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Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
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Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

When you have been in the advertising industry for as long as we have, something as elementary as keyword research becomes second nature for you. But if you are a fledgling marketer, having just started this oftentimes fascinating journey, keyword research is one of the major cornerstones of a successful marketing strategy. So, in this article, you will find the KUWARE® guide to traversing the twists and turns of keyword research in the ever-evolving streets of marketing.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a term that, in essence, captures the finding and analysis of search terms that people use in their search queries. The final goal of this research is to use these terms in your website content and digital ads for search engine optimization (SEO) or general marketing. A properly structured keyword research campaign can determine which queries to target, their popularity, their ranking difficulty, and more.

Why is Keyword Research important?

Understanding which keywords your target audience is searching for allows you to create content that meets their needs and improves your website’s visibility on search engines. By unearthing the most effective target keywords, you can boost your organic search rankings, drive higher traffic to your website and ads, and ultimately, attract more business for yourself or your clients. Even the highest-quality content and value propositions can go unnoticed without proper keyword research.
We are rolling out this guide to provide beginners with a holistic overview of keyword research, explain its importance, and offer practical steps to master this crucial aspect of SEO. By researching and identifying the most effective target keywords, you can increase the possibility of your website ranking well in search engines.
Keyword research can tell you what phrases people are actively searching for and the competitiveness of those terms. This information can help you drive your content marketing strategy in the right direction to boost organic search exposure, rankings, and traffic.
A research conducted in 2020 by Ahrefs states that “90.63% of pages do not get any traffic from Google”.
This astonishing statistic results from the fact that most companies do not do proper keyword research before curating content for their websites, which makes it even more important to understand why keyword research is crucial and valuable.
A properly etched-out keyword research strategy exists, more or less, to cater to three primary questions:

1. What is your audience searching for?

This will help you identify the exact terms and phrases your potential customers use when searching for your products or services.

2. Which keywords are your competitors ranking for?

Unearth your competitors’ successful keywords to drive traffic and rank high in search results.

3. Which keywords have higher traffic?

Identify the keywords that fall in most search queries in your niche, indicating their popularity and potential value for driving traffic to your site.

Keyword Research: Steps

Understand Seed Keywords

Seed keywords are typically one or two words long, with no modifiers. They can be anything you want to rank for, from something as basic as ‘pen’ to more advanced niches like ‘AI Tool’ and ‘CRM’. The idea is that they should serve as the starting point of your keyword research. After that, every other keyword you will probably use will come from these seed keywords (there is a reason why they are called “seed” keywords).
To get the most out of SEO, you need to identify the correct seed word; it should be the most crucial part of your research plan. So, while doing so, consider answering the following three questions:
  1. What do you want to rank for?
  2. What are your current rankings?
  3. What are your competitors’ rankings?
Try answering these questions, and you can filter down to the seed keywords you seek.

The Google Search Console can be a good start to extract the seed terms, and it’s pretty handy. The great thing about seed keywords is that they can help you build a list of keywords that can be used as a reference point for creating more relevant content, which can ultimately rank you higher.

Build the Perfect Keyword List

After you’ve found your seed keyword, it’s time to create a list of keywords that will help you in the future based on these keywords. But while you are creating a keyword list, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:
  1. Consider your target audience.
  2. Choose keywords that are relevant to your target audience.
  3. Select broad keywords to reach a larger audience.

So, when trying to curate the perfect list of keywords, make sure that it is relevant and can help your current and potential customers locate you. In addition, you can always alter, remove, and add keywords as needed until you find something that works.

Keyword Research: Prioritizing Keywords

One of the golden rules of keyword optimization is avoiding repetition. Since the dawn of search engines, over 600 million keywords have been generated (as per Ahrefs), recycled over time, and will continue to be recycled in the future (no use going down that road), but finding and prioritizing the ones that are still relevant is the key to outperforming your competition. No matter the time period, the cultural shift, or the invasion of AI, some keywords will always create more leads than others, and it’s your job to figure out which ones to target for the best possible outcome.
On a personal note, we always ask ourselves which term will capture the most profit and then utilize the keyword metrics to figure it out. It is essential to keep these factors in mind while selecting your keywords.

1. Relevance

Keywords that closely align with your content and target audience’s interests.

2. Volume per month

Keywords with a high number of monthly searches to maximize visibility.

3. Keyword difficulty

Keyword Difficulty, or KD, is the competition level for a keyword and is a metric to gauge the effort required to rank.

4. Organic click-through rate (CTR)

Organic click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of searchers who click on a website’s search results. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks on organic search results by the number of impressions they generate. The action item here would be to focus on keywords with a high CTR to ensure more clicks from search results.

5. Priority

Prioritize keywords that offer the best balance of relevance, volume, and difficulty to achieve the highest ROI.
Once you get the hang of these indicators, you will be set apart from amateurs who are still struggling with SEO. As Aristotle famously said, “Well begun is half done,” a strong start will go a long way toward establishing you on a perfect trajectory in your marketing career.

