A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

Keyword research is a critical aspect of SEO, and you might be wondering how to find the right keywords and what to do with them. In this beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023], we will walk you through the entire process, providing step-by-step instructions.

Get ready to jump into the world of keyword research and discover how it can benefit your SEO efforts. Enjoy the journey!

What are keywords?

Keywords, also known as “SEO keywords,” are specific words or phrases that users enter into search engines to find relevant information on the internet.

These keywords act as gateways, leading people to organic search results and ultimately to websites that provide the desired information.

In the realm of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the importance of identifying the right keywords cannot be overstated. By identifying the phrases commonly used by individuals searching for content within your niche, you can align your content strategy and optimization efforts to target those specific keywords. Consequently, your website can achieve higher rankings in search engine results, attracting more visitors.

The process of identifying relevant keywords is known as keyword research. Through this process, you explore and analyze the keywords that are most likely to resonate with your target audience, helping you optimize your content to match their search queries and increase your website’s visibility in search engine rankings.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is an important SEO practice that involves identifying, analyzing, and utilizing the specific phrases people use when searching for information online.

In simpler terms, it’s about understanding the language your potential visitors speak and leveraging this knowledge to optimize your content accordingly. By conducting thorough keyword research, you can gain insights into the terms and phrases your target audience uses, enabling you to create content that aligns with their search queries and increases your visibility in search engine results.

WHY to do keyword research

Keyword research is a vital component of SEO, serving as an effective method to expand the reach of your content and connect with a larger audience.

This enables you to enhance your visibility in search engine results and increase the likelihood of attracting more visitors to your website or blog.

HOW to do keyword research?

Don’t fret! This guide is here to assist you every step of the way.

Rest assured, keyword research is no rocket science. By understanding the fundamentals and gaining insight into proven strategies, along with a few helpful tips and tricks, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your keyword research journey. So, let’s dive in and make the process a breeze! 😉

WHEN to do keyword research?

Typically, keyword research serves as the initial step in optimizing any website for search engines.

You’ll find it essential to perform keyword research in the following scenarios:

  1. Exploring a new niche: When venturing into a new field or industry, conducting keyword research helps you identify the relevant keywords and understand the language used by your target audience.
  2. Generating fresh content ideas: Keyword research proves valuable when seeking inspiration for new content. By discovering popular and trending keywords, you can create engaging and relevant topics that resonate with your audience.
  3. Optimizing existing content: To enhance the visibility and search engine ranking of your current content, conducting keyword research allows you to identify target keywords and incorporate them strategically into your content, making it more SEO-friendly.

By performing keyword research at these key moments, you can effectively optimize your website and content for improved search engine visibility and increased traffic.

If you’re still unsure about starting a blog, I’ve got you covered! Discover the 18 compelling reasons why you should start a blog in 2023 in my latest blog post.

How to find keywords

To write engaging content that meets the needs of people interested in your niche, it’s crucial to understand what they’re searching for.

Here’s my first tip for keyword research: Get to know your niche!

Keyword research helps you gain a deeper understanding of the specific subtopics and recurring themes within your niche.

In this section, we’ll explore various tools and platforms where you can find keywords:

Let’s say you have a blog about gadgets and technology. It’s obvious that you’d want to rank for keywords like “latest smartphones” or “best laptops.”

However, these keywords (also known as broad keywords) often face tough competition.

But if you dive deeper into the niche, you’ll discover that people interested in gadgets also use keywords like:

  • “wireless earbuds with noise cancellation”
  • “smart home security systems”
  • “portable projectors for outdoor movie nights”
  • “fitness trackers for swimming”

These are what we call long-tail keywords. Here are their characteristics:

  • Consist of 3 or more words
  • Have lower search volume but also lower competition
  • Are more specific, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates

As shown in the image, visitors from long-tail keywords can make up a significant portion of your organic traffic.

The internet is a place for providing information, answering questions, and solving problems. Your content strategy should focus on addressing all the questions related to gadgets and technology. Long-tail keywords are a valuable resource for finding those questions.

