How to do Keyword Research and Outrank Your Competitors

How to do Keyword Research and Outrank Your Competitors

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 18, 2023 18:31 IST

Starting with a successful content marketing journey begins with understanding the power of keyword research. By getting into the intricacies of search volume, keyword difficulty, and audience alignment, this comprehensive guide unravels the key steps involved in crafting a winning strategy. With it, you will be grasping the nuances of user intent, creating buyer personas, and strategically balancing high and low volume keywords. These steps will help you pave the path towards enhancing visibility and captivating your audience. So dive into this article to uncover the roadmap for unlocking the potential of keyword research.

keyword research

Keyword research guides your SEO and content planning strategy. It covers all the information you need when it comes to what your target audience expects. 

The right keywords help the audience find your blogs or any piece of your content through their search queries. That’s how you rank on Google without any paid means. And, an Ahrefs study points out that 90.63% of pages on Google do not get any organic traffic

Before you jump into researching words or phrases and using them to create content, know the following. 

Components of Keyword Research 

Here are the essential metrics of keyword research. 

Search Volume

Search volume is an important metric. It determines the number of times a word or phrase is typed on Google or other search engines. 

For example, the keyword ‘seo’ has a search volume of 91K as per the data from the Whatsmyserp Chrome plugin. 

Whatsmyserp keyword volume results 1

This is a high search volume, but it may not provide the user with the exact result that the user is looking for. 

If the user is looking for ‘seo course’, the search volume is 2900. That is, it is the average number of times this phrase gets typed on Google in a month. 

Whatsmyserp keyword volume results 2

Keyword Difficulty

This keyword metric determines the competition. That is, it tells that ranking your page with a difficult keyword will take longer to show up on search results. 

In general, this metric lies on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the harder it is to rank. 

Also, keyword difficulty is measured by many other factors apart from keywords. Some of them are 

  1. Content relevance 
  2. Content quality
  3. Number of backlinks 
  4. Domain authority of a website
  5. User’s search intent

Do note that some keyword research tools will show keyword difficulty as ‘Competition’ (Google Keyword Planner) and ‘SEO difficulty’ (Ubersuggest). 

Keyword Research Process

This process largely involves understanding your audience and the niche you want to rank for. It is time-consuming but highly rewarding. 

Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

All the keyword ideas you are going for should resonate with what the audience is looking for. 

To think like a customer, digital marketers create a buyer persona first. With it, they can narrow down the questions a potential customer has. 

By creating one, you are able to answer the most important questions before writing your blog posts. 

Here are some common questions. 

  1. Who searches for the product or service you offer?
  2. Where are your customers located?
  3. Is there any other factor like seasonality, year-end, etc when the audience searches for the product?
  4. How people are searching using specific search terms or keyword phrases?
  5. Why are they searching for a product or service and what motivates them?
  6. Are you able to offer your customers valuable content?

Create a List of Important Topics For Your Business

The topics should align with the nature of your business. They should be broad so that later on you can create content on the subtopics. 

Here again, the buyer persona plays an important role. You would want to provide valuable content so that your website visitor is able to find the exact solution to their query. 

For that, check the keyword volume of the broad topics you are going for first. 

For instance, you are focusing on the subject of digital marketing. It has a monthly search volume of 201K. Under this broad subject, you can later add social media marketing (33K search volume) and other related topics. 

Typically, digital marketers create around five to 10 broad topics.  

Discover & Identify Keywords Relevant to Each Broad Topic

After creating a list of broad topics, add more keywords that pertain to the subject you write on. It's like this - you should look for a high volume keyword, which will serve as a pillar content. Then you should look into clusters of keywords that have lesser volume but supports the pillar content. That is the only way to gain traction on high volume keywords, as it tells Google that you are an expert in the subject.  

Find the mid-tail and long-tail keywords under your broad topics, ie., pillar content and cluster topics. The idea for this keyword strategy is to come up with words and phrases your niche audience is more likely to type on the search engine. 

These keywords may not have a high search volume as your broad topic. But they will help in ranking your content faster, as the keyword difficulty is not that high comparatively. 

If you are not sure about your topic, use SEO tools like SEMrush, Ubersuggest, and similar

The 10 Best Free SEO Tools For Keyword Research
The 10 Best Free SEO Tools For Keyword Research
Empower your content strategy with these invaluable free SEO tools today and watch as your website's visibility soars! Transform your content marketing effortlessly and elevate your online presence. Try more
All Types of Keywords for SEO that You Should Know
All Types of Keywords for SEO that You Should Know
Unlocking the power of effective SEO starts with understanding the nuanced world of 'types of keywords'. From Short Tail Keywords that encompass broad searches to Long Tail Keywords offering specificity, more

Do take into account the search intent for any specific keyword you are choosing. If you are searching for keyword ideas, use the Google search engine to your advantage. Go to the Related Searches section, which has phrases that users type along with the main topic.  

Google's Related Searches for keyword ideas

These are among the best ways to create a list of keywords. 

Analyse Your Competition

Once you have a keyword list that you are going to use, see how your competitors are ranking on the first page of Google. 

It is ideal that you go through all the top 10 results on the search engine. 

This step gives you an idea of how you should tailor your content for your target audience with specific keywords. Check out the blog ideas you can leverage. 

Knowing your competitors lets you target keywords better. And there are other tools you can go for. 

One free keyword monitoring tool is Google Alerts. Just type in the keyword and get email alerts whenever a site mentions that keyword.

Google Alerts

Parting Thoughts

This is how you should go about keyword research. So when you prepare a list of keywords, consider a good balance of high volume and low volume ones. 

When your page ranks for a high volume keyword, you get tonnes of backlinks, which is an important element of off-page SEO. And it is easier said than done. But it takes time to show up on the first page of Google, as there are other factors such as domain authority and number of backlinks. 

On the other hand, low volume keywords can improve your Google ranking faster. So it's better that you have a mix of both.


What are the essential components of keyword research?

Keyword research involves crucial components such as understanding search volume and keyword difficulty. Search volume indicates the frequency of a word or phrase being searched on search engines, while keyword difficulty measures the competition level for ranking based on various factors like content relevance, quality, backlinks, and domain authority.

What is the keyword research process like?

The keyword research process begins by understanding the audience and niche. It involves steps like creating a buyer persona to anticipate user queries, generating a list of broad topics relevant to your business, discovering keywords under these topics (pillar and cluster content), and analyzing search intent using tools like SEMrush or Google Search.

How can I align keyword research with my audience's needs?

To align keyword research with audience needs, marketers need to think from the customer's perspective. Creating a buyer persona helps narrow down potential customer queries. Consider factors like who is searching for your product, their location, search motives, and the type of content that can add value to their queries.

How can I balance high volume and low volume keywords in my strategy?

Achieving a balance between high and low volume keywords is crucial. High volume keywords may take longer to rank but can attract substantial organic traffic. Low volume keywords, while having less traffic, can improve ranking faster. A mix of both ensures a diverse SEO strategy targeting different audience segments and improving overall visibility.

How do I analyze competition during keyword research?

Analyzing competition involves evaluating how competitors rank for chosen keywords. By examining the top 10 search results on Google, one can understand how to tailor content effectively for the target audience. Tools like Google Alerts can monitor mentions of specific keywords, aiding in understanding competitor strategies and content ideas.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio