How to do Keyword Research like a Pro: An Advanced Guide

37 minutes read
Keyword Research for SEO All Strategies Covered

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO that can improve your searchability for the terms which your target audience is searching for. Your keyword research strategy shouldn’t just revolve around picking keywords through competitor keyword research but go way beyond that, finding all the relevant keywords, performing keyword analysis and then finalize the keywords which can make your website highly searchable to your target audience.

As you read this guide further, you will get to learn some advanced keyword research strategies using different tools. Let’s start with understanding some basic terminologies and then move towards different keyword research techniques.

What are Keywords?

Keywords can be a word or phrase included in a piece of content to improve and optimize its searchability – with the goal of increasing traffic through the search engine results pages (SERPs).

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding the best and most relevant keywords to include in your content. Creating the right keyword plan with proper keyword research and placement is vital for improving the searchability of your content for the right audience.

Why is Keyword Research So Important in SEO?

Keyword research is essential for SEO because it helps you:

  • Find what people are searching for online and create content that matches their search intent
  • Understand the competitive landscape and identify opportunities to rank for keywords with lower competition
  • Discover long-tail keywords and question-based queries that can drive targeted traffic to your site
  • Optimize your website and content with the right keywords to improve search rankings and visibility
  • Attract more qualified leads and improve your website’s conversion rate

By conducting thorough keyword research, you can identify the most relevant, high-volume, and low-competition keywords to target in your SEO strategy.

This allows you to create content that resonates with your target audience and ranks higher in search results, ultimately driving more traffic and sales to your business.

Keyword research is an ongoing process that should be integrated into all aspects of your digital marketing efforts, from content creation to website optimization and beyond.

By staying on top of the latest keyword trends and continuously refining your keyword strategy, you can maintain a competitive edge in your industry and achieve long-term success with SEO.

Terminologies related to Keyword Research

Let’s go over some basic terminologies you will come across while doing keyword research.

  1. Keyword Search Volume

    The total number of times a keyword is searched in a specific period of time. In most cases, this will be measured monthly.

  2. Keyword Density

    The total number of times you use a keyword in your content. This used to be a big keyword ranking factor in previous years but doesn’t hold monumental importance these days.

  3. Keyword Competition

    The amount of content people produces that targets a particular keyword is known as the keyword competition.

  4. Keyword Difficulty

    This is an estimated rating that helps you understand how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword. Different SEO tools display it in different ways.

  5. Focus Keyword (Main Keyword)

    The focus keyword is the main keyword you want to target on your page. The key to rank your content for the focus keyword is to ensure that your content justifies and covers all the important points related to it.

  6. Keyword Gap

    Keyword gap is the difference in between your keywords and your competitors’ keywords. Keyword gap analysis is one of the most important parts of competitors’ keyword research. If you are looking to an advanced keyword research and analysis, putting together a keyword gap data is a must.

  7. Keyword Ranking

    The position for which your page is ranking on the SERPs for a certain keyword.

  8. Keyword Value (in CPC)

    Keyword value shows the potential of the traffic that comes through that keyword. It is measured in CPC (Cost-Per-Click). The value can certainly differ (at times to a large extent) from tool to tool.

  9. Question Keywords

    You will hardly see this term being used – I use it to define the keywords that are in the form of questions. These keywords generally have the highest potential and clearest intent – as the users are looking for very specific answers when they search for these keywords. How to search for them and use them in your content is discussed in the latter part of this guide.

  10. Longtail Keywords

    While there is no standard word count, we consider that keywords four or more words long can be considered as longtail keywords. Though the search volume for these keywords is usually pretty low, they are VERY specific. In turn, the potential they have for conversions and attracting highly relevant traffic is way greater than shorter, general keywords with large search volumes.

  11. User Intent for a Keyword

    In simple words, user intent for a keyword is what a user expects to see in the search results when they search for that keyword.

  12. Keyword Stuffing

    The practice of overusing a keyword in an unnatural way throughout a piece of content is known as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing used to work in the early days of SEO, but that all changed after a series of major Google Algorithm Updates. These days, your content can be penalized for keyword stuffing. Here is what Google considers as keyword stuffing.

Key Factors to Look for While Performing Keyword Research

Apart from following the keyword research best practices, we also need to look for various factors to make sure that the keywords which you search for SEO are effective. Here are the factors which you should look for.

