Competitive Keyword Research Strategy In 2024

Want to make sure that your customers find you online?

Why keyword research is important?

Then you are going to need some great keyword research.

Keyword research remains crucial for SEO, and the answer to whether it’s still important is a definite yes! Keyword research serves as the cornerstone of any SEO and SEM marketing strategy. Without it, SEOs, marketers, and webmasters might find themselves creating content aimlessly, lacking genuine business justification.

Discover reasons why keyword research holds significance for SEO. Additionally, we’ll provide potent keyword research tips that you can utilize in conducting your keyword research.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is a practice by Search engine optimization(SEO) professionals for finding and analyzing search terms. Users enter keywords into search engines when looking for services,  products, or general information. Keyword research can reveal doubts to focus on, the recognition of those queries, their ranking challenge, and more.

The queries that are asked by the users in search engines are of three types –

  1. Navigational Search Queries 
  2. Informational Search Queries
  3. Transactional Search Queries

SEO professionals first research keywords and then create web pages around these keywords to obtain better rankings in search engines. Once they find a distinct segment keyword, they expand thereon to search out similar keywords. Keyword suggestion tools like ubersuggest usually serve the process.

Just like the Google Ads Keyword Planner and Shine Rank, which offers a thesaurus and alternative keyword suggestions. The first-party data of Google also aid this research through the likes of Google autocomplete, and related searches.

Why Keyword Research is Important for SEO?


Keyword research provides helpful insight into the queries that your audience is exploring on Google. The insight that you can get into these actual search terms can help your content strategy.

To achieve the most high-grade SEO results, it’s important to optimize a website’s content along with backlinks for the most suitable keywords. It’s not bad to look for related keywords that have low competition but still a high number of searches. This makes it simpler to attain a greater rank in search engines which usually ends up in higher web traffic.

  • As people utilize keywords to seek solutions during their online research, successful positioning of your content within their search results can significantly increase your website traffic.
  • Therefore, it’s imperative to aim for visibility in these searches.
  • The negative aspect of this exercise is that the website is optimized for alternative keywords rather than the main keyword; the main keywords could be very difficult to rank because of high competition.

Keyword research enables you to identify the most suitable keywords to target and offers valuable insights into the specific queries your target audience is actively searching for on Google.

This insight derived from actual search terms can inform both your content strategy and broader marketing initiatives.

Moreover, adhering to the inbound methodology entails creating content based on what people want to discover rather than solely focusing on what you wish to convey. This fundamental principle underscores the importance of keyword research.

Therefore, put it simply, keyword research is market research in the 21st century.

Conducting keyword research yields numerous benefits, with some of the primary advantages including:

a. Insight into Marketing Trends: Effective keyword research provides insights into prevailing marketing trends, enabling you to align your content with relevant topics and keywords that your audience is actively seeking.

b. Traffic Growth: By identifying the most relevant keywords for your content, you can improve your search engine rankings, thereby attracting more traffic to your website.

c. Customer Acquisition: If your business offers content that addresses the needs of other professionals, effective keyword research can facilitate customer acquisition by guiding them through the buyer journey from awareness to purchase.

While there’s a growing emphasis on topics over individual keywords in the realm of SEO, keyword research remains a valuable process. It helps identify the topics people care about and gauges their popularity among your audience. 

By researching keywords with significant search volume, you can categorize your content into relevant topics and target the appropriate keywords accordingly.

How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy?


Step 1: Generate a List of Topics Relevant to Your Business

Think about the topics you would like to rank for in terms of generic buckets that you simply think are necessary for your business, then you may use those topic buckets to come up with some specific keywords following the process.

Think, what type of topics would your target audience search for that you would want your company, business or product page to get found for? 

The initial step involves compiling a list of topics pertinent to your business, requiring a thorough understanding of your business’s core aspects.

To accomplish this, introspect on questions such as:

  • What defines your business?
  • What services or products do you offer?
  • What sets your product or service apart?

Answering these inquiries provides insights commonly referred to as a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in entrepreneurial circles. The USP not only aids in SEO endeavors but also informs broader marketing and sales strategies.

Following the establishment of your USP, identify topics relevant to your business. These topics can range from specific product offerings to tangential subjects related to your core offerings.

For instance, a plant nursery might include topics like “plants for sale” and “plant care,” recognizing the broader interests of their target audience.

The crux lies in empathizing with your target audience’s perspective. Individuals interested in purchasing plants are likely to explore topics encompassing plant care and maintenance in their search queries.

Step 2: Compile a List of Keywords Based on Identified Topics


Now that you’ve got some topic buckets you wish to target, it is time to spot some keywords that make up those buckets. These are keyword phrases you think are crucial to rank for within the SERPs (search engine results pages) because your target customer is presumably conducting searches for those specific terms.

