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How to do keyword research for SEO – A step by step guide

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The biggest satisfaction as a SEO specialist is when the keyword you are working on starts to rank on the 1st page of Google. But to do that, it requires lots of hard work that has to be done.  It’s like laying the foundation for building a skyscraper. Similarly, right keyword research is the foundation of a successful SEO campaign.

But the big question is how to do keyword research for SEO that ranks? In this blog, I will guide you step by step with a practical approach on how to do keyword research for SEO that will help you rank your website & bring in relevant traffic & inquiries for your business. But, before that let us try to understand what is keyword research & why it is important?


What is keyword research?

Keyword research is a process of finding the best possible queries that your customers search for while looking for your business on the search engines. Not just that, keyword research is also important for prioritizing your website pages & it is an important factor for mapping keywords on the website.


Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research tells you which search terms are popular among your customers & which terms are being actively searched on the internet. Without keyword research, chances are that you may end up optimizing your website for wrong keywords & it might affect the end goal of your SEO campaign.

According to Aherfs, 90.63% pages on the internet get no organic traffic which shows that there is a serious problem with keyword targeting of those pages & you surely don’t want to be in the same category.

Infographic of search traffic distribution

                                                                                                       Source – Ahrefs


Step 1 – Make a List of Keyword Category or Themes

Making a list of keyword categories or keyword themes is the most basic & one of the most important steps in doing keyword research. But how to do that?

First list down your main business category. For example, Being a digital marketing agency, we offer digital marketing services.

Next, list down the service/product categories that your business offers. For example, We have 3 important services which are SEO Services, PPC Services & Social Media Marketing Services.

Further, if these service categories can be more divided into sub-categories then you can go ahead & do that. For example, our social media marketing service category is further subdivided into instagram marketing, Facebook marketing, Linkedin marketing & so on.

This exercise will help you figure out the keyword themes & in the next step you can start figuring out relevant search terms related to these services.


Step 2 – Research related terms using keyword research tools & other methods

Once you are done with figuring out the main business keyword theme, service category keyword theme & sub category keyword theme, it is important to find out more related searches to those keywords also known as LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords.

Let’s say if your business offers creative branding services then you can try to use keywords like branding agency services, creative agency in delhi (use location), creative agency in delhi ncr etc.

But now one big question is, How do we research related keywords? So, I am going to suggest 3 options below which will improve your keyword research.

The best & the most easy tool to use for keyword research is a tool by Google itself i.e. Google Keyword Planner.

Keyword planner is originally a Google ads tool & comes attached with a Google ads account. You can create a Google ads account to use Google keyword planner.

Keyword planner gives you an option to feed one category keyword & gives you all possible search terms related to your category keyword with search volume. For example, if I feed a keyword SEO Agency in Mumbai, it will show all related searches along with monthly traffic & competition which can be seen in the below image.

Google Keyword Planner for SEO Agency in Mumbai


Step 3 – Use Google Search to Find Relevant Keywords

One of the best free & authentic methods to do keyword research is to use Google search & the search results to find the relevant keywords people are searching for.

For example, if I want to look for relevant searches to my parent category keyword digital marketing agency then I will simply go and type this in the Google search bar. Once done you will find many search term suggestions given by Google based on the recent searches from the users.

Google keyword suggestion for digital marketing agency

Not just that, there is another really good way to figure out more related searches. Whenever you search for a term on Google, at the bottom of every page you will see Google suggest 6-8 related search terms. For example, if I search for the term Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai, Google shows atleast 8 related searches at the bottom of each page which can be seen in the image below.

Related searches on Google for digital marketing agency in mumbai


Step 4 – Use your top competitors to spy on their keywords

Researching your competitors website to spy on their keywords is a really smart way to look for keywords while doing keyword research. Why I call it a smart way is that your competitors who are already there at the top for your keywords have done all the hardwood with respect to keyword research & other SEO aspects. It also shows that they are receiving good traffic & results out of those keywords.

So, you can use their experience & wisdom of SEO to figure out which keywords are being used by them & how have they mapped their keywords on different pages on their website.

One easy way of figuring out their keyword is to open their website & hover your mouse at the top of your browser tab just like in the image below:

Title of Scale Delight website

One more & detailed way of figuring competitor keywords is to open their website & right click on the page. Click on view page source & when the page source opens type Ctrl+F and type title in the find bar. This will show you the title & below the title you will find description of the particular page. This will give you a fair idea on the keywords being used in the title & description of your competitors website.

Page inspection of Scale Delight website homepage


Step 5 – Use Your Google Ad Keywords

This keyword research strategy is particularly for people who are running Google ads. If you are running Google ads for your business, chances are that you have already done some basic keyword research & your keywords have already started getting clicks. These keywords would have been triggered on particular search terms. 

You can go to your Google ads account & navigate to the keywords section at the left side menu. In the subcategory of keywords, you will find search terms. Set the data range to atleast last 30 days & see which search terms has triggered clicks on your website. From here you will get an idea of which terms are people searching before landing on your ads & the website.

Pull out keywords from your Google ads campaign

You can also look at which search term has the maximum conversion rate on your website & you can primarily choose those keywords to optimize for SEO since they will give you a good conversion rate once you start ranking for them.

Following these 5 steps should be enough to pull a good keyword research for your SEO campaign. If you need any further help then you can get in touch with our SEO experts & we will be happy to guide you. You can also request us for a Free SEO audit of your website & our team will deliver a detailed audit of your website to help you in your SEO journey.

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