Updated on May 16th, 2022
Boost your SEO knowledge with this ultimate list of 50 keyword research tips for SEO.
Keyword research is the foundation for all successful SEO efforts and campaigns.
Knowing which keyword phrases your target audience is searching and how competitive they are can make or break your success in achieving higher keyword rankings on the SERPs (search engine results page) that result in more organic traffic to your site.
Whether you are a beginner in understanding keyword research for search engine optimization or an SEO expert interested in a refresher on ways to perform keyword research, check out this list of keyword research tips to up your SEO knowledge.
Ultimate List of Keyword Research Tips for SEO
Here are 50 tips for performing keyword research:
Determine the main keyword phrase you want to target
Keyword research begins with understanding the main keyword phrase you want to rank for, its topic, and its search intent (why a user is searching this keyword; what the user is looking for). Your main keyword should be included in the search title of your page content, which is displayed in search results and browser tabs, and as part of your page's main header wrapped in an HTML <h1> tag.
Plan keyword phrases to target in future related pages
For example, if you plan to write about car repair (a broad, competitive keyword phrase and topic), writing content around related phrases like “repairing car dents” in a post titled “10 tips for repairing car dents” will lead to a stronger topic cluster and better rankings.
Find keyword ideas with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
The Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool offers a massive regularly updated database of over 7 billion keywords, including monthly search volumes and how difficult/competitive keywords are to rank for. This even includes keyword data for YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, and more.
Discover competitor keywords with Ahrefs Site Explorer
The Ahrefs Site Explorer tool gives you the ability to enter any website and see the keywords the site is ranking for, including keyword metrics (similar to the metrics found in the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool) such as estimated keyword search volumes, keyword difficulty, and estimated search traffic.
Find keywords to target with Semrush Keyword Magic Tool
Like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool provides a huge database of keyword insights based on the keyword phrase you enter.
Combine both keyword research software for the ultimate collection of keyword data.
Use Semrush to track keyword rankings and gain insights
You can also track competitor rankings for your tracked keywords side-by-side.
Enable Site Search in Google Analytics
If you have a search bar on your site, turning on Site Search lets you see which search terms users have entered to support ongoing keyword research.
Look at Google & YouTube search bar suggestions
One of the best keyword research tips is using good old Google itself.
When you enter a keyword phrase (search terms) into Google Search or YouTube, before clicking search, check out the dropdown of keyword suggestions.
These suggestions can provide insight into other keywords people have searched that are potentially related to your target keyword and might be worth writing about.
Look at Bing's search bar suggestions
Similar to Google and YouTube, take a look at Bing's keyword suggestions for other potential keyword ideas to incorporate into your content.
Perform deep search bar suggestion research
Perform detailed keyword research using Google and Bing's search bar dropdown suggestions by entering a target keyword, hitting your space key, and entering a letter.
Try letters a through z to uncover potentially hundreds of related long-tail keywords.
Get quick keyword ideas with Keyword Sheeter
Don't let the name fool you! Keyword Sheeter (formerly Keyword Shitter) is a legit free keyword research tool you can use to find loads of related long-tail search term variations based on the keyword you enter in and data from search bar suggestions.
Check Google's “Related searches” section
After entering a keyword search, Google lists semantically related keyword searches at the bottom of the search results.
These are important keywords to be aware of and are often worth incorporating in your content when possible, to make your content more comprehensive and helpful.
Browse Google's “People also ask” results
These are questions that users have searched that Google finds related to your entered search terms. These are usually highly relevant to your target keyword phrase and topic, making them worth answering in your content.
Check out these questions for the “Related searches” keywords to go even deeper.
Check Bing's “Related searches” section
Like Google, check out Bing's related searches section for potentially differing related keywords compared to Google's results.
Examining both Google and Bing will give you a more complete understanding of the keywords the top two search engines deem related to your target keyword and topic.
Browse Bing's “People also ask” results
Also, like Google, you can perform the same kind of research from Bing's search results to find unique questions about your target keyword phrase and topic.
Check out online reviews and testimonials
Online reviews like Google reviews can provide valuable feedback for keyword and topic research, such as likes, dislikes, tone of voice, and the words being used to describe the business, product, or service being reviewed.
Check out the reviews of competitors as well for even more insight.
Use Google Search Console for Google keyword data
See “Queries” under the Google Search Console “Performance” section. These are the keyword phrases your site is appearing in Google for that are receiving either clicks or impressions, including clickthrough rates and average ranking position data.
Link Google Search Console in Google Analytics
Once linked, you can view Google Search Console (GSC) keyword data right in Google Analytics for flexible ways to sort and compare the data.
Here's how to configure Search Console data in Analytics.
Use Bing Webmaster Tools for Bing keyword data
Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools includes a “Search Performance” section to access similar keyword information based on your site's existing pages, but for Bing's search engine.
