How to SEO Keyword Research Guide – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to SEO [2021]

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Best keyword research guide

In search engine optimization, keyword research is important to determine what words or phrases are most commonly searched in search engines and to find out how much traffic these can bring to your website.

A bad keyword research process can lead to a lot of wasted time and money in the long run, so it’s important to do your keyword research properly.

In this guide, I will show the entire keyword research guide process step by step, but first, we must learn the fundamentals.

I also have this keyword research guide in Tamil so if you want follow that guide then visit this page.

Watch full keyword research video

Keyword research table of contents

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:07 Keywords guide
  • 01:21 What is a keyword?
  • 01:57 What is a keyword for a searcher?
  • 02:50 What is a keyword for a website owner?
  • 04:03 What is a keyword for a search engine?
  • 05:12 Keyword types
  • 06:32 SEO keywords type
  • 06:55 Seed keyword
  • 08:14 Primary keyword
  • 09:19 Secondary keyword
  • 10:27 LSI keyword
  • 16:28 Time-based keywords type
  • 16:52 Short-term fresh keyword
  • 18:15 Long-term evergreen keyword
  • 19:34 Seasonal keyword
  • 20:48 Dying keyword
  • 22:34 Length keyword type
  • 22:49 Short keyword
  • 24:14 Regular keyword
  • 25:15 Long-tail keyword
  • 27:04 Business or customer-centric keyword type
  • 27:43 Market segement keyword
  • 28:54 Product defining keyword
  • 29:34 Brand keyword
  • 29:59 Competitor keyword
  • 31:32 GEO/Local keyword
  • 33:27 Misspelled/Industry keyword
  • 35:28 Buyer intent keywords type
  • 36:31 Informational intent keyword
  • 37:37 Navigational intent keyword
  • 39:13 Transactional/commercial intent keyword
  • 41:04 Keywords Conclusion
  • 42:03 Keyword research guide introduction
  • 42:43 What is keyword research & why it’s important?
  • 44:45 How to choose keywords for SEO – Validation factors
  • 45:34 Factor 1 – Search volume and value
  • 50:07 Factor 2 – Keyword difficulty in SERPs
  • 56:56 Factor 3 – Cost per click (CPC)
  • 01:01:26 Factor 4 – Organic click-through rate (CTR)
  • 1:04:23 Factor 5 – Search trends and seasonal demand
  • 1:23:55 Factor 6 – Keyword suitability to you
  • 1:07:18 Google SERP updates for keywords & why it’s important?
  • 1:12:44 Keyword research mistakes to avoid
  • 1:13:43 Mistake 1 – Only targetting a few keywords
  • 1:15:45 Mistake 2 – Your goal should be ranking in the top 20
  • 1:18:21 Mistake 3 – Keyword stuffing
  • 1:19:35 Mistake 4 – Ignoring long-tail keywords
  • 1:21:13 Mistake 5 – Ignoring no search volume keywords
  • 1:23:27 Mistake 6 – Ignoring search intent
  • 1:24:47 Mistake 7 – Ignoring SERP difficulty
  • 1:25:45 Mistake 6 – Expecting 100% search volume for your site if you are rank first
  • 1:27:41 Mistake 7 – Avoiding high competition keywords
  • 1:30:32 Mistake 8 – Not doing market research before keyword research
  • 1:31:59 What makes a good keyword?
  • 1:36:55 Keyword research guide conclusion
  • 01:37:44 Keyword planning guide introduction
  • 01:38:23 Keyword research methods overview
  • 01:42:11 Keyword research process overview
  • 01:43:29 Industry research: Brainstorm keyword ideas
  • 01:44:56 Questions to ask when studying your niche
  • 01:45:16 Question 1: Pain points
  • 01:45:51 Question 2: Interests
  • 01:46:19 Question 3: Solutions
  • 01:46:41 Question 4: Websites
  • 01:47:58 Question 5: Location
  • 01:48:32 Question 6: Demographics
  • 01:49:26 Question 7: Competiton
  • 01:50:19 How to create seed keywords list
  • 01:52:06 Seed keyword source 1: SEO software
  • 01:52:44 Seed keyword source 2: Social media
  • 01:53:45 Seed keyword source 3: News
  • 01:53:54 Seed keyword source 4: Blogs
  • 01:54:41 Seed keyword source 5: Local media
  • 01:55:14 Seed keyword source 6: Search engine
  • 01:55:14 Seed keyword source 6: Advertisements
  • 01:56:34 Seed keyword source 7: Questions
  • 01:57:18 Seed keyword source 8: Wikipedia
  • 01:58:11 Seed keyword source 8: Expert Knowledge
  • 01:58:54 Seed keyword source 9: Competitors
  • 01:59:27 Seed keyword source 10: Shopping sites
  • 02:00:14 Seed keyword source 11: Talking with your customers
  • 02:01:12 Seed keyword source 12: Forums and community
  • 02:01:46 Keyword clustering and keyword grouping
  • 02:04:43 Keyword cluster example
  • 02:12:18 Keyword planning conclusion
  • 02:13:15 Keyword research methods introduction
  • 02:14:49 Keyword research methods (Theory)
  • 02:15:52 Traditional keyword research
  • 02:16:18 Traditional keyword research – Step 1 Create seed keywords
  • 02:17:11 Traditional keyword research – Step 2 Generate keywords list
  • 02:18:08 Traditional keyword research – Step 3 Bulk keyword filtering
  • 02:19:34 Traditional keyword research – Step 4 In-depth keyword analysis
  • 02:20:27 Traditional keyword research – Step 5 Keyword clustering
  • 02:21:41 Traditional keyword research – Step 6 Keyword organizing & prioritizing
  • 02:22:28 Competitor keyword research
  • 02:23:17 Competitor keyword research – Step 1 Find competitor websites
  • 02:25:09 Competitor keyword research – Step 2 Find competitor target or ranking keywords
  • 02:26:50 Competitor keyword research – Step 3 Filter good keywords
  • 02:27:22 Competitor keyword research – Step 4 In-depth keyword analysis
  • 02:28:16 Competitor keyword research – Step 5 Keyword clustering
  • 02:29:16 Competitor keyword research – Step 6 Keyword organizing & prioritizing
  • 02:29:41 Existing content keyword research
  • 02:30:57 Existing content keyword research – Step 1 Get ranking keywords
  • 02:32:36 Existing content keyword research – Step 2 Filter good keywords
  • 02:33:01 Existing content keyword research – Step 3 In-depth keyword analysis
  • 02:33:21 Existing content keyword research – Step 4 Optimize existing pages or create new content
  • 02:34:55 Predictive keyword research
  • 02:35:56 Predictive keyword research – Step 1 Identify similar keywords
  • 02:37:09 Predictive keyword research – Step 2 Keyword clustering
  • 02:37:26 Predictive keyword research – Step 3 Create new content
  • 02:38:14 Keyword research template
  • 02:39:45 Conclusion and what’s next

