[We originally published this post in December of 2012. Updated April 2020. Thanks for reading!]

If you are planning a website, or even if you already have one, you need to optimize for search engines. Your optimization will depend on:

  • The type of product or service you are offering
  • Your ideal client
  • Where your client is in the buyer’s journey

We are offering an actionable SEO keyword research guide based on the following tools and assumptions about your business. You:

  • Have already figured out your product or service
  • Have a target audience
  • Use WordPress for your site and blog
  • Have a Google account
  • Are optimizing for the Google search engine
  • Use Apple products

If not all of the above applies to you, stay tuned because reading these articles will still provide you with an easy peasy preview of what SEO involves.

How to Choose Keywords for SEO

Let’s get started with how to choose the keywords you will eventually test.

Step 1: Generate a list of keywords to test

Go to your Google search bar and type in a basic keyword. Let’s say you are launching an e-commerce yoga website. Start with the word “yoga.” 

Systematically go through the alphabet, typing “yoga a,” “yoga b,” and so on, noting relevant words that are auto populated by Google. 

When you type  in yoga a, and here’s what you get get:

Screenshot: Google Search (google.com)

These results are the most popular search queries and are called search predictions. Be sure to set your search on global, not personal, search results.

“Yoga a”  “yoga accessories,” which is great for an e-commerce site. “Yoga b” resulted in the following:

Screenshot: Google Search (google.com)

Lots of keyword options for an ecommerce site.

Go through the entire alphabet in this way and you will have a great list with which to start.

Step 2: Research keywords in Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a great keyword tool for beginners. To start, go to the website and sign in. Next, enter one of your yoga plus letter search ideas into the keyword search bar, which looks like this:

Screenshot: Search bar neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

Make sure to choose the right language and location. 

Then press search. The results will look like this:  

Screenshot: Search results neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

As you can see, it will give you lots of data about your keyword. If you scroll down it will also give you a list of suggested keywords. Click on it and all the suggested keywords will appear. 

Screenshot: Search data neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/

Step 3: Export keywords  to CSV

At Colibri Digital Marketing, we use Google Sheets for spreadsheet collaboration, but Ubersuggest offers an option to download your data to a “CSV” option. Once you download your data as a CSV, you can copy and paste it into google spreadsheets or leave it as is. We suggest creating a google spreadsheet. Here’s what that looks like: 

Screenshot: Excel spreadsheet

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3

This time around look for different keywords that did not appear in your previous search. This will ensure that you have an exhaustive list of keywords. You can select keywords from your list of keywords that you find using google search suggestions.

Step 5: Analyze your data

This is where it gets fun. You will have information about:

  • How competitive each term is 
  • How many people search for each term. (hint: low competition, high volume terms are golden).
  • CPC (Google’s cost per click for Adwords) 

After you’ve imported your data, add one more column, which you can call “uses” for ideas and inspirations that come to you as you analyze your data. These might include:

  • Blog posts
  • Google Ads (these keywords will serve as “seeds” for your ads and  will require separate research because Ads keywords are somewhat different)
  • Product or service ideas

Step 6: Make a list of words to test

Now you’ll put together a list of words that are relevant to your business, preferably high volume, and low competition. Then start using them on your website. Choosing which keywords to use can be the hardest part of this process. But don’t worry, we are here to help! Check out this blog on choosing keywords, or reach out for a complimentary digital strategy session, 

Tips and Tricks

Keywords help you reach your audience but choosing effective keywords  can be hard when your competition is using the same keywords. One way to find keywords that will make you stand out is to reach people at the top of the search funnel. When people first search for something they start with a question to understand what they are searching for. Their next search is more narrowed in and often a comparison question, and their last search is finally branded. To reach your audience before they find your competitors, you will want to have keywords that will match their search at the top of the funnel. 

Keywords can be used on more channels than just your website. Social media is a great place to use keywords because keywords make you searchable.

Get started on these steps and let us  know how it goes in the comments section!

This post was originally published on Project Eve. SEO COLIBRI Style is a how-to series created especially for Project Eve explaining SEO (search engine optimization) for beginners. We also consulted  with Wanda Anglin of SEO Buzz to develop this process.

Do you need digital marketing services? Please connect with us for a complimentary digital strategy session! Just click the button below to get started.