A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keyword Research

Does your stress level go up – even just a little – when you see the words “perform keyword research”?

You’re not alone: it can feel intimidating because it “seems” to be researching something that’s so important but feels “hard to do.”

First, some assurance: keyword research is NOT rocket science…

You can learn to do it yourself and it won’t take you as long as you think it will.

Here’s a short keyword research primer to get you started

First, what is keyword research, really?

In a nutshell, keyword research is the work you do finding what search terms your target audience uses when it searches for your type of product/service.

Conducting this research also will help you in your content strategy as wall as your overall inbound marketing approach.

Keyword research in many ways is more about finding great topics to write on than on finding the “right’ keywords.

Do you feel a little less stressed now; a bit less worried that you must find the absolutely exact keywords used by prospects?

You should, because people don’t really look for “keywords,” they look for answers to their goals and challenges.

Identifying these topics will help you create content on them. You can then extrapolate from the topics what keywords to use.

For example: “how do I start a franchise” as a topic would mean you’d want to use “start a franchise,” “how to start a franchise,” “starting a franchise” as potential keywords to use in your content on that topic.

The three main elements to focus on when performing keyword research.

What is the relevance of the keywords when it pertains to meeting the searcher’s needs? For example, “start a franchise” is highly relevant to people looking to start one.

How authoritative is the information you provide when you create content using those relevant keywords? That is, how helpful is the information you provide in the content that uses the keywords you choose to use in the content? (Remember, Google rewards websites filled with content that provides valuable information that helps people reach goals, solve problems, etc.)

As much as you need to use relevant keywords and authoritative content that speaks to a prospect’s needs, you also need to use keywords that actually are used by prospects. This is known as monthly search volume (MSV) or the number of times a keyword is used in searches each month across all audiences.

Before starting a search, make a list of relevant topics applicable to your services/products.

Think of about five to 10 topics that are relevant to your business and then you can use these topics to come up with specific keywords later.

To do so, think of your perfect prospects (your buyer personas) and what kind of problems/challenges/goals they’re looking to overcome/reach. 

Identify keywords that fit within those topics.

Taking “starting a franchise,” as an example, keyword phrases such as “how to start a franchise,” “franchise startups,” “franchise startup advice,” etc. all could be good keywords to use in your content.

Check the keywords for which your website is already being found.

Check your Google Analytics and see what keywords your current site’s visitors are using to find you.

Do this even if you’re not now getting a lot of traffic. The keywords used by those visitors who do come to your site are like gold: make sure you add more content to topics that will easily be able to incorporate these keywords.

Check Google’s related search terms.

This is easy to do: just type in a phrase and then scroll to the bottom of Google’s search results. You’ll see some suggestions for searches related to your original query (it will say “Related Searches”).

These keywords/keyword phrases often are great to use themselves and/or could get your creative juices moving even more as you search.

Once you have some keywords, you’ll need to cut their number down.

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner as well as Google Trends for this.

Aim to use keywords that aren’t used much in searches.

Your large competitors probably have “taken over the market” for those search terms and you undoubtedly won’t be able to rank well – and thus show up high in search results – if you use them.

Check out the keywords’ monthly search volume.

You want to provide content your prosects want to find and the MSV can help in that it shows you how many times a search query is typed into search engines each month. Google Trends and searchvolume.io can help you with this.

Look to see how your competitors rank for these keywords.

Here’s a list of free as well as fee-based tools you can use to do so.

To truly set your heart at ease when it comes to mastering keyword research, know this:

There really are no “best” keywords, keyword phrases or topics. 

Instead, the “best” ones are those that take into account their search volume, your content’s “authority” (authoritative content) and relevance.

Your best bet is to find keywords that you can reasonably compete based upon the amount of competition you face with them, as well as how well you can produce content that is better in quality than the content your competitors produce.

Ingenex.co can help you find these types of keywords and topics quickly.

Learn more.