A Complete Guide on How To Do Keyword Research For SEO: According to statistics by Forbe, There will be about 1.13 billion websites on the internet in 2023. That’s a lot, right?
Yet if you want your blog or website to be among those websites/blogs enjoying free Google organic traffic, you need to sit tight, put a lot of work into your blog, and understand how to rank your blog among these billions of blogs online.
Mastering Keyword Research
Mastering keyword research is key if you want your website to shine in the crowded online world. In this complete guide, I will walk you through the step-by-step process of finding the perfect keywords to boost your website’s visibility and attract the right audience.
Whether you’re a novice new to keyword research or a professional who wants to up their Keyword research game, we’ve got you covered!
When you create content for your website, you want it to appear on the first page of search results so that more people can find and visit it. That’s where keyword research comes in. Keyword research helps you find the right words and phrases that people use when searching for information, products, or services related to your website/blog through search engines, such as Google Search, Bing Search, Yandex Search, Yahoo Search, and more.
What is Keyword Research? How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
Before we move forward, let me define what keyword research is for your understanding.
Keyword research is a crucial process in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that involves identifying and analyzing the specific words and phrases people use when searching for information, products, or services on search engines like Google. The goal of keyword research is to understand what potential visitors are looking for and to optimize your website’s or blog’s content accordingly, making it more likely to appear in search engine results for relevant queries.
You’ll compile a list of relevant keywords and phrases related to your business or website during keyword research. These keywords can range from broad terms to more specific. Broad terms are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific queries with lower search volume but higher search intent.
Why is Keyword Research Important: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
Keyword research is essential for several reasons. Here are some reasons why you need keyword research before writing your content.
- Improving Visibility and Ranking: By optimizing your website for relevant keywords, you increase the chances of your pages appearing on the first page of search results. Higher rankings lead to increased visibility and organic traffic to your site.
- Understanding the User’s Intent: Keyword research helps you understand what your target audience is looking for and the intent behind their searches. This insight allows you to tailor your content to meet their needs effectively.
- Gaining an Edge Over the Competition: Analyzing keywords used by your competitors can give you insights into areas where they are excelling or lacking. This information can help refine your SEO strategy and gain a competitive edge.
- Content Strategy: Knowing which keywords are popular and relevant, you can create high-quality, valuable content that resonates with your audience, leading to better engagement and conversions.
- ROI and Conversion Rate: Targeting the right keywords can attract visitors more likely to convert into customers, thus improving your return on investment (ROI).
- Developing a Long-Term Strategy.: A well-researched keyword strategy lays the foundation for your long-term SEO efforts, enabling your website to maintain its relevance and authority over time.
Marketing Trend Insight: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
You must understand what’s trending in your niche market when doing keyword research. Marketing trends constantly evolve as consumer behavior and technology change. Staying updated with the latest marketing trends is crucial for businesses to remain competitive and effectively reach their target audience.
Some current marketing trends include:
- Personalization: Customizing marketing messages to cater to individual preferences and needs, enhancing the overall customer experience.
- Video Marketing: Utilizing videos to engage and communicate with the audience, as videos often have higher engagement levels than other content formats.
- Voice Search Optimization: With the rise of voice-activated devices and smart assistants, optimizing content for voice search queries has become essential.
- User-Generated Content: Encouraging customers to create content about your brand or products fosters authenticity and builds trust. Leaving comments and helping your brand grow by reviewing your business on Google
- Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influencers in your industry to expand your reach and gain credibility among their followers.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Marketing: Leveraging AI for Data Analysis, Customer Segmentation, and Personalized Marketing Campaigns
- Sustainable and Ethical Marketing: Consumers increasingly support brands demonstrating social responsibility and sustainability practices.
Adapting to these trends can help businesses effectively connect with their audience, enhance brand visibility, and drive growth.
