How to Do Keyword Research for Your Blog – 100% Working Blueprint for 2020

As a blogger, I’m sure you’ve likely heard the term “Keyword Research.”

But perhaps you’re not quite sure about how to find the right keywords? And what to do once you find them?

If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you’re certainly not alone.

Understanding how to do keyword research and implement it properly in your content can be a challenging task.

This is why today, I am writing this guide to Simplify the complex Keyword research process for you.

I promise, By the end f this Ultimate Keyword research tutorial, you’ll have a complete understanding of keyword research, from finding the right keywords to using it in your content creation and content promotion.

Better grab a cup of coffee☕😊 I have included everything, I think you need to know about Keyword research. I’ve also added a table of content, so you can easily go through the whole content quickly.

How to do keyword research for SEO

Basic of Keyword Research

Before I dive into the exact steps to find keywords for your Blog, let’s take a look at what keyword research is and why you should care.

What are KEYWORDS?

The keywords are the ideas and topics that describe the content of your pages & posts the best. In terms of SEO, they’re the Words and Phrases people type into search engines like Google to get the information they want online.

For example, someone needs help baking a cake so they might search on Google for “How to make a cake” or “cake baking tips.” Here the search term they are using is the keywords.

As a blogger and website owner, you want the keywords on your pages & posts to be relevant to what people are searching for, so they have a better chance of finding your content among the search results appear in front of them.


What Is KEYWORD RESEARCH?

Keyword research is a process of finding, identifying and analyzing the relevant words and phrases people are using in Search engines with the ultimate goal of optimizing content around those search terms and eventually ranking for those terms in search engines.

After all, for a blogger or content creator, creating good content is not enough – You want to show your content in the search results for the keyword your target audience is searching.

So, before you optimize your content, you need to know which keywords and phrases your potential readers or users are using in the search engines when they are looking looking for information in your niche.

And keyword research is the exact process of how you uncover those keywords – making it essential and in fact first step in any content creation strategy.


How Important is Keyword Research? (Don’t Skip This!)

If you are not familiar with the term SEO, it stands for Search engine Optimization. It is basically set of best practices and strategies by which you can make your blog and content more friendly to search engines and thus rank your content higher in the search results.

Keywords are an important factor that helps search engines like Google to understand the topic of content and decide where to rank your content in search results.

But more and more, we hear how much SEO has evolved over the last 5-6 years, and how unimportant keywords themselves have become in order to rank well for the searches people make on a daily basis.

And to some extent, this true – using keywords in your content that exactly match a person search query is no longer the most important factor in the eyes of an SEO professional in order to rank in the search results.

Rather, it is the intent behind the keyword and whether or not a piece of content solves the intent matters the most. (I’ll talk about search intent in just a minute)

But wait, Does that means Keyword research has no value in 2020?

No, even in 2020, Keyword research is the most important and foremost task in content creation or SEO campaigns.

Let me explain:

Keyword research helps you find the answer to some of the most important question that comes in your mind before creating a piece of content:

  1. What topics people care about in your niche (Assuming you use the right SEO tool)
  2. How popular those topics actually are among your audience (Search volume)
  3. How competitive it is and what it takes to rank for those terms in top results.
  4. And even what exact kind of content you need to create to be able to rank for the search term.

You’ll see what I mean by the end of this guide.

In a nutshell: Even in 2020, proper keyword research is the most crucial factor of a widely successful content and SEO campaign that drives the target audience and helps you make money.

Types of SEO keywords

While doing keyword research, you’ll come across different terms like ‘seed keywords’, ‘long-tail keywords’ or ‘LSI keywords’. So, to make sure you don’t have to face any confusion, let me quickly give you a basic info about the different types of keywords.

1. Seed Keywords

Seed keywords also known as Focus, head, or the main keyword are base or foundation keywords for SEO. They usually consist of one or two words search phrases that have very high search volume.

Generally, these types of keywords are highly competitive with thousands of top websites competing for the top position in the SERPs.

Example: SEO, Keyword research, Social Media, Gain weight, Increase height, bake a cake, etc.


2. Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that tend to convert exceptionally well. Usually, they are consist of more than 3 words.

Since they’re very specific, they have less search volume compared to head keywords but at the same they are also less competitive and easy to rank in top position of SERPs.

Example: What is SEO, How to do Keyword Research from scratch, How to gain weight fast, How to increase height after 18, How to bake a cake at home, etc.

Helpful resource – Long Tail keyword guide by Hostinger


3. Synonyms or closely related keywords

These are the keyword which are closely related to each other and having same search intent. The only difference is they are written differently.

Example: Best SEO expert in India, Top SEO service provider in India, Best SEO consultant in India (Here search intent is almost same for all the keywords)


4. LSI Keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords are conceptually related terms to your main keyword. These are the words and Phrases that are often found together with your content and share the same context.

For example – Engines, vehicle, motor, speed, petrol, buy, sell, dealers are the LSI keywords for a seed keyword like CAR.

Helpful resource – What Are LSI Keywords: Rob Powell 

How to Do Keyword research from Scratch

Step 1: Make a list of relevant topics ideas and create topic buckets

To start your keyword research, you’ll need to get some topic ideas.

Do your brainstorming and write down anything that comes to mind related to your niche you are working in.

Better put yourself in the position of the Google Searcher and try to think what search term they might type in Google related to your niche or industry.

Group your all ideas together to form topic buckets. You’ll use those topic buckets to help come up with some specific keywords later in the process.

Let me give you an example of how this works.

Take for example my blog right here. As you might be knowing, I talk a TON about Blogging, SEO, and digital marketing on my blog. So, my topic bucket might include the following:

  • Blogging
  • WordPress
  • WordPress Themes
  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Hosting

The list could go on a bit longer, but these are the main category my all blog posts fall under.

✍️ NOTE: Keep in mind that these are not the actual keyword but broad topics that will help us narrow down on more specific keywords later on.

👉 Still, Struggling to Find Topic ideas?

Visit few websites or blogs working in your niche and take a closer look at their posts and site structure. This can give you more ideas about topics related to your niche that you might have not thought of yet.

Once you have at least 8-10 seed keywords/topic ideas, move to step #2 of keyword research Tutorial.

Step 2:  Find seed keywords for your topics using keyword research tools

Now that we have a list of topics ideas, it’s time to convert our ideas into SEO keywords.

SEO Keywords are the actual terms our target users type in search engine.

To do that, we need to take help of a keyword research tools. 

EDITORS NOTE: Selecting right keywords isn’t a guessing game, so you need the right keyword research tools in order to evaluate your keywords based on different metrics.

I’ll be using SEMrush in the examples because it’s my favorite keyword research tool and has all the bells and whistles, but you can also make use of any other similar tool.

To get started, log in to SEMrush and head over to the KEYWORD MAGIC TOOL (located under Keyword Analytics). Enter your first topic into the search box and hit enter. To continue with our example, I entered “Web hosting”.

SEMEush keyword magic tools

Within a second, SEMrush keyword magic tool will do its magic and shows thousands of keyword related to your topic along with its important metrics.

Keyword magic tool overview

Go through the list and select the keywords that are related to your blog or business. At this point, we are only interested in keywords that have decent search volume (at last 250 monthly searches).

What is search volume?

The search volume is the number of searches performed on Google per month for a particular keyword.

SEMrush keyword selection

Make sure to navigate through all the Keywords Menu (Phrase match, exact match, related and Question) in order to reveal more and more related keywords.

SEMrush keyword type

Once you are done with selecting all the important keywords, click on the EXPORT button and select XLSX format to get the keyword list in excel format.

SEMrush export keywords

Step 3:  Examine the search intent of each keyword

Now that you have a list of seed keywords, its time for looking search intent of each keyword.

The search intent simply means what types of information users are actually looking for and why they are searching for that specific term in Google or other search engine.

For many keywords the search intent is obvious but for few, it needs more investigation.

For example, when someone is searching for “Best Samsung Smartphone under $500”, their intent is clear but when they search for ‘best smartphone’ it is very vague.

