Learning how to do keyword research might sound daunting as a beginner. With our 6-step guide below, we'll teach you how to look for the best keywords so you can optimise your SEO content writing. We'll even give keyword research tips to help you make the most out of your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts!
The 6 steps in doing keyword research are:
- Define Your Goals
- List Down Topics Related to Your Business
- Give Each Topic a Set of Keywords
- Add Long-Tail Keywords to Your List
- Refine Your Keyword List With a Free Keyword Tool
- See How Your Competitors Rank for These Keywords
A 6-Step Guide on How to Do Keyword Research for Beginners
Step 1: Define Your Goals
All SEO strategies and content marketing plans stem from a tangible goal. So, before learning how to do keyword research, you have to have a specific end goal in mind.
Defining your goals beforehand is important because it shapes how your SEO strategy will play out.
Your goals directly influence your keyword choices, which affect the content, comms, and platforms you include in your overall content marketing strategy.
Having a goal also gives your plan a direction to lead towards. It informs the copy and art that leads your customers through the consumer journey.
Whether you want to increase your business' online sales or boost your customer's awareness, your goal is the backbone of your SEO strategy's framework.
Step 2: List Down Topics Related to Your Business
To get started on your keyword research strategy, you have to sit down and take a hard look at your business. Know it's current state, what it offers to your customers, and where you want to bring it in the future.
With these in mind, ask yourself these two key questions:
- What are the topics related to what my business offers?
- What topics related to my product and desired business goals do I want to be known for?
Use your answers to the questions to come up with a list of content topics you'll anchor your web content on. For example, if you're into digital marketing, the topics related to your business can include:
- social media management
- website development
- Google ads
- pay-per-click ads
You're probably already talking about these topics in your current online efforts!
To further refine this topic list, put yourself in your reader's shoes, and try to understand what topics they want to learn about. Go ahead and make a list of these ideas as well, and use it to refine your current topic list.
Tip: Make your topic list as extensive as you can. After you've exhausted your list, group a few together and make a single topic out of them. These clusters will serve as the topic buckets you'll use in the next step.
Step 3: Give Each Topic a Set of Keywords
Now, let's get into the meat of learning how to do keyword research.
With your preliminary list of topic buckets in hand, it's time to match every item on that list with its own set of keywords.
These keywords, also known as seed keywords, shouldn't just be related to your topic bucket. Seed keywords should be as close as possible to the terms your readers search for on Google.
Simply put, the seed words you assign per topic become the building blocks of your on-page SEO efforts.
These seed keywords will solidify your niche, help you establish topic authority, and define who your online competitors are.
So, how do you determine the best seed keywords for your topic buckets?
It's not that hard. Simply review every bucket and describe each one as simply as you can. Then, frame them in the way your readers would search for them on Google.
Here's an example: If one of the topic buckets for your digital marketing business is social media management, an appropriate seed keyword would be "social media management agency".
Step 4: Add Long-Tail Keywords to Your List
What are long-tail keywords? They're phrases made up of at least three or more keywords compared to seed keywords, which usually only have two words.
Now that you have a list of seed keywords for your SEO strategy, the next step is to add long-tail keywords to the mix, too.
You might be wondering—why do I need long-tail keywords if I already have seed keywords?
Seed keywords are great to have in your SEO strategy because they are searched for often, which means they can bring massive amounts of traffic to your site.
Here's the catch—other companies, most notably your competitors, are likely using these words, too. This makes it that much harder for you to rank for and build authority around these words.
Another caveat to using long-tail keywords is they don't get searched as often as seed keywords do.
But here's the silver lining: people who search for long-tail keywords like, "best social media management agency in Australia" have higher search intent.
What this means is the person is actively looking for this particular service, and not just merely browsing.
To come up with long-tail keywords, look through your seed keywords and rewrite them in such a way that they become more specific. Think about how someone who might need your services would ask for your help.
Tip: Mastering how to do keyword research means having the right mix of seed and long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy. This way, you can benefit from both the traffic that seed terms bring in and the search intent that comes with long-tail keywords.
Step 5: Refine Your Keyword List With a Free Keyword Tool
At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, "shouldn't I have started this whole process by using keyword research tools?"
There really is no right or wrong answer to this.
What's true is there's one distinct advantage to using an SEO keyword research tool from the get-go: you see your proposed keyword's search volume, cost-per-click rate, as well as the other websites competing to rank for it all with one click.
But as a beginner, you'll be easily overwhelmed by the many (and when we say many, we mean pages-worth of it) keywords these tools churn out in one search.
If you're not careful, you might even choose keywords that have high search volume but have nothing to do with your business. YIKES!
The advantage of coming up with your own keywords before consulting a free tool is you gain a better understanding of your business and goals.
So, even if you're using the same keywords as your competitors, you're staying true to your unique selling proposition.
Instead of using tools to determine what keywords you'll be adding to your SEO strategy, use them to further refine your keyword list.
Here's a list of the best free keyword research tools you can access right now:
Tip: Some free tools offer more functions in exchange for a paid subscription. Before paying, make the most out of the free version first. Test out all the tools before deciding to spend on upgraded services.
Step 6: See How Your Competitors Rank for These Keywords
While it's definitely faster to solidify your SEO efforts by focusing on your won work, it won't hurt to check out what the competition is doing, too!
Get hold of your competitors' official website URLs and run them through a keyword research tool or SEO audit tool like the one we have at Ape-X.
Depending on the tool you're using, you'll be able to see the top keywords your competitor's page is currently ranking for.
Pro tip: Don't want to pay for a fancy SEO tool? No worries - here's the "medieval" method of checking your competitors' rankings: just search for the keyword in Google (preferably using In Cognito mode to avoiding biasing the search results) and check out who is ranking for the keyword and what their content looks like. Pay particular attention to the pages of the top 5 results - click through to their pages and examine the length of their content, how they're using headings, what media (imagery, videos) they have, and what else they're talking about on the page. Then you can reverse-engineer their strategy and start building your own.
Taking a look at what keywords your competitors are using in their SEO strategy is an excellent way to evaluate your own keywords.
If you find that your competitor is using a keyword on your list, you'll want to work extra hard, so your efforts for the same word fairs better against theirs.
You can also take advantage of the words your competitors aren't using in their SEO strategy. This could be your chance to own those unused keywords and the related terms attached to them.
By following these six steps, you'll be able to learn how to do keyword research on your own. Having the right keyword and SEO content writing strategy implemented on your website can help you craft the kind of content your readers are looking for. In doing so, you'll be able to grab your target market's attention, gain their trust, and turn them into customers in no time.
Do you need help with your website's SEO strategy? We can help! Contact us today, and let's talk about how we can optimise your page and improve its ranking on search engines!