  1. Check the Keyword Search Volume

    Search volume is the total number of searches users make for a keyword in the specified time. The greater the search volume, the more potential it has to generate traffic to your content. Even though search volume is important, it should not be the only priority while doing keyword research for SEO.

  2. CPC Value of Keyword

    CPC (Cost-Per-Click) value determines the value and competition for a keyword to some extent. Keywords with high CPC value are generally tough to rank for. But, they can bring in highly relevant traffic with a good chance of conversions.

  3. Understand the User Intent of a keyword

    To understand the user intent for a keyword, you can make an assessment by simply doing a Google Search for that keyword. Check out the types of results you get and look for patterns in the search results. The type of results you get in SERP will help you in understanding the user intent for that keyword.

  4. Goals

    What do you want to achieve through your keyword search? Building traffic, generating leads, generating sales, etc. Your goal matters very much for the keyword research and analysis you conduct – the search intent of a user will need to match.

  5. Types of Pages

    The impact of a keyword differs from page-to-page. A keyword with purchase intent (“Buy___”, “___ pricing”) will not work well on an informational blog post and vice versa.

  6. Competitiveness in Industry

    What is the competition for a keyword in a certain industry? What are the types and quality levels of content competitors are producing around a specific keyword? How many competitors have high-quality content ranking for that keyword? All of these answers need to be in your keyword research report.

Now that  you know about the basics of the keyword research, it’s time to dive deeper and learn the entire keyword research process.

The keyword research tips provided below are highly effective and can easily be implemented even if you are new to the keyword research process.

I have used Ahrefs and SEMrush for most of the steps as those are the most popular tools used by SEOs. I have also written a separate post on How to do Keyword Research using SEMrush which will help you mastering SEMrush for keyword research.

1. Finding your Focus Keyword

The best way to do keyword research is to first define the focus keyword (or main keyword) for which you want to rank the page on your website. This will be your main keyword around which your entire keyword research process will revolve around.

How to choose a perfect Focus Keyword?

You will create your content around the focus keyword, which is what you ultimately aim to rank on. That said, it’s extremely important to choose the right focus keyword.

The first step is to check the practical chances of ranking for that keyword(s).

But how do you go about choosing the ‘right’ focus keyword?

a) Check the user intent for the keyword

When looking into keywords for website optimization, it is very important to know what information users are seeking when they enter a search query.

One of the biggest mistakes SEOs make is believing that a piece of content will rank for the desired keyword without understanding the actual user intent behind it.

To get a clear idea of what the user intent for a keyword is, simply enter that keyword into Google or any SEO tool and see what type of pages are ranking for it on the SERPs.

For example, a lot of companies that provide Android development services are likely to target only the keyword “Android Development” in their page title to rank their service page.

But when we look at some of the top results for the keyword ‘Android Development’, we can see that most of the pages are tutorials and educational pages.

search results for keyword android development

So, it wouldn’t be a wise decision to simply target ‘Android Development’ in the Page Title.

Now, let’s add a clearer intent in the keyword and see the difference.

I will now search for the keyword ‘Android Development Company’.

Here is what we see.

searching android development company keyword in ahrefs

We can clearly see that the number of service pages for companies that provide Android Development services is a bit more than when we searched for only ‘Android Development’.

Now let’s change the search intent a bit more and see what difference it makes.

This is one of the most common mistakes we see a lot of service providers make.

They go a step further in targeting a keyword and add terms like ‘best’ and ‘top’ ahead of their focus keyword.

For example, let’s take a look at the keyword ‘Best Android Development Company’.

Ahrefs search results for best android development company

As seen, the result is a lot of links that contain lists of Android Development Companies – which aren’t directly beneficial to the service pages of individual companies.

So, what do we understand about Google Search and Search Intent?

Google will never/hardly ever show a specific company page for a search in a specific category when people are including the word ‘best’ or ‘top’ in those searches.

Also, based on the common understanding, how would you know that something is best in its category until you have checked out multiple options?

Generally speaking, Google does a lot to be unbiased with vendors. For this reason, Google shows listing pages for search queries starting with ‘Best’ as it wants to give users multiple options and let them decide for themselves.

When you choose your focus keyword, be very sure you are choosing the right keyword that can show up in search results per the intent.

b) Check the traffic-generating potential of your focus keyword

This is an essential process if your goal is to generate high numbers of organic traffic from your focus keyword.

Say I want to consider ‘Best Tire Brands’ as my focus keyword which has a very good search volume.