Pro tip: Long-tail keywords represent specific subtopics within your niche. However, it doesn’t mean you should create a separate blog post for each long-tail keyword.

There are countless possible combinations of long-tail keywords for gadget topics, making it impossible to create a post for each one. Instead, you can create comprehensive content that covers the entire topic and naturally ranks for the long-tail keywords.

You’ll learn more about the proper usage of keywords in Chapter 4.

Now, let’s explore a few places where you can find keywords that people naturally use when discussing gadget and technology-related topics.

Google Keyword Planner

For a long time, Google Keyword Planner was a popular choice as a free keyword tool among many users. However, as keyword research has evolved and become more intricate, most SEO professionals have shifted towards utilizing more advanced tools.

To make use of Google Keyword Planner, you will need to create a Google Ads account, which only takes a few seconds if you already have a Google account.

Once you have signed up, navigate to Tools and select Keyword Planner. From there, choose the option “Discover new keywords” and enter your seed keyword(s) to generate suggestions.

You will then be presented with a list of keywords sorted by their relevance to the seed keyword.

While Google Keyword Planner is a valuable tool for PPC campaigns and provides extensive data (you can refer to our beginner-friendly guide in SEOpedia), it does not fully replace a dedicated keyword tool for SEO purposes.

However, it can still be a helpful resource if you keep two important points in mind:

  1. The search volumes are often grouped based on similar keyword variations, and you will only see search volume ranges (e.g., 1K – 10K) unless you invest a significant amount in Google Ads.
  2. Google Keyword Planner is a component of Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords), and its competition column indicates competition within PPC campaigns, not the organic difficulty.

By understanding these aspects, you can effectively leverage Google Keyword Planner as part of your keyword research strategy.

keywords naturally and focus on solving the problems and answering the questions your audience has within your niche.

Keyword research tools

One of the most effective ways to discover a wide range of potential keywords is by utilizing a keyword research tool. Various tools are available in the market, such as KWFinder, KeywordTool, and Long Tail Pro, among others.

Now, you might wonder whether it is necessary to invest in a paid keyword research tool.

Of course, the answer depends on many things, but my recommendation is this:

"If your website or blog earns you money in any way, keyword research tool
(or an SEO toolset in general) is a great investment that will return value.”

Benefits of Using a Professional Keyword Research Tool:

  • Time-saving: Obtain hundreds of keyword ideas with just one click, eliminating the need for manual brainstorming.
  • Exclusive data: Access information not found elsewhere, such as keyword difficulty, search volume, and SERP data.
  • Competitive advantage: Gain an edge over competitors who do not utilize any keyword research tool.

Typically, keyword research involves three primary steps: Finding, Analyzing, and Using the keywords. A professional keyword research tool can assist with both the initial discovery and subsequent analysis stages.

There are two basic methods to approach the research in a keyword tool:

  1. Search based on a seed keyword
  2. Competitor-based research

Search based on a seed keyword

In this method, we begin with a seed keyword, which is a phrase that represents the topic we want to write about. For instance, if we want to create content about coffee machines, we can enter the keyword “coffee machines” into the keyword research tool.

Please note that in this guide, I will be using KWFinder as an example tool for keyword research. KWFinder supports both seed keyword research and competitor keyword research.

The tool provides suggestions based on the topic’s relevance and the autocomplete feature. These suggestions include keywords that contain the seed keyword along with other related words.

KWfinder tool displaying keyword research results

In addition to keyword suggestions, a good tool also offers SEO metrics to help you analyze and choose the most suitable keywords. You can quickly check the exact search volume, keyword difficulty, and the search results page (SERP).

Competitor-based keyword research

Competitor keyword research is an extremely valuable feature provided by keyword tools. It eliminates the tedious task of manually searching for your competitors’ keywords, which would require going through numerous pages and making educated guesses about their focus keywords. However, with the right tool, it becomes a matter of a few simple clicks.

There are two primary methods to conduct competitor keyword research:

a) Checking your competitor’s domain for new topic ideas: By analyzing the keywords that your competitor ranks for, you can discover intriguing and fresh topic ideas that you can cover on your own website.

