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The Importance of Keyword Research (+ How To Do It)

By vivian on September 30, 2019

Importance Of Keyword Research

The Importance of Keyword Research (+ How To Do It)

Today, we’re taking it back to basics. We have a long history of creating in-depth blog posts on the small details that can make a big difference to your SEO. But we have been guilty of overlooking the humble keyword.

Like scientists splitting the atom, there’s a whole world of detail beneath this simplest, most fundamental part of all digital marketing.

What is keyword research and why keyword research? Well, keywords are called keywords because they unlock audiences. That’s how I like to think about it anyway. They open the door to your efforts of being discovered and engaged with online. Without that, you have nothing.

Keyword Research in digital marketing is something people often associate with SEO, but just like atoms form all molecules in the universe, keywords are fundamental to all of the digital marketing. A good digital marketing strategy should be informed at every stage by the right keywords.

But what are the right keywords?

We’ll be exploring that question, helping you discern relevant keywords, and select them with traffic, sales, and ROI in mind.

We’ve already covered the basics of 9 types of keywords in SEO you need to know to convert, so if you need a definition, start there. Then come back here, and pick up where you left off.

Ready to bring in qualified leads, increase your conversion rate and generate real revenue? Read on!

Great Keyword Research Needs To Be Geared Toward Qualified Leads

Here’s a bit of knowledge from another part of the marketing world – posters. It’s called AIDA.

Importance Of Keyword Research

You need to think of keywords like they’re posters. The point is to generate interest in action – namely, clicking a link that leads to your website.

Search for the keyword “digital marketing” into Google. What do you see?

Importance Of Keyword Research

Educational resources, definitions, and you’re probably being advertised a course of some kind.

That’s because this keyword is as broad as it gets. It’s a whole discipline. People looking for “digital marketing” are probably only just thinking about launching their first website.

Now type in “digital marketing trends 2021”.

Go-agency.com wrote this in July, a full five months before 2021. It gave the article time to rank, and the keywords reflect Interest, Desire, and Action. Those looking for this keyword in May are strategic long-term thinkers looking to find actionable advice that will give them an advantage.

This is the difference between unqualified and qualified leads. In a nutshell:

  • Unqualified Leads don’t know what solution they are looking for, don’t recognize your company or don’t know what it offers, and often aren’t willing to invest in your product or service as a result. You can convert unqualified leads into customers, but the churn rate (your number of subscribers and unsubscribes per actual customer) will be huge. It’s inefficient to target these people.
  • Qualified Leads are people in control, looking to fill in gaps to complete their knowledge. They know what they need from a solution, have a budget to work with, and are prepared to spend it on the right product or service. These people look for more specific terms because they need specific things. Their attention, interest, desire, and action are all driven toward getting the best results. As a result, their churn rate is much lower, and they’re much closer to converting when they arrive.

I recommend always trying to target qualified leads, and you do that by getting specific about your keywords. If a keyword has an incredible search volume, it doesn’t really matter if the quality of traffic is poor. You are looking for keywords that strike the right balance between volume and quality. You can look at the importance of keyword research being targeted at qualified leads like airing your commercials at the right time.

Guide in Becoming The Perfect Inbound Marketer

  • 10 must-have qualities of a perfect inbound marketer.
  • Proven examples on applying the best inbound marketing techniques.
  • Compact guide with less fluff!

With that in mind, we can now look at how to do keyword research.

1) What Keywords Are You (& Your Competitors) ‘Naturally’ Ranked For?

If you are looking at how to do keyword research, chances are you already have a website and you’re disappointed with your traffic. Despite this fact, you may actually rank for keywords you simply aren’t exploiting properly.

Google Analytics can tell you what keywords people are using to find you, just go through Acquisition > Search Console > Queries to find a list of the queries that caused people to click on your site.

If you don’t know what keywords you already rank for, you can use my favorite tool: Rank Intelligence

Rank Intelligence tells you what keywords you are already ranking for

Rank Intelligence is a great tool that helps you find out what keywords and pages your site is ranking for.

You can also filter the ranking position to see only those keywords ranking on page one. Just click the ‘Advanced Filter’ and select your preference as shown below.

Other than knowing what keywords you are ranking for, you can also find them complete with helpful keyword metrics like search volume, cost per click, and competition. Also, you can check if the ranking keywords have any featured snippets on the search results! 

What are you waiting for? Check your ranking keyword for free now! 

2) What Are Your Competitors Trying To Rank For?

While the above information might help you understand what your competitors have historically managed to rank for, it won’t tell you what they’re up to right this minute.

Fortunately, if they want to rank for keywords, those keywords will have to be put in the title, description, and metadata of their articles. All of these are available for you to view if you’re willing to pore over the source code. Simply go to their website, or a specific article, and open the console to view the source code. Here’s a breakdown by the browser for PC and Mac:

  • Firefox: Press CTRL + U (PC) or Command+U (Mac).
  • Edge: CTRL + U.
  • Chrome: Press CTRL + U (PC) or Option+Command+U (Mac).
  • Opera: CTRL + U (PC) or Command+U (Mac).
  • Safari: Press Option+Command+U.

Once you’ve opened the console, use “find in page” in the browser tools to search for “meta”, “h1” “h2” and “image” – pay attention to what words or phrases get repeated and you should be able to identify the keywords they’re trying to rank for.

