A Guide to Understanding SEO Keyword Research

A huge part of Search Engine Optimization is keyword research. No matter what type of online marketing strategy you run, you will benefit from a deeper understanding of this process. This easy-to-understand article will break down the basics of keyword research for SEO for you.

Whether you’re new to this or a seasoned SEO professional, you’ll surely learn something new. By the end of this article, you’ll know about choosing the right keywords to generate more traffic and sales to your site!

The letters S, E, and O designed with various patterns.
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing the visibility of a website or a web page in the databases of internet search engines. This is by ensuring that the page ranks highly for keywords—often updated via the website content and related social media activity.

With a higher SEO score, you can gain organic visits, leading to more visitors, more web traffic, and more revenue. Basically, SEO is the practice of taking advantage of search engine algorithms so that your website ranks highly for a given set of keywords.

What Keyword Research is and Why it’s Important

Keyword research for SEO is identifying search engine-optimized phrases on a website to attract qualified visitors to a site. It is an essential aspect of SEO and is the most critical metric of a website’s success.

The keyword you use for your website content needs to be an SEO-friendly keyword on as many search engines as possible. It should also be relevant to your content and high search volume.

For example, if you are an e-commerce website with a physical storefront, keywords tied to shopping can help you attract more customers. If your business is digital marketing, you can use blogging and content marketing keywords. 

How to Do Keyword Research for SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) involves gathering all possible variations of keywords that may be relevant to your current site, content, and products. After you’ve built your keyword list, you’ll need to narrow it down to the most relevant terms for your site and users. Make sure you sort, group, and prioritize your terms.

Brainstorm Your Keywords

It’s best to take this first step with your team. Think about what seed keywords you want your article to rank for. Seed keywords are what help you identify your competitors and define your niche.

Keyword research tools will require you to enter a seed keyword. They use this as a reference for generating a long list of keyword ideas. 

For example, if your business sells coffee machines, your seed keywords can include:

  • French Press
  • Americano
  • Espresso
  • Cappuccino

Search for Keywords Competitors Use

Another essential step for keyword research is to look at which keywords already send traffic to your competitors. Knowing what keywords are currently successful for your competitors makes it easier to foresee what keywords you should rank for.

One way to do this is to go to Google. Enter one of your seed keywords and see the competitors on the front page of the search results.

Use a Keyword Research Tool

There are several research tools for keywords that you can use in your research process. They can help you make sense of the past or present big data and make your research more efficient.

With the help of these tools, your research will be less complicated and timely. This will also make you smarter when it comes to writing high-quality content.

List of keyword research tools

The Google Keyword Planner is a free marketing tool, but you’ll need a Google Ads account first to use it. It helps you discover new keywords and get research volume and forecasts. Both of these are very helpful in keyword research for SEO. 

Keywords Explorer

The Keywords Explorer can get you thousands of keywords in seconds. It has a user-friendly interface so you can use it easily and quickly. You can apply filters to help you find more useful keywords. It also displays a lot of information about each keyword, including their competition and search volume.

Word Stream

Word Stream is another free keyword research tool you can check out. According to their site, they use the latest Google search data to deliver targeted advertising ideas.

You’ll need to enter your seed keyword and choose your industry and country. It will then generate a list of relevant keywords. This includes their respective search volumes on Google and Bing.

Answer the Public

Answer The Public is a powerful research tool. It helps you find what people search for in online blogs and social media. This then turns those questions into great keywords.

This is a free keyword research tool too. Its database, built from millions of searches, will predict what you will ask based on the data already entered.

Google Trends

With Google Trends, you can analyze keywords in real-time and find out what is currently popular. This is an excellent tool for generating keyword ideas and researching what keywords are the hottest!

You can easily search and compare specific keywords. Simply enter your seed keyword, click Compare and type in your second keyword. You can adjust the dates if you want. Google trends can also help you find related queries that can help streamline your keyword research strategy.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Keywords


Keyword trends can help you determine a keyword’s popularity over a certain period. Remember that popularity is relative to discovery, usefulness, and competition. It will change over time.


Another thing to consider when you choose keywords is the amount of competition. Keyword competition refers to the number of businesses that compete for the same keywords.

You can determine your market’s size by evaluating the competition with a keyword. It also helps you understand if a keyword is a good choice for your business or not.

Search Volume

A keyword’s search volume indicates how many searches are being made daily for the keyword. If a specific keyword has a higher search volume and low competition, this is a good indication that the keyword is marketable. It also means that people find it interesting to search for.


Keyword relevance is vital. You don’t need to rank for every keyword. Using relevant keywords for your business gives you a better chance to target customers and improve your SEO ranking.

To Wrap Up

The keywords you write about on your website will determine the type of traffic you receive. It will also give you the ability to rank higher in meaningful queries. Through keyword research for SEO, you can ensure that your content is optimized and data-driven to get the most results.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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