Listen to this keyword research guide

Keywords guide

Watch keyword guide video

What is keyword?

What is keywords

Keyword in the SEO industry stands for a specific word or phrase that people type into search engines to find the content they are looking for.

What’s keywords for searcher

Keywords for searcher

A keyword is a word or a phrase that a person uses to search for a product or any information on the web.

A keyword can be a single word, phrase, incomplete sentence, complete sentence, and so forth.

For example, if you want to buy some new clothes, you type “clothes” or “best t-shirts for the winter season” in the search engine, then it’s a keyword.

What’s keywords for website’s owner

Keywords for website

As a website owner or content creator, you need to choose the right keywords for your product, blog post, article, or page.

Then they can use identified keywords to SEO your website and get the content on top of search engine results.

Because by choosing the right keyword for your product, you will be able to bring potential targeted visitors to your website.

What’s keywords for search engine

Keywords for search engine

Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yandex use keywords to rank the search engine results.

A search engine uses keywords to understand the content of a web page and rank it accordingly based on SEO factors.

Keyword types

Keyword types

Now we know what keywords are and now let’s see what types of keywords are there.

This contextual grouping to classify keywords based on common criteria to have a better understanding.

Most of the time definition for these keyword types will vary from person to person.

SEO Keywords: Keywords for SERP ranking

SEO Keywords are terms which created from SEO lingo; basically, it represents organic or SERP keyword.

Seed keyword
Seed keywords

Seed keywords are words or phrases that are considered a starting point for their industry.

For example, if I write a blog post on “Best Practices in SEO 2021: Evergreen Search Engine Optimization Principles & Tips“, then “SEO” is my seed keyword.

Primary keyword
Primary keyword

The primary keyword in SEO is your target or popular phrase or a word that you want to rank high for in search engines.

