Keyword Research- How to do it: A Step by Step Guide [2023]

How to do Keyword Research: Step by Step Guide [2020 Secret]
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What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a process of finding the search phrases that people enter into the search engines for the purpose of sorting their queries or information. Hence, the words or phrases that are entered by the visitors on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing to find their answers are known as keywords, search queries, or SEO keywords

To give you the exact understanding of the keywords, let’s take an example. Suppose San Francisco is a new place for a person whose name is David, and he wants to find a coffee shop through the internet. What will he do? 


He will type the keywords like “coffee shop in san francisco”, “best coffee shop in san francisco”, “best coffee in san francisco”, “famous coffee in francisco”, “coffee shop with best view san francisco” or “coffee shop near me” on the search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

To help David with relevancy, authority, and trust, the famous coffee shops of San Francisco do their keyword research and make their product and services available for David. 

Why is Keyword Research a must to do Task?

Keywords are the only way to figure out what your customers are typing in the search engine. Only with the right keywords, you can reach your audience. There is no other way to make a presence on search engines and attract people of your niche. Therefore, in order to avoid creating content about topics that nobody is searching for, keyword research is important.

Many bloggers, marketers, or business owners do not understand the relevance of keyword research. In one report of Ahrefs, it was revealed that 90.63% of the pages get zero traffic from Google because of not choosing the right keywords. Hence, website owners must take keyword research as a pillar of SEO ranking.

Five significant metrics you need to consider during your keyword research:

  1. Keyword Trend
  2. Search Volume
  3. SEO Difficulty
  4. Paid Difficulty
  5. Cost Per Click (CPC)
Things to consider during your keyword research
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You must look at the paid difficulty metrics during your keyword research. If the paid difficulty is higher, the competition will also be higher while bidding for a paid search.  If the page difficulty is less, it is easier to get organic search ranking.  

The other metrics that you should consider seriously while doing keyword research is the cost per click (CPC). It will help you to understand the quality of traffic you will drive on that keyword. The keyword that has higher CPC converts your visitors into a customer. Typically, keywords with low CPC drive less qualified traffic that also converts less. 

Hence, the sweetest spot to pick the right keyword should have less SEO difficulty and high CPC. These keywords drive massive and qualified traffic where your business generates more sales and revenue.  

If you consider these five critical metrics of the keyword during your research, you will get the exact answers to the following questions:

  1. How much time will it take to rank on search engines?
  2. How many backlinks and domain authority do we need for this particular keyword?
  3. How many estimated visitors can we drive for this keyword?
  4. What type of content should I need to create related to the keywords?
  5. What kind of traffic will this keyword drive? Will it help in generating leads, sales, or brand awareness?

Types of Keyword: 

  1. Short Tail Keyword
  2. Long Tail Keyword

Short Tail Keyword: 

The search phrases, which consist of 1 or 2 words, are considered short-tail keywords. Even the ranking of 2-5 keywords on search engines can drive crazy traffic and leads to your site. 

  1. High search volume
  2. High clicks and visitors
  3. High recognition and the broader reach in the market with robust brand awareness 
  4. Higher chance of getting referral traffic and word of mouth publicity 
  1. Highly competitive and difficult to rank if your website is not well recognized on search engines.
  2. It takes too much time to rank depending on your niche.
  3. Need high DA and backlinks
  4. Low intend to purchase
  5. Less conversion rate

Long Tail Keyword: 

Long-tail keywords consist of 3-6 keyword phrases with low search volume and are less popular across search engines. These keywords are precise and highly focused search queries. 

  1. Works exceptionally well in a highly competitive industry
  2. Well defined and very specific to what you are offering.
  3. Less competitive and easy to rank
  4. Drive significant amount of traffic
  5. The nature of traffic is more qualified, better targeted that converts exceptionally well
  6. Perfect for Pay per Click (PPC)
  1. Less traffic volume as it has narrow search results
  2. Low clicks and fewer leads


Many companies and even more prominent brands struggle for the perfect keyword for SEO and PPC. Choosing a wrong SEO keyword can take your site into marshland. It results in either very little traffic or zero traffic. 

Apart from it, if your site is new into space, then selecting a short tail SEO keyword such as BUSINESS, MARKETING, ADVERTISING, MONEY can be super competitive, and it may take more than a year to rank. 

Instead of selecting a highly competitive short tail SEO keyword, you can choose a long-tail SEO keyword such as “how to make money,” “how to make money online from home”, or “how to make money on social media”. Selecting such keywords that are less competitive with decent search volume is accessible to the rank and can drive a decent traffic on your website. Moreover, long-tail keywords result have a high conversion rate in comparison to short-tail keywords.


According to the Search Demand Curve, 70% of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords. These are highly specific 4-6 word phrases. The top 10,000 keywords make up less than 30% of overall search traffic. 

