Your Complete Guide to Keyword Research in 2024: Why It’s Essential to SEO

Based on Netcraft’s Web Server Survey from June 2023, over a billion websites exist online, yet only 200 million are regularly maintained and updated.

With millions of websites clawing to get the traffic they want, it takes time and the proper method to develop a strategy to get people to view your website. According to a recent survey, 28.5% of users click on the very first Google search result they see. 

This is why everyone wants to know the secret to ranking high on Google’s first page because that is where their target audience is most likely looking. One way to get your website on the first page of search results is by using SEO tools to aid your website. 

What is Search Engine Optimization?

keyword research for seo

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to your websites overall success, regardless of your company’s size. Despite SEO’s vital role in digital marketing, a survey by Visual Objects found that many small businesses have yet to invest in SEO fully. But what is SEO?

SEO is about changing your website to increase your ranking in search results. When it comes to SEO, it’s the tiny details that count. These tweaks may seem like little on their own, but when added to additional adjustments, they can easily make a difference in your site’s usability and organic search rankings. 

Websites should be created with the user in mind, with all optimization efforts focused on enhancing the user experience. One of them is a search engine that indexes your site so that other people may find it. SEO is all about maximising your content’s discoverability.

SEO involves various tools and concepts, but here are the most important ones:

  • Keyword Research
  • Content Quality 
  • Link Building
  • On-page SEO Optimisation
  • User Experience

In this guide, we will be focusing more on keyword research, its importance in your SEO campaign, and how to properly perform it.

The Role of Keyword Research in SEO

free keyword research

Organic traffic creates a steady stream of visitors over time. Combined with an all-encompassing organic marketing and SEO plan, it can become a pivotal channel for generating revenue. 

One of the critical elements of SEO is quality content and keyword research. Online content relies on keywords. From a user’s perspective, these terms best characterize the services or goods they seek or the questions they hope to have answered. 

But what is keyword research? Keyword Research is a process where you identify the most frequently used terms users enter into search engines like Google to help improve your content’s visibility in search engine results (SERPs). 

As a business owner, you want search engines to rank and recommend your website, and the keywords you use tell them precisely what information is on your pages. When people use the internet, they often use keywords to help them narrow down their options. As a result, you can expect more clicks if users find your material relevant to their search queries. 

In short, if you want to know what your target market is typing into Google to find your content, you need keyword research.

Key Concepts of Keyword Research

use keyword research tools

Before you start using a keyword finder website and identify your target keyword, it’s essential to know the fundamental components of keyword research.

1. Search Volume

Monthly Search Volume (MSV) pertains to the average monthly searches performed on that keyword. You can find a keyword’s worldwide MSV or restrict it to a single city using keyword research websites and tools. A larger MSV indicates more prospective visitors to your website and intense rivalry.

When conducting keyword research, one of the most crucial factors to consider is the MSV of a keyword. To better prioritize content subjects, observe the search trend of the phrase and evaluate the traffic potential, knowing the search volumes of the keywords.

2. Competition Analysis

SEO relies heavily on competition analysis. You can learn much about your competitor’s strengths and shortcomings and gain opportunities from it.

If you take the time to analyse their techniques, you can learn how to be competitively different. By studying how the competition operates, you may improve your techniques and ultimately achieve more success.

3. Relevance

Search results on Google are sorted based on how relevant they are. If your material doesn’t address a searcher’s problem, it won’t rank for that keyword. Your work must also offer the most comprehensive solution to the user’s problem. 

4. Intent

The first step in keyword research is to put yourself in the target audience’s shoes. What key terms and expressions do they use in their search for answers?

Understanding the role of keyword intent is crucial when crafting a keyword strategy. It may be hard to understand your customer as a business owner because you have a different mindset. 

Importance of Keyword Research Before Optimizing Your Website

list of keywords

You can get a lot from keyword research, such as the issues, challenges, and answers your audience seeks. Using keyword research, you can tailor your content and SEO strategy to your and your target market’s needs. 

