Good keyword research is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. Without good keywords, all of your hard work writing SEO-friendly content, optimizing your title tags, getting rid of duplicate content and all of that fun stuff will be much less effective and, in some cases maybe even fruitless.

Keyword research is more than picking out keywords that fit your niche or offering. It requires gaining insight into patterns and searcher intent.

I encountered a great example of this very recently while looking to increase the volume of inquiries for “L1 Visas”, a type of US work visa, to a local immigration law firm. At first glance, one might think it logical to target keywords in the “L1 Visa” theme. But after doing a little research and giving it some thought, I found that this keyword is searched very infrequently, and that it is very likely that the searcher making this query is researching L1Visas, and is probably not ready to seek out a lawyer for assistance.

Instead, you may want to target keyword themes that have higher search volumes and are more likely to reflect the kind of searcher intent that is going to bring you conversions. In other words, you want to get into the searchers way just when they are looking for what you offer, which of course is the beauty of SEO and the reason why search traffic can be so valuable.

With that in mind, it is very important to gain a complete and comprehensive understanding of your potential keywords before you do any SEO at all, so that you know what trees you should be barking up. But where do you start? Here are six easy steps to keyword success:

Brainstorm: Take some time to think about all possible keywords themes that would be relevant to your business and offering. Think short-tail and don’t worry about permutations (i.e. “L1 visa” and “visa L1”), this part will come later. For now just gather all of the root themes together into a list.

Use a keyword tool: At this point you should engage a keyword tool to help you get more ideas and gather data. The Google Keyword Tool is ever-improving, is free and in my opinion is pretty much all you need if used right. Plug in all of your keyword ideas – only one or a few at a time – and try to pare them down to just the relevant ones since the tool tends to include some not-so-relevant suggestions. Play with it to get to know how it works.

Build a list: Most if not all keyword tools will allow you to export your research results to Excel format. As you find more keywords, export them all to a spreadsheet. Clear out all of the less important stuff, which will usually leave you with search volume (local and global, or whatever makes sense for your campaign) and average Adwords CPC. Organize all of your keywords into themes, and sort each theme by search volume.

Do a ranking scan: If your site is brand new, skip this part, but if you have been around for at least a few months, find out where you are ranking for all of your most relevant keywords (keep it under one or two hundred for now). Record this on your spreadsheet.

Look at your Analytics: Again, skip this part if your site is new. Here, you want to look at your Analytics to see how much traffic and/or conversions and/or revenue you are getting to each of your top keywords. Record this on your spreadsheet.

Spot opportunities: Now you have a complete and comprehensive keyword data set with which you can make informed choices and decisions. This document should give you direction. Look for your best opportunities. An example of an ideal keyword is one where you are ranked somewhere on the second page and where you are already getting a fairly significant volume of traffic/conversions/revenue. This keyword is a sitting duck – you know that getting your site onto the first page for this keyword is going to make you more money.

Mohit Aneja
I am an experienced designer and developer with a solid knowledge & experience of current web and mobile technology. I am a problem solver at heart and strive to develop the most effective solutions at the highest of standards and current technology.

  • I was just telling my friend that he should focus on searching for keywords and getting his content to the top of google. I would rather have 10 posts, all at the top of Google than 20 posts that are just sitting on the world wide web

    • it’s essential these days. I know so many people that just throw up crappy sites, expecting to rank for crazy phrases like ‘earrings’ or ‘dog training’ without even having ON SITE SEO done first

  • Very helpfull post. Keep up the good work!

  • Google Keyword Tool is a good tool but i must say that data aren’t always accurate

  • ya keywords play a major role in the search engine.thank you for the information.Google Keyword Tool is the best one.

  • @wes What you say about quality backlinks ?

    Please write more about SEO.

