SEO Blog 13 min read
A Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research for SEO
- 05 Dec 2019 9 min read
Want your effective optimizations? Having comprehensive keyword research for SEO should be on top of your to-do-list. Who knows, your keyword list just might be the key to high traffic, fantastic conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) for your business.
Not sure of how keyword research goes? Worry not, as an experienced SEO company in the Philippines, we can teach you our tricks of the trade.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is part of the SEO Process wherein you find, gather, and process keywords, phrases, and queries that searchers use in search engines to gain insight into what they're are searching for when looking for your business, product, or services.
How to do Keyword Research for SEO?
Here is your guide on how to do comprehensive keyword research for your business this 2020:
- Create a niche market list
- Seed keywords through external sources
- Gather keywords using Google Keyword Planner
- Conduct long-tail keyword research
- Filter irrelevant and duplicate keywords
- Conduct keyword clustering
- Create keyword buckets
- Classify keywords based on search intent
- Generate content ideas
Ready to get started? Here’s how to jumpstart and upgrade your keyword research.
1. Create a niche market list
A niche market list refers to the different categories related to business. These niches are like broad topics or categories which will aid you in pulling specific SEO keywords related to your business and industry.
List down up to five niche markets that are significant to your business. These are topics that are more likely to convert your traffic into sales. To help you choose, put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers and ask yourself: “What topics would my likely customer search for?”
2. Seed keywords through external sources
Forums are hangouts of your target audience, a.k.a your potential customers. Looking through them will give you an idea of what type of content they’re looking for. Below are steps on how to search for keywords in forums:
- Choose a keyword from your niche list.
- Using Google’s Advanced Search operators, search for active forums related to your chosen keywords. Try typing in “[keyword] forum,” “[keyword] + forum,” and “[keyword] + forums.”
- Select a niche forum with active threads, ensure that the last post or discussion was from one or even five days ago. You can also check the consistency of how the people post to ensure it’s still “active.”
- Since forums are divided into sections or threads, you can include these sections as keywords you can add to your list.
- Look into some of the threads in the forum to find other specific topics and words that your potential customers use and add them to your list.
Wikipedia is a global collaborative, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia that is available to anyone, much like Google. It has a nested structure that helps narrow down broad topics into subtopics, making it ideal for SEO keyword research. Below are steps on how to find keywords in Wikipedia:
- Start by searching for a general keyword, like “coffee.”
- Go to the “Contents” section of the page, which contains a list of subtopics. List down some of these subtopics as keywords.
- Click on internal links on the page and go back to the “Contents” section to find more specific keyword options you can add to your list.
C. Google’s Auto-suggest
Once you search for a niche on the Google search engine, you can use Google’s predictive or autocomplete search when looking for additional keywords. You can also select related searches found at the bottom of Google’s search results.
Because of tutorials and other information found on YouTube, it has become a venue for people to search for information. YouTube offers predictive, autocomplete, and suggested searches, much like Google. Add researched keywords to your list that are related to your niche.
According to Reddit’s monthly statistics, the website has almost 1.6 million visits in April 2019. With its massive and diverse audience, it is an underrated yet ideal place to do keyword research.
3. Gather keywords using Google Keyword Planner
Keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner are essential in gathering and refining your keyword options to ensure that your chosen keywords are related to your business, content, and marketing plan. Google Keyword Planner offers four options for keyword search:
- Search for new keywords: Type in a phrase, website, or category to generate new keyword ideas.
- Multiple keywords list: Combine two separate keyword lists to create new keyword combinations.
- Get search volume and trends: Displays the historical trending and the search volume of data keywords.
- Click and cost performance forecasts: Displays performance projections of your keyword lists based on average bids and your budget.
Below are steps on how to find keywords in Google Keyword Planner:
- Log in to your Google AdWords account.
- Click on Tools from the toolbar and under “Planning” choose Keyword Planner.
- Click on Search to search for new keywords to add to your list.
If your business is situated in a local area, you can filter your keywords to make sure they are popular and relevant in your location.
- Configure targeting based on location, language, and negative keywords.
- Customize your keyword filters based on your business preferences such as average monthly searches, suggested bid, ad impression share, organic impression share, organic average position, and competition.
- Customize your keyword options and keywords to include based on your business preferences.
Keyword options allow you to narrow your keyword research by displaying options that are closely related to your niche and content. However, don’t set too many restrictions to give room for other keywords that may be good opportunities to reach your target audience.
- From your niche market list, enter your seed keywords then click Get ideas.
- Save all your gathered keywords.
4. Conduct a long-tail keyword research
When doing keyword research, it’s essential to include long-tail keywords. This refers to longer and more specific two-to-four keyword phrases that contain your seed keywords and a set of modifiers. Long-tail keywords help you generate organic search traffic to your website and, therefore, rank high in SERPs because of less competition. Moreover, adding them will help you target the specific search intents of your potential customers.
Tools for long-tail keyword research
Here are the following tools and processes you can use to gather long-tail keywords:
- Active forums: These are the usual hangouts of your potential customers where they discuss topics of interest.
- Answer The Public: This helps you know what questions and queries consumers search for on Google.
- Google Correlate: This finds search patterns based on real-world trends.
