what is keyword research and how

What Is Keyword Research And How To Leverage This For Your SEO Strategy

Today I’d like to discuss what is keyword research and how to make this an important part of your SEO strategy. 

With all the talk about algorithm changes, one practice has remained and continues to be an essential part of every SEO practitioner’s arsenal – keyword research.

Keywords are still and will continue to be an essential component in optimizing your site.  Learn how keyword research fits into an effective SEO strategy and see your rankings rise.

First off, what are keywords?


what is keyword research and howKeywords are words or phrases that users type into Google to find answers to what they are looking for  or to express a need or a problem that they need answers or solutions for.

The search result returned is composed of several websites that search engines deem as appropriate answers to the user’s query.

On the part of website owners, keywords are words or phrases used by these owners, that aptly describe the content of a page, a post or their site as a whole.

Keywords are at the start of every SEO campaign and are its foremost component.

Since keywords are instrumental in making users understand what your site is all about, they are one of the main components that make it possible for your potential customers to find your site.

Keywords are what you use to build your content around.

Keywords are also essential in making search engines understand what your site is all about and are instrumental in your site indexing.

And since search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use them in understanding your site, keywords also enable your pages to get rankings in the search engines and consequently get traffic to your site.

What is keyword research and how do you leverage this for your SEO strategy?


what is keyword research and howKeyword research is simply finding the right keywords that that will attract a targeted audience.

Since each content that you create will be targeting a keyword, it is important that you do keyword research to find the right terms and phrases that will give your posts and pages an opportunity to rank.

You do keyword research to determine which keywords are entered by users into search queries  so that you can use these keywords to create content that will rank in the search engines.

Through keyword research you can learn which words and phrases you need to target for search engine optimization and understand what needs your target market has.

Keyword research is one of the most important SEO activities that help you project target user demands, enable you to respond to those demands and create products that will satisfy your users requirements.

In other words keyword research is the modern term for market research.

Keywords are the backbone of your SEO campaign.   Thus, your SEO strategy hinges greatly on the keywords that you target for.

Simply put, when you master keyword research they become the foundation for your success.

Keywords and its use are an essential part of and is a key component of on page SEO.   See my previous post on How Is On Page SEO Done: 15 Powerful Ways

How to do keyword research


In order to benefit from keywords you must know how to find the right keywords that can give your pages a bigger chance at ranking and getting traffic.

Considering the competition that online marketers must deal with, it is often a challenge to find the right keyword that will help boost our chances for getting on Google’s page one.  This is specially true for new online marketers with newly build websites.

The chances of competing with established websites that are at the top of search results is almost nil.

The problem with most online marketers is that, when searching for keywords, they tend to go after the high traffic keywords that have a lot of competitors vying for them.

This type of keyword is usually very difficult to rank for and makes it harder for your site to get traffic for.

The Long Tail Keywords


Long tail keywords are keywords that are three or more words long and are more specific to what the use is searching for.  Statistics show that 70% of all searches are for long tail keywords.

The great thing about long tail keywords is that they effectively show you the user intent.

It takes the guesswork out of it as you can almost be sure what the user is looking for.  And understanding user intent is a big factor for conversion.

When a user has a problem or a need he or she normally uses short tail or mid tail keywords to get more information.

When a user has a potential solution in mind, he or she usually enters long tail keywords to search for that solution.  And with this comes an intent to buy that solution.

Long tail keywords are ordinarily used by users who are close to making their buying decision.

And you as an online marketer can leverage those long tail keywords that will denote that the user is ready to buy and increase your chances for making that sale.

This example will show this more clearly:

  • Furniture – short tail keyword
  • Toddler furniture  – mid tail keywords
  • Toddler furniture sizes for small bedrooms – long tail keywords

With long tail keywords you zero in on the specific needs of the user and because the search is specific you are able to target those that are ready to buy.   Which gives you better chances to convert.   The more specific the search terms, the better the chances for conversion.

The Wonderful Low Hanging Fruit


what is keyword research and howOne strategy that I highly recommend is to go for the low hanging fruit or keywords with very little or no competition at all.

These are called low hanging fruit because its easier to grab the low hanging fruit that it is to climb the tree to get the fruit at the top.  The fruit is usually smaller meaning it gets less traffic but they get much, much less competition.

