Keyword Chef Review – Find Keywords You Can Rank For

In this Keyword Chef review, I’ll take you through what makes it unique, why I really like it and how it helps you find keywords you can actually rank for.

Before I do, let’s cover off some basics as it will help explain how Keyword Chef is different from every other keyword research tool on the market and how you use it.

There are dozens if not hundreds of keyword research tools out there but Keyword Chef is one I have been using a lot recently. It takes a unique approach to how it does keyword research analysis and that approach works.

It gets results, it’s free to try, it’s cheap to buy and you won’t find the same features in any other tool. What more could you want.

Do I Need a Keyword Research Tool

No, is the short answer you can do it all manually by simply entering keywords into Google and eyeballing the results but this takes an inordinate amount of time so I use tools to speed up the process.

Some of these tools are free (Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Moz Bar, Keyword Surfer etc), some are cheap (KeyWords Everywhere) and some are pricey (Ahrefs, SEMRush)

What am I Looking for When I do Keyword Research

There are lots of approaches to keyword research and everyone has their favorite methods, so I’ll outline my approach and view on things:

Pick your Battles

First off, assuming you don’t have an incredibly high authority site, then you need to find keywords that you actually stand a chance of ranking for. There is no point trying to rank for a keyword if all the results for that keyword phrase are dominated by big players/high authority sites with a gazillion backlinks.

The chances of you being able to outrank them are slim to none, but there is an exception to this rule (isn’t there always) and this is where Keyword Chef comes in, which I’ll come on to later on in the article.

Search Intent

You need to match the intent of the searcher. For example, if I search for the term ‘skillet pan’ all the page 1 results are for e-Commerce websites that are selling skillet pans. Google has logically decided that anyone searching for that term is looking to buy a skillet pan, not read reviews or recipes that involve a skillet pan.

So if you have a review website or a recipe site about cooking, then you wouldn’t try and optimize an article for that term because you won’t rank for it.

Search Volume

Search volume is a very thorny topic simply because none of the SEO tools in the market are 100% accurate. None of them have a direct feed from Google giving them that data. But they get more accurate with volume.

So if a tool tells you there are 10,000 searches a month for a term, then it is a high volume term and the chances are (unless you are incredibly lucky) that it’s going to be difficult to rank for due to competition.

If a tool tells you a term is low or no volume then this is where things get interesting as this is where the tools are most inaccurate. Some of those terms will indeed turn out to be duds but some will actually turn out to have a decent amount of volume (which you’ll only find out when you start ranking for that term and see the data in Google Search Console).

The best SEO tool on the planet is your brain, combined with experience and this comes into play when looking at terms that all the tools tell you have little or no volume. Would people logically be searching for that term?

For example; AHREFS tells me that there is absolutely zero volume for the phrases; keywordchef, keyword chef and keyword chef review but I seriously doubt that is true and I’ll find out when this article starts to rank.

If the term was something like; ‘can you take parsnips on a plane’ then whilst that is kind of sane as a search term, logically very very few people are ever going to search for it so you wouldn’t want to target it.

How do Other Keyword Research Tools Work

As I mentioned before, there are loads of keyword research tools on the market; Ahrefs, SEMRush, Mangools, UberSuggest, SerpStat, LongTail Pro, etc., etc. and all of them have their benefits. But when it comes to calculating how easy it will be to rank for a given keyword they all, more or less, take the same approach.

The primary factor most keyword tools use is how many backlinks the ranking articles have. The more backlinks and the higher the quality of those backlinks the higher the ‘keyword difficulty score’ (different tools use different terminology for keyword difficulty but they all mean the same thing). The higher the keyword difficulty score, the harder it will be for you to rank for those keywords (in theory).

The secondary factor is the authority score of the ranking sites, the higher the authority the higher the keyword difficulty score.

Ok, so I’m hoping the above was a good primer that helps set everything else in this article in context but let’s now get on with the actual Keyword Chef review.

What is Keyword Chef

Launched approximately one year ago, it is owned, built and marketed by one guy, named Ben Adler. It’s still very much an ‘under the radar’ product, as in the only people that have likely heard of it to date are those who hang around in the geeky SEO forums (yes, that’s me).

Ben initially built it for his own use, to replicate a process he was having to do manually by physically checking the Google results for forums etc. that he knew he could outrank.

Unlike the big players in the market, which do lots of different things, KeyWord Chef is built for one specific type of keyword research method. Finding keywords, usually long-tail ones, that it thinks you can easily rank for based on the page one SERPs of Google.

What Makes Keyword Chef Unique

There is a well-understood tactic in the SEO world and that is looking for keywords/phrases where the results on page one of Google include pages from forums and social media sites. The more of these types of sites that are on page one, the better.

Why? because it has been proven that outranking forums, even big high authority ones such as Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook etc., is usually quite easy, even for newer, lower authority sites.

Does Google hate forums & social media sites then? No, it’s not that simple. In this instance, they are simply a proxy for thin content. Google wants to return results that contain comprehensive information that solve the searcher’s intent, Google hates thin content.

If you look at 98% of the forum results returned for any given query on Google, that forum post is usually only a couple of lines long. So it doesn’t, usually, provide adequate information to answer the searcher’s query. Google is only ranking it because there is nothing else better available.

That’s exactly the premise on which KeyWord Chef is built, it helps you find keywords where the 1st page of SERPs contains results from forums, social media sites etc. The more forum results that are on page one, the higher the ‘SERP’ score, the easier it is to rank.

Key Features of Keyword Chef

Keyword Chef is split into two distinct areas; Discover and My Reports.


The discover area is where you run your keyword searches using the various different options available.

