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Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

gmail Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and InspirationIf you write several blog posts weekly for many years, you are very well aware of what “writer’s block” means. It happens very often that you just need a couple of words, a single line of text to get inspired. But where to find those words?

To me keyword research and Google search has always been huge sources of inspiration. Whenever I have nothing to write about, I either start searching randomly using some wicked search operators or turn to one of my favorite keyword research tools.

Last week I randomly stumbled upon another cool way to get inspired: use your Gmail as your keyword research tool.

Now, that idea may seem a bit forced at first but what if we start thinking about it:

  • Gmail stores tons of relevant information. If you are interested in the topic or have expertise in it (or both), you are likely to be subscribed to at least dozen of related newsletters – that’s a huge resource of relevant content weekly.
  • Gmail stores tons of relevant user-generated content. Again, being interested in some topic, you are likely to discuss it daily and at least 50% of the most substantial relevant conversation happens via email (which is again, Gmail for many people)
  • Gmail has killer search feature (Google is good at that stuff, you know) which can be further improved!

Just try it now. Pick a random search term, go to Gmail and try searching. Now scan through the search snippets (which are short extracts from your email containing your search term). Look how much keyword research help it can turn to be!

gmail 01 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

Now, let’s try to have a bit more fun with the idea.

1. Highlight your search terms more vividly

If you have Google Toolbar installed (which you are very likely do), set it to search your Gmail and that will give you the way to highlight your search terms from the Google Toolbar:

gmail 03 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

2. Search all folders

By default, Gmail will only search through Inbox folder. To make your search broader (and include Spam folder, for example, which can include various promotional emails that will turn useful for keyword research inspiration).

This Greasemonkey script will put ‘in:anywhere’ in your search requests to Gmail by default to force it to include all folders.

3. Make your search more targeted

Gmail labels can turn to be great help in using Gmail as keyword research tool. Let’s say you have subscribed to a number of email newsletters but don’t want them to clutter your email inbox (and/or want to be able to search within these emails only).

All you need is to go to Gmail settings and create a new filter by the sender’s email address (or addresses):

gmail 04 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

In the second step you can set all those emails to skip the Inbox (wile still being available for searching) and create an easy-to-remember label to organize them:

gmail 05 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

Now, whenever you want to search within the “TechWebNews” folder, just use label:techwebnews in the search field!

gmail 06 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

This could work for Google Alerts, Twitter Alerts and many other community updates you need (like LinkedIn groups alerts for example).

4. Gmail Advanced Search!

Don’t forget that Gmail is Google’s service – so it has a great advanced search platform. Some of the most useful (in this case) Gmail advanced search options include:

  • [-word] to exclude any word from your search;
  • [subject:word] to force any word to appear in the email subject
  • “Date within” feature available in “search Options” that allows to control how fresh the content is going to be:

gmail 07 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

5. How far can we go?

If we think about it, email search can turn so useful!

  • Subscribe to your competitors’ email newsletter, filter it with Gmail label and check which keywords they tend to search and how.
  • Subscribe to Twitter alerts via email and track which words your base term tends to appear with;
  • Subscribe to Google alerts and search most instant Google results and search within them.
  • You name it!

gmail 08 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration

Post images via opacity and DonnaGrayson

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 Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration
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  1. 12 Responses to “Use Gmail Search for Keyword Research and Inspiration”

  2. Ann,

    This was a very thorough and creative post. I learned a few new things! Thanks for your time and efforts. :-)

    By Jennifer Brown Banks on Oct 29, 2010

  3. I am looking for such a post, thanks for sharing such valuable information.

    By Monika on Nov 16, 2010

  4. Really an inspiring stuff on how to use gmail search for a keyword research. Very nice and easy way a good keywords for your posting.

    By seo training pakistan on Dec 4, 2010

  5. Google Alerts been used for many months and helping me in searching keywords.

    By Create website on Dec 20, 2010

  6. I also used the tool Google offers to import old email, and mine goes back to around 2002 or so. It is amazing what you can find as you search back, including the inspiration for why you started all this in the first place.

    By David on Jan 1, 2011

  7. What a great idea, Ann. Thx so much. Off to play in gmail search!

    By Janet Callaway on Jan 3, 2011

  8. This is a really new idea for me. I never thought we could use email for a purpose like this one. But, reading through your post, it is possible and I will definitely be trying it. Thanks for sharing this idea.

    By Kendra @ Bookmark Submission on Feb 12, 2011

  9. Of course, Google has everything what we need So don’t go anywhere. Thanks for tip.

    By Rakesh Kumar on Mar 8, 2011

  10. Hi Ann
    Just bought Market Samurai for my keyword research.

    MS is not all singing all dancing, but you get it for a one off payment rather than constant payments for updates.

    Thanks for the info on free keyword research.

    By Keith Davis on Mar 20, 2011

  11. This is a great idea and sounds interesting.

    By Rae on Mar 25, 2011

  12. Looks like sometimes we miss the obvious. Such an easy method, and I have to admit I never thought about it. Great idea, thank you!

    By Tom@Transcription Services on Aug 9, 2011

  13. Nice blog Ann, i have search through gmail but not to get inspired to write something very useful info thanks.

    By Andrew Broadbent on Aug 12, 2011

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