There are more than 90,000 searches carried out on Google every single second. To put it into perspective, this number reaches 8.5 billion a day.
Despite this, 15% of all Google search terms have never been searched for before—and this could be your superpower.
If you want to use this keyword gap and rank for keywords your competitors haven't already gone after, you have to know how to find relevant keywords.
In today’s article, we’ll share the most effective tips for keyword research that will supercharge your SEO efforts.
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What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of discovering, analyzing and selecting relevant keywords to target in your website's content. It helps you understand how people search for information related to what you offer and provides insight into which words they’re most likely to use when looking for a solution. This way, keyword research supports search engine optimization and by extension, rankings in the SERPs.
Through SEO keyword research, you can identify potential audiences, create more effective content, find out what your competitors are doing and ultimately drive more qualified website visitors. Keyword research also allows you to identify emerging trends in user behavior which can inform future marketing strategies, product development ideas and other areas of growth for your company.
Depending on the type of research—be it consumer, competitor or search engine keyword research—you can use a variety of tools such as SEMrush Keyword Database, Ahrefs or Google AdWords Keyword Planner. There are tens of free Google SEO tools that can help you uncover valuable keyword data too.
Considering 94.74% of keywords get 10 or fewer monthly searches while 0.0008% get more than 100,000, you better test different tools until you find one that will help you get on the good side of the statistics.
Why Is Keyword Research Important?
Almost all SEO strategies start with keyword research. Think of it as your stepping stone to attracting targeted visitors, generating leads and achieving conversions.
All SEO agencies will tell you the same thing—keyword research helps you succeed. And this is how:
- It helps identify topics and concepts relevant to your business
- You can use keywords to optimize site structure and URL parameters
- Keyword analysis helps focus strategies on specific campaigns and goals
- You can use keyword research to create content that will rank higher in SERPs
- It can uncover seasonal trends in search queries that can inform content planning
- It enables you to understand what phrases and terms your target audience is using
- Knowing which keywords have low competition levels allows you to tap into high-value opportunities
- Keyword research reveals valuable insights into competitors’ performance, how they boost their rankings and where they lag behind
- You can determine what questions customers might have about your products or services with keyword tools like Google Trends or AnswerThePublic
Ultimately, proper keyword research can help you put your competitors in the rearview mirror.
6 Tips for Keyword Research
Keyword research is a vital tool for digital marketing and SEO professionals as it helps fine-tune content for search engine users. This helps secure superior rankings in organic search results, and the better you rank, the higher your chances of success are.
Here are some tips for keyword research that will help you achieve just that:
1. Use Keyword Tools to Discover Relevant Keywords
When it comes to keyword research, utilizing the right tools is essential for uncovering the most relevant phrases and terms. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great option for getting started as it provides both related keywords and search volume metrics. This allows you to see which words are being used by your target audience and how many people search for them each month.
Moz Keyword Explorer can also be helpful in this regard, providing a comprehensive look at keyword difficulty levels based on individual pages already ranking highly in the SERPs. It also offers suggestions on how you could optimize your content further by exploring long-tail variations of existing keywords or synonyms that may work better with certain topics.
Other keyword tools are available online, such as Ubersuggest, SEMrush or Ahrefs, all of which provide unique advantages over others. Some might prove more fruitful than others when gaining insights about user intent and potential optimization opportunities.
Even if you have some familiarity with SEO terminology, these tools can still offer valuable information regarding what type of language resonates best with audiences looking for specific topics or products related to yours.
2. Brainstorm a List of Topics
Start by thinking about what you want to rank for in search engines, then create a list of potential topics based on what people might be searching for when looking for information related to your business.
This will help you generate ideas for potential keywords to target while giving you insights into what topics your audience is interested in. Try to come up with many ideas, concepts and words that could be associated with the main topic or focus of your website.
Consider the products and services your company offers, as well as related industry topics. Once you have identified some potential topics, use keyword research tools to discover the exact phrases people are using when searching for products and services like yours.
