One of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of SEO is keyword research. Effective keyword research is the foundation of your efforts as a blog content creator and without it your SEO strategies are futile.
But how to do keyword research?
Keyword research is an art that has evolved over the years, techniques used a decade ago aren’t much relevant now. Understanding the latest keyword research strategies is crucial in order to ace the SEO game.
What is Keyword Research?
To put it as simply as possible, keyword research helps you discover how people online can find your content. With good keyword research, you can create blog posts that appeal to your audience and rank better on search engines.
Before we dive into strategies, it’s important to understand briefly how it all works. You’re probably targeting the Google search engine which is no surprise, considering their 4 billion worldwide users. Google’s algorithm, over the years, has become considerably more advanced. Years ago, their algorithm required an exact keyword match in your search to display results. This meant your content would need to contain the exact words people search for. Today, however, their entity-based search algorithm is based around keyword intent. In other words, the concept or idea behind your search.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
Your success as a WordPress blog post writer is dependent on effective keyword research. If you want to monetize your content you need people to discover your website. You can only do that by creating appealing and relevant blog posts. As far as search engines are concerned, relevant content contains the words and phrases that people are regularly searching for.
Once you know the words and phrases your audiences are searching for, you can optimize your content. Yes, it can be an uninteresting process, but without it your website is doomed to be lost in the expanse of the internet. As of 2020, about 90% of content on the internet effectively receives zero traffic from Google. A large reason for this is poor keyword research. Keyword research may not be the most enjoyable aspect of building your website but it’s certainly worth the time and the effort.
The Questions Keyword Research Answers
When it comes to building your keyword list it’s smart to be selective in your choices. Not every popular keyword is going to earn you big bucks. Keyword research answers important questions and helps you make the best choices.
- How will this keyword rank? – Keyword research will give you a good idea of how difficult it would be to rank certain words or phrases.
- What kind of blog posts should I write?–Your keyword research will guide your content allowing you to create material that people are interested in
- Will my audience become customers? –Keyword research also helps you estimate your conversions
- What kind of traffic can I expect if I use these keywords? – If you do rank for a keyword or phrase, your research will reveal the numbers that can potentially translate to.
Study Your Niche or Business
Understanding your business is vital to your keyword research process. You need to learn everything you can about the niche you’re creating content for, and constantly look for opportunities to learn even more. At this stage, good keyword research is all about asking the right questions.
Who are your customers? What do they look for? Why do they come to your products? What sets you apart from your competitors? You need to know the ins and outs of the industry you create content for. Stay on top of the news and keep track of updates and trends. Understand your audience and their interests.
Remember, ranking in search engines has a lot to do with the intent behind a query so if you can identify the intent in your customers, your keyword lists are going to be that much more effective.
Brainstorm Seed Keywords
Brainstorming seed keywords is the place to start your keyword research. These are the short tail keywords, no longer than a couple of words, that can help you identify even more keywords in your niche.
Brainstorming is simple – think about the words and phrases people might use to discover your product or service. For example, if your products are garden tools, some of the words people might search for are tools, ‘gardening’, ‘shovels’, ‘gloves’, ‘rake’, and more. It’s important to note, these words and phrases aren’t the keywords you’re going to be targeting but instead the beginning of your research process which is why they’re referred to as “seed” keywords.
Use Keyword Research Tools
Now you’re ready to start your research with a keyword research tool. There are several to choose from but let’s start with one of the most popular choices, Google Keyword Planner.
Step 1: Set Up Your Account
Before you can get started with Keyword Planner, you will need to set up a Google Ad account. Once you’ve done that, access your account and head to the “Planning” tab. You should then see “Keyword Planner”.
Step 2: Discover New Keywords
In “Keyword Planner” click on “Discover New Keywords”. You will then see a search bar that asks you to type in “products or services closely related to your business”. This is where you can experiment with some of the seed keywords you brainstormed. The tool also allows you to enter more than one keyword at a time, just separate them with commas. Once you’re satisfied, hit “Get Results”.
Step 3: Use the Results
You should then see several keyword suggestions for your search. For each suggestion Keyword Planner displays:
- Average Monthly Searches – This shows a range of the monthly sales for each keyword. It’s an indicator of how much traffic the keywords generate.
