Step-By-Step Guide: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO

For a better understanding of what keyword research is, you first have to learn what keywords are all about.

In general, a keyword is a word or phrase that an Internet user enters into a search engine or search bar to find content. Keywords are the topics and ideas that define what the content is all about. Simple words or phrases are your primary keywords and can get a blast search result on your page.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research isn’t just about SEO but it is considered the most important part of digital marketing. For a digital marketer, keyword research is the process used to find and identify what words or phrases are common and regularly searched for by their target audience.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to do Keyword Research for SEO

Now that you have a firm understanding behind keyword research, it’s time for you to find your own keywords.

Step 1: Learn about your niche

Start to dig deep to learn more about your specific niche or topic. It will help you discover points to your marketing and SEO strategy that you never considered before.

Here are a few ideas on how to study your niche:

  • Get to know your current customers and find out the terms that they use when describing your company, brand, services or product.
  • Try to think from the viewpoint of your potential customers
  • Get engaged in your topic or niche in online communities, such as social media networks.
  • Read the reviews and discussions and find out any main points that are discussed regarding your niche.

Step 2: Determine goals

Plan ahead and define your end goals. You can simply list down your goals, make charts and document them. These will help you in building the framework and direction of your marketing strategy. But first, you should ask yourself some important questions like:

  • Who are you?
  • What is your website about?
  • What is your brand?
  • What makes you special among your competitors?

Then after you answer and analyze these questions, you need to determine your brand’s mission. What are the objectives of your brand? Do you want to increase the number of subscribers? Or do you have a target bottom line for your sales? Your answers to these questions should define your digital marketing plan.

Step 3: Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business

After analyzing your goal, try to break down your topic and list all the important topics related to your brand that you want to rank for on search engines.

For example, if your brand is specializing in woman’s apparel, these are the topics than can be related to your brand.

  • Women’s sheath dress
  • High-waist culottes
  • Women’s graphic short-sleeve tee

As you can see, the topics should be related to your buyer personas. One of the most accessible ways to figure out what’s important to your buyer persona is through social listening. You’ll be able to get a feel for your customer’s wants and needs by simply monitoring social media sites.

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Step 4: Create a list of seed keywords

After breaking down your main category, you can start creating a list of seed keywords.

Seed keywords are the focus keywords; they are important because they define your niche and eventually will become the foundation of your keyword research. If you’re wondering how to find the seed keywords, all you need to do is describe your products as simple as possible and try to brainstorm how your target audience might search for it on Google.

Step 5: Use good keyword research tools

Once you have a list of seed keywords, it is time to use keyword research tools to refine your search terms. Here is the list of best keyword research tools for SEO that may help you narrow down the right direction for your search terms and can also give additional ideas on your related keywords.

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • SEMrush
  • Serpstat
  • Long Tail Pro
  • Ubersuggest
  • Ahrefs
  • WordStream’s Keyword Tool

How does it work? Just type in the seed keyword into the search bar and it will provide you with a list of alternative or relative keywords.

Step 6: Study the search intent

Learn about search intent or the purpose behind why internet users search for a specific term. At the end of the day, everyone who conducts an online search is hoping to find something. The best way to understand this is to try and put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Of course, there are multiple reasons behind why people search, such as:

  • They are looking for an answer to their questions.
  • They are curious to visit a specific website
  • They are searching because they want to buy something.

Here are the four distinct types of search intent:

  • Informational intent – people perform an online search for information on a certain topic
  • Transactional intent – users are looking to purchase certain products
  • Commercial investigation – similar to transactional, but they are also looking for advice about the product
  • Navigational intent – performed by users who wish to visit a certain location

Step 7: Identify long-tail keywords

If you have seed keywords (or shorter search terms), there are also long-tail keywords to consider. These are longer and more detailed keyword phrases that clients are more likely to use when they are actively looking to make a purchase.

For example, if you’re a start-up that sells casual shoes, it’s possible your pages are not appearing at the top of an organic search for shoes because there’s a lot of competition for that keyword. But if you make it more specific like “fashionable studded casual shoes” then it will attract a more relevant audience compared to the seed keyword “casual shoes.”

Step 8: Find out about your competitors

Based on Advance Web Ranking’s March 2018 research, the top position on Google search result earned a huge 30% (CTR) click-through rate. So, it makes sense to be aware of what your competitors are doing. By knowing what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for, you will be able to refine and evaluate your own keyword research strategy.

Look for keywords that you and your competitors share and target those pages or services for optimisation. But don’t forget about keywords that are relevant to you yet are being ignored by your competition. This is a great opportunity for you to get a lion’s share of that target market.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How important is keyword research in SEO?
Keyword research is arguably the most important part of digital marketing, particularly in SEO. It helps you craft your messaging and your content in a way that targets your particular audience, leading to more site visitors and potential conversions.
How can I use keyword research to improve my site’s traffic?
Use seed keywords as a starting point. Google itself has long since veered away from exact-match keywords and have started using a more nuanced approached to the way it searches for information. This means that you should take your seed keywords and start searching for related terms or partial matches on the SERPs. The more related terms you come up with, the easier it will be for you to start coming up with content; content that you can now easily break up into different sub-sections to help you reach a wider audience.
How do I do long-tail keyword research?
Long-tail keywords have nothing to do with how long or short your keyword is. Instead, it pertains to the search volume. These are keywords that are fairly specific and, to some extent, “unpopular” due to how low its search volume is.
The easiest way to do long-tail keyword research is to take a broad topic and start typing it into the Google search bar. At this point, you can let the Google autocomplete function do the work. List down the phrases that the search engine suggests and find out its search volume by using your preferred keyword research tool.
How should I organise my keyword research?
The quickest way to organise your keyword lists is by using a spreadsheet. You can start by simply listing them all down and then using various spreadsheet tools, you can organise them even further by separating them into categories and sections. It is up to you how you would like to define these but some useful categories include the keywords’ usefulness and value, how relevant they are, and what the search intent is. Experiment with different combinations of categories until you find one that works best for you.

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