Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Adam Grant

Have you ever wondered how some websites reach the top of search results? Luck has nothing to do with it; it’s all about the power of choosing perfect keywords.

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. You won’t get visitors or clients if no one is looking for what you write. That’s why learning how to do keyword research for SEO is crucial for your online success.

In this blog, we will know what keyword research is, its importance & how to do keyword research for SEO using best-proven strategies that even a beginner can follow.  

What is Keyword Research in SEO? 

Keyword research in SEO is finding & analyzing the best keywords, phrases, or search terms that your user or target audience writes on any search engine while looking for products, services, and information. 

This SEO keyword research process helps uncover valuable information, such as which keywords/queries to target, their popularity, and their ranking difficulty. It enables you to create content, ads, and videos tailored to your audience’s search queries, boosting website visibility and driving more traffic.

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO? 

Keyword research ensures that there is demand for the specific keyword/ topic you’re writing about, which you can see through its search volume ( continue reading to learn more on this), so if your page ranks well in Google for your target, you will get a steady stream of highly targeted traffic to your site, increasing your sites’ SEO value.

Keyword research for SEO also helps uncover any related topic that you must add to your blog posts or websites. This way, people will see you as an industry expert ( like Investopedia).

According to Ahref’s search traffic study, almost 96.55% of all the index page content gets no traffic from Google.

In simpler terms, if the topic or blog you’re writing about doesn’t have a real audience, then what’s the point of writing it? 

Ahrefs search traffic study

If no one is looking for your topic, you will not receive any search traffic—no matter how high your search engine rankings are. Keywords guide users to organic search results and, in turn, to websites that align with their search intent.

This is why it’s so important to find the right & specific keywords when it comes to SEO.

When you know how to do keyword research, you can make informed decisions about your search engine optimization strategy. You don’t have to guess what your audience is searching for. 

You know exactly what keywords will lead users to your business & can optimize your content to target those keywords.

Read more: Keyword Funnel In SEO? What It Is & How It Works

Must Know Before Starting SEO Keyword Research

Knowing how to do keyword research can be a game changer for your SEO strategy. However, there are some keyword research elements that you must know beforehand. 

Let’s learn more about them.

  • Keyword Relevance or Intent

Keyword relevance is the relationship between the targeted keywords and the overall theme or topic of your website, product, or service. Simply say your chosen keyword must match the searcher’s intent. 

To rank high in SERPs, the keywords you’re targeting need to be relevant to your content. 

There are broadly 4 search intents you must know- 

  • Navigational intent: Users want to find a specific place or page. He/she already knows what they are looking for. (e.g., “ Starbucks near me,” “Facebook login”). These search queries are often branded.
  • Informational intent: Users want to learn more & have questions about who, what, where, why, and how. (e.g., “What is omnichannel marketing”). Google often answers these in zero-click searches or rich snippets like knowledge graphs, FAQs, video snippets, etc.
  • Commercial intent: Users want to research further before purchasing (e.g., “best mobile phone”). The search results for these queries include third-party pages with independent reviews of the specific product/service.
  • Transactional intent: Users want to do something specific. Please note that these are not restricted to queries about buying something. (e.g., “MacBook Pro price”). These keywords are the real money-makers as if these are often used by users ready to convert.

 Google does not want to provide searchers with results that do not resolve their query.

So before proceeding with keyword research for SEO, you must be straightforward about the type of search intent you need to target. 

  • Keyword Volume

What is keyword search volume?

The average number of people searching for a keyword within a given time frame or a month (also known as monthly search volume) is known as keyword search volume. 

Components of Keyword Research- Search volume

Various SEO & PPC tools use this metric to inform marketers how often a particular keyword is searched in a given month.

You can use keyword volume to determine how popular and competitive a particular keyword is. This can help you target the keywords most likely to generate traffic. 

So, how much keyword search volume does a webpage need?

A website can have hundreds or millions of searches in a month. This will depend on several factors, such as your SEO, business goals, needs, etc.

  • Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty (SEO difficulty or keyword competition) is the metric used to measure how hard it is to rank for a given keyword in organic search results.

Several factors, including Domain Authority, Page Authority, and Content Quality, determine a keyword’s difficulty. Below are the all keyword difficulty scores. 

keyword difficulty scores

Why is keyword difficulty significant?

Understanding keyword difficulty helps you determine how many resources & backlinks you’ll need to rank for the chosen keyword.

How To Do Keyword Research for SEO- 10 Best Ways to Start

  • Make A List Of Your Business & SEO Goals 

Whether you are conducting keyword research for your client’s business or yourself. Start by setting clear objectives for your keyword ideas. 