The best way to find search intent of the keyword is to enter the keyword in Google and analyse the top 10 results in SERP. Because Google algorithms very accurately understand the actual intent of the user. So what they show on the top 10 results are very close to what users are looking for.

The reason why I am advising you to identify the search intent is that it will help you eliminate those keywords from your list that have different intent than your goal of content creation. So it is a waste of time and resources to focus on those keywords that won’t get the kind of organic traffic you want for your blog.

For example, While I was researching keyword for “SEO” topic, I got a keyword “Professional SEO services”. This keyword has a good search volume along with average keyword difficulty, means I can rank for the term in top position.

Keyword overview

But when I searched for this keyword in Google, all the top position were occupied by big digital marketing agency providing SEO services.

Google search result for professional seo services

Since my blog provides only education resources about SEO rather than SEO Services, so this keyword is not a good fit for my blog.

This was just an example, you can follow the same process to analyze intent of any keyword you want.

Step 4: Find Long Tail Keywords

As you go through the list of seed keywords found in Step #2, you will realize that most of them (if not all) are super competitive.

In simple words, when you search for those terms in Google, you will find hundreds of top authority sites competing for one of the top ten positions in SERPs.

Well, if you have an established website (A very old site with incredible link profile), then this may not be a very big issue for you, but if your site is relatively new in the industry, this is going to be a huge problem and you might have trouble getting past Google’s third page.

For example:

Let’s say I want to write a post about best web hosting on my blog. But when I searched for the term “Best web Hosting” in Google, all top position was occupied by the biggest sites in the industry like Quicksprout, Tech Radar, PC Mag, WebsiteBuilderExpert, etc.

Google search result

Now here, no matter how much better content I create on my blog about Web hosting, I can’t compete against these massive sites for this target keyword. (Yup!! that’s the sad reality)

So, What should we do?

Well, we should adjust our keyword research strategy and start looking for the keyword that are less competitive

i.e. long-tail keywords.

A typical long-tail keyword has these properties:

  1. Consists of 4 or more words.
  2. Has lower search volume but usually also very less competition
  3. Is more specific = has higher engagement and conversion rates
Long tail keywords explained by Bloggingnova

As you can see in the image, the number of the audience coming through long-tail keywords may represent a significant share of all search traffic but still, you’ll be in the winning side.

How?

See, because these longer terms don’t get too many searches compared to seed keywords, they are usually aren’t very competitive.

So, its a wise decision to start with the low hanging fruit and built your way up, rather than spending your time and effort on popular keywords that it’s impossible to rank.


How to find long-tail keywords?

Firstly you can manually search for the seed term on Google and look for the ‘People also ask’ or ‘related searches’ section to get long-tail keyword ideas.

People also ask for Google suggestion
people also ask for snippet in Google SERP
Related search term
Related search terms appearing at bottom of the SERP

You can also go to online platforms like Quora and Reddit to check what peoples are searching over there in your niche.

Quora

But as I said earlier, if you have a good keyword research tool like SEMrush then you don’t need to waste time in manually finding the right keywords.

SEMrush can help you find any type of keyword you want.

Do you know?

As of 2020, SEMrush has 18.8 billion keywords from 118 countries’ databases – it’s the largest keyword database on the market!

Continuing with our example, head over to Keyword Magic tool again and enter you main keyword in the search box.

Now use the ‘Advanced Filters’ word count to search for keywords that have at least 4 words or more. Just enter the number 4 into the minimum ‘Words Count’ box and click Enter.

Word count filter SEMrush

You can also use another very handy ‘Volume’ filter to set minimum search volume to 500 or any number you want to show only those long-tail keywords which have at least 500 or above monthly searches.

Search volume filter SEMrush

What you are seeing now is the keyword that consists of more than 4 word (Less competitive) as well as which has at least 500 monthly searches (means also bring traffic)

Now go through the keyword list and select those keywords which match your business, examine their search intent, and finally add them to your main keyword list, so that you can target those keywords on your blog in the future.