- Competition – This is displayed on a scale of low, medium, or high and conveys the level of competition for each keyword.
- The Top of Page Bid – This is a measure of how much you would need to invest for your ads to be at the top of the page for each keyword. There is a Low Range and a High Range value for this metric which displays the lower and higher ranges of bids respectively.
Using these results, you can select the most promising keywords for you to explore further.
Step 4: Get Search Volume and Forecasts
If you already have an existing list of keywords you can pull up the metrics for those as well with Keyword Planner. Head to the “Get Search Volume and Forecasts” tab and paste in your list of keywords. It then shows you data for your keywords. For example, the volume of clicks, impressions, and estimated costs among other metrics.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool but with its limitations. Most notably, the number of keyword suggestions seems to always be restricted to just over a thousand. However, there are several great keyword research tools with a variety of features that you can explore.
These are some great keyword research tools that require your investment but are remarkably effective.
SEMRush has two great tools to help you with your keyword research – Keyword Overview, and the Keyword Magic Tool. Keyword Overview, like the name suggests, gives you a general analysis of your keywords. An overview shows you quick metrics for example CPC, competition, volume, and more that can give you the information you need in a glance. In addition, Overview allows you to observe trends over time and how well your keywords have performed in the past.
The Keyword Magic tool helps you build your list of keywords. Begin with your seed keywords and the Magic Tool will display thousands of keyword options and related phrases relevant to your search. The tool comes with a range of filters to further enhance your searches.
- Ad History Reports help you discover and analyze trends
- Percentage-based Keyword Difficulty metric that helps you better consider promising keywords and phrases
- Includes an Organic Research tool that helps you find organic search competitors
There are 3 plans to choose from, starting from $119.95 a month.
- Pro at $119.95/month
- Guru at $229.95/month
- Business at $449.95/month
KWFinder has one of the most reliable keyword difficulty rankings. Used by some of the biggest brands in the world in various industries such as Adidas and Airbnb, this tool is undeniably one of the most powerful in the market.
- The most accurate keyword difficulty metric
- Import up to 700 keywords 1200 times a day
- Includes a Questions feature that allows you to find question-based keywords
- Includes an Autocomplete feature that helps you identify popular long tail keywords
There are 3 plans to choose from, starting at $29.90 a month.
- Basic at $29.90/month
- Premium at 39.90/month
- Agency at 79.90/month
You can also sign up for a 10-day free trial before you make your purchase.
Ahrefs keyword research tool, Keywords Explorer, is the largest third-party database of search queries in the world. Their database includes over 7 billion keywords, updated regularly. Moreover, the tool supports data from 171 countries.
- Find metrics for over 10,000 keywords at once
- The tool allows you to find the Parent Topic for your target keywords
- The tool supports 10 different search engines including engines like Amazon, YouTube, Bing, Baidu and more
There are 4 plans to choose from, starting from $99 a month. The plans are:
- Lite: $99/month
- Standard: $179/month
- Advanced: $399/month
- Agency: $999/month
If you choose to pay annually you get two months free.
SpyFu brings together all the keyword metrics you need in a single easy-to-use platform that’s simple to navigate and understand. Compared to some of the other keyword research tools, SpyFu is considerably cheaper however without a compromise in its quality.
- Clean UI design that’s perfect for SEO professionals as well as beginners
- The tool includes ranges of useful filters
- Domain searches
- Organic keywords
SpyFu comes with 3 plans, starting from $33 a month.
- Basic at $33/month
- Professional at $58/month
- Team at $199/month
LongTailPro is the keyword research tool built for every user. It’s a power-packed platform that does exactly as its name suggests, it’s one of the best research tools for long-tail phrases. It’s a straightforward tool that doesn’t need you to be an experienced SEO professional to make the most of it.
- Easily import and export keywords
- Easily identify long-tail high CPC keywords
- The tool includes several search engines to provide ranking data including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and more
- Includes the option to ‘favorite’ keywords of your choice
LongTailPro has 3 plans you could choose from.
