A Guide to Keyword Research for SEO

Search engines like Google decide whether or not to rank your website on their results page based primarily off of words and text use on your site.  

The aim of keyword research is to find out what your audience is searching for and what words or phrases they use to search for these topics. You then want to find ways to provide the information they’re searching for in your content, using a mix of the identified keywords and phrases. Make sure to incorporate your keywords and phrases in a natural and understandable way. Some people focus on using keywords a certain number of times throughout a page or post and end up with difficult to read content. This is known as keyword stuffing.  

In this example, we can see that the paragraph becomes repetitive and frustrating to read.  

Source: FusionSEO 

The keywords and phrases your audience are using can differ depending on what stage of the customer journey they’re currently in.  

Types of Keywords 

There are several keywords types that you can use, for example: 

  • Short-tail keywords 
    These are keywords that are comprised of 1-2 words. They are generic and relate to broad topics, e.g., ‘cakes’. 
  • Long-tail keywords 
    These are keywords with 3 or more words that are more detailed. They are easier to rank for than short-tail keywords because they are less competitive. 
    E.g., ‘paw patrol kids birthday cake’ 
  • Branded keywords 
    These keywords and phrases include your brand name. 
  • Non-branded keywords 
    These keywords don’t include your brand name. SEO mainly focuses on non-branded keywords more than branded keywords because they attract users who don’t already know your brand.  

Keyword Research:

Step 1. Write down what you know 
Think of at least five topics that are relevant to your business. Think about the type of topics you would like your business to come up for in a Google search. For example, a cake shop in Athlone might choose topics like birthday cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes, character cakes, personalised cakes.  

Step 2.  Get more specific 
Now you can start coming up with more specific keywords and phrases that relate back to the topics you previously picked out. This is where you really want to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers.  

Sticking with our cake shop example some possible keywords for the topic of ‘wedding cakes’ might include: 

  • Wedding Cake Design 
  • Luxury Wedding Cakes 
  • Bespoke Wedding Cakes 
  • Cakes for wedding 
  • Gluten-free wedding cakes 
  • Wedding cakes Westmeath  

Write down every phrase or keyword that comes to mind for each of your topics. If you’re stuck you can always Google one of your topics or keywords and take a look at Google’s suggested related searches.  

Step 3. Use SEO tools 
If you’d like help coming up with more keywords there are many extremely SEO tools out there that you can use, such as SEMrush, Moz, or Ubersuggest. Many of these tools also offer free trials.  

One of the most useful free tools for keyword research is the Google Search Console. It allows you to track which keywords your pages are ranking for, positions, clicks, and impressions.