Keywords are the foundation of SEO. So keyword research is a critical step of SEO for bloggers. You need to know what users type in a search engine to help you create relevant content to satisfy their intent.
If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about, it’s impossible to get traffic from Google no matter how knowledgeable you are.
Thus when you do Keyword research successfully, your pages will start ranking for those search terms and this translates into an increase in SEO traffic to your blog. So learn bloggers need to learn how to do keywords research.
In this article, I’ll help you learn what keyword research is, the keyword research best practices to follow, and how to do keyword research easily and successfully.
Let’s get started.
- What are keywords?
- Different types of keywords
- What is keyword research?
- Why is keyword research important?
- How to find keyword ideas
- How To Research Competitors' Keywords
- How To Do Keyword Research For Your Blog
- How do you track the performance of your keyword research?
- Keyword research tools
- Bonus: More Keyword Research Tips
What are keywords?
By definition, keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engine bars when searching for something on the internet. They’re also referred to as search queries or “SEO keywords.”
Different types of keywords
Generally there are three different types of keywords namely ‘seed keywords’, ‘focus keywords’, ‘long-tail keywords’. It is important to know about the different types of keywords before starting your research.
They are also known as the head, focus, or main keywords which are usually one or two words that have a high search volume. These keywords are also highly competitive with thousands of websites competing for one of the top seed keywords.
Here are some examples of seed keywords: ‘affiliate marketing’, ‘blogging’, ‘poultry farming’.
Synonyms or closely related keywords. These are keywords closely related to each other. Keywords that have the same meaning but written differently.
Here are some examples: ‘how to replace a light bulb’, ‘how to fix a light bulb’, ‘how to change a light bulb’.
What are long tail keywords? These are search phrases consisting of 3 or more words. They are less competitive head keywords and their intent is more specific.
Here are some examples of long-tail keywords: ‘how to make money with affiliate marketing,’ ‘what is affiliate marketing?’
These are keywords that share a conceptual relationship with other keywords.
For example, for the search phrase ‘affiliate marketing’, some semantically related keywords are making money online’.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is an essential element of SEO which involves finding out the language your target customers use when searching for products, services and content. Keyword research establishes the words or phrases users type into a search engine when looking for something on the Internet.
By knowing the exact search phrases, you will provide them with relevant content that satisfies their intent. Keyword research also involves analyzing, comparing, and prioritizing the best keyword opportunities for your website.
So the outcome of the keyword research process is a list of keywords that will benefit you by:
- Helping your website rank for those keywords.
- Driving organic traffic to your website.
Why is keyword research important?
It is the only way possible to find out what people are searching in search engines. Because if you don’t know the actual search phrases people are using in Google, you risk optimizing your website for wrong keywords.
Without doing research you cannot know for which keywords you can actually rank for and you might be targeting keywords you will never be able to rank well.
You need this information to avoid creating content about things that nobody is searching for. Most website owners make that mistake, and it’s part of the reason why over 90% of pages get no traffic from Google.
Therefore, keyword research is important for bloggers for many reasons:
- Keyword research will help you to identify your competitors.
- It will help you to understand your industry better.
- Keyword research will help you to know the size of your audience.
- It will help you to evaluate the performance of your website.
How to find keyword ideas
Keyword research starts with thinking about what people are searching for on the internet. Then use keyword research tools to find even more keywords.It’s a simple process, if you understand how keyword research tools work and how to get the most out of them.
Step 1: Find seed keywords using keyword research tools.
Convert your ideas into SEO keywords.
SEO Keywords are the actual queries users type in a search engine that are critical to your website. To do that effectively, you need to use keyword research tools.
I love and use SEMrush. Let’s see how you can use SEMrush.
Step 2: Make a List Of Topics That Best Describe What You Do
Think of any terms describing what your blog offers. For example, if you run a marketing company, these topics could include “SEO” or “Affiliate marketing.”
Step 3: Input Each Of These Topics Into SEMrush
Your general topics will be a starting point to research new keywords.You’ll also have a chance to use SEMrush now.Type one of your topics into the search box on the top of the screen and hit search.
Once you hit search, the tool will display an overview of various data on a topic you have selected.
Here’s the information that is important to keyword research in the report:
Organic Search. It shows data relating to organic traffic this keyword receives. Volume shows average monthly number of searches for this keyword. The number of results shows how many URLs compete for this keyword.
Paid Search. It shows the paid traffic data-cost per click.
Trends. It shows the monthly distribution of search volume for the keyword.
Step 4: Phrase Match Keywords And Related Keywords
These reports are in keyword research.
