Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners (2020)

keyword research for seo

Use the proper keyword and you will get more search engine traffic…

Optimize your website keywords and you will reach your business goals…

How many times have you gotten such advices in your journey as a business owner or wannabe SEO?

Probably a lot.

That’s because keywords and keyword research are the first things you should learn about when you want to grow your online business using search engine optimization.

I have been in your situation a long back, and I know how fruitful keyword research could be for anyone like you or me.

And hence,

This guide is written for a beginner like you to understand the most fundamental concept of SEO – keyword research.

Keyword research

Even if you never understood what is the purpose of keyword research, and how do you actually do it, this guide will help you understand every aspect of it.

My goal today is to help you learn about:

  1. What is Keyword research?
  2. What is the importance of Keyword research?
  3. How Keyword research could benefit you?
  4. How to perform Keyword research?

Let’s start with the basics…

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords that would drive targeted traffic to your business. Mostly, this is done by identifying how your target users are finding a website like yours.

Let me simplify it,

when we are looking for a solution to any of our problems, we use a search engine like “Google” “Duckduckgo” to find an answer to that.

We expect the search engine to give us a solution within the first page of search, which is also known as SERP (Search engine results page).

Keyword research helps us to identify those “phrases”, “words”, “queries”, that the mass is asking using a search engine.

As a business or even a blog, when we know what kind of queries users (mass) are asking via search engines, we can optimize or create new pages, helping users to find the answer, and use that traffic to grow our business.

Alternatively, using the same keywords (queries) you can also run PPC ads on platform like Google ads or Facebook ads, to drive traffic to yours or your client websites.

In technical words;

The purpose of Keyword research is to find those “topic”, “ideas” and assign a business value to it, which is commonly used by your target audience. Another way to look at Keyword research is: It helps you to discover those questions and queries which your target customers are asking on the web, and gives you the advantage to speak the language your customer will understand.

Let us understand this with an example:

A simple example is, let’s say a recently became father wants to buy a stroller for his kid. He uses this query “Best baby stroller” in Google search, to find the best brand. Something like this…

Since Google search is smart, it auto-populates a lot of frequently used queries to help the father ask the right question.

Now, depending on the father location, and his understanding, he will stick with his query, or perhaps pick one that is suggested by Google.

Now, search engine keeps a log of how many times these queries are being asked by millions of users around the globe.

The process of keyword research shows the most popular query, along with geo-location, and the number of times these queries has been asked within a specific time (ex: 30 days).

Now, as a business owner, these stats would help you understand which of these queries, you should answer on your website, and in turn, it will help users to discover your website, and the solution.

The solution ultimately helps owners to drive more targeted traffic from search engines, which converts into direct sales, ad sales or even as an affiliate sales.

Well, this is how a keyword research helps.

With a little preparation, you could drive significant traffic to your blog or business and hence make most out of your hard work.

The process of optimizing your keyword for search engine is called “On Page SEO“.

That’s a topic for advanced users, but today we dwell deep into the keyword research.

Performing keyword research, help you experience the business in a record time. Since, you are using data with your emotions, it would help you maximize your work.

Let’s understand this with an example…

Earlier I talked about a father looking to buy a “Stroller” for his son. Now, lets assume you are a business who is into selling baby stroller. (You could be anyone, and replace baby stroller with your product).

By using keyword research tools, we could find data like which keyword “Also known as queries, question, search term” a parent is using on a search engine to find a solution.

The following result is from a tool called “SEMrush“, that shows similar queries with a lot of data as shown below:

Let’s try to understand what’s happening in this image. (Even if you don’t understand 100%, don’t worry as this is normal for a beginner.)

  1. Keyword: This is the query users are asking to find the best baby stroller. When doing SEO, this is the phrase that we “target”, so we often call this as “target keyword” or “Focus keyword”.
  2. Volume: This tells you roughly how many people are searching for that particular keyword in a given month. This is a very important metric as even if you assume a search term will be popular, search data will tell you otherwise. In the above example, you can see two similar keywords which have a considerable difference in monthly search volume:
    • Best rated baby stroller: 140 searches/month
    • Best rated baby stroller 201930 searches/month
  3. Trend: This one helps you to see if the keyword trend is going up (more people are searching) or going down (fewer people are searching). For example, iPhone 11 Pro could be a popular term in 2019-2020, but as a new iPhone is released, this term will lose value. You will understand this in-depth, as we move ahead in our keyword research guide.
  4. Keyword difficulty: This is an important metric that helps you understand, how difficult or easy it is going to be rank for a target keyword on the first page of Google. These tools, compare all the existing ranking pages for things like “On page SEO”, “Backlink profile”, “domain authority” and a few others, to rank such queries. The lower the rank is, easier it would be to rank for.