For example, if I am writing a blog post on “Best Practices in SEO 2021: Evergreen Search Engine Optimization Principles & Tips”, then “Best Practices in SEO” is my primary keyword.

Secondary (Related) keyword
Secondary and related keywords

Secondary keywords or related keywords are the additional keywords that are related to your primary keyword.

These keywords help broaden the web page’s reach in SERP and add more content for people searching for these keywords.

For example, if I am writing a blog post on “Best Practices in SEO 2021: Evergreen Search Engine Optimization Principles & Tips”, then one of my secondary keywords is “best places to buy the domain name”.

LSI keyword
LSI keywords

The first important thing is that there is no such thing as “LSI keywords”; it’s an improper term we use.

The acronym “LSI” stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.

It is a natural-language processing technique created in the 1980s.

LSI is a method of assigning meaning to words by extracting the semantic relationships between them.

Since Google does not use the LSI NLP model and they have confirmed it too.

Instead, what they do is they have created their algorithms based on semantic words & entities to learn the meaning of the web pages.

For example, words such as “phone” and “apple” might have two different meaning, but when we put together, then it points to “Apple brand phone.”

It’s an advanced SEO keyword strategy used by search engines to find & rank webpages even if the keyword is not mentioned on the webpage but still relevant for users.

You don’t need to complicate this.

  • You can use general knowledge or common to figure out semantic keywords.
  • You use synonyms.
  • You can use the search engine’s auto-complete; people also ask for snippets and related keywords.
  • Use keyword research tools that can identify all these keywords, and it’s usually called “NLP data.”
  • and more

For example, suppose I am writing a blog post on “Best Practices in SEO 2021: Evergreen Search Engine Optimization Principles & Tips”. In that case, one of my LSI keywords is “Namecheap,” which is one of the domain registrars I recommended in that article.

Time-Based Keywords: Timespan based keyword research

Timespan-based keywords will be in demand only during a particular time frame.

Short-term fresh keyword
Short-term fresh keyword

Short-term fresh keywords have been recently created, and it has a large amount of traffic and is still growing.

The fresh keyword will have explosive search traffic but a harsh fall when the hype is over.

For example, This includes movie name or incident.

Long-term evergreen keyword
Long term evergreen keywords

Long-term evergreen keywords have been around for a while and have the potential to bring in consistent traffic over a long period of time.

For example, ‘Learn SEO for free’ is a long-term evergreen keyword because it has been searched for decades and will be in the future too.

Seasonal keyword
Seasonal keywords

Seasonal keywords are those that have a certain time frame in which they are relevant.

For example, ‘Christmas gifts’ is a seasonal keyword as it would be relevant for the time period from November to December.

Dying keyword
Keywords that are no longer demand

A dying keyword is a keyword that has lost its value in search engine results.

The term “dying keywords” is often used to refer to keywords that are no longer relevant to the results of a search query or the industry is slowing shutting down.

For example, a product from a company that closed down recently or people is moving away from an industry like “Film-roll camera to digital.”

Keywords by length: Words length and intent

Length-based keywords are keywords that are based on the total length of the keyword phrase.

Short or single word keyword
Short keywords

Short or single word keyword in SEO is the keywords which have only one word or short phrases.

For example, a Single-word keyword “SEO” is a short “search engine optimization” keyword.

Usually, these keywords will be very hard to rank for in search engines because the SERP results page will be full web pages with a lot of SEO power.

Regular or mid-tail keyword
Regular mid tail keywords

Regular or mid-tail keywords are the keyword phrases that have between 2 and 6 words.

These are the common keywords you will find the most while doing keyword research.

Usually, these keywords will be medium to hard SEO competitive keywords.

Long-tail keyword
Long tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that typically have between 6 and 20 words.

Long-tail keywords aren’t searched very often but will have low SERP competition compared to other keywords.

Questions keywords or sentence keywords also make for good long-tail keywords.

These terms are also called “low-hanging fruit” because they are easier to rank and will likely have less competition with great conversions since the intent is very focused.

Business or customer-centric keywords: Identifying customers

These keywords refer to a word, phrase, or idea geared towards identifying the business’s stakeholders.

A well-defined business or customer-centric keyword is clearly defined and focused on the target customer’s needs or identify the customer.

Market segment keyword
Market segment keyword

Market segment keywords are the words, phrases, and topics related to a specific market or industry.

