Beginners Guide to Keyword Research 

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You have authoritative, compelling content on your website. Your social media strategy is on point. But if your site isn’t driving people to want to learn more about your services – or better yet, to buy from you, then what good does all of that really do?


In order to get the absolute most out of your site, you’re going to need a sound, effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Part of that strategy is knowing what keywords to target so that you can rank higher on Google. Keyword research can help show you the words and phrases you need to include in your content so that your site can grab the attention of search engines.

Site Social SEO can help you put together an effective digital marketing strategy to increase your web traffic – and ultimately boost your company’s bottom line. Learn more by contacting us online or calling 407-712-0494.

Defining Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research

So, how do keyword research and SEO work together to help improve your online presence? Millions of words have been written on this exact topic. But we’ll keep it short. In a nutshell, keywords act as sort of gateways. As you know, people enter a keyword (or a keyword phrase, such as “personal injury lawyers in Dallas”) into Google or another search engine. The search engine then produces results that best match the keyword.

Keywords direct organic traffic, and affect rankings as a result. Once you know the keywords that people want to know more about, that will help refine your content strategy.

That’s where keyword research comes in. This is the process of finding the keywords that will have the most impact on the objectives you’ve set for your website. It helps you understand what terms people are entering into search engines, and, even more importantly, helps you learn more about what your customers want and need.

Ask Questions About Your Content

One of the best ways to make keyword research work for you is to focus on your audience. Then, use the data you uncover through research to sharpen that focus so that you can address their needs.

Let’s say you have a bakery that specializes in donuts. Your first goal in keyword research would be to find out what kinds of cookies people are searching for. Are they looking for chocolate chips, peanut butter or some other kind of cookie? What kinds of words are they using in their search queries, and what kinds of questions are they asking? Are they searching for “gluten-free,” “low-fat” or “sugar-free” cookies, or are they not using health-conscious terms?

Keyword research will not only help show you what kinds of cookies your potential customers are looking for, but also where they’re located. It will ultimately help you deliver the content that gives people what they’re looking for – and, hopefully, make people more interested in purchasing your cookies.

How are People Searching?

You’re going to ask yourself a lot of questions as you work through the keyword research process. This is going to take a lot of time, and just as much effort. But this effort will eventually pay off. The more you know about your prospective customers (where they live, whether they search for “cookies” on a tablet, desktop computer or their mobile phone, etc.), the better positioned you’ll be to give them the content they need – and to rank higher in the process.

Two major components in answering the question of how people search include discovering keywords and determining search volume. Here’s some information on why these are critically important.

Finding Keywords

There will probably be some keywords you already have in mind that you want to rank for, like “chocolate chip cookies in Dallas,” “custom cookies in Dallas,” and “Dallas cookie bakery,” for example. Your shop is in Dallas, so naturally you want to attract people close to your location. You find a keyword research tool (more on this later) to find out the search volume of those keywords each month. That basically means the number of times people entered that specific phrase. This tool will also show you variations of those phrases that also have large volume, ones you should consider adding to your content.

Determining Search Volume

The good news about identifying high-volume keywords is that you’ll know what people are searching for. The bad news is that it will take a lot of work for you to get higher rankings by using those keywords. The higher the volume, the more effort it will take for you to rank higher. But if you focus on low-volume keywords, there won’t be enough people searching for those terms to help boost your traffic.

There is a middle ground, however. You can use so-called “long-tail keywords,” ones that are more specific, yet yield a decent amount of volume. Think about the keyword phrases “chocolate chip cookies” and “the best gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies in Dallas.” The latter is an example of a long-tail keyword. It’s very, very specific. But someone entering that phrase knows exactly what they want, and will be ready to buy.

While long-tail keywords might not necessarily bring thousands of customers to your door, they can still help increase revenue.

See Where You Rank for Specific Keywords

Finding out where you stand in search rankings for certain keywords will show you areas of strengths and weaknesses in your overall SEO strategy. You won’t have to guess whether or not you’re delivering what searchers need, and you’ll have a clear idea of which of your pages are the most effective, and which ones are missing the mark. The better you know what’s working and what isn’t, the better positioned you’ll be to make the necessary changes that will help you rank higher than your competitors.

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

Speaking of the competition, you should consider performing keyword research on them as well. There are several keyword research tools (more on this in the next section) out there that will let you do this. They’ll show you what competitors might be doing better than you, and areas where you’re doing a better job. You might even find some new topic ideas for your blog or your landing pages.

Tools to Use for Keyword Research

It wasn’t that long ago that you could find some very effective keyword research tools online that were free to use. These days, though, you’ll have to pay for the best ones. Some of these include SEMRush, Ahrefs and Moz Explorer. Do a little homework so you can decide which ones fit best with your budget as well as your goals. Most of them will offer free trials, so you can give them all a spin and see which you find the most effective.

If you have any questions about keyword research – or any other topic involving digital marketing – talk to the experts with Site Social SEO. We have a lot of experience, and a long track record of success taking companies to heights they only dreamed were reachable. Contact us online or call us at 407-712-0494. We’d love to tell you more.