How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Even though Google is constantly changing its algorithms, one thing that has remained the same for people who want to optimize their website for search is keyword research.

In this post, you will learn about keyword research, its importance, how to do it for your SEO strategy, and how to choose the right keywords for your website.

What Is Keyword Research?

The process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines is called keyword research. The data from keyword research can be used for a variety of purposes, such as search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing. Keyword research can reveal which queries to target, how popular these queries are, how difficult they are to rank for, and more.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

The purpose of keyword research is to help you determine which keywords are most advantageous for you to target in order to gain valuable insights into the types of queries that your target audience is searching on Google. The information you can glean from these queries can then be used to inform your content strategy and overall marketing strategy.

People use keywords to find solutions online. If your content is successful in getting in front of our audience as they conduct searches, you will get more traffic. You should be targeting those searches.

In the inbound methodology, we create content around what people want to discover, rather than what we want to tell people. Our audience comes to us for the information they need.

This all starts with keyword research.

To learn more about how Arel=”noopener” target=”_blank” hrefs can help with your SEO keyword research, read our case study and interview.

Marketing Trend Insight

The benefits of keyword research are that it can help you understand current marketing trends and how to make your content more relevant to what your audience is searching for.

Traffic Growth

The better your keywords fit your content, the higher you will rank on search engines, and the more traffic you will bring to your website.

Customer Acquisition

If your business has content that other business professionals are looking for, you can use this to your advantage by providing them with a call to action that will lead them into the buyer journey from the awareness stage to the point of purchase.

You can research keywords to find out which ones are popular, have a lot of searches, and are relevant to what your audience is looking for. This will help you answer the questions that most people in your audience want answers to.

Keywords vs. Topics

We are hearing more and more about how SEO has evolved over the last 10 years and how unimportant keywords have become to our ability to rank well for the searches people make every day.

The SEO professional believes that it is not just the keyword that is important, but also the intent behind the keyword. They feel that a piece of content needs to solve for that intent in order to be effective.

But that doesn’t mean keyword research is an outdated process. Let me explain:

By conducting research on the keywords that are being popular among your audience, you can identify the topics that they care about and use those keywords to target your content.

Elements of Keyword Research

There are three things you should focus on when you are doing keyword research.


Your content will only rank for a keyword if it meets the searchers’ needs. In order for your content to rank highly on Google, it must be the best resource out there for the query. Google only ranks content that is relevant and useful to searchers.


If you want your website to rank higher on Google, you need to make sure it is seen as an authoritative source. This can be done by adding informative content to your site and promoting it through social media and other channels. If there are already established websites with a high ranking for the keyword you are targeting, it will be difficult to compete unless your content is exceptional.


You could rank on the first page for a keyword, but if no one is searching for that keyword, it won’t result in any traffic to your site. It would be like setting up shop in a ghost town.

The amount of times a keyword is searched per month is known as the MSV, or monthly search volume. This metric is used to measure how often the keyword is being looked up.

How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy

I’m going to share a keyword research process that you can follow to help you generate a list of terms you should be targeting. That way, you’ll be able to develop and execute a strong keyword strategy that helps you get found for the search terms you care about.

Start by brainstorming

You should try to think of keywords that relate to your business that people might use to find you online. For example, if you are a business that provides a service, you should think of keywords that relate to that service. Alternatively, if you sell products, you should think of keywords that relate to those products. You should also try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential audience and think about what they would type into Google to find your business.

Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself to get your creativity flowing:

If you’re looking for more ideas, try searching your keywords on Google.

As you type your search terms into the Google search bar, additional related keyword suggestions will pop up beneath the bar.

After you complete a search on Google, related keywords will be displayed at the bottom of the search results page. These keywords could be relevant to your content, so make a note of any that stand out to you.

Use competitor websites for ideas

A good way to come up with ideas is to look at your competitors’ websites.

The term “search competitors” describes a different type of competitor than the ones you typically think of. Search competitors are those who are trying to rank for the same keywords as you. Rather than trying to outdo your regular competitors, it would be more beneficial to look at what they’re doing right and emulate their strategies. Don’t plagiarize their content, but rather use their success as inspiration to do better.