Phrase match keywords are variations of the main keyword you specified that customers might use to search for a product or service.While related keywords report are different keywords that relate to the main keyword in some ways.
We’re going to be working on those two reports.
Click on “View full report” under Phrase Match Keyword report.
This will give you access to a full list of phrase match keywords SEMrush had found for the topic. Apart from the list of keywords the tool also displays information that can help me you assess those keywords:
- Traffic Volume.
- Average CPC.
- Competition Density.
It will also let you see the cached SERP search engine results page (SERP) for each keyword. So by analysing this data you can assess which keywords might be worth targeting your SEO efforts.
Step 5: Then do the same for Related Keywords
Click on Related in the left sidebar, under the Keyword Research section. This tool will now display a list of keywords related to your main topic.
Related keywords report in SEMrush.
Here you will notice that this time these keywords are not closely tied to the main keyword.
That’s because related keywords report scales the search and shows not only closely relevant but also related terms. This report is important if you’re trying to spread out your content and attract new audiences to the blog. With the Related Keywords report, you can identify keywords you could use to build related content on.
Redo the whole process for every other topic you listed to find other sets of relevant keywords.
How To Work Out Keyword Difficulty
This feature allows you to find out how difficult it will be to beat your competitors and outrank them. The tool analyses other domains ranking for a keyword and gives a percentage estimate of how difficult a keyword is to rank for.
To use this feature, go to the Tools Section in the left side column and click on Keyword Difficulty. Type one or more keywords into the Keyword Difficulty one keyword per line and click “Show difficulty”. The tool will output a report to help you quickly establish your keywords’ competitiveness.
How To Research Competitors’ Keywords
SEMrush also allows you to take a glance at keywords your competitors use and even compare phrases you optimize for with them.
SEMrush has a feature called Domain vs. Domain which will allow you to compare up to 5 domains to see common and unique keywords for each domain.
To use it, navigate to the Tools Section of the sidebar column and then click Domain vs. Domain. In the tool, specify up to 5 domains, select Organic, Paid or Product listing Ads to choose what data to compare and click go.
The tool displays results in two ways:
It shows a table view of keywords domains you specified rank for, along with additional information. From this report, you will see the ranking position of each domain per keyword and important data on each keyword such as volume or average CPC.
But it’s the other method of displaying data that’s interesting – The chart view.
The chart view.
The chart view employs a Venn diagram to show common and unique keywords per domain. Comparing your domain to competitors will help you discover great keyword opportunities.
NOTE: If you don’t have a SEMRush subscription, you can take advantage of our exclusive offer and get a 14-day free subscription to SEMrush pro. Login to SEMrush and go to the Keyword Magic Tool.
Find keywords your competitors are ranking.
Find out the keywords your competitors are actually ranking and the amount of traffic they receive from Google search.
Simply go to SEMrush, select Organic Research from Domain Analytics, and type in a competitor’s URL. Analyze your competitor keywords. You will see the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Click on view all organic keywords to go to the full list and use the advanced filters to find keywords with a low search volume, rule out brand related keywords and keywords that do not belong to your blog niche.
Your goal here is to find keyword ideas that you might have not thought of before and use them in your keyword list. So you can also follow the above procedure to find out for which specific keywords a competitor’s page is ranking.
How To Do Keyword Research For Your Blog
Get to Know your Niche
The first step is to find out as many details as possible about your niche. Understanding who you have to compete with, will help you create a realistic keyword list and an SEO strategy that can yield positive results.
You can realize this by studying your niche in detail. And a good starting point is to search industry forums and question and answer sites. This will help you learn more things that your prospective customers are struggling with that didn’t show up in keyword tools and that none of your competitors bothered to cover.
Examine the search intent of each keyword
Since you have a list of seed keywords, it’s time to examine each keyword’s search intent. For some keywords, the search intent is obvious but for others, it needs more investigation.
The best way to figure out the search intent of a keyword is to type the keywords in Google and examine the first page of the results.
You need to do this exercise to find and eliminate from your list keywords that have a different intent than what you are offering. You don’t want to waste your time targeting keywords that won’t get you the right type of traffic.
Find long-tail keywords
If you will realize that most of them are highly competitive. Then adjust your keyword research strategy and start looking for keywords that are less competitive which are long-tail keywords.
How to find long-tail keywords? There are a number of ways to find long-tail keywords.
You can manually search Google and look for the ‘People also ask’ or ‘related searches’ section. You can also go to Wikipedia and Amazon and see what people are searching for.
