How to Do Keyword Research for SEO (A Detailed 3-Step Guide)

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3 step guide for keyword research

Search engine optimization (SEO) is investigated using keyword research in order to increase traffic to your website. Finding the search terms and phrases your target audience uses is the first step in improving your search rankings. Doing effective keyword research is crucial, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

In this article, you will study the three-step procedure for how to find the right keywords for SEO that are most pertinent to your website. You’ll have optimized your content and pages to appear higher in search results for the keywords that are important to your company.

Keyword Research

Finding and evaluating the search engine terms that your ideal website visitors are using is known as keyword research. As a result, you may focus your content strategy on the most profitable keywords. Keywords are the words or phrases people use to search for information or products online.

Understanding The Importance Of Keyword Research

Why are keywords important for SEO? Keyword research is important if you want your website to rank higher in search results and receive organic traffic. To reach and capture the attention of your target audience, choose the right keywords.

Analyzing Search Volume And Difficulty

How do I do keyword research with Google? Find keywords first that people are truly looking for. The monthly search volume for various keywords and keyword phrases can be seen by using a program like Google’s Keyword Planner. Concentrate on terms that receive at least 1,000 searches each month.

You also want keywords that aren’t too difficult to rank for. Check the competition for different keywords using a tool like Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Aim for keywords with a “medium” to “low” difficulty score. If the competition looks too tough, try longer-tail keywords, like “types of keyword research tools” instead of just “keyword research tools”.

Evaluating Keyword Relevance

Choose keywords that are closely related to your content topic and user intent. Keywords like “SEO”, “backlinks”, or “page authority” are too broad if you’re writing a blog post on how to find good keywords for SEO. Use phrases like “how to do keyword research”, “keyword research process”, or “steps for keyword research” to imply that the user wants to understand how to find the best keywords for SEO.

You can identify the keywords that attract people to your content by assessing search volume, difficulty, and relevancy. Place these keywords strategically in your page titles, URLs, headings, and content to rank higher and get found. With the right keywords, your traffic and rankings will soar.


When Choosing Keywords For SEO, What Three Things Do You Need To Consider?

Step 1: Brainstorm Relevant Keywords And Phrases

You must optimize your content for keywords that people type into search engines to rank effectively. The first step is to create a list of pertinent words and phrases for your subject or product.

Start by brainstorming broad topic keywords, like “SEO,” “search engine optimization,” or “improve search ranking.” Then get more specific. If you offer SEO consulting services, for example, think of phrases like “SEO consultant,” “search engine optimization service provider,” or “SEO agency.”

You can also identify semantic keywords—synonyms or related terms—for your main keywords. For SEO, semantic keywords would include “search rank,” “organic traffic,” “SERP,” etc. Include these in your content to give search engines more signals about your topic’s relevance.

Don’t forget about long-tail keywords, either. These are more specific phrases that include 3-5 words, like “tips for optimizing search ranking” or “best practices for SEO consultants.” While they may have a lower search volume, they often convert better since they match a user’s intent more closely.

Next, use free keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, or SEMrush to check the search volume for keywords you brainstormed and find additional options. Look for keywords that are high-volume but not ultra-competitive. These should form the core of your SEO keyword strategy.

With some brainstorming and research, you’ll have a great list of keywords to optimize your content around. Focusing on semantic, long-tail, and mid-volume keywords, in particular, can help improve your search rankings over time through relevance and authority building.

Step 2: Use Keyword Research Tools To Analyze And Refine

The keyword research tools are where the magic happens. There are several free and paid options to help you analyze keywords and determine the best ones to target.

Google Keyword Planner

Google’s free keyword research tool provides search volume estimates and related keywords for your seed keywords. Enter a keyword like “keyword research,” and it will suggest similar terms like:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Search volume
  • Keyword research tool
  • Keyword strategy

It shows monthly search volumes, so you can determine potential traffic for each keyword. Focus on keywords with a few thousand to tens of thousands of searches per month.


