How to Begin Researching SEO Keywords

Researching SEO Keywords

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

May 31, 2022

Marketers do keyword research regularly. Here, you’ll learn the fundamentals of SEO keyword research and evaluation.

Keyword research is still one of the essential SEO duties, although the numerous modifications to SEO practice over the years.

Most SEO experts begin their work on a new site by doing some kind of keyword research (or for any site for which they want to improve or expand search rankings).

As a result, one of the most significant talents you can develop is doing effective SEO keyword research and analysis.

What is the purpose of doing a keyword study?

The process of researching and defining the most important keywords for a certain website’s goals is known as keyword research.

In other words, it’s identifying not just the keywords you want to rank for but also the ones you should rank for (what people who want what you have to offer search for).

Well-executed keyword research lists subjects that you should be writing about on your website.

Keyword research and competitive analysis go hand in hand.

Finding out what keywords your rivals are ranking for that you aren’t may provide valuable information for your SEO strategy and the overall direction of your organization.

This article will teach you how to do keyword research and lay the groundwork for your SEO strategy.

The Importance of Doing Research on Keywords

You may use keyword research to find out what individuals are searching for to solve their issue, as well as the context in which those phrases are used.

To clear up any ambiguities or preconceptions regarding your consumers’ demands and the language they use to communicate them, you must do keyword research.

Every step of the way, your content improvements are informed by keyword research.

Search Engine Optimization

To get the most out of your keyword research, you need to follow a logical sequence of activities.

A one-and-done approach won’t work here.

You’ll have to keep going back to these steps.


Market conditions will alter over time.

In a major shift in the market, fresh keyword research may be required.

Changes in your target audience’s demands or preferences.

Searchers employ new phrases or fresh queries to find what you have to offer.

The entry of new players is challenging existing players.

Modifications to the algorithms or search functionality of a search engine.

The list goes on.

For optimal SEO health and development, make keyword research a daily practice.

In this article, we’ll follow the following procedures for keyword research:

  • Check current keyword trends.
  • Make a list of your objectives.
  • Make a list of all the keywords you’d like.
  • Take a look at the competition.
  • Experiment with new keywords.
  • Focus on what you can get out of it rather than what you have to put in.

What follows is written as though you’re a company website attempting to attract new clients by offering items or services for sale on your site. Even non-commercial sites can use the same basic principles, though the specifics may vary. Replace the items and services with ones that are meaningful to you.

Finally, you are still attempting to sell anything if you search for visitors from organic search results!

Step 1: Identifying Relevant Keywords

If you already have a list of keywords in mind that you’d want to rank for, here is the place to start.

Step 2 may be skipped if you’re starting from scratch.

You likely have a list of keywords in mind that you have been attempting to rank for if you are taking over or working on an existing site.

To get an idea of how well your keywords are working, you need to create a list of them.

You’ll likely need a premium tool to examine huge apps.

However, there are several free rank monitoring programs accessible for a more basic site.

If your list of keywords is pretty short, you may search for them on Google to check where they are presently ranking (although it won’t offer you any ranking history).

Your tool of choice can show you how these keywords have ranked and how many people are searching for them.

The next step is to utilize Google’s Search Console to see what keywords your site is already ranking for (if any).

Setting a benchmark for keyword performance is your aim.

In the subsequent phases, you’ll have the opportunity to broaden your keyword pool by taking advantage of this.

It’s important to use the information you’ve obtained on your current keyword list to choose the best-performing ones from the ones that are still valuable.

Search volume and impressions are reasonable; however, these keywords have a lower ranking and/or a lower click-through rate.

Put the less-than-stellar keywords aside for the time being so you may add them to the list you’ll create in the stages that follow.

As a result of your keyword study, you’ll uncover several fresh keywords that will assist you in your following SEO efforts (at least in regards to things like content optimization and link building).

Establishing a baseline of keyword performance will help you build your keyword list in the following phases.

Step 2: Establish Your Objectives

You may believe that you are now prepared to begin doing serious keyword research.

In the absence of explicit business and brand objectives, pursuing organic traffic will be a waste of time.

What’s the big deal?

Because your aims will guide your research.

It’s common for keyword research to uncover keywords that you could rank for, but if they don’t attract visitors who can fulfil the needs stated in your goals, they won’t be worth the effort you’d put into ranking for them.

This, in my opinion, is the most neglected step in classic keyword research efforts.

SEO success is more likely to occur if you have a plan in place.

Additionally, you’ll avoid wasting time and effort on unrelated phrases (so-called vanity keywords) or keywords that have little or no value (ROI).

What questions should you ask yourself before you begin keyword research?

  • Who are we aiming for? Who are our customers, and why do they purchase our products?
  • What are we selling, and what is our unique selling point in our market?
  • When someone decides to buy from us, what are their primary requirements and/or desires?
  • Is there anything more they’d want to know about?
  • What information should we provide to our potential customers to make an informed decision about where they want to purchase our products?

The answers to these questions may assist you in narrowing down your keyword selection.

Step 3: Make a “Wish List” of Keywords You’d Like to Focus on.

A true investigation is being conducted inside.

That is to say, it all starts with your thoughts (or the collective heads of your team, if you have one).

List the keywords that best represent what your prospective consumers look for while they are in different stages of the buyer journey, based on the answers to the questions in Step 2 and the experience of your company or sector.

  • When they’re merely seeking to learn more about what you’re selling, what are they likely to lookup?
  • What would they look for when seeking to make an educated choice about who to purchase from?
  • Is there anything you can do to make it easier for them to find what they are looking for?

