What Is Keyword Research?

Wed Sep 27 2023

TL/DR: Are you looking to elevate your SEO game and boost your online presence? Dive into our article that unravels the mystery of keyword research, optimization, and performance tracking. Don't miss out on this opportunity to turn your web content into a magnet for your target audience!

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Table Of Contents

The Good Fellas Agency What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research, often perceived as a mundane and technical part of SEO, is actually the secret sauce to successful digital marketing. It's the compass for your content strategy, guiding you toward the topics and phrases that your potential audience is actively seeking.

Without it, you're navigating the vast digital landscape blindfolded, merely guessing what your audience might want to know. But with effective keyword research, you turn on your GPS, steering your content directly into the path of searching, for interested users.

Understanding Keyword Research

Keyword research is a dynamic, critical process in search engine optimization that entails identifying popular words and phrases people type into search engines when looking for businesses like yours. It's about discerning your audience's mind, and understanding the exact phrases they use when they're thinking of a purchase or searching for information. In essence, keyword research allows for strategic content creation, enabling businesses to communicate in the language of their audience, boost their visibility, and attract the right web traffic.

What Is The Definition of Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a practice used by search engine optimization (SEO) professionals to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. The insights gained from this research can help guide the content strategy, showing what topics are popular and what language to use. In essence, it's about understanding the language of your potential visitors and using this knowledge to optimize your content.

What Is The Importance of Keyword Research?

The importance of keyword research lies in understanding your market's keyword demand. It lets you learn not only what terms and phrases to use in your content but also learn more about your customers as a whole. It's not always about attracting visitors to your site but about attracting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this knowledge cannot be overstated. It can dictate not only your site's content but also its product development processes, providing real-world insights into what your market needs and wants.

How Has Keyword Research Evolved?

Keyword research has evolved significantly over the years. Initially, it was all about finding relevant keywords and stuffing them into web content and meta tags. However, with the advent of sophisticated search algorithms and AI, search engines like Google now focus on the intent behind the keywords, rather than the keywords themselves. Today, keyword research is less about optimization for specific words and more about optimization for user intent, content relevance, and value delivery.

What are the types of keywords

What Are The Types of Keywords?

Understanding the types of keywords is essential. Keywords can be broadly categorized based on their length, intent, and competition level. In the following section, we will delve into each type and its significance in improving SEO performance.

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are search phrases with only one or two words. Their length makes them less specific than searches with more words. For instance, a short-tail keyword might be "coffee" or "Italian restaurant". These keywords are typically high in competition because they are searched for frequently, making it challenging to rank for them. However, if your business manages to rank well for a short-tail keyword, it can result in a high volume of traffic.

Long-Tail Keywords

In contrast, long-tail keywords are highly specific search phrases that typically contain three or more words. An example might be "best Italian restaurant in downtown Chicago" or "organic fair-trade coffee beans". While these keywords are less frequently searched than their short-tail counterparts, they often indicate a user who is further along in the buying cycle and closer to making a purchase. This specificity can result in higher conversion rates, making long-tail keywords a valuable focus for many businesses.

LSI Keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are terms and phrases closely related to your business or topic. If you're discussing coffee, LSI keywords might include "espresso", "cappuccino", "Arabica", and "French press". Search engines use these keywords to understand context and deliver more accurate results to users. Including LSI keywords in your content can help you rank for a wider array of search terms, increasing your visibility and attracting more relevant traffic to your site.

What Are Good Keyword REsearch Tools

What Are Good Tools for Keyword Research?

Let's delve into some of the most effective tools available for keyword research, and see how they can aid in your quest for high-ranking, relevant keywords.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool provided by Google that allows users to discover new keywords related to their business and see how they might perform. Imagine it as a workshop for building new search network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can use it to get ideas for new keywords, see how often certain words are searched, see how those keyword trends have evolved over time, and understand how competitive these keywords are. It's like having a market research team at your fingertips, helping you understand what your potential customers are looking for.


SEMRush is a more comprehensive, paid tool that goes beyond simple keyword research. It provides a complete digital marketing workflow, from SEO and PPC to social media and video advertising research. In terms of keyword research, it offers detailed keyword metrics like search volume, number of results, and keyword difficulty. It allows you to find long-tail keywords and track your keyword rankings. It's like having a digital marketing expert in your team, giving you insights into how you can improve your online presence.


Ahrefs is another paid tool that provides a wealth of data to assist with SEO. It's a bit like a super-powered telescope, letting you see what your competitors are doing and helping you to outperform them. Its keyword research tool provides extensive details such as keyword difficulty, search volume, and how many clicks you can expect from a particular keyword. It also offers a 'keyword ideas' feature to help you discover new keywords. Ahrefs can be a particularly useful tool for business owners looking to grow their organic traffic and compete effectively in their market.

Steps For Keyword Research

What Are The Steps For Keyword Research?

Keyword research involves a sequence of structured steps, which guide you to identify, analyze, and prioritize the most effective keywords for your digital content. This process is integral to optimizing your content, ensuring it reaches the most relevant audience, and ranks high on search engine results. Let's explore these steps in detail to understand how we can make the most of our keyword research.

Understanding Your Niche

The first step in keyword research is to deeply understand your niche. This involves getting to know your business, your target audience, and what they are interested in. You should ask yourself, what problems are you solving for your customers? What kind of language do they use when talking about your business or products? What kind of questions do they have? Gaining a comprehensive understanding of your niche will help you identify relevant keywords that truly resonate with your audience.

Read our article on Audience Targeting here.

Identifying Relevant Topics

The next step is to identify topics that are relevant to your business and interesting to your audience. These topics will serve as the building blocks for your keyword research. For instance, if you run a coffee shop, relevant topics might include "coffee brewing methods", "types of coffee beans", "coffee recipes", and so on. Each of these topics can then be broken down into specific keywords.