Once you have outlined the general topics, proceed to identify specific phrases—referred to as keywords—that align with these topics and are likely to be used by your target audience in search queries.

During this brainstorming phase, envision yourself as part of your target audience and generate potential keywords that resonate with their search intent.

Continuing with the nursery example, potential keywords an SEO specialist might consider could include “plant food,” “best plants for indoors,” or “how to propagate plants in the summer.”

Ensure your list encompasses a wide array of keywords to maximize targeting efforts and broaden your reach.

Step 3: Explore Related Terms Through Research

In this stage, expand your keyword pool by brainstorming keywords tangentially related to those already identified. 

If you encounter challenges in compiling a comprehensive list, this step offers new perspectives and avenues to explore.

  • Utilize Google’s suggestions for related searches by scrolling to the bottom of the search results page for each keyword.
  • These suggestions, based on actual search patterns, offer valuable insights into frequently used terms within your target audience.
  • Additionally, leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to enhance your keyword brainstorming process further. 
  • AI can efficiently generate diverse keyword ideas, considering emerging trends, semantic connections, and competitor analysis. 
  • By integrating AI, you can quickly expand your keyword list with terms optimized for relevance and search engine performance.
  • Furthermore, AI aids in evaluating keyword effectiveness by analyzing factors such as search volumes, competition levels, and potential success predictions across various market segments.
  • This data-driven approach facilitates the selection of the most effective keywords for your SEO strategy.

1. Keyword Research Methodology

Depending on where you see, there are as few as just a pair and as many as 18 or more types of keywords for you to employ. We are going to describe four common keyword types and illustrate how each can increase your rankings and optimize your SEO efforts.

2. Understanding the Keyword Types


Distinguish between head and long-tail keywords based on their length and specificity. Head keywords typically consist of one to three words, covering broad subjects and generating high web traffic but facing intense competition. 

Conversely, long-tail keywords comprise longer phrases, offering specificity and clearer search intent.

While head keywords attract substantial traffic, they often yield lower conversion rates due to their lack of specificity. Long-tail keywords, being highly specific, exhibit lower competitiveness and higher conversion potential.

When crafting your keyword list, ensure a balanced approach targeting both head and long-tail keywords. This strategy optimizes your reach, specificity, and conversion opportunities.

a. Short-Tail Keywords As the name infers, these types of keywords are short, usually less or equal to three words. These are more generic and are accustomed to bring a range of users to your site.

b. Long-Tail Keywords – These keywords are longer and more specific compared to short-tail keywords. Use long-tail keywords to attract a more audience searching for specific products or services.

c. Fresh Keywords – Fresh keywords offer an explosive search volume surrounding a subject or word that’s popular. Fresh keywords don’t remain popular for long, therefore you will have to observe their effectiveness and make subsequent alterations after the hype surrounding the keyword has ended.

d. Evergreen Keywords – Evergreen keywords are relevant all the time. Even some years after you publish an editorial focused on an evergreen keyword, it’ll still be authoritative, whether or not your article might need some minor updating now.

Another smart way to muster with keyword ideas is to decide which keywords your website is already ranking. To do this, you will need to have website analytics software like Ahrefs, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics ready in the Traffic Analytics tool. 

Step 4: Understand How Intent Affects Keyword Research

Like I said in the previous step, user intent is now one of the foremost crucial factors in your ability to rank well on search engines like Google or Bing. Now, it is more essential that your website is capable of addressing the inquiry a searcher is intending to solve than simply leading the keyword the searcher used. So, how does this influence the keyword research you do?

It’s easy to take keywords for face value, and unfortunately, keywords can have many diverse meanings underneath the surface. Since the purpose behind a search is very much important to your ranking factor, you need to be more cautious about how you interpret the keywords you target.

  • Let’s say, for instance, you’re researching the keyword “how to start a blog” for an editorial you would like to form.
  • Blog” denotes a blog post or the blog website, and what are the searcher’s intentions behind that keyword, that will influence the course of your article?
  • Does the searcher want to read how to start a private blog post?
  • Or do they need to grasp the way to launch a website domain for the needs of blogging?
  • If your content strategy is simply targeting people fascinated by the latter, you’ll have to make sure of the keyword’s intent before committing thereto.

It is not a bad idea to only enter this keyword yourself into a search engine to verify what a searcher’s intent is in a keyword and see what sorts of results come up. Ensure the sort of content Google is closely associated with what you’d intend to create for the keyword.

This is a productive step so you will have already thought of it while doing keyword research.