SEMrush is a powerful paid keyword research tool, and many SEO professionals and agencies use it. It provides detailed insights into keyword search volumes, difficulty, trends, and competitor rankings. Enter a seed keyword, and SEMrush will generate hundreds of related keyword ideas, like:

  • How to find the right keywords for SEO
  • Keyword research for beginners
  • Step-by-step keyword research
  • Keyword research guide

SEMrush also shows you how to determine the best keywords for SEO and how competitive they are, so you can determine if you have a chance to rank well for them. For most sites, aim for keywords with a “medium” to “low” difficulty.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Another reputable paid tool is Moz’s Keyword Explorer. It’s great for researching keywords in your niche and analyzing the potential traffic and difficulty. Enter a seed keyword like “content marketing,” and it will suggest related terms such as:

  • Content marketing strategy
  • Content marketing tips
  • Content marketing examples
  • Content marketing plan

Moz shows estimated monthly search volume and “keyword difficulty” so you can determine the best keywords to target for your site. Focus on keywords in the “medium” to “low” difficulty range.

Step 3: Review Keywords In Context And Select The Final List

Once you have done your target niche keyword research, it’s time to evaluate them in context. This step is key to choosing keywords that will drive traffic to your site.

Go through each keyword on your list and search for that term on Google. Review the results page to see:

  • The types of sites that rank on the first page Are they authoritative sites in your industry? If so, that’s a good sign.
  • The content that ranks on the first page Does it look like content you can create and optimize? Or would it be very difficult to outrank those results?
  • If there are any opportunities to improve upon the existing content. Maybe the current top-ranking content is dated, thin, or doesn’t fully cover the topic. This presents an opportunity for you to create something even better.
  • Check the search volume and competition for your keywords. While tools can estimate traffic, looking at the actual Google results page will give you a better sense of how much content is out there for a given keyword, how to do keyword analysis for SEO, and how hard it may be to rank.
  • See if there are any semantic keywords you’re missing. Review other terms and phrases on the page that are relevant to your keyword. Add them to your list.

You can determine which terms are realistic for your SEO content strategy by evaluating your keywords in context. You may find that some keywords on your list are too competitive to rank for initially. Save those for the long term, and focus on keywords where you have a better chance of ranking on page one of Google.

Whittle your list down to 10–20 primary keywords to optimize your content around. These should be terms that are a good match for your topic and that you have a shot at ranking for. Use these keywords in your title, headers, content, image filenames, alt text, and meta description.


How Can I Do Keyword Research For SEO For Free?

How do I do free keyword research? There are several free keyword research tools you can use to find keywords for your local SEO services.

Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner tool provides keyword ideas and estimates of search volume for the keywords. You can filter by location and language to find keywords that match your target audience. The planner also provides keyword lists for Google Ads, which can work for SEO as well.


Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that provides autocomplete keyword suggestions as you type. It shows keyword difficulty scores, search volume, and other metrics to help you determine the best keywords to target. You can also get bulk keyword ideas by entering a seed keyword.

Keyword Tool

The Keyword Tool website is simple but effective. Enter a keyword or URL, and it will provide a list of related keywords and phrases, search volume estimates, cost-per-click data, and level of competition. The tool is useful for finding long-tail keywords in your niche.

Google Trends

You may view the evolution of the popularity of particular keywords using Google Trends. Look for terms with a rising search volume over time. You can also compare multiple keywords to see which may have more potential. Google Trends is a helpful tool for staying on the cutting edge of popular and trending keywords.

Also consider:

  • Moz Keyword Explorer: Provides keyword research metrics and competitive analysis.
  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer: How to do keyword research with Ahrefs For discovering keyword opportunities and tracking rankings
  • SEMrush is an all-in-one toolkit with keyword research, backlink analysis, rank tracking, and more.

With free tools at your disposal, you have no excuse for not doing thorough keyword research to optimize your content and improve search rankings. Pick a few options and start exploring them to build a targeted list of primary and secondary keywords for your website.


What Is A Good Keyword Strategy?

So you’ve done your keyword research and have a list of potential SEO keywords—now what? The next step is developing an effective keyword strategy. This means choosing which keywords to focus on and how to pick the best keywords for SEO to use on your website.

Optimize For Relevance.

Choose keywords that are highly relevant to your content and business. Your target audience will relate to these associated words and phrases the most. For instance, if you sell hiking goods, concentrate on keywords like “hiking essentials,” “hiking equipment,” or “camping supplies.”

