Picture of Amelia Fenner-Prowle
Amelia Fenner-Prowle

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

How To Do Keyword Research For SEO

There are multiple steps involved when it comes to keyword research and how to do keyword research effectively for search engine optimisation. In this blog, we will look at what keyword research is and how to follow keyword research best practices for your own business.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keywords are phrases and terms users search on google and other search engines to find brands, products and information about certain topics. 

Keyword research is the action businesses take to find and analyse these keywords to drive traffic to their sites resulting in conversions and sales. This process allows you to create content using the most effective and relevant keywords to rank higher on google, preferably in the top 10 search results to receive the most organic clicks.

We recommend conducting keyword research before starting a piece of content to ensure your content is tailored to your audience and optimised for organic ranking in the search results.

Without effective keyword research, your website will likely sit on the last few pages in users’ search results!

A Beginner’s Guide To Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords is important, and using a keyword research tool can help you find the most effective keywords within your industry for topics you wish to create relevant content about. 

We’ve broken the process down into a simple step-by-step guide that will help you to find the most appropriate keywords for your business.

1. Look At Your Competitors’ Keywords

Competitor research for keywords will ensure you understand ways to rank higher on search results than others in your industry. The Semrush organic research tool can help you with this. 

To begin, enter the domain of your competitor along with the target location. Select the positions tab, which will show a list of the keywords this specific competitor uses and where they rank for them in search results. You can also see how much traffic these keywords are bringing to your competitor’s site. 

Use this as inspiration for your own content marketing, repeating this process for multiple other businesses within your industry. This competitor research will provide you with keywords you could use in your content to gain more traffic and compete to rank higher on search results.

Tools like Keyword Gap allow you to compare our keywords to those our competitors are ranking for. This allows us to find keywords we don’t rank for so we can create content for them. To do this, you need to enter both your domain and your competitors, select your target location and compare. You will see results for both missing and weak keywords. Missing keywords are the ones your competitors are using that you are not. Weak keywords are ones your competitors rank more highly for than you currently do. 

By conducting this research, you will find new keywords and discover which content needs amends to try and rank higher than your competitors.

2. Analyse Search Volume

Now, let’s focus on choosing the right keywords for your content. To do this, you need to look at two key metrics: search volume and keyword difficulty. The search volume suggests how popular the keywords are, while keyword difficulty helps you to understand how tough ranking for these keywords will be.

Search volumes help us understand how many times users are searching for particular terms and phrases in Google each month (these are our keywords). The value you see next to the keyword shows the average monthly searches in the last 12 months. The larger the search volume on your keyword, the more traffic is potentially going to be pushed towards your website when you rank high for that keyword.

3. Analyse Keyword Difficulty

If you are using Semrush for your keyword research, you may find it helpful to use the keyword difficulty feature. This allows you to judge how difficult ranking in the top 10 organic search results will be for keywords. 

Keywords with the highest search volumes will have high difficulty scores. The higher the score, the harder you will find it to rank for that keyword. 

When you search your keywords, those with a red KD% will be tougher to rank high for in an organic search, whereas those marked with amber and green will be easier. If you are just starting out with a new site, you should aim to target keywords from the easy or very easy sections first. To filter by the difficulty level for keywords, hit the KD% filter and select your preference.

4. Estimate The Value For Your Business

It is important to estimate how ranking for these keywords will lead to clicks and conversions that are profitable for the business. You may find some keywords that are relevant but do not lead to conversions. When you consider which keywords are profitable, you can conclude which keywords to target first. 

This, however, does not mean you cannot use keywords with lower purchase intent. There are some benefits to using these keywords, including improving brand awareness, gaining a relevant audience for remarketing, getting organic backlinks and establishing your authority in the industry.

5. Identify Primary Keywords

One of the last processes in keyword research is targeting for ranking. When you write organic SEO content, you usually select multiple keywords (the best practice is around 3). Selecting multiple keywords enables you to rank multiple times with just one piece of content. To start targeting, you need to identify your primary and secondary keywords. 

Primary Keyword – this will be the one that best represents your content and will be used in the key features on the page, including your title tag and description. Your primary keyword will also feature the most throughout your SEO content.

Secondary Keyword – you can use multiple secondary keywords that cover your topic within your content however, these will have a lower search volume. You want to rank for these keywords; however, it is not the target for your content.

Google will have concluded which keywords should be primary and secondary, and as SEO content copywriters, we just need to analyze this. To analyze the keywords, we need to use a tool in Semrush; this will be the overview tool. Once you have opened your keyword in the overview tool, head to the SERP analysis section. Click on the top URL to open your organic research tool. Looking at these keywords for the particular page will show you the largest keyword for the topic. We know this is the primary keyword as it has a higher search volume and will therefore drive the most traffic to your page.

6. Consider Search Intent

In order to finalise your keyword research, you will need to understand the search intent for users. There are four types of search intent:

Navigational – when users search for specific pages they are looking for

Commercial – when users conduct research before purchasing 

Informational – when users are browsing for general information 

Transactional – when users search for a specific product by a specific brand with the intention to purchase there

Understanding and predicting the search intent enables you to create content that provides value to users in line with what they were hoping to find with their search. The more valuable and relevant google or other search engines find your content, the higher you will rank against your competitors. Think about how to provide value to those searching; this could be writing about the topic in more detail than competitors, providing examples and data they may not have come across before, creating original media to support your writing and using a unique angle to what is currently available on the web.

Next Steps…

Now you know what goes into keyword research, you can get to work on your SEO strategy and put these best practices to use for your own business. 

SEO is essential for boosting visibility, and gaining trust and authority, keeping your business and website competitive within your industry. There are many parts to SEO, including page optimisation, blog copywriting, backlinks and, of course, keyword research. Still not sure how to get started and want some help? One of our SEO experts can help guide your website in the right direction and provide you with effective and efficient ranking practices!