Future-Proofing Your SEO: How to Do Keyword Research

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Without good SEO, people won’t be able to find your website or online store. That’s why SEO keyword research is so important, no matter if your site is built using a website builder or a CMS. People search for a specific word or phrase and search engines direct them toward related content. And, hopefully, that’s your website’s content.

In this article, we’ll go over the keyword basics, learning what they are, why they’re so critical to websites, and how to do SEO keyword research yourself. Let’s get started! 

What Is Keyword Research?

Keywords are the words and phrases people type into search engines to get information. They help search engines understand the content on a web page so that they can decide if it’s relevant to the query.  

When you strategically use these keywords in your website content, you drive up your site’s visibility. This helps search engines drive traffic to you. 

SEO keyword research is simply the act of finding and analyzing the search words that people enter into search engines, then using those terms in your website, content-making, and marketing. SEO keyword research helps you immediately understand what your potential customers are looking for online, and target them to guide them back to you. 

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research can guide your content strategy. If done properly, you’ll get insight into the habits, choices, and preferences of your audience. This helps you get a better idea of how to get your audience’s attention and best solve their problems. 

Keyword research can guide your content, product development, and marketing. Your business should be creating products and content that your target audience will find valuable. 

There’s so much noise online, so we understand it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But by using the most relevant keywords, you help users find your content. You’re speaking their language, and you’re making a roadmap that leads them straight to your website. 

When Should Keyword Research Be Used?

Once you understand how to find keywords for SEO, you have a lot to gain. The great thing about keyword research is there there are plenty of applications for it, including:  

  • SEO Optimization: When you use the right keywords in your website content, meta descriptions, and tags, those rankings go up, and so does organic traffic to your site. 
  • Content Strategy: Keyword research can tell you about the topics that interest your audience. You can create content around these keywords, attracting even more visitors. Targeted content means relevant information that keeps your audience on your site, and that means more visibility on your pages and a higher chance of conversion. 
  • Paid Campaigns: When you’re ready for paid advertising campaigns like Google Ads or social media ads, keyword research gives you the best words to use. This expands the reach of your ads and ups the return on investment (ROI). 
  • Long-Tail Keywords: These are longer and more specific phrases that have less competition. When you go for long-tail keywords, you’ll rank higher for specific queries. Generally speaking, the more specific a product search query, the more likely the visitor is to convert. For instance, “best website builders” is fairly broad, but “best website builders for food delivery businesses” is a specific query that leans toward a purchase.  
Top Tip! If you run a local business, don’t forget to use local SEO! Keyword research can help you identify location-specific keywords which boost your site’s visibility to local customers.

How To Conduct Keyword Research: The Main Steps

By now you might be chomping at the bit to get into how to find keywords for SEO. Here’s a handy step-by-step list to walk you through the process of SEO keyword research: 

Finding Keywords 

Of course you want to find keywords for SEO! You can begin by brainstorming possible keywords that are relevant to your business and audience. If you were searching to find your business or looking for related information, which keywords would you naturally use? 

Analyzing Keywords 

Once you’ve formulated a list of possible keywords, it’s time to use tools to analyze them (we’ll discuss these in more detail in the next section). Pay attention to search volume (how many people search for the term), difficulty (how competitive is the keyword), and relevance to your business. 

Considering User Intent 

When choosing your SEO keywords, consider the audience’s intent behind using them. For example, if people search for “best website builders”, are they looking for an expert opinion or are they ready to sign up to a platform? The keywords you prioritize can depend on the user journey and the stage the reader is at. 

Comparing Keywords 

Have a look at which keywords your competitors are using and ranking for. What are they missing? Are there any gaps in the market that you can take advantage of? What is everyone talking about? What’s trending? Where can your content rank highly? 

Targeting Keywords 

After finding and analyzing your keywords, the next step is to pick the most promising keywords to use in your content. With your research, you should be able to determine which keywords work best for your audience and website. 

Prioritizing and Optimizing Keywords 

Go beyond just picking the right keywords. Prioritize those keywords depending on their SEO impact. Some terms will perform better than others, so we recommend tailoring your content around these.  

Verifying Search Intent 

Now, make sure that your keywords match the audience’s searches by regularly reviewing your keywords. Popular keywords change over time, so adapting and targeting new search terms will help your website rank well and meet your audience’s needs. 