Keyword research for SEO begins with putting yourself in the potential customer’s shoes. Knowing your audience, what they’re looking for, and how they search is essential.

Also, knowing your end goal helps a lot. Do you want to drive more traffic to your site, get more conversions, or increase your brand awareness? 

Suppose a local gym, “FitZone,” is keen on enhancing its organic search visibility.

Before finding relevant keywords for a fitness gym’s SEO, it’s essential to understand who their customers are and their goals.

Don’t miss this crucial planning phase, which is often skipped due to its time-consuming nature. This will help you open doors to the possibility of keyword ideas that you must be sleeping on before. 

Returning to the “FitZone” example, questions like below are a good start for a keyword finding & analysis process: 

  • What types of fitness programs, classes, or equipment are people searching for?
  • When do people typically search for fitness services or equipment?
  • Are there seasonal trends in fitness-related searches?
  • How do people search for fitness-related information?
  • What keywords, queries, and phrases do they use?

You power up your SEO keyword research strategy by answering questions that explore end-user needs, behavior, and concerns. This approach provides a clearer understanding of the keywords you should focus on. 

  • Look For “ Seed Keywords ” 

After gaining a clear picture of the potential customer’s mindset. Now is the time to determine your main or seed keyword.

Seed keywords define your industry niche and help you find your competition. Identifying seed keywords is easy if your product or business is already online and you want to promote it. 

Think about what people type in Google to search for what you offer.

Let’s take the same example of a gym. If you aim to promote the gym online, your seed keywords might include- 

  • Gym Workouts
  • Fitness Classes
  • Strength Training
  • Cardio Exercises

It’s important to note that seed keywords alone won’t be worth targeting with your site’s pages. As the name implies, you will use them as ‘seeds’ for the next steps of this process.

So, don’t worry too much about your seed keywords. Keep in mind these are just your topics to begin with. 

Identifying your seed keywords shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Once you have a few broad ideas related to the topic of your website, move on.

  • Use Wikipedia & Related Search for SEO Keyword Research 

If you’re looking for a keyword research gold mine, Wikipedia is the place to go. It’s where you’ll find thousands of articles written by industry experts organized into neat categories.

Here’s a quick guide to start:

Type a broad keyword into Wikipedia, like “Gym”.

Use wikipedia for keyword research

This will direct you to the Wikipedia article on that general subject. 

Scrolling a little bit down, you will find the “ See also” section like this – 

Explore keyword topics on wikipedia

Some of these subtopics are excellent keywords you won’t find anywhere else. You can click on some internal links on this page to see the Table of contents of other closely related subtopics.

Another terrific way to find more keywords is to check out “Google’s search suggestions.”

For example, if you want to create a blog about “HIIT workouts,” all you have to do is go to Google and type the same phrase, and you’ll be presented with a list of additional keywords to include. 

Use Google suggestion for keyword research

You can also scroll down the page to the bottom, where you’ll see a list of 8 keyword ideas closely related to your search, or explore the “People also ask for” section for more insights. 

  •  Check for Search Intent & Domain Authority

We have already discussed how search intent is crucial in keyword research. It ensures your webpage answers what people are looking for.

But why should you consider the intent behind your SEO keyword research strategy? Well, let’s keep it simple.

Imagine you’re writing about a “fitness gym.” This phrase can mean different things to different people—workout tips, joining a gym, or maybe specific exercises. Understanding what users want is vital.

If someone wants workout tips, your content should be all about that; aim to make it as informational as possible. 

But your article must match that commercial intent if they want to join a gym. 

So, before committing to a keyword like “fitness gym,” ensure you know what people are searching for.

A quick trick is to type the keyword into a search engine yourself. Check if the results match what you plan to write about. Keep it simple, align your content with people’s wants, and boost your chances of showing on SERP.

Now, domain authority & relevancy of your website is also a contributing factor for SEO keyword research. 

Who do you ask about financial securities: a financial blogger or a health blogger with little knowledge of finance? 

The financial blogger, right? 

Google gives more priority & higher rankings to authoritative sources or sites with higher DA & backlinks and the authority to talk about a specific topic. To simplify this process, they have rolled out E-E-A-T guidelines also. 

If you’re not authoritative for the keyword you have chosen, regardless of how many backlinks you have, you can’t compete with your chances of ranking. So stick to your niche & find keywords/topics on which you can confidently speak. 

  •  Use Keyword Research Tools 

Competitors are excellent sources of keyword ideas, but there are likely a lot of keywords that your competitors aren’t covering yet.

You can find these keywords using different SEO keyword research tools. All keyword research tools more or less work in the same way.

