How To
12 min read

How to Do Keyword Research for Google Search Success

Soniya Khubchandani

September 19, 2022

Google is the most popular search engine in the world, with more than 8.5 billion daily searches conducted by people.

Even more fascinating is the fact that 15% of these searches are brand new.

Everyone on Google, including your target audience, uses keywords to find information online.

Gaining knowledge of those keywords can transform your digital presence, whether you are a business or content creator.

You would be able to create a solid SEO (search engine optimization) driven content strategy and boost organic search traffic by focusing on the right keywords to target.

After first understanding what keyword research is, and reading this guide on how to do keyword research for Google, you will be able to find, analyze, and select the best keywords for your website's SEO.

Let’s dig into how to find these keyword opportunities to develop your SEO strategy.

What does a good keyword research process for website SEO look like?

We have broken down the entire keyword research process into logical steps for you to follow. Each stage is explained in detail in a dedicated section later in the guide.

Steps to build a robust keyword strategy for your website's SEO

  1. Come up with seed keyword ideas.
  2. Branch out further with long-tail keywords.
  3. Investigate your competitor’s keywords by conducting a keyword gap analysis.
  4. Prepare a master list of relevant keywords.
  5. Analyze and pick keywords based on intent, relevancy, keyword difficulty, and monthly search volume.
  6. Organize keywords into groups or topic clusters.
  7. Prioritize keyword groups for your content plan based on metrics and your goals.
  8. Create and optimize content pages for each keyword group or cluster.
  9. Track search performance, traffic, rankings, and optimize.

How to come up with seed keywords?

Seed keywords are the first few words or phrases of a query to help you find other related keywords.

They provide a solid starting point for effective keyword research.

For example, if you sell footwear online, seed keywords can be "shoes," "slippers," "sneakers," and so on.

Seed keywords act as inputs for the next stage when you use several methods to create a master keyword list.

Here are some valuable tips for developing seed keywords for your website.

Determine your key objectives for your target audience

Describe the key jobs your products or service helps your target audience to complete in simple words. 

For example, if you provide accounting services, your potential customer jobs can be described with words like "tax filing," "tax savings," or "business accounting." This method makes use of the Jobs-to-be-Done framework for understanding customer needs.

Brainstorm and create your most relevant keyword terms

Think of the most likely terms that come to mind concerning your business that you are reasonably sure your target audience is searching for.

For example, if you sell cookies online, then "tasty cookies," "milk cookies," and "chocolate cookies" may be commonly searched by your customers.

Use AI to develop more keywords

Leverage AI tools like CopyAI's Keyword Generator tool to come up with more seed keyword ideas.

Example of using CopyAI's Keyword Generator tool

By the end of this stage, you should collect 10-20 relevant seed keywords, maybe more depending on your business and products.

How to generate keyword ideas for your website?

This step is the core of any keyword research process when you will use several basic and advanced techniques to build a master list of keywords. 

It is a good practice to build your database of potential keywords in spreadsheet software like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. You can share this spreadsheet with team members so they can contribute to it and keep a single source for a potential keyword list.

Now, let’s dive deep into several keyword discovery techniques that you can utilize to generate a comprehensive list of keyword ideas.

Scrape Google Autocomplete suggestions

Example of Google suggest autocomplete search suggestions

Google Autocomplete is a feature of Google Search that provides suggested searches based on your typing.

Autocomplete recommendations are automatically generated by an algorithm that compiles a list of possible phrases that other people have searched for. Then, the system will suggest these searches as you type.

You can hack the feature to generate hundreds of relevant keyword ideas for your website.

How to use Google Autocomplete for seed keyword research

  • Start by entering one of your seed keywords into the search bar and wait for dropdown suggestions to appear.
  • Copy the relevant keyword suggestions.
  • Use the "changing last character alphabet technique" to trigger new suggestions.
  • Again copy the applicable keyword terms.
  • Repeat the process with other seed keywords to find more long-tail keywords.
  • Collect all keywords in your master spreadsheet.

Use Google Keyword Planner

Example of using Google Ads Keyword Planner for keyword idea generation

Google Keyword Planner is a completely free keyword tool from Google primarily created for Google Ads campaigns. 

