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Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimization in 2022

What exactly are keywords?

Keywords Research for SEO (also known as “SEO keywords”) are any words or phrases entered into a search engine to locate specific content on the internet. The term serves as a portal to organic search results and, eventually, to the website where customers can find what they’re looking for.

That is why selecting the appropriate keywords is crucial in SEO. You can change your content strategy and optimization to target these phrases once you’ve discovered phrases people use while browsing for things in your niche. As a result, your website will rank higher and get more visitors. A procedure known as keyword research is used to find the keywords.

Search Engine Optimization

So, what exactly is keyword research?

Finding, evaluating, and using the phrases people use to search for information on the internet is known as keyword research. In other words, it’s about learning your potential visitors’ language and applying that knowledge to improve your content.

WHY is keyword research important?

Because it is one of the most crucial SEO jobs and a fantastic approach to get your content in front of more people.

How do you conduct keyword research?

This is something that this tutorial will assist you with.

You don’t have to be concerned; keyword research isn’t difficult. You’re ready to go once you’ve mastered the fundamentals and learned some tried-and-true tactics (along with some helpful hints and suggestions).

When should you conduct keyword research?

The initial stage in every website’s search engine optimization is usually keyword research. When you’re:

  • Looking for a new niche.
  •  Looking for new content ideas, you’ll need to undertake keyword research.
  • Improving your current content

Who should be responsible for keyword research?

Any webmaster, blogger, internet marketer, or SEO expert.

A basic overview of keyword research

People’s approaches to keyword research have changed throughout time.

Keyword research in the 2000s was typically reduced to checking Google Keyword Planner, identifying the most popular terms, and putting them into the website text.

Because this might be readily abused to rank low-quality content, Google replied with a series of algorithm tweaks over time. The purpose of these modifications was to better understand what users wanted and provide the best possible service to them. The following are the most significant algorithm updates that have changed how we conduct keyword research:

  • Google Panda has penalized duplicate text and weak, low-quality content.
  • Penguin is a Google algorithm that penalizes unnatural keyword usage.
  • Google Hummingbird focuses on search intent and improves semantic search.

Finding the “correct” keywords and placing them in the “proper” places is no longer the extent of keyword research.

Google is getting better at recognizing what users are looking for. Its main purpose is to provide material that best meets their needs.

To put it another way, keyword research is becoming increasingly relevant. Finding the perfect keyword is no longer an option. It’s all about knowing your audience and covering the subject in depth.

Simply told, if the topic is well-covered, you can rank for keywords that were not even included in the article!

This isn’t to say that keyword research isn’t necessary; on the contrary, it’s critical. It simply looks different than in the past.

Keyword research stages

Looking for keywords

To develop captivating content that meets the demands of people interested in your area, you must first understand their wants.

My first piece of keyword research advice is to understand your niche.

Keyword research helps you gain a better knowledge of your niche’s subtopics and repeating themes.

Let’s pretend you have a hiking blog. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that “hiking” or “hiking trails” is one of the keywords you want to rank for. The problem with these keywords (also known as fat head keywords) is that they have a lot of competition.

However, if you delve deeper into the niche, you’ll discover that hikers may also search for terms like “GPS watch with heart rate monitor,” “best android app for geocaching,” “how long does it take to walk the Appalachian route,” and “how many calories does hiking burn.”

These are all examples of so-called long-tail keywords. These are the characteristics of a typical long-tail keyword:

Contains three or more words

Has a smaller search volume, but also a lesser level of competitiveness?

Is more targeted = has a greater rate of engagement and conversion

As you can see in the figure, long-tail keyword visitors may account for a large portion of your overall organic traffic.

The internet is a resource for sharing knowledge, answering queries, and resolving issues. Your content strategy should try to address all possible inquiries regarding your niche. Long-tail keywords can help you locate them.

Let’s look at a few sites where you might uncover keywords that people naturally use when discussing relevant issues.

Google Keyword Planner

For many people, Google Keyword Planner had long been their go-to free keyword tool. Keyword research has become more difficult over time. Most SEOs nowadays use more complex technologies instead of GKP. To utilize the feature, you must first sign up for a Google Ads account (it will take you a couple of seconds if you have a Google account already). Go to Tools – Keyword Planner after you’ve signed up.

To get recommendations, select Discover new keywords and enter the seed keyword(s). Following that, you’ll see a list of keywords arranged by seed keyword significance.

Google Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool that provides a wealth of information for PPC campaigns (you can check our beginner-friendly guide in SEOpedia). It delivers hundreds of keyword suggestions for SEO; however, it does not totally replace a keyword tool.