Like this, there are many matrices you will be getting when you start with Keyword research.

Im nutshell, Keyword research helps you to make data driven decision. In case if you not aware, data is the new oil.

Before we move ahead,

Do read my earlier guide on difference between SEO keywords and queries, it will help you create a better mindset for keyword research.

Moving ahead, lets look at the benefits of keyword resarch.

What are the Importance of Keyword research?

Not all keywords are equal, and lets try to quantify this. The process of Keyword research could help your business (Blog, ecommerce, service or any other) in the following ways:

  1. Keyword research helps you understand the language used by your target audience on a search engine. We typically use Google search as a base, since its the biggest search engine.
  2. It helps you discover untapped queries, that could directly help you get paid customers from organic searches such as Google search, Baidu and others.
  3. Engaged audience: The audience that you will be receiving is already hot (ready to buy), and you will get high engagement in the form of comments, sharing or even as a sale.
  4. Market and customer trend: Periodically, performing Keyword research will help you to understand in which direction the market and customers are heading.
  5. Competitive advantage: Incorporating keywords and SEO before your competitors, will give you a solid advantage. If done right, in a less crowded niche, it could help you earn a lot of backlinks as a first mover advantage.
  6. Reduce PPC Cost: Keywords SEO will help you drive those traffic for free, which a business, usually pay for in the form of PPC. Such organic ranking could significantly reduce your business digital marketing cost.
  7. More Ad revenue: Marketers and bloggers who rely on income from Google AdSense or Media.net, they could use the Keyword research to find high CPC keywords and thus increase their ad revenue significantly, with the same effort.

There are many more advantages of Keyword research, the above few are the prime one.

Here is a less known fact about Keyword research:

A lot of people mistake keyword research as the process of finding only high volume keywords, which is not the fact.

The task of you as an SEO is to remove those keywords which are not going to benefit your business in any way. Moreover, after finding profitable keywords, you will also learn how do you prioritize them for maximum benefits in shorter span.

The good thing about Keyword research skills is, once you put this into practice, it just keeps getting better.

Now, its time to get into the technicality of KW research.

Types of Keywords based on the users intent

Moving ahead with our previous example “Baby stroller”, a parent could ask this question with different intent. For example:

  • A parent could ask to understand how to pick a baby stroller.
  • A parent just wants to know which one is #1 baby stroller in today’s time.
  • A parent is ready to buy best baby stroller right away.
  • A doctor could be using this query for his research.

Do you see, how the same query meant different when used for different purpose. This is what is known as search intent.

This brings to the point, Keywords could be sub-divided into different types, based on the users’ intent.

These are the 4 most common type:

  1. Commercial keywords
  2. Transactional keywords
  3. Informational Keywords
  4. Navigational Keywords

These 4 types determine, which keyword is directly going to affect your revenue. This is also closely related to content funnel (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU), which is a learning for some other day.

Keyword could also be categorised in a few other ways, such as…

Number of words:

  • Short tail Keywords a.k.a Head Keywords: (Ex: Baby stroller)
  • Long-tail keywords. (Ex: Best baby stroller in Australia)

Also check out: Long tail keywords finder tools

What do you need for Keyword research?

Here at ShoutDreams, I follow a unique style of researching keywords.

You need the following things for performing Keyword research:

  1. A tool (free or paid) for researching keywords
  2. A list of Seed Words or a list of SEO competitive domains/businesses. (More on this further)
  3. Using seed words to create a list of SEO keywords or using competitive websites to find profitable keywords
  4. A document (excel or similar) to capture, and cleanup the keyword.
  5. A system to delegate the final keywords for production ( Creating blog articles, eBooks, video content, product page)
  6. Measuring the ranking using a keyword rank tracking tool.

Once you incorporate keyword research as your business marketing process, it helps you grow organically.

This the exact steps I follow to drive more than 15 million page-views every year and earn close to 1 million USD every year. This website “ShoutMeLoud” is bext example of outcome of Keyword research process.

After 10 years of implementation, I define the steps of Keyword research as:

  1. Research
  2. Cleanup
  3. Execute/Delegate
  4. Monitor
  5. Optimize

These 5 steps will cover all the aspect of keyword research.

Now, I believe you and me are on the same page, and its time to learn how to do the keyword research.