Use the list as a starting point and build upon it by researching additional phrases, synonyms and long-tail variations that could work well with your SEO strategy. Doing this can open up new opportunities while allowing you to focus more closely on target audience needs.
Researching competitors' strategies, understanding user intent and analyzing head terms versus long-tail keywords are all important considerations when trying to come up with possible topics.
3. Focus on User Intent
One of the best tips for keyword research anyone could give you is to focus on user intent. Understanding what people are looking for when they enter a search query—their needs, wants and questions—will help you determine which keywords will be more effective in driving traffic to your website. It’s because of this that 99% of large companies rely on intent data.
One way to look at user intent is by analyzing the type of content that already ranks well for similar queries.
For instance, if you're trying to improve rankings for a particular blog post topic, take a look at other posts related to similar topics and how they've been written. What kind of language do they use? What information do they provide? How can you make your own content stand out from these competing results?
Doing this analysis allows you to create better content tailored specifically toward users' needs and desires.
Again, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer to gain an understanding of the words people generally associate with certain topics when searching online. This helps reveal any potential gaps in existing keyword coverage as well as opportunities for long-tail variations that could help drive even more traffic from specific queries.
4. Analyze Competitor Websites
Once you have a list of potential keywords for your website or product, the next step is to analyze competitor websites to get an idea of how they’re using those same terms.
You can manually search through sites related to yours and take note of phrases appearing in their titles, descriptions and content. SEO Minion, a free Chrome extension and Firefox add-on, can greatly help with this.
Analyzing competitor data can also provide useful information about the type of content being produced around certain topics as well as how it's structured. For example, if certain competitors are consistently ranking highly despite having fewer backlinks than others, there must be something else at play, like high-quality content.
Taking the time to look into these details will give you a better understanding of how successful sites approach optimization. You can learn from their successes and apply similar techniques when creating content for your own website or product.
Keep in mind that, while analyzing competitors' strategies is important in improving SEO performance, it should never replace conducting actual keyword research. Instead, use it only as a supplement when looking for additional ideas or ways to optimize existing campaigns further.
5. Consider Long-Tail Variations
In keyword research, long-tail variations are an important area that should not be overlooked, as we already mentioned. Long-tail keywords refer to phrases with more than three words which tend to have lower search volumes but can be highly targeted and effective for SEO purposes.
These terms usually indicate a high level of user intent—people searching for these phrases already know exactly what they’re looking for and may even have some knowledge or experience related to the topic.
As such, focusing on long-tail variations when optimizing content can help you target specific audiences more accurately while also providing potential opportunities to rank higher in the SERPs.
One way you can discover long-tail keywords is by using tools that allow you to drill down into relevant topics and find variations of existing popular queries. Analyzing competitor websites and seeing how their content has been written—including any potential synonyms used—provides additional ideas regarding what type of language resonates best with certain audiences when tackling similar topics to yours.
Pay attention to questions people ask online about your product or service—this could reveal valuable insight into the kind of language users are utilizing when looking for information related specifically to your business. You can incorporate those same terms into your own content marketing efforts.
6. Take Advantage of Google Suggestions & Check Out the ‘People Also Ask’ Section
When you type in a search query, Google automatically suggests additional topics that might be of interest as well, providing valuable insight into what people are generally looking for when researching certain topics. Exploring these suggestions will give you an idea of how users phrase their questions or concerns when searching online. This plays an invaluable role in your content strategy.
In addition to checking out Google Suggestions, pay attention to the “People Also Ask” section. This feature offers potential queries based on user behavior and is often overlooked by many SEO marketers. However, it can provide worthy insights into how people are phrasing their searches and which types of information they’re looking for regarding particular topics.
Using both Google Suggestions and the People Also Ask section together will help you gain a better understanding of user intent, and we already talked about how important it is.
Tips for Keyword Research: Key Takeaways
Keyword research is a must for any successful SEO strategy. By taking the time to thoroughly research relevant keywords, you can get ahead of the competition and beat them in the SERPs.
Rely on the tips above to reach your target audience more effectively and increase your website’s visibility.
If it seems like too much trouble, schedule a meeting with one of the top SEO consultants.