Traffic from long tail keyword
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The secret of finding long-tail keywords that can drive tons of traffic

  • SEO Keyword Research Tools

SEO keyword research tools like Semrush, Serpstat, Ahrefs, UberSuggest, Google Keyword Planner, and Moz are some of the best in the market for every business. You can analyze search volume, SEO difficulty, CPC, Trends, Estimated visits, Rank difficulty, and more. 

RECOMMENDATION: Semrush is the best and all-in-one SEO tool in the market (We’ve got a special association with Semrush for you, Try 14-Day Free Semrush Pro Trial Now). For free keyword research, the most appropriate SEO tools are UberSuggest and Google Keyword Planner

  • Google Auto-Complete

To pick appropriate long-tail keywords, Google auto-complete is one of my favorite marketing techniques. You get all the suggestions directly from Google. The overall action needs less effort, time, and resources. The best thing about Google auto-complete is- it is free and has a great accuracy level. 

how to do keyword research with Google Auto-Complete
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  • Answer The Public

As the name suggests, this excellent keyword tool generates the question-type keywords that people search on the internet. Since the nature of the keyword generated by AnswerThePublic is in question form, it will automatically be in a long-tail phrase. You can also sort the generated keywords into alphabetical orders and download the data as a CSV. 

Keyword Research with Answer The Public SEO tool
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  • LSIGraph

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. It gives you the list of related keywords that search engines use to deeply understand the content on a webpage. Using LSI keywords in your blog post is the next level of On-Page SEO (that we will know in the On-Page SEO chapter in detail). In a nutshell, the LSIGraph keyword research tool helps you to generate semantic, long-tail, and LSI keywords for free. Furthermore, by using this SEO tool, you can find the most appropriate long-tail keyword for SEO and PPC. 

LSIGraph keyword research and finder tool
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  • Keyword suggestions from eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia,, and YouTube

Many essential but untapped keywords are very difficult to find from keyword tools. Most of the businesses get huge success by discovering these hidden gems as your competitors generally overlook. 

But how to find these keywords? 

You can use the Soovle tool. It is free. Soovle collects keyword suggestions from eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia,, and YouTube.

Soovle tool for keyword research
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Soovle tool automatically displays suggested results from these websites. Like AnswerThePublic, you can also download the results in a CSV file. 

Soovle SEO tool for keyword finder
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  • Question Answer (Q/A) Sites and People May ask: 

Quora, Yahoo Answers,, Askville by Amazon, LinkedIn Answers are some popular question-answer platforms where you can drive massive traffic and leads. 

If we talk about Quora (a famous Q/A platform), you can provide accurate and quality answers to your potential customers and link to relevant pages about your product and services. To rank higher, you can also analyze the questions on Quora that have got enough engagement to select such questions for your FAQ snippet in your content. 

Google results on People may ask also helps with the keyword research in Question format to provide answers to the question for specific queries. It is present between the search results on each page.

Question Answer (Q/A) Sites and FAQ snippet in your content
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The basic rules to perform on Q/A sites are:

  1. Help others and build relationships by providing relevant answers.
  2. Push your products and services on somebody’s question.
  • Google Trends and Related Queries: 

If you find two keywords which have the same search volume, SEO difficulty, and CPC, then which one will you pick up? 

Here, Google Trends will help you with this. You should select the keywords having an increasing trend. If you choose the keywords which are in decreasing trend, then after a certain period of time, you will land in marshland with a drastic fall in the traffic. 

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Keyword research with Google Trends and Related Queries
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Google-related queries are like Google autocomplete suggestions, but these suggested search results appear at the bottom of the SERP.

How to Build your keyword list?

Your keyword list must contain both types of keywords that are short tail keywords as well as long-tail keywords. The primary reason why your keyword list should have both keyword types is to protect your site or web pages from Panda and Penguin penalties. Also, though keyword stuffing is important but does not over-optimize your content with either of these keywords 

11 Simple formulas to find quick keyword ideas 

Nowadays, most individuals refer to information and suggestions from their preferred search engines. To understand the search intent for these individuals, there are mainly two types of categories: Information intent and Commercial intent. 

