Keyword Research for SEO | A Complete Beginners Guide [2023]

keyword research

New to SEO? Keyword research may appear intimidating initially, but it is an essential component of a successful SEO strategy. With the proper keywords selected and researched, you can draw in more visitors to your website and boost search engine rankings. In this complete guide, we cover all the keyword research basics and provide helpful tips to improve your keyword SEO strategy.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing search terms that people enter into search engines with the goal of using that data to optimise content for better visibility and ranking in organic search results. It involves discovering words, queries, and phrases that users are searching for, meaning a keyword with search volume. This helps marketers create content that is more likely to be found by their target audience.

The goal of keyword research is to identify terms with high search volume but low competition so you can rank higher in organic search results.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research helps you understand what your target audience is looking for, so you can create content that meets their needs. This can help you reach more potential customers, increase website traffic, and boost sales.

By understanding the language used by your target audience, you can create content that speaks directly to them and increases the chances of ranking higher in organic search results. Keyword research can help you identify new opportunities to reach potential customers who may not have been aware of your business before.

Benefits of Keyword Research

Here are some of the key benefits of keyword research:

Marketing Trend Insight

By understanding the trends in search terms, businesses can gain valuable insight into their target audience and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly. This can help them stay ahead of the competition by targeting specific keywords related to current trends.

Traffic Growth

Using relevant keywords in your content can help increase your website’s visibility on search engines, leading to increased traffic and potential customers. This can also help you reach a wider audience, as well as help you rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Customer Acquisition

Businesses can acquire new customers more efficiently by targeting specific keywords related to customer needs. This is because people looking for solutions to their problems are more likely to find your website if it contains the right keywords.

How to Find Keyword Ideas

There is more to keywords than just choosing the top searched words, this section covers the process for identifying and selecting keywords.

Brainstorm “Seed” Keywords

Seed keywords are the foundation of any successful SEO keyword research. They are the starting point for discovering valuable keywords to help you optimise your content and reach more people. Brainstorming seed keywords is an essential part of any keyword research process, as it enables you to uncover related topics and ideas to target in your content.

When brainstorming seed keywords, thinking broadly about the topic you’re researching is important. Start by considering the main topics related to your business or website, then move on to more specific sub-topics. You can also use tools like Google Trends or Answer The Public to get ideas for seed keywords. Once you have a list of potential seed keywords, you can use them in keyword research tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to generate additional keyword ideas.

By taking the time to brainstorm seed keywords, you can ensure that your content targets relevant topics and reaches the right audience.

See What Keywords Your Competitors Rank For

Competitor keyword research is an important process, looking at what keywords your competitors are ranking for is vital and a potent way to generate ideas while leveraging the hard work of your competition. This can help you uncover valuable insights that can help you better optimise your content and get ahead of the competition.

Using keyword research tools is one way to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. We will cover some of those in the next section. These tools allow you to input your competitor’s website URL and view a list of the keywords they rank for. By analysing this data, you can determine which topics are popular among your target audience and uncover additional relevant keyword ideas.

Study Your Niche

Finding your niche can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With these five easy steps, you can find the perfect niche for your business in no time.

  1. Identify Your Interests and Passions: Start by thinking about what you’re passionate about and what interests you. This will help narrow down the field of potential niches and give you an idea of where to start looking.
  2. Identify Problems You Can Solve: Once you’ve identified your interests and passions, think about how they could be used to solve problems that people face today. This will help you hone in on a specific niche that is both profitable and meaningful to you.
  3. Research Your Competition: It’s essential to know who else is out there in your chosen niche so that you can differentiate yourself from them. Take some time to research their products, services, pricing, and marketing strategies to create something unique and valuable for your customers.
  4. Determine the Profitability of Your Niche: Before diving into a new venture, it’s crucial to ensure it will be profitable for you in the long run. Research the market size of your chosen niche and determine if there is enough demand for what you have to offer before investing too much time or money into it.
  5. Narrow Down Your Niche: Once you’ve done all of the above steps, it’s time to narrow down your niche even further so that it’s easier for potential customers to find you online or offline. Consider what makes your product or service different from others in the same space and focus on those unique features when creating content or advertising campaigns around them.

