Complete Guide To Keyword Research And Keyword Analysis
There is only one thing that has remained true in the world of online marketing, the need for knowing how to find keywords for seo. Everything else in SEO changes constantly.The need for keyword research is still extremely important. However, it has changed dramatically year after year. I will show you numerous ways to find keywords free.
What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the act of doing research on the search terms people actually type into the search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc. and analyzing the data found. The results of that research should tell you how many times it is searched for per month, how hard it will be to compete and rank for, and if it could be profitable for you to target on your website. Proper search term research and analysis is vital if you really want learn how to find keywords for SEO.
Proper SEO keyword research will greatly impact your content and marketing strategy. Knowing the statistics of each search phrase will tell you what you should spend your time on as well as how to approach the content and marketing properly in order to rank and gain advantage in some way.
In order to establish a good keyword strategy, you need to first understand what good or profitable seo keywords are. Then, you can separate them from the useless search terms in order to spend your time and money more efficiently. Which brings us to our next question.
What Are SEO Keywords?
SEO keywords are the keywords, search terms, and long-tail keyword phrases (more about these later) that you have researched, analyzed, and optimized your content on your website or page so that you can rank in the search engines above your competitors.
I do like to separate keywords from SEO keywords simply because keywords are nothing without the SEO behind it. If you do not research and and do keyword analysis, you will not rank and they are nothing more than words and phrases.
It is important to also quickly note that this article is based majorly off of Google keyword research, meaning we are trying to find profitable keywords that we can rank in Google for with our website. We are not too focused on the others like Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo simply because Google has the majority of searches in comparison with other search engines at the time of me writing this. We can discuss Bing SEO in another article, as it is slightly different.
Now, if you want to know how to find keywords for SEO, you need to know first what NOT to do.
Most Common Mistakes of Beginners In Search Engine Marketing
Most internet marketers make mistakes. You will too. It is inevitable to make keyword research mistakes. It is possible to minimize the impact of these SEO mistakes, however, by knowing and understanding the most common mistakes. These are as follows
- Only performing keyword research for SEO one time.
- Choosing to target large but unobtainable, very competitive keywords.
- Not updating their keyword list.
- Not narrowing their keyword lists into groups (more about this later!).
- Not properly researching the competition.
- Not knowing the competitiveness of the chosen keyword or search phrase.
The simple lesson you should learn from these top 6 mistakes by search engine marketers is that you need to research keywords numerous times, choose lower competition search terms to target, update and narrow your list, group the keywords, and know how competitive the term is and what your competing websites are doing to rank. Get that right, and you will succeed.
Now, on to the juicy stuff. you now know the basics of what we will be talking about, so lets begin talking business.
How To Do Keyword Research
First, lets discuss how to do keyword research to find the best keywords for SEO.
Step 1: List Out Topics and Ideas
You need a starting point to put your keyword research into a profitable and successful reality. This begins with ideas. You need to make a list of broad or generic topics that you want to target.
Let us say that you own a website called weightloss.com. You need a list of 5-10 broad, generic topics. These could be something like, weight loss pills, diet plans, workout programs, etc.
So go ahead and make your list of at least 5-10 topically related key terms. Once you have that, feel free to move on to step 2.
Step 2: Find Keywords For Each Topic
This is like a brainstorming session. Say you created a web, in the center of the web was your website, you have 5 or 10 circles connected to that web which are your topics. Then you should point more circles to those smaller circles with important keyword phrases that you think people that are interested in your market are searching for.
To set an example, if I had the site mentioned above in step 1, I would draw a line from the generic topic keyword of diet plans and create circles of keyword phrases related to that such as the following list indicates.
- Best Diet Plans
- Diabetic Diet Plans
- Diet Plans To Lose 10 Pounds
- Diet Plans For Women
- Diet Plans For Men
- Etc. Etc.
Now, I want you to keep in mind that this list is not a final, all said and done, list of keywords. The idea is to simply come up with topics, then build upon them for related search phrases that people in your market or niche may look for in the search engines. You should list out as many as you possibly can. We will work on narrowing down the list later on in this guide and get into keyword grouping so that you have a little organization and you do not end up with an overwhelming amount of phrases that you wish to rank for.
The key is simply not to stop and think you have enough. If you are serious about finding keywords for SEO and serious about marketing your web page, you need to follow through on these steps exactly as laid out. List as many as you possibly can, the results will be worth the time and effort and worth the time you will save later by not having to come back to step one or two 10 times later on down the road.
