How to analyse keywords?

In this article we explain how you can analyse your keywords in order to discover the most high potential keywords for your SEO project. We will focus on why and how you can perform such an analysis.

Sam van Houten
May 19, 2022
7 min read

The selection of keywords is an essential part of SEO, because keywords largely determine the success of an SEO campaign. But what makes a keyword “good” and how do you know if a keyword produces the desired results? To find out, you need to perform a keyword analysis. We’ll explain what it is and how you can benefit from it. We will do so by answering the following questions:

  1. What is keyword analysis?
  2. Why perform a keyword analysis?
  3. How do you perform a keyword analysis? 

Ok, let's get to work! 

1. What is keyword analysis?

With the help of a keyword analysis you put keywords under the microscope. You use the analysis to gain insight into the search behaviour of your target audience. The goal is to find relevant keywords that lead users to your website, either paid or organic. You find out how your target audience searches, what they search, why, when and where. 

2. Why perform a keyword analysis?

The keyword analysis is used as a method to ensure that you are found better on Google by using the keywords that are relevant to you. The analysis provides insight into various aspects, such as how users search, what terms they use and why, or rather, with what intention a user searches. Performing keyword analysis properly is time-consuming, but it is something that everyone can learn. Below, we briefly recount the benefits of a well-executed keyword analysis. 

Optimise your budget: 

Put more budget into the keywords that are successful for you and thus avoid spending on keywords that produce no or little results. This applies to both organic and paid search.

Increase your conversions: 

By constantly keeping an eye out for high conversion keywords, you will not only increase your conversion rate but also your return on investment (ROI). 

Spot trends: 

With insight in search volumes, you can discover interesting patterns in user behaviour. See where changes occur in your industry and use this to your advantage! Discover where others are not doing so well. 

Prioritise your time: 

It allows you to focus on the value of a keyword and thus pay attention to the areas that make the biggest impact on your business results. For example, start converting keywords into content where the potential is highest. For example, if your goal as e-commerce organisation is to increase your margin focus on high margin products.

Explore new markets: 

Use keyword analysis to expand your reach by discovering new specific keywords in niches, for example.

3. How do you perform a keyword analysis?

As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of a keyword analysis is to determine relevant keywords for your project. The analysis can be divided into four different steps, below we explain them one by one. 

Step 1: Determine relevance 

Based on your collected keyword list, the first step is to determine how relevant these keywords are to your industry or niche. Google's algorithm is designed to show the most relevant results for a search query. Based on your keyword list, the first thing to look at is search volume (how often the keyword is searched for) and competition (the number of targeted search results for this keyword). A keyword with a high search volume that competitors score well on is not necessarily also relevant or suitable for your service or product. It also gives you insight into words that you do not want to be found on. Within the SEA world these are also called negative keywords. A third factor to take into account is the intent of a keyword. The relevance of a keyword is related to the search intent of the user. 

So relevance depends on search volume, level of competition, search intent and how related the keyword is to your website. Unfortunately there is no formula for determining relevance, so you will have to make your own estimation. KeyWI does provide good insight into this, we will come back to this in a moment together with step 2: determining the intention.

Step 2: Determine Intent 

This brings us to the second point, intent. It is important to determine the intent of keywords. Intent answers the question of why someone uses a certain keyword. What is someone looking for and how is it relevant to your product or service? So not only the keyword itself but especially the intention behind it is relevant. The intention can be divided into 4 categories, here you can read more about it. If you can properly assess what the intention is, you can better tune your content to that. In fact, some search terms will no longer be relevant to your website. Below are a few examples of how you can use KeyWI for this purpose.

Screenshot of keyword intent keywi example
Sandblasting example KeyWI

In the image shown above you can find a great example of search intent predictions for weld cleaning machines / solutions. When only considering language or smart sheets solutions some of these keywords might be difficult to classify. Take a look at this list of keywords that are very similar when considering language as comparison. KeyWI's intent predictions show a clear division in intentions both informational and commercial investigation pop up almost evenly. While many people would label most of these keywords as transactional, because people are looking for 'equipment' or a 'machine'. Actually people might be searching for information about whether something exists specifically for stainless steel or methods that help clean a weld. Of course after finding such information they might convert to a more transactional state as they have been informed on what to buy.

Intentions aren't always singular, as a matter of fact they often are ambiguous or even sequential. When only thinking about language you might miss the intention people have when using a certain keyword, let alone a cluster of similar keywords.

Step 3: Grouping 

Grouping, also called semantic clustering, is another step that can generate a lot of insights. Identify the main and sub-themes within your keyword list and then group your keywords that way. You combine keywords based on similarity and this is how you form the groups. Many people group based on language similarities, which is an option but this can put search terms in the wrong group. At KeyWI we do this grouping based on Google's search results, if Google shows the same results for two different search terms then they belong together. They are in fact different ways of finding the same thing. Based on these clusters you will gain insight into how you can best optimise your site structure and which search terms can be used together in a content page. 

Screenshot of KeyWI clustering example
Sandblasting example KeyWI clustered

KeyWI not only predicts the intention of users, but also clusters keywords. It looks for relations between keywords based on data and not language. As you can see in this example KeyWI about sandblasting equipment and methods, a few very specific clusters pop up. We see clear clusters about paint removal, metal cleaning, different methods and machinery and even safety. Most clusters are predominantly informative however have potential to become commercial/transactional. People often look for information how to clean or finish off something and the answer might be a certain product or machine which they would like to buy after learning about this. So what's next?

Step 4: Keyword Difficulty 

The final step is the keyword difficulty level also known as "Keyword Difficulty". During this process, you analyse how difficult it is to rank in Google's organic results. Learn more about keyword difficulty here. Keyword difficulty provides insight into how to prioritise your work. Where there is a quick profit to be made for the short term and what requires more time for the long term? This is also related to the focus on short or long-tail keywords. Here applies the shorter, the more general the search term and the more competition. For the short term, you will generally benefit faster from long-tail keywords. Because the search is longer and therefore more specific, the term is often less competitive. This is because there is less content written on specific topics than on general topics. In addition, when googling a long-tail keyword, the user is often already further along in the customer journey. So with the choice of certain keywords you determine your strategy. 

Despite all the benefits a good keyword analysis brings, not everyone spends enough time on keyword analysis. It is not only a time-consuming process, but also a continuous one, which means that you will have to keep repeating this process. 

Ok, so it's time to get started on your keyword analysis. Could you use some magic from KeyWI? Try our keyword clustering tool for free.

Sam van Houten co-founder KeyWI
Sam van Houten

Sam van Houten is Co-Founder of KeyWI, has an educational background in data science and is always eager to learn new stuff. Together with the KeyWI team he has been busy developing SEO software and understanding how to use code to automate and smarten SEO tasks.

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