Successful SEO begins with conducting thorough keyword research and focusing on those terms. Optimizing your website and producing content for the proper keywords will bring in organic traffic indicative of your ideal customer. 

More often than not, some of these visitors will be ready to purchase after discovering that your website provides the most excellent solution to their problems, conducting related keyword research, and rising to the top of search engine results pages.

Increased Visibility and Traffic

You can quickly boost your visibility and organic traffic by learning your target market’s keywords while looking for your product.  One tip is to select keywords with a low difficulty score and high search volume. Then, use these keywords in your blog posts to boost your blog’s visibility and readership. 

Maintaining this routine can help you become more respected in your field, and soon, you’ll find your website being recognized and ranking higher in search results. 

Identifying New Trends

You can learn a lot about people’s interests by conducting keyword research. This is useful for making material that is timely for your target audience.

Google Trends and other keyword research tools can help you discover what’s currently trending and likely to be popular so you can plan your content accordingly. Seasonal content planning is another helpful application of these tools.

Content Ideas

For people to read your content, the content that you put out must be not only helpful but also timely. After all, no one likes reading outdated and inaccurate content. 

You can learn about industry trends, issues, and FAQs through keyword research. Using these terms naturally throughout your website’s content allows businesses to gain credibility as credible sources in their field and reach a wider audience. But it’s also just as important to learn more about your target audience’s interests, whether you already have the information they’re looking for or need to create it. 

Competitive Edge

Although the primary goal of keyword research is Optimization, you should always remember that there are other websites in your field. As such, it’s essential to research your competition. 

You can get a leg up on the competition if you determine their keywords. Through keyword research, you can also find untapped markets or opportunities that your competitors have ignored, giving you a leg up on the competition.

Rather than recreating your competitor’s content, you can learn what works and what may be done better from what’s already out there. Then, make the most of these openings by producing higher-quality content to climb the SERPs.

Long-Term Benefits

SEO relies heavily on keywords. Over time, you can improve a website’s organic search ranking by constantly implementing well-researched keywords into website content. 

Keyword research is a long-term investment as the ongoing stream of organic traffic, generated without relying primarily on paid advertising, is only one of the few benefits you can get from it.

keyword tools

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of keyword research free tools, even paid ones, that may help you find the best keywords for your content. They also run the gamut from entirely elementary and useless to incredibly useful. The most effective keyword research tools reduce the time you spend on repetitive tasks by making it simpler to locate the best keywords to target and provide the information you need to rank for those keywords.

What makes a great keyword research tool is simple: you type in a keyword, and the program returns information on it. However, given the vast diversity of keyword finder tools, it’s important to identify tools that accommodate a wide range of usage and a select handful tailored to the most common applications.

Here is a list of free keyword research tools, along with some paid ones, that can help you generate keyword ideas.

1. SEMrush (Paid)

On top of our list of the best keyword research tools is SEMrush, an all-inclusive SEO toolkit for researching keywords and raising your site’s search engine ranks. Through Semrush, you can receive a complete overview of any keyword by entering it into the Keyword Overview tool. There are various factors to consider, such as the monthly search traffic, keyword difficulty, increasing or decreasing popularity trends, and many others.

This keyword finder website also allows you to look up a competitor’s website to see what keywords they rank for and how much of their traffic comes from organic searches. The screen even displays search traffic and trends. 

  • Pro: $129.95/monthly
  • Guru: $249.95/monthly
  • Business: $499.95/monthly

2. Google Keyword Planner (Free)

The Google Keyword Planner is one of the free keyword research tools you can take advantage of. While it’s one of the best tools for Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you can also do keyword research with it. 

The best thing about Google Keyword Planner is that it’s functional and accessible, so there are no limits or pricey upgrades to worry about. So, this is perfect for small businesses with a limited budget. Google Keyword Planner’s primary functions are keyword discovery, exploration, search volume, keyword difficulty, and trend analysis.

3. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer (Paid)

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer is another popular keyword research tool that’s designed to generate smart keyword ideas. Just enter a keyword into the search bar to generate keyword suggestions with Ahrefs keyword explorer. After that, a long list of suggested keywords will appear.

Using Ahrefs, you can discover the keywords where your competitors have high search engine rankings. This allows you to focus on future content creation that is better than your competitors but overall with higher quality. 

One great thing that Ahrefs keyword planner offers is that through their website, you can monitor the emergence of new keywords and the growth of existing ones, which is a valuable and competitive feature compared to other keyword tools.

  • Lite: Starts at $99
  • Standard: Starts at $199
  • Advanced: Starts at $399
  • Enterprise: Starts at $999

4. Moz Keyword Explorer (Paid)

Another entry in our best keyword research tools is Moz. Several keyword research tools are available on Moz’s SEO dashboard. 

Since Moz doesn’t include as many metrics as other comprehensive SEO tools, it simplifies things for non-experts in search engine marketing without sacrificing the data that matters most to you.

The Keyword Explorer provides keyword ideas, along with data on monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and organic clickthrough rate (CTR) for any given keyword. You can also find an evaluation of where it currently ranks and suggestions for related keywords.

  • Standard: $99/monthly
  • Medium: $179/monthly
  • Large: $299/monthly
  • Premium: $599/monthly

5. AnswerThePublic (Offers Free and Paid Versions)

When compared to other tools, especially when it comes to keywords free tools, AnswerThePublic keyword planner operates differently. Although you have your usual list of needed keywords, the visual style is much more appealing.

This is an excellent tool to test if you’re new to SEO and keyword research because it doesn’t require signing up for an account. Enter your search term and peruse the results. AnswerThePublic’s keyword suggestions are based on the auto-suggest and auto-complete functions of popular search engines like Google and Bing. 

  • Individual: $5/monthly
  • Pro: $49/monthly
  • Expert: $99/monthly

6. Keywords Everywhere (Offers Free and Paid Versions)

Finally, to cap off our list of best keyword research tools, we have Keywords Everywhere. Using the Keywords Everywhere browser add-on, you can easily compile keyword ideas and data from your preferred search engine. Keywords Everywhere puts a few widgets on the side of your Google search results, with the data trends revealing how your search phrase has been trending over time.

You can also use related keyword widgets, trending, long-tail keyword widgets, and People Also Search For widgets when you use Keywords Everywhere. You’ll see traffic statistics alongside each search result when you install the add-on. Both of these will give you an idea of the site’s popularity and the number of keywords for which it ranks.

How to Perform Keyword Research: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

keyword tools

Now that you know what keyword research is, its importance, as well as the free and paid keyword research tools that generate reliable keyword ideas online, we’ll walk you through each part of the process on how to perform it. We’ll show you how to choose the best keywords that people are searching for in this comprehensive guide of keyword research process.

Whether you’re a beginner or just need a refresher, we’ll help you become an SEO research keyword pro to get your website to top the rankings. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Identify your niche.

Before starting anything, you need to determine what you want to do to have a guide. To put it simply, the niche is what your website is all about. It helps people and search engines with what your business provides.

To help you identify your niche, do the following:

  • List your interests and passions. Make a list of things you like or enjoy doing. This helps you find a business idea that keeps you motivated and less likely to quit when things get tough.
  • Find needs to provide. Once you are done listing, you can now narrow down your options. You should go and identify the needs of your target customers and see if you can provide them. This will help you determine an area where you can shine. To do this step, talk to your potential customers, check online forums, and research popular keywords.
  • Research your competitors. Look at other websites in your niche. Do not worry if you find a lot of competition; it is not necessarily a bad thing because it means you have found a niche that generates a significant amount of money. What you need to do is to check if you can stand out, provide better content, or offer a unique approach to attract an audience even if there’s competition.
  • Check profit potential. Explore products and pricing in your niche to gauge how much money you can make. If you find few offers, it might mean untapped potential. You can consider affiliate partnerships if you don’t have your own product. Partnering with site owners and advertisers can help you generate commissions while you are working on your niche.
  • Test your idea. Set up a pre-sales landing page for a product you plan to create and promote using paid advertising. This helps you gauge interest and refine your approach based on the response. 

