Skip main navigation

How to Conduct Keyword Research

Before proceeding with on-page optimization, you need to conduct keyword research.
7.4
Before proceeding with on-page optimization, we need to conduct keyword research following these steps. Pick a topic to research, brainstorm keywords, review keyword value, prioritize keywords. Your research topic could be a product or service, a source of information, or a brand. When picking a topic to research, it’s important to focus on one topic at a time and make sure that it’s closely aligned to your objectives and your industry. As you carry out your research, it’s good to have a webpage in mind as well as the needs of your customers. Avoid being too generic or trying to research the whole website in one go.
60.7
The most common mistake people make in keyword research is focusing on short tail keywords that aren’t relevant enough for search engines to rank.
76.7
The next step is brainstorming keywords. This involves coming up with a list of keywords that are closely related to the topic you have chosen. You’ll need to think of synonyms as well as plural and singular keywords. It’s important to aim for quantity rather than quality, but the results still need to be relevant to your topic. Try to think of at least 10 keywords where possible. When you are brainstorming, try to avoid straying too far off-topic trying to find only perfect-match keywords or stopping at two or three keywords. There are some useful tools available to help you brainstorm for keywords. The first is search engine suggestions and related searches, with an example from Google here.
132.6
You can see the star has been added to the keyword search to get more specific results. The related search suggestions give more ideas around the same topic.
145.8
Another useful tool is Google Keyword Planner, which is part of Google Ads. You can enter a keyword, and it will give you a list of suggestions related to that keyword as well as search volumes for the keyword. You can also use filters to customize your search. Keywords Everywhere is another helpful tool for brainstorming keywords. It is a free Chrome plugin, and that can be used with Google Keyword Planner and other search engine interfaces.
180.4
Another approach you can take to brainstorm keywords is to look at the keywords your competitors use. SEMrush is a popular competitor keyword analysis tool. You can put in a website’s homepage, and it will provide you with a list of that website’s most valuable keywords. As you brainstorm, compile a list of keywords and include the search volumes for them so that you can compare them later on. In this example, you can see a list of keywords in the left column and the search volume for each keyword in the right column. There are five steps to reviewing keyword value and difficulty. Step 1, get the keyword search volumes. Step 2, get the keyword difficulty scores. Step 3, get the keyword rankings.
240.5
Step 4, review the keywords. Step 5, assign a relevancy score. There are two key considerations when deciding which keywords are best for your topic and business, search volume and topic relevancy score. Search volume. The higher the search volume, the better the keyword is. For SEO, we tend to target keywords at a country level. So, select the most relevant country that you wish to target.
277.6
Relevancy score. This is a subjective grading between 1 (high) and 3 (low) on how relevant a keyword is to a topic. In this example, we have graded picking a snowboard as a 3 for the relevancy to the topic. The topic is about snowboard sizing. So, while picking a snowboard is a related topic, it is actually a parent topic. You’ll see, there are a number of keywords also graded as 3s, which are best saved for other topics or pages. You can also put an X against keywords with zero search volume.
320.3
In some very niche industries, especially where there’s a high average order value, you may still wish to target keywords that are flagged with zero search volume, as it’s still possible they may bring in traffic and conversions.
338.3
Keyword stuffing is frowned upon. If you look at a title tag, which is the blue clickable link in a search result, you’ll see that it is a specific size. If that size is exceeded, it will be truncated. And if it is exceeded by a large amount, it will start to be ignored by search engines. On average, you can aim to work between three and five keywords into a title tag. It is important to focus on the most valuable keywords, and that’s why prioritizing them helps. Based on the metrics you have acquired, pick out the most important keywords. Keywords with a good relevancy score and good search volume should be most highly prioritized.
386.7
There will also be a subjective factor regarding how good a fit the keyword is for the business and the likelihood that it will convert into business objectives. Always choose one P1 keyword. This is the most important one to focus on, and is known as the primary keyword. Choose two P2 keywords, also known as secondary keywords. These are the next most important keywords after P1 keywords. Choose three or more P3 keywords. Known as tertiary keywords. these are the next most important keywords after P1 and P2 keywords.
433.3
In this example, all of the keywords have been graded with 1 for topic relevancy, which means they are highly relevant. So, in this case, prioritization has been decided based on search volume and subjectivity.

Before proceeding with on-page optimization, you need to conduct keyword research. Effective keyword research is critical for success in search marketing and this step outlines the process and dives deeper into details of the steps involved.

Discussion:

If you’re writing content for your website, blog post or social media update, do you think it could be helpful to use search engines to get ideas for content topics? How could it be helpful?

Please submit your answer in the comment section below to get feedback from other learners.

This article is from the free online

Getting Started with Digital Marketing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education