what are keywords for seo

What are keywords for SEO? It’s Not What You Think!

What are the odds of you searching a blog or a video on the internet for what are keywords or how to perform advanced keyword research and igniting a spark of confusion? 

Well, the answer is quite clear… Many times, isn’t it? I know how daunting it can be to bombard with such extensive information! 

The problem doesn’t lie in the availability of knowledge. Instead, I would say there is too much information that it can be very intimidating to comprehend a keyword for SEO and how to do keyword research and mapping.

Subsequently, the question is what should be accurate, actionable steps to follow and where to find a one-stop solution for every answer you seek!

The following article will help you pilot your questions and give you the exact steps and tools to get started. So without further ado, let me begin with what keywords are?

What are keywords?

Keywords are the search queries and phrases a user types on a search engine to perceive facts about it. In a layman’s language, keywords are vital phrases a webmaster uses on a search engine platform. Having said that, now the question arises… 

what are keywords

What are keywords for SEO…?

Keywords for SEO are words that users search for on the internet and that you use those specific words to answer those search queries in the form of content. 

Once these words are used as a part of content, the search engine recognizes these terms as they crawl the website and lists them in the search directory. After search engines diagnose that piece, rank it on the SERPs among multifarious web pages.

Ranking for a bit of content like a blog post or video depends on Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthiness

The E-A-T Concept is Google’s quality control method of understanding which piece is more relevant to the search queries and answers the intent behind for user in the most effective and in-depth way.

This Concept became well known after the infamous Medic Update in August 2018. E-A-T is one factor that Google uses to evaluate the overall quality of a web page.

Now let us roll ahead on understanding different types of keywords. 

What are the types of keywords?

Comprehending the types of keywords can be a task. Instead, focusing on the intent can help you differentiate between keywords and thus help you understand the classes.

There are 4 types of user intent which are categorized below with examples.

Navigational Intent

These sorts of keywords generally search queries that help a user to navigate from one point to another. Elaborating on this fact, the users know where they are headed here.

Here’s an example: 

  • SEO copywriting course
  • Digital marketing course details
  • certification courses in the United States
what are the types of keywords

Commercial Intent

Such intent keywords are the search queries that users search and become a lead or a customer. These are very high intent keywords and help a website generate more revenue. Keywords like…buy, join, and subscribe are commercial intent.

Here’s an example – 

  • Best SEO company in India
  • SEO freelancers in Chennai
  •  Comparison of SEO and PPC
commercial intent keywords

Transactional Intent

Transactional Intent keywords are the ones that lie between Commercial and informational keywords. Such keywords help your user push down to the bottom of the funnel. In other words, such keywords help a brand close in on a customer towards a buying journey.

 Here’s an example

  • Buy digital marketing course
  • Udemy course coupons
  • Discount on Iphones
transactional intent keywords

Informational Intent

Lastly, informational intent keywords help users find more information about any concepts. Such types of keywords are deficient in competition and are long-tailed keywords. 

(Reference link to learn more about keywords Intent)

Here’s an example

  • How many SEO keywords should I use
  • What are branded keywords
  • What are organic keywords
informational intent keywords

What are good keywords?

Various metrics can help you understand which keywords are good and which aren’t. Let us first understand these metrics, and then finally, I’ll tell you how to determine which keywords make good. The following metrics will help you find the best among all keywords.

Search volume

This is one of the most important metrics which tell you the number of people searching for that particular word. Higher the search volume, the higher the number of people searching that phrase on the search engine.

How to use this metric:

Step 1: List down all the keywords you wish to target.

Step 2: Write the search volume beside the respective keywords.

Step 3: Lastly, target those phrases which have high search volume (min 300)

Here is an example – 

how much keyword density is good for SEO


Finding the keywords which are relevant to content is one of the most important metrics you should go after. Understanding user intent behind every keyword will help you solve the problem behind the search query in the most effective way possible.

Recognising user intent will also assist you in determining the relevance of said content you create to solve the user’s problem. Your target keywords should be an excellent match for what you offer.

How to use this metric:

Step 1: List down all the keywords you wish to target.

Step 2: Start filtering down the keywords based on the user intent, like Commercial, Informational and Transactional Intent. 

Conversion value

Preferring on terms that have the potential to provide high conversion for a brand is a metric that is often understated yet most important. 