Competitor-Based Keyword Research – This is how I find winning keywords for my blog

Above 4 steps were the traditional approach for Keyword research which involved:

  1. Finding and creating topic bucket
  2. Finding Seed keywords for topic
  3. Checking search intent
  4. Then finding long tail keywords

But with the Competitor-based keyword research approach, we don’t need to start with the main seed keywords and browse through hundreds of suggestions. 

We can directly enter the blog post URL of one of our competitor ranking in the top position and a tool like SEMrush will fetch the top ranking keywords for us.

Didn’t get it?

Wait let me quickly show you how this approach works and how I find best keywords for my blog posts.

Let’s say I want to write my next blog post about “Cold Brew Coffee” (Yummy😋) on my blog.

So, I will first go to Google and enter my main keyword “Cold brew Coffee”.

Now, it is obvious that Google will show me the top quality articles ranking on the first page of Google.

So from here, I will copy the blog post URL of any one of the top results (Example post no #2).

Google search result for cold brew coffee

Now, I will Open SEMrush tool > head over to organic research appearing under domain analytics tab > enter the blog Post URL in search box > press enter button.

Check competitors keyword with SEMrush

Want to See the SEMrush magic?

See, Within a second SEMrush told me that this blog post is ranking for more than 1.7k different terms in search engine + this single blog post is receiving more than 31.6k visitors every month.

Keyword data

That’s great, but where are those keywords?

Well, all I have too do is just go to “position tab” and it will show me all the 1.7k keywords..

how to Check competitors keyword

In just first look, I found some good keywords like how to make cold brew coffee, what is cold brew coffee, how to make cold brew coffee at home, and cold brew coffee recipe.

See, how simple it is find keyword for our blog posts and pages within less than 5 minutes…

If you want to see more keyword ideas, you can repeat the same process with another blog post appearing for your target topic in Google’s top position.

Additional resources for Competitor based keyword research:

A Step-By-Step Guide To Competitor-Based Keyword Research – Authority Hacker.

How to Find High-Value Competitor Keywords – Robbie Richards.

Step 5: Choose the right keywords for your website or Blog

Whether you have created your list of keywords with traditional approach [step 1-4] or Competitor based approach, understanding how to identify the right keyword is super-super important.

Because not every good keyword which you find during your research will be the right fit for your blog or website.

To decide, which keywords to keep or discard, you need to size up each keyword based on a handful of different factors.

Let me quickly explain those factors which you should consider while selecting a keyword:


1. Check Keyword Difficulty Score

The keyword difficulty score is basically an estimate of how difficult it would be to rank in top organic position for that keyword.

It is generally given as percentage (1-100), the lower the percentage the less difficult is to rank in top position for the specific keyword.

Each SEO tool has its own way of calculating keyword difficulty score, but in general most popular SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs calculate the score based on the link profile of top results appearing for that keyword.

In all SEMRUSH reports, you can see the keyword difficulty of a keyword under the column marked as KD%.

Keyword difficulty score

SEMrush also has a separate tool to check difficulty score of bulk keywords. Just head over to Keyword difficulty > enter your keyword and press enter.

On the next screen, it will show you difficulty score for each keyword.

Keyword difficulty tool

2. Check Authority of domains ranking on the top positions

I have already mentioned about this in Step 4.

When you search for a keyword on Google and you notice that the first page of SERP is occupied by big and well-known websites, it means that it will be very difficult for a small blog or website owner to outrank them.

For example, if you search for “SEO” in Google, you’ll notice big authority sites like Moz, Hubspot, Wikipedia, Backlinko, Neil Patel, and other giant SEO blogs have occupied the top position.

This simply means that although “SEO” is a term I would like to rank for, but in reality, this is not going to happen. So, I should better look for variation (long tell search term) that are possible to target.


3. Check Backlink profile of your competitor blog post

If you have been doing SEO for a while now, then you might be knowing that Backlinks are one of the strongest ranking factor for Google.

Which means the more high quality link a blog post has, then more difficult it would be to outrank them from search result.

But how do you check Backlinks of a blog post?

Well, its pretty simple, Open SEMrush tool > head over to backlinks tab appearing under domain analytic > and finally enter your competitor’s blog Post URL.

