Keyword Research for SEO Managers: A High-Level Guide

What exactly is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of identifying and arranging the particular terms that your target audience uses to find products, services, or helpful content.

If you read ten articles on it, you'll discover ten different approaches. Indeed, Google is brimming with detailed instructions, such as this one by Ahrefs, that bring you through the entire procedure step by step.

As a result, my essay will not tell you exactly how to find keywords for SEO. This keyword research guide, on the other hand, is unique. It is intended for directors and growth marketers who need to create a procedure.

This article provides a high-level concept to assist you in developing your own strategy for locating the optimal search phrases for your brand or clients.

Important Points 

  • Keyword research indicates how your target audience looks for products, services, information, and answers on the internet.
  • Search volume is crucial, but search intent is even more so.
  • When conducting keyword research, keep conversions and profitability in mind

SEO is impossible to achieve without a thorough keyword research procedure. So, how do you go about making one?

Keyword Analysis

The core of an SEO-focused content strategy is keyword research.

You can uncover high-opportunity, high-intent keywords that can fuel your search engine optimization plan by using SEO indicators such as monthly search traffic, relevance, SERP competitiveness, and more.

A solid keyword research plan for your website will help you boost the exposure of your blog articles, news, bylines, microsites, infographics, video, and any other searchable content. When many pieces of content appear for the same keywords, you have a chance to dominate the SERPs.

However, keyword research is more than just a numbers game. It necessitates a thorough awareness of your target audience, your competition, and your own priorities. Developing an efficient keyword research approach that targets the correct audience and increases conversions and brand affinity is a shot in the dark without that insight.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Keyword research entails much more than simply detecting all phrases containing comparable words and developing optimal content. If you follow that path, your content strategy will become fragmented, redundant, and out of sync with users. Furthermore, you will wind up with a bloated website that eats into its own ranking potential.

When researching keywords for SEO, it's critical to consider factors other than inquiries and volume. Your customers' hidden metadata can be found in search keywords. To find it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why would someone look for this?
  • What are they attempting to achieve?
  • What stage of the consumer journey are they in?
  • Which format of material would best respond to their search query?
  • How else could they express this query?

By asking such questions, you will be able to generate the greatest content for your audience, improving their experience with your company. As a result, your engagement, brand loyalty, conversions, and income will grow. In other words, efficient keyword research boosts both your digital marketing efforts and your company's performance.

In the following part, I'll disclose eight keyword research tips that will help you increase your organic search traffic!

How to Conduct SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research forecasts and has a direct impact on your organic traffic. When completed thoroughly, you will know your prospective market share and how much effort it will take to increase your slice of the pie. If you act too quickly, you may overestimate your opportunity or underestimate the obstacle.

As a result, there are numerous fantastic keyword research tools available to help you develop a quick and scalable plan. They are, however, only as good as your plan, which includes audience analytics, competitive analysis, internet marketing integration, brand priorities, and creativity.

Here are some fundamental keyword research guidelines to help you plan your strategy.

1. Concentrate on search intent

What kind of materials are individuals seeking for when they search for a specific query? What stage of the buyer's funnel are they in – ToFu, MoFu, or BoFu? They don't want an ecommerce or service website if they want tips and strategies. Likewise, if they want a visual tutorial, a long-form blog piece will not suffice. Or, if they're seeking for low-cost furniture, they're not interested in the results of a high-priced luxury furniture company.

The purchasing funnel of a company is divided into three stages: awareness, deliberation, and decision. People in the awareness phase are looking for knowledge that is relevant to their interests or pain concerns. Those in the decision phase are likely to be ready to make a purchase.

Determine your keyword's position in the conversion funnel and evaluate the search intent for that audience. Then, create and align valuable, relevant material as needed.

For example, if people search for "top keyword research tools," they are likely looking for a list of possibilities or unbiased reviews. Even if you know your products are the greatest, a product page isn't a good fit for that term.

Examine the search engine results page (SERP).

If your page does not fit the search intent, a keyword that appears to be an excellent opportunity by the numbers isn't a chance for you.

Google your keyword suggestions to see what appears on the first page of the SERP. If the top-ranking websites are substantially different in content and/or format from the page you want to optimise, it indicates that your page is most likely meeting a different search intent.

For example, if a skincare-related search gets results from Wikipedia, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Healthline, and other relevant sites, your skincare cream's product page isn't (yet) what the user wants or needs.

Investigate your audience's psychology and learn to seek in the same way they do. Examine several searches to confirm that your target pages match the intent. A great keyword strategy includes keyword-to-page alignment since it provides the optimal user experience.