For example, the keyword “SEO” is a market segment keyword because it is associated with the Search Engine Optimization industry.

While not all keywords are associated with a specific industry, some broad and general terms may be considered market segment keywords.

Customer defining keyword
Customer Centric Keyword

A customer-centric keywords are words and phrases focused on your target customers.

A customer-defining keyword has been derived from customer-focused research and is based on the needs and wants of the target audience.

For example, a customer-oriented keyword might be “best web hosting for small business owners” This keyword is derived from research on niche and target audience.

Product defining keywords
Product Defining Keywords

Product and service keywords are words or phrases that describe a product or service.

For example, a product or service keyword might be “WordPress hosting.”

Brand keyword
Brands for keywords

Brand keywords are words that are associated with a particular brand.

For example, Google is known for its search engine, while Apple is known for its products.

Competitor keyword
Competitor keywords

A competitor keyword is a keyword that is related to your competitor’s company or product or keywords targeted by competitors.

The term “competitor” is usually synonymous with “competing business,” The tactic includes using their name or brand in a relevant and contextual way on your SEO process or going after keywords that your competitors use.

For example, for Bing, a competitor keyword might be “Google search engine” or “Best search engine” if Google is targeting that keyword.

GEO targeted/Local keyword
Local keywords

A GEO targeted/local keyword is a keyword that is relevant to a particular region, city, or language.

This type of keyword is very important for local businesses that want to target only their local market.

For example, if you are a digital agency in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you might use the keyword “Colombo” when marketing your services to customers in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Misspelled or industry lingo keyword
Misspelled or industry lingo keyword

Industry lingo keywords are specialized words or phrases used in a particular industry.

Misspelled keywords are when someone makes a mistake in typing the keyword that they want to rank for.

For example, someone might type “drink” as “drik,” and search engine optimization is known as “SEO.”

Buyer keywords: Understanding the intent

Buyer keywords means the keywords which you can use to find your potential buyer.

Keyword intent means what searchers want to achieve by typing your keyword into the search engine.

For buyer keywords, keyword intent is important because you can identify in which buying stage cycle your audience is in.

The major buyer keywords are Informational, Navigational & Transactional.

Search intent keywords
Informational keywords

Informational keywords are words used by people who want to find out more information about a topic or topic they know little about to learn something new and useful from it.

For example, creating a blog post about “SEO guide,” will be an informational keyword because it can help people learn about SEO.

Navigational keywords

Navigational keywords are going to keywords used by people who want to find the way to achieve a goal or considering finding solutions to buy.

For example, if you create a page about “Semrush keyword tool,” this will be a navigational keyword because searcher know what they want to know more.

Transactional/Commercial keywords

Transactional/commercial keywords are words people use to buy something or have an immediate commercial intent behind a search query.

For example, creating a blog post about “Semrush review” or “Semrush discount” then will be a transactional keyword because they understand the problem, know the solution, and pick a specific product for them.

Conclusion: Keywords

Keywords conclusion

In this lesson, we learned about keywords and keyword types in SEO.

Keywords are the most important part of any SEO campaign.

If you do not understand them well, you can never be sure if your site is ranking for the right keywords, and the whole SEO process can lead to failure.

In the next lesson, we will learn keyword research and what makes a good keyword.

Keyword research guide

Keyword research guide

The next step is to learn about keyword research.

Watch keyword research guide

In SEO, what is keyword research?

The process of finding the right keywords for our content is called keyword research.

Keyword research is very important in SEO because it’s foundation step for whole process.

What makes a good keyword

How to choose keywords for SEO: Keyword validation

How to choose keywords for SEO: Factors

Researching keywords start with knowing the main factors that determine the value of your keywords are.

Next, we will take a look at factors that can be used when valuing keywords.

Search volume and value

Search volume is a vital keyword research metric used to determine how many people search for a particular term or phrase on search engines.

You can use it to calculate a keyword’s popularity since it is highly variable depending on the keywords in question.

The volume will vary with keyword type, industry, environment, search engine algorithm updates, etc.

However, you should focus not only on high-volume keywords but also on the search value.

A search value measures the perceived value that it brings your business or website.

For example, even fifty searches for a particular keyword such as “best accident lawyer in New York” can be worth thousands for a client.

To do keyword research for specific GEO locations such as your city, you should use localized search volume data and not national or international search volume.

