How to Do Keyword Research for SEO

By strategically using the right keywords in your content, you improve your chances of ranking higher, meaning that keyword research for SEO is one of the most basic SEO best practices.

The higher the ranking, the more organic traffic that comes to your website. And the more organic traffic you get, the more revenue you generate!

What is SEO keyword research? 

SEO keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases that your target customers use in search engines so that you can use them to optimize your content around and rank for those keywords. The insights you get from keyword research help to direct your content strategy as well as the overall marketing strategy

Keyword research impacts every aspect of SEO including finding content topics, on-page SEO, email marketing campaigns, and content promotion. This is why keyword research is the first step in every SEO campaign. In other words, keywords are like a compass for your SEO strategy.

Why does keyword research for SEO matter?

Good keywords are based on two things: metrics and search intent. The best keywords have a high search volume, but low difficulty (when that’s possible). But most importantly, they also have to match search intent, otherwise your content won’t be relevant to your reader. So when doing keyword research for SEO, always balance the keyword metrics with search intent. When you do this correctly, you will most certainly reap the rewards.

Higher rankings

The majority of users click on the top 3 links that appear in the SERPs (search engine results pages), which is the reason why so many brands focus on obtaining that coveted top spot. When you use keywords appropriately, that increases your chances for ranking higher. And the more high-ranking keywords you have, the more organic traffic you generate.

Increase organic traffic to your site

Organic traffic is critical for the success of your business because it is targeted. Users come to your site from search engines with the intent of finding the solution to their specific problems. If you provide accurate and beneficial information, then they are more likely to convert into leads.  Organic traffic ROI outperforms display ads in the long run because people may not always be prepared to purchase your product when you put it in front of them. However, when they personally come to your site because they are looking for a solution, they are already at the lower levels of sales funnel.    

Boost sales and engagement 

When your site receives a high amount of organic traffic who are potential customers, you are likely to realize increased engagement and sales. This is because your content empathizes with the challenges of your users and helps them find effective solutions. This informative content develops trust in your brand which translates into sales.

How to do keyword research for SEO

SEO won’t work without the right keywords. They are at the heart of every successful SEO strategy, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to find the right keywords and then also use them according to SEO standards.

How can you find high value keywords?

Start by following this overview below.

#1 Create a list of relevant topics related to your business or niche

Come up with topics that your target customers are interested in. From these broad topics, drill down into specific keywords that will form the backbone of your pieces of content. For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, your potential customers may think about content marketing, website traffic, marketing automation, and blogging. 

We’ll focus on how to do keyword research for the topic of content marketing for this article. 

#2 Brainstorm keywords around those topics 

After deciding on the content marketing topic, the next step is to identify the keywords around it. Keywords are specific phrases you think are necessary for you to rank because your target customers frequently use them when looking for solutions on search engines. 

For example, in the case  of content marketing, I would brainstorm keyword phrases such as: 

  • How to create a content marketing strategy 
  • Content marketing examples
  • Content marketing tools
  • Content marketing trends 2020

At this point, you just want to come up with phrases your potential customers may use when searching for content related to the content marketing topic. Later in the keyword research process, you refine this list to choose keywords with high value. 

#3 Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest

You can use free keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest to identify more keywords related to your topic (although for serious SEO experts I highly recommend purchasing a SEMrush subscription). 

But for now I’ll stick to Ubersuggest. So, go to Ubersuggest and type “content marketing” as the keyword. It will bring up multiple keyword ideas around content marketing. For SEO, you’ll focus on two main metrics: search volume and difficulty.

Image showing the screenshot of showing keyword ideas for content marketing

From the image you can see at least 420 keyword ideas around content marketing. Scroll down to identify the keywords with the highest search volumes and low difficulty. Use these keyword ideas to create a list of potential article titles around the topic of content marketing.

#4 Choose the best keywords

Once you have developed the list of keywords around content marketing, the next step is to identify the best keywords to use in the actual articles and blogs. The best keywords are those with a high search volume and low SEO difficulty. SEO difficulty is a metric that shows how hard it is to rank for a specific keyword according to the number of sites who also rank for that keyword. Search volume is the amount of people who use that keyword in a Google search per month.

Image showing the screenshot of Keyword ideas for content marketing

Focus now on “content marketing strategy.” It has a search volume of 1900 and a difficulty of 25. This means it is a great keyword to use because its search volume is high and the difficulty is low. Then, identify more keywords that are associated with content marketing strategy by clicking on the related option.   

#5 Check how competitors rank for the keywords

The main intention is to outrank your competitors and get the most organic traffic. Learning the keywords that your competitors rank for enables you to evaluate your list of keywords. If your competitors are ranking for keywords that are also in your list, then it makes sense to build your content around those keywords too. However, you should also identify the keywords that your competitors don’t seem to care about and use them to improve your rankings and steal their organic traffic. 

There are numerous tools you can use to check the keywords your competitors are using. Most digital marketers use SEMRush, SpyFu, and Ahrefs explorer to find competitor keywords. 

#6 Align keywords with your content topic and search intent

After creating a comprehensive list of the best keywords to use, it is time to align them with your content topics and how that relates to search intent, meaning the information someone is searching for when they type in that particular keyword into Google. You’ll also want to add secondary keywords that expand the range of potential keywords that particular content can rank for.

Image showing screenshot of content marketing strategy keyword ideas

Other useful secondary keywords in this case are “what is content marketing strategy” and “content marketing strategy examples”.

Once you have your full keyword list, you then create your layout by using those keywords according to SEO best practices.

Grow your business with SEO 

Now that you have learned how to do keyword research for SEO, what are you going to do next? 

I am an SEO expert and know how to improve your rankings on search engines and increase the organic traffic to your site by designing and implementing your SEO strategy. Get in touch with me! 

Published by Adriana Stein

on July 14, 2020

Adriana Stein is an Online Marketing Consultant based in Hamburg, Germany. Originally from the US, she is a native English speaker and specializes in helping companies with their SEO & content marketing strategies, along with graphic design, brand copy and website development.

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