Keyword research – The most important step of SEO


Why is keyword research so important?

Keyword research is the most important step of every SEO project for two reasons:

1. If you rank your site highly for the wrong keywords, you can end up spending lots of time and effort, only to discover the keywords you have targeted doesn’t receive any traffic.

2. If you haven’t investigated the competitiveness of your keywords, you can end up investing lots of time and effort into a particular keyword, only to find it is far too competitive to rank, even on the first page.

These two pitfalls are often the ultimate decider on how successful any SEO project is.

This chapter will cover how to avoid these pitfalls and how to find the best keywords. First, we must define what a keyword is.

What exactly is a keyword?

If you are an SEO newbie, you may be wondering—what is a keyword?

A keyword is any phrase you would like your site to rank for in Google’s search results. A keyword can be a single word, or a keyword can also be a combination of words. If you are trying to target a single word, lookout! You will have your work cut out for you. Single word keywords are extremely competitive, and difficult to rank highly for in the search results.

Here’s some different kinds of keywords:

Head-term keywords: keywords with one to two words, i.e.
classic movies.

Long-tail keywords: keywords with three or more phrases, i.e.
classic Akira Kurosawa movies.

Navigational keywords: keywords used to locate a particular brand or website. Examples would be Facebook, YouTube or Gmail.

Informational keywords: keywords used to discover on a particular topic. This includes keywords beginning with “how to…” or “what are the best…”

Transactional keywords: keywords entered into Google by customers wanting to complete a commercial action, i.e. buy jackets online.

In most cases, targeting head-term or navigational keywords for other brands is competitive and not worth the time or effort. Despite their high traffic numbers, they will generally not lead to any sales. On the other hand, long-tail, informational and transactional keywords are good keywords for most SEO projects. They will lead to more customers.

How to generate a massive list of keywords.

There are many ways to skin a cat. The same is true for finding the right keywords.

Before you can find keywords with loads of traffic in Google, you must first develop a list of potential keywords relevant to your business.

Relevance is vital.

If you spend your time trying to cast too wide a net, you can end up targeting keywords irrelevant to your audience.

For example, if you are an online football jacket retailer in the United States, examples of relevant keywords might be:

Buy football jackets
Buy football jackets online
Online football jackets store USA

Irrelevant keywords might be:

Football jacket photos
How to make your own football jacket
Football jacket manufacturers
How to design a football jacket

You can see how the first pool of keywords are more relevant to the target audience of football jacket retailers, and the second pool of keywords are related but unlikely to lead to customers.

Keeping relevance in mind, you must develop a list of potential keyword combinations to use as a resource, so you can then go and uncover the best keywords with a decent amount of traffic each month in Google.

Following are some powerful strategies you can use to help with generating this list.

1. Steal keywords from competitors.

If you’re feeling sneaky, you can let your competitors do the heavy lifting for you and snatch up keywords from their sites.

There are many tools out there created for this sole purpose. A simple and free tool is the SEOBook Keyword Analyzer. If you enter a page into this tool within seconds it will scrape a list of the keywords your competitor has optimized into their page. You can then use this to bulk out your keyword list.

SEOBook Keyword Analyzer

While the SEOBook Keyword Analyzer is a great, simple tool for revealing the keywords your competitors have optimized into the page, another powerful tool is SEMrush’s Domain Analytics Organic Research Tool. This tool estimates the keywords that are sending the largest amount of traffic to your competitors’ websites. The estimates are reasonably accurate and can be a valuable resource for bulking out your keyword list.

While SEMrush’s insights are powerful, they do come at a cost. You can preview the first 10-keywords for free, but if you want more data its plans start at $69.95 per month for pro users.

SEMrush Domain Analytics

2. Brainstorm your own master list.

Assuming competitors have been thorough with their research isn’t always the best strategy. By brainstorming combinations of keywords, you can generate a giant list of potential keywords.

To do this, sketch out a grid of words your target customer might use. Split the words into different prefixes and suffixes. Next up, combine them into one giant list using the free Mergewords tool. With this strategy you can quickly and easily build up a massive list of relevant keywords.


– buy
– where do I buy

Middle word
– NFL jerseys
– NFL uniforms
– NFL jackets

– online

Combined keywords
– NFL jerseys
– NFL jerseys online
– NFL uniforms
– NFL uniforms online
– NFL jackets
– NFL jackets online
– buy NFL jerseys
– buy NFL jerseys online
– buy NFL uniforms
– buy NFL uniforms online
– buy NFL jackets
– buy NFL jackets online
– where do I buy NFL jerseys
– where do I buy NFL jerseys online
– where do I buy NFL uniforms
– where do I buy NFL uniforms online
– where do I buy NFL jackets
– where do I buy NFL jackets online
– NFL jerseys
– NFL jerseys online
– NFL uniforms
– NFL uniforms online
– NFL jackets
– NFL jackets online

We will continue discussion on keyword research in the next article. Stay tunned