Keyword Chef Review Discover

Wild Card Searches

You can use a wildcard (*) in your search term e.g. ‘best * running shoes’ to find combinations of that keyword phrase. You can see what that means in the screenshot below.

Keyword Chef wildcard search

Filter by Keyword Type

You can choose to only return keyword phrases of a certain type i.e. Question, Best, Compare, How to, Most, Alternatives & Ideas.

Keyword Chef search by type

Import Custom Keywords

Instead of asking Keyword Chef to find you keywords, you can import a list of keywords in order to get a SERP score for them (see below re ‘How Do I Use Keyword Chef’ for how I use this feature)

My Reports

Once you have created reports in the Discover area, they are all saved in the My Reports area. You can access them as often as you like without using any more credits. This is where you do your analysis in terms of looking at the SERP scores, checking estimated search volume etc.

Custom SERP Score

Within the Reports section is also where you can tweak the ‘recipe’ as Ben calls it i.e. you can include/exclude; Forums, Weak Blogs, Social etc. as well as add specific competitor URLs (ones you believe you can beat)

Keyword Chef custom SERP score

How do I Use Keyword Chef

I use Keyword Chef in a couple of different ways.

The first one is obvious

I enter a keyword phrase with wildcards, get the results back and then look at the results with the highest SERP score. This is fundamentally how the tool works.

The second is perhaps less obvious and is my preferred approach

I do the first part of my keyword process in Ahrefs (any other standard SEO tool should do the job), filter down to a list of say 100 – 200 good-looking prospects and then import those into Keyword Chef to get the SERP scores.

Hang on, I hear you say – why do use two tools, if Ahrefs (or your keyword research tool of choice) gives me a keyword difficulty score why do you then pass them through Keyword Chef?

Simple, first it limits how many credits I’m using in Keyword Chef and more importantly it gives me two very different views on the ‘true’ keyword difficulty.

Where this second approach can be really powerful is if there are forums relevant to your niche. You can use another keyword tool to tell you the best performing keywords for that forum, filter out those that are a good fit for you (right intent, relevant etc.) and then import them into Keyword Chef.

If you get a high SERP score then it is telling you that a number of forums/weak sites are ranking for those terms which means you could well have found some winners.

Things to Watch Out for with Keyword Chef

Whilst it is easy to use and understand there are a few things I have learned to watch out for.

Don’t Burn your Credits

Sounds fairly obvious, but if you put in a fairly generic/broad keyword you will get a lot of keywords back and each of those will consume a credit. Fortunately, KeyWord chef tells you how many credits you are about to consume before you execute the report so you have a chance to cancel and refine your keyword/s.

To reduce the number of credits you use:

  • Use the wildcards and use longer tail terms
  • Do the heavy lifting part of your keyword research outside of KeyWord Chef and then import those keywords into KeyWord Chef to get its unique view on keyword difficulty

Manually Check the Keyword is Definitely Easy to Rank for

As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t that Google hates forums and social media sites, it’s that Google hates thin content. So I still manually check a keyword to just make sure that the forum post returned is ‘thin’ content. If it’s actually 1,500 words long and answers the search query really well & comprehensively then I avoid it. This is rare but it does happen.

Ben has recently updated Keyword Chef to show you the word count for each ranking post which makes this process quicker but I still manually check just to be safe.

Check that the Keyword/Phrase Intent Isn’t Giving you a False Positive

This one may be obvious but I thought I’d mention it anyway. Sometimes a result comes back with a very high score, where almost all the results on page 1 of Google are forums/social media sites.

In theory, this is exactly what you want, but remember that ‘Intent’ point I raised earlier. Here’s an example from queries I have run:

“LinkedIn copywriting course” – this gets a SERP score of 8 (meaning 8 out of 10 of the results on page one of Google were from a forum/social media site). So should I target this keyword? No, because the intent of the searcher, according to Google, is clearly to find out about the LinkedIn course and Google has understandably decided the best place for that is LinkedIn itself. All of those 8 results are from the LinkedIn website.

Keyword Chef Pricing

Pricing is based on a credits system, there is no ongoing monthly fee like there is with most SEO tools. One credit = One keyword. So if my search query returns 300 keyword ideas, that’s 300 credits.

Price per Keyword$0.017$0.01$0.005

So that you can try Keyword Chef out, you can sign-up (no credit card required) and get 1,000 credits for free.

Keyword Chef Support

Despite Keyword Chef being a one-man operation, Ben is very engaged with his users via the dedicated Facebook Group so support is good.

I actually had a couple of challenges with Keyword Chef when I first started using it and Ben actually offered to jump on a video call with me and walk me through it. You don’t get better support than that.

Is Keyword Chef the Only Keyword Research Tool I Use

No, and that’s because Keyword Chef is solely focused on one keyword research method (the one I’ve outlined above). I like to use a number of different methods to tease out target keywords, looking at a problem from different angles often produces the best results. I still use Ahrefs, as well as some other tools and I still do a lot of manual research.

Keyword Chef Review Summary

If you’ve used other keyword tools, and who hasn’t, then you’ll know from the above that Keyword Chef takes a new and different approach to keyword research. For that alone, I think it’s worth trying out, as it gives you a different method to try and given the low price you really don’t have anything to lose.

In terms of efficacy, then all I can say is that it has worked for me. A number of the articles on this very site came about purely as a result of doing research in Keyword Chef and they rank well and they ranked quickly.

Many people, including me, were already using this method (looking for SERP results containing forums, social media sites, etc) but doing it manually, if that’s you then Keyword Chef will save you hours.

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About Jon Wright

Jon has worked in Digital Marketing for over 20 years, mainly for large enterprises. He now runs an eCommerce Agency that helps merchants build and grow their stores. He writes about SEO, CRO amongst other things.

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