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Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools are software applications that help you identify and analyse the keywords people use to search for information, products, and services online. These tools provide insights into search volume, competition, and other metrics that can help you optimise your website’s content to attract more organic traffic and improve your search engine ranking.

Keyword research tools are essential for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because they help you discover new keywords and analyse their potential value to your business. Using keyword research tools, you can identify high-priority keywords most likely to drive traffic and conversions to your website and prioritise your content creation and marketing efforts accordingly.

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How to use Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools can help you discover new keywords, analyse their metrics, and prioritise them based on their relevance and potential to drive traffic and conversions to your website.

Here are some tips for using keyword research tools effectively:

  1. Choose the right tool: There are numerous keyword research tools available; therefore, selecting the one that best meets your needs is critical. While choosing a tool, consider aspects like cost, usability, user interface, and customer support.
  2. Conduct keyword discovery: Use the keyword research tool to find new terms relevant to your company or sector. Since these are more likely to drive organic visitors to your website, look for keywords with a high search volume and little competition.
  3. Analyse the metrics: Using the tool to examine each keyword’s search traffic, competition, and other information. This can assist you in identifying the keywords that are most pertinent to your target market and have the greatest chance of bringing visitors and conversions to your website.
  4. Conduct competitive analysis: Analyse your competitors’ keyword strategies by using the tool to perform a competitive analysis. Search for market gaps and chances to set oneself apart from the competition.
  5. Prioritise your keywords: Prioritise your list of prospective keywords once you have them using criteria like relevancy, search volume, competitiveness, and others. Target high-volume keywords that are most likely to lead to website traffic and conversions.
  6. Monitor and refine your strategy: As keyword research is a continuous activity, it’s critical to track the effectiveness of your website and modify your strategy as necessary. Continually assess the search and traffic on your website.

Paid vs Free Keyword research tools

When it comes to keyword research tools, businesses have the choice between free and paid options. Free tools are great for getting an overview of the search landscape. However, they may not provide as in-depth information or features as their paid counterparts. On the other hand, paid keyword research tools typically offer more detailed data, such as competitor analysis, keyword optimisation, and even organic search results.

The most popular free keyword research tool is Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool provides basic information about specific keywords’ popularity and trends over time.

For more advanced features, such as industry comparisons and detailed analyses of competitors’ keyword strategies, paid tools are the way to go. At the end of the day, it’s important to choose a tool that meets your specific needs while staying within your budget. 

Recommended Free Keyword Tools

These are our top recommendations for free keyword tools:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is highly popular amongst SEO professionals and digital marketers. The tool is designed to help advertisers find the right keywords for their Google Ads campaigns but also works well for organic keyword research.

To use Google Keyword Planner, you need a Google Ads account, which is free to create. Once you’ve logged in, enter a keyword or phrase related to your business or topic, and the tool will provide a list of related keywords along with data on their search volume, competition, and other metrics.

One of the big advantages of Google Keyword Planner is its accuracy and reliability. Notably, it provides data directly from Google’s search engine. This makes it a valuable tool for identifying high-priority keywords. Words that are relevant to your business and have the potential to drive traffic and conversions to your website.

Besides providing keyword ideas, Google Keyword Planner allows you to create and save keyword lists, analyze search volume trends over time, and estimate the potential cost per click (CPC) for each keyword if you run a Google Ads campaign.


Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that provides keyword ideas, search volume data, and other insights to help you optimize your website’s content and improve your search engine ranking. 

Enter a term or phrase associated with your company or subject into Ubersuggest to get started. The tool will produce a list of comparable keywords and information on their competition, search traffic, and other metrics. Ubersuggest also recommends words and phrases you might not have thought of using. Helpful in finding fresh ways to drive visitors to your website.

