Keyword Research: Proven Guide to Pick the Right Words for High Ranking

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When it comes to keyword research, the number one thing to have at the back of your mind is that it’s no use writing about what no one will search for, right? In order to write what people are going to search for and for your page to come out on top, it needs lots of research and fine-tuning. Because there are millions of blog posts published yearly, you need to up your game in order to beat the competition come tops.

In the race for website traffic, virtually every keyword in every niche has been written about. Yet, if you get your plans right and your strategies on point, you are on your way to knocking most of them off the perch, as you ride to the top of Google and other search engines.

SEO Keywords are one of the most important things to master when improving your website’s SEO ranking. I have put together a quick overview of SEO keywords, the essential keyword groups, and types, and how to research SEO keywords that will help your website’s SEO ranking.

What Is An SEO Keyword?

SEO keywords are the focus keywords that users enter when using a search engine. When people use search engines to find services, reviews, tutorials, or information, search engines consider the keywords and use those keywords to bring up the best and most relevant results, which they present to the searcher on their SERPS.

So, putting yourself in the mind of the search engine users to research necessary keywords will help you to understand your target audience better. This is so since keyword research gives you insight into what people are searching for, including the exact phrases and words they use.

Why Keyword Research Is Important for SEO

Your objective is to come up as a top result for the SEO keywords relevant to you as a website. For example, let’s say you run a website that sells guitars, and you have some guitar maintenance guides too. You want your website to appear when someone searches “guitar tutorials,” “guitar cleaning,” “best budget guitars,” and such. You don’t want your website to appear for keywords like “piano” or “flute.”


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SEO keyword research is essential because that’s how you will find the best keywords to focus on in your website content to come up among search engine result pages or SERP. Learning how to integrate keywords into your content is a different story, but we will start with SEO keyword research first.

SEO Keyword Groups

There are different SEO keyword groups that you should pay attention to in order to know which keywords are best suited for your website to focus on. There are three main groups we will cover: informational, navigational, and transactional keywords.

In that sequence, you can think of it as a business funnel: users look for information about how to solve a problem, then look for a service or item to solve that problem, and eventually buy it. Let’s look deeper into it:

Informational KWs

Informational keywords are those that users enter to access information. These usually revolve around “how,” “why,” or “what” questions. To make content to match these kinds of keywords, you should make tutorials, how-tos, tips, guides, and explanations regarding a topic relevant to your brand.

In our example earlier of a guitar website, pages for guitar cleaning tips or a guide on choosing a good guitar would all revolve around informational keywords. And because search engines want to provide quality information, make sure your website has accurate and well-written information.

Navigational KWs

You can think of navigational keyword searches as those with direction. Users who are looking for a specific site or particular topic will be using navigational keywords. They are often more specific than general informational queries. Navigational keywords would involve things like “Facebook,” “Instagram,” “Forever21,” or “Amazon.” These users often have a site in mind and use the search engine to go straight to the page they want.

To maximize navigational keywords, you can buy keywords of your brand’s name. However, unless a user is looking for your brand or business specifically, it can be challenging to appear on the searches anyway.

Transactional KWs

Transactional keywords are keyword searches looking to make a transaction. The most important words here are “buy,” “purchase,” “order,” and the like. Although it can also involve the name of a brand or a site like Amazon, it can be as general as the item the user is looking to buy, whether it’s appliances, groceries, or clothes.

Transactional keywords can be used for your website, especially if your portal is selling something. They can also be helpful if your site hosts reviews for products since users prefer to look up product reviews.

Types of keywords

Aside from different keyword groups, there are different types that you can research and target on your website. All of these can be used together or under different circumstances; these keyword types usually indicate the user’s mindset and if they are in the buying cycle and where.

Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords

Short and long-tail keywords are broad types of keywords that refer to the length of the keyword search. But they also hint where the customer is at with buying. Since short-tail keywords are often generic, the customer is likely only looking up information about a prospective item or canvassing for good purchasing options.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, often indicate a more specific search. By the time the customer is searching for something specific, they are getting closer and closer to deciding on a purchase.

However, keep in mind that it’s not only potential customers and buyers who may be using long and short-tail keywords. Those keyword groups can be used by anyone trying to solve a problem or simply researching a topic.

Buyer Keywords

As the name suggests, buyer keywords are those specifically being used by a buyer. There are a few different types of keywords that fall under buyer keywords. Some of those we’ll go over are broad keywords, brand keywords, and exact keywords.

Broad Keywords

Broad keywords often revolve around general objects like “shoes,” “laptop,” or “cereal.” The user is still looking for options and possibly not sure what they want yet. This is a top digital marketing trend in 2024.

Exact Keywords

These are keywords heading into the more specific territory. Instead of just a laptop, users would be searching “gaming laptop” or “14-inch laptop.” These are products with specifications because, at this point, the user has a clear idea of what they are looking for.

Broad keywords and exact keywords are critical to focus on because while the customer is in the beginning or middle of the buying stage, they have more chances of finding your site or product. So when you are focusing on keywords for your product, make sure to highlight specifications that users are likely to enter into search engines. That is where SEO keyword research comes in.

Brand Keywords

Brand keywords are those that already specify a brand. Unfortunately, unless the user is looking for your brand specifically, it can be hard to take advantage of brand keywords. I advise you to focus on the broad and exact keywords and build up your brand so that it is legitimate and suggested to users in different ways.

Tyre Kicker Keywords

Tyre kicker keywords are those that are non-specific to information. These would be phrases like “Top 10,” “Best of,” “Budget-friendly.” These can very well be used to focus your website and make your headings look appealing. But use them sparingly because you want to be able to deliver that quality content to the user.