- Starter at $37/ month
- Pro at $67/month
- Agency at $147/month
Ubersuggest makes the process of coming up with keyword ideas a breeze. The platform includes features that help you expand your seed keywords to several long-tail phrases within the same idea. Moreover, the tool includes all the metrics and filters for effective keyword research at attractive prices that start as low as $29 a month.
- The Keyword Ideas Tool that helps you expand on seed keywords to find long tail phrases
- The tool helps you find keywords in the form of questions
- The helps you identify keywords with comparisons – “v” or “vs”
- The tool also shows you content ideas related to keywords
There are 3 plans with the Ubersuggest platform.
- Individual at $29/month
- Business at $49/month
- Enterprise/Agency at $99/month
You can also experiment with a 7-day free trial before you make a purchase.
If you aren’t quite willing to invest in a keyword research tool there are some great free options that you can explore too.
Keyword Surfer is a great keyword research tool to utilize as you write. Add it to your Chrome browser as an extension and the tool helps you run your research in Google search. It’s a simple but effective tool to get started with and it’s completely free.
- Find search volumes and CPC data as you search through Google
- Explore keyword suggestions, related terms, and other metrics
- The tools include a content editor
Whatsmyserp or WMS Everywhere is a free Google Chrome extension that is one of the best free tools out there. WMS Everywhere allows you to conduct your keyword research instantly through Google search.
- See all the metrics you need such as volume of search, CPC, and related words through Google search
- Unlimited keywords rankings
- Keyword tracker updates daily so all your data is up to date
AnswerThePublic uses Google’s autocomplete data to find words and phrases related to your keyword. The tool helps you get raw data directly from your potential customers.
- Get raw search insights from search engine autocomplete data
- Monitor trends and stay updated
Identify Your Competitors and See What Keywords They AreRanking for
Your competition can be one of the most useful guides for your keyword research. There’s a good chance you’re not the first content creator or blog post writer in your field; your competitors have probably been at it for a while. It might seem like a daunting task to overcome the competition but try to look at it as an opportunity instead.
Your competition, especially if they outrank you, can be the turning point for the better in your SEO strategies. Think about it, your competition has already done the heavy lifting of keyword research and creating content. Quite likely they have also been continually optimizing their process. So, researching the ways they have been successful in a great guideline to follow for your WordPress blog posts. This doesn’t involve plagiarizing your competitor’s work but rather boosting your performance with their tried and tested efforts.
So how exactly could you go about doing this? Let’s use the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool for the purpose of this example. Simply type in the URL of your competitors in the SEMRush Magic Tool and you can see the keywords your competition is ranking for.
With the tool, you can analyze all the metrics of your competition including CPC, difficulty scores, traffic volumes, and more. If the phrases are working for your competitors, it’s quite likely they have the potential for you too.
Additionally, with the SEMRush tool, you can see the words or phrases your competitors are using in their ad campaigns. It’s a great idea to look at both high costs as well as low-cost terms. If your competitors are willing to invest in these words or phrases you can count on them to bring in the traffic.
Finally, it’s great to do a bit of manual research. Review every page of your competitor’s site, make note of their content and style. How long is their content? Do they use images or videos? Once you have a good idea of how your competitors approach their content, you too can create more effective and relevant material.
How to Analyze and Find Main Keywords
Keyword research tools will flood you with a tsunami of options, well into the thousands. So, sifting through your choices and making the smartest decision is crucial. There are a number of useful metrics you should keep in mind to guide your process.
Search volume is a useful metric that tells you the number of times a certain keyword gets searched for on average per month. However, as promising as these numbers can be, it isn’t the full picture and shouldn’t be the only metric you consider.
For starters, this number is the volume of searches and not the volume of people searching for the keyword. This means a single person might search with the same keyword multiple times and this would still contribute to search volume numbers. These numbers are averages and you can not expect to receive the same quantity of traffic even if you rank number one with the keyword.
All that being said, it’s still vital to consider in your keyword research.
The Cost Per Click (CPC) values tell you how much advertisers invest for each ad click from the keyword. Even if you’re not an advertiser these numbers give you a good idea of the value of keywords for your keyword research. Words or phrases with high CPC numbers indicate that advertisers are willing to pay more for them. They’re likely to be valuable but difficult to compete against. Words and phrases with lower CPC numbers may not be as valuable to advertisers but with less competition, they could hold potential value for you.