Ubersuggest’s ability to examine your rivals’ websites and determine the terms they are ranking for is one of its distinctive capabilities. This gives you information about their SEO approach and lets you discover which keywords bring visitors to their website. You can use this information to enhance your own SEO strategy and outrank them in search results.

Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer is a free Chrome extension that provides valuable keyword insights and data within Google search results. The tool was developed by Surfer, a popular SEO software company.

Enter a query into Google search after installing the Keyword Surfer extension in your Chrome browser. The extension provides data on search volume, associated keywords, and projected organic traffic for the top-ranking pages. This enables you to determine the terms that bring visitors to your rivals’ websites. You may also use it to find new chances to raise your search engine rating.

The simplicity and convenience of using Keyword Surfer are two of its key benefits. It is a quick and practical way to perform keyword research because you can obtain keyword data right in Google search results without having to go to another website or application.

Moreover, Keyword Surfer features a “Content Editor” feature that examines the content of your website and makes recommendations for enhancing on-page SEO. Suggestions for improving your search engine rating often include optimising your title tags, meta descriptions, and content.


AnswerThePublic is a free keyword research tool that provides keyword ideas based on common questions people ask about a given topic. The tool uses Google’s autocomplete feature to generate a list of long-tail keyword ideas commonly searched for by people interested in a particular topic.

Enter a keyword or phrase associated with your company or topic to begin using AnswerThePublic. The tool will provide a list of queries, and other expressions users frequently search about that subject. Doing this lets, you find fresh keyword opportunities and produce content that provides straightforward solutions to your target audience’s problems.

AnswerThePublic has the benefit of concentrating on long-tail keywords, which are frequently less competitive than shorter, more general keywords. Because of this, it serves as a useful tool for locating niche keyword prospects and bringing in highly targeted traffic to your website.

Moreover, AnswerThePublic lets you view similar keywords and phrases, evaluate search volume data, and store and export your keyword lists. This can assist you in developing a thorough SEO plan that targets various keywords and phrases associated with your company or subject.

Recommended Paid Keyword Tools

There are several paid keyword research tools available that offer more advanced features and capabilities than their free counterparts. Here are some recommended paid keyword research tools:


Ahrefs is a popular and comprehensive SEO tool that offers a range of features to help businesses improve their search engine ranking and drive more traffic to their website. One of the key features of Ahrefs is its keyword research tool, which provides valuable insights into keyword search volume, competition, and difficulty.

Businesses may find new keyword opportunities, examine the keyword tactics of their rivals, and optimise their own content using Ahrefs’ keyword research tool to raise their search engine rating. Business owners can use the tool to get detailed information on search traffic, clicks, click-through rates, and keyword difficulty scores to determine how challenging it will be to rank for a particular phrase.

Other capabilities offered by Ahrefs include competitor research, backlink analysis, and site audit. These capabilities can assist companies in detecting technical SEO difficulties, enhancing their backlink profile, and maintaining a lead over rivals in search results.

Ahrefs’ user-friendly and intuitive UI is one of its main benefits. The tool makes valuable information accessible to organisations of all sizes and levels of expertise by presenting it in a straightforward and understandable style.


SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO tool that provides a range of features to help businesses improve their search engine ranking and drive more traffic to their website. One of the key features of SEMrush is its keyword research tool, which provides valuable insights into keyword search volume, competition, and difficulty.

Businesses may find new keyword opportunities, evaluate the keyword tactics of their rivals, and optimise their own content using SEMrush’s keyword research tool to raise their search engine ranking. Businesses may better understand how challenging it will be to rank for a given phrase by using the tool, which offers granular data on search traffic, related keywords, and keyword difficulty scores.

SEMrush also provides competitor research, backlink analysis, and site audits. These tools can assist firms in detecting technical SEO difficulties, enhancing their backlink profile, and maintaining a lead over rivals in search results.

SEMrushs easy navigation is one of its main benefits. Businesses of various sizes and levels of expertise can use the product since it offers useful data in a straightforward style.

Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool that specialises in long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are longer and more specific than commonly searched-for keywords and are often less competitive. Using Long Tail Pro, businesses can identify long-tail keywords relevant to their industry or niche and optimise their content to target those keywords.

Long Tail Pro’s keyword research tool provides data on search volume, competition, and keyword difficulty and also offers features such as rank tracking and competitor analysis. This allows businesses to identify high-opportunity keywords and optimise their content to rank higher in search engine results pages.

One of the benefits of Long Tail Pro is its focus on long-tail keywords, which can be a valuable source of organic traffic for businesses. Businesses can capture highly targeted traffic and improve their search engine ranking by targeting long-tail keywords.

Different Tools for Different Platforms

Different platforms, such as Google, YouTube, and Amazon, require different keyword research tools to get the most out of your efforts.

For Google, one of the most popular keyword research tools is the Google Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to search for keywords related to your topic and see how often they are searched for on Google. It also provides information about competition levels and suggested bid prices for those keywords.

For YouTube, a great keyword research tool is TubeBuddy. This tool helps you find relevant keywords that will help you optimise your videos for better visibility on YouTube’s search engine. It also provides data about the competition level and estimated video views based on your chosen keyword.

If you want to do keyword research for Amazon products, then MerchantWords is a great option. This tool allows you to search through millions of product listings and find relevant keywords that will help you optimise your product pages for better visibility on Amazon’s search engine.

No matter which platform you’re targeting with your online marketing efforts, having the right keyword research tools can make all the difference in achieving success.

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How to Analyse Keywords

Keyword analysis involves assessing the relevance, competition level, and search volume of potential keywords to determine which are best suited for your website.

Search Volume

One of the most important metrics to consider when analysing keywords is search volume. This metric tells you how many people are searching for a particular keyword or phrase each month, indicating how popular it is among users. By understanding the search volume of a keyword, you can make informed decisions about which words and phrases should be included in your SEO strategy.

To find out the search volume of a keyword, you can use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. These tools allow you to enter any keyword or phrase and get detailed information about its popularity, including monthly searches and competition levels. You can also use them to compare different keywords and identify those with higher search volumes that could potentially bring more traffic to your website.

Keyword Difficulty

When analysing keywords, it’s crucial to consider both the difficulty of ranking for them and the potential return on investment (ROI). To do this, you’ll need to look at keyword difficulty scores.

The first step in analysing keywords is identifying low-hanging fruit – those with a lower difficulty score and higher ROI potential. These are often long-tail keywords that have less competition but still generate significant traffic when used correctly. When researching these types of keywords, it’s important to look at the competition level to accurately assess their potential effectiveness.

Conducting keyword traffic analysis can help you determine which websites are getting the most traffic share from each keyword, giving insight into who you’re up against in the SERPs. Knowing this information can help you decide which keywords are worth targeting for your SEO efforts.

Several tools allow you to analyse the effectiveness of your chosen keywords in organic search results. Serpatat is one such tool that allows you to track keyword performance over time so you can see how your efforts are paying off. You can also use this tool to compare different sets of keywords side by side to understand better which ones will be most successful for your website.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click involves evaluating and analysing search terms to determine which keywords are the most cost effective for a given campaign. By understanding how users search, you can pinpoint the best keywords to target and create more effective campaigns to drive more traffic and generate higher ROI.

Once you’ve identified the best keywords for your CPC campaign, monitoring their performance over time is important. By tracking metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and conversion rate (CR), you can make adjustments as needed to optimise your campaigns for maximum efficiency and profitability.

How to Target Keywords

Targeting keywords accurately is essential for successful (SEO) we cover the main points in this section.

Identify the Parent Topic

Identifying the parent topic in keyword research is an important step to ensure your content targets the right audience. It can be difficult to identify the parent topic without paid tools, but there are some free tools available that can help.

One way to identify the parent topic is by taking the #1 ranking page for a keyword and finding the query responsible for sending the most search traffic to that page. This will give you an idea of what topics are popular and relevant in your industry.

