SEO Keyword Research 101

Learn it in 4 steps


SEO Keyword Reseach
This article is a quick start guide to get you doing seo keyword research fast, if you need a more advance guide is one of my favorite.

SEO keyword research is like finding the right key to a bank vault, finding it unlocks the treasures laid behind the vault. In our case the treasures are visitors and leads. Keywords can make or break any digital marketing campaign, good keywords does not just attracts visitors but more importantly the right type that will convert into customers.

It all starts with words typed into a search box of search engines …. looking for the best result or answer


Let’s get started – 4 Simple Keys

  • Give & Take
  • Short & Long
  • Test & See
  • Pick & Choose

Key 1 – Give & Take

Give – This is the fun part, start by putting down a list of possible terms you can think of. This is often just plucking phrases or words out from thin air, so you can be creative and don’t put boundaries around it.

For example if you are selling vacuum cleaner, you may have this keywords:

Possible keywords
Vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaner shop
Bagless vacuum cleaner
Sensor touch vacuum cleaner
Singapore vacuum cleaner

Take – Ask your customers, friends or any one that is not part of your team what keywords would they use to search for your business, you may find some surprises here. Different users may choose different keywords depending on needs and personas.

Possible keywords
The receptionist(persona) may use “lightweight vacuum cleaner”, the need is portability
The finance executive(persona) may use “cheap vacuum cleaner”, the need is affordability
The teenager(persona) may use “portable waterproof vacuum cleaner” the need is durability

Key 2 – Short & Long

Each time a keyword is used, it indicates some degree of buy or search intent. Understanding “short tail” and “long tail” keywords would allow you to identify between buy and search intent.

“Short tail” keywords are generally 2+ word phrases, using our example of vacuum cleaner; it would be great to rank #1 for the keyword “vacuum cleaner”. This type of keyword has high daily search volume, some have tens of thousands search per day, but such “Short tail” keywords normally indicates high search intend but low buying intend, it’s more for information gathering. Such “short tail” keywords are usually used during the first attempt to find out what possible results are available from the search engine – simply browsing. Such terms make up less than 30% of the search volume. The remaining 70% lie in what we call the “long tail”.

longtail keywords
“Long tail” keyword is generally more than 3+ word phrases, examples “lower power consumption vacuum” or “light weight industrial vacuum”. They tend to have less daily search volume but high buying intend which often converts better. “Long tail” words are usually the low hanging fruit for seo ranking, getting them to rank requires less effort.

Key 3 – Test & See

Having a keyword list without data is not going to help you decide how to choose the keywords. A good place to start gathering data is using Google Keyword Planner (GKP). Below are the steps:

Step 1 - Keyword tool
You can use your gmail account to setup an AdWords account, it will use your existing gmail login.
After Signing in to the AdWords account click on tools and select keyword tool planner.

keyword planner

Step 2 - Research options
You will be presented with 4 choices, for our purpose select the 2nd option – get search volume for a list of keywords. The other options would more be for setting up adwords campaigns

keyword planner

Step 3 - Search volume
Enter in the pre selected keywords from your Key 1 & 2.

keyword listing

Step 4 - Final result
Google will show the projected search volume and estimated competition index. Competition index shows if advertisers are willing to offer a bid price, high means lots of bidder. In our example the long tail keyword has a high competition index, indicating it to be a profitable choice, and as a long tail keyword it would be a low hanging fruit, easy for seo ranking.

keyword result
keyword result

Key 4 – Pick & Choose

To pick and choose the best combination of profitable keywords you have to run an AdWords campaign to test your selection.

To get the best usage of the data you would need to understand how Google’s volume search data are presented by different match type: broad, phrase and exact. In your test campaign set each keyword phrase to with these match type.

Let take the keyword example – “industrial vacuum cleaner”

Broad match means as long one of the three words in key as a query it would be consider in the search volume. If I search for vacuum it will consider as part of the search vol.

Phrase match means the search query must have at least “industrial vacuum cleaner” in it, example would be “waterproof industrial vacuum cleaner”

Exact match as suggested must be have the identical search phrase of “industrial vacuum cleaner”

Most of the good long tail keyword would come from phrase match type of keywords, this would mean relying the phrase match data won’t not allow you to find what are the actual keyword being used during the search.

To find these important long tail keyword who need to have Google Analytics (GA), using the GA Match Search Query it will reveal these terms.

This is how you find the gems

Step 1

Google analytics keywords

Step 2

GA Match query

Step 3

match search qury keywords

Now this time for ACTION, happy finding