Keyword difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword. This metric is rather difficult to clearly define with several factors ultimately deciding keyword difficulty. Depending on the keyword research tool you use, the accuracy of this metric can vary. The factors it broadly considers are the number of backlinks, content length, search intent, and more. Each tool also has its own representation and scale for example – Low, Medium, High; a percentage scale or a scale of 1 to 10.
A high keyword difficulty score is not a reason to avoid it, but it will require more of an effort to rank for it. If you do manage to rank for keywords with high difficulty scores, they can be incredibly rewarding. However, it’s important to take the time to study every metric of your keywords and not base your decision on a single number.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) measures the quantity as a percentage of searchers that click on results with your keyword. This metric gives you an idea of the traffic you could generate with your keywords. A higher CTR means more traffic. Even if you’re not ranking number one, if a keyword has a high CTRyou will still generate great traffic.
Traffic potential might seem similar to search volume. While search volume is a measure of the number of searches, traffic potential is an estimate of relevant clicks if you rank with that keyword. It’s important however to consider this metric with more than a single keyword. The traffic potential of one word may not seem promising but exploring the potential with several words and phrases in your niche will give you a better idea of the traffic you can generate.
These are some of the most important values and measures to consider when you analyze keywords. However, it’s important that you’re thorough with your research; using a single metric to make your decision is a poor strategy and is unlikely to lead to any success. Consider all the data you can as you analyze keywords and build a list.
As you build your keyword list it’s important that you prioritize your options. Use the metrics discussed above and rank your keywords based on their potential for you. Consider the traffic potential of your keywords, the degree of competition, the kind of content you would need to create, conversion potential, and more. If you intend to earn revenue for your business, will the traffic you generate from these keywords lead to sales? Based on these considerations, prioritize your keywords, and make a list with your best options.
Identify Search Intent
Google is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be. The Google search algorithm no longer requires an exact match to display search results but instead will display anything relevant. In other words, the algorithm looks for the intent behind the searches rather than what is explicitly evident in the search.
Google considers 4 kinds of search intent:
- Informational Intent–searches that look for information
- Navigational Intent – searches that are after a specific website for example someone who searches“YouTube”
- Transactional Intent – searches that are made to with the intention of making a purchase for example someone who searches “men’s hiking shoes”
- Local Intent – searchers who are looking to visit some place in person
Identifying the search intent and moreover, the specific type of intent is crucial for your research. Search intent reveals the motivations behind your potential customers and the key to success is understanding them.
Now that you have a prioritized and finalized keyword list you can bring it all together and see the fruits of your keyword research efforts. Blend the keywords in your blog posts. This doesn’t mean creating individual pages on your site for each keyword. Instead, group keywords within the same concept together and build high-level pages for the concepts you want to rank for.
Once you’ve created high-level pages, create more detailed posts that will allow you to focus on some of the long-tail phrases you have in your keyword list. Your visitors will then be able to move from generic high-level pages and travel further within your site to more specific content as you maintain their interest.
However, unless your content is engaging, unique, and well researched, your keyword research efforts serve no purpose. Creating good content tailored to fit what your audience is searching for is the final but most important step of your keyword research.
10 Most Important FAQs on Keyword Research
- What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of identifying the keywords and phrases that people are searching for in the niche or industry that you create content for.
- Do I need to do keyword research before I create my content?
It’s a good approach to complete thorough keyword research before you create your content. After you complete your keyword research you will have a list of words and phrases that you know your audience is interested in. With that information, you can create targeted content that is much more likely to reach your audience than if you created content without keyword research.
- How much will keyword research cost me?
There are several keyword research tools you can use across price ranges. Using Google’s Keyword Planner is completely free, provided you have a Google Ad account. However, some of the premium options include SEMRush, SpyFu, KWFinder, Ahrefs and others which can range from as low as $33 a month to as high as $999 a month. Choose a keyword research tool that is right for you depending on the size of your business and your SEO experience.
- How do I track my results after my keyword research?