Most keyword research tools will provide you with this data along with advanced location options.

Keyword difficulty in SERPs

You should always keep this in mind when you do keyword research.

Keyword’s difficulty in the SERPs is important for SEO because the higher the difficulty factor, the more difficult it is to rank for those keywords.

SEO keyword difficulty score is determined by factors including the search intent, on-page, off-site SEO power.

  • Intent: What does the searcher want from their typed keyword.
  • On-page SEO: How well the site and the page are optimized for SEO using on-page SEO methods such as content and more.
  • Off-site SEO: How well the ranked sites and web pages are SEO optimized using off-page SEO principles such as backlinks and more.

Because of the lack of official data, there is no way to assign an exact keyword competition level from search engines such as Google.

Hence, we estimate this data by using SEO keyword research tools and third-party data.

Cost per click (CPC)

A cost per click is the cost of getting a single click on your ad in a search engine, such as Google AdWords.

The cost-per-click, or CPC, is important in analyzing keyword SEO competition. It indicates how much money advertisers in search engines are willing to pay when users click on their advertisements.

Usually, when CPC is higher for a particular keyword, there is more competition in SERPs and the ad market.

For example, the keyword “digital marketing online course” in Google AdWords has very high completion for that keyword, and advertisers are willing to pay around 26$ for every link.

On the other hand, a low CPC value indicates a lack of competition in the AD market, which may also mean low completion in organic search results.

Organic click-through rate

Organic CTR refers to the percentage of organic clicks you are likely to receive by ranking in the top 1 position in an organic listing.

SERP pages are unique, so the CTR also depends on the page and its elements.

For example, you might receive more organic clicks if you rank on a SERP page with no ads than a SERP page with ten ads.

Some keywords do not require a click or navigation to a ranking website to satisfy the intent.

For example, if someone searches “what’s the football score” in Google, the score will appear in a widget at the top, so they do not need to click on ads or visit any sites.

Search trends & seasonal demand

Search Trends play a crucial role in keyword difficulty because we have to be aware of how & when people are searching for information.

The change in seasonal demand affects the popularity of search terms as well.

Using this information, marketers can prioritize their SEO strategy around a given term based on how often people are searching for that term during that time.

For example, people use “winter clothing” more during the winter months and “spring clothing” more during the spring months.

Keyword suitability for you

Every keyword is not suitable for everyone.

A keyword may be perfect for another person but might not be suitable for you.

There can be many factors that can affect your choice, such as your ranking cost, product offerings, geographical location, ethical issues, etc.

Keyword related Google updates

Google updates for keywords

Google is the most popular search engine.

To ensure better results and a better search experience, Google updates its algorithm regularly.

Therefore, it is vital to stay up-to-date with Google updates & rules about keyword research.

During the years, keywords-related algorithms have undergone several changes.

  • Google Panda: Keyword stuffing, which is just adding all keywords in the text without any context or logic.
  • Google Penguin: Over-optimized anchor texts.
  • Google Hummingbird: Understanding the meaning and user intent behind search queries
  • Google Pigeon: Bringing better local results
  • RankBrain: Better search intent understanding and machine learning
  • Google Possum: Better results based upon the searcher’s location and address of the business
  • BERT Update: Improvements to the deep-learning method based on natural language processing
  • Passage Ranking Update: Identifying key passages on a web page for relevancy
  • Product Reviews Update: Rewarding sites which have more insightful reviews

As you can see, I haven’t covered the above SERP updates in detail in this guide. However, I will when I complete my core keyword research class.

I will teach keyword research based on these updates while also ensuring it remains relevant in the future.

Keyword research mistakes to avoid

Keyword research mistakes to avoid

Since the early days of SEO, keyword research has evolved significantly.

It is now imperative that you do keyword research smartly and use data and tools to understand your keyword research better.

Keyword research can be one of the most time-consuming parts of your marketing campaign.

It can be costly if you do it wrong, and you may miss out on relevant search traffic, leading to a higher conversion rate.

Now let’s look at the most common mistakes in keyword research and avoid them to build a successful SEO keyword campaign.

Only target a few keywords

We used to only focus on a small number of keywords for web pages.

It’s not incorrect, but now it’s not about ranking for a couple of keywords on a webpage; instead, each webpage has the potential to rank for hundreds or even thousands of keywords.

