What is SEO Keyword Research?
If you are thinking to improve your website traffics, and targeting relevant audiences for more sales & leads – SEO keyword research is an essential process. By asking any SEO pros around, they will tell you that keyword research is crucial when it comes to creating SEO-optimised content or landing pages.
What is SEO Keyword Research: Keyword research is a practice by SEO experts to find and research Search Terms/Keywords that users enter into search engines like Google when finding any queries like general information, products, or services.
In order to to do so by SEO professionals or even individuals like yourself that would like to explore the world of SEO, there are various SEO keyword research tools out there. Before diving into our recommended SEO keyword research tools, let’s talk about How You Research Keywords For SEO?
How To Do Keyword Research For SEO That Ranks?
Generally, there are 3 Main Steps for you to start doing SEO keyword research that is highly recommended by SEMRUSH and suitable for SEO Pros or Beginners.
Step 1: Draft a list of relevant topics based on your business.
This is the most important step before you kickstart the process of keyword research. You must be thinking why so? Without knowing exactly what you are trying to offer or the business industry landscape, you will not excel in SEO because Google loves relevant content so that they can show the most relevant results whenever users search for those keywords.
It is boring – we all know but when you sit down and start to brainstorm with about 5-10 topics that are important to your business, your next step of researching keywords will be easier and it will help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.
If you’re a regular blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Or perhaps they’re the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas — what types of topics would your target audience search that you’d want your business to get found for? If you were a company like Nexis Novus Technology, for example — selling Search Engine Optimization Services, you might have a general topic like Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
Keyword Difficulties For General Term – Search Engine Optimisation
Keyword Difficulties For General Term – SEO
For this type of general keywords with a high difficulty of 96/100 are not recommended and user search intents are not clear but in this case, mostly information-based. Keywords with a lower score between 0 to 20 that are shown on SEO tools like ahrefs are those keywords we recommend for any new website to start with.
If you would want to perform a higher ranking on the search results page with relevant search intents, we would recommend you avoid those general keywords. With this after completion of brainstorming topics that are relevant to your business or website, it’s time to look into the next step, Finding Low KD (Keyword Difficulty), High Search Volume Monthly (Ideally but it really depends on niches) and define your user search term intents while doing keyword research.
Step 2: Look for Search Terms/Keywords For Your Topics Using SEO Keyword Research Tool.
There are tons of SEO keyword research tools in the market, including free versions & paid versions, which we will discuss their advantages and disadvantages in another blog post. For now, here is the list of SEO Keyword Research Tools that you can start using for this step,
- Google Keyword Planner
In this article, we will be using SEMRUSH & Ahrefs for examples to show how to find your ideal keywords for the target audience.
So in the first step – you have the general main keyword for the example of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation that insert into the keyword research tool, in most of the SEO tools recommended, they also have extra insights on the subtopics that rank for those keywords as shown below,
Keyword Ideas by Ahrefs
Keyword Ideas by SEMRUSH
The best things from all these new subtopics or we call them Keywords Variations/Ideas, help you to analyze more keywords that you can target accordingly – by checking if any of them are relevant to what your audiences are searching for when they trying to purchase services/products or relevant information. For example, if we look into the variation of the keyword for the general keyword – SEO,
Relevant Keyword Variations on SEMRUSH – SEO keyword
The keyword magic tool by SEMRUSH provides us with more keywords idea, that we can focus on. For this case, like SEO agency ourself that is located in Malaysia – it is likely to focus on SEO agency Malaysia instead of SEO which is more relevant to your audiences in Malaysia which are searching for an SEO agency. Again the main thing to notice here is that, during your keyword research, remember to select the country that you are targeting because every country provides different SERP – search results pages by Google in order to be relevant for every different country user.
Step 3: Identify Types of SEO Keywords – Generic Keywords, Long Tail Keywords, Purchasing Intent Keywords & Geo-Targeted Keywords.
Generic keywords normally are those general terms like SEO which is short normally with 1 wording. Again – we have to stress this again – generic keywords which is explained by Neil it is a popular keyword that is pretty much useless. For example, used, SEO this keyword mostly explains what is SEO? And like us, as an SEO company, we are not gonna benefit from it due to the nature of the keyword.
This is what we call a generic keyword.
Long Tail Keyword:
Long-tail keywords normally are within 3 words and more. These kinds of keywords will help you convert better.
For example, terms like SEO agency Malaysia, SEO Agency Near Me, Digital Marketing Agency in Malaysia, and more.
Another thumb rule is always to target these types of keywords with High CPC, Low Difficulty in general if your website is still new and without any authority, you will still able to compete and rank.
