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SEO Keyword Research Guide: Process, Tools, and Best Practices

SEO Keyword Research Guide: Process, Tools, and Best Practices
June 6, 2020

SEO Keyword Research Guide: Process, Tools, and Best Practices

Jun 06, 2020
Sonali Sharma

Sonali Sharma is a professional freelance writer. She has covered a wide variety of topics in her freelancing career right from web content writing to digital marketing and technical blog writing. She is also a published poet and story writer. Her works have appeared on online sites “Indian Periodical”, “Poetry Magazine”,“Indus Woman Writing”, “Psychside”, “ and 'Swarnim Times'. She is the co-author of anthologies “Woods of Rame”, “Whispers of Heart”, “Shadows of Soul”, “Fervour”, and “Shades of Ink”.

“A top-notch use of SEO keywords in the website content means teeming business with unstoppable winning.”

And this is exactly what even the latest statistics declare boldly. Research shows that around 95% of the people look at the first page of the search outcomes. Further, only the first three results acquire the maximum number of clicks. So, in today’s time can we miss on something as essential as Search Engine Optimization?
Definitely not!

Know What are SEO Keywords

SEO keywords or simply keywords are specific words or phrases that a user enters into the search engine box to run into certain information available on the Internet.

“The keyword can be called as an opening that takes people to the organic search outcomes and then finally to the website where they can find what they are searching for.”

Thus, knowing the apt keywords is vital in SEO. It assists you in ascertaining the phrases people use when searching for a piece of particular information and thus upgrading your website for the same.

Meaning of Keyword Research

Keyword research sounds like interpreting the language of your potential visitors and making use of this knowledge to optimize your content in the best possible manner.

Need of Keyword Research

Because it is one of the most valued SEO tasks and also the right way to get:

  • More website traffic
  • Raised leads
  • Improved sales

When to Do Keyword Research

It is the first and foremost step of search engine optimization for any website. 
Generally, it is done when you have decided to:

  • Explore a new niche
  • New content ideas are required
  • Optimization of existing content is being called for

Process of Keyword Research

It is a known fact that any keyword search campaign begins with the proper identification and categorization of keywords. The process of keyword research explained ahead will provide a fine structure and firm foundation for recognizing, expanding, and prioritizing keywords.

1. Know All About Your Keywords Space

For this step, you need to determine a comprehensive list of words that is centred around your business. Remember the list should be prepared to keep in mind that it must interest the searcher. 
You can use the following ways to prepare a draft of words:

  • PPC data
  • Competitor insight
  • Internal search data
  • Google suggest data 
  • Analytics data
  • Your second sight

2. Prioritise Your List

After expanding your keyword list space, it is now time to attach priorities to your favourite keywords which you will be targeting with a set campaign. Also, these keywords will be your preference as you start with the link constructing campaigns at a much later stage.

For instance: the company Petco may select a target word like ‘dog food’. On the contrary, a pet store in Pacific Beach may select a more precise keyword like ‘good dog food in pacific beach’.
You may end up choosing 30 keywords or 100 keywords, the choice is utterly yours!

3. Lengthen Your List

If you wish to lengthen your keyword list and understand relative search volumes of the respective keywords, then you can rely on Google Keyword Tool or other tools like Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery.

Moreover, you need to realize that Google’s projected search volume is not 100% accurate and is not beneficial in comparing the relative popularity of one word with another.

To understand this consider this example: Keyword X has a monthly search volume of 10,000 and Keyword Y has a monthly search volume of 20,000, then you may assume that Keyword Y is popular. But do not assume that obtaining a number one listing for Keyword Y will get you 20,000 users per month.

Pro Tip: You can use the paid search method to extract information about the popularity and conversion rates of keywords.

4. Break Down Your Priority List

For getting a clear picture of gritty reporting and exact understanding of performance, you should categorize the keywords. It is best to categorise the keywords between brand and non-brand.
The auxiliary categories may include the below-stated things that portray a specific business goal.

  • Product type
  • Business group
  • Sub brands

This way you make it easier for your team to comprehend the aftermath that SEO is having at a more relevant degree.

5. Pinpoint Preferred Landing Pages

When you set about doing the on-page optimization (H tags, content, meta descriptions, and page titles) for your desired landing pages, you will conclude on the point that a distinct page may be pertinent for just one or two main keywords.

It is here where you can utilize additional keywords that were not labelled as priority keywords to improve the optimization efforts. 

6. Redefine The Keyword List Overtime

For identifying new opportunities to grow your business, it is significant that you find out the latest keyword phrases by paying attention to analytics data and PPC data. This holds true especially in the case of current brands and sub-brands that are driven by seasonal working. 