Signing up for Google Search Console is a good way to monitor the success of your keyword research. With Search Console, you can see the keywords you rank for and how they perform in search results.
- Does my content need exact words to match searches?
No, it doesn’t. Google’s search algorithm is based on the intent behind searches, this means Google will display relevant ideas and concepts in addition to exact matches. After you’ve built your keyword list feel free to use synonyms and similar phrases in your content. In fact, it’s best to avoid using the same word or phrase repeatedly to ensure your content stays natural.
- What are the types of search intent?
Google considers 4 kinds of search intent: Informational, navigational, transactional, and local intent. Informational intent deals with searches that look for information. Navigational intent is searches that look for specific websites. Transactional intent searches with the intention of making a purchase. Local Intent involves location-specific searches usually when searchers are looking to visit a place in person.
- How do I find keyword ideas?
Brainstorming seed keywords is the best place to find your keyword ideas. Brainstorm the general topics in your niche and use keyword research tools to branch out these ideas to more keywords that you could potentially use. Additionally, you can experiment in search engines with seed keywords and topics and look at related searches to see what people are interested in.
- Should I consider long tail keywords?
Longtail keywords make up about 70% of search queries online so they are certainly worth targeting. They’re more specific than the shorter keywords but that means better results because there’s considerably less competition with more specific phrases. As voice search is becoming more prominent, long-tail keywords are a lot easier to target as well.
- What metrics should I consider when choosing keywords?
It’s a good idea to consider all the metrics you can as you build a keyword list. This includes their search volume, traffic potential, click-through rate, cost per click, and more. The more data you collect and understand, the better your decisions will be when it comes to prioritizing your keyword list.
- How do I organize my keyword research process?
The best approach to follow is, to begin with, thorough brainstorming to get yourself a good start. Then use the keyword research tools of your choice to explore the thousands of keyword options for your niche. Study the metrics of the most promising options and prioritize your list. Dedicate sufficient time to each step of the process and you’re sure to reap the rewards.
Keyword research might not be the most entertaining aspect of the SEO process and it’s undeniably a process that could take you a while. However, the benefits easily outweigh the costs and effort. Good research here ensures you create content that appeals to your audience putting you on the path to success as a WordPress blog content creator.
Keyword Research is an important aspect of optimizing your webpage for organic traffic and getting more and more people to visit your page.
Depending on the goals of your organization, keyword research can prove to be a valuable asset using which you can analyze what kind of language readers are using to gain access to your products and services.
Naturally, as an up-and-coming content writer, you want increasing numbers of people to visit your page and be able to access your content. But without simple keyword research, you will not be able to make your content reach the highest ranks of a search engine query. To change that, here are a few methods to do keyword research:
Objectives of the Organisation
Perhaps the simplest yet most important step of all, you should be aware of what goals and objectives you want to achieve as a content writer or as the head of an organization.
If you are a health enthusiast, you should be aware of the kind of content a health-conscious reader would be looking for on the internet. This includes but is not limited to health guides, training manuals, diet control regimes, and other such searches.
Take the time out to jot down the goals of your team or blog, who your target audience would be, and what geographical region is your blog content based in or aimed at. Once all this information is available, you will be able to streamline your research process and find out exactly the keywords you need.
Build a Seed Keywords List
A seed keywords list is the list that contains keywords that can be most commonly related to your work or area of expertise. Seed keywords come at the very top of the funnel in the process of funneling down to the most specific keywords that suit your business.
As a beginner in keyword researching, start by making a list of these keywords but also keep in mind that the keywords you list are not very broad in nature, as those kinds are already being used extensively by the bigger companies and in higher volumes.
You can also do research on what kind of language your audience is using on other public forums to find content that is related to yours. That way you can have an idea as to what the audience is thinking when your product is in question.
Build the Main Keywords List-
With your Seed keywords list finalized, now is the time to formulate the list of the main keywords. The words from this list will be used in your articles and will help in boosting your article’s rank higher in the search engine index. This can be done in the following ways:
Using the seed keywords list- Most of the keywords from this list can be utilised in the final draft. However, you should not depend solely on this list for your keyword choices, as these are not very efficient and will not help much in ranking your articles at a prominent index.
