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Keyword Research 101: A 7-Step Guide

Dan Natale

January 27, 2023

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Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the keywords and phrases that potential customers are using to find products or services like yours. Before you can begin using SEO (search engine optimization) as a marketing tool to drive traffic to your website, you need to understand the keywords you’re optimizing for. 

Follow these seven steps to get started with keyword research:

  1. Define your target audience and goals. Identify the demographics, pain points, and interests of your target audience, as well as the specific goals you want to achieve with your marketing campaign.
  2. Create a list of seed keywords. Start by creating a list of keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business and target audience. You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to generate ideas.
  3. Analyze search volume and competition. Use keyword research tools to determine the search volume (how many searches per month for a specific keyword) and competition (how difficult it will be to rank for a specific keyword) for each keyword on your list. Look for keywords with a high search volume and low competition.
  4. Refine your list. Eliminate irrelevant keywords and group similar keywords together.
  5. Create long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that are less common but often more targeted. These keywords often convert better as they are more specific and less competitive; for example, “how does direct indexing work” instead of “direct indexing.”
  6. Use your keywords. Once you have your list of keywords, you can use them in your website content, blog posts, page titles and meta tags to improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website. (Importantly, make sure you’re using your keywords in a way that reads naturally, and be careful not to overuse them. Google will penalize your website for keyword stuffing.) 
  7. Continuously monitor your keywords. Regularly check the search volume, competition and other metrics of the keywords you are targeting, and optimize accordingly.