2 Take note of search volume

Once you've determined your audience's search intent, you can focus on the data. The keyword research technique differs depending on the sector and even the strategist. However, each set of criteria is driven by a heavy emphasis on search volume.

Most paid SEO tools include search ideas as well as credible estimates of a keyword's monthly traffic. Because this data is extrapolated, there may be minor differences in metrics between instruments. We recommend comparing at least two distinct tools, such as SEMRush and Ahrefs, and adding both numbers to your spreadsheet. Utilize the same tools on a continuous basis to compare apples to apples across your keyword phrases.

Aim for the keywords with the highest feasible search volume for each page depending on the search intent and additional parameters for that page. "Good" search volumes are determined by:

  • Query breadth: head terms or long-tail keywords?
  • Apparel vs. garage door parts: which is more popular in the industry?
  • Your site's authority in comparison to the competitors
  • The buying funnel's stage

As a result, while developing your keyword strategy, aim for the highest-volume phrases that fulfil your strategic goals, even if they only generate 200 searches per month.

Include long-tail keyword variations in your list.

Every search term you can think of should be included in your seed keyword list. Then, using keyword research tools, look for long-tail versions of those terms.

A word of caution about relying solely on tools to uncover keyword variations: they are typically only capable of producing a list of close semantic matches (frequently with long-tail variances), not expanding into new themes. So, the more real variations you can build on your own before running your seed list through a programme, the better.

Fortunately, these connected keywords are easy to find.

  • Just using Google's autocomplete and "people also ask" capabilities can provide you with keyword suggestions and help you better understand your audience's search behaviour.
  • Tools such as Answer The Public use Google's autocomplete feature to add additional specificity to each phrase, generating a master list of queries utilising frequent queries like "why" and "how."
  • Use BuzzSumo's "Questions" feature to find relevant questions from millions of forum posts, Amazon, Quora, and other websites.
  • And programmes like Ahrefs and SEMRush will present you with a list of keyword variations, which may include the original search phrases or a broader set of choices.

4 Consider profitability.

When you've cut down your keyword list, you might generate an equal amount of content for each term, spreading your time and resources equitably. But, if you're a major retail company gearing up for spring, why waste time and energy generating material for "infinity scarves" when everyone else is gearing up for summer? Instead, you could target "women's swimsuit" – a considerably more profitable term.

Of course, not every brand is as affected by seasons as retail. Nonetheless, profitability is a vital consideration when building your keyword research SEO plan.

Consider Home Depot. They sell a lot of plants, so they may focus their efforts on the keyword "buy plants" or a longer-tail keyword like "purchase snake plant." However, when you Google either of these terms, Home Depot is nowhere to be found.

However, if you Google "purchase power tools," Home Depot comes up on page one.

Why? Because Home Depot is well aware that power tools are significantly more profitable. This is not to say that they do not develop content for their Garden Center. In fact, they have a whole website dedicated to gardening and plant information. However, in the SERPs, they've positioned their ecommerce SEO approach behind more profitable terms.

5 Carry out a competitive analysis

Perform a competitive study with Ahrefs or SpyFu to learn which keywords your competitors are targeting — and which they aren't. Incorporating this data into your keyword strategy can help you adopt one of two approaches:

Concentrate on the keywords that your rival is presently ranking for. After determining these, use the top-ranking content for those keywords as a guide to create content and an outreach strategy that will outperform the competition.

Look for the missing opportunities of your competitors. This less aggressive method frequently generates low-hanging fruit by exploiting competitive gaps in your business.

Both techniques should be strongly considered by large corporations. Filling competitive gaps will generate momentum and authority in a relatively short amount of time. And, in the long run, remaining at the top of the SERPs for your competition's high-priority keywords can significantly improve clicks and profits.

6. Listen to the customer's voice (VoC)

So far, you've derived your search insights from data pertaining to popular queries, pain areas, and audience requirements. When you combine this data with your company's specific internal audience insights, you'll be well on your way to keyword nirvana.

The term "Voice of the Customer" refers to all sorts of direct audience feedback:

  • Emails
  • Interviews with customers
  • Telephone calls
  • Chats in real time
  • Surveys conducted on-site
  • Reviews
  • The Internet of Things
  • for blog comments

It may also contain customer and industry-wide polls and surveys that can assist you in determining why consumers prefer your competitor's brand over yours. It may also include indirect feedback, such as terminated email or software subscriptions. (Alternatively, be direct - always give your consumer the choice of explaining why they cancelled.)

It's easy for your SEO strategist to fall into the habit of relying solely on search data for convenience: coordinating information sharing across siloed departments can be a pain. However, this is just one more reason why breaking down silos is critical to your corporate SEO performance.