3 Different ways to do Keyword research:

There are various techniques you could follow for researching SEO Keywords. Let’s look at some of the most popular once, which could be executed by even a newbie.

1. Find a competitor or top site keyword:

This is perhaps the easiest way to find keywords that are already working for an existing website. In this, process, we identify 2-3 websites which are the top in the niche we are targeting. For example: “best Baby stroller”

 

 

A quick Google search has shown the results from these top 3 websites. You could repeat the process for your target keyword, and once you have identified the top 3-4 winning websites, head to SEMRush, which is a keyword research tool.

On the SEMRush dashboard, enter the domain name that you identified from Google search and use it to find keywords that the domain is ranking for.

SEMRush will show you all the vital details like:

 

 
  • Which keyword is driving maximum traffic to the particular website
  • The volume, traffic %, KD, Keyword position
  • Which page on the website is getting traffic for which keyword

SEMrush also gives you an option to filter keywords based on various factors. If you need a more detailed guide on this, let me know in the comment section below.

And like this, within minutes you have found the Pandora box of profitable keyword for your business.

2. Using Keyword Gap to find easy wins

This is one underutilized Keyword research technique that could help you find keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you are not. This is idle for an existing website to find low hanging fruits.

3. Using Seed Words for researching Keywords

This is idle for any new and existing website alike. This is more time consuming than the above two methods, but this will help you discover unique keywords that no one is targeting.

You can use this method by using and Keyword research tools or even a long tail keyword tool.

We will again use SEMRush for a better understanding of this method.

  • Head over to SEMrush
  • Click on Keyword Magic Tool

 

 

Enter your seed keyword and select the primary country that you are targeting.

Now, click on Search and within a few seconds, SEMRush will generate a ton of keywords from your seed keyword.

 

 

You can filter the keywords based on various parameters such as:

  • Exact match will include the exact match of the phrase ‘baby stroller’ with the same words order. So you will get ‘buy baby stroller’, ‘where to buy baby stroller’, ‘buy baby stroller in San Francisco’, etc.
  • Broad match will include all forms of the words ‘buy’ and ‘new’ and will suggest variations of the word order. So you will get all keywords from exact match plus ‘‘buy the newest baby stroller’, ‘buy baby stroller new’, ‘buy super-new baby stroller in New York’, etc.
  • Phrase Match
  • Related Keywords

You can do the same thing using the Google Keyword Planner tool (GKP), which is free. The only downside is, Keyword planner tool by Google is created for PPC and is not super friendly for SEO keyword research. However, for anyone who is running on a shoestring budget, the Keyword planner tool by Google is idle.

Note: In this guide, I used SEMrush, as an example because this is my go to Keyword research tools. However, you could always use similar tools such as KWFinder to achieve the same.

The above steps, will help you to capture the primary keyword. Now, once you have the vital piece of data, you need to do a few things such as:

  1. Create the cluster of similar keyword
  2. Create a SEO plan like to create new content or product pages, website structure
  3. Measuring it, and optimizing it.

I will be talking about keyword clustering, and creating a SEO plan in the upcoming guides.

For now, I hope this guide helped you to understand what is keyword research, and how actually you could do keyword research.

I understand this is an extensive topic, and you might be having a few questions. Do utilize the comment section to ask your questions related to Keyword research.

Also, if you are an experienced SEO, feel free to share your way of performing keyword research by commenting below.

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Subscribe

8+ Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO:

8+ Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO:

8+ Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO: 2020 Edition

 

Here is the list of Keyword research tools listed below:

  1. SEMRUSH  (Have given a link below to try SEMRUSH worth $199)
  2. KWFinder
  3. Answer the public (Free)
  4. Ahrefs 
  5. LongTailPro
  6. Google Keyword Planner
  7. SpyFU
  8. Keywordseverywhere
  9. Keyword Surfer

Bonus: Google Trends

Keywords are one of the most critical and important parts of SEO.

The basic foundation of SEO is keyword research.

Afterward, other factors like on-page optimization, Writing SEO friendly content, a good UX, content that satisfies user intent and a few other factors come into the picture. Once you have all this in place, you can expect significant amount of organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and others.

Many companies invest thousands of dollars to pay for keyword research to get such targeted content.

But you don’t need to do that. Just follow this guide…

The keywords you choose to focus on for your digital marketing efforts are critical to the success of your website’s organic ranking.

Choosing the right keywords isn’t always easy or intuitive and you need a lot of data to know whether a given keyword will work for you.

If you are completely new to keyword research tools and the process of keyword research, here are some guides from the past which will help you understand the basics:

So now you know the basics of keyword research and you have an understanding of how valuable it can be.