Keywords vs. Topics: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
You need to understand the difference between Keywords and Topics. Keywords and topics are vital components of SEO, but they serve different purposes. Specific words or phrases that users type into search engines to find information are called keywords. Keywords are essential for optimizing individual pages and guiding search engines to understand the content’s relevance. While Topics are broader subjects or themes encompassing a group of related keywords. When writing about a specific keyword, it’s always advisable and the best practice to make sure you write about other topics under that keyword. Creating content around a topic allows you to cover various aspects comprehensively and target a broader audience.
In SEO, a well-rounded strategy involves incorporating both keywords and topics. Keywords ensure that your content matches specific user queries, while topics allow you to build authority on a subject and attract a broader range of potential visitors.
Let us cite this article keyword as an example: the keyword I want to rank for is “Complete Guide on How To Do Keyword Research For SEO.” I did not just talk about the keyword alone in this article and stop there; I discussed most of the relevant topics to explain this article further and more broadly. In other words, to write a keyword that ranks on search, you must understand the user’s search intent, which is the next thing I will explain further in this article.
What is Search Intent: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
Search intent, or user intent, refers to the underlying purpose or goal behind a user’s search query. Understanding search intent is crucial for delivering relevant and valuable content to users. For example, you wrote an article about “How to Cook Nigerian Jollof”. What does the user want to know about this keyword? That’s user search intent. Let’s analyze the user search intent with the keyword “How To Cook Nigerian Jollof”. The user is looking for information about the steps, the recipe, and the ingredients needed to cook a Nigerian Jollof. If you can understand the user’s search intent, you’ll be able to write a well-detailed article that solves the user’s search intent, which is what search engines love to rank on the first page because it solves the user’s needs.
There are several types of search intent:
- Informational Intent: Users seek information and answers to their questions. As I mentioned above, content addressing informational intent should be informative and educational.
- Navigational Intent: Users are looking for a specific website or web page. They know where they want to go and use search engines as navigational tools.
- Transactional Intent: Users intend to purchase or complete a specific action, such as signing up for a service or subscribing to a newsletter.
- Commercial Intent: Users are researching products or services to purchase in the future, but they are not ready to buy immediately.
- Local Intent: Users are looking for businesses or services near their physical location.
Understanding search intent allows you to tailor your content and blog posts to match user expectations, providing a better user experience and increasing the likelihood of conversion.
How User Search Intent Affects Keyword Research
Keyword research must align with user search intent. By selecting keywords that match the intent behind a user’s search, you can ensure that your content addresses their needs accurately.
For example, if a user’s intent is informational, focus on creating content that answers their questions and provides valuable insights. On the other hand, if the intent is transactional, optimize for keywords that indicate buying intent.
Matching keyword intent enhances the relevance of your content, leading to higher user satisfaction, longer dwell times, and better rankings on search engine results pages.
Understand Your Niche and Audience
Understanding your niche and audience is fundamental to effective keyword research and content strategy. You can check out some articles I’ve written on Blog Niches and Sub-Niches: Beginners And Expert Guides 2023: Single Niche vs Multi-Niche: Discover the Best Choice for Success! Knowing who your target audience is and what interests them will help you identify the right keywords and topics to focus on.
To understand your niche and audience:
- Perform Market Research: Identify your target demographic, preferences, pain points, and needs. (Demographics means location.)
- Conduct a Competitor Analysis.: Study what keywords and topics your competitors are targeting, and identify gaps you can fill. Check what they are not doing and incorporate that into your content.
- Utilize Analytical tools: Analyze your website’s data to understand which content resonates most with your audience. Some great analytic tools are provided in this article: Must Have WordPress Plugins For a New Blog
- Engage with Your Audience: Interact with your audience through comments, polls, ratings, surveys, social media, and other channels to gather feedback and insights.
Understanding your niche and audience enables you to create content that appeals directly to them, driving higher engagement and conversions.
Brainstorm Seed Keywords
Seed keywords are the foundational terms from which you expand your keyword list. These are broad keywords that represent your primary topic or industry.