We all know that ranking is one of the most challenging things to achieve specially for new websites and blogs.

By using low-hanging fruit keywords you get at chance at getting to the top of the search results. In fact the use of low hanging fruits can be used as a strategy not only by new sites but even by established sites wanting to get an unlimited amount of traffic.

Keywords with very little competition are much easier to rank for than those with a lot of competitors.    When you focus on the low hanging fruits then you tremendously increase your chances of ending in the first page of Google rankings in any niche.

Brand new sites find it specially difficult to get rankings particularly if these use very competitive keywords.

Thus it is better to focus on low competition keywords to boost your chances to rank.  Remember rankings are what get your site found in search engines and no rankings means no traffic.

Choose A Powerful Keyword Research Tool


Keyword research is a tedious and time consuming effort.   Although the rewards for the effort are great  finding those perfect keywords for your posts and pages need not be that difficult if you use the right keyword tool.

I recommend that you use a powerful tool that will immensely help you in your keyword research efforts.

A good keyword research tool should give you, at the least, critical information like number of searches, traffic volume and competition data in order for it to be usable and useful for you.

It should be easy to understand, easy to use and should provide data relevant to your needs as an online marketer.

It should also make your keyword research efforts less taxing and less demanding.

See how a keword research tool should be.

A good understanding of what is keyword research and how to leverage this for your SEO strategy  is key to your site rankings, traffic and conversion.


In doing keyword research, first and foremost on your mind should be to create content that will provide value to your audience.

Post content that will answer the questions of your potential customers and give solutions to their problems.

When you are able to give them that then you maximize your chances to convert those potential customers into actual sales.

Keyword research lets you know what users are looking for and effective use of this enables you to understand what their problems are.

When you have a better understanding of their problems and needs you are able to use the right keywords to drive them to your site to give them the solution they seek.

Please leave your comments or questions below.  I would love to know your thoughts about this.

27 thoughts on “What Is Keyword Research And How To Leverage This For Your SEO Strategy

  1. Keywords should be the backbone of each and every one of your content. Proper research should be done to ensure that you are targeting the right keywords which have search traffic and low competition. Without properly targeted keywords, creating content is almost meaningless unless your strategy relies heavily on PPC marketing. Even then keywords are still important. Thanks for sharing this. Cheers.

    1. That’s the right word you used there Andrew – backbone. Keywords are the foundation of your page and posts. Keyword research is where it all starts. And again I really always try to target low competition keywords as it makes page optimization more effective and really boosts the chances for ranking. Using low hanging fruits has really proven very effective for my SEO.

  2. Keyword research is my favourite part of blogging. To create titles for your posts out of the exact keywords people are searching for boosts your web posts success.
    As you say, long tail keywords are the most powerful solution as you are targeting a specific group of people searching for stuff.
    I try and find high traffic keywords with an approx number of 100 monthly searches and a competition value of somewhere in the teens from other websites using the same keywords.
    The importance of keyword research is to use an up to date keyword tool that’s accurate.
    I never write an article without using a keyword tool. It’s surprising how many suggestion the results offer as alternatives, many far better than the words you think in the first place. The idea is to cherry pick the best phrase comparing with results.
    Which Keyword Tool do you use?
    Thanks,
    Simon.

    1. Hi Simon! Nice to see you again! Just like you, keyword research is one of the more exciting tasks that I do as an online marketer. I always try to target long tails with low competition. Although searches are relatively lower for these keywords I find that this strategy gives me a better chance at ranking. I am even able to get keywords with zero competition and this makes is all the more awesome! No other tool gives essential information such as this than Jaaxy. I have been using it for quite a while now and it has greatly helped me work more efficiently. Another thing I l like about it is the tons of keyword ideas it spurts out when you do even a single search. Really very helpful. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Nice article.
    Keyword research is the heart and soul of page one search results and you explain it well in your article.
    I am familiar with the keyword tool you are talking about and I have to say the tool offered is far and above any other keyword tool I have ever used.
    Jaaxy has it’s own platform and goes beyond anything available today.