The fastest way is to use two SEMRUSH functions, the ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ and the ‘Topic Research’ tools.
Revisit the Keyword Magic tool and use the ‘Advanced Filters’ to search for keywords that have 4 words or more. Just enter the number 4 into the ‘Words Count’ box and click Enter.
When you see the results, select the keywords that match your blog niche, examine their search intent by analyzing the Google results, and add them to your main list.
Another way to find long tail keywords is to use the ‘Topic Research’ tool. Select the topic research option from the menu, type your topic ideas and click get content ideas.
Find Semantically Related Keywords to use in your content
Create high-quality SEO-friendly content. So one of the things that you need to consider is semantically related keywords.
Semantically related keywords (or LSI keywords) are keywords related to your target keywords or keywords that have the same meaning.
When you add these keywords to your content, you make the content more relevant to search engines and this increases your chances of ranking for your main keyword. While optimizing your content for SEO, make sure that you add these keywords to your copy.
To find related keywords, use tools like SEMrush. Simply click the Related button. Alternatively, you can use LSI graphs.
You can use SEMrush to find Related keywords (by clicking the Related button as shown below) or if you don’t have a SEMRush subscription, you can use tools like LSI Graph.
How to use the keywords in your content
Apart from adding LSI keywords within your content, there are other places where you need to add your keywords.
- Use your focus keyword in the page title.
- Use your focus keyword in the permalink.
- Use your focus keyword in the page title tag and H1 tag
- Use Long-tail keywords in your H2 and H3 headings
- Use related keywords in the image ALT Text
- Use related keywords and synonyms in your copy
- Use LSI keywords in the content (as explained above).
How do you track the performance of your keyword research?
You need to sign up for Google Search Console. It shows you how Google views your website. You will also be able to see keywords you rank for and position in search results.
The other tool you need is Google Analytics. It tracks the performance of your content. Monster Insights is the easiest way to install Google Analytics in WordPress. It displays top content in your WordPress dashboard and enables you to track user engagement on your website
Keyword research tools
Here are a few popular keyword research tools that will help you do everything discussed above easily and faster.
These are the tools that I use and recommend.
- SEMrush (Paid).
This is my favorite tool for keyword research and the tool I use for creating content on my blog. It’s not free but it’s worth the money.
For keyword research, use SEMrush to do topic research, find out seed keywords, long-tail keywords and related keywords.
If you don’t already have a subscription with SEMrush, then SEMrush is the way to go.
In my quest to find the best SEO tool for keyword research, I have tested a number of other tools but none of them has the functionality of SEMRUSH at this price range.
You can register for a 14-Day free trial and test it yourself.
- Google Keyword Planner (Free). For its special and reliable keyword suggestions and up-to-date CPC values.
- Google Trends (Free). For comparisons in trends and researching the geography of trends.
- Google Search Console (Free). For checking the top 1,000 keywords you already rank for and how much traffic those keywords drive to your blog.
- Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (Free). For finding out all the keywords you currently rank for and their estimated search volumes, Keyword Difficulty scores, traffic potential and other critical SEO metrics.
- Keyword Generator (Free). For generating hundreds of free keyword ideas from a seed keyword.
- Keyword Difficulty Checker (Free). For checking the ranking difficulty of a keyword, as per Ahrefs’ Keyword Difficulty (KD) score.
- Keyword Rank Checker (Free). For checking where you rank for any keyword in any country.
Bonus: More Keyword Research Tips
Here are some more tips on how to narrow down your keyword research and find the most profitable ideas.
- Begin your keyword research with broader keywords and then narrow down to find keywords with low competition and more search volume.
- Enter your own URL in SEMRush to see your own keyword performance and then compare it with your competitors.
- Focus on finding keywords that offer answers to your customer’s questions and help them make a buying decision.
- Don’t limit your keyword research to most searched keywords. You can rank for longer keywords.
Many beginner bloggers assume that they have a clear idea of what their users are looking for. But you don’t need to make educated guesses when there are powerful tools available that can help you make data driven decisions.
Properly using keyword research tools as a part of your content strategy can help you realize the following:
- Find the popular keywords your users are actually looking for
- Find content ideas that are easy to rank for and have decent search volume
- Find out what your competitors are doing and then beat them to it with a better content strategy
- Get more search traffic and grow your audience with each new article
When you start writing, make sure to optimize your content for SEO. Optimization involves adding the exact keyword phrase in the post title, meta description, and body content.
The rest of the content should also be relevant to the keyword. Do some internal linking from older blog posts. Optimize images as well by giving them names that include your search term.