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What is Keyword Research? (And How to Do It Right)
Last Updated: January 31, 2023


Keyword research is a crucial component of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content development, being regarded as the top priority by many firms. In fact, Google had already logged more than 2 trillion searches as of 2022. Such a staggering figure illustrates the importance of keyword research. Reaching more customers is essential, yet in order for your company to truly reap the benefits, you must reach the right ones. In this article, we’ll explain what keyword research is, why it’s crucial for your website or company, and how to do it properly.

Let’s jump in!

What exactly is a “keyword”?


A keyword is a term or phrase that defines the subject matter of your material. In SEO, a keyword is a phrase that a user types into a search engine while looking for a certain topic. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware that while using Google or other search engines, you enter search terms to get results.

When first getting into running, for instance, you may turn to your preferred search engine to determine which running shoes to buy. Keywords are the words you would type in to carry out this search, such as “best running shoes” or “discounted running sneakers.”

What is keyword analysis?


Keyword research is the process of discovering which keywords you should use in your website’s written content to attract more visitors. Businesses and marketers utilize keyword research to identify what consumers are looking for. This is how they determine the most popular terms.

The findings of effective keyword research are integrated into new material (or current content) in order to increase their SEO rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Keyword research is advantageous for both SEO and general marketing. Furthermore, keyword research may help marketers find phrases they may not have considered, which can be useful for developing new web content or goods.

Why is Keyword Analysis Important for SEO?



Among the top advantages of keyword research are that it:

Offers valuable information about your audience
Keyword research can assist you in figuring out what your target audience desires by revealing what they’re searching for in search engines. If, for example, your company offers running shoes, keyword research may help you connect with prospective clients who are interested in making a purchase. Utilizing a keyword research tool is one approach to determining this. They are excellent resources for determining what people are seeking based on a certain search phrase. There are several helpful tools available, which we will discuss shortly.

Increases the number of organic visitors to your website
The quality of your SEO content will bring you organic traffic, and as your organic traffic increases, so will your search engine rating. Organic traffic is free, so investing in a decent keyword strategy and other SEO strategies is worthwhile from a marketing perspective. This enables you to reach the top of search results without resorting to PPC advertising. Additionally, if your content is naturally reaching the top, you will have a far higher click-through rate than even sponsored advertisements.

Improves position in SERPs
Keyword research may help you rank higher in search engine results. With the appropriate keywords, more individuals will be able to locate you based on their search queries. When you rank higher in search engine results, you enhance the probability that your website will not only be viewed but also get more hits.

Helps you acquire more customers
If the SEO copywriting on your website includes keywords that target the proper customers, you will be better equipped to address their demands. Researching keywords based on search intent rather than volume is an effective method for increasing business.


Developing a keyword strategy for SEO


When doing keyword research, it is beneficial to have a plan in place beforehand. This increases the likelihood that you will choose the appropriate keywords, get higher results in search engines, enhance website traffic, and acquire new clients. A smart keyword plan will be essential to your entire SEO strategy, which includes the creation of SEO content and the use of effective SEO strategies. Here are a few essential components for constructing a keyword strategy for your website.

Understand Your Industry (What You Offer)
A solid grasp of your website or company and what it offers (items, services, content, etc.) is an excellent starting point for keyword research. This assists in determining the subjects and information you want to feature on your website. If you are a hosting firm, your website will most certainly have information (landing pages, blog articles, etc.) pertaining to your hosting services (such as “WordPress Hosting” or “Page Speed Optimization”). provides a starting point for your keyword research.

Consider your target audience (what they are looking for).
In addition to knowing what you have to give, you must examine what your audience (or future consumer) is seeking. Before studying keywords that a wide audience is searching for, it is generally best to first determine what your specialized target audience is searching for on your website. Depending on your consumer personas and/or customer journey maps, you may already have a solid sense of this. With this knowledge about your audience, you will be able to choose keywords that will not only increase website traffic but also increase conversions.

Discover Your Competitors
Knowing what your competitor is doing about keyword research will help you decide what to do and what not to do. Take the time to determine who your primary rivals are if you do not already know. Researching your immediate competitors is essential for outranking them in search results. Examine the kind of material they produce, the themes they cover, and which ones are the most successful. This will assist you in developing a keyword strategy that, in many ways, reverse-engineers your competition’s plan. In addition, you will be able to take note of their highest-ranking keywords and assess whether or not they are missing any high-volume keywords that might be beneficial to your organization.

Understanding search engines
Understanding how search engines index high-ranking material based on keyword use will enable you to replicate the process with your own keyword strategy. You should also learn about Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) and how they use keywords and the structure (or schema markup) of your content to index and show highlighted snippets.

