Master Guide to Keyword Research in SEO 2021

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Keyword research is one of the important components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Keyword research is a one time activity for your product or services pages, so it has to be done with a deep dive approach. 

If you have shortlisted wrong keywords for your website then you might not get the relevant traffic and conversions will be lower, plus if you are revising your keywords, you are actually starting from scratch for on-page activity. So it is important to follow right practices while doing keyword research. 

What is Keyword Research in SEO?

Keyword research is the process of identifying and shortlisting the right keywords for your business to rank on search engines. 

In simple words, it is choosing the right keywords on which you would like to rank.

There are 3 key factors which you should consider while doing keyword research. Let’s understand each one of them 

Factors to be considered while doing Keyword Research in SEO

Relevancy: 

The keyword which you are shortlisting should be relevant to your business. 

For eg: If my business Is offering dynamic creatives, the keyword I would target on my website would be, Dynamic Creative Optimization Agency or DCO Agency

If I am targeting Facebook Dynamic Creative (which is Facebook’s dynamic creative feature in Facebook ads), then it won’t be relevant 

Intent :

The keyword which you are selecting should have an intent, it shouldn’t be a generic keyword. Let’s consider the same above example, in this case if I am targeting “dynamic creatives” as a keyword then it is generic, wherein I am not able to understand what is the intent of the user, so it becomes a generic keyword. 

Whereas, if I select a keyword as “dynamic creative optimization agency”, in that case there is an intent, where the user is looking for an agency and I want to reach those searches. So this becomes an intent based keyword

Search Volume:

While doing keyword research, you should make sure you check the average monthly searches of the keyword. The keyword you have shortlisted (after making sure that it’s relevant and has intent), should have high searches, or else the traffic generation potential will be lower. 

You can get average monthly searches of specific keywords using Google Keyword Planner. There are other tools which can help to get the search volume data includes, SEM Rush, SpyFu, Moz etc 

Keyword Difficulty:

Keyword difficulty is the level of difficulty to rank for a specific keyword in search results. The score is defined between 0 to 100, wherein if the score is close to 100, it means it’s difficult to rank or it might take longer time to rank for a keyword. Similarly if the score is close to 0, it means it’s easy to rank. 

We can use a keyword difficulty tool to identify the difficulty level and then decide on the keyword. So these are the different factors one should consider while doing keyword research. 

How to Do Keyword Research in SEO?

Now that we have understood different factors to be considered in keyword research, I am going to take an example of a product and demonstrate how to do keyword research or keyword analysis for SEO.

So, I am taking an example of a product which is a coorg resort and going to select  few keywords for the product page which I would like to rank. So let’s get started!

Step 1: 

The first step is you need to go to Google Ads Account – Google Ads Account Login

Step 2:

Now you need to go tools and settings and then click on keyword planner as below 

Keyword Analysis in SEO

Once you click on keyword planner, you will see the below screen

SEO Keyword Research

Step 3:

Now click on discover keywords and then enter one business keyword which is highly relevant to your product. 

So for our example of coorg resorts, I am entering resorts in coorg as the keyword, as I feel this is the most relevant one, which also has an intent to go for the resort. 

Now below the keyword, select the geography in which you want to do your SEO for, I have selected India as a geographical region, as I want to rank for searches happening across India

SEO Keyword Discovery

Now, say get results. Once you click on get results, you will get the below results. 

Keyword Research For SEO

From here you can see there are 1,008 keywords which Google is suggesting, but all these keywords won’t be relevant, so we need to select the right keyword for the coorg resort page for SEO. 

Now the keyword which I had used is resorts in coorg, which has around 22,000 as the average monthly searches, which is high and you can see on the right hand side, competition column which shows as low. This means that the keyword competition is not very high to rank. 

Further you can see two more columns, including top of page bid (low range) and top of page (high range), you can ignore this, as it’s related to paid search. 

Now the key question is which keyword to select from the suggested keyword list and how many keywords one should select for one page of SEO. You should select maximum 3 keywords for a single page for SEO. 

