SEO Keyword Research – Learning The Basics

As Google’s algorithm updates continue, the marketers in the Internet world have been consistent with one very important strategy: to keep an eye on optimizing their website through keyword research. For some, they may think that it’s the same, but how you do it in this modern and competitive time has definitely evolved.

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Getting To Know Keyword Research. What Is It?

In Search Engine Optimization or SEO, the process of finding and evaluating query terms that are used in search engines by Internet users whenever they are looking for answers is called keyword research. Keyword research can be used to build the appropriate content and help target the right potential audiences at the same time.

Does Keyword Research Matters?

It does and it matters a lot. For more than 10 years, SEO has changed so much, and it seems that most are taking this strategy for granted and have not realized how important this is to help a website competitively rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) through the queries that are made by people every single day. However, the use of specific keywords that exactly match a person’s query has become unimportant today to attain good ranking.

SEO professionals these days do not see it anymore as the most significant element in ranking. They are now focusing on what the INTENT is behind a keyword, and whether or not does content solve that intent, which will be discussed later as we move forward.

However, it does not mean that this approach is considered as an outdated process. Here’s why:

If you use appropriate SEO tool for keyword research, it can tell you the topics that users care about and how popular they are in your target market. TOPIC is the operative term here, which means if you find out the keywords that get a high volume of searches each month, you can pinpoint and organize your content into topics that you will want to use to create a content. And you may use these topics to pinpoint the certain keywords you are trying find and target.

This will give you the ability to confront the questions that most of your target users would like answers to, and you need to remember to research the keywords for their search volume and its general intent.


Let’s discuss a few things in this section on how intent can affect keyword research. The intent of users is one of the many factors that impact your ranking on SERPs. It is important that your site can address the problem of those who are looking for answers with the intention of solving it rather than just having the keyword that they are using.

Keywords may just be taken easily and used plainly, but it gives you a lot of meanings. Now, to achieve a higher rank, the intent of a user behind their query is very important, and you need to be cautious on how you interpret the keywords that you are targeting.

For example, a user will search the keyword “how to create a blog” for an article that they want to make. The word “blog” can be interpreted in different ways. It can mean a blog website or a blog post. You will need to know the intent of the user since it can influence your article’s direction. Is the user trying to learn how to put up a website for blogging? Or is the user trying to start a blog post? Once you know the intent of your keyword, you can do your content strategy properly.

A good way for you to get an idea on what the intent is in a keyword, you can go to a search engine, type the keyword in the search box, and you will see the different kinds of results.

In this article, you will learn a process on keyword research that you can follow so that you can make a clean list for the terms that you want to target. Doing so will help you establish a strategy and ensure that you are doing it correctly for the success in achieving a good ranking spot in search engines.

How to Research Keywords Efficiently for Your SEO

Step 1: List Down Important Topics That Are Related To Your Business

Think of doing this in a general manner, write down about 5 to 10 topics. Your general topics will be narrowed down, and it will show you your specific keywords later.

You will need to think of the topics in different scenarios. Position yourselves as the customers. What do you think your target market would like to ask so that your business will show up? Once you have an idea, you can use SEO tool to show you the keywords and the monthly search volume respectively.

Having the monthly search volume will allow you to gauge the importance of these topics to your target audiences as well as the sub-topics you can create.

Step 2: Fill The General Topics With Keywords

From the remaining general topics, you can now identify the keywords to fit in. These keyword/keyword phrases are vital and will boost your ranking in SERPs since your target audiences might be using these specific terms when conducting a query.

For example, if we use the topic ‘car rental’ you will want to think of keyword phrases that people would look into and type in the search bar of search engines. It might be one of the following:

  • 24/h car rental services
  • Car rental to Malaysia
  • How much does car rental cost
  • Things to take note of when doing car rental
  • Reliable car rental company
  • Urgent car rental service

And the list can go on. This step is not about making a final list of the keyword phrases from your general topics. You are brainstorming here. The more ideas you have, the better it is for you to come up the best keywords that you can use. Your list will be narrowed down, and then you will be able to use data-driven tools to help you identify the keywords that will help you rank competitively.

Did you know that Google is encrypting more keywords every single day? A good way for you to create keyword ideas is to know which of the keywords that your site is already being rank for? For this, you will need the help of Google Search Console. Doing so will let you see the traffic sources of your site, look at your organic search traffic list and pinpoint the keywords that users are using when they visit your website.

You can do this step all over again to gather as many topics as you can. However, if you are challenged in listing down relevant terms for queries, you can ask the people from your sales department who are always attending to you clients in person. You can find out from them the common questions that are being asked by the clients.

Step 3: Research On Related Search Terms

Google actually shows you the related search terms after a query have been made by scrolling down to the bottom of the SERP. There are suggestions for terms that are related to what you typed in the search bar. You can grab this opportunity to create other keywords.

Another great tip is you can type in those related terms and then look at their related terms as well.

Step 4: Have A Mix Of Short Tail And Long Tail Keywords

Let’s understand the difference between these two terms first:

  • Short tail keyword: Keywords that is mostly generic and short.
  • Long tail keyword: Keywords that is longer and contain 3 or more words.

A well-balanced keyword strategy contains a mix of short tail and long tail keywords for your short-term success and long-term goals. Generally speaking, short tail keywords are more general and frequently searched for, which makes them a lot more competitive and challenging to rank as compared to long tail keywords. Let’s try this: Below are 2 search terms, which of the following you think is more challenging to rank?

  1. luxury car
  2. luxury car rental service

If you chose 1, you are correct! Even though the short tail keyword has the most number of search volume or have the ability to send you the traffic that you need for your website, the traffic that you can get from ‘luxury car rental service’ is more desirable.

Why? A user who is looking for something that’s more specific is considered to be a more qualified searcher for the products and services to your business than those who are looking for generic ones. Since long tail keywords are more precise, it will be easier on your part to tell who and the type of people that were searching using those words. If a person has just searched for ‘luxury car’, it will not give you any specific hints if the user is interested to buy, rent or just simply for their own viewing pleasure.

Always check the list of keywords that you have for a concoction of balanced short and long tail keywords as it will help you increase site traffic and target a more specific audience.

Step 5: See How Competitors Are Ranking For These Keywords

You do not need to copy what your competitors are doing. The same mindset should be applied with keywords. What’s important to your competitor may not be significant to you. However, if you are able to understand what keywords your competitors are using for them to get a good ranking, is will be a great way for you to evaluate your own list of keywords.

If your competitors are ranking for the same keywords that are on your list, it will make sense on your part on identify ways to improve your ranking for these keywords. On the other hand, don’t ignore those keywords that your competitors are not ranked for as you could be getting your own market share on those keywords.

Step 6: Use Google Keyword Planner To Filter Your Selections

With the right mix of keywords in your hands, you can narrow it down further using Google Keyword Planner to give you a more quantitative data.

Google Keyword Planner will let you see estimates of search volume and traffic of the keywords that you have shortlisted. Through the Keyword Planner, you can remove from your list the keywords that have too little or too many searches.

However, you may soon to realize some of the keywords that have been low-volume might be something that you can actually invest on today and then enjoy its benefits later. The most important point is to focus on your target audience search intention.

Useful Tip

Do not forget to re-evaluate your keywords after a few months. Once you have established your authority in the search engine results pages (SERPs), you can add more keywords to your list as you maintain and grow in new areas your online presence.

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