For example, if we take the domain of a popular coffee blog, homegrounds.co, and input it into the tool, it will generate a comprehensive list of hundreds of keywords that this website ranks for. It’s as simple as that!

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

b) Examining specific URLs for keyword ideas on a particular topic: This technique is useful when you already have a specific topic in mind. Let’s say you want to write an article about “pour over coffee” for your coffee blog. Simply enter this keyword into a search engine like Google and see which websites rank for it. If it’s not your website, then it’s likely one of your competitors.

By utilizing these methods, you can uncover valuable keyword insights from your competitors and enhance your own content strategy.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

Once you have identified your competitor, simply input the URL of their article into the tool, and you will discover additional keywords that the article ranks for. These keywords are closely related to your main topic and can provide valuable insights.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

In the example screenshot, you can observe that an article about “healthy smoothie recipes” ranks for other relevant terms such as:

  • “easy smoothie recipes”
  • “nutritious smoothies”
  • “fruit smoothie combinations”
  • “smoothie ingredients for weight loss”

These keywords are all connected to your main topic and can be utilized in your own content. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

By leveraging this feature, you can gather a wider range of keywords to optimize your content and increase its visibility.

Google Suggestions

When it comes to creating written content that stands out, harnessing the power of keyword suggestions is key. Google, as the leading search engine, provides valuable features to assist users in finding the most relevant information. Let’s explore three essential tools you can utilize to discover new and captivating keywords for your content:

Autocomplete: Unveiling Search Inspiration You’ve probably noticed that Google intuitively suggests related search queries as you type into the search bar. These suggestions are based on real searches performed by users and can serve as a valuable source of inspiration for generating interesting keywords.

To leverage this feature effectively, begin by entering your seed keyword into the Google search bar and add additional letters or numbers. By exploring different combinations, you can unearth a plethora of potential keyword ideas.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

For example, if your seed keyword is “email marketing,” you can experiment with variations such as “email marketing a, b, c…,” “email marketing ab, ac, ad…,” “email marketing 0, 1, 2…,” and more.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

This method allows you to uncover unique and targeted keywords that align with your content goals.

People Also Ask: Unveiling Long-Tail Question Keywords Another valuable feature you can find in Google search results is the “people also ask” snippet. This feature predominantly appears for question-based queries and provides suggestions for other related questions.

Beginner's guide to keyword research,

These suggestions can serve as an excellent source of inspiration for long-tail question-type keywords, enhancing the depth and specificity of your content.

Here’s a pro tip: Clicking on one of the questions will reveal even more related questions, offering an endless stream of potential keyword ideas.

By delving into this vast pool of inquiries, you can expand your keyword arsenal and cater to the diverse interests and needs of your target audience.

Searches Related To: Expanding Keyword Horizons Similar to the autocomplete feature, “searches related to” offers additional keyword suggestions, albeit located at the bottom of the search results page.

A beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers [2023]

While Google is the primary search engine to utilize, other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo also provide their own suggestions and related terms.

Exploring these alternative search engines may not yield keywords entirely absent from Google’s suggestions, but it presents an opportunity to uncover additional unique and valuable keywords.

Here’s a pro tip: By exploring the suggestions and related terms from multiple search engines, you can broaden your keyword research and discover new avenues to optimize your content for improved visibility and relevance.

Incorporating these Google features into your keyword research strategy empowers you to unlock a treasure trove of valuable keywords. By leveraging autocomplete, people also ask, and searches related to, you can uncover a rich variety of keywords that captivate your audience, enhance your content’s SEO optimization, and ultimately drive better search results.

Remember, Google is just the beginning. Don’t hesitate to explore other search engines to expand your keyword repertoire. With these powerful tools at your disposal, you’ll be equipped to create compelling content that stands out in the crowded online landscape.


When you want to find autocomplete suggestions easily, there’s a helpful tool called AnswerThePublic. It saves you time and effort by giving you lots of autocomplete suggestions from Google and Bing, all for free.

answerthepublic keyword research

Using AnswerThePublic is simple. Just type in your main keyword, and it gives you autocomplete suggestions for each letter of the alphabet. This way, you can quickly explore many different keyword possibilities.

