SEO Keyword Research

SEO Keyword Research

Learn about the importance of SEO keyword research and how you can use it to increase traffic to your website.

7 minutesEstimated read time


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DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which may provide compensation to us from the service providers at no cost to you if you decide to use their services.

Perhaps you’ve just launched your website, and you want people to find it. Or maybe you have an established website, but you’re struggling to bring in more traffic. There’s good news… search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can help you with these tasks! 😁

One of the most important things to do when working on SEO is to find ways to improve your organic search rankings. This is where SEO keyword research comes in!

Keyword research is one of the foundational techniques for SEO. For a comprehensive and in-depth guide to SEO, including many more techniques, tips, tricks, and recommended tools you can use, check out our SEO Tools Guide.

SEO Tools
SEO Tools: Toolkits, Techniques, Tips, and Tricks
I just led you to this comprehensive article about SEO. Don’t believe me? Let me show you how I used SEO tools to make that happen…

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a word or phrase that people use to search for products and services. When people are searching on Google, Bing, or another search engine, they can use keywords to find what they’re looking for.

Keywords can be more than just one word. In fact, keywords are often multiple words.

There are two main types of keywords:

Short-tail keywords have up to around 3 words and are usually broad terms. For example, if you’re looking for information about e-commerce, you might type in online businesses.
Long-tail keywords have more than around 3 words and are usually used by people who want to find information on a specific topic or question. For example, a long-tail keyword might be starting an online business in the travel industry.

Long-tail keywords have several advantages over short-tail keywords. They don’t have as much competition because they’re so narrow and specific, and they tend to convert better than broad keywords. They also help with user experience and SEO by leading to more relevant content.

However, there is a major tradeoff: the more specific the keyword is, the less often that keyword is searched for! Thus, you’ll likely need to capture hundreds of long-tail keywords in order to get the same amount of traffic as capturing just a few short-tail keywords.

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research will help you understand:

What people are looking for on Google (and other search engines)
How often people search for specific terms or phrases (the volume of searches)
Which words or phrases are used most frequently in search results
How much competition there is for a keyword (keyword difficulty)
How expensive a keyword is if you plan to run paid advertising campaigns

More importantly, the keywords you use on your website pages will directly affect your position in search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.

PRO TIP: A SERP is a list of web pages that a search engine thinks best relates to a user’s keyword search. Pages that are listed at the top of SERPs can generate a TON of organic traffic!

Therefore, it’s super important that your website pages show up as high as possible on SERPs for all of the keywords that matter to your business.

Which keywords should you use for SEO?

So, with all that in mind, how do you choose keywords for SEO? The best way to find keywords is by using an SEO toolkit, which is basically just a collection of tools specially designed to help you with SEO, including doing keyword research.

With an SEO keyword research tool, you can start by entering your main keyword. This will show you a huge number of details and metrics about the keyword as well as related keywords that people use when searching on Google.

PRO TIP: Most SEO tools have some form of a Difficulty Rating (DR) that indicates how hard it is to get on the first search results page for a keyword based on competition.

They also include a search volume value that indicates how many people perform a search using that exact keyword every month.

Try to choose keywords that you think are both relevant and useful for people searching online. To start out, you should aim for keywords that are both easy to rank for and that people are actually using.

Unless you have a super-popular site with an amazing amount of traffic already, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to be able to rank for highly competitive terms that have a huge search volume.

Here are just a few premium SEO tools that can help you find keywords for your SEO strategy:

SEO Keyword Research Tools

Lots of integrated, user-friendly SEO tools, including their Keyword Research tool that shows a difficulty rating, search volume over time, and estimated traffic and cost-per-click (CPC) for paid traffic. They provide a free 14-day trial. Plans start at around $40 per month (paid annually).
Their Keyword Explorer tool allows you to get tons of suggestions from a database of more than 7 billion keywords. They don’t have a free trial of their premium features, but they do have an ongoing free limited plan which allows you to integrate your Google Search Console data for any domains you control. Plans start at about $82 per month (paid annually).
Using their general keyword tools and Keyword Magic Tool, you can get lots of keyword ideas based on any topic and research keywords across the largest keyword database on the market. They offer a free 7-day trial as well as a free limited plan once your trial is over. Plans start at around $100 per month (paid annually).
Their set of keyword tools allow you to dig deep into organic and paid traffic, compare competitors, and get keyword search question suggestions. After a 7-day free trial, you can continue using a limited set of features for free. Plans start at around $55 per month (paid annually).

But those are only a handful of the many all-in-one SEO toolkits available. All of them include tools for keyword research. In my opinion, when used wisely, premium SEO tools are worth every penny.

For a comparison of many popular SEO toolkits, check out this detailed SEO Toolkit Report.

SEO Toolkit Comparison Report
SEO Toolkit Comparison Report
In-depth comparison report for 21 of the most popular SEO software toolkits on the market! Tables, metrics, facts, key figures, infographics and more!

Insert keywords thoughtfully!

It’s important to use keywords in key locations on your web pages because they’re the primary areas that search engines look at when ranking a page. Here are some spots to consider:

Page Title (this is one of the most important locations you have for catching people’s eyes when they are scanning search results for relevant pages)
Page Description
First Paragraph
Page Body
Page URL

PRO TIP: You should take care not to overdo it. Stuffing your pages with keywords will only hurt you in the long run. A great way to place keywords is by including them naturally within your page so that it doesn’t look forced or unnatural.

Evaluate your results and fine-tune them!

After you’ve done your keyword research and chosen the right keywords to target, it’s time to see where you’re ranking.

You’ll want to check your SEO results on a regular basis so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your keyword strategy. An effective SEO campaign will see an increase in search engine rankings over time as well as increased traffic from organic search results.

But don’t waste your time trying to track all of that data manually! The SEO tools listed above should also help you automatically keep track of your keyword positions over time. 😎

SEO takes time. But if there are no noticeable changes after a month or two, it means that your keyword strategy might need some fine-tuning. You might need to add more content to your page, add new keywords, change the keyword positions, or even remove some keywords.


I hope this article helped you to get a better understanding of how keywords can be used for SEO. But we only just started to scratch the surface of what SEO has to offer!

There are many more details and nuances about SEO, keywords, and keyword research that are covered in the SEO Toolkits guide. Why not continue your journey and check it out?