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- Keyword research helps you understand what your audience is searching for online, allowing you to create targeted content that ranks higher in search engines.
- Focus on long-tail, low competition keywords that attract motivated searchers likely to convert on your site.
- Continuously research new keywords to stay on top of trends and keep your content ranking high in search results.
- Tools like SEMRush and LowFruits can generate keyword ideas and provide data on search volume, competition, and commercial intent.
Have you ever wondered how some websites consistently rank at the top of search results while others remain buried deep down the pages? What’s their secret to staying ahead in the digital race?
The answer is simple: They’ve mastered the art of how to do keyword research for SEO.
Understanding how to effectively research and use keywords is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful SEO strategy, as it plays a pivotal role in attracting organic traffic to your website.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the search terms that people enter into search engines when they’re seeking information. These terms, known as “keywords”, reflect what your audience is interested in and how they are searching for it online.
This process isn’t just about identifying the most popular search terms. It’s about understanding your audience, their needs, and how they search for solutions to their problems online.
The ultimate goal of keyword research is to discover the keywords that your target audience is looking for and to create content that effectively answers their queries.
Through this process, you’re not only increasing your chances of ranking higher on SERPs, but you’re also providing valuable information to your audience.
Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is about making your website visible and attractive to search engines, thereby increasing your organic (unpaid) visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Keyword research is a cornerstone of this process.
By incorporating relevant keywords into your website content, you signal to search engines exactly what your content is about, thereby increasing the likelihood that your website will show up when users search for those terms.
Targeting the right keywords—those that your audience is actively searching for—increases the chances of attracting visitors who are likely to engage with your content and, ultimately, convert into customers.
What are the Best Keyword Research Tools?
In the world of SEO, keyword research tools are essential in identifying the right keywords to drive traffic to your website. They provide valuable insights into search volumes, competition, and even user intent.
In this section, I’ll delve into four popular keyword research tools that I use almost daily.
Some seasoned SEOs may notice that Ahrefs is missing from my list of favorite keyword tools…
The numerous pricing/plan shifts and frequent disruptions in service finally convinced me to terminate my Ahrefs subscription after nearly 4 years, and I now use a combination of other products in its place.
1. SEMRush (7-day FREE Trial)
SEMRush is a comprehensive digital marketing tool that, among its many features, offers robust keyword research capabilities. It provides detailed information on keyword search volumes, keyword difficulty scores, cost-per-click data, and competitive density.
One standout feature of SEMRush is the Keyword Magic Tool, which generates an extensive list of related keywords when you input a seed keyword. It also provides phrase matches and related keywords, enabling you to expand your keyword list effectively.
SEMRush is also excellent for competitor analysis, providing insights into the keywords your competitors are ranking for, their backlinks, and more.
If you’re looking to increase revenue through SEO, learning how to do keyword research with SEMRush is a must. It’s a valuable skill that can help you achieve your goals and drive more organic traffic to your website.
2. Keyword Atlas ($47 Lifetime Unlimited)
Keyword Atlas is a versatile keyword tool that pulls data from over 20 different sources, including Google, Bing, Amazon, and eBay. It provides a massive range of keyword suggestions, giving you a broader perspective than just focusing on Google.
This innovative tool generates a wealth of keyword ideas by taking A-Z autocomplete suggestions from popular search engines, enabling you to quickly identify relevant terms and phrases you may not have considered.
My favorite part about Keyword Atlas it that is a one-off purchase, meaning you get unlimited usage without having to pay a monthly subscription fee.
My readers get an extra $10 off the already low price, so if you are interested in picking up a Swiss army knife type keyword research tool on the cheap, make sure to buy it through my private link below 👇
3. LowFruits.io (Free Trial Credits)
LowFruits is a lesser-known but highly effective keyword research tool, especially for those in the early stages of niche site development or for someone starting a blog. It focuses on finding low-competition keywords – the “low-hanging fruit” – that new or less authoritative websites can rank for.
LowFruits ranks its keyword suggestions based on a “Weak Spots” score. This score is determined by the strength of competition ranking on page one for the given keyword.