So, keeping in mind related to such queries, you select your keywords and content strategy. Before you search from any tool, you can first use these formulas as a part of your brainstorming session. Now we will find keyword ideas relevant to your topic and audience using below listed formulas:

  • Keyword + Year 

(Best used to leverage users intent towards information and trending topics) Eg: seo tips 2023

  • Best + Keyword + Location/Near me

(Best used to target specific city, state or country or for physical business) Eg: best coffee shop near me, best orthopedic hospital in Chandigarh

  • Adjective + Keyword

(This is the most commonly used type of keyword that generates high tons of traffic if created and analyzed right, used by users for specific information. You can use adjectives like best, top, great, quick, simple, ultimate, easy, new, free) Eg: best social media plugins, free infographic tools 

  • Keyword + buyer persona

(Best used to create a long-tail keyword and to develop highly-targeted seo strategies) Eg: digital marketing training courses online free 

  • Keyword + Benefit

(Mostly used for commercial purpose to uncover benefit-oriented keywords) Eg: SEO tool free trial, infographic templates free download 

  • Keyword + Modifiers

(Used to help you reach people looking for specific information formats. Modifiers used here are such as review, checklist, guide, list, analysis, training, pdf) Eg: semrush content marketing toolkit review, on-page seo checklist

  • Price + Keyword

(Used for price-focussed keywords to target in conversion-focused content). Eg: premium watches for men, mobile phone under 30000

  • “Best” + Competitor + “Alternative”

(Use this formula to build the foundation and edge over effective competitor campaigns, also used to create affiliate content) Eg: Best Ahrefs alternative

  • Your Brand/Product vs Competitor Brand/Product

(Used to compare products/brand and let the audience know why your product/brand is better) Eg: Convert Pro vs. Optinmonster, Samsung vs. one plus

  • Keyword + “statistics”

(Such keywords attract more backlinks because journalists typically search for such keywords for reliable statistics to include in their articles) E.g.: social media statistics

  • Question format + Keyword

(Mostly used to reach users looking for specific information in your industry) E.g.: how to do keyword research, what is travel insurance

  • Numeric + “best” + keyword

(Used to rank your site by a catchy call to actions and specific results) E.g.: 10 best tourist places in India

These are just a few keyword ideas that you can create. But you can mix and play around these formulas to create long-tail keywords to expand your list for specific and quality leads. For example, 10 best video editing software, best hair care products for curly hair in India

Continue Reading Below

Primary tips and guide while creating your keyword list

  • Read the mind of your potential customer, think like a customer when you make your list

For example:

Suppose you have an e-commerce website and are selling men’s athletic footwear. Then your keywords can be  “men’s sports shoes”, “men’s tennis shoes” and  “men’s sneakers.” If you find these keywords are generating leads and revenue, you can expand your keywords by including your brand and product name. 

  • Select more specific keywords to reach your highly qualified customers

In these types of keywords, you may not drive more traffic and leads as it is intended only to bring sales. 

Again taking the example of shoes, your keywords can be “men’s trekking shoes”, “men’s trekking boots”, and “men’s waterproof hiking shoes”. These keywords are well defined for a specific set of audience that will visit your site. 

  • Select short tail and general keywords to reach more people:

To increase your brand visibility and search volume, you should also choose short-tail keywords in your content. 

In this case, your keyword can be “shoes” or “men’s shoes.” You will get a wide variety of visitors to your site.

Your keyword list and the content on your website should be a great mix of short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.

How is Keyword Research of your Competitors Critically Important?

One of the fastest and most lucrative ways of finding the best-suited keywords for your website is stealing keywords from your competitors. You should start looking at those keywords of your competitors, which are sending tons of traffic to them.  

In order to accomplish this task, you need to identify your competitor. For that, you just enter the seed keyword and see which sites are ranking on Google. Then, analyze the competition for each keyword on the list and find out where they overlap, what they haven’t thought of, and where you can fit in. 

How to find new content ideas and steal competitors’ keywords?

As we have understood the importance of keyword research, now to proceed with “How to do keyword research,” we have explained it in detail using the Semrush Content Marketing Toolkit. We will find new topic ideas and analyze competitor’s keywords in 4 simple steps mentioned below:

Find ideas to create new content- Topic Research Tool.

We all know that content is a king and successful content planning begins with a great idea. And an idea in favor of the interest of the target audience gives you ultimate positive output. 

Choosing the right topic has the potential of the traffic boost on your business, and for this, Semrush’s Topic Research Tool is a treasure chest of content ideas based on your target keyword, trending topics, related searches, questions people may ask, and recent articles. The fantastic part is you can also expand the topic research on the basis of content by backlinks, social shares, and engagement. You can also filter the data on country, regional and city basis to see the most popular/recent topics heading for your target keywords.

And using Semrush Topic Research Tool is very easy, and it outperforms every other tool with an all-in-one feature set and database. 

To start finding ideas for creating new content/ update existing content, You first need to Sign-in to your Semrush account

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SEMrush Topic Research Tool
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Now, select the Content Marketing Toolkit from the drop-down menu in the top left corner. 

SEMrush content marketing Toolkit
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You can click on Topic Research Tab to access this tool or can even enter your targeted keyword/ topic from the existing dashboard on the search box by selecting your preferred Country/Region/City/Language. 

SEMrush content marketing Toolkit (Topic Research)
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Once you click in “Get Content Ideas,” Semrush’s Topic Research module will analyze popular content and provide you with winning results on the web. 

