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How to do keyword research step by step for SEO?

Updated: Jun 26

Keyword research is a crucial component of any successful SEO strategy. You must have a clear understanding of your target audience and their search intent. Start by brainstorming a list of keywords related to your business or industry. You have to Use keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to expand your keyword list and gain valuable insights into search volume and competitiveness. Analyze your competitors' keywords to identify potential opportunities and refine your keyword strategy. It's better to consider using long-tail keywords and variations to reach more specific audiences. Group and prioritize your keywords based on relevance, search volume, and competition level. Finally, create high-quality content that is optimized for your chosen keywords and continually monitor and adjust your strategy based on performance metrics and evolving search trends.

keyword research

What are keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that people use when they perform a search in search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. They are an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO) as they help determine the relevance of a website's content to the search queries entered by users. Keywords can be general or specific and reflect the intentions and interests of users. By incorporating relevant keywords into their website content, companies seek to improve their visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving organic traffic to their website. The effective use of keywords helps search engines understand the content of a web page and match it to relevant user queries


Why is keyword research important?

Researching keywords is important for several reasons:

  1. Improving SEO: Keyword research allows businesses to identify the most relevant and valuable keywords to use in their content. Strategically incorporating these keywords can help improve your website's visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase organic traffic.

  2. Understand your audience: Keyword research provides insight into the language and terms used by your target audience when searching for products, services, or information. This understanding helps to create content that resonates with users and meets their needs.

  3. Competitive analysis: Analyzing competitive keywords can help businesses identify gaps and opportunities in the market. By knowing which keywords your competitors are targeting, you can adjust your strategies to stay competitive.

  4. Increase conversions: Targeting the right keywords that align with user intent can lead to higher conversion rates. By targeting users who are actively searching for products or services related to these keywords, businesses can increase the likelihood that they will become customers.

  5. Content strategy: Keyword research plays a crucial role in shaping a company's content strategy. By identifying relevant keywords, businesses can create content that addresses users' search queries and provides valuable information, increasing their authority and credibility.

  6. ROI: Effective keyword research ensures that companies invest their resources in finding keywords that are likely to deliver a positive return on investment (ROI) in terms of traffic, leads, and sales.

Overall, keyword research is essential to optimizing a website's visibility, attracting targeted traffic, understanding target audience preferences, and ultimately driving business growth in the digital landscape.

Elements of Keyword Research

The most important elements of keyword research include:

  1. Starting keywords: These are the first keywords or terms relevant to your business, products, or services and serve as a starting point for expanding your keyword list.

  2. Keyword research tools: Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz Keyword Explorer to identify and analyze keywords based on search volume, competition, and other relevant metrics.

  3. Search volume: Understanding the average monthly search volume for specific keywords helps evaluate their potential reach and popularity with users.

  4. Competition level: Assessing the level of competition for each keyword is crucial as it indicates the difficulty of ranking for that keyword in search engine results.

  5. Long-tail keywords: These are longer and more specific keyword phrases, often consisting of three or more words. They usually have a lower search volume but can be valuable for targeting niche audiences and getting highly relevant traffic.

  6. User Intent: Consider the intent behind the keywords, whether it’s informational, navigational, promotional, or transactional. By understanding user intent, you can create content that aligns with what searchers are looking for.

  7. Competitor Analysis: Analyzing competitor keywords can give you valuable insights into market trends, gaps, and opportunities that you can use to inform your keyword strategy.

  8. Keyword grouping: Categorizing keywords into relevant groups or topics helps to structure website content and focus on specific subject areas.

  9. Performance monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance of selected keywords to evaluate their effectiveness and make informed adjustments to your SEO strategy.

By utilizing these elements, businesses can conduct comprehensive keyword research to optimize their website for search engines, attract targeted traffic, and improve their overall online presence.

Elements of Keyword Research

How to use Topical authority in keyword research 

Using topical authority in keyword research means that you base your keyword selection on the goal of building expertise and credibility within a specific topic or industry. Learn how to incorporate topical authority into your keyword research here:

Identify core topics

Start by identifying the core topics that are central to your business or industry. These can include broad topics that encompass various subtopics and related keywords.

Topic clusters

Create topic clusters by grouping related keywords that revolve around a central theme. This approach helps organize content and signals to search engines the depth and breadth of your expertise on a particular subject.

Long-form content

Focus on creating comprehensive, in-depth content that covers a broad topic in detail. Incorporate a mix of primary keywords and related secondary keywords in the content to demonstrate expertise and authority on the subject.

Natural language and context**: Emphasize natural language and context in your content. Opt for a semantic, user-centric approach rather than focusing solely on exact-match keywords. This is in line with the evolving landscape of search algorithms that emphasize context and relevance to the user.

User Intention

Prioritize keywords that match the searcher's intent. Think about what users want to accomplish when they enter certain search queries and tailor your content to meet those needs effectively.

Internal linking

Implement effective internal linking strategies to connect different pieces of content within the same topic area and create relationships between them. This signals to search engines the depth and interconnectedness of your knowledge on the chosen topic.

Social proof and citations

Incorporate social proof, quotes, and references into your content to support your claims and statements and strengthen your website's overall topical authority.

By integrating these strategies, businesses can conduct keyword research with a focus on topical authority, improving their ability to rank well in search results, attract an engaged audience, and establish themselves as authoritative voices within their respective industries.


How to conduct keyword research

By following these steps and consistently optimizing your keyword strategy, you can improve the visibility of your website, attract more targeted traffic and effectively achieve your SEO goals.