The higher the Weak Spots score, the easier it should be to rank for that keyword, making it a helpful tool for those just getting started with SEO.
4. Keywords Everywhere (FREE)
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that streamlines keyword research by displaying search volume, cost-per-click (CPC), and competition data for any keyword directly within the SERPs.
This convenient tool saves you time by eliminating the need to switch between multiple keyword research tools or websites.
By integrating keyword data into the sites you visit most, Keywords Everywhere allows you to make informed decisions about your keyword strategy, content planning, and SEO efforts with ease.
5. Google Keyword Planner (FREE)
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool provided by Google and is a part of Google Ads. It’s the best free keyword research tool for those just starting with keyword research or those with a limited budget.
This tool provides data directly from Google, which is valuable given Google’s dominance in the search market.
It offers information on search volumes, competition levels, and even forecasts for future search volumes. However, it’s important to note that the data can be quite broad and may not be as precise as other paid tools.
While Google Keyword Planner doesn’t provide as many features as the other tools mentioned, it’s still a handy tool for basic keyword research and for understanding what potential customers are searching for on Google.
What are the Different Types of Keywords?
When embarking on your keyword research journey, it’s important to understand the four main types of keywords.
Head Keywords are broad, general terms that are usually only one or two words long. These keywords often have high search volumes but come with high competition as well. For example, “shoes” or “laptops” are head keywords.
Body Keywords are more specific than head keywords and typically consist of two to three words. They have a moderate search volume and competition level. Body keywords strike a balance between general and specific searches. For example, “running shoes” or “gaming laptops” are body keywords.
Long Tail Keywords are longer, more detailed phrases that often convey the searcher’s intent. They usually have lower search volumes but offer lower competition and higher conversion rates. Examples of long-tail keywords include “best running shoes for flat feet” or “gaming laptops under $1000”.
LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are semantically related terms that help search engines understand the context and relevancy of your content. These keywords do not necessarily have high search volumes but can improve your content’s overall SEO by providing context. For example, LSI keywords for “running shoes” could be “track,” “marathon,” or “cushioning”.
How to Analyze Keywords
When you’re generating a list of potential keywords, it is important to be able to effectively analyze these keywords.
This process involves examining several factors that can influence your keyword strategy.
Search Volume represents the average number of times a specific keyword is queried in a search engine within a set timeframe, usually per month. It’s a measure of keyword popularity.
When a keyword has a high search volume, it means many people are searching for that term. However, a keyword with a high search volume also typically means high competition, as many websites try to rank for popular search terms.
While it might be tempting to target high-volume keywords, they aren’t always the best option.
High-volume keywords are often broad and could attract a wide range of searchers, not all of whom might be interested in your specific content or offer.
Instead, it can be more beneficial to target a mix of high, medium, and low-volume keywords to balance the potential traffic with the relevancy of visitors.
Keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can provide data on keyword search volume.
These tools will also often show you the trend of the search volume over time, helping you identify if the keyword is gaining or losing popularity.
Keyword Difficulty, also known as SEO Difficulty, is a metric that predicts how hard it would be to rank on the first page of search engine results for a particular keyword. It’s usually expressed as a numerical value between 0 and 100, with higher values indicating higher difficulty.
Every keyword tool has its own proprietary keyword difficulty metric.
It’s usually calculated based on several factors, including the number of sites already ranking for the keyword and the strength of those sites in terms of their domain authority and backlink profiles.
If a keyword has a high difficulty score, it means that many well-established sites with strong SEO are already ranking for that keyword, and it will be challenging to outrank them.
While it’s crucial to consider keyword difficulty, it should not deter you from targeting a keyword if it’s highly relevant and valuable to your business. Even competitive keywords can be targeted effectively with a well-planned and executed SEO strategy that includes quality content, robust on-page SEO, and strong backlink building.
When analyzing keyword difficulty, remember to also consider the potential ROI. A keyword might be difficult to rank for, but if it’s likely to drive high-quality traffic and conversions, it could be worth the effort.
