Keyword Research in SEO: The Ultimate Guide

Keyword Research in SEO: The Ultimate Guide

SEO campaigns are very important for rankings in the intended search engine results for our web pages. And keyword research is one of the most important things that you need to use before starting your SEO campaign. Here we explain all the aspects of keyword research in SEO. So, if you are a beginner in SEO, it will be a very good start to understanding keyword research. And also, it will be very good for the people who are looking for SEO services. So, they will understand which kinds of applications that SEO practitioners are making to achieve the best SEO campaigns.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research.

In on-page SEO campaigns, keyword research is the researching of the proper search queires that people are making in the search engines. So, by making these search queries, we will be trying to rank higher in these keyphrase. And this defines the target audience that we try to take visitors from that.

It requires a professional to select the proper keyphrases for a proper SEO campaign. So, if you are not applying a good keyword research campaign, the other SEO methods will be vanity. You need to know your general targets for your general SEO campaign.

Why Keyword Research is Important?

There are several reasons that keyword research is very important in terms of holistic SEO. SEO consists of different kinds of steps and aspects that you need to consider in each step. In general, the first step is technical SEO. You need to be sure about the tehchnşcal SEO of your website before starting the on-page SEO optimizations. If you are sure about all the parameters of the technical SEO, you can start to make on-page SEO.

And also, most people are using computers and smartphones today. If they need a specific thing, they will probably search for this in the search engines. Most people are doing that to reach potential customers. And you can be sure about, most of the audience is on the internet than in the physical world. So, if you have a very good and optimized web system that serves people, will be better than having a store on a crowded street.

The Internet is the most crowded street that you can find. And keyphrases are the banners of your store on your internet to take the specific people into your system.

It is the First Step of the On-Page SEO

Keyword research is the first step of the on-page SEO campaigns. You are starting to define your target keyphrases in on-page SEO. Because you need to know the target keywords that you want to rank for. And probably, you will not define only one key phrase. You will define probably several keyphrases that define the services and products that you are serving on your website and web pages.

After defining the targetkeyphrases, you can start other steps of the on-page SEO. For example, you can make content strategies and create web pages. So, keyword research is a very important guide that shows the way that you need to go.

You are Defining Your Target Audience

The most important advantage of search engine optimization and search engine marketing, you specifically define the target audience that you want to get your web site. Because in search engines, people are generally searching for very specific terms that they need. So, you can take these specific and niche people inside your pages and websites.

With the strict definition of the target keyphrases, you are defining your niche and target audience that you want in your website. So, it is very important to know your purpose with your website and web pages. For example, if your purpose is to sell products and sell services on your web pages, you need to select a target audience and target keyphrases according to this. People must find you through these target keywords.

Very Good Starting Point for an SEO Campaign

With the proper keyword research that you are making for your website, it will be a very good starting point for your SEO campaign. This is because you are starting with the definition of the path that you need to follow in the whole SEO campaign. You know your target and you know the total people that you want to reach.

Once you reach these people who are making research in search engines, you will sell much more products and much more services probably. Because much more people are interested in services and products that you are selling in your website systems. So, you need to define the proper keyphrases.

Making Proper Keyword Research

As we stated above, keyword research is very important stuff that you need to make thoroughly. So, you need to make keyword research professionally.

Most businesses that are willing to make investments in SEO are struggling to find the best keyphrases for their SEO campaign. And generally, they need support to select a proper key phrase. So, it is very important to select a keyword that you need.

First of all, you need to well define which kinds of audience and visitors you want on your website. For example, if you are giving service about a specific topic, you need to take people who are interested or need these services. So, your keyword research campaign must include these audiences.

How to Define the Audience Through Keywords

You need to think about, which kinds of queries people are making to reach your web pages and services. You need to give answers to this question. Or which kinds of queries that people are making to reach your products or pages?

For example, you are an auto repair service in Atlanta US. So, people can find you through “auto repair services in Atlanta”, “Atlanta auto repair services” etc. So, these keywords and their synonyms will be the target keyphrases that you need to define for your SEO campaign.

Also, your audience is very straightforward and you need to work to rank these keyphrases in general.

But probably, you are not only working for the audience only for one service or one key phrase. You probably serving more services at one time or more products. So, you need to define all the keyphrases related to these products and services. And you will have several keyphrases that you need to work for in your SEO campaign.