To brainstorm seed keywords:
- Identify Core Topics: List the main topics or themes related to your business.
- Use Tools and Suggestions: Utilize keyword research tools and search engines to find related terms, People Also Asked, and suggestions.
- Consider Synonyms and Variations: Include synonyms, alternative spellings, and different phrasings of your core topics.
- Explore Long-Tail Keywords: Look for longer, more specific phrases that address particular user queries.
Starting with a robust list of seed keywords provides a solid starting point for your keyword research.
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific phrases that users search for. While they may have lower search volume compared to broad keywords, they often have higher intent and are easier to rank for.
The benefits of long-tail keywords include:
- Targeted Traffic: Long-tail keywords attract users with specific needs, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
- Less Competition: Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords face less competition, making ranking higher in search results easier.
- User Intent Alignment: Long-tail keywords align better with user intent, increasing user satisfaction.
- Voice Search Optimization: Long-tail keywords are often used in voice searches, which have become increasingly popular with the rise of voice-activated devices.
Including long-tail keywords in your SEO content strategy can help you attract valuable organic traffic and improve your chances of sales conversion.
Keyword metrics are relevant information about a specific keyword, such as keyword difficulties, Cost Per Click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), and Keyword Traffic Volume. When conducting keyword research, it’s essential to consider these metrics that provide insights into the keyword’s performance and potential. Some key metrics include:
Search Volume: The average number of times a keyword is searched monthly. Higher search volume keywords indicate higher interest.
- Keyword Difficulty (KD): A measure of how challenging it is to rank for a particular keyword. Keywords with high difficulty may require more effort to rank for, while keywords with low difficulty require less effort to rank for.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on a search result after seeing it on the search engine results page.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The average cost an advertiser pays when their ad is clicked for a specific keyword in a paid search campaign.
- Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as purchasing or filling out a form.
- Relevance: How well a keyword aligns with your content and website.
Analyzing keyword metrics helps you prioritize and select the most valuable keywords for your SEO Content strategy. I have emphasized these metrics below, as they are extremely important when doing Keyword Research. Let’s dive deeper into Keyword Metrics.
Keyword CPC (Cost-Per-Click) is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising metric. It represents the average amount advertisers are willing to pay for a click on their ad when a user searches for a particular keyword. While keyword CPC is primarily relevant for advertisers running paid campaigns, it can also provide insights into keywords’ competitiveness and commercial intent.
Keywords with a high CPC often indicate a high commercial value, meaning businesses are willing to invest more in advertising for those keywords because they can lead to conversions and sales. For organic SEO, focusing on keywords with high commercial intent can also be beneficial, as they will likely attract users closer to making a purchase decision. High CPC keywords mean High competition, except if such a keyword has low competition on your keyword research tool.
Keyword difficulty measures how challenging it is to rank for a specific keyword organically (KD). Various factors contribute to keyword difficulty, including the number of competing pages, domain authority, and the quality of the content targeting the keyword. Keywords with high difficulty may have strong competition from established websites/blogs and require significant effort to rank on the first page of search results.
When conducting keyword research, it’s essential to balance targeting keywords with high difficulty, which may yield more traffic, and lower difficulty keywords, which may offer better opportunities for ranking higher.
Keyword relevance refers to how closely a keyword aligns with the content on your website or blog. Ensuring that the keywords you target are highly relevant to your content is crucial. Relevant keywords benefit your SEO efforts in the following ways:
- Better User Experience: Users find content that directly addresses their queries, enhancing their experience on your site. Such users can also visit other subsequent pages on your blog, which improves the time spent on your articles.
- Improved Rankings: Search engines recognize the relevance of your content to specific keywords and may rank your pages higher in relevant search results.
- Lower Bounce Rates: When content matches user expectations, they are likelier to stay on your site longer and explore further.
- Higher Conversion Rates: Relevant keywords attract genuinely interested users to your offerings, increasing the likelihood of conversions and sales prospects.
