Keyword Research – Tips to Do It the Smart Way

by | Published on Jun 18, 2019 | SEO

The right keywords are crucial to optimize your website in the right way. Strong keyword research is the foundation of a good SEO campaign, as this would help you develop your content around the right keywords your target audience use to search. This is the first step digital marketers take to attract targeted customers to your website. An experienced SEO company can help any business find the right keywords and optimize content accordingly to gain maximum visibility for their services or products, all based on competition as well as search intent.

Keywords are categorized by type such as terms related to brand, product, competitor, substitute product, complementary product and audience.

Key Steps of Keyword Research


Create an initial set of keyword ideas list. This list should be based on – relevant terms your audience uses to describe your services, search terms that are currently in use that can be checked using analytics tools like Google Webmaster, and keywords that competitors are bidding on.


Expand your keyword list using Google AdWords or any other tools you prefer. In AdWords, you can search by grouping words and can enter more than one keyword at a time. “Exact Match” option will provide the number of searches for that specific term. AdWords’ Advanced Options and Filters provide results based on the chosen language and location of your interest. 


Now refine your list and eliminate less interesting words. For example, if you run a medical transcription company then “medical transcription services” will be a potential product term, but “medical transcription jobs” is an audience term and therefore less interesting. Find those words that might have an easier chance of winning. Also, make a list of potential negative keywords for any off-topic results you see. Now, create a column to group chosen keywords semantically.

Categorizing your keywords to capture the interest and intent of the searcher can help you develop, refine, and analyze your list.

Interest and intent matters

Search intent is more important than the keyword’s search volume. Readers will stick on to a page and they will be happy, only if they find what they really looked for. For example, if any one searches for “tips to choose a plastic surgeon” and if your page provides details only about your surgeon’s experience and qualification, readers will be disappointed. Different keywords represent different levels of interest and intent. While some search terms are used close to a conversion, others are used still in the early stages of research.

Google’s algorithm attempts to rank content that best matches the searcher intent behind the query. When researching and choosing keywords around which to create content it is important that you understand what your audience actually needs.

A 2018 blog in Search Engine Journal segmented search queries into three categories: Do, Know, and Go. With “do” or transactional queries, readers will be looking to achieve a specific action, such as purchasing a specific product or booking a service. At the same time a “know” or an informational query will be asked when the user wants to learn about a particular subject and they are almost always informative in intent. With “go” or navigational queries, the user will be looking to go to a specific website or location of any typical brand or known entity.

Also, remember that search intent and the results that Google displays can also change quickly. So, it is crucial to not only optimize for keywords that drive web traffic but also those that can provide user value and topical relevancy to the domain. Check your competitors’ traffic generating pages by using tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. By analyzing what keywords your competitors are targeting, create new ideas for content and improve your site’s existing content which would help capture more organic search traffic.

PPC keyword research

A successful PPC campaign relies on choosing the best keywords to bid. Long-tail keywords with low individual search volume work for PPC ads. You can also include variations such as “Where can I find the best plastic surgery procedure in New York City?”Or “Which is the best restaurant in California?”

Four main search intent categories are informational, navigational, commercial investigation and transactional. For instance, while “how to design a website” is informational, “which is the best web design service” is commercial investigation.

Check what keywords your competitors are paying for, using tools like SEMrush. Make a list of those terms they are paying for and are generating highly qualified traffic. The smart way is to do is to try getting free traffic by ranking organically for those terms. Also consider choosing research-intent queries from your competitor’s paid keywords.

Neural matching, which is an artificial intelligence (AI) method to better connect words to searches is now making it easier for people to get answers based on what they mean, not what they type or speak. This Google algorithm generates more diverse search results. Google will be able to process the question to provide a result that answers the question properly through understanding it better.

While creating your keyword list, include negative keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up for. To find negative keywords for your PPC campaigns, check your search query reports and take keywords that are not a good fit for your account, and use phrase and exact match negatives to disqualify more specific queries that contain long-tail negative keywords.

No keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to cramming keywords into the content.  Stuffing a keyword into your content too many times can affect your search rankings.

To prevent keyword stuffing and to create rich content –

  • Ensure that each content page focuses on a single primary keyword that is closely representative of the content as a whole
  • Consider choosing a popular keyword with minimal competition
  • Focus on a separate keyword in each page, thus making it easier for search engines to understand what each page is about
  • Content pieces should include more than 300 words in the main body copy, which alerts search engines that the content is probably robust enough to offer valuable information
  • Incorporate secondary keywords, keyword synonyms, and long-tail variations of the primary keyword within content copy to support the topic’s focus
  • Try to include the primary keyword once within page elements, including the page title, one or more subheadings, the title tag, meta description, one or more image alt tags, the first paragraph, and near to the end of the content

As there are various options to perform keyword research, you can try out different analysis methods and tools to create the best list of keywords. Whether it is healthcare digital marketing or marketing for any other industry, proper keyword research is the key to achieving your SEO goals.

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