Keyword Research

Keyword Research for SEO : The Ultimate Guide

published on: 14.09.2017 last updated on: 24.11.2023

With a lot going on in the world of SEO with regards to social signals and content, it becomes quite easy to forget the most crucial SEO aspect: Keyword search. The truth remains that if you do not have keywords, their SEO cannot exist. They give the basis for figuring out the fears, thoughts, and desires of the target market. In fact, searching keywords is similar to doing a market search in the twenty-first century. If you can master the technique of finding the right keywords for your business, you will have many benefits that come from search engine traffic and understand your customers better than your competitors.

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Where does keyword search begin?

Many people start the process of searching keywords with keyword research tools. Most of these tools will only give keywords that are intimately tied to the given phrase. On rare occasions, they will give you keywords that are closely related but indirectly related to the things you are selling. For this reason, many keywords are quite impossible to rank because everybody is targeting similar keywords. That is not to mean that you do not use keywords that come from the tools but it means not relying on the phrases. If you want to get the right keywords for your search, it is important to identify niche topics.

What is a niche topic?

The niche topic is what your target customer has an interest in; meaning that it is not just a word but a phrase or a broad topic. While some keywords from the search tools might be helpful for your firm, you will get others that are just lucrative and less competitive. According to people who have experience, starting by identifying a niche topic is the easiest way of finding untapped keywords. Niche topics contain lists of what your customers are interested in and relate to your bread and butter niche. Niche markets are always small niches that are not big enough to support their sites or products.

However, while some of these markets may have close to ten keywords, others will only have a maximum of five phrases. These keywords have enough commercial intent and search volume for you to optimize your pages around them. However, when you put these keywords together, you will find that you have keywords with less competition. The fact remains that niche topics are the best for finding the right keywords in the industry.

How do you create a niche topic?

The purpose of your niche topic is mapping out different topics your target audience is searching on google. All you require is a text file or a simple google document. You need to create about five niche topics with different markets on the top of your head. These topics will be sufficient to give you the desired number of keywords. If you are struggling in identifying these topics, you can use the buyer personas strategy to tap into what you want.

The buyer persona is an easy way of identifying the niche topics that interest your clients. After identifying the topics, it will be easy for you to identify the topics that your customers use daily. The keyword search that you do needs to focus on certain aspects of the audience like age, gender, hobbies and interests, approximate income, the things they are struggling with, and the things they desire to accomplish. Depending on your industry of choice, there is a possibility of having different buyer personas at your disposal. The easiest method of making buyer personas is through creating PowerPoint slides.  This slide will give you help in getting into the head of the customer to uncover topics that you were thinking otherwise.

How do you find keywords that drive profitability?

When you want to succeed in SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, you need to master the power of keyword search. There exists a debate among marketing experts that optimizing and identifying specific keywords people are typic in the search engine is a vital element when you want to achieve success in search marketing. Determining how to recognize and conduct keyword searches is worth your focus. If you desire success in marketing through search, you need to learn the techniques of researching keywords.


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You need to continuously discover targeted keywords with quality to gain an advantage that has quality, consistently and efficiently turn the search into action, and make the keyword research the supporting piece of all your search marketing efforts so that it leads to business profits. As an advertiser, the question that you need to be asking yourself is the technique you will use to go beyond static keywords to create a keywords list that will lift your bottom line.

Can You Use Free Keyword Tool

You can use particular free keyword research tools for your business, organize them into groups that are workable, and evaluate their performance. You need a keyword tool that has functionalities that will help you conduct advanced research. The tool needs to have a suggestion tool that will pull suggestions from a database of unique search queries. It needs to have the keyword niche finder to return structured suggestions. When the keywords are put into clusters, it becomes easy to use them on your website or other campaigns.

The tool needs to have a keyword grouper to organize and them into actionable groups. The right tool will return targeted and extensive data that is used in marketing campaigns. While using these tools is vital to a keyword research strategy, they will help you become a pro by guiding you to boost your business performance.

Recommended reading: How to Use Social Media for E-Commerce Marketing

What will you do with your keyword research?