It can still be a valuable tool if you keep two points in mind:

  • The search volumes are frequently clustered by closely related variant terms. Also, unless you spend enough money on Google Ads, you’ll only get search volume ranges (e.g. 1K – 10K).
  • Google Ads includes Google Keyword Planner (formerly Google AdWords). Its competitiveness column just reflects the competition in PPC campaigns, not the organic difficulty.

Tools for keyword research

Using a keyword research tool is the most popular technique to locate plenty of keyword opportunities. There are numerous tools available, including KWFinder, KeywordTool, and Long Tail Pro, to mention a few…

Should I pay for a keyword research tool, you might wonder?

Of course, the answer depends on a variety of factors, but my advice is this: “If your website or blog generates revenue in any way, a keyword research tool (or an SEO toolset in general) is a terrific investment that will pay off.”

The following are the primary benefits of employing a professional keyword research tool:

  • It helps you save a lot of time (you get hundreds of keywords ideas literally in one click)
  • It provides information that you won’t discover anywhere else (like keyword difficulty, search volume, SERP data)
  • It provides you with a competitive advantage (over others who do not use a keyword tool).

I indicated that there are three essential processes to any keyword research: FINDING, ANALYZING, and USING the keywords. You can complete both the first and second steps using a keyword research tool.

In a keyword tool, there are two primary approaches to keyword research:

Competitor-based research and based on a seed term.

  1. Use a seed keyword to start your search.

This approach begins with the seed keyword, as the name suggests. Any phrase that describes the topic will suffice. Simply type the keyword coffee machines into the tool to create content about coffee machines.

The autocomplete feature – keywords containing the seed keyword + (an)other word – is used to generate the suggestions (s).

Aside from keyword suggestions, a good tool will include SEO data to assist you assess and select the best terms. You can rapidly determine the actual search volume, keyword difficulty, and search results page (SERP).

  • Keyword research based on competitors

One of the most useful functions of keyword tools is competitor keyword research.

Why? Because manually locating your competitors’ keywords is extremely time consuming. You’d have to go through each page and guess which keywords your competitors use.

With the right tool, though, it is only a matter of a few clicks.

There are two primary approaches:

  1. Look at your competitor’s website for new topic ideas.

You might uncover new fascinating topic ideas for your website by looking at the keywords your competition ranks for.

  • Go to a specific URL to get keyword suggestions for a certain subject.

If you already have a theme in mind, you can use this strategy. Let’s imagine you want to publish a post for your coffee blog about “pour over coffee.”

Simply type the keyword into Google and see who comes up first. If it isn’t you, it is one of your competitors.

Once you’ve located the competition, simply input the URL of his post to check what other keywords it ranks for. They’re all keywords that are strongly related to your core theme.

Suggestions from Google

Google provides a number of term suggestions immediately in the search results to assist users in finding the most relevant results.

Let’s look at the three features you can use to generate new keyword ideas:


Google tries to suggest related search questions immediately in the search box, as you may have observed. These can be a good source of keyword ideas because they are based on real-world searches.

People also ask

The so-called “people also ask” snippet is one of the elements seen in Google search results. It generally appears in response to inquiry queries and proposes further questions that are connected.

These can be used as a starting point for long-tail query keywords.

Searches related to…

The suggestions are at the bottom of the results page, similar to autocomplete.


It is also possible to extract the autocomplete recommendations mechanically. AnswerThePublic is one of the free tools that does this.

My favorite feature is the ability to generate keyword ideas depending on:

When, how, where, what, can, and will are all question words.

  • (for, without, to, with…) Prepositions
  • Words that make comparisons (such as vs, and, or…)
  • Simply enter your seed search, and it will create autocomplete suggestions for each letter of the alphabet from Google and Bing.

YouTube recommendations

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine.

Although this platform’s keyword research is unique, it might also be useful for Google keyword research.

The most popular subjects are the result of thousands of searches. There’s a good likelihood that popular YouTube topics will also have a lot of Google searches.

Consider the following scenario.

If we search YouTube for “water filter,” one of the video results has a clear keyword suggestion in the title – “homemade water filter.”

A brief look at the search volume reveals that the phrase is also very popular on Google.

Use the YouTube Autocomplete feature as another option. People frequently employ search phrases that are more “practically” oriented when browsing for videos on YouTube.

When comparing Google and YouTube autocomplete suggestions, it’s clear that they’re not the same.

Some handy programs, such as YouTube Keyword Tool, automatically scrape the autocomplete results.