So I am selecting the first keywords as resorts in coorg, as it’s relevant and the searches are high plus the competition is low. The second keyword I am selecting is, heritage resort coorg which has a search volume of 4,400. I am selecting this keyword because my resort is a heritage resort in coorg. And the last keyword which I am selecting is 5 star Resorts in Coorg as the resort I am doing SEO for is a 5 star resort ( this keyword is on the second scroll of the page with a search volume of 880)

I am excluding keywords like madikeri because the resort I am promoting is not in madikeri, also I am not considering cliff resort coorg, because it’s not a cliff resort, so it’s irrelevant to me. Further I have not considered hotels because it’s not a hotel. Similarly you can shortlist keywords for your business in the same way.  

Step 4:

Now the next step you can follow is to look at the keyword difficulty level by another tool. So I am using KW finder to understand the keyword difficulty of “resorts in coorg” keyword. In order to check the difficulty level, go to KW Finder and enter the keyword and select the location, I have entered as below 

Keyword Research With KW Finder

Now say find keywords. You will be able to see the below dashboard, so from this dashboard, you can see on the right hand side, score of 31/100 and it says possible keyword difficulty, which means it’s not very difficult to rank on this keyword. Similarly you can check for the rest of the two keywords which you have shortlisted.

KW Finder Keyword Research Tool for SEO

You can further use this keyword tool for keyword research. On the left hand side you can see the keywords with their search volume. You can cross verify the Google keyword planner data with KW Finder and then finalise the keywords. 

Marketers use multiple keyword research tools like SEM Rush, KW Finder, SpyFu etc to do keyword research. But it’s not necessary for you to also do so, you can just use one additional tool by going ahead with their free trial and do the keyword research, as keyword research is one time activity, you won’t need the tool again for defining keywords for your products or services page. 

Note: You would need additional tools only to do keyword research for blogs, as you have to create content on a regular basis. You can also use keyword research tools to do competition research like SpyFu

Step 5:

Now once you have understood the keyword difficulty level, it’s important to also consider the competitors keywords who are ranking in the top 5 positions on search. In SEO it is a good practice to look at what competitors are doing and take inferences to define your strategy. So let’s look at the top 3 search results for resorts in coorg keyword.

You can see, aggregator websites are ranking in the top 3 positions.

Competition Keyword Analysis

So now let’s look at the keywords they have used in their title and description tags. In order to check their keywords, use a chrome extension called as SEO META, install it and then go to the competitors first page. So I am going to booking dot com website and clicking on SEO Meta extension and I can see the below screen

Chrome Extension SEO META

For here I can understand that the competitor is using “best resorts in coorg” as a keyword, you can take this as in inference and then use best resorts in coorg as a keyword instead of resorts in coorg as a keyword. Similarly, you can look at the keywords of other competitors and come to a conclusion. 

Step 6:

You can further use SpyFu tool to understand the keywords of a competitor because it might be difficult to do competition analysis page by page. So SpyFu tool will help you to understand all the keywords through a single dashboard, which the brand has targeted on their website. So I am adding a brand called as tamara in the SpyFu tool, it’s a resort brand in coorg.

SpyFu Keyword Research Tool

Once I say enter, I able able to see this report, from where I can see that there are 33 organic keywords targeted on The Tamara Website.

Keyword Research in SEO

Now, once I click on organic keywords, I can see all the keywords targeted by the brand like this.

How to do keyword research for SEO

This gives you a deep insight about the competition keyword strategy and you can leverage it while defining your keyword strategy.

So this is how you can do keyword research or keyword analysis for your product or services page. Always remember keywords should not be duplicated on other pages of your website or else it will cause keyword cannibalisation. 

Conclusion:

Keyword research should be done considering all the factors as mentioned above which has high intent and relevancy to your business. Always learn through competition keywords who are ranking high and define your keyword strategy. It’s not important to use all possible combinations of keywords, but to use relevant and high intent keywords while doing SEO. 

    Stanford Lead & Symbiosis Alumni, 11+ years experience in Programmatic Advertising, Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), Search Marketing, User Behaviour & Web Analytics. Founder - R Interactives & R Academy. He is also a visiting faculty with Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM - MBA) & Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (SIMC - MBA)

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