Understand Your Numbers
By analyzing your website’s data using Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you’ll be able to assess your present content and generate suggestions for new subjects or keywords to explore. Use the analytics tools that are available to find out everything you need to know about your content and the content of your competitors.

Choosing the Best SEO Keyword Research Equipment
There are several free SEO tools available to aid with keyword research and SEO. Excellent tools to consider are SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Ads’ Keyword Planner.


Check out this comprehensive list of the finest keyword research tools for SEO.

How to Conduct Keyword Analysis (Essential Steps)
There are a few guidelines you can follow to conduct effective keyword research.Let’s explore them separately so you may obtain a better understanding of how to improve your website’s SEO.

Create a list of relevant topics for you and your audience.
Before doing in-depth keyword research, you must have a clear notion of which themes and phrases to target. The most effective ones will make sense for both your company and prospective consumers. Understanding both your company and your intended audience will thus be beneficial.

Create a list of keywords based on your most relevant content. Identify five to ten themes to begin your investigation. These are likely to appear across your website and have the greatest weight in the text (like main categories for a blog). Additionally, examine popular subjects to see what people are looking for that you may write content for.

Consider search intent and related keywords when generating topic suggestions.
Google excels at matching search queries to user intent. Because of this, you may undertake keyword research for your own brand using Google’s search bar. This strategy may offer you a large number of subject ideas for your website as well as help you identify some excellent secondary keywords. Google has three options for generating high-volume keywords: autocomplete, people who also ask, and related searches.

Google Autocomplete
When you begin to input a term into the Google search field, autocomplete happens. Google will attempt to predict what you will write next based on a database of frequently-entered search terms. As you write, predictions adapt to the characters you input. Let’s use our running shoes as an example.Google will autocomplete a list of frequently searched phrases linked to running shoes when you begin to type them.


You may get a vast amount of information using just one Google tool.

People also wonder

After entering a search query into the search field, a section titled “People also ask” will appear underneath the top results. Clicking on these results will provide further information or terms. These are the most frequently asked questions pertaining to your search phrase. What an impressive search volume! Let’s reconsider our search phrase for running shoes. This collection of words is returned by Google when the query is executed.


As we go through the search results, Google offers us an increasing number of queries with high-volume keyword possibilities.


This strategy gives keyword suggestions and maybe blog article inspiration as well.

Similar Searches
In addition to user intent, try examining similar search phrases for keyword inspiration. Try searching Google for “running shoes” as an example. Below the top search results, Google has a section titled “People also inquire” that lists some of the most frequently used search keywords by other users. This is a stage that is commonly forgotten in keyword research strategies. These are referred to as “seed keywords.” They serve as a foundation for building longer keywords with modifiers. A seed keyword may be composed of one or two words and is considered “keyword gold.”

Google will attempt to anticipate your next inquiry by giving you a list of frequently asked questions connected to the subject you just searched. There is plenty to gain from Google’s generosity. Using this example, you may study popular running shoes, the top running shoe brand, and the highest-rated running trainers.


In addition, Google provides related search results. These are possible searches based on the first keyword search for “running shoes.” In certain instances, you will be provided with brand names to include in your keyword research. Good marketers often include keywords in their titles and meta descriptions. Explore the top Google search results and also pay attention to the search results in the surrounding locations.

Once you have a solid list of themes and prospective keywords, you can start analyzing how these keywords are performing in search engines to prune your list.

Important Factors to Consider When Conducting Keyword Research
There are many significant variables to consider while doing keyword research. Consider keyword difficulty, search volume, and search purpose while generating site-specific keywords.

Keyword Struggle
The first factor is keyword difficulty. This indicates how difficult it will be to rank for a certain term. The higher the score, the more challenging it will be to rank your phrase in search results. Once you have determined the keyword’s rating, you may decide whether or not to use it in your article.

Keyword Generator is a free tool provided by Ahref that can aid you in your study. Simply enter a keyword, and the free version will offer you the 100 most relevant terms. You’ll also be able to see queries presented by searchers linked to your keyword, which is an excellent method for determining which keywords to employ. The first ten search results provide the keyword difficulty rating.


Search Volume

This refers to the frequency with which a certain term is searched for over a specified time period. A decent starting point is to determine the average number of monthly searches. You may learn quite a bit from search traffic, but the data should be interpreted with caution. Even if a term has a large search volume, it does not always result in increased site visitors. A high search volume often indicates more competition.

For instance, suppose the term “running shoes” receives 20,000 monthly searches. This is a large quantity, but it does not indicate the purpose of the searchers. Remember that this does not imply that everyone who looked for it really clicked on the link. People often find the desired information on Google, so they move on.

Nevertheless, your material must be relevant to what people are looking for. Therefore, it is important to consider search volume while doing keyword research.

