Keyword research: a complete guide

Keyword research is one of the most important steps in generating organic growth. Learn more about the different methods to perform keyword research and their benefits here.

Sam van Houten
March 20, 2023
5 min read

What is keyword research and how do you conduct it?

In this article we take a dive into the wondrous world of keyword research. A keyword analysis is actually the start and core of each SEO-strategy. It helps you to determine which keywords are relevant for your product, service or topic. That way you can optimise the SEO results for your website. We will explain what keyword research entails and how you can start executing it yourself. We will do so based on the following topics:

  1. What is keyword research?
  2. How do you conduct keyword research?
  3. How can you organise & analyse your search terms? 
  4. Keyword clustering & grouping
  5. How to choose the right keywords?

What is keyword research? 

Let's start at the beginning by answering the next question: "What is keyword research exactly?". By conducting keyword research you map which keywords you do or don't want to be found with. You deep dive into your preferred target audience and what their intentions are behind certain keywords. Through such keyword research you can start understanding what your target audience is searching for, with which goal and which search terms they are using.

How do you conduct keyword research?

You probably already have certain ideas about how you would define your product, service or topic. With keyword research it's important to understand how your target audience, or potential clients, would describe and search for your website online. An answer to this question is crucial in keyword research. You will be able to create truly relevant content, which your target audience is looking for.

What should you focus on when looking for keywords?

Niche keywords 

We'll start with niche search terms, which are very specific search terms and often consist of at least 3 words that are relevant for the niche your product or service exists in. The great thing about such keywords is, that they will provide you with valuable visitors. Why? More detailed a search term equal more interest from a visitor for that thing they are in search of. They are already in an advanced stage of the search journey or customer journey. In terms of e-commerce, they are probably already in buying stage. Wondering how you can use niche search terms? Read all about how to find such niche keywords for your branche here.

Low competition keywords 

Less competitive keywords, as the name already hints towards, are keywords that have little competition in the search results. As they have less competition it's easier to rank high on these keywords in Google. Such keywords are often used to focus on short term SEO strategy to rank fast and high. Want to learn more about finding low competition keywords? Check out this article.

Buyer intent keywords 

A keyword not only tells you what someone is looking for but also where in the customer journey the visitor is. Search intention is the goal a searcher hopes to reach with his or her search term. This could be anything, from finding the answer to a simple question to comparing products or even actually buying the product. You want to reach your target audience with their goal in mind and content that matches this goal. Understanding search intention helps you to make your SEO strategy smarter and targeted. The intention a searcher has when typing in something in Google can be split into four categories:

  • Informational intent
  • Navigational intent
  • Commercial investigative intent 
  • Transactional intent

We label keyword with buyer intent when it has commercial investigative or transactional intention. The searcher has the goal to find a product and make a purchase. Want to learn how to identify keywords with buyer intention? Read all about it here.

How can you find keywords?

The challenge is to identify keywords that are relevant for you and with which you have a likely chance to rank in Google. An important metric here is search volume, which tells you how popular the search term is. Search volume is the monthly amount of times a keyword or search term is used to find something in Google. High search volumes equal many monthly searches, where low volume means not a lot of people searching with that keyword.

Short tail keywords are keywords that consist of very common words like shoes, phone, plane ticket. These are broad search terms and have, with exceptions, high search volumes. The competition is also high and often big brands and organisations dominate the search results first page. This makes it hard to gain a spot in the top 10 of Google. Long tail keywords however are less broad keywords, which consist of multiple words. For example, "buy best price running shoes size 41". On keywords like these the search volume is lower and competition for SEO often lower than short tail keywords. These long tail keywords may provide less traffic to your website, but the people who are really looking for you use these. When you're able to respond to a specific intention the conversion rates go up. With KeyWI it's now possible to generate keywords based on seed keywords or a url. In our visual you can directly spot keywords, search volumes and their intentions.

How can you organise and analyse your search terms?

After you have gathered your keywords it is time to organise and analyse them. With a keyword analysis you want to determine which keywords are most valuable to you. You will find out how your target audience searches, what they search for, why, when and where. Performing a high quality keyword analysis is time consuming, but anyone can learn how to do it well. Read more about how to analyse keywords here or check out how KeyWI can help you with it.

Keyword Clustering & Grouping

An important next step in your analysis is keyword clustering. The definition of keyword clustering is the method to group similar, relevant keywords. Grouping keywords helps you to organise your list of keyword and which keywords support and empower each other. Such clusters or groups will provide you insights in how to structure your website optimally and which keywords belong together in the same content piece. Take a deep dive in keyword clustering or check out how KeyWI's keyword clustering methods can help you.

How to choose the right keywords?

Doing keyword research on a regular basis brings many advantages for your website. Not only will you gain insights in the search behaviour of you target audience, it also gives you the knowledge about which keywords you should use in your content and even use the outcome as starting point for Google Ads.

In the end the goal is to be as relevant as possible to your potential visitors and towards Google. You want to find the most ideal keywords, which are keywords with high monthly search volumes and low competition. As mentioned earlier you can gain some traction by focussing on long-tail keywords first. Optimising for certain keywords can be puzzling, not all keywords your competition ranks for are necessarily high potential keywords for your product or service. High volume often comes with high competition, potentially leading to the risk of being outplayed by high authority websites. Keywords with a relatively low search volume are easier to rank quickly in Google, but these search terms come with the risk that very little number of visitors use them. Try to find the sweet spot by iterating and continuously improving your website, content and keyword analysis. Read more about choosing the right keywords for SEO here.

Would you like to try out KeyWI or want some help? Ask for a KeyWI demo or check out our pricing.

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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