Make a list of broad topics relevant to your topic

In this first step, you create a table with general categories or “buckets” for the keywords you want to rank for. These can correspond to product categories or other topics that might interest your target audience. If you blog from time to time, you may already have some issues that you cover regularly.

Keep this list short and simple, with no more than 5 to 10 topics. It can be helpful to imagine yourself as a buyer looking for a product or service.

Expand each topic with a list of phrases

Once you have these general categories, it’s time to identify the terms and phrases that your target customer might type into the search bar to find information, products, or services.

Suppose you already have data from website analytics software like Google Analytics or HubSpot’s Source Report. In that case, you can look through your organic search traffic to identify the keywords consumers are already using to get to your website.

This is not meant to be a definitive list of keywords but an opportunity to brainstorm for data points that will make your research more targeted and fruitful.

Create a list for each general category and add it to your spreadsheet. Ask your colleagues or coworkers for ideas, especially those who deal with customers.

Use keyword research tools to your advantage

Keyword research tools can be incredibly useful for finding relevant and powerful keywords to optimize your website or content.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a comprehensive tool that provides valuable insights to website owners and marketers. It offers features such as the ability to view all keywords for which a website currently ranks in the top 100, as well as the ability to generate thousands of keyword ideas and group them into thematic clusters. In addition, you can assess keyword difficulty and search volume, allowing you to take a holistic approach to keyword research and SEO analysis.

SE Ranking

SE Ranking is a robust tool that provides a comprehensive SEO analysis for websites. It offers a wide range of features, including checking website speed and technical details, evaluating domain authority and analyzing topic clusters. However, it is important to note that SE Ranking is not primarily a keyword research tool, but rather a comprehensive SEO analysis tool.

SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool is a powerful resource that allows you to find millions of up-to-date keyword suggestions and improve your SEO efforts. It allows users to create filters and subsets to get the specific keyword data they need. SEMrush is also known for providing a wealth of keyword data and making it easy to delve into details like SERP features and granular keyword analysis.

Ubersuggest is a popular keyword research tool that provides users with a wide range of keyword ideas and search volumes. It is particularly useful for looking at auto-suggested keywords and can be a valuable resource for those starting out with SEO.

Backlinko's free keyword research tool utilises SEMrush's extensive database of 25.23 billion keywords. It helps identify low competition keywords, provides blog content ideas and offers insights into monthly search volume. However, it's important to note that this tool has limitations, as users can only view data for 10 keywords without paying for an Ahrefs account.

The Google Keyword Planner is a versatile tool that is primarily intended for advertisers, but can also be used for SEO keyword research. It provides valuable insights into related keywords and search volumes, making it a useful resource for paid and organic strategies.

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome plugin that offers insights into auto-suggested search terms. It can be a valuable tool to quickly get ideas for keywords and understand search trends.

KWFinder is a user-friendly keyword research tool that generates numerous related long-tail keyword ideas with little SEO difficulty. It is known for its ease of use and can be a valuable resource for keyword research.

Use keyword research tools to your advantage.

How to analyze the strength of your keywords

Keyword analysis is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing campaigns. It involves examining the keywords or search terms that bring visitors to your website via organic and paid search. This process helps to increase conversion rates, find new markets, and optimize spend.


Steps to Analyze Keyword Strength

Identify keywords that generate traffic.

Start by looking at your website statistics to find the keywords that are generating traffic to your top pages. This will help you identify which keywords are already working well and which need to be improved.

Use keyword analysis tools.

Tools like the WordStream Keyword Analysis Tool can take your keyword analysis one step further by not only analyzing your keywords but also suggesting actions and automating your activities to achieve the best efficiency and results.


With Moz Pro, you can group keywords by lexical similarity, quickly find subtopics, and view metrics such as monthly search volume, estimated available CTR, keyword difficulty, and distribution of rich SERP features.


Check keyword density

With tools like the Keyword Density Checker, you can analyze the density of your text just as a search engine would. This is important to ensure that your content is not over-optimized, which can make it vulnerable to certain parts of Google's algorithm, such as the Panda update.


Analyze the SERP results.

Understanding the search engine results page (SERP) for your target keywords is crucial. For example, if review articles dominate the SERP, this indicates that the search intent is to get recommendations from trusted publications, which is not necessarily appropriate for a product category page.


Evaluate the keyword competition.

When evaluating the competition for a keyword, factors such as the PageRank of competing sites, the number of backlinks, and the overall authority of competing pages are taken into account. This helps you understand how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword.


Track and adjust

Continuously track the performance of your keywords and adjust your strategy accordingly. This includes monitoring changes in rankings, traffic, and conversions to ensure your SEO efforts are effective.

How to Find and Choose Keywords for Your Website

Choosing the right keywords is important to ensure that your website is well-optimized for search engines and can effectively lead searchers to your website

. You must include relevant keywords in various attention-grabbing areas of your website, from titles and text to URLs, meta tags, and image file names.

  • Step 1: Use the Google Keyword Planner to narrow down your keyword list.

  • Step 2 Prioritize the low-hanging fruit.

  • Step 3 Check the monthly search volume (MSV) for your chosen keywords.

  • Step 4 Consider SERP features when selecting keywords.


By following these steps and using the right tools, you can conduct effective keyword research for SEO. Understanding the importance of keyword research, using keyword research tools, examining target audience topics and search intent, evaluating competitor keywords, assessing keyword relevance and traffic potential, and tracking keyword rankings are all important steps in optimizing your website for search engines and increasing organic traffic.

Remember that keyword research is an ongoing process and that regularly reviewing and refining your keyword strategy is essential to maintaining and improving your website's search engine optimization.

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