Here is an example of how you can find some really good keywords that is a long tail and with transactional intent like – SEO Services Pricing in Malaysia which users intend to find out the pricing of SEO services in Malaysia. Conversion of this keyword will be sky-high compared to generic keywords like SEO.
We suggest that when you identify SEO keywords for your website – always start from the bottom of the funnel – purchase intent! Prioritize transactional intent keywords and low difficulty!
For this type of keywords, normally ending with specific geolocation, for example – Website Design Company in Malaysia that targets a specific country or even a city like SEO Kuala Lumpur. For this, we usually optimized your website for Local SEO, again it is less competitive, more specific targeting for consumers near you to find your services or products. For example, SEO Selangor which we ranked on Google.
Step 4: Do Research On Related Search Terms.
This is a bonus step for you when doing keyword research, it is a more manual way of doing it compared to using SEO keyword research tools that we suggested earlier on. If you’re struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, check out the related search term on Google Search itself!
For example, by checking on the main search term “SEO agency” on Google Search Results, you will be able to find some related search terms to expand your keyword ideas to be implemented in your content.
How To Find or Target Best Keywords For Your Site?
Step 1: Analyze How Your Competitors Are Ranking?
Competitor Analysis is totally another main topic itself we could cover for the fundamentals of SEO. In brief, by using SEO tools, like SEMRUSH, you could just insert the keywords you would like to target & find out which top 10 domains are ranking or just do the manual way, Google Search your keywords and check on the SERP for top 10 domains.
For the more advanced part of competitor analysis, you will need SEO tools with no doubts, where you can insert their domain and spy on their website performance – organic keywords ranking, estimated traffics per month, number of backlinks, and more.
You could easily replicate or plan your SEO strategy accordingly after knowing how your competitors are doing, especially finding some more relevant keywords and new ideas of search terms that bring good traffics.
Step 2: Mix Generic Terms and Long-tail Terms
This is one of the most important factors of SEO Keywords – Generic and Long-tail Keywords. Generic terms are keyword phrases that are generally shorter and more generic — they’re typically just one to three words in length, depending on who you talk to.
Mixing generic terms and long-tail keywords is crucial if you want to rank for a broad keyword. You’ll also need some short-term wins to ensure your rankings stay in place.
That’s because generic terms are typically searched far more frequently than other terms, making them often much more competitive and difficult to rank for than other terms. But this is just to start getting you traffic for exposure and authority – not for sales intent.
If you’re going to look at search volume or difficulty, which of these keywords will be harder to rank for? I’ll let you decide.
- Blog post length for SEO.
If you selected Blogging, you’re absolutely right. While generic terms generally boast the most search volume (meaning more website traffic), frankly, the traffic you’ll get from the term “Blog Post Length for SEO” is usually more desirable.
Why would that be in this case? Because if you are trying to educate users about how to create a blog with the ideal length for SEO – this is more specific of qualified searcher you are trying to provide them information – applies to products or services too, like for us, SEO industry.
And because long-tail keywords tend to be more specific, it’s usually easier to tell what people who search for those keywords are really looking for. Someone searching for the head term “blogging,” on the other hand, could be searching for how to create blog information, not just for general term blogging – could be tons of unknown intents.
Therefore, always check your keyword lists to make sure you have a healthy mix of generic terms and long-tail keywords. You definitely want some quick wins that long-tail keywords will afford you, but you should also try to compete at more difficult terms over the long run to increase traffic for awareness.
Bonus Tips – How To Find The “Best” SEO Keywords?
To be frank with you – you need to understand that there are no “best” SEO keywords, important thing is that you should always put yourself into user searching intent – and ask yourself if you trying to purchase relevant products or services, what will you search on Google or other search engines.
With this in mind, you are ready to craft a content strategy that will help you rank pages and drive traffic.
The best keywords for your SEO strategy will take into account relevancy, authority, and volume which refer to the popular SEO terms, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Try building content with the highest search volume terms and low difficulty for start, considering the factor below,
- The level of competition in your topic or niche – High or Low?
- Ability to craft contents that exceed the quality of content that is ranking now.
Final Recap: Process To Find The Right Keywords for Your Website
With the full guide on how to find the keywords for your website that ranks on Google, start with having a list of keywords that’ll help you focus on the right topics for your business and will help you get short-term and long-term gains.
Just follow the steps we highlighted above:
1. Draft a list of relevant topics that you would like to start with.
2. Start to search manually on SERP with your keyword ideas.
3. Identify types of keywords that fit best for your business, usually, long-tail keywords convert best.
4. Get more keyword ideas from the relevant search on Google & competitor analysis.
After you had crafted content with your targeted list of keywords, make sure your team re-evaluates these keywords frequently. Last but not least, after completed the process of finding the right keywords – learn how to add SEO keywords to your website!