I’ll use the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and check for the top results for this keyword.

best tire brands traffic potential based on data in ahrefs tool

In this case, we can see that the approx. traffic generated is fair/evenly distributed throughout the top 10 positions.

Let’s take another example.

This time for the keyword ‘Content Distribution’.

checking traffic potential of keyword content distribution based on data from ahrefs tool

We can see that only the top-ranking content and a few more pages receive a significant amount of traffic – whereas the traffic drastically reduces for the other pages.

Now, the content you publish around a focus keyword like this won’t reach the first page in SERP straightway. You shouldn’t expect to generate high organic traffic immediately.

Even though this is not a highly accurate method, I still use it just to be sure that I am choosing the right keyword.

c) Check the Organic Click Rate

Again, if you are aiming to generate organic traffic, it is important to know how many users are clicking on the pages in the organic search results for your focus keyword.

Let’s use the ‘best tire brands’ keyword example again – using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.

best tire brands keyword overview in ahrefs

Besides other metrics, you can see that it shows the overall percentage for the number of people who clicked and did not click on pages shown in the search results.

From there, it again bifurcates the results into the percentage of people who clicked on pages shown in organic search results and those who clicked on pages shown in the paid results.

Looking at the the percentage of ‘organic clicks only’, it is clear that a lot of people are clicking on the organic search results for this keyword.

Now let’s look at a keyword which has less of informational intent and more of a purchase intent.

Here’s an example using the keyword ‘hair dryer’.

keyword overview for hair dryer in ahrefs keyword explorer

We can see that the ‘organic clicks only’ percentage is very less when compared to the ‘best tire brands’ keywords. This is for an obvious reason that this a purchase intent keyword and Google will obviously show more ads for it, prompting more paid clicks.

d) Check the Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty can give you a glimpse into how much effort might be required to get your content ranked for your focus keyword. The efforts can be anything from creating a high-quality piece to building good, relevant links.

Different tools display keyword difficulty in their own ways. Let’s see how two of the big SEO tools show it.

1. Ahrefs

Ahrefs shows the keyword difficulty score based on the number of links that might be required to build for the content to rank it in the top 10 results of SERPs.

keyword difficulty of keyword content marketing strategy in ahrefs

2. SEMrush

SEMrush has a Keyword Difficulty Tool in which it provides the keyword difficulty score in a percentage (%).

keyword difficulty of keyword content marketing strategy as per semrush tool

Here is what SEMrush says about how it calculates the keyword difficulty score. SEMrush updated how they calculate keyword difficulty in May 2021.

explanation about how semrush calculates keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty varies from tool-to-tool and there’s no exact score for it.

The keyword difficulty score shown in different tools also needs to be taken with a grain of salt – as it’s possible to rank for a difficult keyword with the content alone and with minimal or no link building efforts compared to what is shown in the tools.

And that’s how you do an advanced keyword research to choose the right focus keyword.

Let’s move on to the next step.

2. Competitor Keyword Research and Analysis

Competitor keyword research and analysis is important to make sure that you haven’t left out any keywords relevant to your content for which your competitors are ranking.

a. Keyword Gap Analysis

In simple terms, keywords gap is the difference in between keywords and your competitors’ keywords.

The first step while performing competitor keyword research should always be to identify the keywords for which your competitors are performing better than you.

Keyword Gap in SEMrush is a very handy tool to search for competitors’ keywords.

  • Go to Keyword Gap.
  • Add your website URL in the first search box.
  • Add your competitors’ URLs in the subsequent search boxes.

Here are the screenshots to help you with the steps shared above.

semrush keyword gap toolkeyword gap tool dashboard

Your main focus here should be the keywords under ‘Missing’, ‘Weak’ and ‘Untapped’.

Missing: These are the keywords on which your competitor is ranking, but you are not ranking on any position.
Weak: These are the keywords for which your rankings are lower than your competitor.
Untapped: These are the keywords for which you are not ranking, but one of your competitors is.

b. Getting List of All Competitor’s Keywords

You can also straightaway get the competitor’s keyword research list by simply putting the competitor’s URL in the tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs.

Here’s how you can do it with SEMrush

  • In the search box enter the URL of the domain (don’t click on search).
  • Select ‘Organic Research’ from the drop down list on the left of search box.
  • Click on ‘View All Organic Keywords’ which will take you to the list of all the keywords that competitor’s URL is ranking for.

