Everyone wants a lot of organic traffic, but not too many people know the proper way to position their posts to show up in search engines. Keyword research for SEO is a big factor in this.
Keyword research is an essential procedure because it tells you exactly what your readers are searching for. If you don’t know what they’re searching for and you’re just guessing, your audience won’t be able to find your post on search engines like Google.
In this guide, we’re going to explain what Keyword Research is and then show you how to effectively conduct keyword research for SEO.
If you go through this keyword research process before you write every post, I guarantee you’ll exponentially increase your Google rankings and start receiving more organic traffic on your blog!
It’ll help you become the successful and profitable blogger you aspire to be.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is a research process that involves identifying what keywords people are searching for and how you can use those keywords to increase organic traffic on your posts.
By the end of your keyword research, you will have a seed keyword and related keywords to use in your posts. A seed keyword is commonly known as focus keyword in the Yoast SEO plugin. Related keywords are additional keywords to supplement the focus keyword.
To make things easier to understand, the seed keyword can be the main topic of your blog post and the related keywords can be subtopics.
Knowing the seed keyword and related keywords will help your audience find you more easily.
Why is Keyword Research for SEO Necessary?
You’re probably wondering if you have to conduct keyword research?
If you want your blog to grow quickly, then the answer is YES!
Keyword research is the only way to effectively obtain reliable traffic from search engines. It’s necessary because there’s just so much competition out there now for keywords in almost every industry.
Let’s put it this way: if you’re planning to write an article called “How to Play Guitar,” based on an allintitle: search for that keyword phrase in Google, you would be competing with 305,000 other posts that are using that keyword in its title.
The chances of people finding your article among 305,000 other articles are slim to none and that would mean you probably won’t get any views on your post from search engines. It’s just too competitive to rank for.
With keyword research, you’ll be able to find a low-competition seed keyword and plenty of low-competition related keywords to add to your posts. This will greatly increase the chances of being found on search engines.
Without keyword research, you might end up writing awesome articles that no-one’s ever going to find. You don’t want that now, do you?
How to Do Keyword Research
Here is the step-by-step process for conducting keyword research for SEO. We’re going to pretend we’re doing research for the post subject of teaching others how to play guitar.
As mentioned earlier, there are two parts to the keyword research process:
1) Finding the seed keyword
2) Finding related keywords to support the seed keyword
1) Finding the Seed Keyword
The best way to start conducting keyword research is by first asking yourself what you would search for to find your post subject if you were to do a Google search for your own post.
Since we’re planning to write a tutorial to teach others how to play guitar, if we were in the position of someone who wanted to learn guitar, we might search for “how to play guitar” on Google.
We’re going to use “how to play guitar” as our temporary seed keyword until we find the right one—one that has low competition, has a good search volume and covers the entire subject we initially wanted to cover in our post.
To verify if that’s a good seed keyword and continue the rest of the research, we’ll be using a tool called Google Keywords Planner—a keyword research tool.
To gain access to this tool, you’ll need a Google Adwords account. The link above will guide you through creating a Google Adwords account using your Gmail.
When you’ve successfully signed up for Google Adwords, you can access Keyword Planner by clicking on the wrench icon in the top right corner.
Inside the Keyword Planner tool, click “search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” to expand it.
Since our temporary seed keyword is how to play guitar, let’s enter that into the first search box and click “get ideas.”
The results page will tell you approximately how many people search for that keyword every month and how competitive it is.
For “how to play guitar,” there are between 100,000 to 1,000,000 monthly searches for that keyword phrase.
Below that, you’ll find a generated list of related and suggested keywords that you can use as additional keywords for your post.
For a more organized and detailed display of suggested keywords, you can download the report by clicking the download button. It’ll allow you to either download a Microsoft Excel file or import it into your Google Drive to open with Google Spreadsheet.
But before you do that, I suggest installing the Keywords Everywhere chrome extension first! Normally when you download the spreadsheet, you’ll only see the competition levels listed as low, medium, or high. With the extension, you’ll see it each keyword ranked from 0.00 to 1.00 which will give you a better idea of the competition level.
Once you have the spreadsheet open, see what competition your seed keyword is. “How to play guitar” has a competition rating of 0.32. The closer the value to 1, the higher the competition of that specific keyword.
Generally, I prefer to find keywords with competition levels lower than 0.20 because they’re still relatively easy to rank for.
That means perhaps “how to play guitar” isn’t the best seed keyword to use since it’s 0.32. so we’ll keep searching for the right seed keyword.
Let’s try sorting the spreadsheet by competition. You can do that in excel by going to the data tab > sort > choosing competition > OK.
It should now be sorted by competition.
You’ll have to scroll through to and see what seed keyword options are available from this list and then select the one that will cover a majority of what you want to write about.
We’re going to go with “how to teach yourself guitar” because it has a competition rating of 0.15, has around 1,000 to 10,000 monthly searches, and can cover our entire post topic since there are a sub-topics that can be generated from it.
Sounds like a good seed keyword to me.
2) Finding Related Keywords
We’re going to plug the seed keyword into Google Keyword Planner, download the spreadsheet and sort it by competition to find our related keywords.
The list will contain a whole bunch of keyword suggestions.
You want to find related keywords that would make sense in your post and that you’re comfortable writing about in your post. Highlight to distinguish the ones we want.
Here are some that I highlighted:
Sure, some of these keywords might have low monthly search volumes, but the good thing is that they have low competition and when you group them together, you can get a good amount of traffic! Neil Patel likes to call these long-tail keywords.
As a recap, through our keyword research, we found our:
- How to teach yourself guitar
- best guitar to start learning on
- can you learn guitar by yourself?
- how can I learn guitar on my own
- easy guitar chords
- easy guitar tabs for beginners
- online guitar tuner
Now that the keyword research for SEO is complete, we can proceed with using tools like Yoast SEO to incorporate the seed keyword as our focus keyword and then use the related keywords in the content.
NOTE: You don’t have to use the exact keyword phrase in your articles. If it’s a relevant keyword phrase, Google is smart and it will know. For example, instead of using “how can I learn guitar on my own” you can put something like “how to learn guitar on my own” and you will still rank for the former keyword phrase.
You can learn more about using the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize content in my Ultimate Guide to On-page SEO.
Over a matter of time, Google will index your posts and its keywords and you should be expecting some organic traffic coming your way.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t let the keyword research control you – Remember, you should always write quality content using the knowledge that you’re comfortable with. Use keyword research to find topics that make sense and will sound natural in your writing. If you can’t find any, just write similar keyword phrases. Again, it doesn’t have to be exact-match keywords. Also, you don’t want to include random keywords for the sake of including keywords. That’s called keyword stuffing and Google doesn’t like that.
- Conducting keyword research for SEO will be difficult at first – It’s something that you’ll need to practice to get the hang of. You’ll get used to it very quickly.
- Don’t take keyword research lightly – If you perform keyword research right the first time, you won’t have to wonder in the future whether you’re getting as much organic traffic as possible
That’s it for this keyword research tutorial! If you found it useful, please pin the image below and help others find it as well!