The most important aspect to note with keyword research is that the list is not very helpful. To see profit and traffic from these phrases, you have to put them in the keyword-rich web copy, blog posts, and product pages. This technique will ensure that your customers can get you through organic search. Therefore, you need to close the gap between your writing and research and convert your keywords into a reader-friendly and SEO-friendly tool that will attract clients.

How can you do keyword research?

There is a lot of information online with detailed instructions on how to do keyword research that will improve your ranking and give you traffic over the internet. However, these guidelines you get on the internet have different instructions that need to be followed. Not that they are giving you the wrong information, the thing is that there does not exist a universal approach to executing the keyword search. The search varies based on your site, objectives and goals, deadlines, resources and budget, and your industry and competitive landscape.

For this reason, you will find it tricky to relate to a particular step-by-step guide that you come across. The well-known PPC agency,, recommends running a paid search campaign before doing keyword research so that the business can know what keywords convert the best before spending money on search engine optimization of those keywords. However, you can use the methods and steps below to improve google traffic.

Start with seed keywords

You need to make seed keywords the foundation of your research. They help you to define your niche and identify your competitors. If you already have a business or product you want to promote over the internet, generating seed keywords is similar to describing the product in your words. Conversely, if you want to start an affiliate marketing site and you do not have a starting point, you need to settle on a niche basing on the niche down approach or the monetizing first approach.

Niche down approach

You need to start with a super broad keyword and then niche down until when you identify an interesting opportunity. For instance, if you settle for a particular industry, you will get close to five million keyword ideas for the seed keyword. If you want to niche down, you will have to focus on longer keywords that have the industry phrase you are searching for. You then have to filter the words until when you come up with a list of four. Ideas are always far from being perfect because you need some time before finding them. You need to invest time into it, and you will come across an interesting phrase for your SEO.

Monetization first approach

You need to start with the available monetizing methods. Pick an offer or product that you like. You need to think of the search queries that people are using on Google to find it. For instance, a site like Amazon has a perfect affiliate program from where you can search the product you would like to promote. The other option would be to scout the affiliate marketplace sites that connect product manufacturers to affiliates. You will finalize by reviewing the services and products you are using to see if you can be an affiliate.

Generate keyword ideas

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Now that you have figured out your seed keywords, you need to realize that they are just but the tip of the iceberg. The following step will be to create a list of relevant keyword ideas while finding out what the people in your niche are searching on google. You can do this through four core methods namely;

See the keywords you are ranking for

In case your site has been around for some time, you need to be ranking on google for several hundreds of keywords. Knowing these keywords is a perfect way of starting your search. You can use the google report in the search console to get the required information. The search console will show your position for every keyword and the clicks and impressions you are getting from each keyword.

See the keywords that your competitors are using to rank.

There are chances that your competitors have performed the tedious task of finding and identifying keywords. Therefore, you can check the keywords they are using to rank and choose the best ones for your business. If you do not understand your competitors, you need to put your keyword in google to identify the person that ranks before you.

At times, you can get a single competitor giving you more than enough keyword ideas that will keep your SEO team busy for long. However, if you have the hunger for more, you can visit competing domains to find the sites of your competitors. When you use the competitive research loop, you need to put the seed keyword in Google to identify the person that ranks on top of you, put their site in Ahrefs to identify their best keywords, find other relevant sites through the competing domains report, and then get back to the first two steps.

The trick to unlimited keyword ideas is repeating this procedure over and over again. Never neglect to tap into related industries because you will discover many great keywords that do not relate to what you are offering but can bring visitors to your site. The process of researching the sites of your competitors requires a detailed guide in itself.

Tracking the internal site search

Many site owners usually overlook the most obvious location for finding keywords; your site. It does not mean the keywords people use to get to your site, but the searches people are using on your site. This technique is best when used on a big site. You will have a lot of opportunities and data to learn keyword ideas and how clients are using your site.

Long term keyword strategy

No site needs to rely on a single key phrase or keyword to generate traffic. You need to use your mission as a starting point and take all the necessary steps to do the right keyword research and work towards making a solid base.

How many keywords?