Long-Tail, Mid-Tail, and Head Keywords

Long-tail keywords.

But you need to know that, most of the keywords have competition at different levels. Because you have possible competitors in your campaign. And other people are trying to rank in the same keyphrases as you. So, it is very important to select low competition keyphrases to rank rapidly compared with other keywords.

Some keyphrases have high competition and some keyphrases have low competition. So, it is very important to select the low competition keywords for our campaigns.

According to the structures of the keyphrases, we are classifying them as long-tail, mid-talk, and head keywords.

Head Keywords

Head keywords are the keyphrases that consist of only one word. And they have the highest competition generally. Lots of the biggest brands are making very big SEO investments to rank higher in these head keyphrases. For example, “shoes” is a head keyword. If you make a search engine query with this keyphrase, you will probably see the biggest e-commerce brands that rank higher in this word.

Also, the head keyphrase has the most traffic in general. They are searched millions of times every month. Head keyphrases are the main cause that the biggest e-commerce website has millions of traffic on as monthly basis.

But also, head keyphrases are not specific enough to define the specific intent of the customers and people. Because, if you want to rank higher in the “shoes” keyword, you need to serve hundreds of types of shoes to the customer to find the best for themselves.

So, if you are a new starter to an SEO campaign, we do not recommend you rank for the head keyphrases in general.

Mid-Tail Keywords

Mid-tail keywords are the class of keywords that include 2 or 3 words inside them. If we compare with the head keyphrases they have generally lower competition in the search engine queries. Also, they are more specific if we compare them with the head keyphrases. So, it s very important to have mid-tail keywords.

For example, “shoes for kids” can be an example of the mid-tail keyphrases. If we compare it with the head keyphrase of “shoes”, it is a much more detailed keyword that states a specific customer intent. But also, there is much competition for this keyphrase between the e-commerce websites. If you want to have traffic from this keyword, you need to have a very good e-commerce system that includes lots of models of shoes for kids.

Furthermore, the traffic from the mid-tail keyphrases is lower than the head keywords. But it is high enough to have very good customers.

Long-Tail Keywords in Keyword Research

As you may expect, long-tail keywords ar the keyphrases that have the longest form. These types generally have 3-5 words that define very specific interests. But their traffic ar much lower than the mid-tail and head keyphrases. And also, their competition is much lower.

So, for new systems like you, it is better to define the long-tail keywords for you. Because ranking in these keyphrases will be much easier if we compare it with the other types of keywords. And also, the conversion rates are much higher if we compare with the mid-tail and the head keyphrases.

Because, if you serve a specific product or service that people are looking for with the long-tail keywords, they will probably contact you and take the service. Because their interest is very specific and you are serving directly for this interest. So, it is very important to compete in the long-tail key phrases to rank higher and easier.

For example, “Spider-Man shoe models for kids” is a very specific keyword and includes very specific customer intent. So, you can easily rank for this keyphrase. And people probably interact wişth your products if you are specifically selling shoe models with Spider-Man for kids.

You can define various kinds of long-tail key phrases to rank in for your services. And it will be better to divide your services into specific types to rank in these long-tail keywords.

Importance of the Local SEO for Keyword Research

Local SEO is also a very good tool to reach specific customers with SEO campaigns. Because placing restrictions on keyphrases make them much easier to rank in. But local SEO campaigns are generally successful for the service providers in local places. You are directly reaching your potential customers.

The best long-tail keyword campaigns are emerging from the best local SEO campaigns. So, it is very important to have local SEO campaigns for people who are selling or giving services locally.

For example, you are giving plumbing service in a specific region in Texas, Austin. You probably know that “plumbers” or “plumbing service” are the most common and hardest key phrases to rank for. Because they are head keywords and it is not logical trying to rank in these keywrods. But, if we consider the “plumbing services in Austin” or “plumbers in Austin Texas” are the very specific keywrods that you can easily rank in them if their competition is low.

And also, nearly all the people around the world are making search queries for “plumbing” or “plumbers”. So, you can not take your toolbox and go to England to repair the people’s plums. You are giving this service in Austin, Texas and it will be more logical to serve in this place and people. And you can directly target people there in search engine queries.

This is the real power of the local SEO campaigns that you can define for yourself.

