How to do Keyword Research

We’re sure there’s no need to waste time persuading you that keyword research is one of the most profitable SEO activities that is essential to your marketing success. There’s also no shortage of great articles that give you detailed instructions on how to perform professional keyword research, rank high for thousands of targeted search terms, and greatly improve your traffic from Google. But here’s an interesting observation: each of these guides will give you a slightly different set of instructions. Not that any of them is warning you wrong, it’s just that there’s no universal approach to the execution of keyword research.

It will vary based on:

§  Your website (authority, number of pages, quality of content, etc.);

§  Your goals and objectives (branding, exposure, traffic, leads, sales);

§  Your budget, resources and deadlines;

§  Your industry and competitive landscape.

That’s why you may find it hard to respond to a random step – by – step guide you encounter. So, I ‘m going to take a different route and send you a keyword research framework that can be easily adjusted to whatever your priorities and resources are.

And we guarantee that the tactics and methods described below will vastly improve your traffic from Google.


Seed keywords are the foundation of your keyword research. They define your niche and help you identify your competitors. If you already have a product or business that you want to promote online, coming up with seed keywords is as easy as describing that product with your own words or brainstorming how other people might search for it. For example, let’s say you’re launching an online store with GoPro accessories. The Google searches (keywords) that you would first think of are:

·      GoPro accessories;

·      gadgets for GoPro;

·      GoPro add-ons.

·      That’s a no-brainer, right?


But what if you’re looking to start an affiliate marketing website, and you have no idea which niche to pick or which products to promote? The challenge of “taking a place” requires a large and thorough guide of its own. Although broadly speaking, there are two ways to approach this:


Start exploring the available monetization methods. Choose the product or offer you want. And then think of the search queries that people might be using to find in Google. Amazon, for example, has an extremely popular affiliate program. What you need to do is search their website before you find a product (or group of products) that you are willing to promote. Another choice is to locate affiliate marketplace sites like ClickBank or CJ that bind product owners to affiliates.

Just look at the products and services you use yourself and see if you can become an affiliate.


You can start with a super wide keyword and narrow down until you see an interesting opportunity. For starters, I’m going to pick “music” as my super wide niche. Ahrefs ‘ Keywords Explorer tool gives me almost 5 million keyword ideas for that seed keyword:

In order to “niche down,” we need to focus on longer and more specific keywords with the word “music” in them. So, I’m going to use the “Names” filter to narrow down the huge list of keyword ideas to those with exactly four words.


You’ve found out your seed keywords. But that’s just the tip of an iceberg analysis keyword. EOLBREAK The next step is to create a gigantic list of relevant keyword ideas, while also getting a good understanding of what people in your niche are searching for in Google. There are at least four good ways to do this.


If you own a website that’s been around for a while, you should already be ranking in Google for a few hundred keywords. Knowing what they are is a perfect way to kick-start your keyword research. A good source of this information is a report called “Search Analytics” in Google Search Console:

Search Console shows your average position for each of the keywords you rate and how many impressions and clicks you receive. They do not reveal the monthly search volume, however, and you are limited to 1000 keywords only. If you need more info, try the “Organic Keywords” report in the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool:


Chances are, your rivals have already done all the time-consuming keyword research work for you. So, you can study the keywords it they list and pick the best ones. If you don’t know who your competitors are, just put your seed keywords in Google and see who’s on the front page. Let’s do that with the seed keyword I discovered earlier, “Gifts for music lovers.” I see an interesting site ranking on the front page, Now plug the website into Ahrefs ‘ Site Explorer and browse the keywords that it ranks for:

Sometimes even a single competitor will give you enough keyword ideas to keep your SEO team busy for months to come. But if you’re looking for more, you can go to the Competing Domains study to find more places like your rival.

And we’ve just closed the “competitive research loop”:

ü  Put your seed keyword into Google and see who ranks on top;

ü  Plug their site into Ahrefs to see their best keywords;

ü  Find more relevant websites via the “Competing domains” report;

ü  Go back to either step 1 or 2.

The secret to almost endless keyword ideas is to repeat this process over and over again. And do not forget tapping into related industries. You may find a lot of great keywords that don’t necessarily relate to whatever you’re selling, but can still draw really targeted visitors to your website.


Good competition research is often enough to fill your spreadsheet with a lot of relevant keyword ideas. Yet if you’re one of the pioneers of your field, the approach isn’t quite feasible for you. You’ve got to look for some unique keywords that none of your rivals are hitting yet.

And the best way to do this is to use a good keyword research tool. Fortunately, there is no shortage of them on the market:




§  & quite a few more

Irrespective of the method you use, there is no ideal workflow for finding great keyword ideas. Only enter your seed keywords and play with the reports and filters until you find something good. Some software can derive their keyword suggestions from the following sources:

§  scraping keyword ideas directly from Google Keyword Planner;

§  scraping Google auto-suggest;

§  scraping “similar searches” in Google.

These approaches are fantastic, but they can rarely give you more than a few hundred suggestions. For example, UberSuggest only displays 316 keyword ideas for content marketing. There are also advanced keyword research tools (Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush) that run their own keyword database and therefore give you considerably more keyword ideas.