Keyword Research Mantras for the Beginner

Performing keyword research is one of the most fundamental tasks I’ve performed as a SEO Associate at Seer. At first, the process seemed super basic and simple, but after amassing a couple hundred thousand keywords I lost sight of the main goal and started making unfocused recommendations.

I was given all the tools, tutorials, trainings, yet I still felt unsure.

How was I going to properly pair all of these queries and pages? How was I going to be able to execute my research quickly and efficiently?

Thankfully the support system at Seer is amazing and a few people were kind enough to pass on some of their basic keyword research gems.

So, here it is. Below are some of the, somewhat obvious, but most helpful keyword research tips for the beginner:

Find keywords that fit the particular page you are optimizing:

This seems stupid obvious, but it’s a helpful mantra to revist throughout your research process.

Get a solid understanding of each page’s main topic before you dive into your research.

The goal is to create content that returns the most relevant result possible for the user's query.


The conversion funnel can be a great compass:

Understand where the page you are optimizing falls within the conversion funnel.

Top of the funnel keywords may center around brand awareness, general information about the product / service, etc. If the page is towards the bottom of the funnel it might be helpful to find keywords that are more specific / long tail / product SKUs.

Find keywords that are relevant to where the user stands in their research or buying process.

Automation can only take you so far:

It’s great to use Mergewords, Ubersuggest, or RegEx for keyword categorization during your initial process, but if you’re finding there are a bunch of related keywords to your main head term it's probably worth a deeper dive. Look at Google auto complete, customer reviews, forums, the keywords that are bringing your competitors organic traffic in SEMRush, or ask the client.

Search volume isn't always everything:

Keywords with higher search volume don’t always mean best.

Clients can be search volume oriented, so it might be helpful to remind them that lower search volume keywords (long tail, question based phrases) might better represent the intentions of people that are closer to a conversion.

If you need to build a case, focus on the total search volume for a group of related keywords, rather than MSV for just one query.


Take note from PPC:

Sometimes the keywords with higher CPC can be a good indicator of a keyword that can bring traffic, are more competitive and can convert. Use your best judgement with this one (see first tip).


Take a break and come back to your work:

Keyword gold can be missed, irrelevant keywords can be added in haste, or you may have lost sight of the main topic / goal of the page you're optimizing. When the rows in Excel are looking like they’re running together, you probably shouldn't try and power through. Take a break and come back to your project with fresh eyes.


Want to take your keyword research to the next level?

Check out Ethan’s amazing post on identifying search trends and seasonality for content creation.

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