Keyword Research: On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization (or on-page SEO) refers to all the steps taken within a website to optimize and boost its search engine rankings, a.k.a. the search engine results page (SERP). This usually involves refining the meta descriptions, title tags, and alt tags, along with optimizing the page content.
If you want to rank higher on search engines, you need to figure out what your audience is looking for and what they expect to see. This knowledge gives you the insight to decide which keywords to utilize and develop only relevant content.

Keyword Research: Tracking Keyword Rankings

You should constantly try to understand how your keywords perform in search engines. It can tell you how much traffic to expect on your website and whether your efforts are paying off.
Because of personalization, localization, and dynamic competitive environments, tracking and ranking keywords for your website are no longer synonymous. Google Rank Checker, for example, allows you to watch the position of keywords in search engine results and is extremely precise. It can also help you learn how to organize the Keywords based on their ranking.


Finding what works for you in a sea of keywords can be a little overwhelming, but using some of these tools can make your work much easier.
Here are some top tools that you must try.
Google Search Console dashboard for monitoring website performance in search results
Google Search Console (GSC) is a powerful SEO alternative that can churn out data and insights to optimize your website’s performance in SERPs. To leverage GSC for SEO and keyword research, here’s the path I’d suggest:
  • Start by verifying your website ownership and then submitting an XML sitemap. GSC’s Performance report helps track your website’s performance, identifying top-performing pages and keywords, while the Search Results report shows queries that lead users to your site.
  • Now, for keyword research, use the query data to identify existing keywords your pages rank for and focus your optimization efforts on them.
  • If you want to maximize the use of GSC, we suggest connecting it with tools like Semrush and Moz for personalized keyword research. These tools reveal new keyword clusters and their search volumes.
  • GSC offers a plethora of reports, including those on index coverage and structured data, that provide insights into your site’s performance. We have used these for years to identify high-ranking but low-CTR pages and optimize their metadata, as well as underperforming pages to improve or discard.
  • Additionally, we often use GSC to track backlinks, optimize internal links, and inspect individual URLs for indexing issues. You can regularly measure your site’s search performance and manage your crawl budget by removing low-traffic pages to enhance overall SEO efforts.
For a more detailed roadmap, you can follow our footsteps, which we are listing below to help you out:

1. Verify Website Ownership:

We begin by logging into Google Search Console and adding our website. We then verify ownership by adding a DNS record or uploading an HTML file to our site.

2. Submit XML Sitemap:

Next, we navigate to the “Sitemaps” section and submit our website’s XML sitemap. This helps Google index our pages more effectively.

3. Access the Performance Report:

Subsequently, we click the “Performance” tab to open the Performance report. This report shows clicks, impressions, average CTR, and average position for our website.

4. Analyze Top-Performing Pages:

In the Performance report, we switch to the “Pages” tab to see which pages drive the most traffic. This helps us identify content that is performing well.

5. Review Search Queries:

We then switch to the “Queries” tab to see the search terms that users are using to find our website. This data provides insights into which keywords our site is already ranking for.

6. Identify Keyword Opportunities:

We look for keywords with high impressions but low clicks (low CTR). These keywords indicate that our pages appear in search results but do not attract clicks, which may be due to unappealing meta descriptions or titles.

7. Optimize Existing Content:

We focus on improving the content and metadata for pages that rank for valuable keywords. We enhance the page titles, meta descriptions, and on-page content to target these keywords better.

8. Track Backlinks and Internal Links:

We use the “Links” report to monitor backlinks and internal links. This helps us identify linking opportunities and ensure high-value pages receive enough internal link juice.

9. Inspect URLs:

We use the “Links” report to monitor backlinks and internal links. This helps us identify linking opportunities and ensure high-value pages receive enough internal link juice.

10. Integrate with Other Tools:

We connect Google Search Console with tools like SEMrush or Moz for more detailed keyword research and to discover new keyword clusters and their search volumes.

11. Monitor Index Coverage and Structured Data:

We regularly review the “Coverage” report to identify and fix indexing errors. We also check the “Enhancements” report for issues related to structured data, mobile usability, etc.

12. Manage Crawl Budget:

We optimize our crawl budget by removing or improving low-traffic pages. This ensures that Google focuses on crawling our most valuable content.

13. Continuous Performance Tracking:

We regularly check our website’s performance metrics in GSC to stay updated on its search performance and make data-driven decisions for ongoing SEO improvements.

Google Trends homepage showing trending searches with Minecraft highlighted
This tool can tell you how many people are searching for your keyword, where they’re searching, and what topics and queries they’re searching for. You can also compare different searches.
Here’s our personal blueprint for using Google Trends in your keyword research process:

1. Access Google Trends:

We visit the Google Trends website.

2. Search for a Keyword::

We then enter our keyword of interest in the search bar and click “Explore”.

3. Analyze Interest Over Time:

We often glance at the graph showing interest over time to understand the keyword’s popularity trend.

4. Explore Interest by Region:

We then scroll down to see which regions have the highest interest in our keyword.

5. Related Topics and Queries:

Now, this next step is a personal favorite. We always check the “Related topics” and “Related queries” sections to find additional keywords and topics relevant to our main keywords.

