Keyword Research: A Complete Guide To Finding The Right Keywords That Rank

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Perhaps you’ve heard about keyword and maybe you’ve done a bit of Keyword research yourself.

As you continue to conduct your study, you will realize that almost all sites will speak of the same thing.

However, it doesn’t mean there is no correct meaning of what keyword research is.

What is a Keyword?

As the name suggests, a keyword is the main word or the main subject that is being discussed/targeted.

For instance, this post will speak about what a keyword is and all practices that surround the keyword research.

You use keyword when you are looking for something online. Let’s say you are looking for information on SEO.

You are most likely going to type the words, “best SEO practices” “SEO” or such like.

Those words are keywords.

Once you type them on the search engine, chances are you will see many sites pop up.

The sites that pop up are those that have used different variations of the word SEO on their posts.

And that is how you get information.

Keywords dictate how your site appears in search engines. In other words, if your posts or website for that matter do not have the right keywords (searchable), the post or the website will not show up when people are looking for something on the internet.

That, of course, is if your post or website has content but does not have the ideal keywords that are searchable.

In fact, keyword research is one of the three most important things that matter a lot when it comes to SEO.

The other two are content marketing and link building. When the three are done properly, chances are your post or site will rank high in the search engines.

In simple terms, If a website receives tons of visitors from organic searches and another one gets none, yet both have content, the problem with the latter is keyword research or the keywords used.

Therefore, if you want your site to rank for certain topics, pages, or posts, the antidote is to do proper keyword research.

Types Of Keywords

There are two main types of keywords, namely Short-Tail and Long-Tail. Most people who want to find something on the internet use Short-Tail keywords or phrases.

In fact, only a few thousands of people type long word phrases when they are searching for something online.

Nonetheless, using Long-Tail keywords and keyword phrases as the site own helps in quick ranking.

Nevertheless, there is more. You need to understand how each type of keyword(s) works.

Head Terms

Head term keywords are usually one-word keyword. These terms are super broad. Yes, you can never depend on them to rank.

In fact, it is like telling your friend that you live in the U.S and expect him or her to find you. IMPOSSIBLE!

Some head terms people search for are ‘gambling’, ‘vacuum’, ‘investment’, or ‘insurance’. As you can see, these are broad.

Yes, they are very broad terms. You cannot expect to find the exact information you are looking for if you just type such a word on your search engine.

Although all websites use head terms, they don’t depend to rank using head terms or Broad Keywords. Web owners must incorporate head terms with other various keyword for them to rank.

One thing you need to know about head terms is that they have huge searches. Besides, they are nearly impossible to rank.

Unlike head terms, main keywords make your work easier.

Main Keywords

These are what many people focus on. Main keywords or body keywords are usually 2 or 3 words that many people type on Google when they are searching for something.

Take, for example, the head term ‘vacuum’ we mentioned in the above section.

A client may be looking for a vacuum to help him/her remove bedbugs from the house.

If that the case, the person is likely to type ‘bedbug vacuum cleaner’, ‘area rug vacuum’ or ‘wooden floor vacuum.’

As you can see, that tends to narrow down to what the client needs thus the search becomes easier and faster.

In terms of competition, head terms are extremely competitive than body or main keywords. There is more, though.

Long Tail Keywords

If you thought that typing ‘bedbug vacuum cleaner’ or ‘life insurance policy’ is specific, you are wrong.

Long-tail keywords are more specific, more precise than main/body or head terms.

Long-Tail keywords usually contain four or more words. They can comprise up to 8 words that read well and make sense.

Examples of long-tail keywords that are more specific are:

  • Cheap fire insurance policy for families.
  • Best area rug vacuum cleaners.
  • Inexpensive shoes for kids with plantar fasciitis.
  • Wooden floor vacuum cleaners under $500.

As you can see, the above examples are very specific. The customer is not just looking for a shoe for plantar fasciitis, but a shoe for a kid.

The other user is not just looking for a vacuum cleaner for a wooden floor, but it has to be under $500 and so on.

Although the search volume for Long-Tail keywords is far much lesser compared to head terms and that of body keywords, they are the best in helping your site pop up on Google’s top page.

Keyword Research: A Complete Guide To Finding The Right Keywords That Rank Click To Tweet

Is Keyword Research Important For SEO?

While some critics hold that keyword research is no longer important, the simple and honest answer is, ‘YES!’ Keyword research is of utmost importance for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Keyword research is very important that all mega sites you know of (except for a few authority sites, thanks to domain age and back links) depend on it for ranking.

Otherwise, were it not for the best keyword research practice, you won’t know such sites existed.

Now that you know what a keyword is, it is time we delved into things that are more serious.

The Basis of Keyword Research

Before you start to carry on a basic keyword research, you need to find tools. These tools will help you find the right keywords (a word or phrases of words that people search online).