Important Steps to Define the Best Keywords for Your SEO Campaign

You need to consider these steps while you are defining your keyphrases for your SEO campaign. So, if you follow these steps, you will probably easily define the best ones for you.

Create a Keyword List for Keyword Research

As we stated above, you need to think about the general aspects and aims of your SEO campaign or your business. Which kinds of people that you want to reach with your keywords?

So, you need to have a key phrase list that will serve you the possible audience that you can make customers. And also, this keyphrase list must include all the services and products that you are serving.

Empathy will be your powerful tool to obtain this list. Think about your products and services. What kinds of queries that you need to use in the search engines to reach these products and services? You need to include these keyphrases in your list.

The key phrase in this list will be a very good starting point for your SEO campaign. You will make these keywords better and better.

Use Keyword Research Tools to Analyze the Competitions for These Keywords

There are various kinds of useful tools that are showing the general competition for these keywords. And you can have lots of kinds of metrics from these tools about the key phrases that you have. You can find a list that includes tools that you can easily use for keyword research.

For example, Semrush provides a very useful tool that you can use in keyword research campaigns. Take a look at the example below.

Keyphrase analysis in Semrush.

For example, we used an example key phrase of “shoes for kids”. This is a highly competitive keyword that will be illogical for the systems that are new on the internet. In the key phrase research tool of Semrush, we just typed the keyword and make research about about it.

In the keyphrase difficulty section, you can see that this keyphrase has very high competition. Probably, it will be very hard to rank the possible keywords that you have.

And also, you can see the origins of the traffic which lots of the traffic come from India. So, your general audience will be from India. If you will try to rank in these keyphrases, it is very important to have a website and SEO campaign that is directed to India.

Also, you can see the keyphrase intent as “Commercial”. This means this keyphrase is classified by Google and other search engines as commercial and generally, you will face e-commerce web sites in the search results. So, you are targeting the right keyphrase if you are trying to sell products to people who come from search engines.

Define Keyword Variations

The most important merits of the keyword research tools in general, are showing the keyword variations so that you can select a proper one for you. You need to take a look at the key phrase variations to select the lowest competition keyphrases for you. So, you will have a much more detailed list that you have nearly all the long-tail keyphrase lists that you can try to rank for.

You need to add these low competition keyphrase variations into your keyphrase list and start to work for this keyphrase first to rank in them. For example, the “Adidas shoes for kids” keyphrase has much lower competition than the “shoes for kids” keyword. So, this keyphrase must be in the keyword list that you have.

For each keyword in your list, you need to define low competition long-tail keyword variations for your SEO campaign. And you need to create contents and pages that directly aim for these keyphrases to have traffic and rank in them. You will easily rank in these keyphrases and have traffic from them easily.

You will have most of the traffic from the keyword variations that you define for your purpose. So, it is very important to have keyphrase variations.

Competition Analyses for These Keywords

After you defined the long-tail keyphrase variations of the main keywords that you defined for your SEO campaign, you need to make research the competitions that these words have. You can do it by just searching the term in the search engines.

You need to look at the top-ranking results. At the top-ranking results, you have the general pages that you will compete for. Check these pages. And you need to create better pages and web posts than these pages to rank for the key phrases that you have.

For each keyword, you need to make this analysis to compete with the people. So, it is very important to have a complete competition analysis for all the long-tail keywords that you defined by using the keyphrase analyzer tools.

The Search Intent

Also, the search intents of the keyphrase are a very important topic that we need to consider. The search intent is the general intent of the people that are searching this term in the search engines. So, you need to have a very good search intent if you want to achieve good stuff.

Search engines generally classify the keyphrase intents like this;

  • Commercial: As you understand from its name, these keywords are commercial keyphrases. People that are using these keyphrases are trying to find possible services and products to buy in search engines. Commercial keyphrases are very important keyphrases that you need to target if you are selling products and services in your business. The main keywords will be commercial if you want to run a business.
  • Transactional: These types of keywords are nearly the same as commercial keyphrases in general. But the main difference is, people are searching for directly making transactions. For example, “bill payment”, and “buy a necklace” are transactional keywords. In the search results, generally, web pages that give the services for these transactions will appear. If you have an e-commerce system, you need to also aim for transactional keywords such as “buy shoes for kids”.
  • Navigational: These are the types of search intents of the people who are looking for a solution. They will try to navigate between the pages or other things. For example, “download the X game” is a navigational keyword that people are searching this term to click and download the game.
  • Informational: Also, these are the intents that people only look for information. And most of the time, blogs and content pages appear in the search results to give important information to people.

