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Keyword Research for Content Marketing a Step by Step Guide

By jiathong on July 24, 2020

Keyword research is the first step to any content writing and copywriting

However, it can be intimidating to look at the arrays of data associated with keyword research. 

What is search volume, what is the price tag shown for each keyword, is the higher the competition the better? 

In this guide, we will be giving you a simple overview of all the general stats you can get from any keyword research tools, how to make use of free keyword tools for your keyword research, and how to decide on a keyword following the circumstances of your content marketing effort.

Nothing is certain in marketing, especially not in keyword research, but we’ll try our best to help you better understand how to select the best keyword for your content marketing, and get the best result. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Do a Google Search on the Keyword you’re targeting 

Let’s say you’re running a dairy product online store, and you’re looking to get more traffic for the variety of cheese you have in stock, in this particular example, let’s go with cottage cheese. 

So just type in “cottage cheese” to Google, tab enter, and off we go!

2. Analyze the type of content ranked for your keyword

Now that you’re looking at the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) of your selected keyword, keep an eye on the type of content that is shown. 

Pay attention to the different types of content that are being specifically promoted by Google themselves in ways we called the SERP features. 

Google SERP features present different types of content, in this case – People Also Ask, Video Carousel, Recipe Carousel, and Nutritional Facts for cottage cheese. 

What is this important? 

When Google presents multiple types of content for a keyword, it means those types of content are actually interesting for the searchers. In other words, those kinds of content can bring in traffic. 

Now here’s a simple breakdown of the Google features you can find for the keyword “cottage cheese”.

People Also Asks

What it is – This is a list of questions, usually more specific, that are related to your keyword. You can see them as long-tail keywords

What it means – Your keyword is probably too general and there are more directions that you can branch into. 

What you can do with it – Base your content headline on the question itself and build your content to answer the question as best as you can. 

Video Carousel

Video SERP feature

What it is – A list of videos related to your keyword, usually hosted on YouTube.

What it means – People searching for cottage cheese are also interested in videos related to the topic.

What you can do with it – If you can, create and include a video on your content. You can then double your chance of ranking either your written content, video, or even both. 

Recipe Carousel

Recipe SERP feature

What it is – A list of recipes related to your keyword, in order to appear on this carousel, you’d have to mark up your content using schema markups. (Here’s a free handy tool to explore schema markup)

What it means – People are looking for recipes for cottage cheese, so this is a green light for you to start creating recipes as well if you want to compete. 

What you can do with it Create recipes for cottage cheese, and remember to use schema markup to get all the available perks and advantages to rank better. 

Nutrition Fact

Nutritional fact SERP feature

What it is – A column by Google itself showing the nutritional facts of cottage cheese

What it means – People are interested in the nutritional facts of, well, cottage cheese. 

What you can do with it – With Google displaying the nutritional facts directly on the SERP, is it worth your time to include them in your content, thus competing directly with Google, not forgetting the disadvantage of you requiring the searchers one more click to access your content? It depends, but it should not be your main priority.

Now that you have a good idea of what kind of content you want to focus on for your keyword, let’s move on to actual keyword researching. 

3. Identify a list of keywords for your content 

This is the part where actual keyword research tools will come into play. 

The tools that we recommend here in SEOPressor are the LiveKeyword Chrome Extension by BIQ, RankingGap, and LSIGraph

What’s cool about the LikeKeyword extension is, you can get all the related keyword data right where you’re searching on Google. You don’t need to open up an extra tab or log in to anywhere for it, it’s right there when you’re doing your first keyword search on Google. 

On the right, you can see all the stats provided by Live Keyword that can be immensely helpful for your Keyword Research.

There are a lot of other keyword tools out there, and what I’m going to explain next would apply to those as well, so do not worry if you have not installed the LiveKeyword Extension on your Chrome.

Now, as you can see in the image, there are three stats next to each keyword and I’ll explain what they mean. 