Another way to identify parent topics is by using Semrush’s keyword research tool. This tool allows you to filter through thousands of keyword ideas and understand which ones have SERP features, such as featured snippets or knowledge panels. You can also use Semrush’s audience insights feature to better understand who your target audience is and what type of content they are looking for.

Study the Search Intent

Search intent is an important concept to understand when it comes to keywords. It refers to the reason why a user types a particular query into a search engine. Knowing the search intent of your target audience can help you create content that meets their needs and satisfies their expectations.

When creating content, you should start by studying the top SERPs for a keyword to get an idea of what the user intent is for that keyword. You can also use the “people also ask” section to create informative blog posts or social media posts that answer questions related to your topic. Optimising your content for search intent can also help you increase organic traffic and improve your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Remember that search intent is always evolving, so it’s imperative to stay ahead of trends and track how people are searching for online content. By comprehending user behaviour and customising your material accordingly, you can guarantee that your content aligns with the wants of your target demographic.

How to Prioritise Keywords

Prioritising keywords is a critical process that should be followed systematically. Follow these steps to get it right.

How to Gauge the “Business Potential” of a Keyword

Gauging the business potential (aka – buyer intent) of a keyword involves analyzing its relevance and profitability in the context of a specific business or industry. 

Here are some steps to help you gauge the business potential of a keyword:

Determine your business goals: Before you can gauge the business potential of a keyword, you need to understand what you are trying to achieve. For example, are you looking to increase traffic to your website, generate more leads, or drive sales?

Identify your target audience: Knowing your target audience is critical to selecting the right keywords. Understanding their needs, pain points, and behaviour will help you identify the most relevant keywords they will likely search for.

Conduct keyword research: Use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to identify keywords relevant to your business and with a high search volume. Look for long-tail keywords with less competition and more specific to your business.

Analyze competition: Analyze the competition for each keyword you identify. Look at the websites and businesses ranking on the first page of search results for that keyword. Are they direct competitors? Are they significant, established businesses or smaller, niche businesses? This will help you understand the level of competition for that keyword and whether it is feasible to compete for it.

Consider profitability: Consider the profitability of the keywords you identify. Look for keywords with high commercial intent, meaning they are likely to lead to a sale. You can use tools like Google Trends or Google AdWords Keyword Planner to gauge the commercial intent of a keyword.

Analyze search trends: Analyze the search trends for the keywords you identify. Are they trending upwards or downwards? Are they seasonal or year-round? This will help you understand the potential for long-term growth and profitability.

Test and refine: Once you have identified keywords with high business potential, test them on your website and in your marketing campaigns. Monitor their performance and refine your approach as needed to optimize results.

Which Keywords Should You Start Working on First?

Knowing which keywords to prioritise can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to SEO.

The best way to determine which keywords to focus on first is by looking at your target audience. Consider what words they will use when searching for your product or service. It’s also important to consider how competitive the keyword is. If many websites are already competing for that keyword, it may not be worth investing in right away.

You should also consider using long-tail keywords, which are longer phrases that are less competitive than shorter ones. Long-tail keywords tend to have lower search volumes, but they can still be effective if used correctly.

Don’t forget about local SEO when doing keyword research. Local searches often include location-specific terms such as city names or zip codes, so ensure you include these in your research as well.

Final Thoughts

All in all, keyword research is vital to any successful SEO strategy. Through it, you will discover the keywords and topics most relevant to your company and intended audience while being able to tweak your website’s content to draw more organic traffic and improve its search engine ranking. This guide has outlined the basics of keyword research: why it matters, what components are essential for thorough research, and how to properly analyse targeted keywords.

We also offered advice on prioritising your keywords for the greatest impact, evaluating a phrase’s business potential, and using keyword research tools. Keep in mind that keyword research is a continuous process, and to stay ahead of the competition and drive more traffic to your website, it’s critical to periodically review your progress and alter your approach as necessary. This guide’s tips and tricks will help you conduct efficient keyword research and make your website’s content as visible and impactful as possible.

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