Different keyword research tools require different approaches and give different results.

You need to know which keyword research tool will give you the best keywords, thus best results when it comes to the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Keyword Research Tools

Some people ask if they can find keywords without the help of keyword research tools. Well, you can.

However, as it were, you can climb a 30-storey building manually, but a lift makes your climbing not only easier but also effective, thus the only viable means to get to the highest point.

In the same view, using keyword research tools is the best and simplest way to find high-ranking keywords.

As mentioned, different keyword research tools give different results. Depending on the keyword research tool you’ll prefer to use, you need to understand how each of them works.

You must understand the techniques and the subtle tricks to find the right keywords.

In this article, we’ll discuss five main keyword research tools, namely kWFinder, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner.

Let’s start with …


Ubersuggest is perhaps one of the premium keyword research tools used by serious online webpreneurs. The tool gives you keyword ideas using Google search suggestions.

That is not all. The tool goes ahead to provide you with useful data on every keyword. Such crucial data include keyword difficulty, search volume, CPC, and more.

Google Keyword Planner

When I speak to experienced web owners, they tell me that Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is, perhaps, the most reliable keyword tool you can use.

Compared to other keyword research tools, data collected using GKP comes directly from Google, the world’s biggest search engine.

That, of course, gives you some hope that whatever the keyword research tool suggests is accurate.

However, it is not before long that you’ll realize a major downside with this keyword research tool.

The tool works best for website owners with Google ads. Therefore, this tool may not be the best for those whose main interest is on SEO.

Nonetheless, this keyword research tool can help you find tons of keyword and search queries that, which definitely find substantive searches.


If you ask around, Ahrefs is known not necessarily for keyword research but for finding information for link building.

However, it is also among the top keyword research tools. In fact, it is one of the most reliable.

Like GKP, Ahrefs gives you helpful data about every keyword you find.


SEMrush is a premium keyword research tool. If you want to save time looking for searchable keywords, I recommend this tool.

One major difference with this tool is that it has a different strategy.

For instance, while other keyword research tools suggest various keywords and their search volume, SEMrush gives you the exact keywords or key phrases that already rank on a site.

In other words, if you know of a site (your competitor), and know it is ranking on the search engine; this is the right tool for you.

It will show you all the keywords that help the competing site to rank. It is that simple!


If you want to find the best keywords (Long-Tail), you’d better use this keyword research tool.

The tool will give you Long Tail Keywords (LTKs) that have high search volume but at the same time have low competition.

KWFinder has been praised for having a simple and clear interface that helps the user to navigate quickly.

It displays all the valuable data using simple figures that you can understand easily.

Besides, the tool can also suggest related keyword aka semantic keywords.

Where to Place a Keyword?

It is general knowledge that the keyword(s) be placed on the title whenever possible. The other important place to insert the keyword should be at the introduction.

This is important because when crawling takes place, it should be easy to find the key things or the main things your post or website is about.

Simply put, when you enter into a hall, it is easy to know what is in the hall or what takes place in the hall.

Keyword in the Title and URL

Thanks to the arrangement and or what is in the hall, you are able to tell whether it’s a restaurant, a karaoke hall, a movie theatre, a church, and so on.

It is the same with a website. Depending on what you put and how you arrange the site, it is easy for the search engine to tell what your site is talking about, thus ranking you on the first page.

The main keyword(s) should also be placed on the body or your post. Depending on the length of your post, you can add your main keyword a liberal number of times.

Keyword in the Body

This is equally important because you need to convince the search engine of what your site is talking about, something it will not know otherwise.

Lastly, you need to place your main keyword at the conclusion. Although this is a debate, it is reasonable that when you conclude; you need to tell, the reader of what you’ve been speaking about.

Keyword in the Conclusion

Yes, keyword placement is key not only in ranking but also in making the reader trust you understand the subject you are discussing.

By now, you know what a keyword is. Besides, you also understand what the main types of keywords are, and where to place a keyword. That is not enough.

It is important to know how to measure which keyword is fit for use.

In other words, not all keywords are fit for use. A keyword can read well and may seem appealing to you, but if it is not searchable, that keyword is useless.

You need to know how to conduct your evaluations, which will help you determine the right keyword (s) to use on your post or website.


How To Choose a Keyword?

The journey of finding the right keyword to use on your posts is not easy. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you cannot crack it.

By employing the right strategies and making use of the right tools, you can actually land on the right keywords that will help you rank.

Three factors will help you determine the right keyword to use on your website. The 3 factors are:

  • Search volume.
  • Difficulty level.
  • Business fit.

You cannot depend of one of the above and say you are good to go. You need to incorporate what the three factors tell you to finally get the right keyword.

Let’s start with the first one …

Search Volume

It is reasonable to believe that if many people are looking for a certain product or service online, that thing is important to them thus will sell.