Use Bing Webmaster Tool's keyword research tool
Bing Webmaster Tools includes a free keyword research tool built-in to look up estimated search impressions in Bing for a keyword you enter.
Enter keywords in Google Ads Keyword Planner
While Google Ads Keyword Planner is part of Google Ads, it's still a super useful tool to find new organic keyword opportunities to target based on input keyword phrases.
View estimated changes in keyword search volumes, and get an idea of how competitive keywords are based on suggested Google Ad bid estimates.
Enter a website in Google Ads Keyword Planner
You can also enter an entire website such as a competitor site or a specific page of a site to discover more keyword ideas.
Enter keywords in Microsoft Advertising Keyword Planner
Like Google Ads Keyword Planner, check out the free to use Microsoft Advertising Keyword Planner to gain keyword insights and ideas based on Bing and the Microsoft Search Network.
Enter a website in Microsoft Advertising Keyword Planner
Also similar to Google, the Microsoft Ad keyword planner provides the ability to discover new keywords based on entering a website URL.
Find keyword ideas with AnswerThePublic
This tool provides a free efficient way to discover hundreds of questions and phrases people search that includes your entered keyword.
AnswerThePublic displays helpful visuals of the results, which are based on autocomplete data from search engines like Google.
I use this tool to gain a quick comprehensive understanding of the type of searches occurring about a keyword or topic, ideas for creating and organizing site content, and phrases or subtopics to research further in an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush.
Find keyword question ideas with QuestionDB
Enter a broad seed keyword into QuestionDB to find hundreds of related questions to incorporate into your content.
QuestionDB provides data based on uniquely compiling questions asked on various websites over time, such as from Reddit and Quora.
I find this tool useful for uncovering niche questions that might not surface in Google or Bing search results.
Find keyword ideas with Soovle
Head over to Soovle and enter a keyword phrase to quickly generate free keyword ideas from multiple sources at the same time, including Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and more.
Find keyword ideas with Keyword Tool
Similar to Soovle, you can find more quick keyword ideas using Keyword Tool, which also surfaces keywords based on Google's autocomplete data (also known as Google Suggest).
The free version generates up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for each keyword you enter. The paid version unlocks getting keyword ideas based on entering a competitor's site as well as keyword search volumes.
Find keyword ideas with Moz Keyword Explorer
Similar to Ahrefs and Semrush keyword research features, Moz Keyword Explorer provides another large database of keyword data that can provide you with a unique database of suggested search phrases.
The free version lets you search up to 10 queries (keyword searches) per month.
Find keywords with Keywords Everywhere
Discover keyword metrics right in Google & Bing with the Keywords Everywhere browser add-on/extension.
Keyword-related features in the free version include viewing related keywords, “People also search for” keywords, long-tail keywords, and keywords used in a submitted page.
The paid version is required for monthly keyword search volume, CPC (cost-per-click), competition, and historical trend data.
Find keyword ideas with Google Trends
Use Google Trends for a free way to see related queries/keywords. You can sort these keywords by Top (most popular), or Rising (queries with the biggest increase in search frequency based on the time range you set).
Google Trends also shares an “Interest over time” chart for the keyword and time range you enter that's useful for determining if a keyword is growing in popularity. Further, you can compare multiple keywords and interest charts at a time.
Check keyword seasonality
Look at Google Trend's “Interest over time” chart to determine if your target keyword has seasonal demand.
Find keywords with KWFinder
Another popular keyword research tool is KWFinder by Mangools.
While not free, similar to Ahrefs and Semrush, this is a more cost-friendly keyword research tool if you're looking for similar in-depth long-tail keyword research and the ability to find low competition keywords.
Get keyword ideas with Surfer
Get new and similar keyword ideas to add to your content with Surfer SEO, a powerful SEO tool that combines content optimization and keyword research features.
When you enter a keyword or set of keywords into Surfer, the tool compares top ranking pages in search results to determine topically relevant keywords and questions to add to your content to improve search visibility for more keywords.
See my full Surfer SEO review to learn more about the content optimization tool.
Find keyword ideas with Ubersuggest
Discover tons of keyword data with Ubersuggest, a comprehensive SEO tool created by digital marketing entrepreneur Neil Patel.
Get historical keyword data, search volume estimates, competitor keyword analysis, and more. Currently, Ubersuggest offers some unique lifetime deals.
Get keyword data with SpyFu
Another comprehensive SEO and keyword research software, SpyFu offers cost-friendly monthly plans, while providing unlimited data as a feature of all plans.
Similar to the industry-leading tools, SpyFu provides SEO & PPC keyword metrics, mobile vs. desktop, related keywords and questions, and competitor keyword data.