Always prioritize keyword relevance to create valuable and user-focused content.
Related keywords are terms that are semantically related to your main keywords. Users might use variations and synonyms when searching for similar information.
Including related keywords in your content can help:
- Capture Broader Audiences: Users may express the same query differently, and related keywords ensure you reach a wider audience.
- Improve Search Engine Understanding: Search engines use related keywords to understand the context and relevance of your content.
- Enhance Content Depth: Using related keywords allows you to cover a topic more comprehensively, providing more value to users.
Integrating related keywords into your content strategy helps optimize for semantic search and improves the overall user experience.
Check Out the Competition
Analyzing the competition’s keyword strategies can provide valuable insights and guide your SEO efforts. Some ways to check out the competition include:
- Keyword Research Tools: Use keyword research tools to see which keywords your competitors target. I will explain extensively and suggest some Keyword Research Tools towards the end of this article.
- Analyze Competitor Content: Examine the content on your competitors’ blogs to identify the keywords they have optimized for and how you can make your content better.
- Backlink Analysis: Evaluate the backlinks pointing to your competitor’s websites to identify potential link-building opportunities. We will dive into Backlinks extensively when we get to Link Building and Off-Page SEO Strategy.
- Social Media: Monitor your competitors’ channels to understand their content strategy and engagement levels.
While it’s essential to learn from your competitors and focus on creating unique and valuable content that sets you apart in your niche, It’s extremely important.
Organize Keywords Into Categories
Once you have compiled a list of relevant keywords, organize them into categories based on their themes and intent. Grouping keywords helps you:
- Structure Content: Organizing keywords into categories allows you to plan your content strategy efficiently.
- Improve User Navigation: Categorization helps users navigate your website and find relevant content more easily.
- Target Topics Holistically: By focusing on topic clusters, you can cover a subject comprehensively, establishing authority in your niche.
- Identify Content Gaps: Analyzing keywords into categories may reveal areas where you lack sufficient content, prompting you to create new pieces to fill the gaps.
Properly organizing keywords improves the overall structure and coherence of your blog.
Create High-Quality Content
Now that you’ve understood all the prerequisites of Keyword Research, it’s time to discuss your content. Creating high-quality content is at the core of successful SEO; It’s part of your On-page SEO. Quality content is:
- Informative and Valuable: It provides valuable information and answers users’ questions.
- Well-Structured: Content should be easy to read and organized logically. Use schemas where it’s needed. I will create a separate article on Schema to understand better how they can help you rank and make search discoveries.
- Engaging Content: Make sure your content captivates and keeps users’ attention, encouraging them to stay longer on your blog.
- Original and Unique: Avoid duplicate content or AI-filled content. Provide fresh perspectives and insights.
- Optimized for Keywords: Use relevant keywords naturally throughout the content. Do not stuff keywords in your article to game search engines; it will end badly.
- Shareable: Engaging content is more likely to be shared on social media and linked to other websites, boosting your online presence and social signal.
Remember that quality content appeals to users and signals to search engines that your website is valuable and authoritative.
Keywords as On-Page SEO
On-page SEO involves optimizing individual blog posts to improve search engine rankings and visibility. Keywords play a crucial role in on-page SEO:
- Title Tag: Include your target keyword in the title tag to give search engines a clear indication of the content’s topic.
- Meta Description: Craft a compelling meta description that includes the keyword and entices users to click on the search result.
- URL Structure: Incorporate the keyword to reinforce its relevance to search engines.
- Heading Tags: Use heading tags (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content and include the keyword in at least one heading.
- Keyword Density: Avoid keyword stuffing, but ensure the keyword appears naturally throughout the content. I already told you the implications of keyword stuffing above.
- Image Alt Text: Include the keyword in the alt text of relevant images to improve image search optimization.
