How to do Keyword Research – Step by Step Guide
Keyword research is the starting point and the most important part of your online marketing strategy, whether you plan to use the results for your SEO positioning or for your online advertising campaigns.
When you do keyword research for SEO purposes, you aim to find suitable high-volume keywords to write content for your website that’s relevant and easily searchable on Google, so your site appears for those search terms.
Doing keyword research for paid media purposes is slightly different, as you will want to combine high-volume with low-volume but more accurate keywords to bid for focussing on data like their cost per click and competitiveness.
There are many ways to perform Keyword Research, today you’ll learn how to do Keyword Research from the start until the end using only free tools and resources.
Take into account we’ll focus on how to do keyword research for paid marketing strategies. However, you can follow the same steps for a SEO keyword research, only focusing on the metrics that interest you.
How to think of keyword ideas
Analyzing and finding the right keywords that are valuable for your advertising campaigns is not always a smooth process.
First of all you need to think about the different landing pages you want to position, and understand how customers might search for your business and the different products or services you offer on each of those pages.
The easiest way to start is:
- Making a list of keywords for each of the pages you want to position by simply brainstorming “seed” keywords you guess people would type into Google to find what you offer. For instance if you are selling “women running shoes”, you can use that as a keyword and think of others like “sport shoes for women”, “running shoes offers”, “women’s trainers” and so on.
Using Google’s and other search engines autocomplete results, as they usually give you ideas of the most common searches related to your starting keyword. See an example:
- Study your niche in detail by searching what people are searching for in industry forums, Q&A sites or social media groups and networks. It can give you out-of-the-box ideas and help you discover angles that you might not have thought of before. You can even talk with your existing customers and get to know them better and get involved in your topic to find out the pain points that are mentioned regarding your niche.
- Checking your Search Results report in your Google Search Console, that will already show the 1,000 main keywords that you already rank for organically. If you don’t have Google Search Console setup it’s okay, you can use a free tool like clever ads to analyze your site and discover tons of new keyword ideas. Take a look at how to use it:
- You can also use this Chrome Extension to see what keywords your competitors rank for by analyzing their sites instead of yours. Another easy way to identify your competitors keywords is using your brainstormed list of keywords and searching for them on Google. Who ranks for it on the front page?
How to multiply your keyword ideas
Competitors and your imagination can be an awesome source of inspiration for keyword ideas, but there are still thousands of keywords that your competitors aren’t targeting and that could differentiate you.
You can multiply your keywords by using a keyword planner or keyword research tool. We’ll use Clever Ads free keyword planner to illustrate the next steps, but all of them work similar.
Using a Keyword Planner – Step 1: Get your keyword ideas list.
First step is entering one or more seed keywords in the keyword research bar, and in a few seconds you’ll get tons of keyword ideas generated. Clever Ads keyword planner allows you to filter by location and language so you get more accurate search terms for the locations and languages you’re focusing your strategy on.
Let’s see an example:
We’ve entered a few seed keywords and got 859 keyword ideas in return. Easy and fast, isn’t it?
Too many keywords might seem overwhelming, yep. Don’t worry, let’s take a look at how to narrow them down.
Using a Keyword Planner – Step 2: Filter your keyword ideas.
Now it’s time to filter all these keyword ideas and only keep the ones that really interest you for adding them in your campaigns and ad groups. Or for creating content around them if you’re doing a keyword research for SEO purposes
Some keyword planner tools might not include all these filtering options, but let’s dig deeper in how you should filter your keywords setting Clever Ads keyword planner as an example. The filtering options are:
- Search volume: in both cases, whether you’re searching SEO keywords or advertising keywords, you’ll want keywords that people actually search. The highest the search volume, the better. In the following example we filtered keeping only the keywords that are searched at least 500 times a month.
- Trend: This small graph will help you see at first glance if the search volume trend for each keyword is growing, decreasing or follows a cyclical pattern. For instance, Christmas related search terms will only have a high search volume around Christmas. It’s something important to take into account so you don’t bid for keywords during specific periods of time where nobody searches for them.
- CPC (cost-per-click): This metric is only useful when choosing keywords for your advertising campaigns. It’s an estimate on how much each click will cost you on your ads when people search for those search terms. In the following example we decided we won’t be including any keyword that costs more than $2 per click.
- Competition: This metric has nothing to do with SEO. It describes the amount of advertisers that are willing to bid for those keywords, which is very useful to know when choosing your advertising keywords and normally will be directly related with CPC. The less competitors, the cheaper bidding for those keywords will usually be and the higher chances your ads get to the top results on Google.
- Words to exclude or to include in your keywords suggestions: You can also filter if you don’t want keywords including specific keywords in your keyword suggestion results. Or else, you only want keyword suggestions that include a specific keyword. In our example, we don’t want to bid for branded terms, so we filtered out our competitors brand names.
After using the filters to narrow down the keywords, we’ll keep 320 of them out of the 859 results we got in first place. Now it’s time to dig deeper into the keywords we got.
Using a Keyword Planner – Step 3: Creating keyword lists.
At this point in most Keyword Planners you’ll need to download the list of keywords in an Excel document, and then manage them in the spreadsheet. Clever Ads allows you to do so as well in case you want it that way.
However, as we are aware, believe me, of how tedious it is to keep filtering and managing your keywords in an Excel spreadsheet, we’ve worked hard so you can save your lists directly in our Keyword Planner tool and manage them there directly. Tada! I’m sure this makes you happy.
Now let’s continue with our example. It’s time to create a list with the keywords left, so we can manage them easily and comfortably. This way we’ll also save that list so we can come back anytime to manage it.
be asked to sign into your Google Ads account to create your keywords list, so anytime you come back and sign in with that same account you’re able to have your saved lists there.
In the lists view you’ll be able to keep filtering keywords from your lists, merge lists, create several keyword lists out of one of them, erase keywords and… drum roll… directly upload them to your Google Ads account!
You read that right, you won’t need to enter your Google Ads account or download your keyword lists for uploading them anywhere. All you have to do is select the keyword lists and choose the campaign or ad group you want them to upload to. It’s that easy.
Using a Keyword Planner – Step 4: Understanding your keywords.
How do you choose the right keywords for you out of your keyword lists? It depends on your strategy and what your keywords are for.
- Do you want keywords for ads that will point to generic brand landing pages or product categories landings? Then choose shorter and generic search terms that are closely related to your brand’s main topic or category. An example would be “running equipment”.
- Do you want keywords for advertising a specific product or service? Then I’d recommend you go for long tail keywords that are more descriptive, cheap, less competitive and will attract a more relevant audience compared to other generic keywords. An example would be “Christmas offers for women running trainers”. These keywords get fewer clicks but as they are focused on a specific topic or product, they get a higher conversion rate.
You can learn more about how to select the best converting long-tail keywords for your Google Ads strategy before getting started. And take into account that the perfect strategy is to combine both types of keywords in your campaigns depending on their goals.
For example, if we are running a campaign for our Black Friday promotions, I’d combine long tail keywords like “Christmas offers for women running trainers” with others like “Christmas gift ideas” that can help you attract people that haven’t decided what to buy yet and so you’d be showing them your products or services right when they are making the decision on what to buy.
Something you need to remember when choosing your keywords is that you’re not only looking for “cheap” keywords or for keywords that’ll bring the most traffic to your site, unless your goal is only brand awareness. You’re looking for those with the highest return on investment.
Let’s wrap this up
That’s it – everything you need to know to do a complete keyword research and create a winning keyword strategy in one simple guide.