Which Tools Are Best for Keyword Research? We presented Top 10 Tools for Keyword Research:

1. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

One of the best keyword research tools, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer gives a broad keyword report. It relies on clickstream data to give only click metrics.
Standout Attributes

  • More than 1000 keyword suggestions are provided.
  • Available in over 171 countries.
  • Large-scale SERP overview.
  • Gives apt keyword difficulty score.
  • For improving CTR metrics can be clicked.

Ahrefs provides 4 pricing plans. The price starts at $82 per month for an annual payment plan for freelancers, mid-sized organizations, online marketers, and other larger brands.

2. KWFinder

KWFinder Keyword Difficulty Tool

Designed by Mangools, KWFinder lets you find keywords with low SEO difficulty and also gives away other wide-range features.
Standout Attributes

  • Availability of a list of suggestions along with an in-depth SERP overview.
  • A great and easy way to navigate the user interface.
  • Search for keywords in any language.
  • Obtain exact statistics for keyword contention.
  • Redefine the list of keyword suggestions with filters.


KWFinder incorporates 4 other SEO tools as it is a part of Mangools package. A handful of searches are only allowed. You ought to choose an annual plan to save up to 40% on any of the 3 subscriptions.

  • Basic: $30 for small businesses and freelancers
  • Premium: $40 for novel blogs and startups
  • Agency: $80 for heavy websites and eCommerce stores

3. Majestic

Majestic Keyword Research Tool

Majestic is a mighty tool for newly created blogs and small businesses that don’t have the right resources for investing in search engine optimization.
Standout Attributes

  • Look out for easy-to-get phrases.
  • All SEO features can be found in a single toolkit.
  • Research competitiveness for each keyword.
  • For performing website analysis trustworthiness vs authority graph can be looked upon.


Majestic gives you the power to sign up and carry on 3 free searches to help you get more used to the platform. You can rely upon the SEO toolkit for $83 per month when you choose the annual billing option.

4. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a plain sailing option with a few fundamental features. It displays data directly from Google and the outcomes combine well with AdSense Monetisation.
Standout Attributes

  • It is best for business websites.

  • Using ‘top of page’ bid range, you can locate commercial keywords.

  • On target, search volume can be done straight away from Google.


Google Keyword Planner is available free of cost.

5. Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz is an expert in providing out-of-the-box keyword recommendations. Organic CTR and Priority Score are two of its very best and unique data points.
Standout Attributes

  • It provides a one month free trial to the users.

  • You can obtain keyword associated suggestions.

  • For doing smart targeting Organic CTR and Priority Score are given.


You can sign up for a Moz account for free and obtain 10 free queries every month. Also, you can easily get the Moz keyword research feature in the ‘Medium’ plan, which begins at $179 per month with the alternative of a free 30-day trial.

6. Long Tail Pro

Long Tail Pro Keyword Tool

Long Tail Pro triggers the recommendations of long-tail keywords for niche websites, which is the new standard for SEO.
Standout Attributes

  • Long-tail keywords are easy-as-pie to obtain.

  • Get sturdy, comprehensive keyword metrics.

  • For every 24 hours more than 2,500 SERP lookups.

  • Recommendations can be procured for engaging highly changeable organic traffic.


Long Tail Pro is a premium tool and provides a 7-day free trial. Subscriptions can be gained as low as $25 per month. Currently, three plans are offered:

  • Starter: $25 per month

  • Pro: $45 per month

  • Agency: $98 per month

7. Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool

One of the top tools in the market, Keyword Tool offers the analysis for several search engines like Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and App Store.
Standout Attributes

  • Allows export outcomes to CSV.

  • Basic UX for beginners.

  • Get outstanding keywords using Google Autocomplete.

  • Addition of Instagram and Twitter keyword analysis for social media marketing.


Keyword Tool is somehow comparable to Google Keyword Planner. It is extremely simple to get and is free for the first 750+ keywords. The ‘Basic’ plan for this tool begins at $69 per month and the bill is obtained annually.


SEMRUSH Keyword Magic Tool

SEMRush makes things precise by suggesting 5-10 very apt keywords instead of a long list of keywords. This gives you an added advantage over your competitors.
Standout Attributes

  • Obtain yearly keyword trends.

  • Get access to the entire keyword research toolkit.

  • Unveil long-tail keywords and different ad group ideas.

  • Keyword difficulty analysis can be performed.

  • Organic traffic insights are easier to get.


A 7-day free trial of the service is hosted by the platform. SEMrush has four main categories of pricing plans which are as follows:

  • Pro: It is ideal for budget dependent sites and freelancers. It begins at $83 per month and is billed annually.

  • Guru: It starts at $166 per month and is perfect for SEO agencies and small to medium-sized startups. 