  • Keyword research is not only KEY – it’s essential these days. I know so many people that just throw up crappy sites, expecting to rank for crazy phrases like ‘earrings’ or ‘dog training’ without even having ON SITE SEO done first. I end up spending so much time schooling them on keyword research – I think i’ll just send them here first – LOL



  • Thanks for this post. can you recomend any PREMIUM keyword research tools? I’ve been using adwords, and while it works – it takes too long.



    • I find Google Adwords keyword research much better. however there are plenty of premium tools as well but I kinda like and stick to Google Adwords keyword research tool.

  • Wes

    @Jessica good idea, I will 🙂

    @Dennis well the more visible you are in search, the more visitors you’ll have reading your content, but… it always comes down to the keywords. This article ranks #1 in Google for “why keyword research is key”, but there isn’t any value in that except for people specifically seeking out this article. If it ranked for “keyword research”, for example, then that would be a whole different ballgame.

  • When doing keyword research using the Google keyword tool, it is advisable to select the [exact match]. In this way, you will be getting a more accurate result, because broad or phrase match can be very skewed.

  • Good post,nice tips

  • Yep, useful stuff.
    There are loads of really useful keyword tools out there. Some are free and some cost.
    If you are interested I reckon Micro Niche Finder and Market Samurai are among the best. With Market Samurai you can try it for free if you like which is good.

    • Good tips, but personally I skip the Excel spreadsheets and more complicated schemes. My formula: Think of a topic I want to write about, use the Google KW tool to find a good keyword, then put up a page. Then repeat. This simple strategy has been making me a great living for years.

  • Nice blog. You mention Google’s Keyword Tool which is what I use, out of interest are you aware of a paid tool that gives more accurate measurements of search traffic as apposed to just benchmark figures. Would also add to this list that it’s important to monitor competition for a keyword. If you find a keyword that is searched a lot but has a huge competition it may not be the best one to go after, and may require more long tail targeting to pull in the traffic. Thanks for the post

    • i agree with you! it is not all about high traffic keyword, you should also consider the competition. try going for the HITLOD or High-Traffic Low Density keywords

  • Good tips, but personally I skip the Excel spreadsheets and more complicated schemes. My formula: Think of a topic I want to write about, use the Google KW tool to find a good keyword, then put up a page. Then repeat. This simple strategy has been making me a great living for years.

  • Authoritative content on a website is also important. Even when content from article directories are in the first page of google search results, many people tend to ignore them.

    • So true – so many articles submitted to the directories these days are “keyword optimzed” that actually tell you very little – if anything. Fortunately the latest google update has dumped a lot of this trash down where it belongs. If you publish high quality, useful content people will naturally want to link to it. And assuming you’ve built your site around relevant and meaningful keywords in the first place, it will be a lot easier to get people linking to it.

      • Smile

        It’s hard to say. On some sites I’ve done extensive nkinbuildilg and on some other sites only focused on fresh content. Both have done the trick but if you offer fresh content on a daily basis your website will sooner or later come on top like a cream. Of course quality backlinks will help this process a bit. Also remember that quality content will bring organic backlinks that are usually more valuable than payed links from directories etc.Based on my subjective experience I would use about 80% of resources on content and 10-20% on nkinbuildilg and other seo.

  • Very interesting article. It would be great if you will write more about SEO!

    • Great post with lots of imotprant stuff.

  • excuse me i have question
    if i work on a one keyword very powerfull and i use it in mywebsite repeatly is good or if i use meany keywords in my website is good?

  • Google Keyword Tool is a good tool…

  • Dennis i agree with you
    i would rather 2 post at the top of google than 200 post on the web

  • This website is very good thanks !

  • A keyword research secret tip 😉

    head over to and search for your keyword … scroll down to the bottom and see the “top searches” liust..Over there, I often find highly relevant keyword with decent search volume that the adwords tool DOES NOT report.


  • Khajoor

    woot, thankyou! I finlaly came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.My website is on

  • Richard

    Great Info here, keyword selection is something I made a mistake with the first time around and it cost me a few months!

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