- Google Search Related Keywords: This gives you similar keywords you can add to your long-tail keywords.
- Google Search Console: This helps measure your website’s traffic and performance.
- Google Trends: This analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across regions and languages and compares the search volumes of different queries over time.
- Keyword tool.io: This helps you find topics your target market is interested in, therefore giving you more extensive options of keywords and related keywords to use.
- Quora: This is a community-focused website that can help find long-tail conversion-focused keywords because of the presence of a thousand questions related to your niche.
- Soovle: This is a tool that unites the suggestion services from significant information providers such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Answers.com to maximize keyword searches.
- Ubersuggest: This is a useful tool that uses Google autocomplete to generate keyword ideas.
- Keyword Keg: This is a suite of five-keyword research tools to research and gauge keywords; so you can have the edge over competing businesses.
- Keywords Everywhere: This is a Google Chrome Extension tool you can easily install to see relevant and suggested keywords from your initial search query.
Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose among these keyword research tools when generating long-tail keywords.
5. Filter irrelevant and duplicate keywords
The Internet is vast, and so are keywords you can use but filter and remove duplicate keywords to your list to avoid any confusion.
Below are steps on how to narrow down your list:
- Go to Google Keyword Planner.
- Click on Tools from the toolbar and under “Planning” choose Keyword Planner.
- Click search volume and forecasts.
- From your niche market list, enter your seed keywords as well as long-tail keywords.
- Save all the keywords you gathered.
- Filter high-volume and relevant keywords.
6. Conduct keyword clustering
Once you have all your keywords, this is where the real work begins. Here’s a step-by-step on how to cluster your keywords:
- Break your keywords into terms using a word frequency counter. This step will identify what keywords have the most occurrences or used most in your whole keyword research.
- Break your keywords into phrases. Sometimes the best and most valuable keywords aren’t single-word terms; this is where this step comes in. Use a phrase frequency counter to check what two-word or three-word phrases occur in your keyword research.
- Determine your “Hot Words.” These keywords are the ones with the highest frequency and most relevant to your business.
7. Create keyword buckets
Once you’ve determined your hot words, it’s time to place your keywords into their specific buckets. Using your hot words as the main keyword, group all the keywords with the same word or phrase. This tedious process picks apart your keyword research piece by piece to determine what the main keyword to use for your business and what content to create for your website to rank.
For example, your hot keyword is “design,” all the keywords you collected with word design goes under this cluster. But the “design” still has a lot of keywords, so you filter them again because a number of the keywords have “living room” in them. Get the keywords with “design” and “living room,” and there you have your keyword bucket.
8. Classify all keywords based on search intent
After exhausting your seed keywords and filtering them one by one, classify each of your gathered keywords based on their search intent.
What is Search Intent?
Search intent is the reason behind why people conduct a specific search or query. If you classify all your keywords based on search intent, then you will be able to provide users with the answers they need.
With the announcement of the rollout of Google BERT, which helps computers better understand the language humans use, Google is prioritizing to understand the intent behind the search instead of just the words used.
Types of Search Intent
There are five types of search intent which classify your researched keywords:
1. Informational intent for looking up information about something.
This type of content comes in the forms of blogs, infographics, articles, tutorials, and webinars that are often created to satisfy the search intent of people. Content on this intent answers the questions of what, why, and how.
2. Navigational intent for finding a specific website.
Specific websites sought after by searchers will appear, once searched on SERPs. In addition to the website, Google can enhance the search results by displaying site links that can help searchers smoothly go to the specific section of the website.
3. Transactional intent for making purchases or subscriptions.
Websites that sell products, services or subscriptions are visited by searchers with transactional intent in mind. They can use the information on these sites when purchasing the product online or visiting the physical store of the business.
4. Comparison intent for comparing different products.
Websites with content that compare different product specifications and prices are sought after by searchers with comparison intent. The information they get from these websites aids their decision-making when choosing which product to purchase among the choices they have based on their preferences and budget.
5. Commercial investigation for searching and comparing products with the intent of buying in the future.
Searchers with this intent want to buy but need more time and convincing before making a purchase. They might look at the reviews of websites to convince themselves that a product is worth purchasing.
If you take time to classify your keywords based on search intents, you will be able to create content that satisfies the intents of your website visitors.
9. Generate content ideas
After classifying your keywords, you now have your complete set of keywords based on your niche market list and search intent. You can use these keywords to help you focus on the right topics and develop content on your website sought after and highly beneficial to your potential customers. You can power up your content marketing strategy with relevant, comprehensive keywords that drive profit to your business.
From time to time, you can re-evaluate your keywords to ensure their relevance, since trends change. It is ideal to re-do keyword research as often as your business or clients require. It can be done in a span of six months to even a year.
No matter how tedious the process of keyword research might be, its impact is beneficial to the success of your business. Here are some key takeaways from this article:
- Keyword research ensures the right people find your website for the right purpose. It will help if your website can satisfy the needs of your potential customers.
- Exhaust all your seed keywords. This is so that you will not miss any potential keyword option you can use.
- Develop content using the right keywords. To satisfy the needs of your potential customers, classify all your keywords based on search intent. Re-evaluate your keywords list from time to time to ensure they stay relevant.