Fortunately, there are many tools available that can help you figure out which keywords work best for your overall web strategy. There are mostly two types of Keyword research tool:

  1. Basic Keyword research: Use the seed Keyword to find profitable Keywords
  2. Competitor based Keyword research: Find proven keywords that are helping other sites to drive traffic.

Personally, I find Competitor based Keyword research to be more effective as the purpose of the Keyword research is to find profitable Keywords. What could be more profitable than something which is already working for someone?

All you need to do after that is to create a page targeting that profitable keyword & reap the benefit of keyword research.

In this exclusive guide, I have covered both the type of Keywords. Most of these keyword research tools are paid and only a few of them are free.

Best Keyword Research Tools: 2020 edition

1. SEMRUSH <14-Day Free Trial (worth $199)>

“What is the easiest keyword research tool for a blogger?”

The answer:

  • SEMRUSH

SEMRUSH is not a typical keyword research tool; it offers so much more than just researching keywords.

It let you perform keyword research in multiple ways:

For example:

  • Find keywords using a Seed Keyword
  • Find Keywords driving traffic to your competitors
  • Keyword gap analysis

The simplest one that I like is being able to find keywords based on a URL. All you need to do is, add a URL (or your competitor’s URL) and it will show you all of the keywords that are ranking for that page or for entire website.

Along with Keyword data, you would be seeing the monthly search volume, Keyword difficulty, CPC for PPC.

Keyword suggestions is another handy feature of SEMRush, where is shows “Keyword variations” and “Related keywords”. This helps you discover more search term that you could target.

This makes it easier for you to find short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can target and beat out your competition.

 You can get in-depth keyword data such as:

  • Keyword traffic volume
  • Keyword difficulty score
  • Search engine reports
  • Adsense CPC
  • and so many other details that you need to properly do Keyword research.

You also have an option to sort the keyword list based on keyword difficulty score, this helps you find the low competition keywords, and with one click you can add them to Keyword manager.

It also offers features like:

  • Keyword manager: This let you add keywords in a list and see the updated data. It helps in better managing keywords when you are researching for profitable keywords.
  • Keyword difficulty tool: To check the keyword difficulty score.
  • Backlink analysis: It also recommends you the exact websites from which you should get backlinks to rank#1 in the Google search.

SEMrush is highly recommended and the #1 keyword research tool.

2. KW finder

  • Save

If you are looking for one tool which is completely dedicated to Keyword research only, KWFinder is your best bet. They are new in the market yet they are one of the fastest-growing SEO tool companies.

KWFinder helps you get the Keyword that will help you drive highly targeted traffic. Using Questions based Keyword research option you can quickly find long-tail keywords that are related to problem-solving. It’s a no-brainer that problem-solving content helps us get more targeted traffic & conversion.

  • Save

KWFinder offers both free & paid plans. For most of the users, the basic plan is the best.

However, use the 10 day’s free trial account to see the effectiveness of KWFinder keyword research app.

3. Answer The Public (Free Keyword research tool)

  • Save

For anyone looking for a free keyword research tool, Answer the public is a great place to start. This keyword tool will let you find long tail keywords based on your seed keywords.

You will be able to see keywords in different formats such as:

  • Questions
  • Preposition
  • Comparisons

The free plan let you search for 3 keywords every day, which is decent for someone looking for a free option. You also have an option to select country, and language for your searches.

What it lacks is the keyword volume, and as long as this is not very important for you at this moment, “Answer The Public” is for you.

4. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool

Ahrefs is one of the most popular keyword tools out there.

What I really like about them is extensive detail including the keyword difficulty. Ahrefs uses clickstream data to also show how many clicks you will get from the search engine. You can use Keyword generator tool to generate ideas for Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube and a few other search engines.

This is very useful after knowledge graph integration, as many keywords may have huge traffic but they hardly get any clicks from the search engine. The reason being, they get answers directly from the Google search result. Example of one such query is: “birthdate of any celebrity”

  • Save

Another thing which makes Ahrefs Keyword research tool stand out is the great UI & the amount of data they provide. There are many more features offered by Ahrefs such as Backlink analysis, SEO site audit to name a few. You can read a detailed review of Ahrefs here.

You can also create a list of keywords to target directly from the Ahrefs dashboard. You don’t need to use excel & this is a huge time-saving.

5. Google Keyword Planner <Free>

  • Save

The Google Keyword Planner tool is one of the most used and popular keyword research tools out there.

The only reason for it being so popular is it’s free and is directly integrated with Google AdWords.