One cool thing about AnswerThePublic is that it generates keyword suggestions in different categories:

  1. Question Words: AnswerThePublic gives you lots of question-based keyword ideas. These include words like “when,” “how,” “where,” “what,” “can,” and “will.” These question-based keywords catch people’s curiosity and make them want to find answers and solutions in your content.
  2. Prepositions: AnswerThePublic also helps you find keywords based on prepositions like “for,” “without,” “to,” and “with.” These prepositional keywords add context and let you address specific situations or needs in your content. By using prepositional keywords strategically, you can make your content more relevant and visible in relevant searches.
  3. Comparison Words: AnswerThePublic generates keyword suggestions based on comparison words like “like,” “versus,” “and,” and “or.” These comparison-based keywords let you explore alternatives, highlight differences, or present options to your audience. Adding comparison words to your content can engage users by offering them insights, comparisons, and choices.
Keyword research for bloggers

AnswerThePublic gives you a wide range of keyword ideas that match what people are searching for. The tool uses autocomplete suggestions from Google and Bing, so you get a comprehensive set of keywords to optimize your content for better visibility and relevance.

Remember, when it comes to keyword research, simplicity and efficiency are important. AnswerThePublic makes it easy with its user-friendly interface and effortless generation of valuable keyword suggestions. By incorporating these keyword ideas into your content strategy, you can improve your chances of reaching more people and providing them with what they’re looking for.

YouTube’s Keyword

As the second largest search engine worldwide, YouTube holds immense potential for keyword research. While it has its unique characteristics, exploring keywords on this platform can also provide valuable insights for Google keyword research. The popularity of topics on YouTube often indicates a significant search volume on Google as well, making it a valuable resource for keyword ideation.

Consider this example: When searching for “water filter” on YouTube, you’ll come across a video with the title “diy water filter.” This title presents an obvious keyword idea that can be further explored. By conducting a quick search volume analysis, you’ll discover that the phrase is highly popular in Google searches as well. This correlation highlights the cross-platform relevance and potential of YouTube for generating keyword ideas.

Another approach is to leverage the YouTube Autocomplete feature. Users often employ search queries on YouTube that are more focused on practical aspects. It’s important to note that the autocomplete suggestions on YouTube may differ from those on Google. To uncover these valuable suggestions efficiently, there are tools available, such as the YouTube Keyword Tool, that automatically scrape the autocomplete results. These tools streamline the process, enabling you to gather a comprehensive set of autocomplete keywords specific to YouTube.

By delving into YouTube’s vast array of content and keyword suggestions, you can unlock valuable insights into user behavior, interests, and search patterns. Integrating these YouTube-derived keyword ideas into your overall keyword research strategy can enhance your content’s SEO optimization and broaden its visibility across multiple search engines.

SEO for bloggers,

Remember, YouTube’s prominence as a search engine makes it a goldmine for keyword discovery. By leveraging its unique characteristics and cross-referencing the autocomplete suggestions with those of Google, you can tap into a wealth of keyword opportunities and craft content that resonates with your target audience effectively.

Google Search Console

One effective way to find relevant keywords is by using Google Search Console. This powerful tool can help you discover additional long-tail phrases that your content may already be ranking for.

Let’s explore two strategies for finding keywords with great potential:

  1. Analyze Keywords with High Impressions but Low Clicks: Keywords that receive a lot of impressions but not many clicks indicate untapped traffic opportunities. If you’re ranking below the first page of search results or experienced a temporary ranking, these keywords are especially worth investigating.

To start, go to your Search Console and access the Performance section, specifically the Search results tab. Here, you can see all the keywords associated with your website by selecting the default “Queries” setting.

Blog SEO techniques

Alternatively, you can choose the “Pages” option to focus on a specific URL and then switch back to “Queries” to see the keywords associated with that particular page.

