Getting Started With Keyword Research

Keyword research is identifying what words or phrases users are searching for that directly relate to your business or product. Finding the right keywords is a significant component for development. Until you find the keywords and phrases that your website needs to rank for, you cannot fully optimize your website to receive the appropriate amount of traffic. Without keyword research one will never be able to attract optimal amounts of traffic to their website. Furthermore, you will attract unwanted traffic to your site leaving you and your viewers frustrated.

It is also important to find the keywords search volume and competitiveness. For example, if you search “shoes” on google you will find about 757 million results. On the other hand, if you search “men’s leather shoes” you will find about 38 million results. Keyword research is essential to reducing your spend and capitalizing on your resources. So how do you do it?

Step 1 – Make a list of topics that relate to you business, product, or service.

To make the whole process easier, it will be best to come up with a good amount of topics that relate to your business. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and think about what they would search for in order for your website to pop up. Once you have 5-10 topics it will be easier to simplify them into several keywords.

Step 2 – Generate keywords related to the topics you came up with.

Now think of some keyword phrases that are important to rank for on search engine results pages. Repeat that process for each general topic you thought of. This step of the process is to brainstorm a long list of keywords and phrases. For example, if your topic is shoes, than some related keywords would be : men’s shoes, men’s leather shoes, men’s running shoes, etc. To speed up this process you can use a tool to see what keywords your website is already getting found for. Using tools such as Google Analytics or Audienti (as shown below), one can generate keyword ideas already found.

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Repeat this exercise for as many main topics as you can. If you are still having trouble filling out a list of keywords than you can use google for related phrases. Type in a phrase in google and scroll to the bottom of the results page to get some more ideas of related searches.

Step 3 – Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords.

Head terms are shorter and more generic terms that are usually a couple of words or less. Head terms are searched for much more often, but they are very competitive.

Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are much more specific and detailed.

Long-tail keywords are search for less frequently, but they are not very competitive.

It is important that you have a balance of head terms and long-tail terms. If you have only head keywords then it will be very hard to be found on a search engine. If you have only long-tail keywords than one will have to extremely specific in order to find your website on a search engine.

Step 4 – Stalk the competitors.

Knowing what keywords your competitors are using can help severely in evaluating your own list. You will be able to see what keywords your competitors ignores, and you can take advantage on those. If you and your competitor are using similar keywords, it will be important to rank higher on those specific phrases. Aside from manually searching for competitors keywords, one can use tools such as SEMrush or Audienti (as shown below).


By using the keywords “Running Shoes” several websites are popping up. You can stalk your competitors by seeing if they are using the same phrases.

Step 5Simplify the list.

Once you have a broad list of keywords and phrases, you can then cut the list down to optimize it. You can remove keywords that have way too much or too little search volume. Narrow down the list in order to achieve the mixture and balance talked about in Step 3. Once you have a simplified list you have completed the process of keyword research.

William Flanagan

CEO & Founder, Audienti. Former VP-Cognio, Founder-sentitO/Verso, SALIX/Tellabs, PrimaryAccess/3Com, CompuServe. Expert in data-driven marketing.

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