If you run out of ideas, you can either use Google Analytics to determine what you already rank for and think of variants of that, or you can dig into your competition (more on this later) and see what they are ranking for currently and use those as well as any variants of those keyword search phrases that you can come up with. The options are endless. Also, use Googles Keyword Suggestion Tool to come up with some ideas.
Step 3: Research Related Keywords – AKA LSI Search Terms
Next, you will want to find related search terms and LSI keywords now that you have your basic, yet thorough, list of topics and starter keywords.
Since this guide is intended to help even those who are new to internet marketing find profitable keywords, I will take a brief moment to explain what exactly LSI search terms are and how related keywords play a huge factor, not only in how to find keywords for SEO, but in SEO in general.
What are LSI keywords? LSI stands for “Latin Semantic Indexing”. Essentially, they are simply keywords that are semantically related to your main keyword or search phrase. A common misconception is that LSI keywords are synonyms or words or phrases that are similar in meaning. You need to understand that what LSI ACTUALLY MEANS is related semantically. Semantically means how something is interpreted. Therefore, there is a large amount of algorithm used to determine this, but just use common sense.
The way you should look at it is the fact that Google is going to be crawling (reading) your page and is now smart enough to interpret nearly like a human would if reading the article. So look at it like this. Drug. Drugs are bad when you just think of it at first. But if it is on a page about anxiety relief, it would be interpreted as something you need. Losing the fat. Sounds like a weight loss term. Or could be used on a cooking site about low fat cooking. Lose the fat from the chicken breast.
Get it? Think of how people in your niche talk, what kinds of terms they use, and use them in your page.
Now that we have the understanding, you need to start researching LSI keywords for your website.
There are a lot of ways to do this type of keyword research. However, I am going to tell you my two favorite ways that I use every single time I am trying to find good keywords to rank for.
The first process is simply performing a google search for my keyword phrase. Going off of my previous example, let’s say that I am looking for related search terms/phrases for “Diet Plans For Men”.
I will go to Google Search Engine, type “Diet Plans For Men” without the quotes into the search bar. On the results page I will scroll all the way to the bottom and make a list of the search phrases listed below “searches related to”. Now I have the following list to work with as well.
- diet plan for men to lose weight
- diet chart for weight loss for indian male
- high protein meal plan for weight loss
- diet plans for men to gain muscle
- protein diet plan for weight loss in 7 days
- etc. etc.
As you can tell, at least a few of these I probably would not have thought of. List at minimum 5 of these listed at the bottom of the search engine. Repeat this step for each one once. Now you end up with 5×5=25 more keywords, likely terms and phrases you would not have thought of before.
Now, I want you to take all of the 25 terms plus your original and go back to Google for the next process I wanted to tell you about.
Type each one into Google and type “a” after it. Then “b”. Then “c”. And so on and so forth. This is what I call alphabet brainstorming.
Example would be typing in “diet plan a”. You will type that in without hitting search or the enter button. What you will notice is below the search bar there will be a list of commonly searched terms prefill. Make note of the ones that interest you. I came up with:
- diet plan app
- diet plan after gall bladder removal
- diet plan and workout
- diet plan as per bmi
All of which could be more opportunities for my site to rank for. Hopefully you see the power in these two processes and the endless amounts of LSI search phrases that you can come up with when researching profitable keywords to rank for in Google. Let’s move on to the next step in this guide to how to find keywords for SEO.
Step 4: Ensure You Have A Healthy Mix Of Keywords Vs. Long-Tail Keywords
At this point, I believe you have a fairly healthy list of terms that you can incorporate into your keyword strategy. In fact, I would like to point out that while the main keyword may appear to have so much more traffic at first glance, they only make up 30% of actual traffic for any given niche. If you combine all of the long-tail keyword’s searches and potential traffic along with LSI keywords, that is the other 70%. Knowing the LSI terms and long-tail phrases are easier to rank for anyways, which do you think is smarter to target?
The next step in the process of researching your search terms is to ensure that you have a good little mix of keywords and long-tail keywords. I guess it would be smart to explain the difference first.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-Tail keywords are search phrases, rather than terms, that are generally longer than 3 words. They are very important when trying to find search terms for SEO. While something like “Mens Diet Plans” would be a good keyword, a good long-tail keyword may be something more along the lines of “Mens diet plan to lose weight and gain muscle”.
Generally, it will be harder to rank for a keyword than it will be to rank for a long-tail keyword. However, it is important to target both. It is actually recommended that you target many phrases and search terms on one page. this will be explained later in our section about Keyword Grouping.
Think of it like this. If you look at the above phrases, you already know which one is harder to rank for. And the second, longer one would be easier. Not to say it would be easy, I have not checked. The idea is though that you target the main keyword because it can provide a long-term return and offers many more searches than the long-tail versions.