You enter a seed keyword into the tool, and it will pull keyword ideas from your competitors’ databases based on that specific keyword.

The most popular keyword tool is Google Keyword Planner.

It’s a free keyword research tool, and while it’s designed to help you display paid ads on Google, it can also be used to search for keywords for SEO. 

Here are some more tools to help aid your keyword-finding process for SEO. These tools will make your life a little bit easier.  

Free Keyword Research Tools:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggestz
  • AnswerThePublic
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Wordtracker Scout

Paid Keyword Research Tools:

  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • SpyFu
  • KWFinder

With keyword analysis tools, you can generate more keyword idea list based on exact or phrase-matching suggestions.

There are many ways you can use these tools for your benefit. You can compare your competitor’s domain to yours & see if there is any content gap that you need to fill.  

This will help you find even more keyword ideas that your competitors are sleeping on. 

  •  Grab Low-Hanging Fruit, Aka Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords have relatively low search volume and competition levels. Also, these are typically longer (3+ words) than most of the short-tail keywords. 

Short-tail keywords are more competitive in nature on the other hand, long-tail keywords have low search volume as well as lower KD. 

Even though only a tiny fraction of people search for long tail queries individually, when combined, long tails account for making significant number of searches on Google.

keyword difficulty scores

What we meant by “low-hanging fruit” is to focus on keywords you have a shot at ranking for based on your website’s authority. 

For example, big brands go after high-volume keywords ( generally short-tail), and because they are already well established, Google usually rewards them with authority on many topics.

Choosing long-tail keywords that have little competition and don’t have multiple domains fighting for the top spot, can afford you a top spot on Google. 

But if you feel you can do much better with short-tail keywords, go for it. There are no prescribed rules for playing in the SEO keyword research process. 

  • Using GSC for Keyword Research.

Google Search Console provides real-time information on how users interact with your website. You can gain valuable insights into what users seek by analyzing high-traffic keywords with low clicks or vice-versa.

This lets you adjust your content strategy according to real-time user behavior, ensuring your efforts match users’ expectations.

How it Helps Keyword Research:

Explore the “Search Results” report to identify keywords that generate impressions and clicks.

Google search console for keyword research

This data helps you understand what your audience is searching for then you can optimize your content strategy accordingly. 

  • Barnacle SEO Keyword Research 

Ever want to hitch a ride to high-ranking websites?  Well, you can with barnacle SEO.  

In a nutshell, Barnacle SEO is a strategy where you use the authority of high-ranking websites to increase your visibility.

  • Identify high-ranking platforms within your niche.
  • Create content or listings on high-ranking sites with links to your content. 

Not only does this help you improve your rankings, but it also allows you to reach an existing audience. If you’ve found a great keyword, you’ll want to grab as much of the first-page space as possible. Publish keyword-led content on popular sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Medium.

Read our blog for more info –  What Is Barnacle SEO? 11 Tips to Leverage Other Sites’ Ranking & Traffic.

  • Optimize Content around LSI Keywords

LSI keywords are semantically connected terms used by search engines to analyze content. 

For example, if your top keyword is “healthy recipes,” you could use LSI keywords such as “healthy meal ideas” or “healthy cooking tips.”

Find LSI keywords related to your top keyword and use them strategically in your content. Tools like LSIGraph and Google’s related searches can help you find these terms. 

  • Discover Shoulder Keywords

Shoulder keywords are very close to your primary keyword and provide an opportunity to reach a wider audience. 

Utilize keyword research tools to find these related terms and use them strategically to fill any content gap.

If your primary keyword is “digital marketing,” shoulder keywords could include “social media strategies” or “email marketing techniques.” 

This helps to broaden your content and draw in a broader range of search queries.

Wrapping up – How to do Keyword Research for SEO

We hope you have cleared the basics of how to do SEO keyword research. Keyword research is the foundation of any long-term SEO plan. When you do keyword research, you’ll end up with an extensive list of keywords you want people to find. 

Here are some key takeaways from our blog – 

  • Understand what you want and who you’re talking to.
  • Begin with primary keywords and then find more specific ones.
  • See what similar folks are doing and learn from them.
  • Get insights from Google Search Console about how people use your site.
  • Spice up your content with LSI keywords.
  • Associate your content with popular websites for more visibility with Barnacle SEO.
  • Rely on keyword research tools for easier planning.
  • Regularly tweak your keywords based on what works best.


If you are new to keyword research & want professional help, Digital Guider is here to help. Our comprehensive SEO services will help you discover & rank for keywords that fulfill your SEO & business needs. 

Contact us at +1-307-209-3608 or write to us at to begin your search journey.