Here are the screenshots to help you with the steps above.

searching organic keywords for your own website

get the list of competitor's organic keywordsexport the list of all organic keywords

Here’s how you can do it with Ahrefs

  • Enter the URL in the Ahrefs search box.
  • Click on ‘Organic Keywords’.
  • This will take you to the list of all the keywords which the URL is ranking for.

Here are the screenshots to help you with the steps above.

Enter the URL in the Ahrefs search box

Competitor Keyword Research Using Ahrefs

Click on 'Organic Keywords'

While working in unfamiliar niches, it’s common to run into struggles when searching for the right keywords. In such a scenario, doing competitor research can be the best option to see what similar businesses are ranking for – and choose the right keywords accordingly.

Let’s consider two scenarios.

1. Searching for a popular keyword in a known area

You can use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or any other SEO tool of your choice to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Now, competitor keyword research and analysis is NOT about simply taking the highest search volume keywords your competitors are ranking for.

There are certain points that need to be followed.

  • Check the relevancy of the keywords.
  • Check what position the competitor is ranking for the particular keyword.
  • Check the type of content the competitor is ranking for around the keyword.
  • Check the backlinks and anchor texts that the competitor has created to boost the ranking for their content around the keyword.

2. You are not familiar with the niche and target audience

Often times, you have to perform keyword research for a client in an industry of which you have no/ very little knowledge of.

As such, it becomes extremely difficult to estimate the search queries used by the target audience.

In this scenario, the first step is to ask the client about the main keyword related to their product/ service. Or, try to understand the possible ways people search for products/services in this niche.

You can then enter those queries one-by-one into a Google Search and create a list of the links you see in the top 10 results.

Then, individually enter those links into your chosen SEO tool.

Now that we know which competitors’ keywords we want to target, it’s time to advance to searching relevant keywords around our Focus Keyword.

3. Search for Relevant Related Keywords

As stated earlier that the entire keyword research strategy revolves around the focus keyword, let us see how we can search for most relevant keywords which can then be used to optimize the content of a page and improve its searchability.

In SEMrush, you can use the Keyword Magic Tool for this purpose.

Just add your focus keyword to the Keyword Magic Tool and it will display all the relevant keywords around it. You can use the ‘Broad Match’, ‘Phrase Match’, and ‘Exact Match’ options to further refine your keywords.

finding keywords using semrush keyword magic tool
One of the best part about using SEMrush is that it shows you the closely related keywords (keywords containing main keyword along with an important term) as groups which makes it very easy to search for relevant keywords from the long list of keywords.

group of keywords in semrush keyword magic tool

From the above screenshot if you are looking for keywords for your service page, you can click on ‘service’ group and get all the keywords specifically around IT Support Service.

To do an advanced keyword research around your focus keyword in Ahrefs, first enter your keyword in Keyword Explorer. Now you can click on any of the desired options under ‘Keyword Ideas’.

searching related keywords in ahrefs

When you click on any of the options under ‘keyword ideas’, you can see all the keywords around your main keyword from which you can choose the ones which are more relevant to you. Ahrefs has also introduced the grouping of keywords as seen in the screenshot below. Apart from this, there are also various filters available on the top of keywords which you can use to further filter the keywords by different conditions like search volume, word count, include, exclude, etc.

advanced keyword research using ahrefs

4. Perform Keyword Research for Long Tail Keywords

Longtail keywords are the key to conversions.

This is for the simple reason that – the longer the keyword, the more specific it is. In other words, the user intent is much stronger.

If someone searches for a longtail keyword, finds your site in the SERPs and arrives on it, the chances of a conversion are high – if your landing page has the information that the user is looking for.

Now, to address the main question – How do you find the best and most relevant longtail keywords?

Here’s how you can find longtail keywords using SEMrush.

  • Enter your keyword in the Keyword Magic Tool.
  • Click on ‘Advanced Filters’and go to the option ‘word count’.
  • Enter the length range of the long-tail keywords you want to see.

Perform Keyword Research for Long Tail Keywords Using Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

While there are many tools available to search for longtail keywords, I would recommend that you put in some critical thinking and manual efforts to find the right search terms.

Here are some other tools to help you find relevant longtail keywords.

Here’s a resource from Yoast if you want to go into details of understanding longtail keywords.

5. Look for Question Keywords

Question keywords are search queries in the form of questions around your focus keyword and the main topic that you are covering(s). If you want to go beyond regular keyword research and do an advanced keyword research, you must look for relevant question keywords.