Sort the results by the number of impressions and look for relevant keywords that have low click-through rates. Analyze these keywords carefully, considering factors like search volume and difficulty (as discussed in the next chapter). If they show potential, optimize your content to target these keywords more effectively.

  1. Evaluate Rankings on the 2nd or 3rd Search Results Page: By checking the average position of your queries, you can find keywords where you rank on the second or third page of search results. These keywords may not have been the main focus of your content but still generate impressions and clicks.

To do this, go to the Performance section and select “Average position” (this may not be displayed by default). Sort the queries based on this dimension to identify keywords where you have a favorable position.

Keyword research tools,

Although this method may not provide precise ranking data, it’s useful for finding low-hanging fruit among your existing keyword rankings.

For instance, let’s say you wrote an article about different types of coffee machines. In Search Console, you discover that the keyword “4 cup coffee maker” has an average position on the second or third search results page. This keyword is relevant and has a substantial search volume, making it a great opportunity to drive traffic to your blog.

Blogging SEO essentials,

Here are two approaches you can take:

  1. Enhance the existing article to give more emphasis to the keyword. However, covering such a specific subtopic within a general article may be challenging.
  2. Create a new post specifically focused on “best 4 cup coffee makers” and interlink it with the main article.

By dedicating a high-quality article to this specific topic, you significantly increase your chances of ranking higher for the keyword compared to the general post.

Pro Tip: If you’re new to Google Search Console, don’t worry.


Reddit, a vast online community encompassing a multitude of topics, offers an exceptional platform to engage with individuals who share your niche interests and delve into the conversations surrounding them.

Let’s take the example of aquascaping, a niche I stumbled upon while crafting this guide and found captivating enough to consider as a future hobby.

To begin, search for relevant subreddits related to your niche. Even within a specific realm such as aquascaping, you’ll find thriving communities with thousands of devoted followers.

You have two primary approaches:

  1. Explore Popular Posts: Select a specific subreddit and peruse its most popular posts. Alternatively, you can narrow down your search to question-type posts within the subreddit. Utilize search terms like “question,” “how can I,” “how do you,” “suggestions,” and “tips” to uncover a wealth of discussions aligned with your niche.
  2. Harness Keyworddit: For a comprehensive view, employ the free tool called Keyworddit, which extracts frequent keywords from subreddits of your interest. This resource provides valuable insights and inspiration for your future content endeavors.

In the screenshot above, you’ll notice potential topic ideas inspired by the aquascaping community.

Pro Tip: Keyworddit serves as a quick and practical solution to extract relevant keywords from targeted subreddits, empowering you to discover engaging content opportunities effortlessly.

Engage with Reddit, connect with passionate enthusiasts, and unleash the potential of your niche exploration journey.


Discover a hidden treasure among search engines – Amazon’s very own A9.

Just like Google and YouTube, A9 collects valuable data on popular search queries. It provides users with automatic suggestions that match their needs.

Finding these suggestions is easy. You can explore manually or use one of the many free tools available for automation.

Driving traffic through keywords.

What makes A9’s suggestions special is their relevance. They are carefully selected based on product conversion rates and buying behaviors.

If you’re into affiliate marketing or running an e-commerce store, A9 is a goldmine of opportunities.

Tap into the power of A9 and use its insights to boost your online presence.


When it comes to keyword research, don’t overlook the treasure trove of information found on Wikipedia. Its hierarchical structure allows you to navigate from broader topics to specific sub-topics effortlessly.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Start with a broad keyword like “exercise,” then delve deeper into subtopics like “fitness” and “physical fitness.” Continue narrowing down until you reach your desired keyword, such as “indoor rowing techniques.”

Wikipedia’s comprehensive tables of contents and sub-chapters are excellent resources for exploring related keywords and gaining valuable insights into the topic’s structure.

Additionally, you can utilize free tools like Karooya’s Wikipedia scraper to extract topic ideas and keywords effortlessly.

Remember, keyword inspiration can be found in various online communities, such as Twitter threads, Quora questions, Facebook groups, and content curation platforms.