Define the Content Strategy

After the definition of the whole keyphrases that you need to rank for, you need to create a detailed content strategy. In this step, you are not writing content. You need to define the contents that you need to write to target the keywords that you defined. For each keyphrase that you defined, it is important to have one content.

It is very important to create your content according to the on-page SEO. Because the contents are also very important and specific to rank in search engines. You need to use the keyphrases properly in your content and pages.

Firstly, the title of the pages must start with the keywrods that you defined for that content. And in the introduction, you need to mention the keyword only one time. And also in the meta description, you need to define the keyphrase one time again. Because, search engine crawlers are looking for the keyphrases and relevance of the page by looking at the article titles, first 100 words, and meta description. So, it will be much more basic for the search engine crawlers to rank in the specific keyword on your pages. Also, take care about mentioning the keyword in 1-2% of the total articles. And it is also important to mention the keywords in the H-tags.

Other Important Points…

Also, it is very important to use an inverse pyramid strategy while you are creating your content strategy. Firstly, you need to create your content that are aiming the most basic key phrases. So, ranking in these keywrods is much easier. And then, you need to create the long-form content for the harder-to-rank keyphrases. And create a pyramid of internal link structures inside these long-form contents if you want to rank higher. You need to have lots of internal links to the related topics and key phrases that you defined in your long-form or cornerstone articles.

Main articles are generally the articles that you will use to rank in higher places and sell your products and services. So, at the top of the pyramid, you need to have these main articles in general.

Keep Updated for Keyword Research

With the passing time, the intents and the trends of the searchers and people are changing, You need to keep constantly on track of the trends and people’s intent to reach your posts, products, and services. So, it is very important to keep updated about the keywords and keyword classes.

During this period, you need to update your content and articles with the new keyphrases that you found. Or create new articles and give these articles as references in the other articles. So, it is very important to keep updated with the newest trends.

Also, search engines are looking for the most updated posts and pages in general. So, it is very important to keep updated every time.

Use One Keywords and Keyword Synonyms in One Page

Keyword synonyms are the synonyms of the main keyphrase that will give the same search results as the main keyphrases. So, you need to add these most important keyword synonyms in your articles. Nearly all the keyword research tool gives the synonyms of the key phrases that you are searching for. And it is very important to use these keyphrase synonyms in your articles and posts.

And probably, the general target audience will increase with the increasing keyword synonyms. Because some people are searching for the contents and pages with the synonyms of the words. It is very important to have these synonyms.

Related keywords are not generally same meaning as the main keywords. The search results can be different in the related keyphrases. And you can optimize your content with several related keywords to target the biggest audience that you want. So, it is very important to use the related keyphrase analyses.

Keyword research tools are giving the related keyphrases in general that you can use in your SEO campaign. So, you can target the bigger audience easily with the related keyword research that you can make. Also, related keywords are helping Google and other search engines understand the general scope of your texts and writings.

Do Not Make Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization means you are using the same keyphrase on two different pages. This is very confusing both for the people who are visiting your page and the search engines. So, it is very important to not confuse the articles and pages with the same keyword.

If you do it, these two articles will compete with each other. And none of them will be successful in ranking only one keyphrase. So, it is very important to not have keyword cannibalization on your website which is decreasing your SEO performance.

In the market, there are different kinds of keyword research tools that you can use in selecting and defining the popular keywords for your SEO campaign. You can use them effectively to define the keyphrases that you need. Also, they generally provide the competition in these keywords and what you need to do to overcome this competition. Check the most common tools that you can use.


Semrush may be the most popular keyword research tool that you can use to constantly define the keywords that you need. You can directly target the keywords that you need to define. And it is very easy to use.

Keyword overview in Semrush.

In the keyword overview section of Semrush, you can make keyword research to see the situations of these keywords in the world. For example, we used the keyword of “black shoes for kids”.

You can see the keyword difficulty and a statement below this keyword difficulty. It is a competitive keyphrase that we need to create well-structured content to rank in this keyword. So, it states that we can take the first place by creating a very good content structure on our website.