Based on human behavior and the rise of voice search, question queries are becoming much more common.

Here’s how you can search for question keywords:

a. Google Search’s People Also Ask

The first thing you can do (that does not require any tool) is refer to the questions related to your search term in “People Also Ask” on the Google Search Results.

People Also Ask on Google SERP

Not all the questions in this section will be ideal as the question keywords for your purposes. Choose only the relevant ones.

b. Use SEO tools

SEMrush Keyword Magic tool is one of the best tools (my personal opinion) in searching for question keywords.

It doesn’t just allow you to find the relevant question keywords at the click of a button, it allows you to filter keywords based on your ‘focus keyword + question keywords’ with specific terms in it.

searching question keywords from semrush tool

You can also use SEMrush to find the question keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

Follow the steps below:

  • Enter your competitor’s URL into the SEMrush tool.
  • In the ‘Top Organic Keywords’ section and click on ‘View All Organic Keywords’.
  • Go to ‘Advance Filters’
  • Keep the filters as ‘Include’ + ‘Keyword’ + ‘Begins With’.
  • Now you can try out different words like ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘are’, etc. in the ‘Begins With’ filter. searching competitors question keywords from semrushSemrush for competitors question keywords

This will display all the keywords that begin with those words.

You can repeat this process for the 6-7 top competing pages on the SERPs to ensure that you aren’t missing out on any important question keywords from your competitors.

If you are using Ahrefs, there is a super straightforward option in their Keyword Explorer that shows question keywords.

Under “Questions” you can click on the ‘View All’ to see all relevant question keywords.

question keywords in ahrefs tool

From here, you can filter out the best keywords using the filters provided.

applying filters to to question keywords

AnswerThePublic is also one of the most popular free keyword research tools for searching question keywords. It displays a wide range of questions that users are searching for related to your keyword.

Question Keywords in Answer The Public Tool

Keep three things in mind while searching for the best question keywords.

  • CPC Value of the keyword
  • Relevancy of Keyword
  • Position of the Competitor for that Keyword

Question keywords should not be used like any other keywords in the content (simply placing them). Understand that people are searching for that keyword because they are looking for answers – not just to find that question keyword in the content.

How to use question keywords in your content?

The right way to use question keywords is to select the ones that are most relevant to you. From here, place “to-the-point” answers to these questions – don’t just write out the exact keyword in the content.

Google will understand if your content has a good answer to a question – which can significantly increase its searchability when a user searches for that question.

You can also use questions in subtitles with H2 or H3 tags, then write the answer to it in the paragraph below.

Whatever the case is, make sure you write an accurate and to the point answer for the question keyword – not just place the question in the content and hope you rank for it.

6. Searching  Trending Keywords

If you’re wondering how to find keywords to achieve quick rankings, targeting trending SEO search terms can be the shot in the arm to provide an extra boost to your content – something the currently-ranking posts might be missing.

Google tends to place more value on content with the latest information about the topic being covered.

The best tools for finding trending keywords are Google Trends (which I will discuss in the next section of this guide) and BuzzSumo.

For BuzzSumo, you can click on “Trending” on the top of the dashboard and create your own Feed with your desired keywords in it. This will display all the top trending posts related to your keyword(s).

The topic for which posts are trending can be used as a keyword in your content.

Use Buzzsumo to search Trending Keywords

You can also use the Web Content Analyzer. This shows the best-performing content based on total engagements. You have an option to filter these results by Time.

I searched for the term “Google search algorithm” and set the time to 1 week.

As you can see, the top-performing posts around the Google search algorithm are currently on the topic of BERT.

This means that if I write a post around the topic of “Google search algorithm” and include details about the BERT update, I can improve the chances of ranking my content.

Buzzsumo for Trending Keywords web content

7. Perform Keyword Research for Sub-Topics

I usually take keyword research and analysis more in-depth to ensure that all keywords are highly relevant. For this, I like to go a step further and do keyword research for not just the main topic, but also for the individual sub-topics.

This may be more time-consuming, but it’s completely worth it. You don’t just get the keywords; you’ll better understand what all needs to be covered in the sub-topics based on the keywords which you get.

8. Beyond SEO Tools – Other Places to Search for Relevant Keywords

Apart from greeting keywords directly from the SEO tools, there are other places too from where you can get some highly relevant keywords.

1. Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘Searches related to’ Section

You can use some of the suggestions provided in this section. Just make sure they are relevant to your focus keyword.

