Top 7 SEO Keyword Research Checklist For Growth

Search engine optimization (SEO) is dynamic. But despite the frequent changes that occur, some things are constant. Keywords have always been at the core of SEO. It remains a definitive factor for ranking and multiplying your conversion rate on Google.

How do you know which keyword to optimize? What does successful keyword research entail? Our SEO keyword research checklist will answer these questions. 

This article explains what keyword research means and why it’s necessary. To help you master the art of keyword research, we’ve curated an all-inclusive checklist. 

Let’s dive right in. 

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research identifies and analyzes the terms and phrases your target audience use on search engines. This gives you an insight into what your audience would love to see on your site. Keyword research also exposes you to how your audience researches your services or products. 

The power of keyword research lies in discovering the accurate keywords that represent your audience’s desires. When you do find the most relevant keywords in your niche, it can increase your rank on SERPs monumentally. 

Why Is Keyword Research Such A Big Deal?

Keyword research helps create content that speaks to your audience’s pain point. It enables you to focus on relevant issues that address people’s needs. 

The insight gleaned from keyword research can inform your marketing strategy. Keyword research is a way to ensure your content generates the expected result for your site. 

Your content should be centered around what people want to discover rather than what you want to share. In this light, the research helps you understand people’s interests and focus on market trends.

Besides unveiling your target audience’s queries, it reveals keywords’ ranking difficulty and popularity. This helps you focus on the on-demand content. 

Most importantly, keyword research drives tremendous marketing results. It’s crucial to boosting conversions and enhancing organic traffic. 

SEO Keyword Research Checklist

three men sitting while using laptops and watching man beside whiteboard
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

It goes without saying that keyword research is a vital part of search engine optimization. Although this can be a great tool to ensure your website reaches the right audience, it needs to be done perfectly. 

How can you properly conduct SEO keyword research? We have a checklist below to guide you. 

1. Study Your Audience

You can’t write accurate content for someone you don’t know. So, the first step to conducting keyword research is understanding your audience. This information will help you choose relevant keywords that suit your target audience. 

Starting keyword research without properly understanding your audience is the perfect recipe for SEO failure. 

There are two main steps to thoroughly identifying your target customer. 

  • Conducting market research: Detailed market research helps you learn your audience’s needs, topics that interest them, and the content structure that gets them hooked. This modifies your content strategy to match their needs.
  • Check your competitor’s page: Your competitor’s page is like a precedent for you to follow– especially when they are ranking on Google. Check what they are doing right and what keyword they are ranking for. These details inform your keyword research. 

2. Choose A Main Topic

Starting keyword research is overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know where or how to start. To kick off your SEO keyword research checklist, use your product or service as a seed keyword to find KW variations on Google. The result you get from this search is a great way to start! 

Alternatively, you may use an SEO tool to research relevant keywords. A tool like Google Keyword Planner is a surefire way to reveal trendy KW in your niche. It also helps you discover what your competitors rank for, keyword difficulty, search volumes, and other metrics. 

These are data you can’t get from a random google search!

3. Understand Your Search Intent

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to see why they type a keyword in the search engine. This is called search intent. Uncovering your customer’s search intent would help you be more specific with your content. 

How do you unearth your audience’s search intent? By checking search engine result pages (SERPs). Judging by the pages ranking on SERPs, you can answer questions like: Are they looking for informative content? Do they need to find a service? 

For example, if the top 10 pages have informative articles, you need to write informative content. The ranking websites depict the most relevant content suitable for a certain audience. 

4. Discover Competitor’s Keyword

Competitors that rank high on SERPs represent the audience’s interests. Explore the keywords they rank for with the help of SEO tools. This offers a broader perspective on satisfying your target market with stellar content that hits the right chord.

5. Do A Keyword Mapping

Keyword search intent may range from commercial to transactional, navigational, and informational. Each of these keywords serves a purpose. For instance, an informational keyword is suitable for content written to inform an audience. “World music day” is an informational keyword. 

Consequently, this process involves assigning each keyword to the appropriate webpage based on the search intent. For example, an informational keyword suits a blog post. While a transactional keyword would serve you better on your product page or landing page. 

6. Target Keyword Variations

When you have decided on the appropriate keywords for various pages, it’s time to focus on ranking for your primary keyword. 

One way to guarantee this is by researching the variations of your primary keyword. Google aims to satisfy an audience’s search intent by providing the most relevant result. However, using semantic keywords is the best way to make your website more relevant. 

This is a foolproof method to boost your visibility for a particular keyword. Search engines often recognize webpages with semantic keywords as experts. Hence, optimizing the same webpage for primary keywords and variations improves your rank on SERPs. 

7. Consider The Keyword Difficulty

The keyword difficulty is another essential metric to consider during keyword research. Trying to rank for a keyword with a high difficulty score is like playing the losing game, especially if you are a start-up. You can opt for other keyword variations with high search volumes and lower difficulty levels. 

8. Search Volume

Another essential SEO keyword research checklist is the search volume. It depicts the number of searches a keyword gets per month. You can access this metric on keyword research tools. 

Before adding a keyword to your content planner, make sure it’s in demand. A keyword with over 1000 search volumes is fair. On the contrary, anything around 20-60 search volume isn’t worth the effort.

9. Discover Question Keywords On Answer The Public

When people are keen on finding information on the internet, they ask questions. You’d definitely gain more traffic if your content is optimized for such questions. 

Hence, question keywords are worth every minute you spend researching them. One great website to find common questions people ask to “Answer the public.” 

This free website curates the most frequently asked questions on the internet regarding various topics. Another way to find important question keywords is Google’s “people also ask” section. When you discover valuable query keywords, you can write high-quality content to answer them. 


Keyword research is a pivotal factor affecting SEO. It means gaining insight into your target audience’s queries on search engines and crafting content that meets their needs. Keyword research helps you avoid wasting time on wrong marketing campaigns and drives organic growth. 

Frankly, it’s a practice that takes time and patience. But with this SEO keyword research checklist, you can do your research efficiently and rank higher than your competition.

Co-Founder of INK, Alexander crafts magical tools for web marketing. SEO and AI expert. He is a smart creative, a builder of amazing things. He loves to study “how” and “why” humans and AI make decisions.

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