The development of Google’s algorithm, technology, machine learning, and natural language processing capabilities have enabled the search engine to understand a web page much better and thus rank it at the top for a wide range of relevant search queries.

Your ranking should be in the top 20

The goal should be to achieve the highest ranking in the SERPs for your target keywords, not just appear in the top 10 or 20 positions.

Ideally, you should aim for keyword rankings within the top 3.

As Google keeps reducing the visibility of organic results, you should try to rank on top or as high as possible.

You aren’t even in the game if you rank below the first page since you will receive no significant traffic from SERP.

Keyword stuffing

The most common mistake in keyword research is to stuff your content with keywords.

Your website’s content should not be filled with keywords blindly and without adding any value.

It is considered keyword stuffing and may get you penalized.

Using it used to be possible, but Google and other search engines have now created countermeasures to this.

Ignoring long-Tail keywords

Usually, long-tail keywords won’t have a lot of search volume.

You might be missing out on some great opportunities if you do not focus on them.

Even if the keywords don’t have a high search volume, they can still be valuable since the SERP competition is low.

Therefore, you can rank higher in the SERPs with fewer SEO efforts than with other keywords.

Ignoring no search keywords

When working on keyword research, another mistake is to ignore no search keywords.

Since search engines such as Google use semantic data, you must use all the relevant terms in your research and content to avoid missing out on opportunities.

Regardless of whether people search the term, it still has value and can contribute more to a rank for other related keywords.

Also, search volume is dynamic and can change over time, so take a quality viewpoint rather than a quantity viewpoint when choosing keywords.

Ignoring search intent

Researching keywords isn’t complete without taking into account the search intent of your audience.

It determines how and what users search for.

By misunderstanding search intent, you could miss out on some valuable keywords or pick the wrong ones.

Ignoring keyword difficulty factor

One of the essential factors in keyword research is keyword difficulty, determining how competitive a particular keyword is.

Keyword difficulty will determine how much effort and resources are required for SERP ranking.

The keyword “How do I get free piano lessons” has lower competition than “piano lessons,” which has more competition.

Expecting 100% search volume for your site if you are ranked first

To attain the top position in search engines requires a serious amount of effort.

Even if you rank in the first position, you will not receive 100% of the volume, but only a portion of it.

Click-through rates can be negatively affected by so many factors, including search ads, search engine features, images, and videos, your competitors, search intent.

Avoiding high competition keywords

Everyone tries to go after low competition keywords, which is a good move, but you don’t want to ignore high competition keywords.

Since these are your main keywords, you should start working on them as soon as possible to achieve ranking over time.

Although you won’t rank for the main keywords immediately, you can still rank for related or long-tail keywords through that content.

For example, if you want to win a hard-to-finish race, you need to participate in the race, and you will not move forward if you do not compete.

Not doing industry research before keyword research

Industry research is more important than keyword research because you will understand search terms, search pain points, and hidden opportunities.

You will understand industry-specific terms, their meaning, and their context.

After you understand what people are looking for, you can start keyword research.

What makes a good keyword?

What makes a good keyword

There is no honest answer to this question since it depends.

As the definition of a good keyword is different for each of us.

In other words, you should choose the keyword that makes the most sense for you.

The chart below shows keyword ranges for keywords based on factors such as SEO competition, search volume, keyword intent and words count.

Good keyword chart

Conclusion: keyword research guide

Keyword research guide lesson conclusion

In summary, keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords for SEO.

Before you do keyword research, you must learn what makes a good keyword, what keyword research history is, and what common mistakes people make when doing keyword research.

It is what I covered in this section.

Next, we will learn about how to do keyword research with a demonstration using several keyword research tools.

Keyword research planning

Watch keyword planning video

There is no set process for doing keyword research.

It can be done in a variety of ways.

In any case, I will let you know some steps to do good keyword research using several different strategies.

As part of this lesson, I will cover traditional keyword research, competitor analysis, existing keyword research, and predictive keyword research.

Keyword research methods

Keyword research process overview

Now let’s see the keyword research process overview.

First stage is studying your industry or niche, then keyword research method and finally keyword clustering.

Keyword research process overview

Market research (Study your niche) – Brainstorm For Keyword Ideas

You should not just perform keyword research blindly or use keyword research tools without first learning the industry.

Learn about the industry and understand it.

The right steps vary from industry to industry, so there are no fixed instructions.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself at this stage and answer them.