Keyword analysis through the “People Also Ask” and “Searches related to” section should not be limited to just the focus keyword. You can do it for other related keywords and topics as well.

People also ask in Google

Searches related to keyword research in Google

2. Google Trends

Using Google Trends is again an advanced keyword research strategy which many SEO’s don’t use to its full potential.

If you’re wondering how to use Google Trends for keyword research, the main beauty of this tool is it can help you understand how popular a keyword is over a certain duration of time and for what location.

Google Trends

This is especially helpful if you want to write content about a topic that is currently trending. Additionally, choosing a specific time range can help you better understand the seasonal trend of a keyword.

You can even compare the trends of the two keywords.

Here’s a detailed guide on how you can use Google Trends for keyword research.

3. Quora

As per the Ahrefs report published in June 2019, Quora is one of the top 50 websites in terms of the total number of website visitors.

While you can use Quora for Keyword research in several ways, one of the most efficient uses can be to get a better understanding of what exactly people want to know about a certain topic.

Start by entering a topic you would like to learn about in the search box.

From the filters on the left side of the page, select “Questions”.

This will display all the top questions related to that topic.

For example, here’s what we saw when I searched the topic Google BERT algorithm update.

searching question keywords from quora

These questions help to better understand the search intent around the topic. These can be used as Question Keywords – as discussed earlier.

4. Brand and Social Media Mention tools

Brand mention or social listening tools can be a huge help in finding the most relevant keywords – of which you might not have found otherwise.

Let me give you an example.

Suppose you are selling a newly launched phone on your website and looking to optimize the content on the page.

Apart from all the other keyword research and analysis techniques, what is something unique you can do?

You can use a social listening tool to understand what people are discussing on the internet about that product.

Try to understand what the major queries are surrounding the product. There may be a high number of queries for a specific feature or a concern which a large chunk of the audience has.

Here’s a small example.

I have used the Brand24 tool for the purpose.

Using brand mention tools for keyword research

In the above example, I have shared the screenshot of the discussions around the newly launched phone Redmi Note 8T.

I saw a lot of discussions happening around a question on Quora about the comparison in between Redmi Note 8T and Redmi K30. It can also be seen that the sentiment around the discussions is positive.

So you can consider a ‘Redmi Note 8T vs Redmi K30’ as a keyword for Redmi Note 8T. You can either show the comparisons on your product page or create a separate blog post around the topic.

You can answer this query in the product description to make the content more searchable.

5. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is an absolute gold mine of keywords which are important but you might not have targeted on your page.

These are the actual search queries for which your page is getting impressions somewhere in the search results.

There might be search queries for which the SEO tools may show very less search volume or no data at all but if you see that a highly relevant search query is generating a lot of impressions, it clearly means that there are a lot of users who are searching that query in search engines and that you can optimize your page around it.

Here’s how you can find these search queries in search console.

  • Open Google Search Console.
  • Go to ‘Search Results’ and click on ‘Query’.

finding search queries from google search console

You can see a list of search queries which users are searching and your website is generating impressions and clicks for.

Note: You can also search for search queries for a specific page.

You can also view these search queries in your Google Analytics once you link your Google Search Console with your Google Analytics account.

In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition -> Search Console -> Queries.

viewing google search console data in google analytics

6. Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a highly efficient tool for Google Ads campaigns. But, it can also be used for general keyword research to some extent.

What I really find useful is the ‘Keyword Idea’ option. This provides details about search volume trends – with a further grouping of Desktop and Mobile.

You can break down the results even further based on Platforms and Location.

Relevance Keyword from Google Keyword Planner

If you are searching for keywords for your Google Ads, here are some of the best tips from Google.

9. Keyword Placement

It’s not just about choosing and incorporating keywords on a website; it’s also about how you place them in the content.

Some of the main parts of the page where focus keyword placement plays a major role include:

  • Page Title
  • URL
  • The first paragraph of your content.
  • Sub Headings

The focus keyword (or the main keyword) creates the maximum impact on the content ranking when placed in the Page Title and URL.

Besides using the main keyword, try to include 1-2 of the most important long-tail keywords in the first paragraph.

With the BERT Algorithm Update, Google now understands natural language much more accurately. That said, make sure that you include the keywords naturally – don’t just cram them in for the sake of keyword usage.

The way you place keywords should also go with the flow of the content and in the right context. It is very easy for Google to understand if the keyword is naturally placed or forcefully included.

