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Ali Soudi

A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Keyword Research

May 15, 2020

 - Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization

Article Overview

10min read

Keywords are the foundation for SEO. From ranking on the first page of Google to executing successful pay-per-click (PPC) and other marketing campaigns, keyword research is important to guide your content strategy.

With almost all algorithm updates released by Google, one thing has been consistent for people looking to optimize their websites—Keyword research. And although this element has remained the same, the process of how one would carry out doing keyword research changes with time. 

If you’re creating a new website for your company and are looking for a guide, your search ends here. In this article, we help answer some of the commonly asked questions about keyword research.

What is keyword research?

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Keyword research is one of the core SEO tasks. It involves analyzing and identifying popular search terms and phrases that people enter into search engines. This can help you acquire a better understanding of how high the demand is for certain keywords is and who the competitors are. Researching keywords provides marketers a deeper understanding to use such keywords strategically to rank your website’s content higher on a search engine results page (SERP) and work towards optimization; moreover, it also helps in devising reliable content creation and marketing strategies.

Doing keyword research is not only a major part of search engine optimization but also of content marketing as a whole. This process helps you find ideas for your next blog post, understand the needs of your audience and their demands, and remain updated with the current vocabulary being used. By researching the popular keywords, you will be able to create targeted content and increase traffic to your site that could lead to conversions.

Why is keyword research important for your business?

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Search engine optimization has evolved greatly over the years. To effectively optimize your website, keywords can be considered as the blueprint as it can help drive all decisions regarding online marketing and content creation.

With the right SEO tool, you can view the keywords that are ranking popular among your target audience and accordingly create blogs for your website now and even in the future. Once you have sourced the topics related to your business, you can look for similar keywords to incorporate in your article and provide your audience with the answers and information they need. Using effective tools, you will be able to source various types of keywords, such as short- and long-tail, short- and long-term, product defining keywords, and so on. With keyword research, you can determine a profitable and popular niche, rank well in search engines for specific topics related to your business, promote your products and services, and drive traffic to your website.

The user intent behind a keyword search can affect how you do your research. In the following section, we aim to explain this factor. 

How does user intent affect keyword research?

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User intent is one of the most pivotal factors that can affect your overall rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). Today, it is important that the blogs on your website address a user’s query rather than simply including the searched keyword in your article. 

Keywords may have different meanings; therefore, you will have to note the way you interpret the keywords you intend to target for your business. For example, if you are researching the keyword how to start a blog to create an article, you will have to check all the possible variations. A blog here could refer to a blog post or a blog website; therefore, understanding a user’s intent behind the keyword search will help influence the direction of your article. To verify a user’s intent for a keyword search, you can simply enter the keyword you would want to choose and enter it onto a search engine; this will show up results related to it. Based on the results, you can create your content calendar and marketing strategies.

In the next section, you can know more about how to develop and narrow down a list of terms that you can start targeting. This will help you develop a strong keyword research strategy that will help your articles rank higher on a SERP. 

How to research keywords for SEO?

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In this section, we list some essential steps that can help research keywords for SEO. Read on to know more.

Research topics for your business: You must start by making a list of important and relevant topics based on the requirements of your business. You can think about generic topics that you would want your business to rank. This can help you come up with some specific keywords in the process. If you research about your target audience’s needs, you will be able to understand the type of keywords they are searching for and will able to provide the content that fits your business’ layout.

When you look for keywords using reliable research tools, you will get to see the popularity of the keywords among your audience and you will even be able to check the different variations that will help you create content on that keyword.

Choose the right keywords for your topics: After choosing the right topics for your content plan, you must work on identifying the right keywords. Using the right keyword tool, you will know which keywords will help you rank higher up on SERPs.

For example, if you are looking to bid on the keyword “keywords for SEO,” some of the common keyword variations you might come across could include:

  • Keyword research for SEO
  • Keyword research tools for SEO
  • What is keyword research
  • What is SEO

Among many others. This step is just to narrow down the final head keyword list. On sourcing this, you will be able to curate a list of multiple keywords using reliable and free tools available on the market. This can help you create relevant content that can help you rank higher up on a search engine.

