Drawing a blank on a blog post you’ve been writing? Not sure what keywords you should target with a particular product description? Here are a few surprising yet incredibly valuable sources of information.

Keywords make the world go ‘round

Google’s made plenty of changes to its algorithms over the past several years. The search engine is increasingly focused on the end-user experience –providing people with the best results possible based more on the intent of their searches rather than raw keywords. 

Even so, keywords are still extremely important. Targeting the right search terms is still essential to bring in the right traffic –the main difference is that the process has changed a bit.

Content is now king. The process of researching and brainstorming keywords now necessarily includes content creation. Figuring out what topics to focus on and what angle to take with those topics is now as important as using tools like Google Analytics or SEM Rush.

Those tools are merely a starting point

There are plenty of other places where you can look for topic and keyword research. Places you might not at first expect. Here are a few.

Q&A Sites

By far, one of the most popular social networks for information in the form of articles is Quora.  It’s marvelously simple on the surface – a lightly-curated social network where people ask questions on a wide variety of topics, covering everything from social media to marketing strategies to mathematics and physics. You’re probably at least somewhat aware that establishing yourself as an expert here is a great way to bring in traffic for your site.

What you might not know is that you can also use Quora as an endless source of information and inspiration.  You can find questions about pretty much any topic you might write on. This allows you to generate ideas based entirely on what your audience is asking – on what they want to know. 

Quora is far from the only site of its kind, of course. There are plenty of other communities and search engines like QuestionSpy and Answer The People. But Quora has a larger community and users tend to be more active.

Reddit

Reddit bills itself as the front page of the Internet, and for a very good reason. It’s the source of much of the web’s most popular viral content and has one of the most active, engaged audiences of any social network on the web. More importantly, the way the community is organized — it’s divided into a huge number of different “subreddits” based on topic and interest — it’s also key to its popularity.

That means if you want to know what people are saying about a particular subject — or if you know the interests of your audience, what they’re talking about — you can easily check out a few subreddits for details.

Wikis

Sites like Wikipedia are good for more than whiling away hours learning stuff that has no feasible application in the real world. They can also serve as an excellent source of keyword and topic research. For instance, if you have a keyword in mind, you can enter it into either Wikipedia or search through the wiki via Google.

You can then have a browse through some of the articles that pop up, paying particularly close attention to the references section.

Of course, even with just a vague topic in mind, you can spend a bit of time on Wikipedia, clicking through the related articles. 

Conclusion

Traditional keyword research still has its place in your search engine optimization efforts –but that research should be augmented with more effective topic brainstorming, drawing on multiple sources. Not just the ones listed above, either. Consider the resources above just a starting point.

**About the Author: Daniel Page is the Director of Business Development for ASEOHosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting.