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A Guide To SEO Keyword Research (+ Free Template)

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Organic search is a fertile ground to drive in sustainable visitors to your site, potentially increasing leads and revenue as well. But before you get there, a solid SEO strategy should be implemented – and keyword research is the foundation of it.

With keyword research, you can identify phrases that your target audience uses when searching for information related to your niche. Implementing the right phrases will let your target audience to find the information they need on your website rather than elsewhere.

However, the process isn’t as simply as guessing the phrases and hoping to rank. Doing this will only lead to missed opportunities and ineffective results.

How to do it then? Keep on reading and find out how to conduct keyword research the right way.

Getting Started: What Are Keywords In SEO?

Keywords are phrases that are used for online content. Looking from the audience’s perspective, those are the terms that they type into the search bar to find any information they’re looking for.

For example, audience who’s looking for a new watch to buy might type something like “women’s watch” into Google, Yahoo, or Bing. 

On the other hand, from marketers’ side, keywords are a means to tell search engines what your web pages are about. This will then allow search engines to rank your pages in the search engine result pages (SERP).

The Difference Between Keywords And Search Queries

Keywords and search queries are often used interchangeably. Even digital marketers commit mistakes with the different terms in the field. 

The big difference between these two is who uses them. 

SEO experts use keywords to formulate SEO and PPC campaigns, while online users type search queries into search engines to look for information. 

You have to keep in mind that most of the people on the internet are not aware of what keywords are and how it affects your business. They simply type in whatever they think could lead them to what they are seeking online. 

However, as entrepreneurs, website owners, or content creators, you need to understand these search terms and queries to help you structure your keywords. 

This is where you make use of your skills in keyword research, as it is impossible to capture every single query these people type into Google, Yahoo, or Bing in one sitting. 


Search queries may look like this: “how to decorate a living room”

A relevant keyword can be: “living room decor” 

Branded VS Non-Branded Keywords

A branded keyword is a query that bears your brand name or something unique to your domain. 

For instance, branded keywords for Roots Digital includes queries like:

On the contrary, Non-branded keywords are keywords that relate to your products or services but dont contain your business’s name. 

If we use our website again, “SEO services,” and “digital marketing agency” are both relevant non-branded keywords that people use when they are searching for us or interested in the services we offer. 

What Is Keyword Research In SEO?

Keyword research is the process of identifying popular keywords or phrases people use to search for something on search engines, like Google. 

When you capture these phrases, it’s easier to develop content and structure your website based on what people often searched for topics or keywords. 

The process doesn’t just end there. Keywords researching enables you to determine how high the demand for one identified word or how hard it would be to compete for those phrases in the organic search results today. 

Keywords researching is a tedious task because you need to explore different variations of your identified keywords to ensure you use cover all possible ideas or topics people are seeking now and then. 

We hope you take this stage of your content marketing strategy seriously, as this will help you formulate your next blog posts, learn what your prospective audiences are currently into, and get yourself acquainted with the lingo of the internet. 

Understanding The Role Of Keyword Research In SEO

As a content creator and website owner, you must ensure that your keywords ANSWER what people are searching for or are closer to what they demand to know online. 

Ensuring your keywords are answering the search intent requires a thorough keyword research. Only then you can earn organic traffic and potentially rank for those keywords.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research sets the direction of your content. 

Understanding keyword research is winning half of the battle. How? Performing keyword research can reveal vital information to expand and grow your business. 

Conducting a thorough keyword research that captures phrases that audience use when typing into the search bar, eventually allows you to:

Get Better Visibility

If your web pages don’t contain specific terms or phrases that your target audience uses, then it is unlikely that they will recognise your site.

This is what you can solve with keyword research. Through keyword research, you can identify the specific terms and phrases that your target audience is using to search for information related to your industry or niche.

By strategically incorporating these keywords into your content, meta tags, headings, and other on-page SEO elements, search engines are more likely to recognise your website as relevant to those search queries.

As a result, your website is more likely to appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing its visibility to potential visitors and customers.

Increase Leads

The right keywords will help you gain visibility and rank in search results pages. More people will see your product or service as it gains visibility and ranking on search engines, resulting in an increase in leads.

Say you’re running an online clothing store. If you don’t rank for the phrases that your target customers use, they won’t be able to see your product and make a purchase from your website.

This is why you need keyword research to identify the right phrases that attract leads as well as build content around topics that resonate with your target audience.

Search Intent: The Fundamental Of Keyword Research

Search intent is what the user wants to find when they use Google. Yes, it is simple as that.

However, it’s the fundamental of your keyword research. You need to ensure that your keywords match with what audience wants to see based on the phrases they type into the search box.

For instance, someone who’s searching for “yoga for beginners” signals an intention that they want are to practice yoga, enrol a class, grab advanced tips or learn new postures. 

Types Of Keywords People Searched For

Since search engines want to offer the best answer possible to your “why” which is the search intent. 

Search intent has three types which represents a stage in every customer journey:


Informational keyword is the most common type of search intent. 

It tends to reveal information about a subject or a topic. This often comes in a form of a question, “Why SEO is important? ” or a simple open-ended type of search, “coffee drip ”. 

From a buyer’s perspective, this takes place at the beginning of their research or when they are trying to understand what they want from a product or services you are offering. 


You are doing a navigational search if you want a shortcut to reach the brand’s website.

Your prospective customers can just type in directly the URL of the website they want to place orders to, but they find it easier to just use Google and key in “order KFC.”


You may see transactional keyword at the conversion phase. This is the Holy Grail of search marketing because there is an indication that one is ready to purchase something. 

This type of search intent happens right after users were able to gather enough information about the item they want to buy. 

Common buying terms are evident in transactional intent, such as “buy,” “coupon,” “shipping,” and “discount.”

Understanding Keyword Research Tools

If you are starting to learn from our guide about keywords and keyword research we understand that you might also consider looking for tools that can help you in this process. 

Tools are perfect partners in working out your SEO implementations as well as doing research online. It can save time, resources, and effort. 

Unfortunately, not all tools present online can give more advantages than you expect them to that is why it matters to ensure you invest in the right ones. 

Keyword Research Tools Are Flawed

As mentioned above, you can’t rely purely on keyword research tools.

Here are some things that you must keep in mind to not solely depend on your current keyword research tools. 

Inaccuracy In Keyword Data

Yes, you read it right. Due diligence is very crucial in every keyword research you do.

Inaccuracy has no room for SEO. you need to work on relevant and accurate data if you want to attain your goals. 

Have you tried generating different search volumes from three different tools using one keyword? 

Google’s keyword tool is not as accurate as you think it is. Remember that these tools go through updates or changes, and this may affect the data they show.  

Dont worry you can still use your existing keyword research tool. You may use the data garnered from that tool as a comparison metric and not as a performance metric. 

Failure To Capture Low Search Volume

Since we have mentioned the inaccuracy in data provided by some keyword research tools, it also speaks to low-volume keywords. 

This can spark more challenges as there are more searchers that no longer use search short tail phrases when looking for stuff online. 

Google process billions of information every second. And some of these are questions that were never asked or searched before. There’s a possibility that these searches may not get recorded as well. 

If your keyword research tool fails to capture these low-volume phrases, then you missed out on approximately 20% or more potential traffic to your page. This situation may have drawbacks to your SEO optimisation campaign. 

Negliance To Search Intent

Aside from the first two points above, keyword tools do not measure or often ignore search intent or user intent. 

Google favours focusing on search intent instead of keywords. If you rely on keyword research tools more, it will show you lots of keywords but it won’t help in optimising your content for user intent. 

Imagine having all of these keywords yet you dont know which ones are the most talked about. It matters that keyword tools dont just show a list of related terms, but also helps you uncover topics that satisfy search intent. 

Data Accuracy of Keyword Research Tools

Many questions arise when we speak of how accurate keyword research tools can be in generating data. 

Not all tools that are present online will give you the data that you want, as they are not perfectly made. Each keyword research tool has its specific mechanism to perform data collection, aggregation, and manipulation. 

With this said, it matters that you practise thoroughly research and validation to interpret data from these tools and get rid of dealing with inconsistent information. 

Data generated from these tools are not 100% because they came from various sources. And these sources, may it be from Google Ads API or Keyword Planner, Clickstream, or any third-party extensions, does not guarantee you authenticity the way you want it. 

Is It Still Necessary To Use Keyword Research Tools?

We may have shared the downside of depending much on tools to do your keyword research process, there are still benefits that you can draw out from investing in these tools. 

Some of them are as follows:

Help To Define Your SEO Strategy

A keyword research tool can help you formulate and update your SEO strategy. 

It gives you the hindsight of keywords to structure your content and make interesting lists of topics that can drive traffic to your website.

Identify The Right Keyword Themes You Should Target

From the data that your keyword research tools provided you with, it’ll be easier to check which keywords or phrases perform better than others. 