By optimizing your content for relevant keywords, you enhance its visibility and relevance to search engines and users. Several free, freemium, and Premium tools on the WordPress repository could help guide you in writing well-structured, SEO-optimized content. I provided some tools you can install on your WordPress blog here: Must Have WordPress Plugins For a New Blog.
Keyword Research Tools
Several keyword research tools can help you identify valuable keywords and analyze their performance with detailed metrics. Some popular tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner: A free tool by Google that provides keyword ideas, search volume, and keyword performance data.
- Ahrefs: Offers comprehensive keyword analysis, backlink data, and competitor research.
- Semrush: Provides keyword research, competitor analysis, and SEO performance tracking.
- Moz Keyword Explorer: Offers keyword suggestions, difficulty scores, and search volume data.
- Ubersuggest: Provides keyword ideas, search volume, and competitive data.
These tools can streamline your keyword research process and help you make data-driven decisions.
Easy-to-Use Keyword Research Tools
Here are some easy-to-use keyword research tools to make life easier for the newbies. If you’re new to keyword research, consider using user-friendly tools that simplify the process. These tools typically have intuitive interfaces and provide basic keyword data without overwhelming you with advanced metrics that can overwhelm you with data.
Some easy-to-use keyword research tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner: As mentioned earlier, Google Keyword Planner is beginner-friendly and offers keyword ideas and search volume data.
- Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest’s user-friendly interface provides keyword suggestions and basic keyword metrics.
- AnswerThePublic: This tool generates keyword ideas through questions and phrases based on user searches.
- Keyword Sheeter: A simple tool that provides a massive list of keyword ideas for any seed keyword.
Using easy-to-use tools is a great way to get started with keyword research without feeling overwhelmed.
Free Keyword Research Tools
Free keyword research tools can be a valuable resource if you’re on a budget or just starting with SEO. Some popular free tools include:
Google Keyword Planner: 100% Free
Keyword Surfer is a Chrome extension that displays keyword data directly on Google search results pages.
Wordtracker Offers a free version with basic keyword research features.
Before considering more advanced, paid tools, free keyword research tools are a good starting point for beginners.
Premium Keyword Research Tools
Premium keyword research tools offer more comprehensive features and data, making them suitable for advanced SEO for professionals and agencies. Some premium tools include:
- Moz Pro
- Long Tail Pro
Premium tools often include additional features and are more suitable for businesses with larger budgets and complex SEO needs.
Recap: How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy:
Keyword research involves several steps to ensure a comprehensive and effective strategy:
- Define Your Goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your SEO strategy and who your target audience is.
- Brainstorm Seed Keywords: List broad keywords related to your business or niche.
- Expand Your List: Use keyword research tools to find related keywords and long-tail variations.
- Analyze Metrics: Evaluate search volume, keyword difficulty, and other metrics to prioritize your keywords.
- Understand Search Intent: Ensure your selected keywords align with user search intent.
- Competitor Analysis: Analyze your competitors’ keyword strategies to identify opportunities and gaps.
- Organize Keywords: Group keywords into categories based on topics and intent.
- Create Quality Content: Develop content that naturally incorporates your target keywords and provides users value.
- Monitor and Refine: Monitor keyword performance and adjust your strategy as needed.
Keyword research is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and refinement to adapt to changes in user behavior and search engine algorithms.
See how competitors are ranking for these keywords
To see how competitors are ranking for specific keywords, you can use various SEO tools and techniques, including:
- Competitor Analysis Tools: Tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz allow you to enter your competitors’ domains and view their ranking keywords.
- Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): Searching for specific keywords on search engines can show you which competitors appear in the top search results.
- Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts for specific keywords related to your industry to receive updates on when your competitors are mentioned or ranking for those terms.
- Social Media Monitoring: Track your competitors’ social media accounts to see which keywords they target in their content.
Analyzing your competitors’ keyword rankings can give you valuable insights into their SEO strategies and help you identify areas for improvement in your strategy. Remember to create unique and valuable content that sets your website apart.