However, how many is many?  This is the difficult part.

Simply, keyword search volume depends on the niche. Anyway, a long-tail keyword with 10,000 or more searches per month is a good indicator of a good keyword.

Nonetheless, you may get a keyword with a search volume that is way below 10k but still lucrative in terms of ranking.

Therefore, although you might consider keywords with a higher search volume, it is always advisable to remember other factors such as the niche or the subject and the number of people interested in the product or service.

Keyword Research: A Complete Guide To Finding The Right Keywords That Rank Click To Tweet

Difficulty Level

This is where keyword research gets interesting. You know to appreciate that some entrepreneurs started before you.

If you are lucky to be the first one in your field (which is not easy), then you may not face a lot of competition.

For a new site, you need to use long-tail keywords if you want to rank. As your site gains popularity in terms of site authority, relevant traffic, and well as from links, you will mix long-tail keywords with short-tail keywords and any other keywords for that matter.

In other words, it will be difficult to think that you will rank if you are into a competitive field and you know very well no one knows you.

For instance, even if you put a magnificent hotel at the heart of Las Vegas, it will still take time for clients to visit your hotel not because they are skeptical about your services but because they are used to hotels that set foot several years ago.

It takes time for them to try out your hotel.

It is the same with your new site, with tons of excellent products and services. They need time to decide whether to leave their former sites to visit your site.

Of course, that tells you that the quality of your content should be above your competitors in order to woe readers.

Business Fit

Like Cost Per Click (CPC), you need to look beyond keyword search volume and keyword difficulty to determine whether to use a specific keyword or not.

In other words, you need to do your research with the aim of determining if the searcher will actually become a client who will buy a product or service in the end.

Therefore, although a keyword may look fit on the surface, it doesn’t mean it is the right keyword.

Some people would be searching for just information but not interested in making a purchase.

While long-tail keywords such as ‘how to prepare hotdogs at home’ will be ideal, changes of turning the searcher into a buyer would be hard, especially if your site is filled with informational blogs without related products.

Keyword Difficulty

In your search for the right keywords, some things will be more challenging than others.

For instance, you need to determine whether the keywords you’ve just found are too competitive or not. If they are, it would be difficult for them to rank.

Briefly, a highly competitive keyword will need a lot of work for it to rank.

On the other hand, a less competitive keyword would be easy to appear on the first page of Google or any other search engine for that matter.

The big question then is, ‘How do you know if a keyword is competitive or not?

First things first …

You remember when I mentioned of Long-Tail keywords. I believe you do. Usually, it is easy for Long-Tail keywords to rank compared to Short-Tail keywords.

Therefore, if you don’t want to strain a lot, focus on finding Long-Tail keywords.

This does not matter if the website is aged or it is brand new. If you want to rank fast, then you need to focus on Long-Tail keywords. However, there is more into it than meets the eye.

For a keyword to rank, you need to understand a bit more.

With that said, you need to divide your keywords into sections, namely, head terms, main keywords, and maybe exact match keywords. What am I talking about?

Site Authority On Google’s First Page

If you have settled on a particular keyword, you are going to see what happens to it. The first step to help you determine is to search for it on Google.

The aim is to help you know what sites are appearing (ranking) on those keywords.

What are your chances? Here we go …

If you see authority sites pop up like Wikipedia, Forbes, Amazon, or any other authority website on your niche, then chances of your choice of keywords outranking these sites are minimal.

However, if the page shows smaller sites or blogs, some of which you’ve never heard of, then it means you have a shot.

You too can make it to that page if you integrate that keyword alongside other semantic keywords.

That is simple. Isn’t it?

Testing Keyword Difficulty Using Different Keyword Research Tools

Some premium keyword research tools have a feature which will help you figure out keyword difficulty. If you settle on a toll with that feature, you will save yourself a lot of time.

However, as you may guess, these are premium features thus require you to pay a handsome amount of money per month or per year.

Keyword Difficulty in Ubersuggest


Coincidentally, different keyword research tools give different keyword difficulty scores. Because of that, it is not easy to determine which keyword is the best for use.

Nonetheless, all keyword research tools have one thing in common–they give you general keyword difficulty ideas.

Keyword Difficulty in Ahrefs

Yes, the ideas will help you know what to do with the keywords you’ve gathered.

Some keyword research tools with keyword difficulty feature include Ahrefs, Moz Pro, Ubersuggest, and SEMrush.

Keyword Difficulty in KWFinder

Final Thoughts

Yes, keyword research is an endless task that is quite involved.

With the use of available keyword research tools, you are able to cut the amount of time you take to search for the right keywords into a third.

Different keyword research tools give different predictions with regard to search volume, difficulty, CPC, and keyword business fit.

If you find a tool that gives you the ‘best’ predictions, stick to it because no keyword research tool is 100% correct.

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