Knowing your niche can help you identify the best keywords to help you rank on search engines. Specifying your niche also helps you reach the right people, those who are likely to seek your business.

Step 2: Generate keyword ideas.

After you identify your niche, it’s time to brainstorm keyword ideas. Grab a pen and paper or open a document on your computer to generate keyword ideas. Start by listing words and phrases related to your niche. Imagine you’re the person searching for information on your niche. What words or phrases would you use?

Don’t worry if your keyword list is long; that is actually a good thing. The more ideas you have, the better. Think about synonyms and variations of your main keywords, too. These can help you cover a broader range of search queries.

Additionally, consider using keyword research tools to expand your list further. A reliable keyword research tool can suggest related keywords and show how often people search for them. It’s like having a treasure map to find the most valuable keywords in your niche.

Another great tip is to add your target location to your keyword. For example, “home remodelling in Littlehampton” is a geo-centric keyword that will help online users find your local business.

Step 3: Evaluate keyword metrics.

Once you are done listing potential keywords, it’s time to evaluate them to find the best ones. You want keywords that are relevant to your niche and have the potential to bring in visitors to your website.

Keyword research free tools are your best friend here. They provide important metrics for each keyword, such as search volume, competition, and keyword difficulty. Search volume tells you how often a keyword is searched for on search engines. Ideally, you want keywords with a decent search volume because it means more people are interested in that topic.

On the other hand, you need to consider competition and keyword difficulty. Competition measures how many other websites are trying to rank for the same keyword. Lower competition keywords are like hidden gems because it’s easier to rank for them. Aim for keywords with a good balance between search volume and competition.

Step 4: Analyse your competitors’ keywords.

Of course, just like businesses, you need to take a peek at what your competitors are doing. Doing this can give you valuable insights and inspiration.

Search for your chosen keywords on search engines, and see what websites pop up in the results. These websites are your competitors. Explore their content and pay attention to the keywords they are using. Take note of which keywords appear frequently in their articles or on their pages.

This analysis can help you understand what keywords are popular in your niche and what topics your competitors are covering. It’s like learning from the success (or mistakes) of others in your field. You can use this information to refine your keyword list and create content that stands out.

Step 5: Select the right keywords.

Now that you have a good understanding of your niche, a list of potential keywords, and insights from competitor analysis, it’s time to choose the right keywords for your content.

Focus on keywords that are not only relevant to your niche but also align with your content goals. You’ll want a mix of primary keywords and long-tail keywords to provide a well-rounded selection.

Prioritise keywords with a decent search volume and lower competition. However, don’t ignore the long-tail keywords. They can bring in a specific audience interested in niche topics.

Remember, your goal is to offer valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and questions. Your selected keywords should reflect this commitment to providing helpful information.

Step 6: Create content around keywords.

Creating content around keywords is a crucial step in making your website attractive to search engines like Google. It’s like giving your website a map so that search engines can find it easily. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Remember those keywords you researched earlier? Pick one or two that best match what your web page is about.
  • Write like you normally would, but make sure to use your chosen keywords in your content. Imagine you’re telling a friend about your topic. Include the keywords in your sentences, but don’t overdo it.
  • Your webpage’s title should include your main keyword.
  • Break your content into sections with headers. Use your keywords in some of these headers.
  • Make sure your content is helpful and interesting. High-quality content keeps your readers happy, and that’s what search engines want.

Make sure you follow these, so you’ll attract and keep visitors to your website. Remember, SEO isn’t just about adding lots of keywords to your content. It’s about making top-notch, relevant, and valuable content that connects with your audience.

Step 7: Monitor and adjust.