Also, you can see the global volume of this keyword according to the countries. You can easily use these countries to define your target audience in general. And also, if the list of countries is not satisfying for you, you can change the keyword that you are aiming for.

Keyword Intents in Semrush

Furthermore, you can see the keyword intent above. So, with what intent that the people are searching for these keywords? You can see the intent of the keywords above. It is an informational and transactional keyword. And also, you can see the trend of these keywords over time.

Relate keywords and keyword variations.

We stated the keyword synonyms and related keywords. Semrush gives a list of the keyword variations and related keywords for your SEO campaigns. According to their volumes and keyword difficulties, you can use these keywords in your articles and posts.

SERP in Semrush.

Also, SERP analysis is very important in terms of seeing the performance of the pages in the search engine results. And there is a complete list of the search results of the keywords that you have. You can take a look at the performances on these pages. You need to create better pages to rank higher than these pages in general.

Semrush have also very good other SEO tools that you can easily use in your different kinds of analyses. So, you can easily create very good SEO campaigns with Semrush.

Google Trends is a free tool that you can use to find the general trends of the keywords along the way. So, you can directly have the keyword research in the Google Trends interface easily.


For example, you can enter a keyword and you can enter another keyword to compare the trends of the keywords. You can add other keywords to compare with each other. But even you can not see the volumes that you need.

And also, you can select the country that you are aiming for with these keywords. Select the date range, category, and type of intent.

So, you can see the changing interests over these keywords in the US over the metric between 0-100. And you can see that “car engine” is a much more common keyword in the US than the “car motor”.

Google Trends keyword analyzing according to the region.

Also, you can view the regions of the countries and situations of the competition of these keywords.

Keyword research in Google Trends.

And also, there are reports that Google Trends are giving you the related trending keywords with the main keyword that you entered. You can also target these keywords if you want to rank in them.

Google Search Console for Keyword Research

You can not see the situations of the different keywords in by searching the keywords directly in the Google Search Console. But it is a very useful tool that you can directly view the situation that you are in with the keywords that you ranked with your pages. You can audit the general rankings and competition situation with this tool.

You can enter the search query that you are aiming to rank for. And you can directly see the competition situation for your keyword with your pages. And you can easily detect any keyword cannibalization problem with your pages.

Conclusion on Keyword Research

So as you see above, keyword research is a very important thing in SEO campaigns that you need to stick to. You need to make it professionally and you need to follow the different kinds of steps if you want to succeed in the proper keyword research with different tools.

It is very important to define the keywords that will provide the related people to your website. And you need to be sure about if the people are searching with this term to look for the services and products that you look for.

Furthermore, you need to take care of the general competition that this keyword has. While you are making your keyword research, you can use different keyword research tools to see the general competition about this keyword that the search engines have.

We are not recommending you to compete in the keywords that have very big competition. Because the biggest companies and websites are investing in SEO campaigns to rank in this keyword through the years. So, it will be very hard for you to compete in these keywords in general.

Select the long-tail keywords that you can easily rank for. Because these types of them have lower competition in general. It will be very easy to rank them in search engine results. And these types generally have more specific customers. If you are serving directly whatever they want, the conversion rate will be much more ehigher.

Finally, do not forget to leave your comments and questions below about this topic.

Your precious feedbacks are very important to us.

FAQs About Keyword Research

Why is keyword research important for SEO?

It is very important because you are directly defining your target audience and target customer portfolio. Defining what the people are searching for in the search engines to reach the products and services that you have on your website. Knowing this is very important to understand the general intentions of the people towards your services and products. And also, you know all the available market share for you and how much traffic you can convert into customers.

What are keyword research and its types?

In keyword research, there are different intents that people are trying to find in search engines.
Informational: These are the types of search inquiries that people are directly looking for the information. So, they will take information and their main intent is like this.
Transactional: These are the search intents that people are trying to make transactions to complete stuff. For example, “pay the electric bills” is a transactional word that people are looking for an interface to pay their bills.
Commercial: With the commercial keywords, people are trying to find products and services in general. These are the general intent that commercial or e-commerce websites and systems are looking for.
Navigational: Thinks about a keyword that “download the X game”. This is navigation to make the people download that game.

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