You may be familiar with keyword research. But, keyword research is quite difficult to master. Choosing the most appropriate keyword will ensure that you win the SEO game; otherwise, you will fail.
To choose a perfect keyword, you must consider many factors. Although, while keyword research is a tricky proposition, it will be much easier if you have a comprehensive keyword research checklist.
That’s where this ultimate keyword research checklist comes in. This comprehensive guide will help you build the best suitable keyword list for your SEO, PPC, and content marketing campaigns.
Keyword Research Checklist
1. Know Your Objectives
Before you even begin the keyword research process, it’s important to take a step back and clearly define what you’re trying to achieve. Your objectives will ultimately determine the type of keywords you need to target.
For example, if you’re trying to increase organic traffic to your website, then you’ll need to find keywords with high search volume and low competition. However, if you’re launching a PPC campaign, then you might be more interested in targeting keywords with high click-through rates.
By understanding your objectives, you can focus your efforts on finding the right keywords for the job. You can also use this information to set up tracking metrics that will help you monitor the success of your keyword efforts.
For instance, if your objective is to increase organic traffic, you could track rankings and traffic over time. If your goal is to boost conversions, then you can track leads or sales.
By clearly defining your objectives ahead of time, you’ll be able to identify the right keywords and track their performance more accurately.
2. Identify Seed Keywords
When it comes to keyword research, the process of finding relevant keywords starts with seed keywords. These are broad terms that are related to your business or the services or products you offer.
To begin, brainstorm a list of words or phrases that best describe your business, the products and services you offer, and any topics related to what you’re selling or you want to write about.
You may also consider looking through synonyms for other words or phrases related to your seed keywords.
Once you have your list of seed keywords, you’ll want to use a keyword research tool to get an idea of how many people are searching for each one. Tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahref, KWFinder, etc will give you an estimated search volume and related keywords that can help you further refine your list.
It’s important to note that you should only include relevant keywords, as the search volumes may be deceiving.
From here, you can start to build out your keyword list by expanding on the seed keywords you’ve identified. Think about variations, synonyms, misspellings, and other related topics that can help you build out your keyword list and give you the opportunity to reach more potential customers.
By taking the time to identify seed keywords, you’ll have a better foundation to build upon as you move forward in your keyword research process.
3. Use The Right Tools
Having the right tools to conduct keyword research is essential for finding the right keywords for your campaigns. With the right tools, you can gather data quickly and accurately. Here are some of the best tools available to help you get started:
Google Ads Keyword Planner: Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool for researching keywords related to your business. It helps you identify relevant keywords, get search volume estimates, and find new ad group ideas. It’s a great tool for PPC keyword research.
Google Trends: Google Trends allows you to compare the popularity of different search terms over time. This can be useful in understanding how the demand for certain keywords has changed over time, as well as how competitive those keywords are.
SEMrush: SEMrush is a comprehensive keyword research tool that provides detailed insights into keyword trends, competitive analysis, and more. It also offers an array of other features, including website audit and link-building tools. It’s my favorite SEO tool because it serves the result most accurately.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer: Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer is a powerful keyword research tool that helps you identify profitable keywords, assess their competitiveness, and gain insights into how they’ve performed historically.
KWFinder: KWFinder is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that helps you find profitable keywords with low competition. It also offers features like keyword difficulty score and SERP analysis.
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding the most popular content in your industry. With it, you can discover the most shared articles, videos, and other content related to your niche. You can also use it to identify popular topics and search terms to include in your content marketing efforts.
4. Perform Initial Searches
The first step in your keyword research process is to perform initial searches. This will help you get a better understanding of the types of keywords you should be targeting and the level of competition in the search engine rankings.
You can conduct preliminary searches using a keyword research tool such as SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, Ahref Keyword Explorer, and so on. You must understand the search volume, or how many people are searching for the selected keyword, as well as how difficult that keyword is to compete for in search engines.
It can be done by simply opening any keyword research tool and entering each seed keyword you brainstormed and identified. Then, make a list of all possible variations or related keywords.
5. Analyze Search Results
Once you’ve identified your seed keywords and performed some initial searches, it’s time to analyze the results. You want to look for the following:
1. Popularity: Look for keywords with a high search volume. This will tell you which keywords are more popular among users.
2. Competition: Check how much competition there is for each keyword. This will help you determine how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.
3. Relevance: Determine if the keyword is relevant to your business. Does it accurately describe what you offer?
4. Intent: Examine the intent behind each keyword. Is the user looking for something specific or just browsing?
5. Match Type: Consider the different match types such as broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your goals.
By analyzing these elements, you’ll have a better understanding of which keywords are worth pursuing and which ones should be eliminated from your list. You can also use this analysis to refine your seed keywords into a more focused list of target keywords.
6. Refine Your Keyword List
Now that you have identified a wide range of relevant keywords, it’s time to refine your keyword list. Here are a few steps you should take to further narrow down your keyword selection:
1. Identify related terms and synonyms: Take the time to identify related terms and synonyms for your keywords. This will help you capture more relevant search terms and expand your reach.
