Finding good keywords to use for content creation is one of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing.
It’s generally easy enough to come up with a rough idea of what someone might be searching in Google just by using your own intuition and niche knowledge.
For example, someone who is interested in buying art might Google something like ‘art for sale’ and you probably don’t need any sophisticated keyword research software to tell you that.
However, if you are serious about finding good keywords to target with your digital content (e.g. blog posts, YouTube videos etc) then you’re probably going to want to invest in some decent keyword research software.
In my day-to-day work as a B2B digital marketing consultant, I do a fair bit of keyword research. Generally this is for SEO/SEM/content marketing purposes for my clients.
I also am still active in the affiliate marketing/niche site building space as well, so basically I have a number of reasons why I need to be able to find long tail keywords to build content around, ideally with low competition so it is easier to rank on weaker domains.
Over the years I’ve worked in digital marketing, I’ve used a number of different keyword research tools, from the original Google Keyword Planner through to paid tools like Ahrefs.com
A few months ago I came across a “new kid on the block” called Keyword Chef (it was being advertised in a Facebook group I’m part of) and I decided to give it a try.
In this Keyword Chef review I’ll take you through my experience with this application to help you decide if it is the right choice for your needs.
What Is Keyword Chef?
Fundamentally, it is a keyword research tool that is designed to make it easier for you to find “long tail” keywords (these are keywords that are quite specific, with a high level of search intent and generally lower competition).
For example, if you have a niche website about car detailing, then you will want to find out the sorts of keywords and phrases that people are searching for that relate to car detailing (with a view of using that to inform your upcoming content).
While you can do some of this process manually, having keyword research software like Keyword Chef really helps.
You put in your “seed keyword” e.g. ‘car detailing’ and then use it to help you find specific phrases that people are searching for.
Basically, Keyword Chef is intended to make the process of keyword research easier and faster.
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Keyword Chef System Requirements
There are no particular system requirements for Keyword Chef.
It’s a cloud-based tool, so as long as you can access the Internet on a device of your choice.
Although you can use Keyword Chef on a mobile device, I strongly recommend using a proper laptop or desktop computer.
Keyword Chef Pricing
Unlike many ‘Software as a Service’ applications, Keyword Chef has a unique pricing structure in that it uses credits instead of a monthly subscription.
1 credit = 1 keyword idea, so if you input a search that yields 500 potential keyword ideas, then that would cost you 500 credits.
Keyword Chef will tell you how many keywords it has found before your credits are deducted, meaning you don’t run the risk of blowing through credits faster than you might expect. You are in the driver’s seat the whole way!
Here's the current pricing for Keyword Chef:
How Does It Work? A Quick Tutorial
With that in mind, let’s run through a quick tutorial on how to use Keyword Chef.
In order to protect my privacy and that of my clients’ data, I have deliberately omitted some parts of the interface. However, this should hopefully give you a good walk through of how to use Keyword Chef to find long tail keyword ideas.
Firstly, you’ll need to register your account. You can get 1000 free credits to try the system with, which is a generous allocation in my view.
From there, you’ll head over to the “Discover” section that allows you to make your first search.
Input your seed keyword in the search box, and then select the type of search you want to run from the dropdown menu on the left e.g. ‘Question’ if you want to find questions (NB: in the original version of Keyword Chef you didn’t have to select the type of result you wanted to find - you could just filter your results on that basis but apparently an API limitation means that the application needed to change to require you to pick a result type before any results can be returned).
Using the car detailing example, I’ve chosen ‘car wax’ as my seed keyword, with an aim to return the Question search result type.
There are other search result types such as Wildcard, How To etc.
The ability to use the * symbol to generate a wildcard search is a great way to return interesting keyword ideas, and uncover hidden gems.
Note that you can also use ‘Global’ search volume or restrict to specific regions/countries.
At this juncture, Keyword Chef will then do a search and return a preview of your results. You can see here that it will cost me 231 credits to return all of the suggestions based on my inputs (‘car wax’ and “Questions” results type).
You can see sample keywords, as well as input filters to remove irrelevant keywords before you even see them or have them count towards your credit balance. You can click the plus symbol to specify a custom filter as well.
Once happy, click ‘Get Keywords’ to see your results.
Here’s the sort of thing you might expect to see:
Basically you’ll get a list of all the returned keywords, ordered from high to low in terms of average search volume.
You can see from my example that the inputs I specified have returned a list of some fairly specific searches, which could formulate great content for a car detailing website!
Along the top there are a series of tabs such as ‘Filters’, ‘Volume/SERP’ etc that allow you to manipulate the list. They are all fairly self-explanatory and I’m sure you’ll work them out quickly enough.
The one area I want to focus on more is the “SERP” option.
This is Keyword Chef’s inbuilt SERP difficulty checker.
What you do is click on the magnifying glass next to a keyword, and then you’ll get a score and colour symbol.
0 is the lowest score, and anything 0-2 is shown in a grey circle.