Google Search Console

Checking what you already rank for in Google Search Console is an excellent method to identify highly relevant keywords.

If the content already ranks for some keywords, there’s a good probability it will also rank for other long-tail phrases.

Let’s look at two methods for locating keywords with the most potential:

  1. Look for keywords with a lot of impressions but few clicks.

Keywords with a lot of impressions but little clicks may signal that there’s a lot of traffic potential, but you’re not ranking high enough (or you were ranking for a short period of time and not anymore).

Select Search results in the Performance section of your Search Console.

You may use the domain to verify all of the terms you rank for (default Queries setting).

You can also go to Pages, select a specific URL, and then return to Queries to check what keywords that URL ranks for.

Sort the results according to the amount of impressions. Look for keywords that are relevant to your content yet have a low click-through rate.

Examine the keywords to see if they are worthwhile (particularly in terms of search volume and difficulty).

If they do, you can increase the article’s keyword optimization for these terms.

  • See where you rank on the second or third SERP.

You may see that you rank on the 2nd or 3rd SERP for keywords that aren’t the major topic of the content but still generate you impressions and clicks by looking at the average position for the searches.

All you have to do is go to the Performance section and select the Average position (it is not displayed by default). The queries should then be sorted by this dimension.

There are two options available to you:

You may make the present article better by emphasizing the keyword more. (However, such a precise subtopic is unlikely to be covered in a generic article.)

You might create a new post about “best 4 cup coffee makers” and link to it from the main article.

You have a better chance of ranking for the keyword with a quality article dedicated to the issue than you do with a generic post.


Reddit is one of the largest online communities, with discussions on practically any topic imaginable. As a result, it can be a useful tool for finding others who are interested in your field and learning about the issues they discuss.

Assume your specialty is aqua scaping (I discovered this niche when writing this guide and I think I found my retirement hobby).

To begin, look for subreddits that are similar to your niche. As you can see, even a niche like aqua scaping has thousands of followers across multiple subreddits.

You can look at the most popular posts in a given subreddit. Alternatively, you can search the subreddit for question-type posts.

You can use the following search terms:

“How can I”

 “How do you”




Various niche-related questions can be found. They might provide ideas for your next piece of content by looking at what others are talking about online.

Niche forums

Although forums are no longer as popular as they once were, specialty forums of various types have thrived.

You can find forums relating to your topic by using the following search terms:

“keyword discussion forum”

“forum” + “keyword”

“forums” + “keyword”


Are you aware that Amazon has its own search engine, A9?

It collects data about popular search searches and delivers automatic suggestions, similar to Google and YouTube.

You can either look for them manually or use one of the many free programs available.

The relevance of the recommendations is determined by the product conversion rate and purchasing patterns.

These keywords could be particularly effective for transactional material.

Do you sell affiliate products? Do you own an online store?

Do not overlook Amazon.


Keywords can also be found on Wikipedia. You can navigate from a wide topic to specific sub-topics thanks to its tiered structure. Tables of contents and sub-chapters are excellent places to start.

Here’s an example of a search that progressed from a broad keyword to a highly focused subject:

Workout (main topic) – Physical fitness (subtopic) – Aerobic exercise (article) – Types of aerobic exercise (article)

A thorough table of related subtopics can be found at the bottom of several large topics’ Wikipedia pages. This can provide you a lot of information about the topic’s structure and depth.

Last but not least, you can scrape topic ideas and keywords from Wikipedia using a free program (like this one by Karooya):

Isn’t that a big pool of keyword suggestions?

Of course, there are other additional locations where keyword ideas can be found. Simply explore for online communities where individuals in your niche congregate. It might be:

Threads on Twitter

Questions from Quora

Groups on Facebook

Platforms for content curation, for example.

Keyword suggestions are plenty. However, not all keywords are equal.

How do you sort through them to discover the ones worth pursuing?

You should use a focus keyword whenever you generate fresh material. The emphasis keyword is a keyword that best portrays the page’s topic while also having the finest SEO qualities.

The keyword’s popularity, difficulty, and relevancy are the three most important factors to examine.

These three qualities remind me of the three legs of a tripod, therefore I named it The Keyword Tripod Rule.

Let’s look at these three legs in more detail:

  1. The keyword’s popularity

The search volume – how many people search for the given phrase – is commonly used to determine the keyword’s popularity. It’s often calculated as a monthly average over the previous 12 months.

In keyword research tools, there are two basic sources of search volume data:

Google data – statistics from the Google Keyword Planner database on search volume.