    Shawn>>

    1. Hi Shawn! I agree with you that keyword research is at the core of search engine ranking. Keyword research helps you determine what your market is looking for and consequently lets you understand how you can serve those needs. And because keywords are main element of a good SEO campaign, good keyword research is what will spell the difference between success and failure for online marketers. Just like you Jaaxy has always been my tool of choice because of the many features it offers that are really unique to it. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. This is a good topic to cover… keyword research.

    This is one of those topics that I am still very new to, and am learning quite a bit about lately. I know I still have a lot more to learn in order to start getting website traffic.

    I like how you cover long-tail keywords too, because that is one thing that I always forget to do. I have a bad habit of going for the shorter and higher searched for keywords.

    Thanks for the advice

    1. Hi Jeff!

      Keyword research is indeed one of the most important tasks that a website owner should do if you want to optimized your posts and pages. Well optimized posts lead to better chances at ranking with the search engines which of course will eventually lead to more traffic and better conversion rates. In order to be able to compete with in the online arena you can leverage on long-tail keywords as these are the keywords with less sites competing for them. Less competition means more chances for getting to page one. I suggest you give this some serious consideration if you want your posts and pages to get to the top pages of Google.

  5. Hi Kathy, I enjoyed reading this. There was a lot of valuable information about keyword research and I’m glad I came across your page.

    Keyword research is so important for an online business and having a keyword tool definitely takes away a lot of the effort involved and makes it easier to find those low hanging fruit keywords.

    Jaaxy has been my main keyword tool and it’s definitely one I recommend to others who are looking to improve their SEO strategy too.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Hi Stephanie! I have tried other keyword tools in the past and nothing compares to Jaaxy really in terms of ease of use and the amount of information it gives. What I like most is the competition data that comes with every search. This has been very valuable to me. And the keyword ideas that Jaaxy generates is really awesome. It gives you so many ideas for more content. This is THE real tool for SEO.

  6. Keyword research is very important for any campaign’s success and therefore these keywords need to be selected carefully. I liked your idea of wonderful low hanging fruit. It will surely help to rank better and makes sense. I will go check your other post you have mentioned here. Thanks for your wonderful post it really helps.

    1. Yes Jed. I have been using low hanging fruits for quite a while now and I have found this to be very effective for my campaigns. While the searches are much less for these low hanging fruits, the competition is not stiff. I try to look for keywords that have less than 100 competing websites. I sometimes find keywords that have single digit competition numbers and I really have a blast with that. Low hanging fruits will give great advantage to webmasters, specially for those with new websites, who want their pages to really rank in the search engines. Thanks for dropping by Jed!

  7. I’ve been trying to master this technique for over a year now. I spent all day yesterday doing nothing but keyword research and now I’ll a lot one day a month for it. I’ve managed to compile a list of 60 long tail keywords to write my posts on. Some have less tan 10 pages of competition. Work smarter NOT harder is the key to keyword research. Kathy you’ve managed to hit all the main points of this critical process. Really well done!
    Cheers, Peter

    1. Hi Peter! Those long-tails that you found that have less than 10 competing pages are actually precious jewels that you have just mined. Great job! I agree with you that we need to work smarter not harder. And if we can go the easier route to achieve page one on the search results then by all means let us do it. Keep it up! Thanks for visiting my site!

  8. hhhaaa I even read all of the comments matey. I could not agree more with what you say about keyword research and you describe it in such a manner that I did not get confused and it slid effortlessly into my mind. Thank you so much for your insight on a wonderfully detailed page!

    1. Hi Simon! I hope I was able to clarify things for you. Keyword research is one of the essential practices of online marketers as keywords is one of the key elements for optimizing our pages and posts. Thanks for dropping by!

  9. Hey Kathy, thanks for this information as i really needed it. You have now made me knowlegeable than before about how keywords work in SEO. I have a question though. I used a few low hanging key words that my keyword search tool show to have like 30 competitions and so on, however when i check my rankings under the keywords i see 100+. How is that so when there key word tool said that there is only 30 other website with that keyword? Plz help

    1. Hi Michael!

      It used to be that Google gave you the exact competition data in its results whenever you searched for your keywords. But back 2010 Google changed the way they deliver results.