2. Analyze search intent: Try to understand the user intent behind each keyword. What do people expect to see when they search for that keyword? This can help you choose the right keyword for each type of content (e.g., informational, transactional, navigational, commercial, etc.).
3. Identify long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords tend to be more specific and are usually used by people further down the buying cycle. These keywords tend to be less competitive and can help you target more qualified leads.
4. Check the search volume: Use a keyword research tool to get an idea of the search volume for each keyword. If the search volume is low, you may want to consider other keywords.
5. Assess the competition: Look at how much competition there is for each keyword. If the competition is too high, you may want to switch to a more specific or long-tail keyword.
By taking the time to refine your keyword list, you’ll be better able to target the right keywords for your SEO, PPC, and content marketing campaigns.
7. Prioritize Your Keywords
When you’ve compiled a comprehensive list of relevant keywords, it’s time to prioritize them. Every keyword will not perform well in terms of ranking; you must select the most appropriate one by prioritizing keywords. This will allow you to concentrate your efforts on the most profitable and effective keywords for your campaigns.
Consider volume, cost, competition, and relevance when prioritizing. For example, if you have a popular keyword.
with low competition, but it’s not relevant to your business, so it may not be worth pursuing.
The best way to prioritize keywords is to use a keyword research tool like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner. These tools can help you determine which keywords are the most valuable to target.
For example, you can compare keyword search volume and competitive analysis data to determine which terms are the most profitable.
You can also look at other factors such as CPC (cost per click) and SERP (search engine results page) position to get an idea of how much effort it might take to rank for each keyword. This can help you determine which keywords are the most worthwhile to pursue.
Finally, you can use keyword difficulty scores from the research tools to identify which keywords are the most achievable.
To prioritize keywords, you should understand the standard criteria for a suitable keyword.
Choose a keyword with a search volume of more than 100. If you want to take low competitive keywords, avoid keywords with 45+ keyword difficulty. KD typically varies across tools.
In SEMrush, for example, less than 50 KD is considered a low competitive keyword, 50 to 69 is considered medium, 70-84 is difficult, and 85-100 is considered extremely difficult.
The keyword difficulty scale is different in the case of Ahref’s tool. 0-5 is considered a low competitive keyword in Ahref’s tool, 5-50 is regarded as medium, and 51 to 100 is contemplated extremely difficult.
Try not to choose a keyword that has no upward trend over time.
You can optimize your campaigns for the best possible return on investment by focusing on these more achievable terms.
Once your keywords have been identified and prioritized, you can begin optimizing your campaigns to drive more organic traffic and leads from search engines.
8. Do Your Competitor Research
Competitor research is important to get an understanding of what your competitors are doing. This will give you an idea of the keywords that are already being used by your competition, as well as any untapped opportunities for growth.
There are a few different ways to do competitor research when it comes to keywords. The first is to simply search for relevant keywords and see what results come up. This can give you an idea of the types of keywords that are already being used by competitors.
You should analyze your competitors’ SERP results based on a keyword. Scrape a few pieces of information about how strong your competitors are for specific keywords, what types of content they publish, and how long their content is. To compete with them, you must create better content than they do.
You can also use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to learn more about your competitors’ strategies.
Another great way to do competitor research is to look at the content that your competitors are creating and targeting. Analyzing your competitors’ content can provide valuable insight into the types of topics they are targeting and the keywords they are using to optimize their content. This can help you identify potential new topics and keywords to target in your own campaigns.
Competitor research is an essential part of any successful keyword research process. It can help you identify the best keywords to uncover potential new opportunities for growth. By taking the time to do comprehensive competitor research, you can ensure that your keyword list is comprehensive and effective.
9. Test Your Keywords
Testing your keywords is an essential part of the keyword research process, as it helps to ensure that you are targeting the right words for your campaigns. The goal here is to make sure that the keywords you have chosen are getting the results you want. Here are some tips for testing your keywords:
1. Monitor Your Traffic: Track how much traffic each of your keywords is generating and pay attention to any changes in patterns or performance.
2. Test Different Variations: Try different variations of your keywords and compare the results.
3. Analyze Your Rankings: Keep track of how your site is ranking for each keyword.
4. Look at Cost per Click: If you’re using PPC, monitor the cost per click of each keyword and determine if it’s worth the investment.
5. Track Conversions: Make sure that each keyword is driving the desired actions such as leads or sales.
Testing your keywords is an important step in ensuring that your campaigns are as successful as possible. By tracking and analyzing your results, you can gain valuable insights into what keywords are working and which ones need to be refined. With this data in hand, you’ll be able to adjust and optimize your campaigns for maximum results.
Keyword Research Checklist PDF
You can save a PDF of the keyword research checklist template for future reference.
Summary of The Keyword Research Checklist
- Know Your Objectives
- Identify Seed Keywords
- Use the Right Tools
- Perform Initial Searches
- Analyze Search Results
- Refine Your Keyword List
- Prioritize Your Keywords
- Do Your Competitor Research
- Test Your Keywords
A keyword research checklist can help you stay organized and focused, and avoid missing any critical steps in the keyword research process. So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your existing keyword strategy, be sure to use a keyword research checklist to help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
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