As with Step 2, the goal of these lists of ideas is to serve as a guide for your study as you determine what’s important for your firm.

It is a mistake to believe that the keywords you generate due to this activity are all worthwhile.

Step 6 may assist you in figuring this out, among other things.

Step 4: have a look at the competition.

Your rivals are a great place to look for keywords you should be ranking for but aren’t.

They’ve likely unearthed and seized on many more possibilities than you have, whether they discovered them via rigorous investigation or simply happened to stumble onto them by accident.

If you want to go further into a particular domain’s keyword rankings, you’ll need to use one of the more expensive SEO tools.

Let’s look at a few other methods for doing keyword research to see what works best.

Using Google

To get competitive keywords for free, we’ll start with Google itself.

However, since it relies on a certain degree of speculation on your behalf, this approach will not provide you with a complete picture.

Aside from that, it may be an excellent method to get started if you don’t have the proper instruments at hand.

When it comes to finding out who your main internet rivals are, Google is the most useful tool.

The competition in the actual world may not always be the same in every scenario (if you and others are selling your wares through brick and mortar stores, for example).

The best place to begin is by Googling for the goods or services you provide and seeing who regularly ranks in the top five results.

In the case of garage door openers, for example:

Home Depot and Lowes are your top organic competitors for this product if you don’t mind skipping the sponsored commercials.

Add these two to your list of top rivals if they repeatedly appear in searches for any of your goods or services.

Make sure to look up any other names that people could use to look for your goods or services, just in case.

You’ll also want to do a site search for each product’s alternate names on each competitor’s website.

To achieve this, type the search word into Google, followed by “” in the URL field (using the competitor’s domain).

This search informs us what other keywords the competition is ranking for in Google when it comes to this product.

Home Depot’s garage door opener items may be shown by Google to users looking for belt-drive, chain-drive, and 4-garage door opener products. Make a list of all of them as potential keywords.

Using Search Engine Keyword Research Tools

Competitive research requires the use of an outside service.

While some free tools may provide you limited access to this information, most commercial products can give you a far more detailed view of the competition.

Many programmes enable you to enter a competitor’s domain to see what keywords they are most popular.

For example, here is how it appears in seoClarity. As an employee of seoClarity, I can tell you that most paid keyword tools will provide the same results.

Consider adding any relevant keywords and variants to the list.

Using these techniques, you’re typically able to go deeper and uncover new things:

  • You and a rival rank for these keywords (if you are lower, what would it take to push you higher?).
  • To compete, you need to rank for keywords where your competitors do not (which means you need to produce or upgrade certain pages).

Step 5: Broaden Your View of Potential Keywords

Despite the importance of keywords, optimizing for them alone can only get you so far in the SEO game.

Every keyword is now a portal to a thematic universe because of Google’s ever-increasing capacity to detect themes and all their connected phrases.

A slew of free tools is available to help you find similar content to the keywords you enter.

Popular choices include:

  • Please provide an answer for the general public.
  • A search engine for keywords.
  • Everywhere you look, there are keywords.
  • Here is a list of other tools that you may use to improve your search engine rankings.

To find the most commonly searched phrases and topics, many of these tools leverage Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), as well as the websites that appear at the top of those results.

It’s usually a good idea to use paid tools for more information, such as semantically linked phrases to your search queries.

Once you’ve compiled a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to whittle it down to a few of the most important ones.

For example, when creating connected material for search engines in the future, you may utilize this sorted list as a reference.

Step 6: Prioritize by Investment vs. Opportunities.

This last stage isn’t research per se, but it’s a crucial link in the chain that connects what you learned in your study to actions that produce results.

Priority should always be given to the greatest chances, but the cost of gaining such opportunities must always be considered.

However, if the traffic isn’t going to help you achieve one of your company objectives, then it’s not worth it.

Collect and Sort the Metric Data

Add the keywords you’ve collected to a spreadsheet and add columns for crucial metrics such as:

  • This is the average number of people searching for a term.
  • The bid price for CPC ads.

Despite its lack of organic search metrics, CPC may be used to gauge how competitive a certain term is.

To achieve an organic position for a high-CPA product is likely to be more challenging than a lower-CPA one.

Trends may also be a useful measure to keep an eye on.

  • For how long has this keyword ranked?
  • Is there an increase in the number of people searching for it?
  • The CPC has either climbed or decreased.

It is possible to get a sense of search interest over time using Google Patterns if you do not have a programme that records such trends. However, you will not discover every term there.

Prioritize, but not just based on these factors. Set new targets based on the ones you created in Step 2.

Which keywords are most likely to help you achieve your company objectives at each stage of the buyer’s journey?

Complement the existing content on your website

Sort your list by relevance to existing material, and then use those keywords in your copy.

Determine the main search intent of a keyword based on the results on the search engine results page (SERPs). Is this correct:

Transactional (a place where individuals go to make a purchase)?

Is this a place where people go to learn more about a topic?

Are you looking for a shop or facility close to your location?

(Someone who knows precisely what he or she wants and who they want to acquire it from enters here) If each piece of content is optimized for the keywords you’ve mapped to it and if that material also meets the search intent of the keywords you’ve mapped to it, then you’re ready to go.

Make a strategy to either enhance the material or create a new one if it doesn’t work.

Start a Flywheel for Your Keywords

There is no end to the process of keyword research.

Every time there is a shift in the industry, new rivals or a new Google algorithm update, you may need to re-evaluate and prioritize your keyword research and strategy. One of the greatest methods to never lose your competitive advantage is to do ongoing keyword research.

If you start gaining muscle now and keep it up with regular exercise, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

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