Search Objective
Google is putting a far greater focus on search intent in the future. You will have a much more difficult time ranking in search engines if you do not consider a user’s search intent when selecting keywords.Numerous SEO plugins and tools reveal the search intent of a given term. Familiarize yourself with the various sorts of search intent and use this knowledge to guide your keyword selection on your website. The following categories of search intent exist:

Are they using Google for navigational purposes? For instance, a user who searches for the phrases “login” or “sign up” rather than entering a URL

This indicates that the user is seeking knowledge on a certain subject or answer.

A user is seeking a certain sort of good or a specific one. They are likely seeking reviews or comparisons to help them decide which product is best.

Transactional: This person understands exactly what they want and is prepared to make a purchase. They are presumably hunting for the greatest bargain at this stage.

In practice, you should ensure that the user’s search intent for a term aligns with the purpose of your content. For instance, you should not attempt to rank for a term with transactional (or commercial) search intent if the purpose of your content is to provide information. Even if your traffic initially rises, it will eventually be less useful to users.

Start organizing keywords by subject.
Once you have determined your primary subjects or keywords, you may begin classifying keywords under each of the primary keyword topics. Grouping keywords is the process of grouping or clustering a set of keywords. Include a variety of keywords and keyword variants, such as short (stem) keywords, long-tail keywords, and queries. Using a keyword research tool should provide you with a wealth of important data to help you organize your keyword lists.

Utilizing a spreadsheet is an easy way to begin keyword grouping. List your primary keywords (or themes) at the top, followed by related keywords. Then, you may color-code each term based on its keyword complexity and add a column for search volume. This will assist you in deciding for which audiences you should begin developing content.


In addition to grouping keywords, consider mapping them. Keyword mapping is successful because it permits the creation of a site-specific keyword map. This would require the use of a keyword research tool like SEMRush to make tracking this process easy.

Grouping keywords will help you construct topic and content clusters. These clusters will aid in the creation and development of cornerstone content, which is vital to your SEO keyword strategy.

Be realistic regarding the keywords you select.
If you have a high domain authority, you may be able to choose keywords with more competition, volume, and difficulty. If you are just starting out, you should seek out keywords that are less competitive yet have a sufficient search volume to warrant your attention. In general, it is advisable to begin with those you believe you can rank highest. Then, as you create more content and establish your authority, you may target tougher keywords.

Most keyword research tools will tell you how many people are searching for each keyword variant and how competitive it is, so you can choose the best term for your keyword strategy.


Typically, the most challenging keywords to rank for are stem (or seed) keywords. Don’t be hesitant to pursue long-tail keywords, particularly those in the question format. Considering how much Google weighs user intent, these terms may sometimes get the greatest results (not to mention how many voice searches are being conducted in the form of a question on mobile these days).

Consider using both short-tail and long-tail keyword variants in your content.
Overuse of the same keyword or phrase on a website or post can cause Google to raise an alert.This practice is known as “keyword stuffing.” To prevent this, it is important to combine several keyword variants, including short-tail and long-tail keywords, with your target term. Therefore, it is essential to do research on keyword variants.

Keep in mind that, while developing SEO material, you should only include your target keywords when they make sense. If it looks forced or unclear to the user, Google will surely notice. Utilizing keyword stemming, which enables you to split up a target keyword phrase throughout an entire sentence while still being identified as the target term, is one method to do this.

Consider the Competitors for a Long, Strenuous Period of Time
Conduct a keyword gap study, also known as a competitive keyword analysis, to get a competitive advantage. Note their highest-ranking keywords and assess whether or not they’re missing any high-volume keywords that might benefit your firm. On the other hand, you could attack your competitors aggressively by using their best keywords to steal their customers.


You may use a variety of methods to determine what your rivals are using. employing Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or the source code of the competitor’s website. For instance, in Chrome, you may right-click the page and choose “View Page Source.” Search for components such as the title, meta, and h1 tags once you have access to the source code.

Keep track of the success of your keywords.
When you’ve taken measures to discover keywords that will aid you in your pursuit of high rankings, it’s crucial to monitor their performance. Adjustments may (and likely will) be necessary to get the desired results. Keyword monitoring tools may help you enhance your content strategy, leading to an increase in website traffic. In addition to monitoring your existing keywords, keyword tracking may give you suggestions for other keywords to include in your content.

Local Keyword Research as a Bonus Tip
Knowing where your visitors are and what they are searching for may provide insight into their purchase and search behaviors and enable you to provide them with relevant material. For instance, if your website receives a great deal of traffic from New York, you may like to use the phrase “sneakers.” Terminology might differ by area. Customers in northern areas may refer to sports shoes as sneakers, while southerners call them tennis shoes.


