How to do Keyword Research for SEO?

Imagine you have written an awesome piece of blog content or made a very informative YouTube video. What if, the organic traffic for your video is very low. In such a case, how can you reach more of your target audience without having to spend on ads? Yes, you got it right—with in-depth keyword research. 

Keyword research helps you understand what people are searching on search engines such as Google, Bing, Microsoft, etc., so you can create content that addresses their needs directly. 

Effective keyword research increases the likelihood that search engines will direct the right audience to your website. This, in turn, improves your search engine ranking and attracts more qualified visitors to your site.

In this guide, you will learn about

  • Keyword research & its importance
  • Elements of Keyword Research
  • It’s types
  • How to do keyword research?
  • Tips to improve your keyword research

So, let’s get started.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research means figuring out the words people type into search engines. You do this to help your website or YouTube videos show up higher in search results. It’s like finding the right words to make your website or YouTube videos reach more people organically. Additionally, using a YouTube link shortener can simplify and optimize the sharing of your video content across various platforms, enhancing its reach and accessibility.

This process is useful for improving your site’s ranking on search engines and for general marketing. By doing keyword research, you can discover what people are searching for, how popular those searches are, and how hard it might be to rank for them.

This insight is invaluable for optimizing your content. For instance, if you’re creating YouTube intros, this helps you understand the specific phrases.

By strategically incorporating these keywords into your content, you increase your website’s chances of ranking higher in search results pages (SERPs). And the higher you rank, the easier it becomes for the searchers to visit your site.

Why is keyword research important? 

Keyword research can help you to get insights into what your target audience is searching for. This insight will, in return, help you build your your content strategy as well as marketing strategies. 

Targeted traffic

Effective keyword research allows you to target the specific terms and phrases your audience is using online. This helps you attract visitors who are genuinely interested in your content, products, or services, resulting in higher-quality organic traffic.

Customer Acquisition

With keyword research, you gain valuable insights into your prospect’s need, wants and pain points. This allows you to craft targeted content and marketing messages that directly address their concerns. 

Ultimately, you target your prospects with the right content and messaging at every stage of their buying journey, ultimately converting them into loyal customers.

Insights into marketing trends

The valuable insights you get from keyword research can help align your content with pertinent subjects and keywords that resonate with your audience’s search preferences. You also understand their search intent, such as commercial, informational, etc., helping you build effective content accordingly.

Competitor analysis

Keyword research can help you identify what terms and phrases your competitors are using in their website content. This competitor keyword insight can help you identify gaps in your content strategy, discover new opportunities, and differentiate your content.

Boost your SEO

By doing keyword research, you can incorporate the keywords throughout your website and content. This signals to search engines like Google that your site is a valuable resource for those specific search terms. Ultimately helping to increase your website traffic.  

Content planning and creation

Keyword research helps create better and more efficient content creation strategies.  It helps you generate ideas for blog posts, articles, videos, and other forms of content that are more likely to attract organic traffic. 

You will be able to generate content that is aligned with the interests and needs of your audience. 

What are the elements of keyword research?

While keyword research might seem simple on the surface, it involves several key elements that work together to create a successful SEO strategy.

Some of the basic elements of keyword research that you should be aware of are:


This refers to how closely a keyword aligns with the content you’re creating and the search intent of the user. 

Relevant keywords ensure your content gets shown to users who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.


Google prioritizes sites with a strong reputation(measured in DR, DA and PA)  and high-quality content.  While you might not be an authority yet, focusing on creating valuable content can help you build that authority over time. 

You should make sure your content aligns with Google’s latest ranking factor EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Following EEAT guidelines help your website to increase user’s trust, resulting in more conversions to your website.  


Search volume,often referred to as monthly search volume, is the number of times a particular keyword is searched within a month on the internet. 

While high-volume keywords might seem appealing, they’re often fiercely competitive.  Finding a balance between search volume and the difficulty of ranking for that keyword is important.

User Intent

This indicates the goal behind the user’s search query. You need to understand if they are looking for information, trying to compare products, or trying to make any final purchase decision. Once you get a clear understanding of the intent, you can customize the content to provide the specific information or solution users are seeking. 

Primary  keyword

This is the primary keyword you want your content to rank for. Your primary keyword should be relevant to your topic, have a decent search volume with a balanced ranking difficulty, and be something you have a realistic chance of ranking for.

Types of search queries

There are four main types of search queries that users conduct online, each with a distinct intent.

keyword reseach for seo

Informational searches

These queries are all about gathering information and learning something new. Users with informational intent are typically in the research phase and looking to answer questions, solve problems, or gain knowledge on a particular topic. 

For example: 

Some of the queries they search on search engines such as google are –

Navigational searches

These queries are focused on finding a specific website or webpage. Users with navigational intent know exactly where they want to go online and are typically looking for a brand’s website, a login page, or a specific article.

