Keyword research is crucial for search engine optimization. It shows search and demand, which helps you focus on keywords and topics that actually matter. This can save you lots of time and money. 

Now, not all keywords are made equal. There are different types of keywords. So, before we dive into keyword research I’m going to break down keywords and their variations.

What Is a Keyword?

A keyword is a word or phrase that a person searches for, in a search engine. This means that a keyword can be a single word or a combination of words. 

For example, “SEO” “SEO tools” and “free SEO course” can all be considered a keyword. 

Keywords are also sometimes called “search terms” or “search queries”. But they are the same thing. 

Keyword Types

long tail & short tail keyword types infographic

When you get deep into SEO, you’ll find that there are tons of keyword types. But, these are the 3 types that you need to know right now.

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are short and contain less than 3 words. They are a broader search term and are more competitive. But, they draw in a lot of search volume if you can rank for them.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords have more than 3 words. They are more specific and have a lower search volume. They are also less competitive and usually show the intent of buying. 


Short-tail: “SEO”

Long-tail: “best free beginner SEO course 2022”

Core Keywords

Your core keyword is the main word that you are optimizing a page for. (it can be long or short tail)

This is important because you only want to optimize one core keyword per page. 

The reason why is because if you optimize 2 or more pages for that same keyword, you’ll end up competing against yourself.

What Is Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing words that people type in search engines.

We find keywords using keyword research tools and look for what people are searching for.

Then, we analyze them because keywords vary in keyword difficulty and search intent.

Keywords are classified by KD or “Keyword Difficulty”. The higher the KD the more difficult it is to rank for that keyword.

There is also search intent. Someone searching for “guitar center discount” probably has the intent of buying from Guitar Center. This is because most people who are looking for discount codes are about to purchase something

 Meanwhile, someone searching for “guitar center review” is probably thinking about buying but not committed 100%.

And “is guitar center open on Sunday” is showing that people are looking for more information about the store.

They all have different intents. You judge the intent, not the tool. So this is where you have to do the guessing, and give them the right answer.

A 5 Step Keyword Research Technique

This technique is extremely easy to implement and beginner-friendly. There are many different keyword research techniques that you can try but this one will get you started.

When doing keyword research you have to keep these things in mind, to make the research process easier.

Think about your customer avatar. What would they search for? What do they need? And look for those keywords. 

Find keywords that describe your services, product, or business best. Don’t just optimize for search volume. Sometimes specific, low-volume keywords will win because they are more relevant to you.

In order to do this, you will need a keyword research tool, an excel sheet, and lots of patience. 

Now for the technique.

Step 1: Find Your Keyword Search Tool

ahrefs empty keyword explorer

There are plenty of SEO tools to choose from. But, most SEO tools should have a section to search for keywords. For example, Ahrefs has a tool called keyword explorer

Step 2: Enter a Seed Keyword

ahrefs keyword explorer (2)

Search for a short-tail keyword that is related to your business/service/product. Once you have searched for that single keyword you should have a screen similar to the image above. A ton of keywords, and information. 

Right now just focus on the “Keyword” section. Don’t even look at the keyword difficulty yet.

Step 3: Look For Relevant Keywords

As in the image above you will get bombarded with keywords. To single them out, look for keywords that are relevant to you, and your goals. 

For example, I want to do keyword research for my SEO blog.

Based on the image above I might want to save “seo” “seo tools” and “what is seo” into my keyword list.

Keywords like “park seo joon” “seo kang joon” and “han seo hee” are not going to be relevant to my blog so I’ll ignore those.

Step 4: Reuse Your Keyword List

Go back and take a look at your list.

You can either search for one of those different keywords to get more ideas or add the whole list to the keyword explorer.

then rinse and repeat. Go back to your list and use those ideas to go deeper into subcategories.

Step 5: Export Your Data

Once you have sufficient keywords, around 200+. You can export your list, and save it as a CSV file. 

Keyword Research Complete

You now have a decently sized list of keywords. You can export those into an excel sheet and grab ideas, or you can bucket those keywords to better refine your strategy. If you need further clarification or enjoyed this article leave a comment in the section below.