If you’re trying to think about more keywords that users could be searching about a specific topic. You would like to require a glance at the related search terms once you fill in a keyword into Google. After you type the phrase and look into the depths of Google’s search results.

You will observe some suggestions for searches that are associated with your original input. These keywords can ignite ideas for other keywords that you may prefer to take into consideration.

Step 6: Use keyword research tools to your advantage. 

Keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz and Ubersuggest often come up with relevant keyword ideas. These keywords are supported by exact match keywords and phrase match keywords based on the ideas. This exercise might provide you with alternatives that you might not have considered.

Step 7: Utilize Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Refine your keyword list with quantitative insights using SEO keyword tools such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner furnishes search volume and traffic estimates based on input keywords, offering a preview of potential outcomes for each keyword.

On the other hand, Google Trends provides historical data and future projections for keyword performance, enabling informed decisions on keyword selection.

Leveraging these tools enables you to streamline your keyword choices, targeting relevant keywords with current and future relevance.

Best Tools for Automating Competitive Keyword Research

a. Ubersuggest


This free Chrome extension provides a plethora of features that furnish valuable insights into users’ web searches. 

Among its offerings are monthly search volume data, keyword competitiveness, and cost-per-click information. 

Notably, its keyword tool and backlinks section furnish a comprehensive list of links extracted from competitors’ articles and blogs. 

These insights are instrumental in devising strategies to surpass competitors in search engine rankings.

b. Ahrefs


This robust tool, equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities, stands out as one of the most intelligent options available. 

It excels in tasks such as monitoring organic search traffic data, identifying broken links, and generating comprehensive backlink profiles. Additionally, it offers insights into competitors’ PPC marketing strategies. 

Ahrefs facilitates in-depth analysis of competitors’ organic search traffic, backlink profiles, and paid advertising endeavors. 

Moreover, its Content Explorer feature aids in uncovering potential link-building opportunities, providing insights into competitors’ traffic and content publishing frequency.

c. SpyFu

Specializing in keyword research and enhancing online visibility, SpyFu swiftly delivers both paid and organic keywords. 

Its Competition Analysis feature offers advanced SEO strategies by identifying sites that outperform your online presence.

d. SEMrush


As a versatile digital marketing platform, SEMrush boasts a wide array of competitor website analysis features and tools, including keyword gap analysis, brand sentiment monitoring, organic ranking tracking, and backlink analysis. 

SEMrush simplifies the process of scrutinizing competitors’ SEO performance and marketing tactics, facilitating learning from their successes and failures.

e. Moz Pro

moz pro

Moz Pro’s competitor keyword research capabilities catalyze achieving SEO success. 

By providing insights into externally linked keywords and traffic rates, Moz Pro enhances marketing efforts and overall website performance.

f. Serpstat


Serpstat offers a comprehensive suite of over thirty digital marketing tools, akin to a Swiss army knife. It simplifies competitor analysis by providing insights into search volume traffic, organic search rankings, and keyword-specific organic appearances. 

Its user-friendly interface facilitates a thorough examination of competitors’ performance, including the visibility score feature, which highlights top-ranking sites in the industry. 

Additionally, Serpstat enables a side-by-side comparison of three different sites, providing a comprehensive overview of top-performing sites in terms of SEO.

Final words

Keyword research involves more than just identifying terms that your audience might search for; it’s about discovering high-quality keywords that will significantly benefit your website.

If your keywords fail to increase traffic or drive conversions, especially when using long-tail search terms, it could indicate the need for comprehensive keyword research.

Moreover, conducting thorough keyword research may unveil insights about your competitors and inspire innovative content ideas.

Understand that there are no “perfect” keywords, only those that have high search volume. With this in mind, it’s up to you to design a strategy that may facilitate you to rank pages better.

The best keywords for your SEO strategy will take into consideration relevance, authority, and volume. You wish to know highly searched keywords that you can reasonably compete for based on: 

The level of competition you’re up against. 

Your ability to provide content that exceeds in quality what’s currently ranking.

And … You’re good!

Frequently Asked Questions

a. Which keyword technique works best?

Highly relevant keywords are those that have a strong connection to your brand or sector and are used in the finest keyword strategies. The next stage in your keyword strategy is to create text advertisements that include your keywords once you’ve decided which ones to bid on.

b. How is keyword performance checked?

  • Open your Google Ads account and log in.
  • To access the keywords page, click the 3-dot icon after selecting Keywords from the page menu.
  • Press the “Download” button.
  • Choose one of the choices on the list.

c. How quickly can a keyword be ranked?

After you’ve decided which keywords to target, all you need to do to rank keywords rapidly is use your target keywords on your landing pages along with pertinent content.

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