What it is – This means search volume a.k.a how many searches on this keyword are being made every month. Tools such as LiveKeyword usually pull stats such as this from certain data providers, and it may vary from one tool to another. 

What it means – The higher the number of search volume is, the more popular it is. But there is a caveat, usually, short tail keywords have the most search volume. But, shorter keywords also mean a less obvious search intent. So you have to be very clear about what you want to present to your readers and think about what kind of traffic would fit into your intent the best. 

What you can do with it – The important point here is to not chase the numbers. There can be a keyword that fits perfectly with the kind of information you can share, and the search volume may not look that impressive, but there are other factors that can play in. So do not be hesitated to mix in a few low search volume keywords as long as you can keep the overall search volume of your keyword list in an ideal number. I’d recommend at least 100 -1000


What it is – It stands for Cost Per Click, it’s a term most commonly used in Pay-Per-Click advertisement online. Those banners telling they have a deal for you? Not only those banners, but there are also ads in the SERP itself that contribute to this cost.

What it means – When a keyword has a CPC, or a high CPC, you know that there are people actually paying to get traffic from these keywords. This means you’ll have a tougher competition to beat if you’re looking to go 100% organic, meaning no ads. But that also means people coming in from these keywords are probably looking to spend some money, that’s why websites are willing to spend money to get those traffic. 

What you can do with it – I personally prefer using keywords that do not have, or have a low CPC, but that’s because of the way our funnel runs. Depending on what type of traffic you want, you can definitely include keywords with CPC in your keyword list. If you’re just building views and not trying to monetize them yet, going no CPC is fine.

If you’re looking for traffic that is willing to spend, these keywords can be helpful for you. 


What it is – This stands for competition, basically how difficult it is to get a decent rank for this keyword. 

What it means – The higher the percentage is, the more difficult it is to rank for this keyword, in theory. That’s a stat that’s being thrown in a lot of keyword research tools. But like the keyword search volume, data is usually aggregated from a third-party provider, or in certain cases, calculated using a special formula by the toolmaker themselves. This means the accuracy is up to debate

What you can do with it – Ideally, you want to avoid choosing a keyword with a crazy amount of competition if your domain is fairly new and recent in the game. But, in order to gauge a more accurate competition level of the keyword, the better way to do it is to compare it across multiple keyword tools, and also analyze the SERP page yourself.

Now that you have a good idea of what all the stats mean, how should you choose your keywords? 

If your domain is new, and you’re just looking to generate some traffic and don’t care about making money yet – Go for more specific long-tail keywords with low competition but still a decent amount of search volume, preferably with $0 CPC

If your domain is aged, but your traffic is still not looking that good – Go for a mix of short-tail general keywords and specific long-tail keywords, a lower-middle amount of competition is alright, and if you’re willing to engage in some PPC in this point choose a few keywords with CPC and go for it. 

If you’re having decent traffic, but your conversion is not great and you’re looking for traffic with a buying intent – At this rate you should have a decent amount of traffic from more general short tail keywords, go for keywords with a clear buying intent, their search volume won’t look too impressive, and there will probably have some competition and CPC, but that’s where the money’s at. 

On a side note though, RankingGap is more of a keyword gap analysis tool where you primarily use it to discover keywords that are already ranking on the SERP. You may not exactly need to refer to these stats to determine which keyword to pick. 

But hey, knowing what the stats are for the already-ranking keyword is a huge plus in determining the best and most valuable ones out there.

And keep in mind, these are just rough circumstances that I drew up for your reference. Actual keyword research can be much more complicated, so test it out and look for your own golden combination. 

Here marks the end of this step-by-step guide for keyword research, I hope you found this article helpful and if you have extra tips that you want to share or if you have any questions, feel free to comment below! 

Updated: 28 May 2023

Lo Jia Thong

About Lo Jia Thong

A polyglot plummeted into the deep blue world of SEO and inbound marketing armed with a burning passion on letters and a fascination on how thing rolls in the world wide web.

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