Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research 101: Mastering the Basics

Keyword Research 101
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You want to be a master in keyword research. So, it would help if you were well-versed in keyword research 101. Because mastery is built on knowing the fundamentals and understanding the fundamentals is the only way to unleash the unlimited potential of knowledge and ascend to the world of true talent.

The article will teach you everything from basics to advanced keyword research techniques. Let’s get started!

What is a keyword?

In the universe of search engines, a keyword is a term a user types into a search bar to find information on a specific topic. It can be just one word or a phrase.

To find our solution, we typically type terms or words like “how to grow a business” or “keyword research hack” into search engines like Google’s search bar.

A keyword is essential in the planet of SEO. The search engine ecosystem is built around the keyword element. To get the answer you want to share with your targeted audiences, you must first come to know what they are using. You must be aware of the search terms that they may employ.

After you’ve identified the best keywords for your topic, you must incorporate them into your content. As a result, search engines know when your content should have appeared.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. People use millions of queries to find their answers. But how do you know which keywords or queries are associated with your content? How many people search for a specific keyword, and how many webmasters incorporate the keywords into their content? How possible is it that you will be able to compete with these webmasters?

Keyword research is the investigation into the exact keywords that your potential audiences use to find their solution. Aside from that, it is for determining the search volume of a specific keyword and how difficult it is to compete with competitors.

The goal of keyword research is to comprehend the language and terminology that people use in relation to a specific topic or industry and to use this knowledge to optimize website content and improve search engine rankings.

Why is keyword research important?

The first step in SEO is keyword research. If you don’t do it correctly, you’ll be kicked out of the SEO game. If you target a keyword with no search volume, it means that no one is looking for it, and your content will receive no traffic.

Even if you choose a keyword with a high search volume, you will not rank for it or receive traffic if the competition is too high.

There are other factors you should be aware of if you want to rank higher in search engines.

The primary objective of keyword research is to determine whether you will be a winner or a loser in the SEO game. As a result, you must take it seriously.

Types of Keyword

Keyword Research 101: Types of keywords

Keywords are generally classified into two types: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.

The most common type of keyword is a short-tail keyword. It only has one or two words. It has the highest search volume along with the greatest competition.

For example, “running shoes” is a short-tail keyword that has a 200k search volume and 83% keyword difficulty according to the SEMrush keyword research tool. 

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific keywords that consist of three or more words. It has a lower search volume and less competition.

For example, “best running shoes for high arches” is a long-tail keyword that has a 3.3k search volume and 43% keyword difficulty.

Local keywords

Local keywords are phrases or keywords that target a specific geographic location, such as a city, state, or area.

For example, if you own a pizza shop in New York City, some local keywords you might consider targeting include “best pizza in NYC,” “pizza delivery in Manhattan,” and “New York-style pizza.”

By including local keywords in the content of your website, you may assist enhance your exposure in local search results and attract more relevant traffic. This is particularly crucial for small businesses or local service providers looking to attract customers in their area.

Advantages & disadvantages of short tail keywords

Everything in the universe has pros and cons.


Short-tail keywords receive a lot of searches. It is an excellent method for driving massive traffic to your website. Most searchers do not want to waste time typing a longer word; instead, they type one or two words and search. With short-tail keywords, you have a better chance of getting huge traffic, sales, or customers.


Short-tail keywords are extremely competitive. It is highly difficult to compete with your competitors. To rank on the first page of Google, you need a lot of money, effort, and time. It is sometimes impossible to rank on the first page.

In terms of conversion rate, short-tail keywords have little value. Because the search intent is ambiguous. People who search for short-tail keywords do not have a strong desire to purchase something. They simply want to learn about a subject.

For getting potential customers, you shouldn’t go for short-tail keywords.

Advantages & disadvantages of Long-tail keywords


Long-tail keywords have higher conversion rates, low competition, and long search intent. It is very easy to rank on the first page of search engines. People who search for long-tail keywords are more likely to buy something.

They typically know about that topic and they are ready to buy. So, the huge benefit of long-tail keywords is that you can get more potential customers with less effort. For commercial sites, it is very important to get potential customers rather than just get a lot of traffic.

So, with long-tail keywords, you can generate leads and sales at a low cost and within less time.

As a result, You will get a high ROI with long-tail keywords. Your content even has a chance to rank without any backlinks with long-tail keywords.

It is the ideal keyword type for a new website.


Long-tail keywords have a lower search volume. You will miss out on a large audience. 

What type of keywords should you choose for your website?

Choosing the right type of keywords is an excellent strategy for achieving your business objectives. Both short-tail and long-tail keywords should be preferred based on the nature of your business or website.

Long-tail keywords are the best way for a new website to rank and gain traffic. Short-tail keywords are a good choice if your website is well-established and has a high level of authority.

Long-tail keywords can help any website generate potential customers. Long-tail keywords are the best option if you want to maximize your ROI (Return on Investment).