3 is yellow.
4+ is green.
The higher the number, the easier it is likely going to be to rank for the keyword.
The way the SERP difficulty score works is that Keyword Chef looks for the number of sites in the top 10 results (for a given keyword) that are considered easy to outrank.
Generally this is based on things like forum threads showing for a search, which are often easier to outrank (although Google’s algorithm seems to have shifted recently to once again favour forum threads, so I’m not sure how effective this measurement will be).
The other sites are social pages, Pinterest, and ‘weak blogs’ although AFAIK there is no actual definition as to what constitutes a weak blog.
One other thing you can do is set up a list of custom domains to check against. Basically if you find your site consistently outranks a competitor when you both target the same keyword, then you can input their domain as a custom domain and then Keyword Chef will check if that site appears in the top 10 results for a keyword - that is a nifty feature for sure.
Let’s look at two examples to see how this works.
In the first example, I’ve selected the most popular keyword by search volume - ‘which car wax is the best’. The SERP difficulty checker shows a score of 0, meaning that there are 0 listings in the top 10 that Keyword Chef believes will be easy to outrank.
If we compare the keyword ‘does car wax expire’ Keyword Chef has identified a score of 6, indicating that there are 6 pages that should apparently be fairly easy to outrank.
I believe that any of these calculated difficulty scores are useful as indicative measures only, and shouldn’t be regarded as gospel - but certainly this is an easy way to get started!
- Easy to use -
It takes next to no time to get started with Keyword Chef. All you need to be able to do is follow some simple steps, and have an understanding of how to come up with good seed keyword ideas to start the research process. I had a list of 50+ long tail keywords with low SERP competition scores within 10 minutes of first registering my account.
- Affordable -
Keyword Chef is priced to be accessible regardless of budget, and I love the credit-based system which makes it so much easier to use this tool at your own pace. I spent $250 on credits about three months ago, and still have the vast majority of them left.
- Generally returns good results -
Most importantly, Keyword Chef does a good job of turning your seed keyword(s) into meaningful and useful long tail keywords that can be used to help you create content. I have uncovered hundreds of great keyword ideas across lots of different industries and niches - both for my own affiliate marketing activities and also for the purpose of benefiting client sites via content marketing etc.
- SERP difficulty scoring isn’t particularly sophisticated -
Just about every paid keyword research tool has attempted (with varying degrees of success and sophistication) to develop a keyword ranking difficulty calculator. Tools like Long Tail Pro definitely have more sophisticated algorithms, whereas Keyword Chef basically makes an arbitrary “yes/no” as to whether a given top 10 result looks easy to outrank based on its being a forum thread, Pinterest link etc. While the measurement in Keyword Chef is a useful yardstick, you really need to do your own more detailed research … or just not care about keyword ranking difficulty at all and crank out the content!
- Sometimes has difficulty returning results -
From time to time I have noticed that the application will not return any results. This doesn’t seem to be due to the seed keyword being a poor “base” from which to find results, but simply an application error. Generally logging out and logging back in again will get everything working fine, and this happens infrequently enough to not be a real issue.
- You can probably find the same keywords for free -
This is perhaps the biggest downside of Keyword Chef (and most other keyword research tools in general). If you try hard enough, you can almost always find the same keyword ideas for free, using Google’s Suggest & People Also Asked databases. You will have to spend more time and you won’t get the quick SERP difficulty scoring, but you can make a great start without ever paying for any keyword research software.
Keyword Chef Review Conclusion
Overall, I’m a big fan of Keyword Chef.
It is probably the best value for money keyword research tool on the market right now, if your focus is on finding long tail keywords for digital marketing/niche site creation purposes.
The focus of this tool is definitely more towards those looking to build niche sites for affiliate marketing or selling their own products, but it has applications for those of us doing client work e.g. SEO/SEM/content marketing as well.
It’s easy to use and generally returns helpful results, with a strong alignment towards helping you find long tail keywords with low competition that should be easier to rank for.
Outside of how easy the application is to use and generate good results with, my other favorite aspect of Keyword Chef is the credit-based pricing structure.
Credits are fairly priced, and it’s so handy to be able to dive in and use them as needed without having to commit to an ongoing monthly subscription.
In my view, credit-based pricing systems like this are one of the fairest and best ways to operate, as opposed to forcing people on to monthly subscriptions for content they might not use.
In fact, if Keyword Chef moved to a subscription-based model, I probably wouldn’t continue and would stick to using Ahrefs.com instead.
To conclude, I am a happy customer of Keyword Chef and intend on continuing to use it for a long time.
Although you can generally find great long tail keyword ideas using nothing more than Google’s free ‘People Also Asked’ widget within Google Search (see my video below on how to do this) using Keyword Chef is just such a timesaver for keyword research.
Go here to give the free trial a go; you get 1000 credits that will allow you to find up to 1000 keywords.
I hope to do a video review soon as well, so keep an eye out for that!