On the other hand, targeting long-tail keywords on the same page will allow you to rank quicker for other search terms that provide short term and quicker results. In addition to that, targeting multiple keywords, LSI search terms, and long-tail keyword phrases on the same page builds relevance and allows you to rank for many more searches as a result of 1 single page opposed to having to write 100 articles to rank for the same amount of traffic by targeting only one per page.
To further the concept once more, you need to realize that the person typing long-tail keywords into a search engine like Google are more targeted and it is easier to know exactly what they are looking for, and you will, therefore, be able to provide more useful information that you are more positive will result in conversions.
The next step in keyword research for SEO is competitor keyword research. Let’s get to that now.
What Is Competitor Keyword Research?
Competitor keyword research is evaluating the top ranked websites owned by others (your competitors) for your market or niche. The idea is to see what keywods, LSI terms, and long-tail keyword phrases they are targeting and how they are ranking for them.
First, you need to see what terms they are targeting. You will add these terms to your list of target keywords and search terms to attempt to rank for if you have not already thought of them yourself.
The second part of competitor keyword research is seeing exactly how they are ranking for the words and phrases so that you know what you need to do better than them in order to take their spot in the SERPS (search engine result pages).
How To Find Competitors Keywords?
This is the first question, of course. There are many ways to find what search terms your competitors are targeting. Some are manual, some are free competitor research tools, some are paid tools. I would prefer staying away from most of these tools myself, therefore in this guide I will talk in a more personal approach. How do I find what keywords my competitor is using?
The manual approach of course to start with. I like to do the old fashion form of reverse engineering in SEO to find keywords on a website of a competitor. I view the competitors HTML source and first look for Meta Keywords and then Meta Tags. If you have not done this before, worry none, it is actually quite simple. Being as it is the most effective form of how to find keywords for search engine optimization, you need to read and learn how to find site keywords.
If you do not already have Google Chrome as your web browser, download it now.
Visit your competitors website.
Go to the top right and click on the 3 vertical dots.
Hover over “More Tools”.
Click “Developer Tools”.
Now Click inside the box and press CTRL+F . You can search for all of these to get an idea of what they are targeting.
- <title> – This tag is a headline description of the page and is the way Google displays your site in listings.
- <meta name=”description”> – This is the snippet that appears underneath the title tag on search engines results.
- <meta name=”keywords”> – Many sites no longer use this tag, but it’s worth checking to see if your competitors are using it.
Another way to find keywords free and do a little competitor keyword research is to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Type in your competitors website url instead of a keyword idea, and Google will tell you search term ideas based on their content.
Also, you can visit their Facebook or Twitter page and see what words they use in their hashtags whenever they are linking to their content. Those are good ideas.
The final step of this stage is to visit either Ahrefs, OSE, or Majestic, type in the competitors URL, and look at their backlink anchor text. This tells you what terms they are most focused on using to link to their content, so it must be relevant and worth targetting.
Top 3 Ways to Utilize Competitor Keyword Research
- Steal your competitors Keywords.
- Learn how and why they are ranking above you.
- Get more keyword and LSI phrase ideas for your own site to rank for.
Lets discuss number 2. Now that you know how to find out competitors keywords, you need to look at the ones they outrank your for.
First, you need to look at their content. What type of content do they have? If they have a 500 word article, make another one of 1000-1500 words. Make that article describe everything they did, in your own words of course, and in more detail. This is called the “Skyscraper Method”. Then add more value by using the LSI words and long-tail search phrases you come up with in your keyword research.
If they have a video, include a video on your site. If it makes sense, include 2 or 3. If they have images, include images on yours as well and be sure to put the “alt-text” of your images as your keyword, lsi terms, and long-tail phrases.
Link out to authority sites that they did. Look at their backlink profile. Do they have thousands or a mere few? Replicate their backlinking strategy using the same types of sources, only more or more reputable. So if they have 10 links from authority sites, get 10 or more links from places of similar authority sites but make sure your link is in the content and close to the top of the content so that yours holds more power.
Before moving on to our section on keyword grouping, I think it is important to start checking the search volume of your chosen keywords. Obviously, we are not going to wast time on keywords that get ZERO searches.
How To Find Keyword Search Volume and How Much Is Enough?
Of course, the most common way to find search volume of a keyword is Google Adwords. Simply go to your Adwords account, click on tools, and go to the keyword planner. Click get search volume. Type in your keyword or keyword list and submit. It will show you a range of what you can expect based off of the average monthly searches.
More importantly, is knowing how many searches you should look for in a keyword monthly for you to spend time trying to target. This is a little tricky to answer and will depend on your own independent goals.