  • Business: It kicks off at $333 per month and is flawless for eCommerce agencies.

  • Enterprise: Herein, SEMrush can custom fit a plan according to your requirements in case your content strategy is extensive.

9. SpyFu

SpyFu Keyword Research

SpyFu helps you to analyze your competitor’s SEO blueprint. This tool exposes valuable virtual keywords that assist you in a highly saturated niche.
Standout Attributes

  • Discover speed ranking difficulty and historical changes.

  • For in-depth domain analysis, additional modules are available.

  • Compare various websites contending for a single search term.


SpyFu can be considered a bit different from the other tools mentioned here. This can be proved by the fact that it offers real-time feedback. You can pay $33 per month for an annual billing option while going for a subscription.

10. Serpstat

Serpstat is an excellent all-in-one option for combining website analytics, backlink analysis, SERP analysis, keyword research, and site audit features.
Standout Attributes

  • It will prove to be budget-friendly.

  • You can locate keyword difficulty and keyword trends.

  • Know about your competition by utilizing the competitor graph feature.


You can make use of Serpstat a few times for free by signing up for free membership. A personal plan can be obtained at $55 per month.
What are The Best Practices Related to Keyword Research

It cannot be denied that Google algorithm updates are essential for emphasizing on content quality. But it is also true that in the fullness of time you have to type something in the search result box to obtain desired results.

Thank goodness, any marketer can improve his/her content strategy by engaging in some effortless best practices related to keyword search.

1. First Have an Idea About Your Audience

Before the massive task of keyword research officially begins, you need to understand who you are optimizing for.

Rigorous market research should be done to assist marketers in getting into the heads of their selected audiences. Moreover, apt assimilation of the topics which are appealing to the customers is a crucial step. And the reason is as easy as falling off a log. You get the audiences to your website by putting forward the content that is just their favourite.

2. Make Use of Non-Identical Variations

To augment your keyword portfolios, you should think of utilizing apropos phrase variations. This is according to many marketing consultants, the number one rule for an SEO big shot.

In tune with this, Ubersuggest is an expansive keyword suggestion tool and a first-rate asset for any SEO content gameplan. For example, a marketer can easily type in a generic keyword like ‘marketing training’ and the tool will show up a huge list of possible phrase variations to think upon (‘marketing training tips’, ‘marketing training certifications’, etc.)

3. Longtail Keyword Phrases is The Goal

Longtail keyword phrases are embedded with market specificity. Think of the word ‘marketing’ and you will soon find out that this word could alone refer to anything from content marketing to sales marketing - not precisely a niche audience.

But for optimizing the content for on-the-mark audiences, it is good to go clear-cut. ‘Digital marketing for beginners’ appears as more definite and unambiguous. Moreover, the longtail keywords have a lower level of competition which is again a plus point.

4. Determine Areas of Opportunity

Identifying various areas of opportunity sets up positive vibes for SEO excellence. Google Adwords Keyword Tool can take the shape of a paramount right-hand man for keyword research. It improves the rate of the organic search along with pay-per-click campaigns. By opening up to different phrases in the search field, marketers enable themselves to analyze search volumes while still recognizing which keywords showcase the second to none opportunities.

5. Maintain a Grasp Over Traffic Analytics

Around 29.3 million websites actively engage in using Google Analytics. This is precisely also because of this platform's ability to help in the keyword selection process for SEO content planning. Furthermore, by keeping a record of changing traffic trends, marketers will be able to get an idea about which kind of keywords are driving visitors to their website. Using these trends future content plans can be constructed very efficiently.

6. Say Similar Things With Different Keywords

There can be more than one way to reach a singular point - Marcus Sheridan, Content Marketing Guru

This thought struck Marcus’s mind when he was creating content for his swimming pool company’s blog. He decided to write about how much certain types of pools cost and after this he wrote about the cost of those same kinds of pools. 

A closer look at these blog posts will show them to be similar in a way or another. But the search engine would recognize ‘how much is the cost’ and ‘what is the cost’ as dissimilar keyword phrases. By structuring content that was optimized for both these phrases, he was able to draw more visitors to his site no matter how they looked for it online.

7. Let Keywords Direct The Content Process

Generally, for many content strategies, optimization of content pieces with keywords is done after the blog posts have been written. The opposite of this also works brilliantly. Besides, when the keyword list has been created marketers can go through it to acquire some fresh content ideas. This also removes the plausibility of scrambling for keywords later on.

Summing Up

Search Engine Optimization has transformed tremendously over the years. But for all of it, keyword research remains a top ruling factor for an amazing success of SEO content strategy. To get a leg up on the prevailing competition the right process, tools, and practices can be of much help. After all, brand visibility is the aim!

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