If you know what they’re ranking for, it all depends on how much you trust them to have used best practices in finding their keywords. If your competitor is far larger and more dominant than you are, you may wish to avoid these keywords and find others.

However, if you put the keyword into Google and find a few good results, you could enter direct competition with them and try to get that traffic for yourself. Just be sure to measure your keywords in Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find out how popular and lucrative they are.

3) How Does Google ‘Guide’ People To Keywords?

If you’ve been using Google regularly for the past couple of years, you’ll doubtless have taken advantage of Google Autocomplete. Well, so is everyone else.

Importance Of Keyword Research
Autocomplete is an indispensable tool for learning what searches are the most popular for any given keyword or phrase.

What’s more, you can see at the bottom of the first page a shortlist of the most popular related searches.

Importance Of Keyword Research

These will provide you with more keywords to focus on.

This information comes from simply checking out the first page of Google, which is all your potential customers will do in 90% of cases. Replicating their behavior will allow you to optimize your content to what your customer base is doing.

4) What Do Your Customers Want, And How Do They Really Find It?

Start thinking outside of the box, I want to challenge your assumptions for a second here.

Why do you want to know how to do keyword research? Chances are, to appear at the top of Google searches for your product or service, right? Well, finding keywords and populating them on your own page may not be the smartest way to get that same result.

The whole point of using keywords is that consumers are using them too. But once they’ve used them, what do they do next? The typical journey of acquisition goes something like this:

  • Identify A Problem
  • Look For Solutions
  • Evaluate The Options
  • Make A Purchase
  • Evaluate The Purchase
  • Recommend Or Critique

At no point does this say “Use google keywords to identify websites trying to rank and choose from one of them.” The second and third steps are the ones we’re interested in today.

Increasingly, lists are getting featured at the top of Google. I’ve decided I want to get into hiking and I want the best gear. So I type in “best hiking gear brand”. I get a list recommending products from an influential site immediately.

So when it comes to keywords, knowing what high authority websites and influencers dominate them is useful. Instead of competing, look at guest posting. Send them a product to review. Look at influencers on Social Media (Instagram in particular) and try to get featured by them.

Before we move to the next point, let me quickly share how you can discover what consumers really want when they perform a search. 

Type any keyword in the Keyword Intelligence, and you will see the keyword’s intent. 

As you can see, the keyword’s intent will help you to understand better what your customers are looking for when they type in the keyword in the search box. 

Learn more about why user intent is critical to a successful SEO. 

5) There Are A Hundred Ways To Say The Same Thing

We’ve hinted at this with Google’s “related searches” list at the bottom of the first page, but this rabbit hole goes down a lot further.

Using Thesaurus on your keywords can open up a huge array of new opportunities. Run these synonyms through AdWords’ Keyword Planner, and you can identify new potential opportunities.

keyword research is the first stage to plan your seo for new website
Keyword Planner by Google AdWords is a free keyword tool that can help you to look for more keyword ideas and analyze the performance.

Another essential component of making the keywords you’ve identified work hard is discovering the LSI keywords associated with it. LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, basically means “related or shared meaning” – similar to the thesaurus idea above.

Using LSIGraph, you can put in your keyword to find long-tail keyword alternatives that are already popular search terms.

Here’s one more extra tool for you amazing people! Meet Keyword Intelligence.

Once you have entered your keywords and selected your preferred language and location, you will see a list of related keywords. 

All these keywords come with their important metrics including trend, volume, cost per click, competition, type of intent, and value. 

The keyword value will guide you in deciding which keywords to use. In other words – the higher the value of the keyword is, the higher the traffic it can potentially bring to your website. 

And when you think you’ll need to pay a high sum for all the intelligence mentioned above, YOU’RE WRONG!

Because this tool is designed to give cost control back to the hands of SEOs and marketers like us. As their tagline says “Pay Only For What You Use, And Don’t Pay For What You Don’t Use”.

The best part? When you sign up, you will automatically be entitled to a free-tier account. Yes! That means you can start using them for free.


Once you signed up to the Keyword Intelligence,  you also get free access to its keyword extension: LiveKeywords

It works just like Keywords Everywhere, but it’s free.

You can find all the important keyword metrics right from your browser. These include search volume, CPC, and competition.

Keywords Everywhere alternative free - LiveKeyword

Other than that, it also shows the Related Keywords and Related Searches to your main keyword.

I have been using them and it works great for my keyword research!

Do The Fundamentals Well, And You’ll Be Rewarded

Keyword research process may feel basic, even mundane, but it’s absolutely essential to success, so it’s worth doing it well. With these resources, you’ll be able to ensure you maximize the benefit you get from the time you spend doing keyword research.

Once you’ve done it, it’s time to optimize your content using SEOPressor.

User Experience And SEO
User Experience And SEO You can use it to input up to 3 keywords and get suggestions on how you can better optimize your content to maximize its rank on Google.

When was the last time you performed keyword research on your website? Tell us in the comments below. Any tips and tricks on how to do keyword research you know that we haven’t included here? Share them with our readers!

This post was originally written by Joanne and published on December 13, 2017. It was most recently updated on July 30, 2020.

SEO Guide: Perfecting On-Page SEO Optimization

    An ultimate guide for every marketer to optimize your on-page SEO perfectly.
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Updated: 16 April 2024


About Vivian

Vivian is an anthropologist lost in the world of digital marketing. She has an interest in learning about the science of marketing and the creativity that businesses use to transform themselves into purple cows.

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