The Basics of Keyword Research for SEO

Charlotte Baker


Published on 9th January 2023


Keyword research is a step often overlooked by most SEO specialists and marketers alike. Many either disregard it as ineffective or are unaware of its benefits and jump straight into content creation. 

BUT if you don’t know what your target audience is searching for, how are you going to create engaging content for them to enjoy?

This is why keyword research is important for content creation and in turn SEO.

Let’s start with the basics:

What is a keyword?

A keyword refers to a word or phrase that users of the Internet type into search engines to retrieve information and data. So now you’re wondering; How are keywords related to SEO? Keywords are the ‘clues’ that lead users to your website. Thus, using relevant keywords to rank your website for certain topics relevant to your business is important as it allows users to easily find you. 

SEO involves inserting a number of focus keywords into website content for search engines to detect and rank. Therefore, keywords should determine what content you create, where it should be published, how much of it should be produced and when it should be produced. 

Steps to conduct SEO

1. Create goals

Begin by formulating detailed goals for your business. Below are some questions you should think about;

The answers to these questions will help you organise a list of relevant keywords and prevent you from targeting vanity keywords that do not suit your business. 

2. Make a list of industry topics

List down general topics and services related to your industry. Take a holistic approach and envision an umbrella under which you can encapsulate topics. For instance, you’re a digital product agency, you’re list would look something like this;

3. Brainstorm keywords

It’s now time to shift your point of view towards your customer and brainstorm about keywords they’d potentially type into search engines when they want to find you. The key here is to identify keywords that match each topic under the umbrella you created previously. 

For example, if we take ‘marketing’ and brainstorm more keywords and phrases, the list would look like this; paid search advertising, social media, content marketing. 

4. Broaden your keywords

Expand your keyword list to include tagged questions. Another source to find related search terms is to use the ‘people also asked’ and ‘related searches’ section within SERPs.

These sections offer related search terms which users often search for in relation to your keyword. They’re commonly found in the form of informational and investigative questions. 

5. Use keyword research tools

Once you’ve brainstormed all of your keyword ideas and gone through the above steps, the next avenue would be to use keyword research tools. There are many to choose from such as AnswerThePublic, GoogleTrends, SEMRush, AlsoAsked. The way these tools work is that they generate a list of related keywords from a primary keyword entered by you.

6. Conduct competitor research

Finally, you must research your competition and the challenges you might run into. SEMRush is a great tool to analyse what keywords your competitors are ranking for, the difficulty of ranking for them, and if there’s a potential gap in your list. This will help you adapt your plan and decide on the final keywords.


If you’re still having trouble navigating world of SEO and keyword research we’d be more than happy to lead you onto the right path, get in touch with our digital marketing team here; [email protected]