Keyword Research – The Complete Beginner’s Guide

You’ve come up with a unique product, a killer website and a poignant brand that truly reflects your values and personality – but now the hard part is getting it promoted. What’s the secret? It’s keyword research. 

Will you tread the busy, talkative mediums of social media by creating an account and coming up with provocative posts? A LinkedIn account maybe? An Instagram account perhaps? What about the many fanatics on Reddit?

Or will you go conventional by attending conferences and industry networking events with a business card on hand and dynamite pitch ready to captivate?

You can begin with either, but you could also start with an intensive keyword research strategy to boost your search engine rankings.

By performing an intensive keyword research, you’ll find the right lingo your target audience uses, while also initiating the first, most important steps of rolling out a full-on SEO strategy.

Interested?

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Link building can help your site rank higher and faster. Read more in How Link Building Can Better Rank Your Website “

What Is Keyword Research?

keyword-research

When it comes to the ever changing world of marketing, it’s common to see certain techniques fall into obsolescence as fast as they rose up the ladders. 

Yet, amidst all these short-lived trends, there’s a select few that stand the test of time – marketing’s core principles.

They include determining the right product for your target market, the right price and the right distribution method and evaluating your competitors and industry. In addition to these foundational elements, there’s also understanding your ideal customers and their unique needs, desires, pain points. 

This is what keyword research is all about. What’s keyword research? It’s research about who’s searching for your goods and services and who’s consuming it. 

Still confused? Here’s an example:

Say you own an online shoe store, yet your unsure of what inventory to carry and promote this season – should it be some brown chelseas? Goodyear welt? Or the latest style of zebra coloured boots you’ve been hearing so much about lately?

Without adequate market research, you’ll never be able to know what’s in season or what your target market is looking for. 

Doing keyword research will not only help solve your inventory woes, but it will also uncover more trends and the exact words and phrases you should use in promoting each shoe you carry.

Not convinced?

Let’s take a closer look at WHY keyword research is so important to online business success.

Why Keyword Research Is Important For Your Online Success

If you’re not aware, search engines are an integral aspect to e-commerce and how your business gets discovered online.

As of this writing, Google, the dominant search engine today, processes over 3.5 billion searches a day, serving as fuel for MANY of today’s unicorn business success stories. Within each of these 3.5 billion searches, are the same repetitive phrases being used over and over again – known as keywords.

These keywords are essentially how search engines work – it’s how they collect, organize and rank the quadrillion of web pages into their library – making each and every one available for our viewing needs.

With the endless sea of web pages out there on the internet, marketing then becomes a game of competing to have your web page rank higher than your competitors for more exposure. How else would your organisation compete against the literal hundreds of thousands of competing sites and brands?

This game of ranking higher is called Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and a branch of it is referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

There are many parts to carrying out an effective SEO strategy, but the most crucial first step is to conduct keyword research.

Here are just some of search engine data you’ll uncover through keyword research:

  • The frequency of what, when and where certain keywords are being used
  • What keywords your top competitors are using
  • What keywords are the most and least used in your industry
  • What keywords are the easiest and most difficult to rank for

With this search engine data, you’ll be able to direct not only an effective SEO strategy but a lively, relevant and engaging content strategy as well.

So with this said, how can you execute keyword research in today’s marketing environment?

How to Conduct Keyword Research

Here are 4 critical steps to conducting keyword research to get your site ranking higher, faster. 

1. Find the Right Tools
how-to-do-keyword-research
Google Search Console is a free service provided by Google and is a good introduction into Keyword Research tools. (https://search.google.com/search-console/about

First, you’ll need the right tools and luckily for us, there are many keyword research tools available.

You might want to try Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs or SEmRush.
Many of these search engines help eliminate a lot of the grunt work involved in researching keyword topics and ideas. You could enter any string of keywords and see relevant search topics, keyword suggestions and some tools even provide insight into search volumes. 

 It’s important to keep in mind that there is no be-all, end-all tool for keyword research. Given the variety of paid and unpaid SEO tools out there, it’s within best practice to play around with multiple to find one that fits your business needs before pulling the trigger on purchasing a subscription. 

Experiment and find one that best suits your preferences and business goals.

2. Gather and Collect Relevant Topics
guide-to-keyword-research
Google Trends is another free service offered by Google that provides insights on popular keywords and their search volume. (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US)

Before you engage in a keyword search, think about your industry and your business. Based on your experience and interaction with various customers, what are the most popular products? What are the most common questions and pain points they have?

What about the topics associated with your brand? What topics do you want the market to know you have expertise in?

And most importantly, who are your competitors? If your competitors already have a lively online presence with tons of content they’re more than likely to have targeted many keywords.

Keyword research starts first with an idea which can be gleaned from anywhere. Your own industry expertise and experience can provide important insight into what kind of topics your target audience is searching for. Active on a forum or community? Often times the most asked questions on these online platforms are also the most searched for search terms. 

Keyword research also involves keeping up to date on the calendar. Search volumes might on “pumpkins” might spike during Halloween and “gift ideas” will most likely spike right before the Holidays. Proper planning and some calendar coordination will be required. 

Use all these as references for inputting the keywords you’re researching about and extrapolate for related keywords.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Keyword Attributes

When navigating the sea of search engine data through tools of your choice, don’t get overwhelmed. Before deciding on a set of keywords, understand the lingo, a keyword’s attributes, and what makes the keyword worth using as part of your SEO strategy in the first place.

Familiarize yourself with important attributes like:

  • Keyword type
  • Searcher intent
  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty or competition
  • Associated Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) features

Taking your selected tool’s tutorial (my personal fav is AHREFS) is a great way of discerning what makes a keyword worth using.

4. Select and Carry Out Your SEO and Content Strategy

Once you’ve found the right keywords with the right attributes that are relevant to your business objectives, carry out your on-page, off-page and technical SEO techniques, along with a thorough content development strategy of blog articles, web copy and the like. 

Basing your website’s entire content and architecture off such relevant keywords will make your business IRRESISTIBLE for a higher ranking in Google’s eyes.

Key Takeaways On How to Do Keyword Research

When thinking of allocating time and energy in your promoting efforts, tackling the technical, yet mysterious world of search engine rankings is a great place to start. 

Take the initial steps by doing thorough keyword research, then, familiarize yourself with the next steps of on-page, off-page and technical SEO techniques.

Once you have the hang of these, you’ll be well on your way to rolling out a full SEO strategy which will further aid in your efforts in executing on a content strategy.

If you need any tips, guidance or anything else digital marketing related along the way, feel free to follow our blog!

Happy keyword researching!

Terry Say

Written By Terry Say

Terry's an editor and SEO strategist for Advesa. There’s nothing content and SEO he won’t get involved in. We tried, he just always finds a way to put his hands on things! Aside from work, Terry calls himself a ‘stand-up comedy connoisseur’, and enjoys watching intense tournaments in the world of E-sports.