How to Use Keyword Research Tools to Build Content Outlines

Learn how to use keyword research tools to create a highly-optimized content outline.

Do you want to create epic pieces of content with long form posts, but you’re not sure what to write about? Or do you simply want to get more bang for your buck by optimizing one post for multiple keyword phrases? If you answered yes to either question, then creating a content outline with the assistance of a keyword research tool is the solution. Let’s look at why this works, how to do it, and what tools to use.

Why It Works

The HTML coding behind your blog posts typically utilizes header tags in the following order to markup important organizational elements of the content.

  • H1 tag – The blog post title.
  • H2 and H3 tags – The blog post’s subheadings.
  • H4 and H5 tags – Titles for sidebar, footer widgets.

You can see these header tags in action on this post by looking at how that post title and subsequent section headers are larger and bolded. Just like they stand out to you as a reader, they stand out to search engines as well. In terms of on page search optimization, the title tag and H1 tag for your post will hold the most weight, so you will want to put your main keyword phrase there. But you can use the additional H2 and H3 tags within your content to optimize for longer tail keyword phrases that support the main keyword phrase, thus giving your content more than one thing to rank well for.

Now, let’s look at how to create your content outline using a few great keyword tools.

Using the Google Keyword Planner

Let’s say that you want to write a mega-guide about gardening, but you don’t know where to start. Here’s how you can use the Google Keyword Planner to give you a great, keyword-optimized outline. First, you will enter gardening as your seed keyword to get keyword ideas.


Next, click on the Keyword Ideas tab and then Download button above the results. This will export your keyword ideas into an Excel CSV file.


Hide all of the columns except the Keyword and Avg. monthly searches columns. Sort the keyword list using the Avg. monthly searches column to show the keywords in order of most to least searched.


Most searches will result in a maximum of 800 keyword ideas, which is why you want to download all of the ideas to an Excel spreadsheet.

Now, the fun part begins. Take your list in Excel and see how many post ideas you can come up with along with the subheadings for each. Just from the top 50 keywords, you could have the following. Keyword phrases are underlined with the search volume in parenthesis.


As you continue through the list, you’ll likely see more ideas. You can use your list to create mega guides, list posts that link to more detailed guides about specific subheadings, and much more.

Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner

If you’re looking for good content inspiration, here are a few other keyword tools you can try.

  • Keyword Question Tool – This tool will generate hundreds of questions that are related to your seed keyword sent via email in a CSV file. The free version of this tool gives you the questions, but not the search volume for each question. You can always copy the questions from the CSV and paste them into Google Keyword Planner for more information.
  • Ubersuggest – This tool allows you to enter a word and see the top ten Google suggestions related to that word. It’s essentially the same as when you start typing in a keyword into the Google search box and Google starts suggesting relevant searches.
  • Title Tool – This tool allows you to enter a keyword and receive around 20 – 30 exact titles for blog posts.

How do you use keyword tools to plan your content? Please share in the comments!

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