SEO Keyword Research Metrics

Now that we know the different groups and types of keywords to use and how we should use them, no let’s find out how to choose keywords. What criteria are we looking at here?

SEO keyword research metrics are the criteria to use when judging your website or brand’s right keywords. The most important metrics to pay attention to are search volume, keyword difficulty or competition, and keyword search intent. Others are also added.

Search volume

A keyword search volume refers to how many people search those keywords over time. So given a single day, how many people search keywords like “shoes,” “laptops,” etc.? You typically want to target keywords with a relatively high search volume unless you know you’re an extremely niche website.

Take note that you should also research how the search volume of a keyword performs over time. Are specific keywords only seasonally relevant, caused by events, or have a high volume all year round? These factors will guide you in choosing keywords.

Keyword Difficulty/Competition

The difficulty or competition of a keyword refers to how many high-authority sites and results already exist on the keyword’s SERP. If there are a lot of high-authority results, then the competition will be very high.

Because you aim to be a high-authority site that you want search engines to recommend, it will be hard to overtake those already in high authority. It will be much easier to target low to moderately competitive keywords if you are starting.

Search intent

This is perhaps the most crucial factor in SEO keywords. Search engines satisfy users by delivering results that match their search intent. Suppose a user is looking for an affordable product (and uses “affordable” in their search) and ends up with a top result that is nowhere near affordable.

In that case, they will end up bouncing off the site, and that site’s SEO ranking will go down for that specific keyword search.

So make sure your headers and keywords match what you are providing on your site. Otherwise, your site will be clickbait, which in the end, will lower your SEO ranking.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click, or CPC, refers to the amount of money you pay for each click on your adverts in search engines/networks pages. These platforms include Google AdWords or Bing Ads.

Different calculations come to play to determine how the search engines come up with the actual cost per click. The major determining factor is competition for such keywords. If the competition for keywords is high due to bidding, you will have to pay higher for your ads to appear on top.

How To Find Keywords for SEO ranking

Now that you know the metrics and types of keywords that are relevant to you, how do you do keyword research for SEO ranking? One of the quickest ways to find the best keywords for you is through keyword research tools, extensions, or plugins.

These are software applications that will check or review your content and give you keyword tips on how to optimize it better. Others work by allowing you to enter your broad keyword, then they churn out related keywords and their metrics, from where you choose the most relevant for your topic.

Best Keyword Research Tools

Off the top of our heads, some of the best keyword research tools we can recommend are SEMRush, Ubersuggest, AHrefs, and Some of these are free research tools, while others have paid features that are well worth it.

You’ll notice among these keyword research tools that they provide information about keyword competition or difficulty, the monthly or weekly search volume of a keyword over time, and even keywords that have great strength locally, useful for small region-locked businesses.

If you have something like Google Ads enabled, the tools will likely provide your approximate CPC or cent-per-click. To pair with this, the AdWords keyword tool is also handy. Take note of the AdWords competition it will show to find out keyword rankings.

Most of these tools also provide keyword competitor research, the overall analysis of how your website ranks among SEO keywords, and SERP. We find these SEO keyword tools incredibly optimized for providing a complete view of how your website is ranking.

Free Keyword Research

Are you not using an SEO tool? That’s fine! There are lots of ways to research your SEO keywords as well organically. The first basic free keyword research tool you have to master is Google’s own Google Keyword Planner Tool. It has most of the relevant basic stuff you need to undertake free keyword research.

Then, you have to brainstorm a list of relevant topics for your brand, business, or website. What do you focus on, and what do you want users to see or read on your site? With these topics, get related keywords that are about your main idea.

Then, for metrics and data on the keyword’s traffic, you can input those keywords into websites or tools like Keyword Trends. You can even look through Google search and check out related searches and suggestion tools to extend your network of SEO keywords.

Other places to find keywords and ways to choose the right keywords would be by checking sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit. Because these are informational pages and discussion boards that people often use to answer questions, keywords and related keywords can usually be found there. In the same way, you can find relevant keywords using forums as well.

Are you still stuck in a rut? Don’t be afraid to ask questions online or even lookup search queries relevant to your topic while spicing them up with synonyms and more related searches. Search engines will read these queries and synonyms through Latent Semantic Indexing, which identifies topics for users even if they vary in keywords. While you are doing SEO keyword research, remember to include LSI keywords in that research as well.

Elements of a good keyword research tool

There are basic elements which a good keyword research tool should come with. These are what makes it worthwhile. Here are some of them, added to those listed above:

  • Adwords competition
  • Search Trend
  • LSI Keywords
  • Historical Search Volume
  • Suggested Keywords
  • Questions Keywords suggestion
  • Prepositions Keywords suggestion
  • Comparison Keywords suggestion
  • Keyword Content ideas


So when it comes to keyword research and tracking, we have gone over its most important types, aspects, techniques, and guides. Just remember that all kinds of keywords, whether long-tail or short-tail, broad or specific, question, comparison, or query keywords, all amount to one thing: how a user will find you through the search engine.

Not only do you want your website to be easily searchable via a search engine, but you also want it to rank about others. When it comes to SEO, ranking difficulty and ranking competition will always be something to consider. While we have another article about improving your SEO ranking overall, the vital thing to remember with keywords is keyword search volume, keyword competition, and keyword intent.

You can also track keywords by their search trends and LSI. Don’t forget to use tools, especially the universal ones like Google Search Console and Adwords. You have many tools, methods, and resources at your fingertips, so we are confident that after you’ve read this guide, you will have lots of places to start.

So don’t wait any longer! SEO keywords are there to help both you and the user connect. Just find the right SEO keywords, stay true to them, and deliver high-quality content with your brand and business.

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