While ideas are plentiful, not all keywords are created equal. Stay tuned for our guide on analyzing and targeting the most valuable keywords for your content.

Methods for Analyzing Keywords

Now that you have a wide range of keyword ideas, your next step is to identify the most valuable ones. Opting for hundreds of keywords may not be the best approach, so it’s important to prioritize wisely.

When creating new content, it’s essential to assign a focus keyword. This focus keyword should accurately represent the main topic of the page and possess favorable SEO characteristics.

To select the optimal focus keyword, you need to evaluate three crucial factors: popularity, difficulty, and relevance.

Think of these factors as the three legs of a tripod, forming what I like to call The Keyword Tripod Rule.

By considering the popularity, difficulty, and relevance of a keyword, you can establish a sturdy foundation for your SEO strategy and ensure your content resonates with your target audience.

Popularity of the keyword

The popularity of a keyword is determined by its search volume, which indicates how many people are searching for that particular phrase. Search volume is typically calculated as a monthly average based on data from the past 12 months.

Keyword research tools rely on two main sources of search volume data:

  1. Google data: This comes from the Google Keyword Planner database and provides insights into search volumes directly from Google.
  2. Clickstream data: This data is derived from the browsing behavior of internet users and is collected through browser extensions, plugins, and similar tools.

It’s important to note that different keyword research tools may utilize different sources and data post-processing methods, leading to variations in search volume values.

However, it’s crucial not to solely rely on search volumes. Well-written content has the potential to rank for multiple keywords, increasing the overall search volume. Therefore, search volumes should be considered as a helpful clue rather than an absolute determinant.

To gain a deeper understanding of a keyword’s popularity, it’s beneficial to examine its long-term interest trend. A useful tool for this analysis is Google Trends. By entering a specific keyword or topic, Google Trends displays its interest over time on a scale from 1 to 100.

Let’s take the example of the keyword “3D television.” While it may have a solid monthly search volume (approximately 2,400 searches per month globally), a glance at its long-term trend reveals a decline in interest over the past few years.

Additionally, Google Trends can help identify seasonal keywords tied to specific times of the year, such as summer/winter, holidays, or annual events. For instance, the keyword “garden pool” exhibits natural spikes during the summer period and lower interest during winter. This seasonality should be taken into account when developing a content plan.

Lastly, it’s essential to consider the click-through rate (CTR) of your website in search results. CTR is heavily influenced by the position of your website and various factors like rich snippets. Rich snippets include Google Ads, featured snippets, answer boxes, map packs, and other types of snippets.

The graph below illustrates the organic CTR in search result pages with and without rich snippets. It’s evident that the presence of snippets significantly reduces the CTR of organic results.

There are tools available that calculate the impact of rich snippets on organic results. Incorporating this information can help estimate the potential traffic you can receive from a specific keyword.

Let’s take a look at the second leg of our tripod.

Quite an important one.

2. Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric that assesses the level of difficulty in ranking for a specific keyword. The higher the keyword difficulty, the more challenging it will be to achieve a high ranking for that keyword with your website.

Keyword research tools use various metrics to determine keyword difficulty, primarily by considering the authority of the websites that rank on the first page of search engine results. If the first page of results consists of many low-authority websites, there is a greater chance of ranking for the keyword.

Website authority is calculated based on two main factors:

  1. Number of backlinks: This refers to the number of pages that link to a particular website.
  2. Quality of backlinks: This depends on the authority and relevance of the pages that provide the backlinks.

There are several well-known authority metrics, such as Moz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority, and Majestic’s Citation Flow and Trust Flow. These metrics aim to condense the authority of a page into a single number on a scale from 1 to 100. By considering the authority of the websites ranking for a keyword on the first page of search results, you can estimate the difficulty of ranking for that keyword.