Understanding Search Intent
Search intent, also known as user intent, is the primary goal a user has when entering a query into a search engine.
Understanding this intent is crucial because it helps align your content with what users are actually searching for, increasing the likelihood that they’ll find and engage with your website.
There are generally four types of search intent:
- Informational Intent: Here, the user is looking for information. The search could be about anything from the weather forecast to an in-depth analysis of a complex topic. Queries could be phrased as questions or statements. For example, “What is keyword research?” or “Climate change effects.”
- Navigational Intent: In this case, users know where they want to go. They’re using the search engine to navigate to a specific website. For example, someone might type “Facebook login” or “SEMRush blog” into the search bar.
- Transactional Intent: Users with transactional intent want to complete a transaction, like purchasing a product or signing up for a service. Searches might include phrases like “Buy iPhone 12” or “Best deals on laptops.”
- Commercial Investigation: These users are looking to make a purchase but want to compare options before making a decision. They might search for “best smartphones 2023” or “SEMRush vs. Ahrefs.”
Understanding search intent and tailoring your content to match can have significant benefits for your SEO.
Search engines aim to provide users with the most relevant results for their queries. If your content aligns with the user’s intent, it’s more likely to rank higher in search results.
There are several strategies to determine search intent.
One method is to analyze the top-ranking pages for your target keyword.
What kind of content are they providing? Is it informational, navigational, transactional, or a commercial investigation? This can give you clues about what search engines (and users) perceive the intent to be.
Another method is using keyword research tools, many of which provide data on search intent.
Keywords with words like “how to,” “what is,” or “why” usually indicate informational intent, while words like “buy,” “price,” or “best” suggest transactional intent.
By keeping search intent in mind when choosing keywords and creating content, you can create a more effective SEO strategy and provide more value to your audience
How to Create a Master List of Keywords
Establishing a master list of keywords for your website is an essential part of planning and organizing your content.
This master list will serve as a reference for content creation, optimization, and expansion, ultimately driving targeted traffic to your site.
Below is my step-by-step guide on how to create a master list of keywords👇
1. Start with Seed Keywords
Seed keywords form the foundation of your keyword research process. They are the basic terms that are closely related to your brand or industry.
Think about your products or services and the core concepts around them. What would your potential customers type into a search engine when looking for your business?
Let’s say you’re starting a blog about eco-friendly living. Your mission is to provide practical tips and resources for people looking to reduce their environmental impact in their day-to-day lives.
Here are a few examples of seed keywords you might start with:
- “Green living”
- “Zero waste”
Remember, seed keywords are just the start of your keyword research.
Once you have these, you can start looking into long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific. For instance, from the seed keyword “sustainable”, you could derive long-tail keywords like “sustainable alternatives to plastic bags” or “sustainable fashion brands”.
These will be highly relevant to your audience and could have less competition than the more general seed keywords.
2. Use Keyword Research Tools
Once you’ve identified your seed keywords, it’s time to expand your list. Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can provide a wealth of information, including related keyword suggestions, search volumes, and keyword difficulty scores.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use SEMRush to find keywords:
- Sign into SEMRush: The first step is to log into your SEMRush account. If you don’t have one, you can create an account and sign up for a FREE 7-day trial
- Keyword Overview: Once you’re logged in, navigate to the Keyword Overview section under the SEO Dashboard. Here, you can input a keyword you’re interested in and SEMRush will provide an overview of that keyword’s performance, including its search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
- Keyword Magic Tool: One of the most useful tools for keyword research in SEMRush is the Keyword Magic Tool. You can access this under the SEO Dashboard as well. Enter a seed keyword related to your business or industry, and the tool will generate a list of related keywords.
- Analyze Keyword Suggestions: The Keyword Magic Tool will provide a comprehensive list of related keywords, along with valuable data for each one, including its search volume, trend, keyword difficulty, cost-per-click (CPC), and competitive density.
- Filter and Sort Keywords: You can filter and sort these keyword suggestions based on different parameters. For instance, you might want to find long-tail keywords (keywords with three or more words), or you might want to sort keywords by search volume or difficulty.