For example: 

  • “SmartReach login”
  • “ProspectDaddy website”
  • “[News website name] today’s news”

Commercial searches

Here users are actively looking for information to compare products or services, research brands, or identify potential solutions to their needs. 

In this case, the users are already aware of their problem and looking for solution. They are in the last stage of their decision-making process before they make an purchase.  While not directly transactional, commercial searches indicate a strong purchase intent and are a valuable target audience for businesses.

For example

  • “Best B2B marketing automation platforms for lead generation”
  • “Reviews of customer support software for B2B companies”
  • “Differences between Asana and Trello for project management”

Transactional searches

These queries indicate a user’s readiness to make a purchase or complete a specific action. Users with transactional intent are actively looking for products or services and are close to making a buying decision.

For example

  • Book demo with Salesforce
  • SmartReach pricing
  • Pricing quotes for sales automation software

How to do keyword research for SEO?

You have got the idea that keyword research is the foundation of a strong SEO strategy. 

.Now let’s see how to do keyword research for SEO step-by-step. 

Step 1: Brainstorming relevant topics – Understanding your niche

In the initial step, you have to start thinking like your customers. Try putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. 

  • What challenges do they face? 
  • What solutions are they seeking? 
  • What kind of information would be valuable to them as they research potential vendors like yourself? 
  • What is their purchase journey? 
  • How do they find your brand online? Etc. 

Discuss with your sales, marketing & customer success teams about different customer experiences and insights. These departments are on the front lines, interacting with clients and understanding their pain points.

You can explore industry publications, competitor websites, and B2B social media groups to identify current trends and hot topics.

Once you have got idea of what topic you need to create content, segregate those based on pillar topics and cluster topics. This segregation will help you create a better content strategy. Pillar topics are broad categories in our niche, while cluster topics are niche categories of pillar topics. 

For example, let’s say your company provides a sales engagement platform for sales outreach. So, the bucket topic ideas you can come up with are: 

Step 2: Filling the topic buckets – Keyword ideation

Once you have a solid list of relevant topics, it’s time to get deeper and identify the specific phrases your ideal persona might use to search for information related to those topics.

Most business buyers would be typically looking for solutions to specific challenges. What problems does your product or service address? 

Brainstorm keywords that reflect these challenges. B2B buyers are results and ROI-driven. Include keywords that showcase the benefits and value proposition of your offerings. Also, include keywords, where u can attach relevant case studies, surveys etc., to present the ROI effectively.

You can use tools like Google keyword planner, Google trends or Answerthepublic, etc., to do some brainstorming for keywords. 

Find out which keywords your website is already ranking for. To do this, use website analytics like Google Analytics or Ahref or even Google Search Console, which comes absolutely free. Look closely at your website’s traffic sources and check your organic search traffic to find the keywords people use to find your site. Also, based on the keyword, you will be able to figure out the parent topic and start creating more content on it.

For example, if your website ranks for ‘email outreach software’ the parent topic must be cold email or something like that. 

Step 3: Understanding search intent and its impact on the keywords

Search intent refers to the underlying reason why someone conducts a search.  Understanding this intent is crucial for selecting the most effective keywords. 

When picking keywords, choose a mix for different buyer stages. 

Use informational keywords and topics for those researching solutions and transactional keywords and topics for those ready to buy. This mix helps you attract and engage potential customers at various points in their decision-making journey. Also, helps in cutting down CAC.

To understand what a user wants with a keyword, try searching for it on a search engine. Look at the results and make sure they match the content you plan to create for that keyword.

Step 4: Expanding Your Horizons – Discovering Related Search Terms

Many search engines offer suggestions as you type in keywords. Utilize this feature to discover long-tail keywords (more specific phrases) related to your initial keyword choices. Long-tail keywords are often linked to higher conversion as they tend to niche down on a ceratin query. Here are some additional techniques for researching on the related search terms:

  • People Also Ask: Explore the “People also ask” section displayed on Google search results pages. It provides valuable insights into additional questions users might have related to your topic. You can directly answer these questions through your web content.
  • Competitor Analysis: Research the keywords your competitors are ranking for. This can reveal new long-tail variations you might have missed. Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can be helpful for competitor research (paid subscriptions required).
  • Matches: While building your list of keyword buckets, take the matches into consideration as well. Tools like SEMrush, Ahref, etc., would categorize the keywords based on broad match, exact match and phrase match.  

Step 5: Keyword research tools – refining your list

Several free and paid keyword research tools can significantly enhance your keyword research process. These tools provide valuable data and insights such as:

  • Search Volume: The average number of monthly searches for a particular keyword. This helps you gauge the potential traffic a keyword can generate.
  • Keyword Difficulty: An indicator of how competitive it is to rank for a specific keyword. Consider a mix of high-volume, low-difficulty keywords and lower-volume, high-intent keywords.
  • Related Keywords: Tools can unearth additional keywords relevant to your chosen topics, expanding your keyword universe.
  • Search queries related to specific keywords. The Wh-questions that people are searching online. E.g., what is cold email, how to do prospecting, why is my email getting blocked, etc. 
  • SERP positions: The tools would show the position of your competitors in the search rankling for that particular keyword. 
  • Content availabilityr based on the the keyword: You will also be able to analyse the content which is already available with your target keywords and come up with better content to rank higher. 

