on the images to visit each of the sites.
1. KW Finder
A very impressive tool that gives a wide range of data, including estimated search traffic, cost-per-clicks, most trafficked URLs and traffic over the past 12 months.
Yes, it’s a tool with a pricing plan, but what’s great is that the casual user is allowed five uses of the tool every day for free (with a maximum of 25 keywords provided per search).
2. Answer The Public
This is the most eye-catching site I’ve seen for creating content ideas, even if the results are nowhere near as good as KW Finder.
Ask ‘the seeker’ (a designer/fisherman looking bloke acting strangely in a video background) about a phrase and he’ll provide you with a visualisation of 30 questions.
They don’t all help, but there’s often the kernel of a good idea on one of the branches.
3. ‘site:quora.com’ or faq fox
Using the ‘site:’ modifier query in Google search allows you to cleverly mine FAQ sites such as Quora, Ask Metafilter or Yahoo! Answers.
These sites are great resources for finding tangential questions on a particular subject.
So, for example, I just searched for ‘site:quora.com seo tools’ and the results can be seen below, giving me some new ideas.
There’s a somewhat slicker way of doing this, which lessens the workload.
It’s a tool called faqfox, and one can simply add a keyphrase and the url of an FAQ site, and the tool will spit out a long list of questions.
4. Portent’s Content Idea Generator
This is probably my favourite, perhaps because it is the most silly. The tool doesn’t give you suggestions for tangential content, rather it simply reframes the word or phrase that you enter.
Essentially, it’s a headline writer. And given headline writing is an art that takes a while to master, this tool can give you a headstart.
WordNet is a lexical database of English created at Princeton.
It can be used handily as a thesaurus, providing plenty of examples of usage which are a real help when writing.
For extensive advice on organic search, see the Econsultancy SEO Best Practice Guide.