A local search results page for Pizza in Fells Point, Baltimore with a map on the right hand side.
SEO keyword research can help you discover search intent (pizza delivery), buyer intent (no contact delivery), and location. 

Tools for Keyword Research

You might be wondering how to do keyword research for SEO – as in what type of help is available?  

For accurate SEO keyword research, we recommend using a dedicated SEO tool to help determine and analyze your targeted terms. Here are a few of the most popular options: 


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO keyword tool with a huge keyword database and accurate search volume data. Its “Keyword Explorer” tool gives you keyword data including keyword difficulty, search volume, and clicks-per-search.  

You’ll also get the top-ranking pages for a specific keyword and insights into how many backlinks would help your pages rank better. 


Semrush has robust SEO keyword research capabilities, a user-friendly interface, highly-detailed keyword reports, and competitor analysis (to help you analyze your competitors’ keywords and strategies).  

We recommend using its “Keyword Magic Tool”, which will cover all of your basic keyword research needs. It helps you find the right keywords by showing the broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords, along with their search volume, trend data, and difficulty score.   

A list of results and metrics for the search "best website builders"
We searched the term “best website builders” in Semrush to find relevant and related keywords.

Google Keyword Planner 

Google Keyword Planner is not only a free tool, but it’s extremely powerful because its insights come directly from Google, the world’s most popular search engine.  

Though it’s technically meant for paid search campaigns, it finds keywords related to your business or industry and gives search volume and competition-level info for each keyword. 

Moz Keyword Explorer  

Moz’s Keyword Explorer is a great tool for SEO keyword research thanks to its predictive metrics, which can let you know which keywords are worth targeting in the first place. No more wasted time!  

It gives you a wide variety of data, including monthly search volume, difficulty, priority, and click-through rate. And it also suggests related keywords and which websites are high-rankers for the target keyword. 


Are you a small business with limited resources? KWFinder has a user-friendly interface and focuses on finding less competitive keywords. That means you can be a big fish in a smaller pond instead of competing against the big sharks.  

KWFinder finds those long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty so that you can spot good opportunities. On top of that, it will give you keyword suggestions, search volume data, and information on trends.  

Top Tip! Sometimes it pays to think outside the box with keywords. For example, if you sell popcorn online, don’t just think of flavor keywords. Think “home movies” and “local sports events”, too!

How To Maintain Keyword Rankings

SEO keyword research isn’t a one-time thing. Once you’ve done the hard work of finding, analyzing, and implementing your keywords, you’ve got to keep your rankings as high as possible. 

That means part of how to do keyword research is to regularly revisit your SEO keyword research, lightly (or completely!) refresh your content, keep checking out what your competitors are doing (and what they’re missing), and stay on top of SEO trends. 


As we’ve discussed, knowing how to do keyword research for SEO is an essential part of a successful SEO strategy. You want to drive appropriate visitors to your website – all it takes is knowing the best keywords to target them effectively, and how to use them across your website and content. 

SEO keyword research is a goldmine of information that every website should tap into, giving you all the insights you need to target your ideal audience.  

When you understand your audience’s language and meet them where they are, you can boost your visibility, drive traffic to your site, and ultimately, grow your online business. 


You’ll get more eyes on your content if you use multiple keywords – this helps you target a wider audience. We recommend focusing on your primary keyword the most and using this multiple times in the content but combine this with a selection of secondary keywords.
One of the biggest mistakes with carrying out keyword research is focusing on exact-match keywords. Exact matches are important, but different people use different versions of words, so it’s important to cover all bases. For example, “pizza” is pretty common, but some might use “pie”, “deep-dish”, or “Sicilian slice”.
Written by:
Smiling headshot of Amanda Graham
I started writing for Website Builder Expert in 2022. I love copywriting for ecommerce, website, automation, and website brands and I’ve ghostwritten and content strategised for some of the largest multinational brands in the world. I have years of writing experience for the BBC, including documentaries, scripts, and Twitter campaigns. With such a wealth of experience to draw on, some of my best work on Website Builder Expert focuses on topics such as ecommerce strategies, marketing tips, and small business advice. I hope you enjoy my articles!

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