If this step doesn’t help, you can try another way by checking out the keywords your website is already ranking for. This can be done using website analytics software such as Google Analytics. You can use such tools filter through your organic search traffic to identify the keywords people are using that are leading them to check your website. This exercise can be repeated for as many topics as you require. 

Research related search terms: This step of doing keyword research can help you find related search terms for a keyword. A common example of researching similar search terms is when you type in your keyword on Google and check the suggestions that show up. These suggestions can also help find search terms for your business’ content plan.

Check for a mix of head and long-tail keywords: Head keywords are shorter and generic phrases. These are typically just one to three words long; on the other hand, long-tail keywords are longer and specific phrases that contain three or more words. 

It is important to have a mix of these keywords because they will help balance both short- and long-term goals. Head terms are frequently more competitive as compared to long-tail terms but these types help drive traffic to your website. Based on the right mix of keywords, you can create your content and marketing strategies and work accordingly to help enhance your webpage rankings. 

Check how your competitors are ranking: One of the ways you can do keyword research is checking how your competitor’s keywords are performing on SERPs. Understanding the keywords your competitors are trying to bid on is another great way that can help you source topics for your business. 

If your competitor is ranking for certain keywords that are a part of your list as well, you can start your content plan by improving your ranking for those specific ones. However, you should also refrain from ignoring the ones your competitor isn’t bidding on as this will be a great opportunity to gain traction for that specific keyword. 

You can search the keywords your competitors are ranking for by searching for them in an incognito browser and checking the positions and domain authority (the ranking of a website based on its relevance for a specific subject area or industry). Websites, such as SEMRush, can help you access the top keywords for the domain you enter. This will give you a fair idea of how you can plan your content calendar.

Use tools to refine your keyword list: If you have the final set of keywords, you can refine your list with the help of additional data. Keyword research tools, such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner, can provide information on factors such as volume and traffic estimates for a particular keyword that you might be considering. You can also mix and match the use of research tools to help you do this.

For example, if you are using the Keyword Planner to flag terms that have little or too much search volume, Google Trends can help you view the trend history and projections. Based on the data received, you can invest in bidding the keywords that could help drive traffic and conversions to your business’ website.  

Once you have finalized your list, you can start by using tools to know the topics that could be written on. These tools will help provide an insight into various terms that you may not have considered previously. This can help you create a content plan and marketing strategies for your business.

Knowing the steps to do keyword research and create content is essential for businesses, no matter the size. In the following section, you can understand how often you can research keywords and how it is necessary for your company.

How often should I do keyword research?

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Keyword research is not a one-time task. These are the foundation of your website so it would require frequent reevaluation and maintenance. With changes in the search language and your audience’s needs, new keywords are being developed almost every day. Therefore, keyword research is crucial whenever you are looking to create new content; this includes writing for a new website, blog posts for an existing site, writing promotional copies for a particular service or product, and much more! Keyword research can also be useful if you are looking to restructure your existing site and merge its content.

Your website should aim to provide content that will help fulfill the search requirements of your audience. Doing keyword research on a regular basis will help you identify these ever-changing factors and the most popular searches happening now and even in the future. This will help you create content your audience will enjoy and share, thereby helping to drive more traffic and leads to your website. 

Once you have your keywords and a strategic plan to go about creating your content, the next step would be choosing the right keyword research tool. The following section lists some of the popular tools available.

Popular tools to help with keyword research

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In the following, we have listed some of the top tools, in no specific order, that can help in the process of doing keyword research. 

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Google AdWords: Keyword Planner

This free keyword tool has been a favorite for many years. Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner is a reliable tool not only when you’re starting a website but even as your site grows and your content demand increases. One of the main benefits of this tool is that you can acquire information directly from Google—considering it would be the search engine you’re most likely to target—during the process of optimizing your website.  

The first step is entering your keywords into the search box. You will then be provided with details in a clear and concise manner. Along with your search terms, Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner will help you find the following:

  • Average monthly searches: You can view the average estimates of a keyword and how the search language has changed over time. This can help you narrow down the keywords you would really want.
  • Discover new keywords: This keyword tool helps you discover variations of keywords that are relevant to your search.
  • Suggested bid estimates: The Keyword Planner tool also provides suggested bid estimates for each keyword that you search. This can help you determine your content and advertising budget.
  • Details about keyword competition: You can also view the competition level for each keyword. This can help you create a content plan for your team and when you’re ready, you can choose the right keywords and launch your campaign.

