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How to Do Keyword Research

Updated on June 17, 2019
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My core interests are history, psychology, philosophy, and, of course, personal development.

Introduction

Before proceeding with on-page optimization such as keyword targeting and writing the content, you will need to take a structure process of picking a topic to search, brainstorming keywords, reviewing the keywords value and prioritizing keywords.

Overview

Pick a topic

Focus on one topic or theme at a time and attempt to imagine what the webpage you want to optimize looks like.

Brainstorm keywords

Research similar meaning keywords around a closely related topic - quantity over quality at this stage.

Review keyword value

Gather keyword data to help decide how useful the keywords are and whether they are within reach.

Prioritize keywords

Decide which keywords are the most important ones you wish to focus more on.


Pick a topic

A topic could be a product or service (transactional keywords), a source of information (informational keywords) or around a brand or person (navigational keywords).

Have a webpage in mind that you would like to optimize, even if it is not created yet. This will help you filter keywords that may be too specific or too broad.

The biggest mistake SEO newbies make in keyword research, is focusing on short keywords that are too generic for the page they wish to optimize. For example, targeting the phrase "shoes" on a running shoes page is too generic and relevant enough for search engines to choose and the searcher to be happy with.

When typing a keyword into Google and most search engines, you will notice related suggestions below. If you put an * before your keyword, often you will get more specific topics suggested. Another way is to look at the related searches which tend to be at the of the SERP (search engine results page).

When going off topic recall what the page/topic you are researching might look like and ask whether the keyword is best served on it or on another page. If it is better served on another page , then you should put the keyword to the side and re-visit it when you conduct research for the other page. As this is the brainstorming stage these related keywords can be used for another project.

Google's Keyword Planner is part of Google Adwords and is a great way of brainstorming and researching keywords.

This keyword research tool provides you with related keyword ideas that you may find useful, plus some extra data like keyword search phrases.

It does require an Adwords account though and if you are not spending money on Google adverts, the keyword search volumes are presented in vague ranges. However, the results from the Google Keyword Planner are usually on topic.



Brainstorm keywords

Keywords Everywhere is a useful tool that reveals precise keyword research volumes in Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Google, Amazon and many other sites. It works as a browser extension in Chrome and Firefox.

You will need to edit your Keyword Everywhere's setting and supply a free API key which is provided on sign up. Also select the right country and currency with every search.

SEMRUSH and SPYFU are tools that report what keywords a URL or website ranks for. This can be great for brainstorming keywords and keeping tabs on what competitors are up to. Both offer a free package.

When compiling your list of keywords that closely relate to your topic, aim for 12 and more. Also include the search volume of each keyword, however, very niche topics, 3-6 keywords may only be possible, but aim for as many as you can.

Source

Review Keyword Value

For beginner SEO's deciding which keywords are the best for your topic, there are two considerations, search volume and topic relevancy score.

These considerations are available to everyone and should also be used.

Search Volume

We tend to target keywords found in Google Keyword Planner/Adwords to a country level, so select the most relevant country that you wish to target.

Relevancy Score

This is subjective grading between 1 (high) and 3 (low) on how relevant a keyword is to a topic. Judging the relevance score is subjective and you may need a second opinion from a more experienced colleague or SME.


Prioritizing Keywords

Title tags need keywords but it's not possible to fit all relevant keywords in there and we may also be penalized for keyword stuffing as well. Instead we need to focus on the most important keywords and that's why prioritizing them helps.

For on-page optimization, keyword targeting and priority keywords is important.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Brendon Thomas

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