Get keyword suggestions with Rank Tracker
SEO PowerSuite is an all-in-one SEO desktop software with a higher price point like Ahrefs and Semrush due to its number of SEO features, options, and capabilities, such as the ability to automate SEO jobs and tasks.
Rank Tracker, the tool in the software suite, gives you options to connect Google Search Console, Google Ads Keyword Planner, search engine autocomplete/suggest keyword data, related searches, and related questions. The tool's KEI (Keyword Efficiency Index) formula is also a unique way to find low competition keywords.
Find keyword suggestions with Keyword Discovery
Use Keyword Discovery to get a list of generic and long-tail keywords. Keyword data is compiled and collected from search engines worldwide and various toolbar browsers.
This is a great way to get estimated 12-month search trends for relevant keywords. The free version gives up to 1,500 searches per day.
Find keywords with Wordtracker
A keyword research-specific tool, Wordtracker is an affordable way to explore keyword ideas, search volumes, and keyword competition levels.
Find keywords with WordStream
The WordStream Free Keyword Tool is a free useful way to find and export new US-based keywords related to an entered keyword or website URL.
WordStream retrieves keyword data from partnerships with internet service providers, browser toolbars, and search engines.
Supplement keyword research with SEOBook
Check out the free SEO tools provided by SEOBook, including several that can help supplement your keyword research activities, including convenient ways to filter, combine, and organize keyword data.
Example tools include SEOBook's keyword suggestion tool, keyword list generator, keyword list cleaner, and keyword density analyzer.
Supplement keyword research with Webconfs.
I find their Search Engine Spider Simulator tool an awesome free supplemental keyword research tool to get a quick overview of how keyword phrases are being used on a page, such as a competitor page. This includes seeing what keyword phrases are being used in a page's meta title and description and H1-H4 header tags.
Search a keyword in Google and compare top-ranking pages
Enter your target keyword in Google and take a look at the top ~5 pages to understand the type of content Google favors and how it's structured.
Enter these page URLs into a search engine spider tool such as SEOBook (a separate browser tab for each competitor page) to get an idea of commonalities with keywords used, their placements, headers used, and word count.
Search a keyword in Bing and compare top-ranking pages
Just like with Google Search, review the top-ranking pages in Bing for more potential insight into the type of related keyword phrases and subtopics to write about.
Find keyword ideas with Pinterest
With Pinterest, you can surface additional keyword ideas similar to Google and Bing's autosuggest search bars.
Similar to what you can do with Google and Bing's search bars, try typing your keyword phrase in, hitting your space key, and entering a letter, to see if long-tail keyword variations pop up. Do this for letters a-z for a lot of potential long-tail keyword ideas. Also, check out Keysearch's Pinterest Keyword Tool.
Discover keyword variations using * search operator
Entering an asterisk in Google's search bar acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
For example, if you type “* keyword research” in the search bar, Google will replace the asterisk with a word or phrase that makes up another phrase people search for (that includes keyword research), such as “how to do keyword research”.
Another example: Entering “keyword * research” suggests “keyword competitor research” as another relevant phrase.
Ask questions for more insight
You can often gain valuable information including keyword phrases and subtopics to cover in your content by asking people questions.
For example, you could conduct a survey or interview customers, prospects, and really anyone in connection with your brand or business.
Use Wikipedia for keyword research
Wikipedia is packed with constantly updated information on nearly every topic, making it valuable for keyword research.
Enter a broad keyword search term in Wikipedia's search bar. The resulting page usually shares subtopics and unique long-tail keywords you might not find elsewhere.
Understand local keywords
If you're running a business and site that serves specific local areas, it's important to research local keyword phrases (i.e. SEO services in Chicago) that you can create content around, to rank quickly and increase your site's local search presence.
While you might serve a national audience in certain ways, you can often rank and grow your site traffic faster by starting with content around low competition local keywords.
Research terms related to your content type
Here's an advanced keyword research tip. If you're doing keyword research for say an ultimate guide in your niche, you can gain more insight into the type of wording and content structure Google favors by looking at top-ranking guides in other competitive niches.
You can do this by simply searching a phrase like “ultimate guide on” or “ultimate list of”, etc. Or, perform this research using your chosen keyword tool to sort the results of the phrase by search volume or keyword difficulty, and then Google your chosen guide or list phrase to check out the top-ranking pages.
This strategy is not so much for understanding keywords to use related to your content's topic, but potential supporting words and phrases related to the content type. Example content types are a guide, list, product comparison, and review.
For instance, a product review page might rank better if you include customer feedback in the content (if you notice top-ranking pages reviewing the product include feedback).
This concludes the ultimate list of keyword research tips for SEO.
I hope you found some of the tips above useful for improving your SEO efforts.
What are your favorite keyword research tips? Leave a comment below!
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