Check backlinks of your competitiors

On the next page you’ll see the total number of links pointing to the blog post along with total number of unique domain.

In our example, the blog post has 322 links from more than 142 different websites.

Total links

But just checking total number is not enough, because in 2020 quality of the links is far more important that quantity of links.

So, here just click on the Backlink numbers. It will take you to the next tab where you will see all the backlinks along with its source (means which website has linked to the blog post).

Now use DO FOLLOW filter to show only do-follow links because no-follow links have no value in the eyes of Google.

Now you will get only do follow links which are pointing to that particular blog post, here you can check quality of the link by its Page AS score.

Backlink profile

Similarly analyses few more posts appearing for same target keyword in top position.

In the end, if you think that you will be also able to get those links for your blog post then congrats you can target that keyword on your blog now otherwise better focus on some other less- competitive keyword.

How to use keywords in your content?

Now that you have analyzed and found the right keywords, you can start thinking about how to use them within your content.

Most of the Keyword research guide on the internet end at this point.

You have found the keywords, you picked the one with good metrics.

But what to do next?

As I promised in the beginning, it is going to be a complete Keyword research tutorial, so now I’ll share some useful principles and tips on how to use the keywords properly for your content.


Select the focus keyword First:

Select the one focus keywords that represent your content topic the closest.

Now following the best on-page optimization practice include your focus keyword in:

  • The title (both H1 and title tag)
  • Meta description
  • One of the first paragraphs of the text
  • At least one subheading
  • A couple of times in the content text (naturally)

That’s it.

Never ever overuse your keyword in the content because everyone knows that keyword stuffing is an outdated technique which no longer works in 2020.

So, Do not try to stuff the exact match keyword into your blog post to meet certain keyword density (there is no ideal number and never was).

EDITORS’ NOTE: If you are using an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math, then it might suggest the optimal keyword density (means use exact match keyword certain number of times in your content). But don’t take them very seriously. Take their recommendations as a clue but never forget about user experience.


Write long-form content:

Various SEO case studies have already proven that on average, a long-form content (more than 2000 words) performs better in search results than short articles. (Source)

Few advantages of creating long-form content:

  • In a long-form content, different keyword variations are used naturally, which increases the topical relevance and helps you rank for hundreds of related keywords.
  • Long-form content usually has higher engagement as it answers the user’s question (or solves the problem) in a more in-depth way.
  • It naturally attracts more links than short, mediocre articles
  • People spend more time with your content. More time = more trust.
  • It ranks higher in the search engine. serpIQ did a study of the average length of the content in the top 10 results and found that the top-rated posts usually were over 2,000 words.

Now you must be wondering how to use the keywords in a long form content?

See, you don’t need to aggressively include every single related keyword in your content. With long-form content, you usually cover a topic in-depth, and naturally you’ll get the opportunity to add related keywords in your content.

Take this post you are currently reading right now as example:

This is 4800+ words long form content about Keyword research.

As this post cover every detail about Keyword research, so i have naturally used many related keywords in the post.

For example:

  • What is keyword
  • What is Keyword research
  • How to do keyword research
  • How to find profitable keywords
  • Keyword research for beginners
  • How to use keywords in your content
  • etc.

One more thing – it is not a hard and fast rule that you’ll rank for only those keywords which you add in your content.

You can rank for thousands of related keywords even without mentioning them in your content.

Understand this with the help of an example.

If you search for “How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker” the first result is an ultimate guide by a popular coffee-related blog Roastycoffee.

Coffee without coffee maker

Upon having a quick look at the blog post, I found it is a well-written comprehensive post explaining different ways to make coffee without the help of a coffee maker.

With more than 2800 words, it is a typical long-form content covering the topic in detail.

Roastycoffee

Entering the blog post URL in the SEMrush tool, we can see that besides the original main keyword “How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker”, it ranks for more than 253 keywords in the top 10 positions of Google.