Keyword Research Terminology

Keyword Research 101: Terminology

To learn the fundamentals of anything, you must first understand its terminology. You’ve already encountered terms like search volume, keyword difficulty, search intent, and so on. You might not understand what these terms mean. There are numerous other advanced terms that you should be familiar with to gain a better understanding.

Search Volume: The number of times a keyword is searched for on Google or other search engines. That is, how many people are searching for a particular keyword? It is calculated monthly.

Keyword Difficulty (KD) or SEO Difficulty: A keyword’s difficulty (KD) is a score assigned by keyword research tools to each keyword. It indicates how difficult it is to rank. It demonstrates how many webmasters are currently competing for a specific keyword.

KD is scored on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the score, the harder it is to rank. The KD level varies between keyword research tools.

For example, it is 59 in Ahrefs, 83% in SEMrush, and 79 in Ubbersuggest for the keyword ‘running shoes’.

In various tools, KD is referred to as SEO difficulty, keyword competition, or Search difficulty.

Each keyword research tool has its own algorithm for calculating KD and a different range of scores. According to SEMrush, less than 50% of keywords are considered low competitive, 50-69% are medium, 70-84% are difficult, and more than 85% are extremely difficult to rank.

In Ahrefs, 0-5 is considered low, 6-50 is considered medium, and more than 50 is considered highly competitive.

If you want to learn more about the keyword difficulty score of various tools, use the search term ‘The name of the tools + Keyword Difficulty score’. For instance, ‘SEMrush keyword difficulty score’.

Search Intent: This is the reason why people are looking for a specific keyword; what is the purpose of their search? Are they looking to buy something or simply gather information?

Your content must meet their actual needs. Otherwise, your content will be irrelevant, and your website will be ranked lower. Google will justify whether your content provides the exact solution that users are looking for.

There are four types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.

The term “informational” indicates the user is interested in learning more about a particular topic or product. They have no desire to purchase anything. In this category, you should provide as much information about the topic as possible without quoting the product price, sales volume, reviews, and so on. For example, what is SEMrush?

Navigational refers to the reason that users want to navigate some specific page or product. For example, SEMRush login or Amazon beauty products.

The commercial indicates that the user is looking for reviews, case studies, product comparisons, and other information before making a purchasing decision. For example, SEMrush vs Ahrefs, Best keyword research tool, etc.

Transactional is the final step of the sales funnel. The user is ready to buy the product. They have already done their research and have decided what to buy. For example, buy SEMrush tools or buy Amazon beauty products.

Every website should have a mix of all four types of content. In terms of ranking, Google prioritizes informational content. You must educate the user and move them to the next stage of the sales funnel with your content.

The focus of e-commerce or business websites is on navigational, commercial, and transactional keywords. Knowing your users’ exact search intent allows you to provide them with the right information in your content to convert them into your goals.

If you have a blog website, you should prioritize informational content.

Relevant Keywords: These are variations of primary keywords as well as related keywords. If the primary keyword is ‘running shoes,’ then relevant keywords usually involve ‘running shoes for men,’ ‘best running shoes,’ ‘running shoes for women,’ ‘running shoes for kids,’ and so on.

LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is similar to relevant keywords. However, it does not include adding or removing words with primary keywords. LSI keywords differ from one another. It is the primary keywords’ synonym. For instance, if the primary keyword is ‘running shoes,’ the LSI keywords would be ‘marathon shoes,’ ‘walking shoes,’ ‘jogging shoes,’ and so on.

Target country: The country to which you want to direct traffic is pivotal. Every keyword research tool allows you to select the target country to determine how many people are searching for the specific keyword in that country.

You can look up a keyword’s global search volume. Bloggers typically write their articles intending to reach a global audience. They should check the global search volume of the keywords. Keep in mind that only a few tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and others, will show you the global search volume. 

Keyword Trend: A keyword trend is a graph that depicts the popularity of a keyword over time. You can forecast the future popularity of a keyword. It enables you to create valuable content that will continuously generate traffic.

Almost every keyword research tool provides keyword trends, but Google Trends is the best tool for determining trends. It will display the level of popularity based on time, country, and even city. It’s an excellent metric for local businesses.

CPC: Cost per Click is the amount that advertisers pay Google for ad clicks. Bloggers should check the CPC of the keywords to see how much money they can make from clicks on advertiser ads.

The higher the CPC, the more profit bloggers will make from a specific keyword.

PPC: Pay per click (PPC) is the inverse of CPC. It means that advertisers must pay to outbid their competitors for the top spot on the search result page based on the keyword. Bloggers are not required to understand PPC.

SERP Analysis: Almost all keyword research tools provide a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) analysis result. It informs you who is already in the search results for a specific keyword.

Congratulations! Now you know the all terms of keyword research. Let’s dive into the next part.

Keyword Research Basic

When it comes to keyword research, you have two choices: manual or automated. 

Manual keyword research makes it difficult and time-consuming to find relevant keywords for your website. 

