How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: What You Need to Know

Victoria Bandi
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Keyword research, also known as keyword optimization, can be a very confusing and overwhelming concept to wrap your head around. There are so many different strategies and nuances about keyword research, it's easy to get overwhelmed by information and get lost in the language of marketers. This is especially true if you feel the information out there is written by left-brained, analytical, numbers people.

Well, as a right-brained ditz I’m here to clear the confusion. We’re going to break down the most important things you need to understand on keyword research and analyze them in the simplest terms possible. From there, you can start creating a keyword research strategy for your business.

What Is Keyword Research and Why Do You Need It?

The concept is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll be researching keywords to decide on what kind of content to create that will, in turn, drive traffic to your website and later down the road, conversions.

To get leads and traffic, you need content but not just any content - you want content people are looking for. Keyword research is how you begin this process and make it SEO friendly.

What Is a Keyword?

We’ll first dive into what a keyword is. Simply put, a keyword is a word (or words) people Google.

It can literally be any word in any language as long as people Google it.

But it goes deeper than that. Believe it or not, there are types of keywords and each has its own special name.

Head Words/Seed Keywords/Main Keywords

I don’t know why it has so many names but I thought I’d include them all so you don’t get confused when you’re out there on your own. Anyway, they all mean the same thing. They are 1-2 words that usually have a high search volume. When you're doing your research, this is where you’ll start.

Body Words:

These are 2-3 words that usually have a "just right" search volume.

Long Tail Words:

These are 3-4 word phrases that usually have a low search volume.

LSI or Semantic Words:

The most specific words of all in keyword research, LSI, is short for a very scary term called Latent Semantic Indexing. But don’t run away yet - it’s not hard to understand. LSI is just Google’s way of finding relevant and accurate content for users. For example, if you type "soap" in the search bar, the auto-suggestions show up as you type (which is Google trying to guess what you’re searching). You see, Google wants to find out what exactly you’re looking for so if you’re looking for soap it wants to know if you want soap opera, soap bubbles, or soap brands.

Okay, so now that you know what LSI is, what good does this do for you in keyword research?LSI words give you ideas for the most important thing you want to be doing on the Internet, which is creating content. Google loves LSI words and will rank you well for it, so where do you find them? You can look at the bottom of the search results page and there will be a few hanging out there. You can also use this handy, free tool that can find more.

Keyword Intent/Search Intent

This part comes along when you want to get more specific with your keywords. Intent is just Google’s way of saying “Okay, you want soap. What do you want to do with it?”

When you narrow down your niche and understand what people want to do with your keywords, you can deliver content with precision!

Keyword Groups

Keyword intent can generally be put into 4 groups. It differs on some sites but we will go over Practical Ecommerce’s version because that seems to be the general rule on the world wide web.

Informational:

People want some general information on a product. For example, “What is soap made of?”

Navigational:

People want a specific website. For example, they are looking for “wesellsoaps.com”.

Investigational:

The keyword researchers are thinking of buying. For example, they will type in “Best goat milk soap.”

Transactional:

These people actually want to buy. For example, they will type, “Buy goat milk soap.”

You’re probably thinking informational and investigational sound the same and they kind of are but investigational is a more narrowed search that will more likely lead to a conversion than informational.

Important Research Terms

When you begin your quest on keyword research, you’re going to come across some more scary terms that identify certain data on certain words. Now, there are many but we will go over a few of the more important ones.

Search Volume

This simply means how many times someone has searched a particular keyword over a period of time. BUT there is a lot of debate out there on whether or not "this tool" or "that tool" actually displays this accurately. Tread with caution, my friend.

SEO Difficulty/Keyword Difficulty

It’s a score telling you how hard it will be to rank on the search engine results page for that particular keyword organically (which is a fancy word for "not paid"). There are many factors that influence this score but I won’t go into them here. To keep it short and simple, and since every tool calculates this differently, what you want to look out for is low numbers. The higher this number, the more competitive.

Paid Difficulty (PD)

It’s the same as SEO difficulty, only this is for paid advertising. The higher the number, the more competitive.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

If you decide to start a pay-per-click (PCP) marketing campaign, cost-per-click is the price you end up paying per click. If this number is high, it means someone finds that keyword valuable.

Backlinks

This is just a fancy word for “link”. It’s just that, in general, these links are tucked away somewhere on web pages and lead to other web pages. For example, if I think there's a related article that I think you'd be interested in, the font will look different, like this. <- Behold, you have a backlink.

Where to Start to Put this into Action

Okay, so you get the idea and now you want to implement what you've just learned. Before you go out there, let me warn you there are a lot of different strategies and a lot of different tools you can use. If you want to use a tool to help you, the best of the best is ahrefs.com. BUT some people swear by just using Google. If you want to try that out first, check it out here. Another option is to work with an SEO expert.

This article just covers the general knowledge of keyword research and I want to keep this simple and straightforward. Going into strategies will completely blow that out of the water. So start by clicking on one of those links above and share this article with someone you know who could use it! Happy searching!

Summary

Keyword research is researching what words people are searching to create content that’ll drive traffic to your website. There are different types of keywords known as seed keywords, body keywords, long-tail keywords, and LSI keywords. Search intent helps you narrow down on a topic. There are four keyword groups called, informational, navigational, investigational and transactional.

While doing your research, you’ll come across terms like search volume, SEO difficulty and backlinks, to name a few. Once you understand what this all means, you can begin to strategize how to use it.

If you would like more information on keyword research, or you'd like to leave it to some experts to do the keyword research for your online content, you can hire a copywriter here.

Victoria Bandi

Victoria Bandi always gives it her all to make sure that both her clients and herself are growing and generating the revenue they need to live the life they deserve in the most pleasant way possible. Victoria believes in living life to the fullest.

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