To keep your SEO efforts on the right track, regularly check your website’s performance in search engine rankings. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are some of the best ones for this task. They provide data on which keywords are driving traffic to your site and how your site is performing in search results.

If you notice that some keywords are ranking well and bringing in a lot of visitors, it’s a sign that your content is hitting the mark. Keep nurturing these keywords by creating more content around them and optimising your existing pages.

But if certain keywords are underperforming, it might be time to reassess your approach. This could involve refining your content, updating it with fresh information, or trying different keywords altogether.

Remember that SEO is a continuous process. You need to regularly update your content to help it rank. Keep monitoring your website’s performance, analysing the data, and making adjustments as needed. Over time, you’ll see the benefits as your website climbs the ranks in search engine results and attracts more visitors.

Other Keyword Research Tips and SEO Best Practices

best keyword research

When it comes to SEO, there are some extra things you can do to boost your success. These practices will make your website more user-friendly and attractive to search engines. Check the following additional tips and make sure to implement them.

1. Place target keywords strategically on your website.

Knowing where to put your keywords on your website is crucial. Start with your page’s title – that’s a prime spot. The page title is likely the first thing your readers will see, and this helps them easily know what your page is about.

Next, use them in headings and subheadings. Sprinkle keywords throughout your content, but don’t overdo it – just make sure it sounds natural. Although having several keywords is good, keyword stuffing is a silent killer.

Additionally, use keywords in your website’s URL and image alt text. These places also help search engines understand what your page is about.

2. Perform on-page SEO strategies.

When it comes to on-page SEO, it’s all about what you do within your own website to make it friendly for search engines like Google. You want your website to be easy for them to understand and index, which will help your content appear in search results. Here are some simple strategies for on-page SEO:

  • Create really good content that your audience will find useful. This helps to keep people on your website for longer.
  • Naturally include your chosen keywords in your content, like in headings and paragraphs.
  • When you use pictures, give them names that describe them and add text descriptions so search engines can understand them better.
  • Make sure your website loads quickly on both phones and computers. Slow websites can be frustrating.
  • Lastly, ensure your website works well on mobile phones, as lots of people use them to search the web. This makes it easier for them to access your site.

3. Don’t forget off-page tactics,

Off-page SEO focuses on what happens outside your website.

One key strategy is getting other trustworthy websites to link to yours. This tells search engines that your site is reliable.

Another smart move is to connect with your audience on social media platforms. Ask them to share your valuable content with their friends and followers. This not only spreads the word about your website but also gives your SEO a boost.

4. Stay current with algorithm updates.

Search engines like Google are always changing their rules. You need to stay in the loop to keep your website performing well in search results.

To do this, follow trustworthy SEO blogs and news sources. They’ll keep you informed about any changes to search engine algorithms. When you’re in the know, you can adjust your SEO strategies accordingly.

Being up-to-date ensures that your website remains visible and competitive in search results. It’s like staying on the right path in a constantly changing landscape. It’s your key to continued online success.

Wrapping It Up

seo keyword research

Keyword research is the first step to doing SEO right and boosting the rankings of your website on search engines. The use of keyword research tools, along with your own research and competitive analysis, can help you identify the right keywords to target and use on your website. By taking time to perform keyword research, you are on to a great start to succeeding in SEO and digital marketing.

If you wish to boost your website’s ranking and want professional help with keyword research and SEO, work with the SEO experts of Wozuma. Our SEO solutions are designed to boost your brand’s online presence, generate more traffic, and improve your search rankings. Contact us now and let’s level up your digital marketing strategies

Robert May

Robert is the creative mind behind Wozuma, where his passion for innovation and knowledge-sharing comes to life. With a keen interest in the digital world, he has carved a niche in SEO, dedicating his time to exploring and demystifying the complexities of search engine optimisation. When he’s not exploring the latest SEO trends, Robert enjoys sharing his insights and experiences through his blog posts, hoping to inspire and inform others.

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