To begin, you must understand your website’s niche or the topic of your content. Then, in your niche, brainstorm keywords that people may be looking for. Then, expand those brainstorming keywords by adding modifiers and synonyms. A keyword research tool might be extremely useful in this regard.

To get quick success, you can use my personalized keyword research checklist.

Keyword Research Tool

A keyword research tool is one that can assist you in determining the ideal keywords to target for your website or online content.  Using a keyword research tool instead of manual research will save you a lot of time and make your keyword research more efficient.

With the use of a keyword research tool, you can gather information about a keyword’s search volume, popularity, CPC, keyword difficulty, and more.

There are numerous tools available to assist you with keyword research. Ahrefs, SEMrush, LongTailPro, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, and so on. Personally, I like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

It is really basic and easy to use these tools. Simply enter a seed term into the tools’ search field to acquire a list of keywords that are related to the seed keyword.

How to Conduct Free Keyword Research

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool from Google. This tool is accessible through Google Ads. You can use this tool to generate a plethora of keyword ideas. This tool provides very basic information about the keywords. You should employ premium tools to boost your keyword research.

In addition, Ahref provides a free keyword research tool. It outperforms Google Keyword Planner in terms of accuracy.

SEMrush is a premium tool, but it provides 10 keywords for free. 

Keyword Research Tips

Bravo! You now understand the fundamentals of keyword research as well as some advanced concepts.

It’s time to give you some keyword research techniques so you can excel at it. 

Defining your target audience

You must first identify your target audience. Take a look at the following answers: What is your intended audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What is their line of work? What gender are they? What is it that they are interested in?

You can quickly determine what type of keyword will work best for your site once you know who your target audience is.

What are your audience’s needs?

You can’t meet your audience’s needs if you don’t know what they need. They may leave your site and never return, causing your website’s rankings to decline. Consider why your target audience might be looking for the keywords. Keyword intent or search intent refers to the audience’s needs. Keyword research tools can help you determine their intent.

Choose keywords with minimal competition

If you want to win at SEO, always use low-competitive keywords. It is difficult for new websites to rank for highly competitive keywords. 

Analyze your competitors

Analyzing your competition can provide you with information on the keywords they are targeting as well as the techniques they are employing. Analyze the keywords that your competitors are ranking for using tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs.

Focus on relevance

Choose keywords that are related to your content and your target audience. Avoid employing broad or generic keywords, as they may attract people who are uninterested in your content.

Read More: 32 Best Brands With The Best Social Media Presence That Will Teach You A Secret Lesson.

Identify long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more detailed terms that individuals use while looking for anything on the internet. They have a lesser search volume but stronger intent, making them more likely to convert. Identify long-tail keywords relevant to your content using tools like Google Suggest and AnswerThePublic.

What are some common mistakes during keyword research?

common mistakes during keyword research

Many newcomers make the mistake of selecting keywords. Keywords are worth their weight in gold. Every term represents a significant chance to grow your business. So, avoid the most typical keyword selection blunder.

Here are some of the most typical mistakes people make when conducting keyword research:

  1. Concentrating solely on keywords with significant search volume: While keywords with high search traffic may appear appealing, they may also have strong competition, making it tough for your content to rank well. Furthermore, high search volume does not automatically imply high-quality visitors or conversions. When choosing keywords, other aspects such as user intent and relevancy must be considered.
  1. Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are longer, more specialized phrases with lower search volume but higher intent. Neglecting these types of keywords can be a costly mistake, as they can help you reach a more targeted audience and increase conversion rates.
  1. Failure to analyze competition: Analyzing your competitors can provide you with information about the keywords they are targeting and the techniques they are employing. Failure to analyze your competitors might make competing in your industry challenging.
  1. Skipping keyword trends: Keyword trends might shift over time, so it’s critical to stay current with the latest trends in your market. Ignoring monitoring keyword trends might result in lost opportunities and outdated material.
  1. Not employing a variety of tools: There are numerous keyword research tools accessible, and it is critical to use a number of tools to gain a full grasp of the keywords related to your sector. Using a single tool can limit your insights and prospects.
  2. Not taking user intent into account: Understanding user intent is essential for choosing the best keywords. If your content does not fit the user’s goal, they will most likely return to the search results, which will harm your SEO efforts.


Keywords are everywhere on the internet. Keywords are gold nuggets for increasing the visibility of your website in search engines. To find the proper keywords, you must first understand what factors you should examine. I hope the article has helped you understand how to select the best keyword. 

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or recommendations about this post.


  1. What a fantastic article on mastering keyword research! I couldn’t agree more that understanding the fundamentals is crucial to unlocking the true potential of knowledge and becoming a true talent in the field. I appreciate how the article covers everything from the basics to advanced techniques, providing a comprehensive resource for aspiring keyword research experts like myself. I can’t wait to delve into it and enhance my skills further. Thank you for sharing this valuable piece!

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