2021 Update: Keyword Research Guide for SEO

Is keyword research still relevant in 2021? Yes, it is very much so. In fact, keywords are not going to be out of style anytime soon. The only thing that has changed is how you approach researching and picking the right phrases/search terms.

In this post, we look at how you should tackle keyword research for all your SEO needs this year and beyond…

Create a List of Seed Keywords

You can think of seed keywords as the base keywords or the pillar. It’s like the trunk of a tree out of which brands and twigs shoot out. Seed keywords are the broad terms relating to your business. Once you have a list of these base phrases and keywords – you can then start expanding upon them.

Think about the terms and phrases that relate to your business directly. You can take help from your competitors. Study them and you’ll get a good idea about seed keywords.

Types of Keywords in SEO

If you don’t know the type of keywords, you’ll have a hard time coming up with a well-optimized SEO strategy.

Below are the different kinds of keywords that exist in SEO:

Short Tail Keywords

Any phrases and keywords containing 2-3 words fall into this category. These terms tend to have high search volume. But, they carry less conversion rate and they tend to be highly competitive. 

These phrases are used by searchers who are at the beginning of their research. Because they come from the initial stage of the research, their search intent is largely unclear and not-so-obvious. Because the search intent is unclear, it can be super difficult to rank for them.

Typical examples of such keywords include:

  • General physician
  • Gaming laptop

Long-Tail Keywords

Any search phrases and keywords carrying more than 3 words fall into the category of long-tail keywords. These are easier to rank for as they tend to be very specific in nature. Their search intent is rather clear and so it’s easy to optimize the content for them. 

Because they are specific and the competition for them is also less, it’s easier to rank for them. Their search volume is low but the conversion rate is high.

Below are the examples of long-tail keywords:

  • Best general physician in Delhi
  • Cheap gaming laptops under $100

As you can see, the search intent for both these long-tail queries is clear. It’s easy to work your way around them and rank for them rather easily.

Product Defining Keywords

These are the keywords that relate directly to the specific services and/or products you sell. People making such queries are a few steps away from finalizing a purchase and are looking for more information about your business.

These keywords carry very low competition and search volume but their conversion rates are the highest.

When optimizing your content for these terms, be sure to provide detailed information so users can learn in detail about your services.

Geo-Targeting Keywords

These keywords relate to a particular location such as neighborhood, state, city, etc. They are best used by local businesses that want to do local SEO. Their audiences are local customers who mostly plan on visiting the physical store location. 

Examples of geo-targeting keywords are:

  • Best salon near me
  • Chinese restaurants in Chandigarh

LSI Keywords

Short for Latent Semantic Indexing – LSI keywords match closely with your target keywords. So, if your target keyword is ‘hair’, then LSI keywords could be hair spa, hair clips, hairstyles, hair cut, etc.

You can only come up with LSI keywords when you know the main focus/foundation keywords for your brand or business. 

Advanced Keyword Research Tips & Strategies

After you have a fair idea about how to conduct basic keyword research, it’s good to dig deeper into it. Below are some tips that should help you even further on your way to doing proper SEO research:

Go Beyond Google

Almost every article you will read on the internet will tell you to use Google Keyword Planner and Google Adwords to perform keyword research. However, it’s good if you keep an open mind and go beyond Google. Try to explore other tools out there so you get a fresh take on things.

Finding Niche Keywords

After brainstorming and planning for initial keywords, you must dig deeper and find niche keywords. These keywords are specialized terms that belong to your industry. 

They carry less search volume but carry high conversion rates.

Other than using Google Adwords, you can use sites like Reddit to partake in mass discussions around niche topics. It should help you come-up with a list of primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords that you otherwise might never consider.

Perform Competitive Analysis

Studying competitors means that you don’t have to do everything from scratch. You can simply copy what has been successfully working in the industry and add your own twist to them. Looks like SpyFu, Buzzsumo, and Ahref can help you with competitive analysis and research.

Bottom Line

So, that was your short and comprehensive guide on how to go about doing keyword analysis in 2021. 


Guest Article by Mike khorev

Bio: Mike is a senior SEO strategist at Nine Peaks Media, a B2B SEO agency that helps SaaS, software, IT and technology companies rank on the first page of Google with effective content marketing strategies. Nine Peaks offers performance-based inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization and search engine marketing services.

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