A High-Level Guide to Keyword Research for SEO Managers

Keyword research is the cornerstone of an SEO-focused content strategy.


Using SEO metrics like routine search traffic, relevance, SERP competitiveness, and more, you may find high-opportunity, high-intent keywords that can support your optimization strategies.


You can increase the visibility of your blog posts, news stories, infographics, videos, and other searchable material on your website by making a thorough keyword research plan. There’s a better chance of dominating the SERPs when a lot of content is anchored on exact keywords.


But keyword research involves more than just playing with data. It needs you to clearly understand your target market, competitors, and top priorities. With that knowledge, creating a keyword research strategy that is effective and boosts conversions plus brand affinity would be easier.

Why is Keyword Research Necessary?

Beyond finding all phrases with similar words and creating optimized content, keyword research goes much further. If you continue down this path, your content strategy will become redundant and out of touch with users. Additionally, your website will be bloated, harming its ability to rank.


Other aspects besides inquiries and volume must be considered while researching SEO keywords. Search terms can reveal hidden metadata about your clients.


Such inquiries can provide the best content for your audience and enhance their interaction with your business. Your engagement, brand loyalty, conversions, and revenue will increase. In other words, effective keyword research improves the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns and your business.

How to Conduct SEO Keyword Research

Your organic traffic is predicted and directly impacted by keyword research. If you do it properly, you’ll know your potential market share and how much work it will take to expand your portion of the pie. If you move slowly, you might overestimate your chance or underestimate the challenge.


As a result, there are several excellent keyword research tools accessible to assist you in creating an efficient and scalable strategy. They are only as successful as your strategy, which incorporates brand priorities, competition analysis, online marketing integration, audience analytics, and creative thinking.


Here are some basic recommendations for conducting keyword research to assist you in creating your plan.


1. Concentrate on Search Intent


What kind of information are people looking for when conducting a specific query? Which stage of the buyer’s funnel are they currently in? If they want advice and strategies, they want something other than an eCommerce or service page. Likewise, a lengthy blog post will not do if they want a visual tutorial. In contrast, if they are looking for inexpensive furniture, they are not concerned with the results of a pricey luxury furniture company.


A company’s purchasing funnel comprises three phases: awareness, consideration, and decision. People in the awareness stage want to know about their interests or pain issues. Those who are still deliberating could be prepared to purchase.


Analyze the location of your keyword in the conversion funnel and the audience’s search intent. Then, as necessary, produce and align valuable, pertinent material.


2. Keep an Eye on the Search Volume


Once you’ve identified your audience’s search intent, you may concentrate on the data. The method used for keyword research varies depending on the industry and even the strategist. However, a strong focus on search volume drives each set of criteria.


Most premium SEO tools offer search inspiration and reliable projections of monthly traffic for a given phrase. There could be minimal variations in metrics between instruments due to the extrapolation in this data. We advise comparing the results from at least two different tools, SEMRush and Ahrefs, and entering the results into your spreadsheet. Apply the same methods to all your keyword words to make apples-to-apples comparisons.


Depending on the search intent and other factors specific to that page, aim for the keywords with the largest possible search traffic.


3. Include Long-Tail Keyword With Variations


Your seed keyword list should contain every possible search term. Next, hunt for long-tail variations of those terms utilizing keyword research tools.


A warning regarding using tools to find keyword variations: they generally only produce a list of near-semantic matches, often with long-tail variations, and cannot expand into new areas. Therefore, creating as many natural variations as possible is best before putting your seed list via a machine.


4. Consider Profitability.


After you’ve reduced the number of keywords on your list, you may create an even amount of content for each phrase, fairly allocating your time and resources.


But why spend time and resources creating materials for “infinity scarves” while everyone else is preparing for summer if you’re a major retail brand getting ready for spring? You might instead focus on “women’s swimsuit,” which is most likely a far better word.


Naturally, not all labels are as impacted by the seasons as retail is. However, when developing your keyword research SEO strategy, profitability is crucial.


5. Perform a Competitive Analysis


To find out which keywords your rivals are targeting—and which aren’t—do a competitive analysis using Ahrefs or SpyFu.


Large organizations should seriously take into account both strategies. Filling in the holes in the marketplace can quickly build momentum and authority. Additionally, keeping your site atop the SERPs for the most important keywords used by your rivals can boost clicks and earnings over time.


6. Listen to the Voice of the Customer (VoC)


Your search insights up until this point have been developed from information on popular inquiries, pain points, and audience requirements when you combine this data with your company’s internal audience insights.


You might also use customer and industry-wide polls and surveys to determine why people favor your competitor’s brand over your own. Indirect feedback, such as canceled software or email subscriptions, may also be included.


Because it might be challenging to coordinate information sharing between compartmentalized departments, your SEO strategy may find it convenient only to use search data. But this is yet another reason why dismantling silos is essential to the success of enterprise SEO.


Obtain high-level support for creating systems that make it easy for departments to share information. Make sure that feedback is recorded and saved in a location your personnel can access if you use a centralized customer service system like Zendesk. Create a list of all the information you need. Then, consider how to standardize sharing such that it happens without your intervention.


7. Keep It Natural


Search behavior has changed dramatically over time. The popularity of voice search has skyrocketed. Even desktop users now have confidence in Google to handle long, specialized inquiries that employ natural language or ask comprehensive questions. If you need help deciding between two high-opportunity keywords, choose the one that seems more realistic.


Another advantage of using natural keywords? Natural material. Your high-opportunity keyword will only be helpful if it is grammatically correct or feels forced and uncomfortable. Google’s semantic indexing technique allows you to explore how you insert your keywords into your material. So divide them up or use plurals as needed. However, you should still use each keyword in its “real” version. 


8. Use Keyword Research Tools


Setting the approach requires your magic and know-how. However, search engine optimization techniques can be of great assistance. The information they make available is needed. And the methods they standardize can make your plan scalable and painless. Here are a few of our favorites:


Keyword Explorer by Ahrefs


This keyword tool gives you search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and keyword ideas determined by phrases that contain some or all of the same terms. This keyword research tool’s main strength is that it shows the percentage of searches with no clicks and the ratio of organic vs. paid clicks. These metrics aid in the removal of excess volume from keyword terms. As a result, you’ll be able to concentrate on phrases that increase page traffic.


Keyword Explorer by Moz


This tool functions similarly to the Ahrefs keyword research tool. And their data is equally trustworthy. The distinction boils down to your tastes as a user, with Moz receiving points for a little more user-friendly presentation.




SEMRush shares the same critical functionalities as Ahrefs and Moz, with a few exceptions. In comparison to Ahrefs, SEMRush’s user interface is a touch lackluster. However, it does provide further information about PPC. Their content gap analysis feature is also more powerful.


Google Trends


Enter any keyword into Google Trends to see detailed representations of its trend over time. It works best with theme ideas rather than particular keywords. However, you may still test many long-tail keywords to gain significant knowledge. If people have not started using a specific keyword, it may no longer accurately reflect how users are currently searching. Meanwhile, if searches for a keyword or topic rapidly increase, it may be an excellent option to focus on regardless of prior search levels.