It can generate hundreds of keyword ideas and provide relevant keyword metrics to help with the analysis step.

How to use Google Keyword Planner to generate keyword ideas

  • Sign up for a free Google Ads account if you don't have one.
  • Visit the Google Keyword Planner tool landing page and follow the navigational steps.
  • The first way to generate keywords is to enter your seed terms. You can enter up to 10 seed keywords in one go.
  • Configure the location, language, and date settings.
  • Click on "Get results."
  • Copy the relevant suggestions to your master sheet.
  • Repeat the process with all your seed keywords.
  • Use the "Start with a website" option once you are done with the "Start with keywords" option.
  • Again, copy relevant suggestions to your main sheet.

Include "People also ask (PAA)" suggestions

Example of "People also ask" suggestions

People also ask (PAA) suggestions box is a Google search engine results page (SERP) feature highlighting questions related to the main search query.

It is an excellent source for finding frequently asked question keywords for your seed term.

How to use PAA to generate more keyword ideas

  • Run a Google search with your seed search term.
  • Scroll down to find the "People also ask" suggestions box.
  • Copy the relevant suggestions to your master sheet.
  • Repeat the process with other seed terms.

Pro tip: A single PAA box can be hacked into, displaying many more suggestions than the initial set. All you have to do is open and close a question, and new questions will populate below it.

Consider "People also search for" suggestions

Example of "People also search for" suggestions

Another useful SERP feature to scrape keywords is the "People also search for" suggestions box. It is not immediately visible and requires a different approach.

How to access "People also search for" suggestions from Google SERPs

  • Run a Google search with your seed term.
  • Navigate and open any search result in a new tab.
  • Close the result and bounce back to the SERP.
  • You will see a suggestion box pop up below your last-clicked link with the label "People also ask for."
  • Add relevant keywords to your master sheet from here.
  • Repeat the process with other seed keywords.

Compile "Related searches" keywords

Example of "Related searches" in Google SERP

Another SERP feature that can be used to fill out your keywords list is "Related searches." 

They appear at the bottom of the SERP with the label "Related searches." A lot of these suggestions often overlap with autocomplete suggestions. Still, you may find some new terms to add to your keyword list.

Analyze competitor keyword strategy

In competitor keyword research, you identify the keywords your search competitors are targeting and ranking for, but not your website.

You can find those keywords with a solid competitor research strategy, fill your SEO content gaps, and grow relevant organic traffic.

Ways to find your competitor keywords

  • Identify your main organic search and business competitors

  • Use a keyword research tool like the Semrush keyword gap or Ahrefs content gap features.
  • Use SpyFu for finding competitor Google Ads keywords.
  • Look at their website HTML page source code.
  • Crawl their site with Screaming Frog to get individual page information.

Get more detailed instructions by checking out this guide on how to do competitive keyword analysis.

Pull keywords from forums like Reddit and Quora

Example of using Quora for Google keyword research

Popular forums like Quora and Reddit are a great place to find topics related to your niche to get more ideas for keywords that you might not have thought about before.

One way to do this is by searching for questions about your niche and then reading through them all until you find something you can use as a keyword.

For example, if you're selling a product for pet owners, you can search for questions related to pets on Quora and Reddit. The best part about this is that the people who ask these questions are likely already interested in the subject matter, meaning they may also be interested in buying what you offer.

You can further browse niche forums in your industry to expand your keywords database.

Learn from your customers and leads

Going straight to the source (your customers) is always a good plan if you're looking for new keyword ideas.

Here are some effective ways to turn your customer voice into a keyword ideas generator.

Surveys

Customer surveys are a great way to understand better what your audience is looking for on your website. You can ask questions about the types of products they are looking for, what they think about your current product offerings, or even why they chose one product over another. Once you've compiled all of this information, use it as inspiration for new keyword ideas that can help you reach such customers more effectively.

Customer support tickets

Have customers submitted tickets asking about specific topics related to their purchasing decisions? If so, that's great! You can use those tickets as a resource to find new keywords to create content that answers them. If customers created tickets asking questions, that means there are other customers out there that may have the same questions, so use those keywords to create a resource for them.