To find the URLs of the top-ranking positions for your main keyword, simply type your keyword into Google and explore the results.

You can use a tool like our SEO rankings checker to see what your competitors are ranking for!

You can learn about what keywords your competitors think are important by analyzing their title tags and other metadata. Title tags can give you clues about what keywords your competitors are targeting intentionally.

Use keyword research tools

Keyword research tools can help you come up with new keyword phrases to target, as well as giving you estimates on how often those phrases are searched for. This can help you focus your efforts on phrases that are more likely to result in successful SEO.

The HOTH Keyword Research Tool can help you find the right keywords to grow your target audience and marketing strategy. It’s free and gives you everything you need to know.

Here is a list of the other best keyword research tools for SEO: 

There are various tools that can be used in order to come up with more ideas for keywords, as well as to find out how many searches are conducted for a particular keyword. Examples of such tools include Ahref’s Keyword Explorer, Moz, and SEMRush.

To perform a keyword search, type in a keyword phrase and click the button that says “View Keyword Research.”

The results of the keyword research will show a list of keywords, estimated traffic volume, and average cost per click (CPC) for those keywords. This will give you an idea of what keywords are most popular and how much people are willing to pay to get traffic for those keywords.

If you want to get more data about the best keywords for your research, then you should invest in other keyword tools.

You can develop an SEO strategy based on the monthly search volume of the terms you have selected.

Consider search intent

Before you create content, do some research on what content typically ranks in Google when searching for a related keyword. You may be surprised by what you find!

The intent behind a search is the why or the purpose for the search. When a user enters a query into a search engine, they are looking for an answer to their question or a solution to their problem. For example, 46% of searches are made with local intent, meaning the person is looking for something in their immediate vicinity.

Google usually ranks articles that are longer and more detailed higher than shorter ones. This is because these articles usually contain more valuable information. When you are doing SEO keyword research, it is important to find keywords that are relevant to your topic so that your articles will be more likely to show up in search results.

If you’re looking to rank highly, it’s important to model the content that is currently ranking.

Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business.

Think of 5 to 10 topics that are important to your business, these will be used to help come up with specific keywords later on.

Turn these topics into an ongoing blog series. If you are a frequent blogger, the topics you most likely blog about are probably the topics that come up the most in sales conversations. Why not transform these topics into an ongoing blog series? If you were a company like HubSpot, for example — selling marketing software (which happens to have some awesome SEO tools… but I digress), you might have general topic buckets like:

The parenthetical numbers to the right of each keyword represent the monthly search volume for that particular keyword. This data provides you with an indication of how important these topics are to your audience, as well as how many different sub-topics you might need to create content on to be successful with that keyword.

Consider trends and seasonality

When trying to increase traffic from SEO, you need to take into account things like seasonality and trends.

Google Trends is a tool you can use to see how popular a keyword is over time.


Google Trends is a powerful tool that can help you understand how interest in a particular topic has changed over time by using data from Google’s user searches. You can also use historical data to predict future trends in Google user behavior.

The popularity of some keywords or topics can change over time.

In 2004, “salsa dancing” was popular, but it seems to be declining in popularity.


A seasonality index helps you to predict demand for services or products by looking at patterns in search terms over a year. This is a helpful tool to use when you are trying to figure out what type of products your audience is interested in.

Some keyword phrases can also experience seasonal fluctuations.

Search interest for “easter chocolate” increases every Easter.

It is important to consider trends and seasonality before investing in SEO to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective in the long term.

Select your target keywords

The most important thing to do when trying to improve your website’s ranking is to select a primary keyword phrase to target. This phrase should be the highest volume phrase that is most relevant to your web page.

You can use your primary keyword to create and optimize your content.

You can also create a list of long-tail keywords to add to your page content.

Although these keywords won’t result in large amounts of traffic individually, the small amounts of traffic from each keyword can add up over time to a significant amount.

Here are some helpful tips to improve your on-page SEO: -Perform an on-page SEO audit to ensure that your on-page content is on par with your competitors. -Try mapping out your keywords to see which ones are most effective. -Avoid keyword stuffing, which is when you overuse keywords in an attempt to rank higher in search results. This can actually hurt your ranking.


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