Aim For A High Search Volume.

While relevance is key, you also want keywords that get a lot of searches each month. The volume indicates how many people are searching for that term. A higher volume means more potential traffic to your site. Find the right balance of relevance and volume for your needs.

Include Long-Tail Keywords.

Don’t just focus on short, generic terms. Also optimize for long-tail keywords, like “best hiking gear for beginners” or “camping equipment for cold weather.” These longer, more specific phrases may get fewer searches but often convert better since they closely match what the user is looking for.

Use Keywords In The Right Places.

Place your target keywords in the page title, page URL, header tags, and throughout the content. This helps search engines determine your page’s topic and relevance for those search terms. Use keywords naturally without over-optimizing, which can hurt your ranking.

Monitor And Refine

Track which keywords are driving the most traffic to your site. Drop or replace ones that aren’t performing well. Regularly refine your keyword strategy to focus on the terms that work best based on data. An effective SEO keyword strategy is constantly evolving.

How Many Keywords Should I Use For SEO?

When optimizing your content for search engines, using the right number of keywords is key. a few keywords, and your page won’t rank well in search results. Too many keywords can seem spammy to search engines and hurt your rankings.

As a General Rule Of Thumb, Aim For 3 To 5 Keywords Or Key Phrases Per Page.

Focus on using your target keywords naturally in your page content. Mention them in your page title and headings, and sprinkle them throughout the text. Using synonyms and related terms in addition to your exact-match keywords will make the content read naturally while still being optimized.

For example, if your target keyword is “keyword research”, you might use phrases like:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Search term exploration
  • Identifying high-volume search queries

Using these semantically similar terms in addition to “keyword research” will create natural-sounding content that search engines will see as optimized but not overdone.

You want enough keyword density to rank well in search results, but not so much that it turns off readers or triggers a penalty from search engines for appearing spammy. Shoot for having your target keyword appear in the page title, 2-3 headings, and 3-5 times in the page content for best results.

Keeping your keyword usage balanced and natural is an important part of ethical search engine optimization. With the right amount of keywords, your content will rank well and provide real value to searchers.


Which Is The Best Tool For SEO Keyword Research?

A few good options are available to you when conducting keyword research for SEO. SEMrush and Google’s Keyword Planner are two of the best tools.

Google Keyword Planner

A fantastic place to begin is with Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. As the most popular search engine, Google’s data can shed light on the volume and level of term competition. The Keyword Planner allows you to enter seed keywords and get suggestions for related keywords and phrases, as well as estimates of their monthly search volume and cost-per-click (CPC) if advertising. This helps you find keywords with high search volume and low competition.

How Do I Do Keyword Research With Google’s Keyword Planner? While the Keyword Planner is simple to use, its data is limited since Google keeps some information proprietary. It also does not provide details on your competitors. For more in-depth research, a paid tool like SEMrush may be better.


SEMrush is a top-paid keyword research tool with comprehensive data and analysis features. In addition to search volume and CPC, SEMrush provides metrics like keyword difficulty, paid and organic competitors, and trends over time. You can analyze the rankings and backlinks of competitors to find opportunities to outrank them.

How do I do keyword research with SEMrush? SEMrush comes at a cost, with plans starting at around $100 monthly. However, for professional SEO research, the investment can be well worth it. Many SEO agencies and professionals rely on SEMrush for its depth of data and insights.

For most, a combination of Google’s free Keyword Planner and a paid tool like SEMrush will give you everything needed to do effective keyword research for SEO. Use the Keyword Planner as a starting point to generate some early ideas, then use SEMrush to delve deeper into the best chances. You can boost your search rankings and organic traffic after you have the correct keywords in your arsenal.


Your knowledge of how to do SEO keyword research for your website or blog has now been greatly expanded. You may improve your organic traffic and rankings by using the three-step method of coming up with possible keywords, examining the competition and search volume, and then focusing on the best keyword chances. The secret is to conduct meticulous studies using the method.

Find the keywords that are most appropriate for your content and business objectives by spending some time researching various keyword alternatives. The discipline of conducting keyword research will make it automatic and a crucial component of your SEO plan.


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