Monitor Google Trends data

Example of using Google Trends for keyword ideas

Google Trends is another free-to-use service from Google to understand search trends.

How to leverage Google Trends data for generating keyword ideas.

Related topics

Related topics reveal other content themes that users searching the seed term also look for on Google. You can sort the topics list by "Top" and "Rising."

Related queries

Related queries are other keywords the same users search for on Google. They also can be sorted by "Top" and "Rising" queries. 

The rising queries are particularly interesting as they cover terms showing a significant increase in searches compared to the previous period. They could naturally have lower competition and become excellent keyword choices to create content.

Check Google Search Console

When you have a website, you should create a property within Google Search Console to get more data that you can’t get from other tools like Google Analytics.

In Google Search Console, you’ll see how many impressions certain keywords are getting, their clicks, average rankings, any website issues, page experience, and so much more. You’ll submit your sitemaps here to let Google know what you want crawled on your website.

So how can you use Google Search Console for keyword research?

How to identify more keywords in Google Search Console

  • Go to your property and click on “Performance” in the left sidebar.
  • On the “Queries” tab, you’ll see what keywords are being searched to find your site.
  • Look through these keywords and their impressions to find keywords.
  • Add keywords to your list that you aren’t already targeting that either fit a current keyword group, or can be a new target keyword.

Invest in a SEO tool for Google keyword research

After you’ve gathered your master list of keywords with any, or all, of the keyword research methods above, use them in the next step to get valuable keyword data so you can analyze keyword difficulty, monthly searches, cost-per-click (CPC), search intent, and much more to develop your content strategy.

Example of using Semrush keyword research tool

With SEO being a significant marketing channel, many software tools have been built to meet the needs of businesses and SEO professionals.

There is an entire list of tools with solid keyword research capabilities. You can think of them as an advanced version of Google Keyword Planner.

Such SEO keyword research tools can help you with a ton of features to help with SEO.:

  • Multiplying keywords from seed terms to create more short and long-tail keywords.
  • Providing metrics like keyword search volume, difficulty, intent, and more to prioritize keywords.etc
  • Find keywords ranking for your competitors using keyword or content gap analysis.
  • Other SEO features include backlink analysis, content marketing, site audits, content optimization, track keyword rankings, and more.

Most SEO tools will require you to subscribe to a paid plan to unlock all features and data. You can try different tools and stick to the best one for your needs and budget.

Analyze and pick the right keywords

Now that you have a comprehensive database of keyword ideas, it is time to analyze the list and pick the most suitable keywords.

You should evaluate each keyword against a set of parameters and metrics. Let us understand some important ones and how they should be interpreted.

Keyword volume

Keyword volume is a measure of the popularity of a keyword based on average monthly searches. The higher the keyword monthly search volume, the more people search for the term, and the more potential traffic there is for a target keyword.

You can use Google Keyword Planner, which gives an estimated range of monthly searches, or an SEO and keyword tool like Semrush or Ahrefs, which gives more accurate and precise metrics, to get keyword volume estimates.

Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a measure of the competition to rank your page for the keyword that usually ranges from 0 to 100. 

A higher difficulty score means you’ll need more backlinks, a stronger website domain authority, and high-quality and optimized content to rank for the term. Keywords with high competition often have a significant search volume as well.

You must strike a balance between difficulty and volume to pick keywords.

Keyword relevance

Relevance illustrates the suitability of a keyword phrase for your website and target audience. This is probably the easiest step, as you should be able to easily identify the relevant and related keywords to your business that you want to target.

Mostly, you should have a list of relevant terms from your keyword ideation process. Still, if some irrelevant words slip in, you can remove them in this step.

Keyword search intent

Search intent describes the user's purpose for a search., and can be broadly classified as informational, transactional, or navigational.

For example, "how to install ceiling lights" is an informational query, "best ceiling lights online" is a transactional query, and "Philips ceiling lights" is a navigational search term.

Keyword trend

Keyword trend describes the search volume for a keyword across time. It can help you identify seasonal queries like "best christmas gifts."

Keyword CPC rate

The keyword cost-per-click (CPC) rate can give you a good idea of the demand for a keyword, but will be more costly if you plan to do paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. A higher CPC rate usually means a valuable keyword to target, but could also suggest higher competition.

