How to Research Keywords for SEO Strategy

by Jay Joyce, President/CEO - Mar 04, 2015

Search engines have two major functions: crawling and building an index, and providing users with a ranked list of the websites that are the most relevant. To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. Hundreds of factors influence relevance, including complicated, ever-changing algorithms that are impenetrable to marketers.

While Google continues to roll out algorithm updates, inbound marketers can still rely on good old-fashioned keyword research for search engine optimization. In this week's blog, we'll discuss how to go about researching keywords and how to execute a strong SEO strategy that will optimize your website and help you achieve higher rankings in search engines.

List Important, Relevant Topics Based on Your Business

Think about the broad, generic topics you want to rank for in terms of "buckets." Come up with about 5-10 topic buckets you think are important to your business, and then use those buckets to come up with some specific keywords later.

If you're a blogger, these are probably the topics you blog about most frequently. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer – what topics would your target audience search for that you'd want your business to get found for? For example, buckets for The Idea People's SEO strategy might include "inbound marketing," "email marketing," "web design," "app development," "SEO," "social media" and "marketing analytics."

Fill in Topic Buckets with Keywords

Now that you have a few topic buckets you want to focus on, it's time to identify some keywords that fall into those buckets. These are keyword phrases that you think are important to rank for in search engine results because your target customer is probably conducting searches for those specific terms. For example, if we took the topic bucket of "inbound marketing" and brainstormed some keyword phrases, those might include:

And so on and so on. The point of this step is to end up with a collection of phrases you think potential customers might use to search for content related to that particular topic bucket.

Research Related Search Terms

Struggling to think of keywords people might seach for?  Go to and take a look at the related search terms that appear when you type in a keyword. When you type in your phrase and scroll to the bottom of Google's results, you'll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to include.

Check Out Your Competitors' Keyword Rankings

Understanding what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a great way to help you give your list of keywords another evaluation. If your competitor is ranking for certain keywords that are on your list, it definitely makes sense to work on improving your ranking for those. Don’t ignore the ones your competitors don’t seem to care about, however. This could be a great opportunity for you to own market share on important business terms your competitors are ignoring.

Need an SEO Strategy? Call The Idea People!

As a digital marketing and web design company in Charlotte, The Idea People invest heavily in SEO strategy, research, and education to provide our business clients with professional, proven search engine optimization services.

We help businesses generate digital pathways to websites and funnel sales with the use of content marketing, content writing and inbound marketing best practices. To learn more about how SEO strategy can help build your sales channels through the digital space, call Jay Joyce at 704-398-4437 or email


Source: Moz
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