Keyword rsearch tutorial

Some good keywords are:

  • how to make coffee in a pot -2900 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee on the stove-1600 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee without a filter – 880 monthly searches
  • how to brew coffee without a coffee maker – 590 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee in the microwave – 390 monthly searches

But again when I came back to the blog posts and searched for those exact match keywords in the article.

see, it is not even mentioned one time in the post.

Keyword

The author of this blog post could write 5 seprate article with these focus keywords:

  • how to make coffee in a pot -2900 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee on the stove-1600 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee without a filter – 880 monthly searches
  • how to brew coffee without a coffee maker – 590 monthly searches
  • how to make coffee in the microwave – 390 monthly searches

But instead, he wrote an in-depth guide that covers the whole topic of “making coffee with coffee maker” and he ranks for all these keywords (and many more) naturally.

Read also – How to increase your website traffic Quickly

Final Thoughts on Keyword Research

No doubt Keyword research is one of the most essential steps in search engine optimization. Through keyword research, you can find those keywords which actually suits your blog and help you drive free organic traffic.

However it is not a one time process, it is an ongoing process for any blogger or website owner. Yo do it initially when you start a new blog and depending on your content creation and marketing campaign, you need to go back and find new keywords again.

If you have read this post properly then you must have realized that the whole process of keyword research is not as complex or challenging as people often think about it.

But yes to make the process dead simple, you will need to use a good keyword research tool which will show you all the necessary metrics to identify good keywords.

Though you can use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner or Ubbersuggest, but for long term projects, you need the help of more reliable tools like SEMRUSH or Ahrefs.

I personally use SEMrush as it not only help me with Keyword research, but it also helps me with competitor research, keyword tracking, Backlink analysis, Detailed website audit to know if my website has any SEO issues and many more other SEO related tasks.

Yes, one more thing SEMrush also offers a free trial which means you can get a whole experience of this tool for free of cost and in case if you want to continue with the tool after trial period then only pay for it.

I have tried my best to distill everything i know about Keyword research into a single and fairly brief blog post. And now I’d like to hear from you.

Share some of your keyword research tips and tricks that you I’ve not mentioned in this guide.

Bn shivam chy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I am Shivam Choudhary founder of Bloggingnova.com – A blog that helps online entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their blog. Whether you are looking for the right advice to get your blog off the ground or proven strategies to accelerate your blog’s growth, I am here to help you get further. 

Leave a Comment

9 comments

  1. Hey Shivam,
    keyword research is the backbone of content .As of now, most keyword research tools are paid now.
    But after keyword research quality matters in your content . As google said content is king but in my point of view engagement in your content is queen.

    Reply
  2. Of course, you want to make people notice your website, but you want to be sure you are getting the right kind of traffic. If you have an online store, you want to make it appeal to customers who are looking for the products you have for sale. If you are offering certain services, you want to make sure the traffic that comes to your site is looking for those services. Choosing good keywords that help people find your website is what it’s all about. A keyword search tool simplifies this process and makes it a lot easier to meet the needs of your targeted market.

    Reply
  3. Shivam,

    The real success in online marketing lies in the keywords that we choose. With no proper keyword research, our entire efforts would make nothing. Your article explains in detail about using the premium SEO tool, SEMRush to do in-depth keyword research to fetch the most potential keywords that actually make the content rank better. Good read!

    Reply
  4. hey shivam, you explained very well
    yes semrush is the leading tool in keyword research and competitor analysis. the tool suggesting by more pro bloggers. great article. you nailed it very well.

    Reply
  5. Hello Shivam,
    Informative article indeed.
    SEMRush is a really an impressive tool to analyze your website and find keywords as well. Few things I would like to add here:
    1) The biggest thing you need to keyword research is your own intelligence. Your thinking capability plays a lot when you are doing keyword research.
    2) Never be dependent on a single tool. Create different lists with different tools and then merge the best from all.
    3) You can also try Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool, Keywordseverywhere and answerthepublic for better ideas.
    4) Google’s related searches also helps a lot.

    PS: You have mentioned shoutmeloud two times 😛

    Rest, you did amazing job with this article. Good luck.

    With Regards
    Naveen
    MightyThemes

    Reply
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