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Why Keyword Research Is Crucial for Your Online Success: Insights and Best Practices

Keyword Research

Table of Contents


What is keyword research?

Why do you need to conduct keyword research?

Important factors affecting keywords research

Steps in conducting keyword research

Tips to Improve your Keyword research strategy



A solid list of keywords helps you better understand the potential clients and create an effective strategy for search engine optimization, social media optimization, Google advertising, and even other marketing channels. Keyword research is a complex process that requires collecting every possible option people use when searching for products, services, or information related to a particular niche, breaking them down into thematic clusters, and eliminating the unnecessary ones.

In the given article, we will learn about the process of collecting keywords and finding the best ones for using them to drive targeted traffic to a site. Let’s jump in!

What is keyword research?

Keyword research, or collecting a list of keywords, is the first and foremost step in search engine optimization. In order to improve the visibility of your website, you need to analyse the search queries for topics relevant to your site and select the best ones to develop a search engine marketing strategy.

Why do you need to conduct keyword research?

Keyword research plays a crucial role in search engine optimization, social media optimization, and other digital marketing channels that put forward relevant products, services, or information upon user requests. Search engines use complex algorithms to crawl and rank websites based on various factors with keywords playing a significant role in it. Keyword research is the foundation of search engine optimization. Here are some cases where keyword research can be immensely helpful:

  • Understanding the search intent to create an effective digital marketing strategy
  • Enhancing the site structure
  • Finding useful content ideas
  • Writing captivating titles and headings
  • Optimizing images
  • Choosing anchor text for internal links and backlinks
  • Conducting SERP rank tracking

Important factors affecting keywords research

There are many factors considered in the keyword research process. Some of the key factors affecting keyword research are:

  • Search volume
  • Competition
  • Relevancy
  • Seasons and trends
  • Local search and industry specific search

Search Volume

Search volume refers to the average number of monthly searches conducted for a specific keyword or phrase. It helps to know the traffic you can expect from a specific keyword or phrase. When a keyword has a higher search volume, there is also a higher chance of getting traffic to it.


Competition is another important factor that affects the ranking of the keywords. SEO difficulty or keyword difficulty is a metric used to determine competition for a specific keyword in the industry. The higher competition, the more challenging will it be to rank for.


It is very important to choose keywords relevant to your user’s intent. Even though some keywords might not have a high search volume, they will bring quality traffic to your website. For instance, if you have beginner content on SEO, it is preferable to use relevant keywords such as’ ‘What is SEO,’ or “a guide to SEO” instead of focusing on irrelevant keywords with high search volume such as.” “What is digital marketing”.


Keyword search volumes are also affected by specific seasons and trends. For instance, “Christmas Gifts” and New Year’s Gifts ideas” will have high search volume in the month of December.

Local search and industry specific search trends

For local business or niche industry, it is crucial to incorporate location specific and industry related keywords for attracting the relevant traffic and improving local SEO.

Steps in conducting keyword research

1. Understand Your Industry and Competitors

Understand your industry and competitors

The first step is to understand the industry and competitors of the website for which keyword research is required to be conducted. One must get itself familiarize with the key players in the industry related to the given business. It is also important to understand the competitive landscape such as what products or services they offer and how they position themselves. It will give you valuable insights into their target audience and keywords being targeted by the competitors.

2. Define Your Goals and Target Audience

Define Your Goals and Target Audience

Determine your goals for which keyword research are required to be conducted. As explained above, keyword research is beneficial and useful for many purposes. Once you clearly define your goals, it will help you identify your target audience and their search intent, which is the most important consideration for finding the right keywords.

3. Identify your seed keywords

Identify your seed keywords

All keyword research begins with a topic or idea called a seed keyword. You can identify seed keyword from your industry knowledge, for the products and services provided by your business and by being part relevant online forums and groups. For instance, if you own a café, your seed keywords may be ‘coffee’ or ‘pastries’

Difference between Primary and secondary keywords

Primary keywords are main keywords that most closely describe your business. For instance, a bike may be a primary keyword for a bike manufacturer. Secondary keywords are those that add a little more detail related to initial or primary keywords and are often more related to the searcher’s intent such as off-road bike, mountain bike, cruiser bike etc.

4. Use Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools should be used constantly to find relevant keywords

One of the first steps to stay updated with keyword research trends is to use reliable and updated tools that can help you discover, analyse, and track keywords. There are many tools available, both free and paid, that can provide you with valuable insights, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, related keywords, trends, and rankings. These tools should be used constantly to find relevant keywords as well as discover new opportunities.

  • Google Keyword Planner: It is the most popular keyword research tool that provides insight into search volume, competition, and suggest bid prices for Google Ads.
  • Ahrefs: It provides keyword data, including search volume, keyword difficulty, and competitor analysis.
  • Semrush: It provides comprehensive tools such as keyword research, competitive analysis, and other SEO insights.
  • ESL Ranks Pro: It provides an in-depth data on keyword rankings, search volume, SEO difficulty and more. It helps you to identify the most profitable keywords to target and track your progress over time.

5. Analyze Search Intent

Analyze Search Intent

Search intent is the most important consideration to choose the keywords that brings the results.  It is the process of understanding the intent behind each keyword. People are usually either looking for information or making a purchase? By understanding the search intent, you can create the content, the aligns with their needs. There are generally following types of search intent

  • Informational Intent: Users are seeking information.
  • Navigational Intent: Users looking for a specific website.
  • Transactional Intent: Users want to research before making a purchase.
  • Commercial intent: users looking to complete a specific action such as buying a product or downloading a book.

