How to perform keyword research?

An article about how to perform keyword research for SEO purposes. Find out how to do this now!

Sam van Houten
May 19, 2022
5 min read

In this article we will explain you what keyword research is and how to perform such research. We will try to answer the following questions to make everything crystal clear.

  1. What is keyword research?
  2. Where do I start with keyword research?
  3. Step by step guide to keyword research

After reading this, you will be ready to start your own keyword research as a SEO Scientist.

Let's get scientific!

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is also referred to as a keyword analysis by many SEO Specialists. To start of we will give you the basic definition of SEO first:

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. - Moz

In other words, SEO is the practice of getting more people to find you in search engines without paying for advertisements. So, I hear you think "Where do I get started?". Let's give you the definition of keyword research:

Keyword research is the (data-driven) activity of identifying keywords suitable for copywriting to improve the SEO ranking of your website. - KeyWI

Where do I start with keyword research?

Always start with your company, organisation, project and its goal. For example, the website of a keyword clustering tool called KeyWI that wants visitors to sign up for their software. For all these steps we made a step by step guide for you.

By following the next steps you will create a list of keywords that can be used for your specific website to improve your SEO ranking.

  1. Set goals for your website.
  2. Identify main topics regarding your website & goal
  3. Create an extensive list of keywords with any connection to the main topics
  4. Filter out irrelevant keywords
  5. Group keywords into topic clusters and subclusters
  6. Identify clusters suitable for copywriting & start copywriting

Step by step guide to keyword research

The following steps will give you a basic setup for your project.

1. Set goals for your website

Depending on the type of website your goals will differ. For example, if you're an e-commerce website your goal is probably to enhance sales of some products or all products. However, if you're a governmental website you might just want to inform as many people as possible about a new disease that is spreading rapidly. By clearly stating your goal and describing what kind of website or service you are the next steps will become easier.

For our example let's say we are a webshop for pet clothing in the Netherlands and we want to boost sales on our dog bodywarmers section.

2. Identify main topics regarding your website & goal

The next step is to identify the main keyword topics that relate to your website and goal. Later we will use these topics to create an extensive list of keywords. So for our example let's get started.

  • Pet clothing
  • Pet outdoor clothing
  • Pet wear
  • Dog clothing
  • Dog warmers
  • Dog body warmers
  • Dog winter clothes
  • Pet winter coats

(Know a competitor? Check out their website for some inspiration.)

3. Create an extensive list of keywords with any connection to the main topics

Now we need to turn this list of 8 topic keywords into an extensive list preferably with search volume. One rule in this step, don't leave anything out. If you think it might be a relevant keyword, just add it to your excel sheet. Make two columns "keywords" and "volume" for the search volume. Search volume is the amount of monthly searches that occur on average for a specific keyword.* Try to create a list of at least 100 keywords, of course this totally depends on how wide your topic is. We've seen keyword lists varying from 100-200.000 keywords, the sky is the limit.

For this step there is some tooling available, we'll list a few below:

* Search volume is calculated differently by different tools, so try not to mix these up.

4 & 5. Filter out irrelevant keywords & group keywords into topic clusters and subclusters

The hard part starts here... Until now everything was quite easy and straightforward. To get insights from this keyword set you are going to filter out irrelevant keywords. Now how should you be doing this if you're not an expert?

Start off by identifying topic clusters and split the list into these topic clusters. Looking at our list of keywords for the pet clothing store, we'll probably find three main clusters.

  1. Pet clothing in general
  2. Dog clothing in general
  3. Dog coats/jackets/bodywarmers

Next, try to split these topic clusters into subclusters as far down as you can. Until you have about 5-10 keywords left in you subclusters.

6. Identify clusters suitable for copywriting

Now identify clusters that have a relatively high summed search volume and try to identify the intent of the keywords. How do you find intent? Well if you can't guess it, type it in Google and see what results pop up.

After you've identified the clusters with a relatively high search volume and similar intent, you can start your copywriter engine. Don't forget SEO doesn't update from one day to the next, it is a long term process think months rather then weeks. Use your Google analytics to track improvements and keep writing new content.

BONUS. Automate step 4 & 5 with KeyWI - the quickest keyword analysis tool

We know how time consuming step 4 and 5 can be, that is why we created KeyWI. KeyWI is the quickest keyword analysis tool out there. We automated the process of filtering out irrelevant keywords and clustering keywords based on search engine logic. This data-driven keyword clustering tool does all the hard work and give you insights directly.

Wondering if it will work for you? Schedule a live demo.

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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