10. Additional Keyword Research Tips for Different Types of Website Pages

Besides the keyword research strategies shared above, here are some additional tips which you can use while performing keyword research for different types of pages.

1. Keyword Research for the Homepage

In regards to using keywords for website optimization, the homepage is one of the trickiest pages to rank for SEO search terms. This is because it’s tough to decide on just one focus keyword when you sell multiple services/products.

If you are a website that sells multiple types of products/services, the keywords for your individual services/products might have decent search volumes, but the main theme they fall under might not have a good search volume – or it might have insanely high competition.

Whatever the case, make sure that the keyword plan revolves around the main theme of your website – and don’t deviate too far from it.

For well-known brands, it can be easy to rank for popular keywords. But as a small brand, it will probably be extremely difficult to rank for the exact keywords targeted by top players in your industry.

Try something different.

One small loophole (not exactly a loophole, more of an opportunity) is that big brands will in most cases use their brand name in the page title. Some may use only the brand name while others may use the ‘Brand Name + Main Theme’ as the keyword in their homepage’s page title.

This will devoid them of a few characters. These characters are your opportunity to target small but important keywords. Possibly one of your USPs.

Let me give you an example.

If you search for the keyword ‘Custom Wristbands’, you get the site Rapid Wristsbands – a big site for customized wristbands ranking on the first page.

Page Title: Custom Wristbands |

google search results for the keyword custom wristbands

When we search for the keyword ‘custom wristband free delivery’ we see the site – ranking on the first page just below Rapid Wristbands website.

Page Title: Custom Wristbands – Personalize Wristbands Online – Free Shipping!

google search results for the keyword custom wristbands free delivery

Rapid Wristbands is a very large website for custom wristbands – in comparison to WristbandBros.

As you can see, WristbandBros have not used their brand name in the page title of their homepage. So, they have the flexibility to target more keywords like ‘Personalize Wristbands Online’ and ‘Free Shipping’ to broaden the scope of their target audience. In this example, the audience is people looking for ‘free shipping’.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right keywords for the page title of the homepage.

  • Make sure you have your main theme as a keyword in the homepage’s page title.
  • If you are a well-known brand, you can still use the main theme as a keyword along with the brand name – as you wouldn’t want to lose out on that chunk of the audience.
  • For smaller brands, you can avoid using the brand name if you wish – and instead include more keywords that target other audience segments. These keywords can be your USP or any specific customer interests/concerns regarding your main theme.
  • You can even try using longtail keywords in the homepage’s page title.

If there are keywords that you think are of high priority – but you missed using them in the Page Title – you can use it in the other parts of the page.

Let’s say you have covered the keyword ‘free delivery’ in your page title. But, you also provide a discount on your products or are providing any type of customization.

With this in mind, “discount” and keywords related to ‘customization’ are the keywords that should be covered in your homepage content.

‘Main Theme + Key User Concerns for the Theme’ is the best way to target keywords on the homepage.

In a nutshell, it’s not about targeting the best. It’s about targeting what can get the best.

2. Keyword Research for Service Pages

If you are any kind of service provider, the page of most importance (next to the homepage) will be your service pages. These are the key gateways to your website.

Before starting keyword research for a service page, it is important to understand the general intent of a user who lands on it.

Service pages are not like an informative blog post – of which you can rank for regular informative keywords. As far as keywords for a service page is concerned, concentrate more on the keywords that a user might search while looking for a service which you provide.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to analyze all key aspects from their point of view in relation to this service.

Suppose you are providing Android Development services and have a landing page for it on your website your target audience will be those who are looking for ‘android development service providers’ and not informational stuff on ‘android development’.

Some of the probable keywords you should be targeting are:

– android development company
– android development service
– building android apps
– android technologies
– android app maintenance
– android developers
– professional
– dedicated android developer
– hire android developer
– price
– rates
– development process
– custom android app development
– android app design
– support
– case study
– android development cost

When you use these keywords with proper information around them, it gives Google an idea that you have everything on your page – of which someone looking for Android Development services might want to see.

You can also add these keyword one after other in different combinations in the SEO tools and see which keywords work best.

Google always says that it ranks the page that provides the best solution to the user search query.

While there are a lot of other factors that go into the keyword ranking of a service page, the presence of the right keywords on the page gives Google a signal that you have tried to address key aspects of a user query – which Google will take into consideration.

One of the most effective ways to search for keywords for service pages is to involve your sales team.