Note: There is no magic formula to pick the best keywords using the above parameters. Your choice depends on several factors, with no guaranteed outcomes, and may or may not work for someone else.

For example, suppose your website is already established and has a high domain rank or authority. In that case, you should be able to pick medium to high volume and competitive keywords and potentially rank for them. You can pick keywords that will fill out your topic clusters or keyword groups and internally link them to have the best chance of ranking sooner.

However, if you have just started a website, you are better off going with low-difficulty, long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy. As you get more backlinks and create more content, you’ll be able to go after medium difficulty keywords with higher search volumes. 

Organize keywords into groups or topic clusters

Once you have a filtered list of keywords, you should organize them into keyword groups.

You can consider a keyword group as a topic cluster. Each group consists of multiple related keywords with the potential to rank on a single page. 

One of the keywords should be treated as the primary keyword and others as secondary or related terms.

Advantages of using a keyword group strategy

  • Aligns with Google's latest algorithms that focus on topics rather than exact match keyword usage.
  • Keeps your site structure well organized.
  • Avoids keyword cannibalization, which means more than one page is targeting a similar keyword and Google doesn’t know which one to rank, so none of them will.
  • Potentially requires fewer pages to create.
  • Helps each page to rank for multiple related keywords over time.

How to organize your keyword list into groups

  • Logically put keywords into similar keyword buckets based on your understanding of their intent.
  • List seed keywords, long-tail phrases, and closely relevant synonymous keywords.
  • Check SERPs for each keyword and compare the number of overlapping results. Generally, if there are 3 or more results in common, then the two keywords can be put under one group.

Prioritize your keyword groups

The next step is to prioritize your keyword groups for content creation. This is important because, with proper prioritization, you can attain SEO results faster and drive desired outcomes.

Ways to create a priority list of keyword groups

  • Pick topics that are potentially easier to rank for based on their metrics.
  • Choose topics that will drive more conversions, typically bottom of funnel keywords.
  • Select topics that cover different phases of the buyer's journey.
  • Determine topics by service or product type

Overall, this step also shapes your content marketing strategy by defining what content you will create and when you plan to produce it.

You can document this plan in the form of an SEO content calendar.

Create and optimize website content pages or posts

Now is the time for execution by putting your SEO content calendar in motion. 

Each planned SEO content page or post will have an assigned keyword group.

Your job is to optimize the page for its target keywords properly. This will cover following the best practices of on-page SEO like using the primary keyword in H1, meta title, URL slug, subheadings, and naturally throughout the content..

More importantly, you should try to meet the search intent with your content as much as possible.

Additionally, you should focus on off-page optimization actions like building quality backlinks and technical SEO optimization like improving page speed.

Related read: How to write an SEO-friendly blog post

Track search performance and optimize

SEO is a long-term process, so you can't expect immediate results from it. Tracking the performance and making adjustments of your SEO-focused pages is an integral part of the process.

Keyword rankings and traffic are an essential metric to track. You can do so with an SEO tool that tracks rankings, and Google Analytics for your traffic.

After you hit publish, your page may start at position 90 in SERP. Knowing this, you can devise a plan to boost its rankings to the top 10 using various techniques like building backlinks, interlinking, and content refreshes.

To streamline the search performance tracking and optimization process, you should maintain a central dashboard of key metrics plus an optimization-related task list.

Related keyword research guides

We have also written detailed keyword research guides for other popular search engines and use cases. You can follow the links below to learn more about them.

Conclusion: Good keyword research for Google requires a great process

Keyword research is the primary step to a successful SEO strategy for your website.

You can consider it the foundation on which your website content marketing will happen.

It is critical to get this groundwork right.

This is possible with a well-planned and executed keyword research process that focuses on the quality and comprehensiveness of your keyword database.

We hope this in-depth guide on how will help you build a solid keyword strategy and drive success with organic search.

By the way, if you have still not leveraged AI technology to improve your SEO activities like writing SEO-friendly blog titles, it is time to give CopyAI's suite of AI-powered writing tools a free trial.

Ready to level-up?

Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.

Get Started for Free
No credit card required
7-day trial of Pro
90+ content types to explore