When working with keyword difficulty metrics, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Don’t solely rely on keyword difficulty. It should serve as a guideline rather than an absolute value. If your content is superior and more relevant than other websites, you can still outrank them even if they have higher authority.
  2. Avoid comparing difficulty numbers across different tools. Each keyword research tool uses its own data and methodology to calculate keyword difficulty, leading to varying values. Instead, compare difficulty metrics within the same tool across different keywords.
  3. Consider subjective factors. No metric can accurately predict the exact difficulty of ranking for a specific keyword for your website. You need to take into account subjective factors such as your SEO skills, your website’s authority, and the relevance of your content.

Pro Tip: Identify competitors with similar website authority as yours (you can compare metrics like Domain Authority or Citation Flow).

Analyze the keywords they rank for and create better content to surpass them in rankings.

Alternative methods to estimate keyword difficulty:

While difficulty metrics are generally reliable for assessing competition, there are alternative approaches:

  1. Domain age: You can focus on the age of domains to find search engine result pages (SERPs) with relatively new websites. For example, if a keyword shows a 6-month-old website on the first SERP, it might be easier to rank for that keyword.
  2. Keyword Golden Ratio: This method helps identify long-tail keywords that you should be able to rank for quickly. More information about this can be found in our Keyword Golden Ratio guide.

Pro Tip: Sometimes, when there is a lack of relevant content, Google may display semi-relevant websites with high authority. In such cases, the difficulty metric may show a high number.

However, with highly focused and relevant content, you can still outrank them. Always perform a thorough SERP analysis and don’t rely solely on the difficulty metric.

3. Relevance (Search Intent)

Performing a thorough SERP analysis is crucial during keyword research for two main reasons.

Firstly, it allows you to assess the authority of the websites ranking for the keyword, giving you insights into keyword difficulty.

Secondly, it helps you understand the search intent behind the keyword and determine its relevance to your content.

Search intent can generally be categorized into four main types:

  1. Navigational: When users are searching for a specific website or brand.
  2. Informational: When users are seeking general information on a topic.
  3. Transactional: When users intend to make an online purchase.
  4. Commercial: When users want to conduct research before making a purchase decision.

To identify the search intent behind a keyword, you can examine the first page of search results (SERP) on Google.

Let’s consider an example to illustrate this:

Suppose you own an online store selling aquarium supplies and you’re looking for a focus keyword for a new product page featuring an advanced aquarium filter called AquaClear.

You come across the keyword “best aquarium filter,” which has a decent search volume and appears to have low competition.

However, upon examining the SERP, you discover that the chosen keyword is not suitable for your content due to a mismatch in search intent.

Google interprets “best aquarium filter” as a commercial keyword, as all the top results are reviews and buying guides.

Since your product page has a transactional nature, you won’t be able to rank effectively for this keyword.

In this case, you have two options:

  1. Find a focus keyword that aligns with the appropriate search intent, such as “aquarium filter buy” or “aquaclear filter price.”
  2. Create new content that matches the search intent, such as a comparison of the best aquarium filters with links to your online store.

The key objective is to align the intent behind the user’s query with the type of content you provide.

Pro Tip: Don’t solely focus on transactional and commercial keywords. Write informative blog posts that offer valuable information for free.

Some visitors may not be ready to make an immediate purchase, but they will remember you as an authoritative source when they are ready in the future.

We have covered the first two steps of finding and analyzing keywords.

How to use keywords

Once you have analyzed your keywords and selected the ones with the best metrics, it’s time to consider how to effectively use them into your content.

Unlike many keyword research guides that stop at this point, leaving you wondering what to do next, we will provide you with valuable principles and tips on using keywords properly.

Think of keywords as topics

Think of keywords as topics in the content hub model. Instead of organizing your articles into artificial categories or having no structure at all, organize them based on topics divided into content hubs, also known as topic clusters.

In this model, you have two main types of content:

  1. Pillar content: This is the main post or page that broadly covers the topic, targeting broader keywords.
  2. Cluster content: These are supporting blog posts that delve into subtopics in detail, targeting more specific keywords.

To strengthen the semantic relationship between the articles and help search engines evaluate their topical relevance, interlink the pillar content with the supporting cluster articles.