Giving the number of the exact keywords for your focus is hard. Additionally, it is also simple. You need to have a large number that is feasible with you. Having close to one thousand keywords is more than what you require. Even though your business is small, you will end up having about one hundred keywords to work with. You do not need to create pages for all these keywords with immediate effect. The advantage of having CMS sites is that you will keep adding this content with time. You need to choose the keywords you would like to rank immediately and the ones that are not as important.

Ad hoc keyword research strategies

In the ideal situation, you would research your keywords, create a beautiful table, and make landing pages. The structure of your site would be flawless, and you would write and blog daily to make your site rank high in Google. It is, however, unfortunate to note that we live in a world that is real.

In fact, your keyword research will not be pervasive. And some articles and posts are not created as part of the strategy, but just because the subject was on the news and you got an inspiration to write. That is how the thing works, and there does not need to be any problem.

In case you are writing something that is not fitting your strategy, it does not mean that you should not aim at ranking the content. You can use it to rank on something that is relating to the terms of your keyword list. This necessary tools in the market like Google trends to choose the keywords you can use to rank. You need time to think about the way you will fit your blog or article in your strategy. Anyway, if you are generating content with high quality, you will make it rank.

The relevance of long-tail keywords

When you are coming up with a long-term keyword research strategy, you need to focus on long-tail keywords because they are vital in the process. These keywords are more specific than the common head keywords. These keywords get less traffic in search but usually have a high conversion value, and focuses on a particular product.

Multiple focus keywords

When you use the Yoast premium tool, you will be able to focus on multiple keywords. When you use this tool correctly, you will optimize your text for up to five keywords. Multiple keywords are important when you are optimizing your text.

Understand keyword metrics

When executing the strategies named above, you may find yourself in thousands of keywords trying to decide on the ones you will choose. You can use the metrics below to choose the right ones for your practice.

Search volume

This metric the overall search demand of any given keyword regarding the number of times people are putting it on Google around the world. Many keyword research tools pull the search volume numbers from AdWords of Google, which is regarded as a trusted source of this information. You need to mind the dynamic nature of the search volume. You need to employ the services of Google Trends free keyword tool when searching the volume.

Therefore, the search volume is usually the annual average. However, if you doubt a particular keyword, make sure that you check on the trends. The only disadvantage with search volume is that it does not predict the search traffic accurately.


A huge search demand means that you need to get a massive volume of traffic when ranking top on google for that keyword. Different results may improve traffic to your site or take it away. You may also lose clicks to stolen ads.

Traffic potential

Clicks and search volumes are great metrics to understand the traffic and popularity of any keyword. However, that keyword may have many related synonym searches. However, all of which can target a single page of your site. The first ranking result usually gets up to thirty percent of all clicks. It is therefore vital to stop evaluating keywords by their clicks only. You have to check on their top-ranking results to see the amount of traffic they get.

Keyword difficulty

Without question, it is the best method of gauging the difficulty of ranking a keyword is by manually analyzing search results and using SEO experience. You cannot do this to one thousand keywords at once. Each keyword research tool possesses its method of calculating the ranking score. The most used method is the one that has backlinks on the top ten ranking pages of a particular keyword. If a particular keyword has quality backlinks, it will be tricky to outrank it.

Cost per click

The cost per click metric is more important for advertisers as compared to SEO. However, SEO professionals use this metric as an indicator of the commercial intent of keywords. This makes a lot of sense. The most important aspect of CPC is that it is more volatile than search volume. While the search demand for keywords fluctuates monthly, CPC changes pretty fast after every minute.


You need to prioritize your keywords naturally while moving through the steps above. When you are generating your keyword ideas, analyzing metrics, and putting them into groups, you need to be noting the estimated traffic of the keyword. Additionally, also check the toughness of the competition, and what it would take to rank. You also need to check on the resources that need to be invested in building a competitive page and the return on investment of the traffic it gets. The keyword should not just bring traffic but convert the leads into sales. You can add dedicated columns to your keywords spreadsheet to give each phrase a score. You will then choose the phrase that has the best return on investment.

Tags competitive research Generate keyword ideas keyword research Long term keyword strategy searching keywords
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Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at

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