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AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator

If you’re launching a new website, checking for new keywords might be a challenging task; this can pose to be a problem as you create more content. The AdWord and SEO Keyword Permutation Generator is easy to research keywords that match the needs of your site, marketing strategy, and goals. Moreover, it will help provide ideas that you may have not previously considered.

With this tool, you can enter a keyword in each of the three boxes and then click on “generate permutations.” The more keywords you add into the first three boxes, the more results you will receive. 

However, the only downside to this tool is that some of the keywords may not make sense. This may prompt you to spend quite some time searching the list and pick the best that will suit your website. 

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Keyword In

This keyword research tool helps you combine your keywords in the easiest way possible. You can simply add in your seed keywords, and from there, this tool generates a variety of keyword variations. If you are not satisfied with the results achieved, you can always change your seed keywords. The more you experiment with each keyword match type, the higher will be the number of results generated. 

Keyword In will help you do your keyword research without any complications.

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Soovle

If you have used Google’s autocomplete feature to generate keywords or a blog post title in the past, you will like what this keyword research tool has to offer. 

This free keyword research tool provides autocomplete suggestions from not only Google but from a variety of sources. These include Yahoo, YouTube, Bing, Wikipedia, and Amazon. This will help you boost your keyword search volume to a great extent. Based on your requirements, you can choose your main source by clicking on the icons around the search box. However, if you just add a keyword, you will immediately get hits that pertain to the specific source. 

The best way to use Soovle is to experiment with a variety of keywords and reviewing the results. This keyword research tool is known to be quite efficient and helps you find great topics for your website.

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Ubersuggest

This keyword research tool is a great choice as it helps provide location-based keywords and data; this, in turn, will provide details to make informed decisions for your content marketing strategies. If you are using other keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest provides data about keywords that are not available through such tools. You can simply type in a keyword, such as “SEO content,” choose your location, and click on “suggest.”

This generates in-depth data. You can see the number of keywords, the cost per click, the historical data, a list of keyword suggestions. Once you sign up on this free keyword research tool, you can get an in-depth understanding of the keyword you want to use.

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Wordtracker Scout

One unique strategy that can help you in doing efficient keyword research is checking the ones that your competition is investing in. 

If you are researching your competitor’s website, you can simply visit any web page and look for keywords on their blogs section. After a quick check, you may be able to have a better idea of the primary and secondary keywords. However, this can take up a lot of your time but you may still miss out on a few keywords.

Wordtracker Scout is also available as a Chrome extension and ensures that you carry out your keyword research successfully. Once you have this extension installed, you can simply visit a webpage and hover your mouse pointer on the content and click on the “W” button. This generates a summary of the page, insights, and the keywords available on it.

Some of the key features of this keyword research tool includes the following:

  • Analyze your competitors’ strategies
  • Access keyword performance metrics
  • Ease of use

When you are in the process of launching a new website, researching your competitors’ statistics will help you get an idea of their strategies in the market. Overall, it is highly essential to collect as much data as possible, and using this free keyword research tool will help you analyze the target keywords of any webpage.

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WordStream Free Keyword Tool

Just as with other similar tools, you can simply add the keyword you want to research about. On doing this, you will be able to access a list of keyword variations. WordStream Free Keyword Tool is quite user-friendly

WordStream also helps you a niche for your business using the Free Keyword Niche Finder tool. Moreover, if you have not yet chosen a niche, you can gain the guidance you need for PPC and SEO. 

Moreover, if you are willing to share your email address, WordStream sends all the keywords you search for directly to your inbox. There are also other tools that WordStream offers that can help you in doing your keyword research more efficiently. These tools are powerful, informative, and accurate.

The process of doing keyword research may not always be complicated as long as you follow reliable sources and use efficient tools to help you. Even if you are just creating a website and are a novice at it, the way you strategize your process when conducting keyword research will help you in your ultimate goal of optimizing your website. The correct process will help you choose the right keywords for your website, help you create a well-defined content calendar, and increase your website’s overall ranking.

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing

is a Google Certified Digital Marketer with 10+ years of industry experience. He is a prolific writer on business-related topics, regularly contributing articles to leading digital marketing and business websites.

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
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