(Quick tip: Target long tail keywords)

How to use this metric:

Step 1: List down all the keywords you wish to target

Step 2: Analyze each to understand how each can serve your prospect more. 

(Quick tip: More specifically, the keywords are higher conversion it will offer)

Here is an example – 

long tail keywords

Keyword difficulty or competitiveness

Recognising that you are not the only one to target any keywords, there can be many others who anticipate the same. Thus, one significant metric called competitive keyword analysis comes into play. 

Subsequently, the competitiveness of keyword difficulty is another metric that can help you decide which search queries you should target. 

Understanding this metric is as easy as pie.

How to use this metric:

Step 1: List all the keywords you can target from a keyword research tool.

Step 2: Once done, check on the difficulty metric. 

(Quick fact: According to the Ahrefs data, this is the range of competitiveness.)

Here is an example – 

keywords difficulty

Cost Per Click

CPC is an abbreviation for Cost Per Click. This metric shows the estimated bid for a particular keyword in google ads and is also a very dynamic metric because advertisers can raise or lower their bids anytime.

Therefore, the number you see in Ahrefs should be treated as an average because we don’t update our CPC data very often. 

If you need information about how Google Ads calculates CPC, check out this article: Actual cost-per-click (CPC): Definition.

Here is an example – 

Having said that, understanding all the metrics for a good keyword is crucial. Witnessing the fact, you cannot miss any of the above metrics if you want to have a good set of keywords to target.

Generally, a good keyword is a search query that has the following properties:

  1. Low difficulty
  2. High CPC
  3. Long tail keyword

Here is an illustration:

Why is keyword research important?

Moving ahead from the Keyword metric, let us understand why keyword research is essential in the very first place.

Let me ask you one question quoted by the best SEO strategist in India: Sanjay Shenoy. 

Would you fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Give it a minute, think about it, and reread it if you have to. 

Hint: There is no correct answer.

The ideology here is to understand and reflect on the metric to which you decide the answer! I’m guessing you are trying to understand which is easier to fight and thus going after it.

Similarly, we all would want to choose the path of least resistance. It saves us time, effort, and energy while giving us similar results. 

No wonder why all of the wise old men in history said…Choose your battle wisely. Once you focus on the most accessible fighting, your success rate will skyrocket. So not only will you survive, but you will thrive too.

Likewise, that’s how precisely keyword research works too. Keyword research is about picking up the right battles in search engine optimization.

Having said that, Picking up the right keywords is half the battle won!

Keyword Research Steps You Shouldn’t Unsee.

Moving ahead, let us understand how to do keyword research that would help you skyrocket your content to SERPs 1.

Step 1: Choose a broad keyword and look for your competitors.

Start with a broad search query you wish to target and look for the top pages ranking for the same. 

(Quick tip: Don’t go too broad, your play should understand the intent behind keywords)

For example, for my post, “What is email marketing and how it can fuel your hemp business,” I’m starting on the keyword “Email marketing”. 

Secondly, I’m drilling in the top 3 – 4web pages. 

URLs – 


2. https://neilpatel.com/blog/beginners-guide-email-marketing/

3. https://optinmonster.com/beginners-guide-to-email-marketing/

Step 2: Expand the list of search queries your “competitors” are ranking for. 

I’d suggest you use a premium tool for this step. You can do this with free tools, but the data won’t be accurate. 

(Quick tip: Ahrefs provide you with the most accurate data)

I put in the URLs collected in the last step and chose the country I wanted to rank in. As you can see, just by putting on the URL, I got so many keywords that it would be impossible to go and look them up bit by bit.

why is keyword research important
Ahrefs helped me pull out 1,160 keywords

Step 3: Collate the list of intent you want to target. (Quick tip: Focus on listing out the informational keyword)

After step 2 of keyword research for competitors, you should have a narrow list of keywords. As you can see in the screenshot, I ended up having 1,160 keywords with total keywords generating organic traffic of “90k”.

Subsequently, I click on the position and check which phrases rank on the top pages. This helps in shortlisting the set keywords. Once done, I analyze the search intent behind every keyword and look for informational intent keywords.

Step 4: Filter down based on the metrics as suggested above.

Once I’m done Filtering the keyword based on the search intent, I narrow my list with the keyword metrics we discussed earlier. 
(Quick tip: Choose a keyword based on your domain authority)

Step 5: Lastly, create the final piece’s content with the keywords list.