6. Assess Search Volume and Competition

Assess Search Volume and Competition

When selecting keywords, one should establish a balance between the search volume and competition. High volume keywords appear attractive, but they also come with intense competition. It is advised to look for keywords with a moderate search volume and manageable competition.

Once you have identified the keywords, the next step is to evaluate the competition for each keyword. Tools like ESL Ranks Pro provide the SEO difficulty score, indicating how challenging is to rank for a specific keyword. While making a list of keywords, it is recommended to aim for a mix of high and low difficulty keywords.

7. Consider Long Tail Keywords and Semantic Keywords

Consider Long Tail Keywords and Semantic Keywords

Long tail keywords can be defined as those keywords that are composed of three more words and are more specific and less competitive than short tail keywords.

Long tail keywords are crucial for your content strategy as they help to target more specified and niche audience and match the natural language and voice search trends of the users.

Semantic keywords are the keywords related your primary keyword, but they are not necessarily synonyms or variations. These keywords help you create more comprehensive and relevant content covering different aspects of your topic.

8. Consider Local and Industry-Specific Keywords

Consider Local and Industry-Specific Keywords

When you are creating a strategy for a competitive industry, it is recommended to incorporate local and industry specific keywords to narrow down the competition. Also, for local businesses and small businesses, incorporating local keywords is crucial for local SEO success. It helps potential customers to find businesses with their locality, driving organic traffic and revenues.

9. Analyse Competitor’s Keywords

Analyse Competitor’s Keywords

  • Peek into what keywords your competitors ranking for, what keywords they are targeting, how they are ranked, and what content they are creating. It helps you to understand the strength and weakness of their strategy as well as to find gaps and opportunities, and benchmark your performance.
  • Identify content gaps by analysing what topics have been covered by competitors and what have been missed by them. Create content to fulfill these gaps and target relevant keywords in it.
  • You can use tools like ESL Ranks Pro to get insights into your competitors’ keyword strategy, backlink profile, and traffic sources.

10. Create a Keyword Strategy

Create a Keyword Strategy

Once you have created a list of keywords, the next step is to organise them as per your target audience and goals. You can use a spreadsheet to create a keyword matrix to sort and filter your keywords. It is important to consider metrics for filtering keywords such keyword difficulty, relevance, and volume.

Keyword difficulty also known as SEO difficulty indicates how hard it is to rank for a keyword based on the competition and authority of existing website pages

Relevance refers to how closely related a keyword is related to your targeted audience, and content.

Keyword volume shows how many times a keyword is searched within a specific time-frame, usually measured monthly.

For creating a keyword strategy, one should try to establish a balance between these metrics. For instance, high volume keywords can be very generic and also have intense competition. It is better to look for keywords with a decent volume but high relevancy.

Gather and organise your keywords into a keyword strategy. For this, group these cherry-picked keywords into keyword clusters based on topic or intent, to make your content more focused and organised. It also helps you avoid keyword cannibalization, which makes you target same keyword on multiple pages and compete with yourself. Make sure to group your keywords by topics or themes and assign them to specific pages of content types on your website.

11. Regularly Update Your Keyword List

update Keyword List

As the search trends and user behaviour evolve over time, it is important to refresh your keyword list from time to time. It will help to keep your content aligned with the latest search trends as well as the user’s intent.

12. Monitor and Adjust your Keyword Strategy

Monitor and Adjust your Keyword Strategy

Once you have implemented your keyword research strategy, it is important to constantly monitor the performance of your content using analytics tools. Make sure to bring necessary changes to your strategy based on actual performance and the changes in the digital landscape.

Adjust your strategy based on the actual performance and changes in the competitive landscape. ESL Ranks Pro is a great tool to monitor your website’s rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates. It provides comprehensive data that can be used to adjust and optimize your keyword strategy continuously.

An effective keyword research is an ongoing process requires adaptation to changes in the Google behaviours, the user’s behaviour and industry trends.

Some more tips to improve your keyword strategy

1. Don’t ignore the search intent.

Begin with search intent to create a solid SEO strategy. You should step into the shoes of the searcher and figure out that what do user coming to your site want to consume. Once you understand the intent, make sure to create the best content to match their needs.

2. Make sure to use the right keyword research tools like ESL ranks Pro

There are plenty of powerful keyword research tools that can help you to formulate data driven strategy. ESL Ranks Pro allows you to dig deep into data, historical trends, even see what your competition is ranking for. For example, here is all data delivered by ESL Rank Pro’s keyword research tool

3. Stay updated with SEO algorithms

As Google algorithms are constantly updated, it is necessary to keep abreast with the latest updates and adjust your keyword research strategy.

4. Avoid keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing will not only make your page look ugly and hungry for rankings, but it may also get your site penalized by search engines. It is always better to integrate keywords naturally into the content for optimal readability and score higher rankings.

5. Test and experiment with your keywords

Test and experiment with your keywords to try different keywords, variations and combinations to figure out what works best for your campaign. It will help you to identify new keywords and even improve your click through rate. You can use tools like Google Ads or Bing Ads to conduct split tests and experiments with your keywords and measure the results.


Keyword research plays an important role in developing a solid SEO strategy as well as enhancing your online visibility. Apart from SEO, it plays a significant role in improving site structure, social media optimization, optimizing images, and a lot more. One must use the right tools combined with the right strategy, such as understanding the user’s intent, using long-tail keywords, taking a balanced approach to keyword grouping, and testing and experimenting with keywords, to create a holistic keyword strategy to meet your goals.

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