How To Do Keyword Research In Five Simple Steps

How to do keyword research sproutmentor

Keywords! Keywords! Mmmmhhh! How to do keyword research- an interesting, yet confusing and detailed topic. 

Anyway, I will not bore you with too much details. I promise to only stick to one common sub-topic and term: Long Tail Keywords.

Several trends, such as RankBrain, Voice Search, Accelerated Mobile Pages and Latent Semantic Indexing Keyword among others have changed the SEO landscape.

These trends have resulted in a shift from keyword-led content to solution-based content. That means long gone are the days when stuffing short tail keywords was the primary focus of SEO campaigns.

Based on the evangelism of key marketers, such as Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin, we are in an era where the intent of the searcher drives Google search algorithm.  

But how do online entrepreneurs grow with these trends? Using Long Tail Keywords is the answer.

In this post, I will give you a highly actionable and simple step-by-step how to do keyword research process for finding long tail keywords that will rank you on page one of Google even if you are a complete newbie.

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What are Long Tail Keywords?


Like I mentioned above, how to do keyword research is a detailed topic which cannot be fully covered in a small post like this one.

To ensure you are getting maximum benefit from this post, I will focus on Long tail Keywords, which is one of the many types of keywords as explained below.

There are three main types of keywords: Head, Seed and long-tail. They have different search volumes, CTR, competition and number of words as explained below;

Head/Short Keywords: Also known as parent keywords are single word phrases, such as WordPress, Hosting, keywords, and marketing among others.

Yes, they have high search volume, but they have high competition and low click-through rates (CTR). Most used by large companies and do not convert well for small businesses and individual bloggers.

Body/Middle Keywords: Also known as seed keywords are 2-3 word phrases, such as WordPress themes, web hosting, keyword research, and digital Marketing among others.

They get a decent search volume, which is lower than the head keywords, but they are still super competitive and expensive to run an advertising campaign for in the search engine.

Long Tail Keywords: These are phrases that are 3+ words, such as WordPress themes for bloggers, best web hosting for small bussiness, Google keyword research for dummies, and digital marketing certification by Google.

They do not have high search volume. The good news is that they have low competition, and so you can easily rank for them in Google first page SERP results.

Additionally, they have high click through rates because they are specific, and only used by customers who are at the purchase stage and looking for specific answers. This means that they have high conversion rate.

Keyword Category Words Search Volume Competition CTR
Head 1 High high low
Body 2-3 Medium Medium Low to Medium
Long tail 3+ Low  low High



Why are Long Tail Keywords Important?


Low competition: Using the right Google keyword research strategy means you will not be competing with big brands and authority domains who rank on Google for broad keywords (mostly head and seed). Low competition gives you a chance to rank high on Google’s SERP results, which equals free traffic and other Google juice to your website.

High Conversion: Google keyword research helps you to write content tailored around long tail keywords, which has high CTR rates because it is specific. For instance, a reader is more likely to open an article using a long tail keyword, such as “10 things you must do whn carrying out Google keyword research for dummies 2018” than one using specific terms, such as  “SEO.” The latter is more specific and speaks to a specific group of customers searching for that particular information, which means it has high open rates and conversion (turning visitors into customers).

Customer Connection: Long tail keywords are specific, and reflect the needs of a particular group of customers. This makes your writing natural because you are not writing for machines or robots, but for humans with problems that need solutions. In all this Google keyword research hype, the only way to stand out of the crowd is by writing content that addresses the specific needs of customers and provides them with detailed solutions to their problems. For example, instead of writing a blog post on SEO in general, show your audience how to improve their off-page SEO metrics with countless of detailed how-to guides on every aspect of SEO, such as Google keyword research for beginners.

Less expensive: Fewer people are bidding on these keywords and attract low prices because they are less competitive. The good news is that you will spend less to advertise these types of keywords, yet the returns and profits will be way higher because they have a high conversion rate. 



How To Do Keyword Research in 6 Steps


Step one: Make Sure You Already Have A Niche & Buyer Persona


Seriously, how to do keyword research is not a process that relies on gut feeling or guesswork.

There are many keywords out there. Unfortunately, you cannot rank for all because it also depends on the authority of your website/domain or the number of backlinks you have and other off-page SEO metrics.

For this reason, you must be very strategic when finding the right keywords and using them to suit your business needs and conducting Google keyword research.

Thus, this calls for you to complete two essential steps on the initial stage of the process if you have not does that already: picking a niche and defining your buyer persona. You can learn more about these two in my free email course

Look at the examples below;

Niche: Web Hosting

Buyer Persona: Beginners between age 18-50 years who are looking for how-to guides and tutorials on WordPress.

Niche: SEO

Buyer Persona: Small businesses without an SEO strategy for their business, and want detailed how-to guides, tutorials, Virtual assistants, consultancy specialist to help them develop high-converting SEO schemes.

Niche: SEO

Buyer Persona: Bloggers and other online entrepreneurs who want to understand the art of researching keywords and using them in their content marketing strategy.

It is true that keywords will help you rank high on Google as taught in this book, but customers are the only ones that can make you bank high financial returns in your online business.

As a result, you must always put your customers/audience needs first in your keyword research strategy. The best way to achieve this is to narrow down your search into a specific niche and buyer persona as explained above. 




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Step Two: Pick A Head & Seed Keyword


In case you have forgotten these terms, kindly scroll to the top of this post to master the differences between head/parent and body/seed keywords. This step is optional in this process of Google keyword research.

In case you are struggling to find appropriate head and seed keywords. Do not waste too much time on this or extremely stress yourself over it so much.

