Your keyword research checklist: What you need to know

Keyword research is one of the fundamental things in SEO and marketing in general. With the proper implementation, it can greatly improve the success of your business. It till shape the content on your website, and will affect the campaigns you try. In essence, keyword research will give you an insight into what potential clients are looking for. That’s why it’s important to have a good keyword research checklist, that can help you focus on important matters.

Keyword research checklist

To better understand the keyword research, we need to understand the keywords first. Simply put, it’s a word or phrase you enter into search engines when looking for a particular subject. The entire focus of SEO is to place your content among the top results on search engine results pages (SERPs). Not for random, but for the keyword that is relevant to your business. The successful implementation of keywords will, as a result, increase organic traffic and improve your brand’s awareness.

a word SEO as a symbol of keyword research checklist
You need to implement the keywords successfully to improve your brand’s awareness

So, what is keyword research?

Generally, you may call it the process to identify valuable phrases that are most commonly used by the targeted audience. With good keyword research, you will know what keywords are better for your site ranking. Which one gives the best results, and which one needs to be changed. With gathering all the important data, you will have a better understanding of what your audience needs. And above all, how to promote in the future.

Below is the list of steps that should be a part of everyone’s keyword research checklist.

First, you will need a template

Template, or simply a spreadsheet, will help you organize your keywords. But before you start filling it, you will need several cell titles:

  • Keyword
  • Volume
  • Competition
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • Notes

Notes are not necessary but can often come quite useful. Also, don’t forget to freeze your headers so it’s not accounted for and mixed with the data type.

Template schema illustration.
Everything is better organized with a good template.

Think and start filling the list

Often referred to as brainstorming, this is the most creative part. What you do is, you start writing down every keyword that you assume your audience will search for. Usually, there are no particular restrictions so you can write everything that comes to your mind. For now. Just imagine that you need a particular thing, so what would you type in a search bar? These terms are usually called primary keywords. Then, expand this list with new words. For example, Thesaurus is a great place to find synonyms and Ubersuggest for finding alternative keywords, among other things.

Continue with tools

There are many keyword research tools you can use. Unfortunately, many people and business owners are not aware of the benefits of using these tools. In some extreme cases, they are seriously missing the opportunity to properly select keywords. Or, they simply don’t have the knowledge and experience. On the other side, professionals know how to optimize the content with various tools that are available. Here are some of the most useful tools:

  • Search Engine autocompletes – one of the easiest methods. All you have to do is to start typing keywords and explore autosuggestions.
  • SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) – great to see results you are getting for given keywords.
  • Google tools – Google search console and GMB reporting section.
  • Third-party tools – SEMrush, Ahrefs, KeywordSpy, and others.
  • Creative tools – like answerthepublic.com.

Check your competition

While experimenting and researching with tools, you will usually see an option to check competitors. Studying your competition will get you new ideas. But, it will also provide you with information about what is working for them. If it works for them, it will probably work for you too. But, try not to overdo with the “skyscraper method”. Basically, it’s finding the best material and make a new one that’s even better than that. A much better idea is to use Ahrefs Site Explorer, and get your competitor’s keywords and other valuable information.

A man looking at you through binoculars.
By checking your competition, you have the chance to learn from other people’s experiences.

Concentrate on long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are normally longer than ordinary keywords. Maybe, 3+ words, depending on the context. Arguably, some will claim that it needs to be a minimum of 4 words. Nevertheless, they are more specific and less likely to be very competitive. With a good long-tail keyword, you can cleverly cover more searches than usual.

Refining results

After filling your list with all kinds of results, it’s time to discard the bad ones. In other words, you will narrow down your list and leave only the quality keywords. How to do it? Of course, you will need help from Google Keyword Planner and similar tools. the valuable insights you get from the tools will help you refine your list by looking at volume data and keyword difficulty. However, no tool can tell you which keyword is the best, you will have to make an assessment by yourself.

Testing as a crucial part of keyword research checklist

Finally, testing of what is left on the list will lead you to the best results. Again, Google’s planner is great here. Meanwhile, you should pay closer attention to high search volume keywords and competition degree. In most cases, you will get better results if you choose a mix of short and long-tail keywords. And if you are just starting, better aim for keywords with lower difficulty. One more thing, this phase is good for checking and updating your existing pages. Don’t forget that within Google search console you can see where your page was showing for all the searches (page reports – filters – query). This is an incredibly great way for seeing what you are showing up for.

A woman in a suit holding “quality control” writing on a small whiteboard.
Testing is an important factor in any type of research.

With so many things going on when planning and researching, it’s easy to forget something. But, thanks to this keyword research checklist, you won’t forget any of these important steps again. In the end, you will finally be able to apply quality keywords to your website.

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