Market research for keywords
  • What are the pain points of your audience?
  • What are the topics of discussion in this industry?
  • What is the solution you are offering?
  • Where does your audience go for information or spend time?
  • Where is your target audience located?
  • What is the demographic of your audience?

Now you need to create a list of seed keywords.

Seed keywords are used as a starting point for finding keyword ideas.

If you want to make seed keywords, you can start from anywhere, but some recommended places include:

Where to find seed keywords
  • Market research tools
  • Keyword research & SEO tools
  • Content research & writing tools
  • Online community and forums
  • Questions & answer sites and people also ask section
  • Social media networks
  • Talking to your customers
  • News and press releases
  • Shopping and ecommerce sites
  • Niche sites & blog
  • Competitors and industry sites
  • and more.

Keyword clustering – Group your keywords

Now, this exciting stage of keyword research I like to do.

This stage involves expanding our selected keywords and grouping them based on common factors.

I like to expand my selected keyword to find as many related and semantic keywords as I can.

Sometimes I add keywords to my list, even if they do not satisfy my keyword research factors to target them from my content.

By doing so, I increase the depth of my content, make my content authority in that field, and rank for related keywords.

After I have gathered new keywords, I will cluster them.

A keyword cluster refers to grouping keywords by a common theme.

Keyword clustering & topic groups

This method has several names, including topic clusters, keyword groups, keyword variations, and semantic keyword groups.

Each cluster is composed of core topics related to the main topic, with each core topic containing subtopics.

The clusters can power our content page with sub-sections or create supporting content for our main content.

It is possible to cluster keywords manually or using a keyword research tool.

Keyword research methods

Watch keyword research methods video


In this section we will learn about all the different keyword research methods.

Keyword research methods

In this section we will learn about all the different keyword research methods.

Traditional keyword research: You begin with nothing and work towards finding good keywords.

Competitor keyword research: You discover keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

Existing content keyword research: Find better keywords based on the content you already rank for in your niche.

Predictive keyword research: Predict which keywords will become popular for new “short-term fresh keywords”

Traditional keyword research

Traditional keyword research

It is how keyword research is usually done.

You begin with nothing and work towards finding good keywords.

Keyword research steps

Let’s see how to do it.

Step 1 & 2: Use your seed list to find keywords

Having your seed keywords ready is now the next step.

The next step is to use one of your favorite keyword research programs and type in seed keywords.

Use seed keywords to generate more keywords list

The process can be done manually with limited options, but utilizing the software to help with the process is recommended.

By using software, you can do this faster and more efficiently.

To start, create a seed keyword, then input it into keyword research software to generate 100s of thousands of keywords based on it.

Step 3: Filter your bulk keywords list

Now that you have expanded your seed keywords, you need to filter your list.

According to the keywords you are looking for, you can filter your list through different options.

Keyword research filters

For example, if you only want long-tail keywords, you can ignore those under five words.

The factor will therefore depend on your requirements.

Some of the common factors used to filter bulk keywords include

  • The average SEO competition score
  • The number of words in the keyword
  • Type of keyword
  • Search volume
  • Number of competing pages in Google (Eg: All-in-title)
  • Location
  • CPC (Cost Per Click) and advertisers
  • Must include words and negative words
  • and more

The purpose of this step is to filter your list and ensure that you are only getting relevant keywords for deeper analysis.

Step 4: In-depth Analysis

Once bulk filtering is complete, it is time to do an in-depth analysis.

This step will look through your filtered list and start analyzing each keyword based on all factors you identified during the keyword research.

Advanced keyword research software

Here are some of the advance checks we can do:

  • What is the search intent?
  • What is the click-through rate for the keyword?
  • Analyzing competitors’ on-page SEO in-depth (e.g., meta tags and content)
  • An in-depth look at the off-page SEO of competitors (e.g., backlinks)
  • What are the sections available on the SERP results pages?

During this stage, we identify and value our primary and secondary keywords.

Upon completion of this stage, we will have primary keywords, secondary keywords, semantic keywords, and logical keyword groups.

Step 5 & 6: Organizing your keywords and prioritizing

Now is the time to organize and prioritize your keywords.

In my opinion, this is the most crucial stage.

Planning the logical steps to take when it comes to creating SEO content or running SEO campaigns is essential.

Once again, there are no set rules or plans; you have to organize based on your importance or potential value.

For example, one may choose to go after long-tail keywords first before regular keywords.

