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How to do keyword research for SEO

You’ve got a website for your business and now you’re ready to sell your product or service. Now how do you make sure you’ve got the best chance of being seen on search engines and making a profit? 

One of the ways to improve your chances is by undertaking keyword research. 

But what exactly is keyword research, why does it matter, how do you do it and how do you know what the best keywords are? 

What is keyword research? 

Keyword research involves finding keywords and terms which people use in search engines. Undertaking keyword research will help your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. 

Why does keyword research matter?

When you’re starting a business, there’s so much you need to do, so you may find yourself wondering why does keyword research even matter? Why should you actually bother doing it? 

Undertaking keyword research gives you a good understanding of your target audience and what they’re searching for. What are your potential customers actually searching for? Are you including these search terms in your content? If you’re not, you risk your target audience visiting your competitor’s website which includes more relevant content.

The keyword research you undertake will make up a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy, particularly your content marketing strategy. 

How to do keyword research

You know what keyword research is and why you should undertake it – but how do you actually do keyword research? 

There are numerous steps you need to take when completing keyword research.

Think about relevant keywords

The first step is to think about keywords which you want to rank for in search engines. These keywords need to relate to your business and the products or services you’re selling. If your list is full of irrelevant keywords, you’ll struggle to rank for these terms.

Related keywords

Struggling to think of keywords? You can use Google to your advantage to help build your keyword list. 

When you type in your keyword, scroll to the bottom of the search results. Here you’ll find a list of related keywords. 

For example, when you search ‘keyword research’, you receive this list of related terms:

Looking at this list is a quick way to increase your list and get inspiration for keywords you may not have otherwise thought of.

Keyword tools

You can use existing tools to help you build your keyword list. Google’s Keyword Planner will suggest keywords which are similar to your existing keywords or themes from your website. Best of all, this tool is completely free, so you won’t need to pay an ongoing subscription to access your keyword ideas.

Long-tail keywords

When you’re searching for keywords often you’ll find one word or a phrase that is about three words long. These are what is known as head terms. However, if you see any phrase that is longer than three words, this is known as a long-tail keyword

In any good keyword strategy, you want to have a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords. Head terms are generally searched more often, however, they have much more competition, making it much harder to rank for them. While long-tail keywords may not have the same search volume, the queries are generally much more specific. This means someone isn’t generally just researching a general topic, they’re looking for a much more specific product or service. When you’re making your keyword list, don’t forget to include long-tail keywords.


Check out what your competition is ranking for. You may be able to easily see if there are any gaps in their keyword strategy. Is there a phrase you can rank for that they aren’t? Is the competition a well-established business that will make it difficult for you to rank for certain words? These are key questions you should answer while doing your keyword research. 

To find out what the competition is ranking for, search keywords in a browser in incognito mode. Don’t want to do manual competition research? You can use tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to analyse who the competition is and the keywords they rank for.

What are the best keywords? 

Once you have a list of keywords, how do you know what are the best keywords to use, and what ones you should avoid?


How relevant is the keyword to your brand and to what the user is searching for? If your competitor’s content is more relevant to the needs of the consumers, they will rank higher and therefore have a more likely chance of gaining paying customers. 

Make sure you undertake competitor research to get an idea of how you could market your product or service. This will help you to know how you can make your content the most relevant. 


You’re ranking number one for a search term – great! Or maybe not? You want to make sure you are ranking for terms that people are actually searching. If you’re ranking for a term that only one person is searching for, you won’t really increase your traffic. 

Make sure you take note of the monthly search volume (MSV) to see how many people are searching for the keywords you are trying to rank for.

Authoritative voice

Do you actually know what you’re talking about when it comes to your business’ industry? The more authority a website has, the higher Google will rank it. Authority is built over time by having useful, shareable content which drives traffic to your website. Getting shares on social media and gaining backlinks can take time, but it will help increase your website’s authority. 

Remember, a keyword strategy is all about picking keywords that will drive the most traffic to your website and will likely result in conversions. If your strategy differs from someone else’s – don’t panic! Different strategies work for different organisations. 

Keep an eye on what keywords work and what ones don’t, and continue to update your keyword strategy every few months. 

Need someone to do your keyword research and build you a strategy? Contact Patch Agency today. 

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