I look at it like this. The higher Cost Per Click words are worth more, so anything over $5 per click in Adwords, I will target for 100 searches. Any think less and I want at least 300 searches per month.
On the other hand, you should also consider all of the keywords that you are going to target on the page. All the keywords in the group will likely make up thousands making it worth it anyways since doing your keyword research the way I have laid out for you on this page is likely to ensure you rank for many, many terms with very little effort.
Wrapping Up Our Keyword Research – Reduce and Organize Your Keyword Strategy
Now that you have a VERY LONG list of keyword ideas from following this guide, it is time to cut down the list and organize them so that you can do something with them.
This is where we want to talk about keyword grouping.
What is Keyword Grouping?
I do not think this requires too much explanation, therefore I will not spend a ton of time explaining this portion to you. This does not mean skip this section, this only means it lacks the need of explanation.
Basically, you should think about how broad your website is, or is going to be. Now think about how you will structure your site in the long term. How broad of a topic will actually interest your customer without being too broad?
Let’s use this site for example. I am obviously not going to tell you exactly what I am targeting, though I am sure you can figure it out. But, my site is about SEO. I run this site to be a huge authority in the niche. SEO is a very broad topic. Breaking that down, there are many sub-categories I could target. Keywords, social marketing, news, content marketing, etc.
I could not group everything related to keywords into one article, it would be too much and would not all be relevant to all visitors visiting that article. Maybe keyword research? Still a little broad. Maybe an article on How to do keyword research. That’s much better.
So what would I group into that article? I would think along the lines of:
- keyword research tools
- competitive keyword research
- seo keyword analysis
- how to find long tail keywords
- keyword research for ppc
- keyword research for seo
- find keywords in a website
- etc. etc.
I think you get the point by now. All of these would make a GREAT article, all relevant, not too broad, and an absolute TON of ranking and traffic potential.
Let us now move on to what I consider THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF KEYWORD RESEARCH. This is the actual SEO keyword analysis portion. This is when you determine the difficulty of a keyword, search phrase, and it’s LSI terms.
How To Check Keyword Difficulty?
Knowing the keyword difficulty is the absolute most important part of how to find keywords to target in SEO. Knowing how difficult it is to rank for the given keyword or search term / search phrase will allow you to make decisions on what words you should put in your titles, descriptions, most in your content, image alt-text, etc. Essentially, avoid the super difficult keywords and target ALL of the easier to rank for terms.
By doing this, you will gain more traction and more traffic to your site early on, gaining natural momentum by people linking to you and sharing your content on social media sites. This, in the long term, will cause you to naturally rank for your main larger traffic and more difficult keywords without even needing to or putting a ton of lost effort into it. You won’t even have to try.
So, the main method I like to use is a paid tool called SECockpit. This tool does it all for me in a matter of seconds and has ALWAYS been super accurate. You can read my SECockpit Review if you are thinking of trying it, or read my SECockpit Tutorial to learn how I use it for targeting the best keywords.
With that being said, I want to teach you a no B.S way that is free to get a darn good idea on how competitive a keyword is.
Go to Google and type in allintitle:”yourkeywordhere”. On the result page, it will say at the top in gray letters “About __ Results”. The less the better. I say that anything below 30,000 results is a GOOD Keyword. Anything above 30,000 is a no go unless you have access to very powerful and authoritative links and have a great amount of trust in the search engines already.
However, the Golden Keywords are less than 1,000, the Silver keywords are less than 5,000, and the bronze are less than 10,000. Simple as that.
I do want to point out, though, that outside of who uses that keyword in their title, you also need to look at the top 10 results.
So just type in the keyword you are analyzing, and look at the top 10 results. Are there any easily replaceable sites? These would be free blogs such as blogger, wordpress, tumblr, etc. These would also be if there are numerous videos ranked, directories, small affiliate sites, sites that are not really relevant but all Google could find that was close (these I call accidental rankings), forum discussions, and yahoo answer results.
If you see any or numerous of these in the top 10, that is another strong indicator that the keyword has a low difficulty and is not very competitive.
It is important to note that SECockpit has a tool included that will show you the top 10 results, backlinks, etc and tell you how hard they are to beat.
Lastly, you could also use Market Samurai. I will have another tutorial on how to use this effectively, but essentially, you make a project with your keyword and you look for a lot of GREEN in the top 10 results. as seen below. A lot of red means it would likely be hard to rank for.
That is it for today’s complete guide on how to find keywords for SEO purposes. Feel free to check out our related articles to walk you through some more details on each of the tools listed on this page.