Bonus Tip:

If you are into keyword research for SEO, chances are you’re also engaged in other efforts to enhance your SEO performance. This involve incorporating link building as a strategic component of your SEO-related approach.

Here’s one suggestion for automating your link-building task and saving quite a lot of quality time. You can leverage a sales engagement platform like For your quick reference, below are the primary things that SmartReach can help you with. 

  • Get your prospect’s contact information with our prospect finder tool
  • Send automated communication via different channels like email, Linkedin, calls, messages & WhatsApp.
  • Manage all your responses on a single platform.

We, the marketing team of SmartReach, perform our backlink outreach activities using the automated features of SmartReach. . Speaking in terms of number, a year back, we were at a DR of 32 and now we are at 58. We have been able to achieve this by putting out helpful content with in-depth keyword research and acquiring links organically through our content pieces such as blogs, masterclass, etc.

Try a 14-day free trial to experience the difference. 

Top Keyword Research tool

Keyword research tools help you to find more keywords related to your primary keywords. 

Here is a list of keywords that will help you get started.

  1. Google keyword planner – This is a free tool from Google that allows you to see search volume and competition data for keywords.
  2. AnswerThePublic – This is a freemium tool that is a great way to find long-tail keywords that people are searching for. It uses autocomplete data from search engines to suggest questions, prepositions, and comparisons that people are typing in.
  3. Moz Keyword Explorer – This tool offers a good overview of keyword difficulty, organic search volume, and click-through rate (CTR). It provides ten queries per tool per month for free
  4. Ahrefs Keyword Tool – This tool offers a wide range of features, including keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink analysis, and rank tracking. It provides only 150 keyword searches for free. 
  5. SEMrush – It provides an extensive range of functionalities, encompassing tasks such as keyword exploration, competitor assessment, backlinks analysis, and rankings monitoring. It provides 10 keyword search report for free per day.
  6. Google Trend – It is a free keyword tool that lets you keep track of the trending searches around the globe. 
  7. SpyFu: This is a free competitor keyword research tool that unveils your competitor’s historical paid advertising campaigns and organic keyword rankings. 

Tips for effective keyword research

Some of the most effective tips that will help you with your keyword research are: 

Brainstorm focus keyword

Get to know you target audience very well. Think like they think and consider what questions they might be asking or what terms they might be using to search for information related to your niche.

Consider your business goals and analyze what kind of traffic you are hoping to attract. Are you looking for leads, sales, or brand awareness? This will help you identify keywords with high commercial intent.

You can include your team members from various dept in the brainstorming session to get a better and wider list of keywords.

Expand your keyword list

Make use of keyword research tools to to find related keywords, long-tail variations, and questions people are asking.

Take a look at your competitor’s websites and see what keywords they are ranking for. You can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to help with this.

Pay attention to the suggestions that appear as you type in keywords on search engines. These can be a good source of long-tail keyword ideas.

Evaluate and analyze keywords

Search volumes are one of the key factors. Consider the average monthly search volume for a keyword. While high volume is attractive, don’t neglect keywords with lower search volume that might be easier to rank for.

You should also keep an eye on the keyword difficulty. This metric indicates how competitive it is to rank for a particular keyword. It’s important to find a balance between search volume and difficulty.

You should also make sure the keywords you target are relevant to the content you are creating. Identify if the keyword is informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial.

Refine & optimize

Here try mixing your primary keyword with long-tail keyword. Where the primary keywords are the ones with higher search volume & long-tail keywords are the ones that are more specific and have lower search volume. Targeting a mix of both can help you attract a wider audience.

Long-tail keywords are often less competitive and can be a great way to target specific audience needs.

Once you’ve implemented your keyword strategy, keep track of your website’s traffic and ranking for those keywords. This will help you see what’s working and what needs to be adjusted.

By following these tips, you can conduct effective keyword research that will help you improve your website’s SEO and attract more qualified traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

How to do keyword research for free?

Find your ideal customers’ search words using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Spyfoo, and competitor analysis. Also, pay attention to search suggestions and trending topics on Google Trends. Write your content on the same.

How to do keyword research for YouTube?

For YouTube, find buyer-intent keywords using YouTube search suggestions, related videos, Google Trends, and VidIQ extension for targeted keyword research.

What to do after keyword research?

Refine keyword list for reach and competition. Plan targeted content, optimize with keywords, track traffic and rankings for success.

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