Evaluating Keyword Relevance

After identifying potential keywords, evaluate their relevance to your business and your audience. Are these keywords something your audience would actually search for? Do they align with the products or services you offer? Keywords should be relevant to the content on your site and directly related to what your business does.

Understanding Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty refers to how hard it would be to rank higher than current websites ranking for a particular keyword. This depends on several factors including the competitiveness of the keyword, the authority of the websites that are currently ranking for it, and how well their pages are optimized for the keyword. Using keyword research tools, you can get a sense of how difficult it would be to rank for each keyword you're considering. As a rule of thumb, if you're just starting out or if your website has a low domain authority, it's better to target lower-difficulty keywords.

Read our article on Keyword Difficulty Here.

What is Keyword Difficulty

How To Implement Keywords in Content

After conducting your keyword research effectively, it's time to implement these selected keywords into your digital content. The aim is to create content that is not only rich in value for your audience but also optimized for search engines. This section will guide you through the best practices for integrating your keywords seamlessly into your content.

Keyword Placement

Keyword placement refers to the strategic positioning of your keywords throughout your content. The placement of these keywords significantly impacts how search engines understand, index, and rank your content. It's essential to include your keywords in key areas such as the title tag, URL, meta description, and heading tags. They should also be dispersed naturally within the content body. However, it's important not to overdo it - search engines may penalize 'keyword stuffing', where keywords are used excessively or unnaturally.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the frequency with which your keyword appears in your content. It's calculated as a percentage of the total number of words in the content. For example, if your content is 1000 words and you use your keyword 10 times, your keyword density is 1%. While there's no hard-and-fast rule for the ideal keyword density, a rule of thumb is to use your keyword naturally and sparingly. Too high a keyword density can be seen as keyword stuffing, which can potentially harm your SEO.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization involves properly using the keywords in your content to rank well in search engine results. This means choosing the right keywords, placing them strategically in your content, and maintaining an appropriate keyword density. It's also important to use variations and synonyms of your chosen keyword to ensure a natural and engaging reading experience. By optimizing your content with the right keywords, you enhance the visibility of your website, making it easier for your target audience to find you online.

Remember, the goal is to create naturally flowing content that meets your audience's needs whilst also improving your site’s visibility on search engines. Keyword research and optimization are ongoing processes that evolve as your business goals and audience needs change.

How do you monitor keyword performance

How Do You Monitor Keyword Performance?

This section will walk you through the crucial steps for assessing the success of your chosen keywords. By doing so, you can adapt and refine your strategy, ensuring your content continues to reach your target audience and fulfill their needs.

Analyzing Keyword Rankings

Analyzing keyword rankings involves monitoring where your website appears in search engine results for your chosen keywords. This can be done with the help of several SEO tools, such as Google's Search Console. If you're ranking highly for your keywords, this indicates that your keyword strategy is effective. However, if you find your website ranking low on the search engine results page (SERP), it may be time to reassess your keywords or the quality and relevance of your content.

Evaluating Traffic from Keywords

Another crucial aspect of monitoring keyword performance is evaluating the traffic that these keywords are bringing to your site. Tools like Google Analytics can provide data on how many visitors you’re getting from specific keywords. This can give you insight into which keywords are most effective at driving traffic. If certain keywords are not leading to significant traffic, it may be worth reconsidering their use or improving the content related to them.

Adjusting Keyword Strategy

Based on your analysis of keyword rankings and traffic, you may need to adjust your keyword strategy. This could involve targeting new keywords, removing less effective ones, or enhancing content associated with specific keywords. Remember, SEO is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. Keep monitoring and adjusting your keyword strategy to ensure your content remains relevant to your audience and effective in reaching them through search engines.

How to avoid keyword stuffing

How Do You Avoid Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing, once a common practice in the early days of SEO, is now frowned upon by search engines and can lead to penalties. This section outlines the pitfalls of keyword stuffing, how to avoid it, and offers healthier, more effective strategies for keyword integration. By understanding and implementing these practices, you can ensure that your content not only appeases search engines but also provides value to your readers.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context, not as natural prose.

What are the Consequences of Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing can lead to negative experiences for users, as the content might not provide the information they're seeking. Moreover, Google might remove your site from its search results altogether if the system detects an attempt to deceive. This means your website could lose visibility and you could miss out on organic traffic, which can impact your business's credibility and bottom line.

Strategies to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

To avoid keyword stuffing, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context. Instead of overloading your content with repeated keywords, use synonyms or related phrases. Make sure your keywords don't disrupt the natural flow of the text and always prioritize readability and user experience. Using SEO tools can help you monitor your keyword frequency and density, ensuring your content remains within acceptable limits. Above all, create content that adds value to your readers, as this is the ultimate goal that search engines reward.


As a business owner, remember that keyword research is a vital part of your SEO strategy that demands continuous refinement. It's not just about selecting suitable keywords, but it's also about seamlessly weaving them into your content in ways that improve your customer's experience. Regularly evaluate their performance and adjust your strategy to ensure that you stay visible in search engine results. Ultimately, the objective is to produce valuable, relevant content that addresses your customers' needs while also appeasing search engine algorithms. With a well-considered approach to keyword research and optimization, you can effectively connect with your target customers and enhance your business's online presence.

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Andew Buccellato - Owner of Good Fellas Agency

Andrew Buccellato

Hello! I'm the owner and lead developer here at The Good Fellas Agency. I've been working with code for the past 10 years and started this business over 5 years ago. I mostly write about how Web Design, Digital Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization help your business grow.