Monitoring the performance of your keywords is healthy. It gives you fresh ideas on what to retain, change, or stop using. Frequently updating your keywords target list can lead you to create variations of those top-performing keywords or phrases. 

Always opt for high-value themes for your campaign. Google suggests you these best practices for adding keyword themes to your campaign:

  • Aim for a maximum of 7-10 keyword themes
  • Think like your customers
  • Remember your advertising strategy
  • Create separate campaigns for different groups of keyword themes
Generate Useful Keyword Ideas For Content Creation

The reason why you want to ace your keyword research and why you chose to have tools for this is that you want to create content that answers people’s queries, right?

Your keyword research tools will give you lists of keyword ideas that you may use to frame your content. 

Be smart. Be able to identify which keywords will boost your website rankings and increase your store’s conversion rate. 

There are keywords that people no longer use as it varies from time to time. Bank on search intent and focus on creating variations of these terms. 

Gives You A Measurement Baseline For SEO Campaign

Sure. Keywords alone can’t do all the work but they will help you win half of the competition. 

Based on the statistics you may gather from your keyword research tool, it can help you evaluate the following:

  • Keyword search volume (a monthly search volume for each term chosen)
  • Competitiveness or difficulty of that keyword or phrase
  • Bidding cost (range or average cost-per-click to budget PPC campaigns effectively)

How To Carry Out Keyword Research For SEO?

There are various ways to perform keyword research depending on what works best for your website and how it matches your SEO goals. 

As your SEO specialists, we want to provide you with this straightforward process for you to duplicate. We’ll list down the stages below:

1. Identify All The Pages You Have On Your Website

The first step in performing SEO keyword research is simply identifying all of your website’s pages. 

It matters that you run through all of the content found on your website. Some call it an SEO audit; where you check for possible pages that went 404 or have redirection issues. 

For this stage, we use Screaming Frog, a UK-based tool creators of the famous website crawler and log file analyser.

How to use Screaming Frog:

  1. First, you must download the software. 
  2. Once done installing, you may paste your site’s URL to the tab that says, “Enter URL to Spider”
  3. Then, click the “Start” button.
  4. Wait for the “Crawl” to reach 100%
  5. You will see the full list of pages your website contains.
  6. There is a statistics section on the right side showing pertinent data, some are: 
  • Summary of your pages 
  • Crawled data (internal and external)
  • Security details
  • Responses codes and 
  • URLs, among others
  1. You may export the report and have it on a spreadsheet for easy tracking. 
  2. You have the option to check which of your pages have duplicate content, missing tags, and broken pages. 

After you have exported your file, check and select pages that have SEO potential. 

2. Select Pages That Have SEO Potential

Home Page

Having a well-structured and tailored home page is essential to the success of your website. 

For sure by now you are aware of this. This is where your visitors land first before exploring your entire site. Make something stare-worthy and conversion-ready home page. 

Never forget to check and optimise the following significant elements of your home page.

  • Headline & sub-headline – make something unique and catchy for your audience. They have a short attention span, ensure you create a 3-second impression.
  • Strong Calls-to-Action – include two to three compelling call-to-action and move your audiences into the sales funnel.
  • Supporting image – ensure proper naming convention and you optimise your images for mobile use.  
  • Social proof – dont forget to show why people choose and trust you. 
  • Content offer & resources – it can be guides, eBooks, or video tutorials that entice people to learn something for FREE. You may share blogs and case studies as well. 
  • Benefits & Features – highlight why you are the best choice. 
  • Success indicators or Awards earned by your company. 

Product Category & Service Page

This is where you should invest more and look for ways to optimise this portion of your website. 

Design keywords or phrases that will lead your clients or customers to this section. 

Here are some requirements for the best product category and service page: 

  • Feature image
  • Product Gallery
  • Product overview: tile, price, features, CTA and customization options.
  • Product description.
  • Social proof: review and ratings.
  • Similar product suggestions.
  • Human interaction for any help or assistance needed.

Product Detail Page

When you are selling a product online, your customers dont have the luxury to examine your product thoroughly. 

This situation demands you to come up with a brilliant product detail page that showcase exactly what your product looks like, components, dimensions, and even reviews. 

It is an advantage if you provide information that makes users feel as if they are there touching, seeing your product. 