Clickstream data is search volume data based on internet users’ behavior (collected from browser extensions, plugins, etc.)

Different keyword tools employ different data sources and post-processing methods. As a result, different search volume values may exist.

Both sources have advantages and disadvantages, and neither is completely accurate.

You should also consider the popularity of a search from a longer perspective by looking at the keyword’s long-term interest pattern.

Google Trends is an excellent resource for this. Simply type in a keyword or topic, and the tool will display interest through time on a scale of one to one hundred.

Take a look at these four graphs, each illustrating a distinct type of search interest over time:

The keyword 3D television, for example, may have a high monthly search volume (actually, it is around 2,400 searches per month globally). However, if you look at the long-term trend, you’ll notice that interest has been declining in recent years.

Google Trends can also assist you in determining the keyword’s seasonality. Seasonal keywords are those that are associated with a specific season (summer/winter, holidays, and annual events).

In the screenshot above, look at the keyword garden pool. Summertime brings natural interest spikes, whereas wintertime brings decreasing interest. When establishing your content strategy, keep this in mind.

Last but not least, the click-through rate should be considered (CTR).

The CTR is highly dependent on the positioning of your website. Other factors, particularly the rich snippets, have an impact.

Among them are:

Featured snippets on Google Ads

Question boxes

Map collections

Several other tidbits

The organic CTR on the result pages with and without various rich snippets is represented in this graph. As you can see, when snippets are included, organic results have a substantially lower CTR.

Rich snippets’ impact on organic results can be calculated using software. It’s something to consider when evaluating the number of visitors you’ll get from a keyword.

Let’s take a look at the tripod’s second leg.

It’s a significant one.

  • Keyword complexity

The keyword difficulty statistic indicates how tough it is to rank for a specific keyword. The higher the keyword difficulty, the more difficult it will be for your website to rank for that term.

The authority of the websites ranking in the first SERP is taken into account by the difficulty metrics employed in keyword tools. There is a good probability of ranking for the keyword if there are several low-authority websites in the first SERP.

How is the authority of a website determined? In the majority of circumstances, the computation considers two factors:

Backlinks – how many pages link to a specific website

Backlink quality is determined by the authority and relevance of the connecting pages.

There are several well-known authority metrics. The most popular are Moz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority, as well as Majestic’s Citation Flow and Trust Flow.

These metrics attempt to condense the page’s authority into a single number on a scale of 1 to 100. You can estimate how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword based on the authority of all the websites ranking for that phrase in the first SERP.

It’s vital to note a few things when working with the keyword difficulty metric:

Don’t rely solely on the keyword difficulty. Only use the metric as a guideline, not as an absolute value. You can outrank websites with higher authority if your content is better and more relevant.

Never compare numbers from various instruments. Because each keyword research tool calculates keyword difficulty using different data, the results will vary. Compare the difficulty metrics of the keywords instead.

Don’t overlook the subjective aspects. No measure can accurately predict how difficult it will be for YOU to rank for a certain keyword. There are numerous subjective considerations to consider, including:

your SEO abilities, the authority of your website, and the relevancy of your content.

Alternative methods for determining keyword difficulty

Although the difficulty meter is the most reliable technique to estimate the competitiveness, there are additional options:

Domain age – you can use the age of the domains to identify SERPs with websites that are relatively new. A keyword with a 6-month-old website in the top SERP, for example, could be simple to rank for.

Keyword Golden Ratio — this strategy allows you to quickly identify long-tail keywords for which you should be able to rank. In our Keyword Golden Ratio guide, you can learn more about it.

Research Keyword for SEO

3. Usefulness (search intent)

Every keyword research project should include SERP analysis.

To begin, look at the authority of the ranking websites to properly assess keyword difficulty.

Second, it assists you in determining the keyword’s search intent in order to determine whether the keyword is related to your content.

There are four primary types of search intent:

Navigational – the user is looking for a specific brand or website.

Informational – the user is looking for broad details.

Transactional – the user want to make an online purchase.

Commercial – the user wishes to conduct research prior to making a purchase.

The simplest approach to figure out what the keyword’s intent is to Google it and see what comes up first.

It’s possible that the keyword is topically relevant to your content but not in terms of search intent.

Consider the following scenario:

Assume you run an online aquarium supply business and are looking for a focus keyword for the Aqua Clear advanced aquarium filter’s product page.

You come across the term “best aquarium filter.” It has a high search volume and appears to be simple to rank for.

“Best aquarium filter” is clearly a commercial term, as all of the results are reviews and purchase instructions.

Because your product page has a transactional nature, you won’t be able to rate it.