Consider utilizing Google Search Trends to explore keywords depending on area as you construct your article. This will enable you to tailor your content to certain locations. This is particularly important if your company is local. You can know which search phrases your prospective consumers are using based on your location.

For more, check out our Local SEO Guide.

FAQs About Keyword Research
With so much information being presented, it is inevitable that you will have questions. No worries. We have solutions.

How are long-tail and short-tail keywords different?
Long-tail keywords consist of four or more words, whereas short-tail keywords often include no more than three. Long-tail keywords are used for more detailed searches, which is ideal for discovering customers who are ready to make a purchase or have a particular query they need answered. Due to their wide nature, short-tail keywords tend to have a large search volume. You may utilize short-tail keywords as seeds, which is an effective technique for developing keywords over time.

How do I determine the search intent of a user?
Signing up for a keyword research tool like Ahrefs is one of the most effective methods. If you are just starting out and do not have the money to invest in a keyword research service, you could Google your own terms. Google does an excellent job determining a user’s search intent. As noted earlier, Google employs three distinct strategies when you enter a keyword: autocomplete, people also ask, and related searches. Utilizing Google’s own search box is an excellent technique to determine the user’s intent. It is a straightforward method for getting started and might be handy for creating fresh material.

How Do I Determine the Quality of a Keyword?
Follow them. Good SEO involves a great deal of trial and error and upkeep. You can’t just create a website with excellent content and expect people to flock to it. Begin with researched keywords and then track their performance. SEMrush is an excellent tool for this purpose. Both free and paid keyword monitoring programs are available. The free edition of SEMrush is sufficient to help you determine what is working and what is not.

Which keyword research tool is the best?
This is a loaded query. There is no true all-in-one solution unless you are willing to pay for one. You may utilize a collection of tools, such as Google Search Trends, Google Search, and SEMrush, or a comprehensive solution, such as Ahref. Until you locate the right one, you will most likely test many. We recommend beginning with our article on the 5 Best Free and Premium Keyword Research Tools for SEO. This will serve as a fantastic starting point for making a selection.

Without keyword research, can my website rank?
Yes, it is possible, but it is unlikely. Keyword research is an essential SEO component. Without it, all you can do is throw the dice and hope for the best. With the amount of competition on the Internet nowadays, the best course of action is to put in the effort necessary to increase your chances of ranking well in search engine results.

I conducted keyword research for X, but I’m still not ranking. Why should you not?
Ensure first that your site is indexed. Your website cannot be crawled or ranked if it is not indexed. Next, ensure that your website is submitted to Google’s search dashboard. Then ensure that you are not impeding indexing. If you are on a WordPress site, go to Settings > Reading and uncheck the option labeled “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

If you have followed the procedures above and are still not ranked, determine where you stand. Start by doing a Google search for your company name, major keywords, secondary keywords, and content-related terms. Adjust the page-based search results on your search engine if you are not appearing on the first page for certain queries. Once you have determined your rating, you may make efforts to improve it. Using your preferred keyword research tool, evaluate your keywords to discover whether they are decreasing in the overall ranks of Google search results. It may be time to reevaluate your use of failed keywords if you see a drop in their effectiveness.

It is critical to remember not to change your material too much.Google dislikes frequent and frequent changes to content.As noted earlier, strong SEO takes time, so you must put in the effort.

Is it Appropriate to Reuse a Keyword?
It is not recommended to repeat target keywords across your website’s pages and articles.A “focus keyword” is a phrase used to rank your article or page in search engine results. If you utilize the same term on many websites or blog articles, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot. The optimal strategy is to develop distinct target keywords for each page you want to rank for. Using them several times can negatively affect your search engine results and lead you to compete against yourself. This is known as “keyword cannibalization,” and it may really harm your SERP ranking. Refer to our Simple Guide to Understanding and Fixing Keyword Cannibalization for solutions to this frequent SEO issue.

How Often Should I Use Keywords?
Keyword density is an essential consideration. While there is no fixed limit to the number of times a keyword may be used on a page or post, it is possible to overuse a term. You may use an SEO plugin such as Yoast or RankMath to discover the optimal balance. Generally speaking, you should only use a keyword when it makes sense. Google will notice if you attempt to manipulate its results.

Keyword research is a crucial component of any SEO plan. Knowing your keywords and putting in the effort to discover whether they fit well with your content goes a long way toward achieving a high search engine rating for your website.

Keep in mind that great keyword research necessitates the use of the appropriate tools to generate a list of relevant keywords. Then, it is your responsibility to develop the content, employing these keywords effectively. Consider using the Rank Math SEO plugin on your product and category pages if you use Divi.

How do you do keyword research? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

Disclaimer: While we only make recommendations that we stand behind, if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we may receive commission. This allows us to continue providing free information and excellent resources. Thank you for your assistance!

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