To start using this tool you need to have an AdWords account (which you can create one for free).

  • Features: The biggest feature of the Keyword Planner tool is the deep information it offers on Google (the largest search engine).
  • Limitations: In some ways, that’s also a limitation. If you want to know how your site or a given keyword is doing on other search engines, you won’t get it here.
  • Pricing: Free to use.

The Keyword Planner tool is a good, basic tool for the early stages of a website’s SEO.

This my favorite free tool, but if you need more detailed and competitive analysis, I would recommend going for one of the advanced tools that I have listed below.

6. Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer is a chrome extension which let you see the keyword volume and keyword CPC right at the SERP page. This is a free keyword research chrome extension that is brought to you by SurferSEO, which is a SEO content optimization tool.

It let you take advantage of auto complete feature of Google search to discover new search queries. As you will be able to see the monthly traffic volume, related keywords data in the SERP page, it gets easier to create the list of keywords for your project.

For your content marketing effort, this free tool could be a great addition with other more feature rich tools.

Here is a video that explains how this free KW research tool works:

This extension also shows more keyword ideas based on your search, enables you to discover more profitable keywords.

7. LongTailPro <$30 Discount>

  • Save

LongTailPro is a cloud-based software for keyword research and one of the most popular in this list.

This is a paid keyword research tool which will help you find amazing keywords for your niche/micro-niche sites. With their “platinum” version, you can get a really amazing and really detailed keyword analysis feature.

They also have a competition checker, which will make it easier for you to pick the right keyword.

8. Serpstat

Serpstat is another comprehensive keyword research tool that I discovered recently. They have done some really good work when it comes to helping us identify winning keywords.

The Serpstat keyword tool gives you the following details:

  • Search volume
  • Competition
  • CPC
  • Keyword difficulty score

You have the option to search in Google.com based on the country or also in the Yandex search engine. The Keyword trends section helps you to understand how the keyword search trend has been.

There is a detailed keyword difficulty score section that shows the top 10 web pages that have taken ranking for the keyword along with details like page rank, external backlinks and referring domains. This type of data is very useful when you need to evaluate if you can rank them for a specific keyword or not.

For those who are in PPC, the SERPstat keyword research page also shows which all domains are advertising for your target keyword in the search and what kind of ads they are running. Something that is uncommon in this list of best tools of Keyword research.

Serpstat is used by small businesses to research keywords, build new links, and develop a strategic SEO platform.

  • Pricing: Serpstat includes free data just for registration.

Monthly pricing is $19 per month.

9. SpyFu

SpyFu is one of the best SEO optimization software products on the market. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to analyze and stay ahead of the competition in a tight niche.

Spyfu Keyword Research Tools

  • Save

Here’s what you need to know about this one:

  • Uses: SpyFu is highly useful for two important reasons.
    1. Understanding your competition’s SEO platform.
    2. Discovering under-served, un-tapped, or emerging markets.
  • Features: SpyFu also has several modules.
    • Compare Websites module
    • Keyword History module
    • Domain History module
    • Related Keywords module
  • Limitations: This program doesn’t have the depth of keywords that some competitors do, although this is changing. Also, the data for SpyFu is monthly, rather than real-time.
  • Pricing: SpyFu offers two basic pricing plans as well as an “Agency” plan.
    • The basic plans are $79 and $99 per month (with a discount of more than 40% if you buy a one year term).
    • The “Agency” pricing is $999 per month.

SpyFu is a solid SEO product.

It’s useful if you want to check up on the competition as well as find new areas in which to market.

I would not recommend you pick up all of the tools listed above, but instead, stick to one or two Keyword research software and get used to its system.

If you have been using the Google Keyword Planner tool for a while, you have a good basis for getting started with any of the paid and professional tools listed here.  Take a look at some of these tools and decide which works best for your business strategy.

10. Bonus: Google Trends

Google trends is a free keyword research tool that offers great data of data directly from Google. You can trust all the information such as keyword popularity, Interest by region, related queries.

You can also compare two or more search queries to see the traffic trend. This is the only tool that let you see the keyword popularity in different countries.

Once you know in which region/country, your target keyword is popular, you can use other keyword research tools, to measure the keyword search volume. Overall, as a free keyword tool, this should be part of your keyword strategy.

My recommendations:

  • If you are looking for an easy, yet a great solution, go for SEMRUSH.
  • If you are researching keywords for micro-niche sites, use KWFinder

Are you using one of the keyword research tools from the above list? How has your experience been so far? Share your thoughts in the comments!

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Subscribe