- Select and Export Keywords: Once you’ve found keywords that are relevant and valuable for your business, you can select and export them. SEMRush allows you to export your selected keywords to other tools like the Keyword Manager, where you can further analyze and track these keywords.
Remember, the goal of keyword research is not just to find keywords with high search volumes, but to find keywords that are relevant to your business and your audience, and that align with your overall SEO strategy.
3. Long-Tail Keyword Exploration
Finding long-tail keywords is an essential part of an effective SEO strategy.
I consider a long tail keyword to be one that contains 4 or more words, but depending on the SEO you talk to it could be more or less than that.
Here’s an example of how you can find long-tail keywords for a blog about vegan cooking:
- Start with Seed Keywords: Begin with basic keywords related to your blog’s content. For a vegan cooking blog, this could be “vegan recipes”, “vegan cooking”, or “plant-based meals”.
- Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ahrefs can help you find long-tail keywords. Input your seed keywords and explore the suggested keywords. For “vegan recipes”, you might find long-tail keywords like “easy vegan recipes for beginners”, “vegan recipes for kids”, or “quick vegan dinner recipes”.
- Explore ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘Related Searches’ on Google: When you search for your seed keyword on Google, scroll down to find a ‘People Also Ask’ section and a ‘Related Searches’ section at the bottom of the page. This is a goldmine for long-tail keywords. For example, for “vegan cooking”, you might see related searches like “vegan cooking classes for beginners”, “how to start vegan cooking at home”, or “vegan cooking substitutes for dairy”.
- Check Out Online Forums and Social Media: Websites like Quora, Reddit, or even specific Facebook groups can be a great source of long-tail keywords. Look for questions or discussions related to your seed keyword. For instance, you might find questions like “What’s the best way to make a vegan birthday cake?” or “How can I make a vegan version of a traditional lasagna?”.
- Use Google’s Autocomplete Feature: Start typing your seed keyword into Google and see how Google completes it. These suggestions are based on what users frequently search for and can provide you with long-tail keyword ideas.
Remember, while long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes, they usually have higher conversion rates, as they’re more specific and cater to a more targeted audience.
4. Analyze Competitor Keywords
Your competitors can be a goldmine of keyword ideas. Analyzing the keywords they’re ranking for can provide insights into your industry’s keyword landscape and help you identify any potential gaps in your own keyword strategy.
Conducting a competitor keyword analysis using SEMRush can provide you with valuable insights into which keywords your competitors are ranking for, allowing you to identify potential opportunities for your own SEO strategy. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Sign into SEMRush: The first step is to log into your SEMRush account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one and opt for a free trial.
- Select Domain Overview: From the SEMRush dashboard, select “Domain Overview” under the “SEO Dashboard” section. This will allow you to analyze a specific domain.
- Enter Competitor’s Domain: In the search bar, enter the URL of your competitor’s website and hit the “Search” button. This will generate an overview of your competitor’s online performance.
- Navigate to Organic Research: On the domain overview page, navigate to the “Organic Research” section. This section provides information about your competitor’s organic search rankings.
- Analyze Competitor’s Keywords: Under the “Organic Research” section, click on “Positions”. This will display a list of all the keywords that the competitor’s website is currently ranking for. You can see details like the keyword’s position in search results, its search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.
- Identify Valuable Keywords: Look for keywords that are relevant to your website, have a high search volume, and a keyword difficulty that matches your website’s current authority. These could be potential opportunities for your own SEO strategy.
- Export Keyword List: SEMRush allows you to export this list of keywords. You can then integrate these keywords into your own keyword master list for further analysis and consideration.
Remember, competitor keyword analysis isn’t about copying your competitor’s strategy but finding gaps and opportunities in your own.
Keep your unique value proposition and your audience’s needs in mind when considering which of your competitor’s keywords to target.
5. Remove Irrelevant Keywords
Not all keywords will be relevant to your business. Some might have high search volumes but aren’t connected to your products, services, or audience’s needs.
Irrelevant keywords can attract the wrong traffic to your site and negatively impact your conversion rates.
