The very best Guide to Keyword Research

guide to keyword research

It’s simply no secret that SEO is vital to Google rankings success. But what’s the key to a strong SEO strategy? Key word research!

Keyword research is the foundation for your general content strategy. It decides your topics and themes, your article titles, plus ultimately the search rankings you’ll earn.

Here’s the problem: many people — also professional marketers— see keyword research as a simple process that lists focus words and phrases and dumps them as much as possible into blog articles.

But that’s insufficient. In fact , lazy keyword stuffing will have a negative impact on your results.

Keyword research — when executed the right way — is a multi-step process that requires time, analysis, and a strategy behind this. But the ROI you’ll generate from doing it is really worth it.

Within the sections that follow, I’ll stroll you through the proven keyword research process we make use of at Marketing Insider Team, including tips and layouts you can use to get started.

Quick Takeaways

  • Good keyword studies rooted in buyer intent.

  • Creating a brief document can help you clarify your preferences, target audiences, and keyword research goals.

  • It’s important to start keyword research by knowing your existing keyword rankings plus researching those of your competitors.

  • Headlines are what people use to determine whether or not to click to your content from search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • Follow best practices intended for blog article writing to maximize ROI on your keyword research.

  • Tracking your monthly SEO improvement enables you to capitalize on opportunities and solve problems faster.

What is keyword research and exactly why is it important?

Good keyword research is constantly rooted in buyer intent .

What does that mean? In short, your keywords need to center close to what your potential customers look for when they need your option — not what you assume is most important as a business owner or marketer.

It also needs to align with all the specific stage they’re at on the buyer journey. One example is: are they ready to buy right this moment or are they performing their own first exploratory search? The particular keywords and content you target to these two purchaser groups should differ.

The phases of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, loyalty and advocacy.

Image Source: Edwards Media Solutions

With that in mind, here’s could define keyword research:

Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and terms your target customers look for at each stage of the buyer journey as they seek solutions to their problems.

Key phrase there: solutions to their own problems. Buyers are generally aiming to solve problems — plus they aren’t attached to a single alternative for getting it done. Rather, they look for the brand name that can best address their pain points and needs.

People most often read blogs to learn something new, be entertained or read about the latest news in their business. To put it simply, people only care about reading something which applies to them .

reasons people read blogs

Image Source: HubSpot

Once you perform accurate, thorough key phrase research to serve as the foundation for great content, you can display customers that you understand them and demonstrate why they should choose your brand over your competitors.

The best way to perform keyword research that works

At Advertising Insider Group, we follow a proven 5-step process to get keyword research. It begins with documenting important information regarding your brand’s content objectives and it continues well once you start publishing by monitoring monthly progress.

Let’s walk through each of the 5 steps in detail.

Create a brief

Every MIG client fills out a client brief (see part of it pictured below) that gives us a clear idea of their preferred writing design, brand voice and strengthen, content goals, and more. We think it’s so important that we also completed a client brief with regard to ourselves. We update it frequently to reflect new goals and keep it refreshing.

A portion of Marketing Insider Group’s client briefing document.

Image Source: Marketing Insider Group

The first step of the keyword research process — whether you’re working with an agency or doing it yourself — should be to create your brand’s brief. Believe me, this is a helpful exercise no matter how you already know your own brand.

Here’s what to include in your brief:

  • Writing preferences – Word count, tone, and other specifics your writers should know
  • Target audiences – Who are you writing regarding? Use your buyer personas to assist with this.
  • Competition – What brands do you compete with for customers and space on SERPs?
  • Content themes and pillars – Areas of focus for the keywords and topics
  • Examples – Details about keywords you wish you ranked for, articles you like, and publishers you read through are helpful references designed for writers.

Once you have your brief completed, take time to reflect on it plus consider how it can inform not only your keyword analysis but your entire content strategy .

Develop focus key phrases

The second part of your keyword research process is to actually find your focus keywords. I always recommend starting this step with research on the existing keyword rankings and those of your competitors.

Find your existing keyword rankings

In case you aren’t already using Google Search Console , this is a good reason to start. It’s a free service that gives a person tons of insight on key phrase analytics. For this step, go to Google Search Console > Lookup Traffic > Search Analytics to see which keywords are already earning some results for the site and establish a start for keyword research.

Conduct a competing keyword gap analysis

Next, you want to find out what your competitors rank for. Much more specifically, you want to know what these people rank for that you don’t. One of your content goals ought to be to fill that gap.

It’s important to take note here that your direct competitors may not be the same as your search competitors. You can conduct a Google “related search” to be sure your competitor list is thorough. It’s simple: just look for related: yourwebsite. com.