Here’s how you craft a winning product detail page:

  • Treat  customers with respect and transparency 
  • Create a descriptive product name
  • Make a product description from the customer’s perspective
  • Use high-definition images or videos (better provide alternative images)
  • Provide clear and straightforward CTAs.
  • Show a comparison chart that helps customers weigh their options
  • Ensure to have an accessible customer service
  • Provide a generous return policy
  • Offer robust warranties and guarantees
  • Clear shipping details

Industry Page

Lastly, you may want to consider paying attention to your industry page.

Why? This page highlights and gives a piece of clear information to your audiences about the type of industry you belong to or you do business in. Do you operate under commercial cleaning, digital marketing, medical industry or banking industry?  

When you know what industry you serve, providing content can be smooth and manageable because you know where to set your focus, time, and energy. 

Here are ways to ensure an effective industry page that converts:

  • Use industry-related keywords
  • Write compelling & unique content
  • Provide opt-in forms for new clients
  • Ensure to link  other pages that are relevant to the industry page (service page or location page)
  • Include Laws and Regulations Impacting the Industry  
  • Provide news and events

3. Define The Target Seed Keyword To Check For Search Volume

What is Seed Keyword?

Others refer to it as a primary, head, or the main keyword that sets as the baseline term of your article or content is about. It is the foundation or starting point of every effective keyword research implementation. 

How to come up with a good seed keyword?

You can come up with an effective and rankable seed keyword from industry topics, Google related searches, product or service terms, and competitor keywords.

Understanding Topics Vs Keywords

What makes topics different from keywords? Have you ever thought about it?

Well if not, let us be the first one to tell you that keywords don’t have the power to capture the semantic relationship of every term, unlike topics that help in organising an idea or information. Topics answer questions.

4. Use Keyword Tools To Gather Keyword Level Data

Having the right tools to back your keyword research is an advantage. 

There are things that you might have captured in your keyword research process that can impact your SEO campaign exceptionally  – and keyword-level data is one of those. 

Google and other keyword researching tools that you are using now gives valuable insights into what terms are driving users to your websites. Though understandably, the data generated from these applications can be overwhelming and limited, you can still make sense out of it. 

You have the luxury to combine the information that you got from Google, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics if you want. You are not bound to use only one of these because keyword research is a vast process. 

Checking and expanding the data can lead you to better results and insights to improve your website’s SEO keyword campaign.  

5. Mapping Keywords Or Themes To Your Pages

What is Keyword Mapping?

Keyword mapping of themes is an act of assigning keywords to a specific page of your website based on the data you have gathered from your keyword research. 

Taking your keyword mapping activity seriously can help you with your initial search engine optimisation campaign. As keywords play an integral role in the build-up of your site’s content and can help in your on-page SEO projects if you are managing someone’s website. 

How to Perform Keyword Mapping?

The process for keyword mapping is simple and you can master it right away. 

The first thing is keyword research. Identify what keywords you’re going to use or include in your website. 

Be specific with the long-tail and short-tail keywords you want. Dont get too overwhelmed in this phase, as you are simply trying to figure out which keywords will give you more opportunities and understanding the industry’s landscape. 

The second is checking current relevancy. Of course, you want to rank these keywords to a specific page of your site. You have to figure out which of those keywords is the most relevant for each page. 

Lastly, prepare your keyword mapping document. 

Put your organising skill to the test in this game called keyword mapping. Ensure that you update and keep track of your keywords. 

Having a mapping document will save you from producing duplicate content. On top of it, you will have a visual tracker on what keywords you must prioritise for any chosen page. 

This is essential if you are working with various clients. You will have to present to them and make a report, so don’t give them the impression that you are not ready. Having an organised sheet to present to them shows that you know your job.

Yet to map your keywords? Download our keyword research template here.

Select The Right Keywords Using Our Keyword Selection Criteria

We have been sharing a lot of things already and we are certain that you wonder what criteria we use to come up with the right set of keywords. 

Here are some points you can steal:

Search Volume

Would you get a keyword that no one is looking for? 

It doesn’t make sense to spend much time on that keyword if no one bothers to look for it in any search engine because it won’t signal something to your content. 

Search Intent

Google loves search intent-based keywords. Choose keywords or keyphrases that have conversion potential value to your business. 


Relevancy is significant in terms of keywords in SEO. 

Your target keywords should capture what your brand offers or services are all about. Your goal here is to engage with people who are looking for you.  

SERP Intent

Google’s algorithm changes quickly and modifies itself based on how searchers behave online. This gives you an idea to check each of your target keywords on Google and see if it ranks because it tells us the searcher’s true intent by what’s ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages.    

Keyword Difficulty

Competition is everywhere. You are not the only one operating under one industry, so expect that there will be thousands of people gambling on that keyword as well.