Keyword Research Tools- These tools are regularly utilized by content writers to find out the frequency of keywords being used by people on search engines to find out about topics of their preferences. Tools such as Google Autosuggest, Google keyword planner, Ahrefs Keyword Tool, and SEMRush are the most popularly used examples.
You can also make use of two Google Chrome extensions namely Whatsmyserp and Keywords Everywhere. Whatsmyserp helps in finding out the volume and keyword trends being used by people, right from the comfort of your simple Google search results.
It has a very dynamic function base that can be used by content writers from any major country of the world and can be added to the browser free of cost. Keywords everywhere, on the other hand, is available to Mozilla Firefox users as well, providing keyword researching services such as cost-per-click, trend data, information metrics, and much more; not just on Google search but also on other popular websites such as YouTube, Etsy, Amazon, and eBay.
SEMRush is the most popular keyword research tool used by blog and content writers to get keyword suggestions and common trends on particular topics. With its 7 million active customer base, SEMRush is a hub for content enthusiasts to get insights on how their readers are searching for their content and what important words or phrases they are using in the search queries. It also allows you to perform an SEO check on your website to check if there are any upgrades that can be made on it.
We recommend SEMRush to anyone who has an interest in making their content grow exponentially, courtesy of its simple design, a plethora of SEO features to choose from, with a database of over 20 billion keywords spread across 120 countries with over 9 languages to search from.
It has a lot of features such as a backlink suggesting tool and a domain analyzing software that can provide assistance in making your blogs and articles better in ranking as well as the quality of content. All this is available in a swift, compact website, catering to all your SEO needs.
Keep track of your Competitors
Every day, large amounts of keyword research are being done by small-scale and large-scale content writers and blog authors in the quest to find the best keywords to enrich their articles and webpages with.
If you are writing on a topic that is a common point of discussion in the communities, it is possible that your competitors who are well established in the space are using keywords with very high volume and engagement rates.
As a newcomer, it is important to keep track of what your competitors are doing and what keywords present in your seed list are they using frequently so that you can lay out proper content strategy as to when to use those keywords and when not to.
This does not mean that you abandon the words that are useful to you simply because your competitors are also using them, rather you should select only those which are the most important to you, as the density of keywords in articles is meant to be only in the range of 1-2 percent.
Using LSI Keywords
Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, or LSI for short, are keywords that are theoretically related to the subject you are covering in an article. These keywords are generally utilized by Google and other search engines to categorize your articles so that when a reader searches about the topic, your article can also be displayed in the search results.
The reason why LSI keywords are so useful is that nowadays search engines use these keywords to understand the kind of content that you are trying to put out to the audience and help in contextualizing the topic you are writing on. For example, if you were writing an article on automobiles, the LSI keywords for it would be tires, roads, engines, transmission, and so on.
You should make an effort to find these kinds of keywords and try to put them in your articles in the most natural way possible. Your articles should include LSI keywords in such a way that they can glue your main topic and the rest of the article together with proper context. You can use tools such as LSI Graph and Google Search Recommendations for finding out the best LSI keywords to use in your content.
Apart from these guidelines, there are some general tips that many experienced content writers suggest newcomers should use while searching for keywords to add to their articles. For example, keyword research is a time taking process. The keywords you see at the top of every search list you open are not the ones that will take your content to the highest search index ranking, simply because of how many scores of other writers are already using them.
So, it is important to cut out the clutter and narrow down your keyword pool to only those words that are the most important to you. Use factors such as volume, relevance, and utility to gauge which ones matter to you and which ones do not.
As a budding content writer, make use of long-tail keywords as much as you can. These keywords have less volume and hence a lesser number of people are using them in their articles. You can use these specific keywords as a stepping stone to escalate your article.
Keywords with fewer monthly search volumes may be less visible, but they provide a golden opportunity for writers to gain more reach and traction while starting off.
Lastly, don’t be hesitant to spend an ample amount of time on keyword research. Your content’s quality can only do you wonders when it has the right kind of keywords to strengthen its backbone. Search for these opportunities and capitalize on them to make your content or business reach new heights.