Ask them about the most frequently asked questions they get from customers. You can use these as “Question Keywords” and try to address them in the best possible way on your service page.

Creating an FAQ section might help in covering some important question keywords and longtail keywords.

3. Keyword Research for Category Pages of an E-commerce Website

The importance of category pages is that they are likely to be the landing pages for a lot of users looking to make a purchase online. This is because every individual product ultimately falls into a particular category and users might be looking for exploring options in a category.

The trickiest thing about category pages is that they typically have small amounts of content – the scope of using more keywords is very minimal.

This creates the challenge to choose keywords with utmost precision.

Due to the lack of content, the places you are most likely to place keywords are Page Title, URL, H1, and H2 tags.

Category pages also give you flexibility in a way that people tend to search for categories in different ways.

Suppose you are targeting a popular category like Men Shoes. Instead of mentioning just Men’s shoes, follow it with different types of shoes you have for men.

Example: Men Shoes | Canvas, Sneakers, Loafers, Running

This gives customers (and search engines) a clear idea of the types of Men shoes you sell.

There are different ways to choose keywords for category pages.

Here is an example of what we see when we search the query: ‘Leather jackets for men’.

google search results displaying how different brands target different keywords in page title

  • You can use purchase intent keywords like ‘Buy’ or ‘Shop’ or your USP like ‘Free Shipping’.
  • You can also use other names by which a user can search for the same item in a different way.

4. Keyword Research for E-commerce Product Pages

All the SEO efforts for an e-commerce website ultimately comes down to sales and conversions.

If you run an e-commerce website, you would want most of the audience that arrives on your platform to have a strong purchase intent.

The reason for targeting purchase intent keywords on product pages is because there might be informational pages (like reviews or specifications) ranking on the first page if a user searches by product name alone. In this case, users may search for queries with purchase intent keywords in it.

Here are some of the results on the first page of Google when I search for “Samsung a70”.

google search results showing what happens when we search for a product name

As seen, the majority of the ranking of the pages are that of the specifications of the phone – not product pages from where you can buy them.

Adding purchase intent-focused keywords like ‘buy’, ‘shop’, ‘purchase’, ‘price’, ‘sale’ and ‘discount’, can help in targeting users who are actually looking to buy the product.

But it is not just the purchase intent keywords that will ensure the searchability of your product pages on the SERPs.

Keywords of a product should be a combination of purchase intent keywords + informational keywords.

Even the FAQs’ of the product can act as question keywords for product pages. If someone is looking for specific information about the product, chances are that they are potential buyers doing product research before buying.

5. Keyword Research for Blog Posts

Blogs are mainly for informational purposes. They are the best places to target a wide range of audiences and generate organic traffic.

Each and every process explained in this keyword research guide can be applicable for keyword research for blog posts.

Concentrate mainly on the keywords with informational intent – longtail keywords and question keywords.

Including the keywords that describe what your blog post is about is one of the blog optimization tips provided by Google in their Help Center.

Now that we have learned a lot about different ways in which you can search the best keywords, let us have a look at what are the different keyword research tools available right now.

11. Keyword Research Tools [Updated 2024]

Here are some of the popular keyword research tools used by SEO professionals.

  1. Ahrefs
  2. SEMrush
  3. Moz
  4. UberSuggest
  5. Google Trends
  6. Keywords Everywhere
  7. Spyfu
  8. Secockpit
  9. Kwfinder
  10. Soolve
  13. Serpstat
  14. Infinite Suggest
  15. SEO Scout
  16. Wordstream Keyword Tool
  17. Wordtracker
  18. Sistrix
  19. Longtailpro
  20. Keywordkeg
  21. AnswerThePublic
  22. Keyword Surfer
  23. AlsoAsked

If you ask me which keyword research tool is best, I would say that the best keyword research tool is the one that gives you the most accurate and relevant keywords. As such it will be wrong to say that a specific tool is the best for keyword research. You can try multiple tools and use the one which you feel is user-friendly and provides you with the best result.


There are many different ways you can do effective keyword research. The keyword research strategies in this guide are the ones I have found the most success with.

  • Taral Patel is SEO Manager and Content Strategist at E2M who specializes in the content ranking and building organic traffic. His advanced keyword research and content strategies have helped brands to boost their organic traffic, conversions and reach the right target audience. He also co-hosts the company's podcast, Marketing Microscope where we invite industry thought leaders and influencers to share their insight with our audience.