Keyword Research Guide

Keyword research is the process of discovering a short list of words or phrases that best describe your webpage. Keywords can be a single words or multiple-word phrases.

Use this template for each webpage.

Step 1

Identify your #1 and #2 ideal target audiences.

Of all the people that will read this page, which one or two groups of people do you care the MOST about reaching?

#1 Ideal: ___________________________________________________

#2 (Optional): _______________________________________________

 

Step 2

Brainstorm. 

List three words or phrases that YOU use to describe the topic of your webpage:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________

List three words or phrases that YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE might use to describe the topic of your webpage:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________

List three questions that your webpage answers (or should answer):

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________
     

Step 3

Find more ideas.

Go to www.thesaurus.com and input each of the nine words or phrases above. Select up to three good synonyms and list them here:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________

Go to www.wikipedia.com and search for your main words or phrases above. Select up to three good words or phrases found in the Summary Paragraphs and list them here:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________

Go to www.google.com and search for each word or phrase above. On the search results page (SERP), Google sometimes lists “People Also Ask” (related questions). Also, at the bottom of each SERP page, will be terms listed under “Searches Related to.

Jot down any good suggestions:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________________
     

Step 4

Determine the most searched-for words and phrases.

Plug all of the words or phrases above into a keyword research tool to get an idea of how many times each word/phrase is searched each month.

We like Google AdWords, so here’s our method for using it:

  • Go to www.adwords.google.com and log in (It’s free but you have to create an account.) From the “Tools” menu, select “Keyword Planner.”
  • Select “Get search volume and trends,” and in the “Your keywords” field, paste your list of words or phrases, separated by commas. Click the “Get search volume” button.
  • On the results page, click the “Keyword ideas” tab. Sort both the “Search Terms” and “Keyword (by Relevance)” sections by the “Avg. monthly searches” column (highest to lowest).

List the top 10 keywords that are the most relevant to your webpage and have more than 10 monthly searches. Include the search volume and competition next to each keyword:

  1. ___________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________
  4. ___________________________________________________
  5. ___________________________________________________
  6. ___________________________________________________
  7. ___________________________________________________
  8. ___________________________________________________
  9. ___________________________________________________
  10. ___________________________________________________

Google each of these 10 keywords to be sure that the other links on the results pages match your intent.
 

Step 5

Select your primary keywords.

Looking at the list in Step 4, select the keywords that best meet the following criteria:

  1. Highest monthly search volume: 
    ___________________________________________________
  2. High monthly search volume AND medium competition: 
    ___________________________________________________
  3. Medium monthly search volume AND medium or low competition: 
    ___________________________________________________
  4. Lowest monthly search volume AND low competition:
    ___________________________________________________
  5. Asks a question:
    ___________________________________________________

 

Next Steps

Repeat this process for every webpage that you want to optimize. Once you have your lists, it is time to: incorporate keywords into existing webpages and create new content themed around keywords.