As a blogger, writer, content marketer, or search engine expert, you understand that keyword research is an essential part of any successful SEO strategy. Keyword research helps you identify the terms and phrases that people use to find information on the internet, allowing you to optimize your content and improve your search engine rankings.
In this post, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to do keyword research for SEO like a pro. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and tools you need to find the best keywords for your website and start improving your search engine rankings.
Step 1: Start with Seed Keywords
The first step in keyword research is to identify your seed keywords. These are the words and phrases that describe your website and the content you create. For example, if you run a food blog, your seed keywords might be “food,” “recipes,” “cooking,” and “healthy eating.”
To generate seed keywords, think about the topics that are relevant to your website and the needs of your target audience. You can also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer to generate ideas.
Step 2: Expand Your Keyword List
Once you have your seed keywords, it’s time to expand your list. This involves finding related keywords and phrases that people might use to find your content. For example, if your seed keyword is “healthy eating,” related keywords might include “healthy recipes,” “low-calorie meals,” and “nutritious foods.”
To expand your keyword list, you can use tools like Google Autocomplete, Google Related Searches, or the “Searches related to” section at the bottom of the search results page. You can also use the “Keyword Ideas” section in Google’s Keyword Planner or the “Keyword Suggestions” feature in Ubersuggest.
Step 3: Analyze Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume
Once you have a list of potential keywords, it’s time to analyze them for difficulty and search volume. Keyword difficulty refers to how hard it is to rank for a particular keyword in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search volume refers to how often people search for a particular keyword.
To analyze keyword difficulty, you can use tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush. These tools give you a difficulty score based on factors like the number of websites that are already ranking for the keyword and the strength of their backlink profiles.
To analyze search volume, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner or tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush. These tools provide estimates of how many times a keyword is searched for each month.
Step 4: Prioritize Your Keyword List
Now that you have analyzed your keywords for difficulty and search volume, it’s time to prioritize your list. Your goal is to find the keywords that have a high search volume and a low difficulty score, as these are the keywords that will be easiest to rank for and will bring the most traffic to your website.
To prioritize your list, you can use a spreadsheet or a tool like Ahrefs’ “Keyword Difficulty” feature. Sort your list by search volume and difficulty score, and focus on the keywords that have a high search volume and a low difficulty score.
Step 5: Use Long-Tail Keywords
In addition to targeting short, highly competitive keywords, it’s also a good idea to target long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that people use to search for specific information. For example, “healthy chicken recipes for weight loss” is a long-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords are often less competitive than short-tail keywords, and they can be highly targeted to your specific audience.
To find long-tail keywords, you can use the same tools that you used to find your seed keywords and related keywords. As you expand your list, look for longer phrases that include your main keywords.
Step 6: Evaluate Your Competitors
Another important step in keyword research is to evaluate your competitors. Look at the keywords they are targeting and the content they are creating. This can give you ideas for new keywords and content topics that you can use to differentiate yourself and stand out in search results.
To evaluate your competitors, you can use tools like Ahrefs’ “Site Explorer” or SEMrush’s “Domain Overview” feature. These tools will show you the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, as well as their backlink profiles and content strategies.
Step 7: Use Your Keywords Strategically
Once you have identified your target keywords, it’s time to use them strategically in your content. This involves optimizing your on-page content, including your page titles, meta descriptions, headers, and body text, for your target keywords.
When using your keywords, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing, which is the practice of overusing keywords in an attempt to manipulate search rankings. Instead, use your keywords in a natural and organic way that makes sense for your content.