Let’s look at an example to better understand this concept:

Imagine your blog focuses on healthy recipes, and one of your content hubs is about smoothies. Here are some example keywords and content titles:

Focus keyword and pillar article title:

Keyword: healthy smoothie recipes Title: Discover the Best Healthy Smoothie Recipes for a Nutritious Boost

Focus keywords and titles of possible cluster articles:

Keyword: green smoothie recipes Title: Energize Your Day with Refreshing Green Smoothie Recipes

Keyword: protein smoothie recipes Title: Fuel Your Workouts with Delicious Protein Smoothie Recipes

Keyword: tropical smoothie recipes Title: Transport Yourself to Paradise with Tropical Smoothie Recipes

Keyword: vegan smoothie recipes Title: Satisfy Your Cravings with Delectable Vegan Smoothie Recipes

Keyword: detox smoothie recipes Title: Cleanse and Rejuvenate with Detox Smoothie Recipes

By treating keywords as separate content topics, you can identify the natural relationships between them. Keyword research goes beyond search volumes and difficulties—it helps you understand how people search and think on the internet.

This understanding enables you to create comprehensive content that thoroughly covers the topic and fulfills the needs of users.

Use the focus keyword

Once you have chosen the focus keyword for your page, incorporate it into key elements on the page.

However, it’s important not to overuse the keyword. Follow these best practices for using the exact-match keyword:

  • Title Tag: Include the focus keyword in the title tag of the page.
  • Headings: Use the focus keyword in the main heading of the page, as well as in subheadings where relevant.
  • Body of the Page: Ideally, include the focus keyword in one of the first paragraphs of the text on the page.
  • Anchor Texts: Use the focus keyword in the anchor texts of internal links that point to the page.

It’s crucial to avoid keyword stuffing, as this outdated technique can harm your SEO efforts. There is no ideal keyword density, so don’t try to forcefully insert the exact-match keyword multiple times within the post.

Some SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO, may suggest an optimal keyword density. While you can take it as a clue, always prioritize the user experience.

For instance, if your focus keyword is “social media scheduling for agencies,” using it excessively (e.g., five times in a 1000-word article) would appear unnatural. Also, consider the length of the keyword when determining its usage within your content.

What about LSI keywords?

It’s a topic that often sparks discussion in the SEO world. Some people believe that incorporating latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords can boost rankings and improve SEO. However, the truth is quite different.

LSI refers to a natural language processing method used by search engines to identify semantic relationships between words. While it’s important for search engines to understand the context and meaning of content, the idea of using LSI keywords as synonyms or related terms within your text is misleading.

Google’s John Mueller has made it clear that there’s no such thing as “LSI keywords” when it comes to content optimization. Instead, it’s crucial to focus on writing naturally and providing comprehensive coverage of the topic.

Remember these key points:

  • Artificially inserting keywords into your content just because a tool suggests it is not a recommended approach. Prioritize natural writing and thorough topic coverage.
  • You don’t have to use every single related keyword. Surprisingly, you can rank for keywords you didn’t even mention in your text.
  • Let’s consider an example: Searching for “strong coffee” yields an article by Caffeine Informer, featuring a list of the best strong coffee brands. This well-written, comprehensive post ranks for multiple related keywords, including “high caffeine coffee,” despite not mentioning that exact phrase in the text.
  • Quality content that covers a topic comprehensively and uses natural language can rank for many other keywords as well.

Google’s algorithm has become more adept at understanding content and determining relevance. You don’t need to obsess over using every single keyword or implementing artificial LSI keywords.

To summarize how to use keywords effectively in your content strategy:

  1. Think of main keywords as topics.
  2. Select a focus keyword that represents the topic and follow best practices for keyword placement.
  3. Focus on creating long, in-depth articles that thoroughly cover the chosen topic.
  4. Avoid overthinking the number and placement of keywords, following keyword density recommendations, or forcing unnatural keyword insertion (remember, “LSI keywords” are a myth).

In essence, prioritize providing valuable and comprehensive content while using keywords naturally and in relevant contexts.

If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my step-by-step guide on “How to Start a Blog.” It provides all the information you need to get started on your blogging journey. Happy blogging!

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