What is Keyword Research?

During the keyword research, you find out the popular terms that users enter a search engine. They use these ‘keywords’ to find either information or buy products or services. Keyword research will help you to:

  • Understand your target audience
  • Know how they use language
  • Find out what interests them
  • Create content they want
  • Get ideas to create further content on
Keyword Research Process

Keyword research begins with the selection of a topic. Each topic will have many key phrases associated with it. Finding the first sets you on a path to finding the rest of the SEO. You can call this primary keyword a 'seed.' For example, if you sell bicycles, your seed words are 'bicycles' and 'bikes.'


Find out who your competitors in the field are. Enter the seed word into the search engine and see who shows up on the first SERP.
If you find sites like yours, copy their URLs and paste them onto a competitive intelligence tool. These tools will analyze the websites and display their top-performing keywords. This will give you a start.

Keyword Tools

Now, feed your seed words into a keyword research tool. It will then display scores of suggestions for you to select from. Choose those keywords that have potential but are unpicked by your competitors. Optimize content for these key phrases to get a foothold in the niche.
Tip : Don't try to rank for seed words. They are competitive keywords that won't give you traffic even if you sink your entire budget in them.

12 Common Keyword Research Mistakes People Often Do In SEO

1. Making a Beeline for Competitive Keywords

Do not fall for highly competitive keywords or headwords when you are a newbie in your niche. Instead, find out popular long-tail keywords in your field. This will increase the chances of your content appearing on search engine result pages (SERPs).
For example, if you want to sell greeting cards, don't try to rank for the headword 'greeting card'. The bigwigs in the industry have already claimed the top slots for this keyword.
Instead, focus on 'hand-made greeting cards.' Such long-tail keywords, which are more specific, increase your visibility.
Once you make a name for yourself in your niche, you can start focusing on competitive headwords. This way, you begin modestly but work your way up on the SERPs over some time.

2. Disregarding Search Intent

It is the search intent that your content should fulfill. Keywords are just their textual manifestations. Many a time, however, people disregard the search intent and focus solely on keywords. This way, you end up choosing keywords related to the industry but unused by the audience. The result is traffic that doesn't convert and increases your bounce rate.
If you sell high-end mountain bicycles, don't pick keywords like 'affordable bicycles.' Though both keyphrases have 'bicycles' in them, their target audiences are completely different. So, before creating your content, start by asking yourself:

  • Who are your target audience?
  • What are their problems?
  • How will they word their problems?
  • How can you solve these problems?

3. Using Unknown Keywords

Often, people pick words that their target audience seldom uses in a search. Such keywords may be popular among those inside the industry but not in the general public.
For instance, suppose you sell USB flash drives. You thought optimizing your content for 'USB flash drive' will bring you traffic. But you didn't realize that most people search for the term 'pen drive.' And so, you missed a large chunk of organic traffic that you could have easily gotten.
Another common mistake is picking long-tail keywords that are too long and specific. Such keywords will not have any search volume, and your efforts will not pay off. A good long-tail keyword should not be more than five words long. Understanding your target audience is the antidote for all these issues.

4. Ignoring the Competition

Competition research should be an integral part of keyword research. Many, however, tend to forget that. It will help you discover keywords that you haven't thought of. Such keywords will get you a piece of your competitors' traffic pie. Many tools help you do this research frequently.
This research will also let you see how your competition is answering user queries. This will, in turn, give you an understanding of how search engines evaluate content.
Extra : Your offline and SERP competitors don't have to be the same parties. At times, you might encounter somebody whom you hadn't considered to be a competition.

5. Singular and Plural Keywords

If you are a seller, you will have many units of everything you sell. And you might pick keywords in their plural form -- pens, pen drives, greeting cards, and so on.
Most customers want only one unit of the product: pen, pen drive, greeting card. So, the key is only the singular form of the keyword, resulting in your website ranking low on the SERPs.
Yes, Google and other search engines are becoming grammar-savvy these days. But many eCommerce websites still encounter this problem. It results in a lower click-through rate and, thus, lower sales.
Tip: Optimize category pages with plural keywords and product pages with singular ones. If your offer is a service, then select singular keywords.

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6. Depending on Only One Keyword

This is a mistake widespread in article-intensive websites or web pages. Many think that an article can rank for only one keyword or phrase. That's incorrect.
Your article on 'Top infographic tools' can also rank for 'tools to boost traffic''. Such optimization will probably double or triple the visibility of your article. This will then bring you more traffic, more revenue, and more recognition.
Remember, people use different words to express the same search intent. The challenge is identifying these words and placing them meaningfully in the content. Be careful not to use irrelevant keywords.

7. Localized Keywords

Often, people shy away from picking keywords indicative of their location. The result is that they miss out on a huge amount of readily convertible traffic.
Local keywords encourage search engines to show you on localized searches. For example, suppose you own a motorcycle repair establishment in Portland. You might already have picked the keyword 'motorcycle mechanic'. But have you tried 'motorcycle mechanic Portland'?
Such keywords will help customers in Portland find your establishment. That's because Google, for searches from Portland, gives you priority. They will also help visitors to Portland discover you.
To find localized keywords, start by observing your competition. Check out how they are showing up on localized searches.

