How To Do Keyword Research For SEO: A Complete Guide
Imagine entering a supermarket blindfolded and buying anything that you touch, assuming it to be something you want. Once you are out of the market and take a look at what you’ve bought, you’d probably not even have half the things you were planning to get and would have spent much more than the expected budget. Shooting arrows in the dark seldom gets you the desired results.
We’ve already covered that all online content needs keywords. That being said, optimizing your content and website randomly for keywords you think are valid is a futile practice. Before you even consider adding keywords to your content, you must first know the right keywords for that piece of content. And to do that, you need keyword research.
Keyword research involves finding the specific keywords to target for your website content. Through thorough keyword research, you get to know two things:
- What are the words and phrases that people are searching for on search engines like Google?
- How difficult or easy would it be for you to rank for those words?
If you don’t know which words to optimize your website content for, you’d neither be able to rank for the right searches nor be able to reach the right audience.
Keyword research tells you what people are typing into search engines. That way, you not only find what to write content about but also what not to write about. It’s futile to write content on topics that no one’s looking for.
You’d be surprised to know that there’s indeed a huge gap between what people search and what is created. That’s why 90.63% of webpages get no traffic from Google. Well-done keyword research can get you in the other 9.37%.
When to do Keyword Research for SEO?
When do you invest your time and resources into keyword research? To get the most benefit and impact out of the keyword research for SEO that you do, you must do it:
At the first step of your SEO strategy
If you are just beginning to consider optimizing your web content for search engines and getting traffic from them, keyword research becomes the first step of your SEO effort.
When looking for new content
If you’ve exhausted all the existing keywords you had and want to add more content to cover more keywords for your website, you should consider doing keyword research. There could be two scenarios for this.
Scenario 1: You are expanding the scope of your website/service/product.
In this case, you are offering something more than what you initially offered. For instance, if you were selling women handbags, now you are expanding to other accessories like earrings, wallets, etc. So, you need new keywords to optimize for the new content.
Scenario 2: You want to expand your reach through your blog
In this case, you want to find more keywords related to your brand that you can cover by writing more content on your blog or other webpages.
When you want to optimize existing content
There’s also a case where you have a lot of content on your website. Yet, your rankings on search engines are low. That’s probably because your content is missing the right keywords. In this scenario, keyword research can help you get back on track.
How to do keyword research for free?
You can get going with your keyword research for SEO in three simple steps without spending a penny:
Step 1: Ask yourself questions
Before seeking out and knowing what people are searching for, it is good to start with a bit of introspection. Keeping your brand in mind, you should ask yourself three crucial questions:
- What kind of search terms do you want to be found for?
- Which words do you think people will use in search engines to find you?
- What would an ideal search query look like?
This will give you a set of words and phrases to start with. Remember these are not your keywords, just your perception of what the keywords could be.
Step 2: Take aid of Keyword research tools for SEO
With the words that you’ve narrowed down for your content, you use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and/or Ubersuggest to correlate them with what people are typing in search engines.
For instance, to find out the ideal keyword for this article, we thought the probable keyword could be “keyword research for SEO”. Then we went to Google Trends and searched for the phrase. We found that this phrase has a constant interest over time worldwide, so it was probably a good keyword.
When we looked at the related queries for this, we found “how to do keyword research for SEO” gaining popularity. So, we chose that as the title of our article.
Tools like Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Planner can give you a more comprehensive outlook. For instance, searching the same phrase “keyword research for SEO” on Ubersuggest showed us the search volume and difficulty for ranking for the phrase and other related phrases.
Step 3: Build your keyword plan.
Now that you have the words and phrases that are relevant to your web content and people are searching for, you map them in a plan. You first take a head keyword and then map all long-tail keywords related to it and create content keeping them in mind. It’s ideal to make a mind-map of sorts of the keywords you want to rank for.
Here’s the mind map we create while writing this article.
When you do this for a complete website, you’d need to plan this on an excel sheet.
Beyond the Basics: How Pros do keyword research
While we’ve covered the standard process of doing keyword research for SEO, there are some pro-tips that can help you find more relevant keywords for your content.
Use a competitor website
Tools like Ubersuggest also provide you with the option to find the keywords your competitor is ranking for. Taking a look at this can help you get the right users to your website too.
Use the “Autocomplete” method
When you type a bunch of words on Google, it suggests you related phrases to autocomplete your search query. These related phrases are queries that people are searching for. So, you can add these as well to your plan.
Use “Related Searches”
The “Search related to” and “People also search for” sections at the end of your search engine ranking page is yet another aid that can help you know what people are searching for. It’s not only adequate but also helps you in expanding your keyword reach to a wider audience.
Use “LSI” keywords
Wouldn’t it be great to know what search engines are looking for while trying to rank you for a particular keyword? This is where LSI keywords come in to play. LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords are conceptually related phrases that Google and other search engines use to understand your content better. To know these keywords, you can simply use free tools like LSIGraph and use them too in your website content.
In The End: The Key Focus
Keyword research is the backbone of a good SEO strategy. But do you know what the backbone of well-done research is? It’s the searcher. You need to keep the people who are searching the content in mind while deciding on your keywords. The closer you get to what people are likely to type in search engines, the better your SEO becomes. As rightly said by Simon Ensor from Search Engine Watch, “First: Focus on searcher intent. This should underpin all of your activities—research, creation and distribution. What is the searcher really trying to achieve and how is your content helping them reach this goal?”