Marketers need this to understand the strategy they will make on how much effort they have to exert to be at the top SERPs on a certain target keyword. 

The content’s quality, domain authority, and page authority are just several factors that affect keyword difficulty.  

Remember that the best keywords don’t exist. You must know what are those words that your audience search for online and gauge those terms in crafting your content strategy. 

You will develop your own BEST keyword once you take into account its search volume, relevancy, authority, search and SERP intent.    

The Number Of Keywords A Site Can Rank For Is “Limitless”

You may ask if it’s possible to rank multiple keywords on your website. The answer is yes. 

This scenario is common to high authority sites. They tend to rank high for multiple keywords due to their authority status. 

You have to keep in mind that for your website to rank higher for your target keywords, you need to invest in integrating on links – lots of it without spamming or stuffing your content. 

If you are eyeing to rank for unlimited keywords like up to 5000+, you need to produce multiple contents and build lots of high-quality links to compete in Google. 

Final thoughts

Keywords can be your website’s SEO lifeline. The very foundation why your content ranks, earn organic searches, grows online, and attracts more visitors. 

There is no easy path to perfect keyword research, but with the right strategy, you can iron this out and plot the best buzzwords people are looking for out there.

Rankable keywords uncover many layers of search queries – terms, phrases, questions, and answers that are relevant to your visitors and customers.

Your keywords or key phrases should support your business goals – getting more traffic, converting leads into sales, and better ranking position in search engines. 

In any case you need a helping hand to do keyword research to maximise your SEO efforts, we’re here at your service. Contact us today!

Keyword Research FAQs

What is keyword research in SEO?

SEO keywords are words or phrases in your website’s content that make it possible for people to find you through search engines. 

Keywords are a vital element of search engine optimisation. Keywords help SEO connect potential customers to your store or website. 

If your page contains buzzwords that people use commonly online, it is easier for you to get find on Google, rank better above your competitors, and earn organic traffic. 

How to research keywords for your SEO strategy?

Establishing a process is an advantage when you perform keyword research for your SEO strategy. Here’s a keyword research flow you steal for your website:

1. Make a list of significant keywords or relevant topics about your business.
2. Identify keywords or phrases that you deemed as relevant and useful to rank for in SERPs.
3. Analyse how search intent affects keywords
4. Research search terms related to your topic. 
5. Use keyword research tools to help you generate the most popular keywords.    

What is the best SEO keyword research tool?

There are hundreds of tools available online for you to choose from. 

It matters that you know what your goal is, keyword research-wise, to help you identify the right tool that will deliver what your needs are. 

For free tools you can use you may want to check out these:

– Google Keyword Planner
– Google Trends
– Keyword

If you want to invest and sign up for paid keyword research tools, you may take one of these options:

– Term Explorer
– Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool
– SEMrush

– Ahrefs
– GrowthBar
– Accuranker
– HubSpot
– Serpstat

These are some of the most widely used keyword research tools in the industry that generate favourable results for businesses now.

How many keywords can I rank for each page?

If you monitor closely your page, it will not surprise you that a single page can rank for hundreds or if you are lucky enough thousands of relevant keywords. 

This scenario depends on how optimised your website is for SEO and the total search volume for the related queries. 

How many keywords should I be tracking?

This is one of the toughest questions that digital marketing experts need to answer. 

At the bare minimum, we can say, one. Some pages you have may contain a singular focus that only answers one query. Two to three keywords are still considerable, but four and up are messy and a bit crowded. 

Remember that each page must only contain one title tag and meta description. We can estimate how many keywords you can track by:

– Taking the number of organic landing pages of your choice
– Then, to get your range,  multiply that number by the range of keywords per page
– Or you may multiply the number of organic landing pages by the average of the range which is 2.5.

We would like to remind you that this depends on the kind of site you are dealing with.

Looking for a trusted SEO agency in Singapore? Schedule a consultation with us today.

About Roots Digital

Roots Digital is an award-winning digital marketing agency and SEO agency headquartered in Singapore, specialising in eCommerce Marketing and lead generation.

Some of our core digital marketing services include SEO servicesSEM services, Google Ads management servicesGoogle Analytics services and more.

Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in working with us. Connect with us via our service enquiry form. You may schedule a call for more information and to know more about our digital marketing services.

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Picture of Ian Ong
Ian Ong
Marketing Director @ Roots Digital, a digital marketing agency in Singapore. Aka the guy responsible for growing the digital marketing agency.
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