      When searching for competition data, your objective is to find the number of pages with the exact keyword or term because that is your true competition. You do this by doing a quoted search or typing in your keywords enclosed in quotes. The first page that Google will display will have results data at the top of the page. Prior to 2010 these results were the accurate numbers.

      Not anymore. To manually find the accurate competition data, you need to go down to the last page of the search results. The last page will show the exact number of pages competing for your keyword.

      An easier way to do it is to use the Jaaxy keyword tool which shows you true competition data through the QSR field. If you compare the QSR data with the manually derived data you will find that they will be the same.

      Try it out and see for yourself.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  10. This article said it all! It’s very informative. The keyword is really the backbone of SEO to be indexed by the big boss Google and have an amazing page rank. Thanks for indicating the importance of Low Hanging Fruit. Yes it is true that low hanging fruit gives a less competition and less traffic but imagine having 100’s of article that are showing on first page of Google. I also like your content about long tail keywords. Your post is very informative. I will bookmark your page. Thanks for the info!

    1. As I have always said I love the long tails and low hanging fruits. And I have always recommended that online marketers take advantage of the use o f these keywords to make it easier to get to page one of the search results. The traffic you get from these keywords are also more targeted, thus, giving you better chances at conversion. Thanks Chared for dropping by Chared! I hope I was able to give you some good pointers.

  11. Hi Kathy, thanks for writing this article, very informative. I’m still learning about keyword research and I generally focus on writing useful but content but I can see the benefits of low hanging fruit as you’ve written here. One question I have, is there a certain amount of times that you aim for when using long-tail keywords in say a one thousand word article?

    1. Hi Diego! Nice to see you again.
      I think you are referring to keyword density or the number of times a keyword appears in a post. It used to be that keyword density really mattered and was a vital part of good SEO strategy. However, ever since Google came out with their new algorithms, keyword density does not matter that much anymore and is a dying practice. What really matters today to Google is primarily the quality of your content.

      However, there are certain areas where it is still good practice to include your keywords like your title tag, description tag, heading tags. These are all part of good on-page SEO which help make Google and users understand what your page is all about. I have a post that discusses on-page SEO. Try to read it.

  12. Hi, Kathy Keyword research is critical, and the one should spend some quality time to learn it, thanks for sharing these awesome tips.

    The low hanging fruit is an excellent technique to find keywords that will easily get you in the top pages of Google; you can run a full-time business around those.

    How can you find long tail keywords? Are there any tips and strategies you use you can share with us?

    Thanks in advance-Anis

    1. Great to see you again Anis! I love low hanging fruits and I always make it a point to use these whenever I create posts. It is really easier to rank for these keywords making my life much easier. Getting on page one for low competition, low search keywords is for me way better than struggling to climb up to page one for high competition keywords.
      Most of the time I use Jaaxy to find long-tail keywords. I love this keyword research tool because of the tons of keyword ideas it gives you when you enter just one term or phrase. The ideas I get are mostly long-tail so what I do is to research those long tails to get the low-hanging fruits from them.

      You can also use Google Instant and do the alphabet soup technique. You just enter a term or a keyword on Google and it will display several keyword ideas that start with the term that you entered. This is also a great way to get those long-tail ideas.

      Thanks again for dropping by!

  13. Hey Kathy,

    Keyword research is very important. A lot of people don’t put enough time into it. That or they target keywords that are much too hard to rank for. For example, some will go for a keyword that gets several thousand views per month. It’s very competitive. They will try to get it ranked on the first page of Google for 1-3 months and then give up on it.

    It’s important that you go for easier keywords when your site is starting out. Once, you start getting on the first page for easier keywords you can then target harder keywords.

    Also, one thing I try to do is focus on my main keywords. Also, I like to have 4-5 secondary keywords that I would like to rank for in each post. Sometimes just ranking for those secondary keywords can generate more traffic than the main ones you are targeting.

    How many keywords do you usually target on each page or post? Do you use anything to track your keywords?

    1. Hi Garen!

      Those are great tips you shared there. I try to target around 3 or 4 keywords in a post. However that is not a hard and fast rule for me. I try to make it a point to creat quality content first and foremost and sometimes it is just coincidental that I am able to target other keywords. What I place emphasis on is my main keywords which I make sure I position well to maximize page optimization.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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