Let’s use the example of a blog that focuses on smartphone reviews and technology news:
- Irrelevant Products or Services: Imagine you find the keyword “laptop reviews” with a high search volume. While laptops and smartphones are both tech products, if your blog is specifically about smartphones, this keyword might not be relevant. Your audience comes to you for smartphone information, not laptop reviews.
- Misleading Synonyms: Let’s say one of your seed keywords is “mobile apps”. You might find the keyword “mobile homes” has a decent search volume. Although both contain the word ‘mobile’, they are clearly very different topics. “Mobile homes” is irrelevant and should be removed.
- Industry Jargon: If you come across keywords heavy with industry jargon like “semiconductor supply chain crisis”, while it’s an important issue in the tech world, your average reader looking for smartphone reviews might not be interested in such in-depth industry analysis. Unless you’re targeting a very niche audience, such keywords can be removed.
- Unrelated High-Volume Keywords: You might find high search volumes for keywords like “smartphone addiction” or “digital detox”. While these are related to smartphones, they’re not directly related to your blog’s focus—reviews and tech news. People searching for these terms are likely looking for lifestyle or health advice, not smartphone reviews.
- Non-Target Audience: If you find a keyword like “best smartphones for kids”, but your content is specifically targeted towards tech-savvy adults, this keyword might not be a good fit. Your reviews and news might not cater to the concerns of parents looking for children’s devices, making this keyword less relevant.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to drive traffic—it’s to drive the right traffic.
6. Consolidate and Rank Keywords
Consolidating and ranking a keyword list is a critical step in keyword research, helping to prioritize your SEO efforts.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to consolidate and rank your keyword list:
- Remove Duplicates: Start by removing any duplicate keywords from your list. This can be easily done if you’re working with a tool like Excel or Google Sheets using their built-in duplicate removal functions.
- Categorize Keywords: Group your keywords based on different factors such as topic, intent (informational, transactional, navigational, etc.), or part of the customer journey (awareness, consideration, decision). This will make your list more manageable and help identify patterns and gaps.
- Assign a Priority Level: Not all keywords are created equal. Some will be more valuable to your business than others. Assign each keyword a priority level based on factors such as search volume, relevance to your business, keyword difficulty, and potential to convert. You can use a simple scale (e.g., 1-3, with 1 being high priority and 3 being low priority) or develop a more complex scoring system that takes multiple factors into account.
- Rank by Priority Level: Once you’ve assigned a priority level to each keyword, rank your list accordingly. Start working on the high priority keywords first, as these will bring the most value to your SEO efforts.
- Review and Refine: Remember that keyword research is not a one-time task. Over time, trends change, new keywords emerge, and the relevance of certain keywords may decrease. Regularly review and refine your list to ensure it remains current and continues to align with your SEO strategy.
This prioritization helps guide your SEO strategy, allowing you to focus your efforts on the keywords that are likely to deliver the most impact. It also provides a clear direction for your content creation efforts.
7. Continual Keyword Research
Continual keyword research is essential in maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
Search trends evolve, new competitors emerge, and your own content grows – all factors that can influence the landscape of your keywords.
Here are some tips to help you keep your keyword research fresh and up-to-date:
- Monitor Keyword Performance: Regularly check how your chosen keywords are performing. Use SEO tools to track their rankings and see how much traffic they’re bringing to your site. If a keyword isn’t performing as expected, it might be time to reassess your strategy for that keyword.
- Stay Updated with Industry Trends: Keeping an eye on industry trends can help you spot new keywords before your competitors do. Subscribe to industry news sites, follow influencers in your niche, and participate in relevant forums and social media groups.
- Use Google Trends: Google Trends is a free tool that can show you the popularity of a search term over time. It’s a great way to spot seasonal trends, discover emerging keywords, and determine the best time to target specific keywords.
- Regularly Check ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘Related Searches’: These sections in Google Search can provide new keyword ideas and help you understand what else your audience is interested in.
- Analyze Your Competitors: Keep an eye on what keywords your competitors are targeting. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can provide competitor keyword data.