Once you’ve got your own complete competitor list, work with a content gap or rival analysis tool to enter their domain and find their particular ranking keywords. There are lots of equipment you can use to do this. I like SEMRush’s Traffic Analytics tool. It needs a paid subscription you could try it for free.

Round out your list with a keyword generator tool

Finally, you can use SEMRush’s Keyword Miracle Tool to enter general keywords you wish to rank for and drill down to find related plus long tail keywords, realize volume and difficulty, plus filter in other ways to find the right keyword list for your business.

Here’s a summary of how the Keyword Miracle Tool works:

Develop creative, engaging headlines

Why perform headlines matter?

Headlines are the most make-or-break component of your blog posts. They’re exactly what shows up on Google SERP webpages, and they’re what people use to decide whether to read your content. In fact , 80% of online users never make it past your headline at all. Writing headlines that grab a user’s attention and compel these to click is crucial to traveling traffic to your website.

headline importance

Image Source: Niel Patel

And great headlines? They’re rooted in your keyword research.

To recap: you’ve already written your short, researched your audience plus competitors, and developed your keyword list.

Next, you want to build away a list of 20-30 content designs and topics from your wide and related keyword listing. Then it’s time to generate your headlines. For MIG clients, we develop about 100 headlines at a time (enough to publish 2x per week for just one year).

100 headlines?! You might be thinking that sounds daunting. Actually, it is time consuming and it takes practice. Yet building out your headline checklist now has a bunch of advantages you will enjoy later.

A pre-developed listing of headlines allows you to:

  • Take a holistic look at of your content list
  • Be intentional about title order and topic coverage
  • Stay on track with your publishing routine
  • Assign posts out to writers easily and ahead of time

I recommend putting all of your one hundred titles into a content work schedule (at MIG we utilize a simple Google sheet template) where you track your headlines, keywords, and due times. You can also centralize links in order to drafts and published articles all in one place.

Below is what the content calendar template we use for our clients looks like. Headlines go in the “Topic/Title” line:

Marketing Insider Group’s content calendar template.

Image Supply: Marketing Insider Group

Writing head lines that stand out

One important question remains: how do you actually write great head lines?

There’s no one right answer, but studies have found some trustworthy suggestions you can incorporate to make your headlines stand out:

  • Keep your headlines to 55 characters or much less. This ensures your entire title appears on SERPs.
  • Use numbers (i. e. “10 Tips for Better X” vs . just “Tips for Better X”).
  • Use question terms (What, why, how, which, where) to align with search queries.
  • Include compelling adjectives
  • Show value by telling your audience what they’ll get from reading your article.

Write well-crafted posts

Keyword research can’t accomplish rankings by itself. You need to use your keyword research results to write well-crafted, SEO -optimized articles that both deliver value to the user plus catch the attention of search engine crawlers.

You can deep-dive into writing great blog posts within our 20-Step Checklist to Write the Perfect Blog Post . But I’ll share the most important highlights here. They are:


When people read a weblog, they want to feel like they’re reading through a blog — not a research paper. Keep your firmness conversational, don’t use unwanted jargon, and skip the particular fluff in your writing. Basically, get to the point!

And while this should go without saying, I’ll say this: check your grammar. Even only one mistake can turn readers away to your brand!

SEO is key

Follow the basic best practices designed for SEO, including keyword utilization, metadata, link building , text length, usage of visual supporting content, plus strong phone calls to action .


Blogs perform best when they’re between 1000-2000 words in length. Be sure your writers always aim for this variety when writing your blog content.

Use your brand voice

Usually inject your brand’s tone of voice into your blog posts. Readers want to get to know your brand, plus having a personality in your creating makes your content more interesting and enjoyable to read. Consist of opinions, too — all things considered, you are establishing expertise inside your industry! Don’t shy away from providing commentary on current events relevant to your audience or giving a certain opinion on an important subject.

Track your own progress monthly

Last but definitely not minimum: track your progress. Your own keyword strategy does not finish with initial keyword research. When you track your improvement (we do it monthly intended for ourselves and our clients), you can continually optimize your own strategy by capitalizing on what is working and solving difficulties quickly when they arise.

KPIs you definitely wish to track:

  • Keyword rankings (specifically, rank changes over time)
  • Search visibility – how often your website shows on SERPs meant for keywords you rank designed for
  • Organic traffic – how many visitors you are getting from search results
  • Top keywords – keywords you’re ranking top for

Over to You

Ready to launch a key word research strategy that boosts your content ROI?

The SEO Blog Writing Service includes the comprehensive keyword research strategy protected in this article. Once it’s comprehensive, our team of writers will deliver you optimized, ready-to-publish content every week for one season (or more! ).

Learn more here or timetable a fast consultation with me to get started!

The post The Most Effective Guide to Keyword Study appeared initial on Marketing Insider Group .

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