Our Affiliate SEO tip this week is using free tools to quickly find good seed keywords for your affiliate content marketing projects. We all know that keywords drive Google search results. Google evaluates the search query a user enters, sifts through all the pages it has indexed and decides what content is best for the user’s request.

Keywords, including related keywords (semantic keywords), are the dominant factor in evaluating the content appropriateness for the search request. Whose document and it what order Google returns is much more complicated and has factors that include domain authority, technical SEO, site performance, mobile experience etc.

But the keywords provide the context. So how to find keywords for your content marketing efforts? How do you decide what to write about?

First, it must be great content that exceeds the currently available information. It must solve the user question that he is asking of Google. You can’t write crap or spin content and stuff it with keywords. That does not work. You need to be sure that your great content intersects with the keywords that match the user’s query. And you want keywords that have the right amount of volume (searches per month).

LSIGraph and

Lately, I have been using LSIGraph and to quickly find seed keywords and topics for my content. I often then plug these into SEMrush for further verification. There are many free and premium keyword tools to consider. But for this tip let’s focus on just free tools as I know many affiliate marketers are working on tight budgets. is a handy free tool to enter a list of keywords and get their search volume. Why not just use Google tools like Keyword Planner? Well, Google now restricts Keyword planner to those with Adsense accounts that are buying ads. And I always try to reduce my Google dependency. isn’t a perfect tool and I do get more accurate numbers from Ahrefs or SEMrush which uses actual clickstream data to calculate keyword traffic. But Search volume gets me the order of magnitude numbers that I want. Ranges for the search volumes are fine for me at this point.

LSI Graph

LSI Graph is a great free tool for finding related keywords. Or in SEO terms, semantic keywords. As Google gets smarter these semantic keywords get more important.  The 2013 Hummingbird update added the semantic algorithm to Google search. Google now determines the meaning of your content in a more intelligent way than just matching literal keywords. Again premium tools like will give you more thorough results but I find LSI Graph gives plenty of related keywords and is in-tune with current Google best practices – and free!

Go to our affiliate SEO guide for related SEO tips..


Start with your main seed keywords and plug those into Let’s use guitar tuners as an example. There are almost 250,000 monthly searches for “guitar tuner”. That will be dominated by large well-established companies. But there are 5400 searches per month for the keyword acoustic guitar tuners and 1000 for best guitar tuners. I like those ranges, not 50k and not 50.  I would go and check the DA authority with the MOZ toolbar for Chrome active.

I see for that search the sites in the top 10 for “best guitar tuners” have a DA in the 20’s – 40’s. I can compete with that. I also want to be informative in my posts. I will look for how to use a guitar tuner and other keywords in that area. Now let’s get the LSIGrapgh results.

Keyword Research for Affiliate Content

I plug in best guitar tuners and get 35 results. Copy paste that back to I do the same for the “how to use a tuner” phrase and find the following interesting keywords and monthly volumes.:

best guitar tuner 1,000

best guitar tuning app 1,300

polytune clip 1,300

snark tuner 5,400

how to tune a guitar 18,100

Wrapping Up

My hypothetical article is taking shape from a  keyword perspective.  I will discuss guitar tuners, how to tune a guitar, online guitar tuning apps, and some specific products. I will use my main keywords in the Title and first paragraph and spread out the related and semantic keywords in the article. I will also use the secondary keywords in image alt tags.

Be careful not to include too many keywords or you will dilute your content focus. I can take this one step further and fire up SEMrush (free trial) to get a more detailed picture of the competition for these keywords. Or I can use it to check my other content for any keyword overlap.

When I set out to write this article I knew I wanted to show how to use a guitar tuner and the best ones available. Now using free tools, I quickly have a keyword roadmap for my Best Guitar Tuner Article.