8. Keyword Research Is the Last Step

A keyword represents an idea or, sometimes, an entire topic. It is on this keyword that you should create your content. Nonetheless, people often just insert keywords into articles already written. This steals the article of its authenticity and relevance.
Practices such as keyword stuffing have no relevance these days. It’s no longer the quantity of the keywords that matter but the quality of the content.
So, do your research, find out the keywords that matter in your niche and create great copies on that keyword. This way, your users will have a seamless reading experience. When the user experience improves, Google will reward you by ranking you higher on SERPs.

Related : The Role of UX in Enterprise SEO

Related : Why Should Startups Businesses Focus on UX?

9. Obsession With Specificity

Long-tail keywords are good, especially when you are just starting your business. Nonetheless, it is all too easy for people to get carried away by specificity.
For example, suppose you have an online store with hundreds of pages. You think of the endless ways users might string together words to express search intent. This thought might tempt you to select most of these word combinations.
In reality, however, such esoteric long-tail keywords will have little search volume. This results in the loss of your resources.
Instead, lock on to keywords having both search intent and search volume. Remember, it's not the quantity of the keywords that matter, but their quality.

10. Depending on Website Structure

Many do their keyword research based on the website structure -- the pages and sections. The problem with this approach is that you might miss many keywords that can drive a ton of traffic!
For example, suppose you have a blog for horror stories and psychological thrillers. You have a dedicated page for each genre. You normally find keywords relevant to these genres and create content for them. But, you never think of keywords relevant to 'crime,' a genre closely related to what you already have.
The result?
Users searching for crime stories never find you.
If you want to grow, then stop basing your keyword research on existing site structure. It's okay to restructure your site for content on keywords that drives traffic.

11. Losing the Human Touch

SEO tools are great. None claims they aren't. Nonetheless, you should not depend only on them for your keyword research. If you have access to salespeople, talk to them. Such people know the customer through and through. They know their issues and questions.
Talking to salespeople will let you create great content as well. You can take advice from them on creating content that best answers customer queries.
You can also use Quora and the Q&A sections of ecommerce-product pages to shore up your keyword research. People regularly post questions on these platforms. Keeping an eye on them will help you come up with great keywords.

12. Ignoring Keyword Review

Markets and search intent evolve. If you don't update your keyword list accordingly, you will lose your gains. A yearly keyword review is desirable in most markets. During a keyword review, you will be able:

  • Remove keywords that don't perform.
  • Discover new opportunities
  • Plan your future strategy
Don't forget the SERPs

When you discover new keywords, enter them into search engines to see what they show in response. SERPs can give you great insights into how search engines treat those keywords. You will get to know:

  • What type of content Google shows
  • Search intent behind the keyword
  • About drafting meta descriptions

Best Keyword Research Tools

1. AnswerThePublic

If you are a newbie to SEO, then this tool is a great start. You don't even have to open an account to search for keywords. Just feed your seed words, and you'll get suggestions in an infographic-style format.
AnswerThePublic pulls these key phrases from the autosuggestions of major search engines. All the keywords can open into another tap if you click on them, making keyword selection easier. You, however, will need their pro version if you want more features.

2. SEMrush

The best thing about SEMrush is that it will display those keywords that your competitors are cashing in on. It will also give you a comprehensive view of each keyword you feed into it. This includes their popularity and growth potential.
Plans come in four categories -- Pro, Guru, Business, and Enterprise. The cheapest among them is Pro, which starts at $83 a month. You can try the tool out with a 7-day trial subscription.

3. Ahref's Keyword Explorer

Ahref is a popular platform among link builders. But, its Keyword Explorer is making heads turn these days.
The Keyword Explorer paints a clear picture of keyword difficulty. That is, it will show you how many backlinks you should obtain to land a slot on Google's first SERP.
It has four plans. The base plan starts at $82 a month, provided you go for the annual subscription. The trial subscription for seven days costs $7.

4. Google Trends

Google Trends shows the popularity of a keyword over a period of time. It is a great tool to plan your content calendar.
You can use this tool to find out which of the two related keywords will get you traffic. You can also use it to discover keywords just picking up in popularity. Notably, it has a facility that shows the trend of a given keyword on YouTube. Thus, Google Trends helps you allocate your resources more efficiently.

5. Moz Keyword Explorer

This tool gives you keyword suggestions that you can't get from anywhere else. It also has two extra features:
Organic CTR : This indicates how many clicks you can get if you appear on the keyword's first SERP.
Priority : This is the total of all the scores of a keyword. It considers the CTR score, keyword difficulty, and search volume.
This is not a standalone tool; you will have to buy Moz’s 'medium' plan to get it.

Keyword Research Mistakes in SEO FAQs

1. Do I have to buy a tool to do keyword research?

No. There are many tools like Google Trends and the free version of AnswerThePublic that you can use. Also, most paid tools have trial versions, some of which last for up to 30 days.

2. Can I do SEO without keyword research?

Doing keyword research will help you understand your customers. It will tell you what they are looking for. It will also keep you up-to-date with the changing nature of the market. This will help you protect your gains and build on them.

3. How can I find LSI keywords?

LSI keywords are terms related to your main keywords, but they are more than just synonyms. The best place to find LSI keywords is Google itself. The related searches that appear at the bottom of a SERP are a great source of LSI keywords. You can also use a keyword research tool to find them.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.