6. Compare Keywords:

There’s also a compare feature, which we often use to analyze multiple keywords and see how they compare.

7. Download Data:

We finally export the data if needed for further analysis by clicking the download button.
Ubersuggest homepage by Neil Patel for keyword research with a search bar to enter a domain or keyword
With Ubersuggest, a great tool by Neil Patel, you can search for relevant keywords, compare them, and offer features like helping you see the currently ranking pages for the keyword. If you have any confusion regarding using this, you can follow our usual path:

1. Access Ubersuggest:

We visit Ubersuggest.

2. Enter a Keyword:

We type our keyword into the search bar, select our preferred location and language, and tap “Search.”

3. Review Keyword Overview:

Next, we examine the overview page, which includes search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and CPC.

4. Keyword Ideas:

We click on “Keyword Ideas” to see a list of related keywords, along with their search volume, CPC, and competition level.

5. Content Ideas:

Eventually, we will check the “Content Ideas” section for popular content related to your keyword, which can help identify content gaps and opportunities.
Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator tool interface with options to search keywords on Google, Bing, YouTube, and Amazon
This site offers a context-specific “Free Keyword Generator” tool for keyword research, where you can just enter a seed keyword and get hundreds of niche-specific keywords along with their search volumes. These keywords can be used for Google, Bing, YouTube, or Amazon content. A holistic SEO tool, it also focuses on helping you compare your website to your competitors & identify areas where you can work to improve your ranking. Here’s our usual blueprint for Ahrefs:

1. Access Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator:

Visit Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator.

2. Enter a Keyword:

We then enter our keyword into the search bar and choose our target search engine (Google, Bing, YouTube, or Amazon). Then, we click “Find keywords.”

3. Review Keyword Suggestions:

We analyze the list of suggested keywords, along with their search volume and keyword difficulty score.

4. View Related Questions:

We then scroll down to see questions related to our keyword, which might be useful for content ideas.

5. Save and Export Keywords:

We finally save/copy the list of relevant keywords for further use in our SEO strategy.

“Semrush Keyword Magic Tool interface with a search bar to enter a keyword and get keyword suggestions.”
One of the best SEO tools (in our humble opinion) on the market, Semrush has a wide variety of weapons in its arsenal to optimize every last aspect of your website and marketing content. You can generate, analyze, and even suggest keywords for your landing pages. In the context of this article, the tool you should be looking for in the main menu on the left is the “Keyword Magic Tool.”.
Here are our personal guidelines to use this effectively:

1. Access SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool:

We log into our SEMrush account and navigate to the Keyword Magic Tool under the “SEO” section.

2. Enter a Keyword:

We type our keyword into the search bar and click “Search”.

3. Analyze Keyword Suggestions:

We then review the list of suggested keywords, paying attention to metrics such as search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and competitive density.

4. Use Filters:

We proceed to apply filters to refine the list based on criteria such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.

5. Group Keywords:

We usually also utilize the “Group” feature to organize keywords into thematic clusters.

6. Export Keywords:

We then export the list of selected keywords for further analysis or campaign creation by clicking the “Export” button.

7. Analyze SERP Features:

We finally skim through the SERP features to understand how the keyword appears in search results and identify opportunities to optimize for specific features.

Google Ads Keyword Planner interface with options to discover new keywords and get search volume forecasts
Last but not least, Google Keyword Planner is an impeccable option for keyword research. Ever since its launch in 2013, we have vehemently stuck to, at least for keyword research, this absolute gem of a tool that offers both seed-keyword-based and website-based keyword research, apart from giving you traffic insights and keyword difficulty (KD) for every term it generates. Here’s our roadmap for using this often-overlooked but quick and efficient solution for basic keyword research.

1. Access Keyword Planner:

We log into our Google Ads account and navigate to the Keyword Planner under the “Tools” section.

2. Discover New Keywords:

We click on “Discover new keywords” and enter our primary keyword or a website related to the business we are doing it for. Then, we tap “Get Results.”

3. Get Search Volume and Forecasts:

Selecting “Get search volume and forecasts” is an alternative we sometimes explore if we have a list of keywords and want to check their performance metrics.

4. Review Keyword Suggestions:

We then push ahead and analyze the keyword suggestions provided, focusing on metrics such as average monthly searches, competition, and top-of-page bid ranges.

5. Filter and Refine Keywords:

In our analysis, we use filters to narrow down the list based on criteria like location, language, and search network.

6. Save Keywords:

Once we reach the relevant keywords, we add them to our plan for further analysis or campaign creation.

7. Download Keyword Data:

We also download the list of selected keywords for detailed analysis or reporting.


While all these tools work well, if you are just getting started with keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is a personal favorite and should consider all your requirements comprehensively. However, if you want to conduct keyword research at a more advanced level, Google Keyword Planner is insufficient because it doesn’t provide enough data to understand what keywords are being used and where they are performing. For a platform that offers a more across-the-board solution, Semrush is your best bet.

Have something more to add? Or did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.