You can explore content suggestions from your most comfortable view via- 

  • Cards
  • Explorer
  • Overview
  • Mindmap
Topic Research by SEMrush Content Marketing Toolkit
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Note**: You can also enter the domain name to see for which topics a particular website currently ranks in Google top 100 SERP. It helps you to analyze the keywords of your competitors. 

You can prioritize the results by the following parameters:

  • Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Topic efficiency (higher search volume and lower difficulty). 


  1. You can also identify trending topics that are most popular over the last 60 days across the web.
  2. You can enable Trending Subtopics first to view viral topics for higher engagement. 

When you are conducting audience research and creating a content plan, the analyzed data will help you understand what information your audience is looking for.

If you plan to create an article to provide an answer to a user’s question, make sure you add a ‘how-to’ or question mark into your title to get more engagement and shares. This strategy would increase your chance to win a featured snippet, expanding your presence on Google’s SERP.

Topic Research via Cards

As soon as you perform topic research, the cards view is enabled by default. You will see the most relevant card based on your keyword; choose the card to get the in-depth information about it from a Show More dropdown link.  

Topic Research via card- SEMrush content marketing Toolkit
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The results from the expanded version will show subtopic volume, difficulty, and topic efficiency along with top headlines, questions, and related searches. The bullhorn icon on the left side of the topic illustrates the title’s success in terms of backlinks. The green color represents that more people link to the article with this title. 

Note**: To create your list of ideas, you can add to your favorite ideas section by clicking the + icon (available for all types of Topic research views)

Topic Research via Explorer

SEMrush content marketing Toolkit:Topic Research via explorer
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In the Explorer tab, you will explore the list of Subtopic, content ideas, Facebook engagement, backlinks, and total shares on particular topics. 

Topic Research via Overview

SEMrush content marketing Toolkit:Topic Research overview
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In the Overview Tab, you have access to explore the set of top 10 headlines by backlinks, 10 interesting questions, top subtopics, and top 10 related searches based on your targeted keyword. 

Topic Research via Mindmap

In the Mindmap tab, you see the graphical representation of content suggestions. 

SEMrush topic research SEO tool via mindmap
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Mind Map tab works similarly to the “AnswerThePublic” tool for keyword research. 

You can quickly analyze the trending subtopics as they are marked in red color. To explore the topic, you can click on your relevant keyword (in strokes), and you get a broad understanding of its related headlines, Questions, and Related searches.  

Be aware that you cannot mark the topics in your favorite list from the Mind Map view. 

Save data in Favorite Ideas:

SEMrush content marketing Tool
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In your list of favorite ideas, you can export your data in XLSX format, Create SEO Optimized templates, and even send a task to Semrush Marketing Calendar or Trello.

Competitor’s Keyword Research

As mentioned above (in Note), you can also spy your rivals’ domain to understand their content strategy based on the keywords and topics that are ranking in the top 100 results of Google. In the card view, Semrush shows the card in green color for the keyword ranking high, and you can even see the ranking of the particular keyword by clicking on the arrow link. 

Competitor's keyword research via SEMrush marketing tool
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Finalize the keyword

Now, as you are done with finding the content idea, let’s analyze and finalize the profitable keyword on the basis of CPC, volume, SEO difficulty, PPC Competition, and most searched keywords for a successful content marketing campaign. 

And we will perform this activity through my favorite: Keyword Magic Tool (in the Keyword Analytics section).

SEMrush keyword magic tool
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Though Keyword Magic Tool is not a part of the Content Marketing Toolkit but analyzing from this tool will work as a cherry on your cake for your effective content strategy. 

SEMrush keyword magic tool for your content marketing
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keyword research infographic - %title%- The Blue Oceans Group
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Keywords can make or break your business. You can have more than 100000 visitors daily or zero visits, depending on how well you do keyword research in your niche. 

You should not ignore the power of long-tail keywords. It is the most common mistake done by marketers, SEO, or PPC experts during keyword research. They only focus on short-tail keywords. 

But the fact of the content marketing is- long-tail keywords are always easy to rank, generate better traffic, more qualified leads, and convert much better than short-tail keywords. 

I hope you can have a better understanding of keyword research with its importance in any form of content marketing. 

Continue Reading Below

Also, I am excited to know which keyword strategy you are using to drive more traffic and sales. You are doing content gap analysis, stealing your competitors’ keywords, creating more content on long-tail keywords, or optimizing your blog post with more trending keywords. 

Also, Read how to find the best keyword for SEO

2 thoughts on “Keyword Research- How to do it: A Step by Step Guide [2023]”

  1. Interesting and amazing….Liked the Sticky Notes, highligilting the facts which Makes it different from other Articles available on Google for same topic…

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