What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of discovering words and phrases that people use in search engines with the ultimate goal of optimizing content around those terms.

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
Keyword research impacts every other SEO task that you perform, including finding content topics, on-page SEO, and outreach and promotions.

That’s why keyword research is usually the first step of any SEO campaign.

Put another way:

Keywords are like a compass for your SEO campaigns: they tell you where to go and whether or not you’re making progress.

As a bonus, researching keywords help you figure out the thoughts, fears, and desires of your target market. That’s because keywords research gives you tremendous insight into what potential customers searching for and the exact words and phrases that they use.

Keyword research is just market research for the 21st century.

How to Find Keyword Ideas

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of keyword research. Specifically, it’s time to generate a list of keywords.

And in this section, I’m going to show you proven strategies that you can use to come up with keyword ideas.

Let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Think hard about a list of topics related to your business or ideally brainstorm with your team.

In this part of the keyword research, you come up with topics that your target customer is interested in. For example, let`s say you run a digital marketing agency * How convenient for me, right? *

The first thing I ask myself when doing keyword research is: “What topics do people search for that are related to my business?”

Some topics that come to mind would be things like:

  1. Web development
  2. Lead Generation
  3. Social Media
  4. PPC / SEM
  5. Email Marketing
  6. Blogging
  7. Content Marketing

These broad topics we can use then to drill down towards specific keywords. And that is what we are going to do right now!

Free ways to do keyword research:

Method 1: Google and Youtube Suggest

Google and Youtube suggest keywords are a great choice to add to your keyword list. Why? Because if Google suggests a keyword, you KNOW that a lot of people are searching for those keywords.

Example: Go to google and add one of your topics in the search bar

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

After you finish typing, you will see that Google suggest a bunch of keywords:

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

For Youtube keywords, this works the same, just go to youtube and type in your desired topic:

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

Related Searches

Another easy and free method is to check out the “Searches Related To” section at the bottom of Google`s search results. For example, let`s say the topic is email marketing. Type in your topic in the google search.

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

And scroll down the bottom of the search results page. Here you will find a list of 8 keywords that are closely related to your search term:

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

These related keywords can give you new ideas for your keyword list. Let`s say you were planning to write an article on how to do email marketing. Then this keyword would be excellent to add to your list. And to get more suggestions all you have to do is click on the “How to do email marketing” related search term. Let`s try that out.

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

As you can see, this gives us a brand new list of closely related keywords. You can keep doing this until you are satisfied with your keyword list regarding your topic of choice.

Method 2: Get your keywords from Reddit

Not too many people are familiar with this method, but It makes sense. Because there is a high probability that your target audience uses Reddit. Let’s give this a try:

Go to reddit.com and type your topic of choice. For this case, let`s do Lead Generation.

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

Then click on a subreddit where your target audience would most likely hang out and ask questions. For this search, r/LeadGeneration would be an excellent choice. Then find a post with a lot of comments.

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

In this case, we can add automating lead generation, and Lead generation LinkedIn to our keyword list. To speed things up, you can use a tool called Keyworddit. Keyworddit scans Reddit for words and phrases that people use, and sort them by monthly searches.

Link: https://www.highervisibility.com/free-seo-tools/keyworddit/

For Lead Generation, there isn`t a good subreddit, but for web development, there is. Subreddit web dev for example:

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

Method 3: Finding Keywords through Forums

Forums can be another source where your target audience hangs out and asks questions or discuss subjects. You can find these easily by using Google search string operators. There about 42 different search string operators, but let`s keep it simple for now!

Here is an example:

  • “keyword forum”
  • “keyword” + “forum”
  • “keyword” + “forums”
  • “keyword” + “board”

When you find a forum, you will see that most times they are divided into sections. Each of these sections could be a keyword that can add to your keyword list.

From here, you can dig deeper into the threads and can look for other topics that your target audience might struggle with.

Keyword Research Tools ( The good stuff )

The Google Keyword Planner

Google`s keyword planner is free to use and probably the most reliable source of keyword information online. That`s because, unlike most other tools, the data you get comes straight from Google. So you know this data is accurate. The downside of Google`s Keyword Planner is that it is designed to help people with their Google Ads Campaigns. And not optimized for SEO.

However, it`s still a fantastic tool the get a list of keyword ideas. I use it myself many times, and just works great.

The only thing you need to get started is to register a Google Ads Account. This you can do 100% for free. My advice is just to skip the campaign building process, and go to Tools & Settings -> Keyword Planner.

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

From here, you have two options. Find new keywords, or get search volume and forecasts. If you have a keyword list with no monthly searches. The “Get search volume and forecasts” is an excellent option to get the monthly searches for those keywords.

If you want to find new keywords with monthly searches, you`ll need the “Find new keywords” option, which we will cover now.

Here is an example of web development:

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

As you can see, Google gives a LOT of keyword suggestions for you, too look at. 896 Ideas, as you can see in the image above. Hands down the best free resource available!

Ahrefs

What is Ahrefs?

Ahrefs is a beautiful SEO software that contains tools for competitor analysis, keyword research, site audits, rank tracking, and link building. It`s personally my favorite SEO tool that is available on the internet.

One of my favorite ways to do keyword research in Ahrefs is by looking at my top competition for keywords. There is a big chance that your competitors already performed the keyword research before you did. So why not take a look at the keywords they are ranking for and cherry-pick the best ones for your business?

If you don`t have any idea who your competitors might be, you can easily solve this by typing seed keyword like “Seo Agency in Bangkok” and see who is ranking on the first page. Those 10 will be your top competition, simple as that.

Now that we know our competition, let`s dive into the Ahrefs site explorer and see what kind of valuables to hold for us!

5 Ways to do effective keyword research

There is a good chance that a single competitor can supply you with enough keyword ideas to keep your team or yourself busy for weeks or months. But why stop there? If you want more keyword ideas, you go to “Competing Domains” reports to find more sites like your top competition. That saves you a lot of switching to google and back for more results and can keep working on one screen. Saves time!

That gives us a competitive research loop:

  1. Enter your seed keyword in Google, and look who ranks for the top 10 positions.
  2. Enter your competition in the Ahrefs Site Explorer to see their best keywords
  3. Get more relevant competitor websites via the “Competing domains” Report.
  4. And back to step 1 or 2 until you are satisfied.

#If you keep doing this process over and over, you eventually get enough keywords to get you going for a few years. There is a lot more you can with Ahrefs for competitive analysis, but that will be explained in the upcoming competitive analysis guide