Finding content and SEO ideas with keyword research

Nikki Pilkington

SEO Copywriting & Technical SEO for UK Business Websites

Sometimes a client will have very definite ideas for blog post titles, sometimes you may have ideas of your own, and occasionally it’s a combination of the two.

Then there’s that time when you’re contracted to write a blog post or article for a client, and the ideas just won’t come.

That’s where some half decent keyword research comes in.

And because keyword research is important for both SEO and for thinking of things to write about for your blogs AND your social media posts, you might want to bookmark this to refer back to regularly.

For this post I’m using ‘copywriter’ as my starting keyword point, but you can follow the process for your industry.

Before you start keyword research

Stop thinking of keywords and think of keyphrases

Too much of the time people involved in the world of search talk about keyWORDS when what they really mean is keyPHRASES.

Let’s face it, while it would be awesome to be on the front page of Google for ‘copywriter’ or ‘content’, the chances of that happening are pretty slim.

But, there’s every chance you could be ranked well for ‘Human Resources copywriter’ or ‘copywriter in Bolton’ – and that’s why I want you to stop thinking about key WORDS and start thinking about key PHRASES.

Start thinking about:

  • Short tail keyphrases
  • Long tail keyphrases
  • Semantic keyphrases
  • Keyphrases that are questions
  • Places to research keyphrases
  • Search intent and search volume

I’ve written about keyphrases on ProCopywriters, and also about search intent.

Starting your keyphrase research – write a starter list.

Think of all the things your potential customers could type into Google to find you. In my copywriting example I’m going to imagine my copywriter is a general copywriter, but also give examples where your niche or your specialty could come in handy.

So, my imaginary copywriter would start a list with things like:

  • copywriting
  • copywriter
  • freelance copywriter
  • content writer
  • content writing
  • blog writer
  • blog writing
  • article writer
  • article writing
  • case study writer
  • case study writing
  • website writer
  • website writing

You can see already that most of these keyphrases are going to be very competitive, so let’s focus a bit more.

Expand your list by niche

Add in your niche if you have one – if you don’t, think of your last 5 clients and the niches they were in. If you haven’t had 5 clients, or you don’t want more business like that, think of 5 niches you WOULD like to write for.


  • [niche] copywriter
  • [niche] content writing
  • [niche] blog writing
  • [niche] article writer
  • [niche] case study writing


Some of these will still be quite competitive, but let’s not worry about that for now.

Add in location (maybe)

Whether your business is location based or not, a lot of people still like to work with local-ish businesses, so it’s worth thinking about using location in some cases.

Which gives us:

  • [niche] copywriter [location]
  • [niche] blog writer [location]


Remember, your location is not just the place where you live or work. It’s the nearest big towns to you, the county, the area of your country, and your actual country. If you’re in the UK, use ‘UK’ as one of your location keyphrase add-ons. If you’re in Spain, use ‘Spain’. You get the idea.

Think of questions people might ask

Lots of people search by using questions, and answering a question well could earn you a Featured Snippet on Google (such as in the People Also Ask section). Questions also make awesome blog post titles, as well as brilliant hooks for social media posts.

Use the standard questions format of Who, What, When, Where, and How.

In my copywriter example, the questions I can think of before going off and doing actual research are:

  • What does a copywriter do?
  • How much does a copywriter cost?
  • Can I write my own website?
  • What is the copywriting process?
  • How do I choose a copywriter?
  • What questions should I ask a copywriter?
  • When should I start working with a copywriter on my website?
  • Does a copywriter write blog posts?

Starting your keyphrase research

This is where it gets interesting! Let’s find out how many people are searching for these keyphrases, and how difficult they would be to rank for (if you’re thinking about SEO – this isn’t so important if you’re thinking of ideas for social media posts).

The main places I use to do keyword research are:


Screengrab showing SE Ranking SEO software for keyword research

This is my first port of call these days, as it has replaced SEMrush as my reporting tool of choice. Mainly because it’s cheaper and still gives me everything I need, including a keyword research tool. You can get a free trial here, and I highly recommend it.

With SERanking, you can explore similar and related keywords, find out how difficult it would be to rank for a keyphrase, find out the search intent, related questions, and more.

Ahrefs free keyword tool

Ahrefs screengrab for keyword research

This is a free keyword research tool that will give you the search volume and keyword difficulty for ten phrases at a time. The info is pretty basic, but will do if you don’t need more than an idea of whether a keyphrase is worth focusing on.

Also Asked

Also Asked is awesome for FAQ content and question based blog posts. Type in your keywords and Also Asked will generate a diagram featuring your keyphrase in various different questions. You might have to play around with it a bit to get any decent results from it, but it’s a good place to brainstorm blog titles and social media content ideas. You can only do a limited amount of searches per day on the free version, and you’ll probably use them up quite quickly, so plan carefully if you don’t want to subscribe.

Google’s People Also Asked feature

I’ve written about this already, so if you haven’t read it, please take a look at this.


I wrote about Quora recently, you can find out the process I use here.


I know, I know, anyone who even remotely writes for a living is supposed to hate ChatGPT, but for keyword ideas, it’s pretty cool.

You won’t get any stats such as how many times the keyphrase is searched for, or how many competitors there are, but it’s a good brainstorming place for ideas. You can then use one of the other tools I’ve mentioned to find out searches, intent, difficulty etc.

A quick and easy way to get started with ChatGPT is to type in the following prompt:

Tell me what people would type into Google if they were searching for (a) [your keyphrase]

Here you can see some of the ideas ChatGPT gave me for ‘website copywriter’.

ChatGPT screengrab showing conversation about keywords

Use the tools above to research and decide on the keywords and phrases you want to focus on – you can use these for blog posts, pages on your website, and social media posts.

There’s still a fair bit to talk about when it comes to keyword research, but this should give you a start. And if you need help on what to do with those keywords once you have them, I’d love it if you would consider my 1:1 SEO Training.

Originally published on


Cover photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash




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