You now have two choices:

Choose a focus term with the right intent (for example, “aquarium filter buy” or “aqua clear filter price”).

Make a new piece of content that corresponds to the search intent (e.g. a comparison of the best aquarium filters with links to your online store)

The primary purpose is to match the query’s intent with your content type.

Keywords and how to use them

This is where many keyword research guides end. You’ve discovered the essential phrase. You choose the ones with the most favorable metrics.

What to do next is the question.

We’ll look at some essential rules and tips for using keywords correctly in this chapter.

They’re linked to on-page optimization and content planning, but they’re also crucial for keyword research.

Consider keywords to be topics (the content hub model)

Rather than dividing articles into artificial categories (or worse, having no structure at all), separate them into content hubs based on topics (sometimes also called topic clusters).

In the content hub approach, there are two sorts of content:

Pillar content – the major post or page that covers the entire subject – focuses on larger keywords.

Cluster content – supporting blog entries delving further into subtopics – focusing on more particular keywords

The pillar content and supporting cluster articles are linked as shown in the diagram above.

The semantic relationship between the articles is strengthened by the subject groupings. As a result, search engines may be able to better assess the topical relevancy of the content.

That is the theory; now consider the following example:

If one of your running blog’s content hubs is dedicated to jogging, the keywords and content titles would look like this:

jogging is the focus keyword and the pillar article title (Jogging: All You Need to Know)

Keywords and titles to focus on for possible cluster articles:

forms of jogging (Can You Explain the Different Types of Jogging for Beginners?)

jogging errors (The Worst Jogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them)

advantages of jogging (7 Incredible Health Benefits of Jogging)

jogging on treadmill (15 Tips for Treadmill Jogging at Home)

best jogging shoes (Reviews + How to Find the Best Jogging Shoes)

When you consider keywords as independent content subjects, it forces you to consider their natural relationships.

You’ll see that keyword research isn’t just about volume and difficulty of searches. First and foremost, it should assist you in comprehending how individuals seek and think on the internet.

This enables you to develop information that is comprehensive and meets the demands of users.

Use the keyword concentrate (when relevant)

Use the target keyword for your page in the key elements after you’ve chosen it.

Use the keyword sparingly. The exact-match keyword is the best practice in:

The heading tag

The title of the page (and subheadings, if relevant)

The page’s main content (ideally in one of the first paragraphs of the text)

Internal links connecting to the page include anchor texts.

That concludes it.

Keyword stuffing is an old method that everyone knows about.

Do not try to cram the exact match term into the post to achieve a keyword density requirement (there is no ideal number and never was).

What about keywords with LSI?

Although exaggerated for dramatic effect, it demonstrates that keyword stuffing is not the way to go. It is immediately identifiable and reduces readability. This is where the “LSI keywords” method comes in.

The term “latent semantic indexing” refers to a natural-language processing method. Search engines are said to use it to determine whether keywords are semantically related.

Many “SEO gurus” suggest that LSI keywords are synonyms and similar keywords that should be used in your text to boost your rankings. Which, when you think about it, is a dumb thing to do.

Please keep in mind that trying to artificially incorporate keywords into your text just because a tool instructed you to is a bad idea. Instead, write naturally and comprehensively about the subject.

You are not need to use each and every linked term. You might even rank for keywords that weren’t even mentioned in the article.

Consider the following scenario:

When you Google “strong coffee,” the first result is Caffeine Informer’s comprehensive list of the greatest strong coffee companies.

A short glance at the article reveals it to be a well-written, thorough piece with a wealth of useful information and advice.

We can see that the post ranks for 92 keywords in the US using KWFinder, in addition to the initial keyword (“strong coffee”) (many of them on the 1st SERP).

For example, it ranks first for the keyword “high caffeine coffee,” which has 2,800 monthly searches.

Now, if you look at the actual post, you’ll note that neither “high caffeine coffee” nor “high caffeine” or “high-caffeine” occur anywhere in the text.

Despite this, the post is ranked first for it!

The guide’s author may develop a new article with the focus keyword “high caffeine coffee.” Alternatively, he may try to pack it into the post together with a slew of other “LSI keywords” to boost his chances of ranking for them.

Instead, he published a single high-quality post that covers the entire issue of “strong coffee” in depth and in plain English. As a result, He also ranks for a variety of other keywords!

If Google thinks your material is good and relevant, you could rank for keywords you didn’t even target.

The Google algorithm is improving its ability to comprehend content and determine the purpose of a website. You don’t have to utilize each and every term.

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