After all the four steps, I have my final list of keywords I’m ready to target.

advanced keyword research
My final list of keywords to target

Once you go through all the steps mentioned earlier, you will be done with the steps for keyword research. Lastly, write the piece content for those keywords in particular.

I know that the thought of writing content might shiver down your spine. This happens because you have been misinformed that you must be creative in writing a piece article. 


Use the following framework to write content with some examples- 

Listicles article – Top ten ways to tie a tie

How to guide – How to do keyword research?

What Why and How (WWH) – What is marketing automation, and how to learn it.

(Quick tip: Don’t forget to check the article’s performance in Google Search Console. Also, don’t forget to promote the article once published )

Now let’s move forward on how you can do keyword research for free. 

How to do free Keyword Research?

No wonder the SEO industry is reasonably apprehended for the most expensive tools in the space of digital marketing, and that’s true. But that does mean you can’t do keyword research for free. There are various approaches you can follow for keyword research. 

Here are the top 6 free keyword research tools enlisted below.

Use google auto suggest

You can use google auto suggest for keyword research. This technique helps you find search queries straight up!

Here’s an example:

free keyword research tools
Here’s a list of free keywords suggested by google

Look for People Also Ask (PPA)

This method is a great way to find keywords for free. Furthermore, it helps you study search intent and provide a holistic sight of keywords being searched widely.

people also ask keywords


It is one of the most accurate free tools you can find online. With this, you can really perform advanced keyword research.

H-supertools is one of the best keyword research tools for free keyword research with accurate metrics

Answer The Public 

The quickest and easiest way to find popular questions related to your business niche is AnswerThePublic – a no-brainer keyword that combines your main keywords with different question words (who, what, why, etc.).

answer the public
Answer The Public is a powerful tool which helped me with 389 results just by typing in a primary keyword

Keywords Everywhere

This is one of my personal favourites. Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension you can use to find a list of keywords.

free keywords research tool

Keyword Research Planner (aka) Google Keyword Planner

You can use a Google keyword planner to find keywords related to your business and check the average search volume for the very same keyword. This tool can also find the Cost Per Click associated with search queries.

google keywords planner


I believe the above definition and keyword research methodology is not only the most efficient way but also the most advanced and but effective too.

Having said that, Keyword research is 50% of SEO if done right.

And yes, SEO requires lots and lotssss of patience.

Let me know what you think of this definitive guide on keyword research in the comment section below.

What are branded keywords?

Keywords are the search queries that users type in the search engines that signifies the name of your brand or variations of the brand name. These keywords are very high intent keywords and bring in a conversions a lot more faster. In addition, here is an example – ‘your brand name stores near me’, ‘your brand name coupons’.

What are primary and secondary keywords for SEO?

Primary keyowrds are the main keyword which you can target in your SEO optimised keywords. This is main keyword you want to rank for on the search engines. In other words, this is one specific topic on which you create your entire piece of content. Primary keywords should be used in your H-tags.
Whereas, Secondary keywords can be referred as the subtopics you would also like to rank for in the search engines. These types of keywords should also be used in the H-tags and alt text.

What are organic keywords?

An organic keyword is a search queries used to attract free organic traffic from the search engines. There are various metrics to analyse organic keywords such as PPC, Search Volume and KD.

How much keyword density is good for SEO?

Ideally you should have an approach of having 1%-3% of keyword density in your entire piece of content. You should avoid optimising your content for keywords, rather… you should focus on user experience. Also, you should avoid keyword stuffing.

How do I use keywords on my website?

You should use your keywords in your piece of content in order to solve the intent behind the search queries. Yo should focus on using your keywords in H-tags, alt-text, image file name.

How do I choose keywords for SEO?

You should choose keywords for SEO on the basis on valuable metric like Keyword Difficulty, Search Volume, Cost Per Click and Conversion Values.

How do to keyword research for youtube?

You can use Youtube Autosuggest for keyword research or you can use tools like ahrefs, Vidiq or Semrush.

Can I do keyword research for free?

Yes, you can definitely do keyword research for free and you don’t need to pay a fortune. Here are some tools you can use for free keyword research. Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs keyword research tool, Hsupertools keywords research, Answer The Public, Keywords Everywhere or Rank Tracker.

What is the best keyword research tool?

Ahrefs and Semrush is the best keyword research tool you can find on the internet. Apart from these tools you can use Moz or Ubersuggest.

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