Obtain high-level support for the development of systems that enable information sharing among departments as painless as possible. If you utilise a centralised customer service system, such as Zendesk, ensure that feedback is logged and saved in a location where your staff can access it. Make a list of all the various types of information you require. Then figure out how to standardise that sharing so that it becomes automatic.

7. Keep it natural.

Search behaviour has changed dramatically over time. The popularity of voice search has skyrocketed. Even desktop users now have confidence in Google to handle long, precise queries that employ natural language or ask entire questions. So, if you can't decide between two high-opportunity terms, go with the one that seems more natural.

Another advantage of using natural keywords? Natural material. Your high-opportunity keyword will be useless if it is not grammatically correct or feels forced and uncomfortable. You can experiment with how you include keywords into your material using Google's semantic indexing methodology. When a result, divide them up or use plurals as needed. However, you should still use each keyword in its "real" version. (In this situation, the exact term that your data and analysis produced.)

8. Make use of keyword research tools

Setting the approach requires your own magic and know-how. However, search engine optimization techniques can be of great assistance. The information they make available is required. And the tasks they automate can make your plan scalable and painless. Here are a few of our favourites:

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer 

This keyword tool displays search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and keyword suggestions based on phrase match and phrases containing some of the same terms. This keyword research tool's main strength is that it shows the percentage of searches with no clicks, as well as the percentage of organic vs paid clicks. These metrics aid in the removal of excess volume from keyword terms. As a result, you'll be able to concentrate on phrases that increase page traffic.

Moz Keyword Explorer 

This tool is similar to the Ahrefs keyword research tool in many ways. And their information is just as trustworthy. The distinction boils down to your personal tastes as a user, with Moz gaining points for a somewhat more user-friendly presentation.


With a few exceptions, SEMRush shares the same key functionalities as Ahrefs and Moz. In comparison to Ahrefs, SEMRush's user interface is a tad lacklustre. However, it does provide further information about PPC. Furthermore, their content gap analysis feature is more powerful.

Google Trends

Enter any keyword into Google Trends to see detailed representations of its trend over time. It works best with theme concepts rather than particular keywords. However, you may still test many of your long-tail keywords to gain significant knowledge. If searches for a keyword or topic have been declining for some time, the keyword may no longer accurately reflect how people are currently searching. If searches for a keyword or topic are rapidly increasing, it may be a good option to focus on regardless of prior search levels.

Google Keyword Planner

This free keyword research tool assists you in identifying search terms based on volume and cost per click. However, it has gone out of favour with certain SEO professionals. Mostly because its broad search volumes aren't as useful as the information provided by premium SEO tools. The other technologies, on the other hand, must extrapolate their search volume statistics. This one gets its PPC information directly from Google. It's also one of the best free tools for finding more keyword suggestions than you can handle. However, you will be unable to use it unless you have a Google Adwords account. We propose using this tool with some of the others to broaden your seed list of keyword ideas.

Google autosuggest isn't the only option. This programme delivers keyword suggestions from popular networks such as YouTube, Instagram, and Amazon.

Google Search Console 

In your quest for the perfect keyword, don't forget to visit Search Console and look at the ones that are already driving traffic to your site. These insights can inspire fresh keyword ideas and help you avoid the pitfalls of deleting a high-value term from your approach. They may also assist you in tightening up the on-page SEO for a keyword that is on the verge of ranking on page one.

Clearscope's strength comes in its ability to assess the top-performing content for your target keywords and provide a summary of the content's other relevant keywords. Their distinct technique allows you to delve deeper into search intent than any other tool.


In terms of autocomplete features, Soovle is pretty similar to However, each tool includes platforms that the other does not. We like how this one incorporates Wikipedia and

Respond to the Public

Looking for keyword or subject ideas? This tool will search for prepositions (who, what, when, where, why, and how), comparisons (versus, like, and, or), and letters of the alphabet that match your target keyword. Then it will let Google's autocomplete do its thing on the newly created list. For a single term, you'll wind up with hundreds of highly tailored inquiries.


SpyFu is primarily intended for competitive SEO and PPC analysis. It calculates the monetary worth of ranking improvements, which can help you prioritise your SEO efforts.

"Questions" from BuzzSumo

Do you want to find fresh content ideas or improve your voice search results? BuzzSumo Questions searches millions of forum posts, Amazon, Quora, and Q&A sites to find the questions that people are asking. Combining this with other tools will allow you to understand how competitors are addressing those questions and how you can do the same – but better.

You may incorporate more efficiency into your own method now that you have some fundamental rules for conducting keyword research.