Traditional keyword conclusion

That’s how I would perform a traditional SEO keyword search.

I’ve shared all the steps here, but it is only a starting point. You can always add to or change your process based on your needs.

The following lesson will demonstrate how this process can be carried out with several different keyword tools.

Competitor keyword research

Competitor keyword research

In competitor-based keyword research, you discover keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

This is a simple yet advanced technique of reverse engineering competitor keywords and competitor keyword analysis.

As opposed to using a traditional approach to find keywords, we find them using already ranked competitors.

We can do this process by using keyword research tools or manually.

If you do this manually, it will take a lot of time, and you might miss out on a lot of keyword data and the accuracy of the data.

Manual approach: We analyze competitor website content, meta tags, alt texts, and more to determine their keywords.

The automatic approach: Some SEO and keyword research tools automatically provide an option to pick up competition keyword data from a domain or page level. (Eg: Semrush, Semrush or SerpStat)

Competitor keywords research

Steps for competitor based keyword research

Step 1: Find your competitors. You can do this by using SEO tools like SEMrush or by performing a regular search on Google.

Step 2: Click on the option that all you to view your competitor’s website data. It will display the data for that domain or page. Click “View Organic Keywords” or “View Ranking Keywords” or something similar and see what keywords they rank for. Clicking on a specific page will show their keyword rankings over time. The graph displays average positions and search volume in time.

Step 3, 4, 5 & 6: All these steps are same as traditional keyword research.

It is the best way to fast-track keyword research because we use all your competitor’s efforts.

It makes sense to use it to your advantage rather than reinvent the wheel.

However, the major drawback of this approach is that it requires proper SEO tools, and the keywords we find will depend on how good the databases of those tools are.

For best results, I recommend combining traditional and competitor keyword research.

Existing content keyword research

Existing content keyword research

It is a specialized keyword research method.

The purpose of this keyword research strategy is to find better keywords based on the content you already rank for in your niche.

Existing keyword research

A brand new website can’t use this strategy.

The reason is that there is no historical data.

In the case of existing websites with written content, you can use search engine webmaster console apps to see what keywords you are ranking for and what keywords you are missing.

You can also use SEO tools to assist in this process if they have a feature to view organic ranking according to URLs.

I recommend using this strategy after your content has been published for a few months.

As an example, I can use Google search console to check my existing content to determine if any keywords are missing:

Steps for existing content keyword research

Step 1: Logging into Search Console (You should create an account and verified it a couple of months ago to see any data; otherwise, you will have to wait)

Step 2: Go to the performance tab and filter based on your needs.

Step 3: You will see all the missing or hidden keyword potential according to Google.

I will create a detailed demonstration in this course’s practical part.

Predictive keyword research

Predictive keyword research

It is another advanced strategy for finding “short-term fresh keywords.”

We use this keyword research strategy to predict which keywords will become popular based on industry trends, past research with similar keywords, and audience mindset.

Predictive keyword research process

For example, When launching a new SaaS application, there will be no past data. Still, we will be able to predict the keywords it will generate based on other products in this niche or based on data from previous launches of apps.

Using keyword research tools or Google, I can generate suggestions based on other products in the industry.

Through my research, I can generate keywords to substitute the product name with the new name.

  • [Product] review
  • [Product] lifetime deal
  • [Product] vs. [Competitor product]
  • [Product] tutorial
  • and more

Keyword research template

I have created an easy to use excel template where you can use to record all your keyword research data.

Excel keyword research template

It contain 4 different tabs:

Market research

In this sheet you answer market research (industry research) questions to do generate seed keyword list.

Find seed keywords

In this sheet you find and add your seed keywords. It also contain list of 14 different potential sources for seed keywords with checkbox function to track progress.

Expand keywords

In this sheet you add all your main keywords with keyword grouping. You can also use different colours to indicate the priority of the keyword clusters.

Grouping keywords

In this sheet you add all your found main keywords from your keyword research process. It also auto calculate feature to add the total search volume.

Download Template

This keyword research template is free and it’s available in Excel format.

You can download it from this link:

What’s next

What we will learn in upcoming lessons: Market research & Keyword research demonstration with all free and paid tools.

Hey, I'm Alston, one of the guys behind Digital Marketing Mind. I run a digital agency and share my 10+ years of knowledge on blogging, SEO, and digital marketing. You can read about me here.

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