I like using this step when I have limited time because it helps me narrow my search to save time and avoid confusion. Let’s use the example above from step one to build on this step;

Niche: SEO

Buyer Persona: Small businesses without an SEO strategy for their business, and want detailed how-to guides, tutorials, Virtual assistants, consultancy specialist to help them develop high-converting SEO schemes.

Head Keyword: SEO

Seed Keyword: Keyword research  

Niche: Web Hosting

Buyer Persona: Beginners between 18-50 years are looking for how-to guides and tutorials for WordPress resources and products. Head keyword: WordPress

Seed Keyword: WordPress themes 



Step Three: Follow Procedure (A-F) Below To Research Long Tail Keywords  


Now it’s time to do the exciting part of finding long tail keywords; For this step, you need these tools:

Watch this video to understand how to set-up, verify API key and use the keyword everywhere extension. 


In case you did not complete step two above, type any single word within your niche, such as “WordPress” in Google search bar.

Google auto-complete will give you more suggestions, which will be mostly seed keywords.


Choose one of the options, such as “WordPress Themes” and search again.

Then scroll down to the bottom of the SERP result page to the section titled, “Related Searches.”  

 Ta-da! Now you can see we have begun to get long tail keywords with 3+ phrases. 


Mark all the keywords in the related searches by clicking on the white stars (as shown on the image on the right) to add them to Keyword Everywhere’ “add to favorite” feature. After you click on the stars, their color should turn yellow.

You can confirm if they have been added to your favorites by clicking on the keyword everywhere icon on chrome menu bar and then on “My favorite keywords.” The new window that opens should have all the keywords you marked in step (c) above as shown in the two images below.


Open each link in the “Searches related to WordPress themes” in a new tab and scroll down to the bottom of the related searches and repeat (step c) above on all unmarked keywords.

For example, I opened the first related search option “WordPress themes free,” and I received the list below of additional long tail keywords, which I marked once again to add to my favorites in Keyword Everywhere.

Repeat step (d) with all the options in “Searches related to WordPress themes” to find results like below.

Do this with as many related searches as you, especially those with high search volume.


Open “My favorite keywords” page as explained in step (c) above and download as a CSV or Excel file. Follow this link to find all the long tail keywords I gathered from all the steps explained.


Filter the best long tail keywords from the 43+ options in step (f) above in Excel. For instance, I filtered based on the search volume (from the largest to the lowest).

The results below show keywords with search volume above 1000. Wow! I was able to narrow down the complete list of 45 searches to only 23.

Remember that we have been working with “WordPress Themes” seed keyword from step (a to f) above.

Now you can repeat all these steps with another seed keyword related to the head/parent keyword (WordPress), such as “WordPress plugins” and “WordPress tutorials” among others.



Step Four: Choose the best alternatives 


Step four above helped us to generate 23 long tail keyword ideas related to the head keyword “WordPress” and seed keyword “WordPress themes.”

To get more specific, I find it valuable to narrow this number to around 5 to 10 long tail keyword ideas based on priority and relevancy.

I use these three main strategies: SEO difficulty analysis, competitor analysis, and user need analysis to narrow down to the best five keywords.


a) SEO difficulty analysis

For this, strategy, you will need KW finder SEO tool (which has both a free and paid plan).

The free plan allows you to make one five searches daily, which is okay in our case here. Step one is to paste all the 23 keywords in the search bar.

Step two you need to set a filter for SEO difficulty to below 40 to narrow down your search to 7 keywords as shown in the results below.

Apart from KW finder you can also use SemRush, Jaaxy and LongTailPro to research long tail keywords in 30 minutes or less.


b) Competitor analysis

The SEO difficulty test above helped us to narrow down the Google Keyword research from 23 keywords to at least 5.

In this, strategy, you want to measure if your competitors are ranking for these same five keywords.

We shall use Moz bar, a free Chrome extension Write the keyword with the lowest SEO difficulty in the Google search bar and click on the Moz icon.

I entered “best free WordPress blog Themes” keyword, and these are the results I got. The good news is that even websites with 0 backlinks and a page authority below 5 are ranking for this keyword.


c) Audience Needs analysis

Having the right keyword in one step of the success story.

Choosing the right angle to approach it from and filling information gaps audience are looking for completes the puzzle.

For this reason, I like taking an extra step of finding what the needs of the audience are about the top five keywords. To do this, I use Buzzmo and Quora.

Buzzmo helps me to get the most shared articles in social media. I read them, identify the gaps and write a better article.

The advantage of Buzzmo is that they have a Chrome extension, which makes it easy to analyze any site you come across in the web.

Quora helps me to know what kind of questions people are asking most related to that keyword. For example, I posted “best free WordPress blog Themes” keyword into the search bar for both, and these are the results I received.


Step Five: Take Action


Now you have your top five long tail keywords that you can use to write that SEO Optimized blog post, design that product or get that campaign rolling. Do not be afraid to make any adjustments along the way.

Quick Tips to increase your possibility of Ranking on Page 1 of Google More

Write more and more consistently and frequently.

Write Long posts to increase the value you give to your audience. The more they keep coming back, the higher the chances of being recognized as an authority by Google in you niche. Additionally, the longer they spend on your website, the more you build credibility in Google.

Use visual content (images, inforgraphics and video among others) alongside text to increase audience engagement.

Use social media networks more to increase engagement to your posts and build backlinks.

Optimize your site for search by boosting speed, SEO and other performance metrics.

Research! research! research! endlessly to understand your audience and industry better. Keywords may help you rank on Google, but only good content will keep the customers and that traffic high. 



Recommended Readings…..



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  6. Just my luck. I started SEO on 10/1/19 and it just happens that today is when Keywords Everywhere no longer offers free keyword search. Do you have another free one that you can suggest? Thank you soooo much!! SEO is sooooo overwhelming

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