The Complete SEO Keyword Research Guide

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The Complete SEO Keyword Research Guide

Why I Wrote an SEO Keyword Research Guide

Any Beginner’s SEO 101 Guide will tell you that Keyword Research is the first step in the SEO process. However, many guides fail to explain the actual process of conducting keyword research that results in higher conversion rates.  There are different keyword types, latent semantic indexing, audience profiles and difficult metrics to account for. In fact, some of those terms I just mentioned may have your mind boggled. That said, I’ll walk you through the process of conducting keyword research which harmonizes with user intent.

Understanding Keyword Types for Audience Targeting

keyword research buyer persona targeting One of the fundamental steps to understanding keyword research is being able to differentiate informational keywords from intentional keywords. These keyword types or keyword segments, help us create a content strategy that aligns with our conversion funnel.

Informational vs. Intentional Keywords


content marketing funnel


  • Research, Tutorials, DIY
  • Build Awareness and Interest
  • Account for Majority of Organic Traffic
  • YouTube videos, Vimeo
  • Infographics
  • Slideshare


  • Direct Response Keywords
  • Used for Products/Services pages
  • Difficult to Rank/ High Competition

Persona-Driven Keyword Research

This step requires a significant amount of time spent researching, stalking people on social media, and interviewing qualified buyers in order to understand how you should personalize your content to resonate with each persona. informational-intentional-kw-funnel

For many industries, especially B2B, searchers will query (search) for identical products or services using completely different keywords. Reasons for this can be generally attributed to the searcher’s job role, technical knowledge, or skillset. Hypothetically, a construction supervisor in need of bronze alloy pipes may use broader terms like bronze copper alloys, while an engineer may use a more specific terms associated with testing standards or compounds. The first step is to create audience personas. We will want to obtain information such as:
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Purchasing Habits
There are many ways to collect this data. Some of these options include:
  • Survey Monkey
  • Linkedin Profiles
  • Facebook Profiles
  • Pinterest Profiles
  • Interview Customers
Social profiles really are a great tool for collecting persona data. You can quickly and easily understand their likes, dislikes, and even the way they write. For fanstastic, in-depth information about persona-driven keyword research, check this out.

How to Choose Your Keywords

Keyword research and selection is not an exact science. Some SEO strategies may involve much more detailed keyword segmentation or groups. However, a great way to get started is by using a keyword research tool.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Tool Cost Creator
Google Keyword Planner Free Google
BING Ads Intelligence Free Microsoft
Google Trends Free Google
SEMrush Free (Limited) or Paid SEMrush
Uber Suggest Free Reprise Media Italy

Qualifying Your Keywords

Once you’ve finished building a list of keywords, next it is time to qualify those keywords. You will be spending a lot of time in the near future optimizing for these keywords, so you wan to make sure you’re optimizing for the right ones.

Keyword Qualification Checklist

Is the keyword relevant to your website content?

Applying Keyword Research to SEO Strategies

More than likely, you are beginning to realize that there is a whole lot more search volume associated with your informational keyword list than your intentional keyword list. Yes, this is normal. A long time ago, Rand Fishkin wrote a blog called Illustrating the Long Tail. The illustration below is from his article and interestingly enough, Long Tail keywords (which are commonly informational keywords) make up for 80% of the traffic. long tail keywords Your long tail keywords and informational keywords can all be part of your content strategy. Using each article, blog, or page as a  new way to drive more traffic to your website. At that point it is important to remember, however, that you will need to plan your conversion strategy. Once the user gets to the website, how do you convert them into a sale? What’s your strategy?  
By |July 7th, 2015|Categories: |Tags: , , |3 Comments

About the Author:

Joshua Belland is the CEO & Founder of Joshua Belland SEO Consulting. He specializes in developing SEO driven content strategies, while using his web development skills for technical SEO. Josh's career in SEO started in 2009 and uses his blog/writing as a means to give back to the SEO community while educating other's in the industry. Linkedin | Google+ | Twitter


  1. Rob Garner February 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Very thorough guide Joshua, great work!

  2. Brenda Smith April 13, 2016 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Indeed a great post about Keyword Research.

    There is no doubt that Keyword Research is the most important part of building a successful website. Without targeting the right keywords, We can never drive traffic and sales.

    Keyword research is important as much as making a PLAN before doing something really great. :D

    When I started my blogging carrer, I never knew what keyword research is, I always cover articles on random keywords and that was the reason, I wasn’t getting traffic and sales because I was running in the wrong direction.

    But When I learned about keyword research then I found my mistake and started working on it.

    In this guide, You have covered keyword research in a very detailed way and It is very much helpful to so many readers including me.

    So Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article with us. :D

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