- Revisit Your Keyword Research Tools: Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ahrefs regularly update their databases with new keywords. It’s worth revisiting these tools every few months to uncover new opportunities.
- Review and Update Your Content: As you discover new keywords, update existing content to include them. This can help improve the relevance and ranking of your content.
- Monitor Your Analytics: Keep a close eye on your website analytics. Look for new keywords that are driving traffic to your site. If you find a keyword that’s bringing in a lot of traffic but you haven’t optimized for, it could be worth incorporating into your SEO strategy.
Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy, and keyword research is an ongoing process.
The more regularly you conduct keyword research, and revise your master keyword list, the more likely you are to stay ahead of trends and keep your content ranking high in search engine results.
BONUS: How to Find Low Competition Money Keywords (For Cheap)
“Money keywords” are those that have a strong indication of user commercial intent.
They are the keywords that potential customers use when they’re ready to make a purchase or take another significant action.
However, these high-value keywords are often ultra competitive.
The trick to finding money keywords with low competition is to drill down as deeply as possible.
Long-tail keywords, which are more specific phrases, often have lower competition than broad, short-tail keywords. They also tend to attract users who are further along in the buying cycle and therefore more likely to convert.
Keyword research tools like SEMRush can help you find these golden nuggets. These tools can identify less competitive keywords with decent search volume and strong commercial intent.
I know that not everyone is in a position to subscribe to an expensive SEO tool like SEMRush, so below I’m going to give you an inexpensive method for finding these money keywords using other tools.
Step 1: Fire Up Keyword Atlas
Keyword Atlas is the very first tool I turn to when I’m doing keyword research.
When I’m using Keyword Atlas, my intent is only to build a bulk list of keywords.
If I’m looking solely for money keywords, first I’ll enter my seed keyword or keywords and run a search using Amazon as the source.
Keyword Atlas will proceed to run an A-Z autocomplete search on Amazon and give me back a list of keywords it found that are related to “kayak”.
Next, I will click on the “Ideas” button and choose all of the “Keyword Phrase Ideas” that demonstrate commercial intent.
Once I’ve added all of the Keyword Phrase Ideas to my Search List, it’s time to run the search again, but this time using Google, Bing, Youtube, and Pinterest as the sources (instead of Amazon).
Hit the Start button and a couple of minutes later your list of money keywords has grown from 319 to 4030!
Next, I want to copy all of the keywords that I’ve discovered with Keyword Atlas so I can proceed with the next step.
Step 2: Import to LowFruits.io
Now that I copied my monster list of money keywords from Keyword Atlas, I want to import them into LowFruits to analyze for weak spots.
You can buy 2000 credits for $25 which is plenty to do initial keyword research for a new site, or there is a monthly/annual subscription plan if want to continually use the tool (it’s totally worth a subscription if you are serious about blogging/SEO).
*Make sure you turn off the “Analyze All” setting before you import the list of keywords from Keyword Atlas, otherwise, you will start using your credits, and we want to filter out some of the useless keywords first.
Once your keywords are imported into LowFruits you will want to exclude some low intent words from your list.
These words include:
- near me
- for sales
Finally, you want to select all of the keywords on your list after filtering and analyze them for weak spots.
Once LowFruits is finished analyzing your keyword list, it will show you the keyword volume along with how many “Weak Spots” the first page of the SERP has.
A weak spot is:
- A website with a Moz DA below the specified range (<20 is a good place to start)
- Reddit, Quora, or a forum result
In theory, the weakest keywords should be the easiest to compete for.
Use your common sense to decide if the Money Keyword is one you would like to build content around.
If the item is inexpensive it may not be worth your resources to create the content necessary to rank.
Mastering keyword research is a critical step in winning the SEO game. It helps you understand your audience, speak their language, and create content that meets their needs.
Effective keyword research is about more than just driving traffic. It’s about attracting the right traffic—visitors who are interested in what you have to offer and are likely to become customers. And that is the real key to SEO success.
With a well-crafted keyword strategy, you can unlock the full potential of your SEO efforts and pave the way to digital success!