Simple keyword research guide for blog and website owners

This post you are reading won't just appear randomly on your search engine.

This is because when people search for things on Google, for example, they do so with specific intents.

As a blogger who crave success, it is not enough to publish contents, you need to target the intents of your audience in your blog posts, so that when they search for certain things online, Google will remember to index your page.

This idea of preempting the intentions of your audience is basically what keyword research is about.

In this article, you will learn how to find and select the best keywords for your website to increase your chances of ranking high in search engines.

keyword research sample image

What are keywords? 

Keywords are words or phrases that a searcher enters into search engines. Keywords are also called search terms or queries.

So, if I open up Google and type, "best football club in Europe." 

This entire sentence is a keyword.

The keywords in web content and your website makes it possible for people to find your site via search engines.

Assume you blog about books. If you think your website is relevant when someone searches "cheap books in Nigeria" then "cheap books in Nigeria" is your keyword.

Developing a list of keywords is one of the first and most important steps in a SEO initiative. Keywords are the foundation for all your SEO efforts.

Types of keywords

Basically, there are 3 types of keywords:
  • Generic keywords
  • Branded keywords
  • Long tail keywords

Generic Keywords:

Generic keywords are very BROAD, uncategorized and "generic". 

For example, if you search for 'books' on Google, Google will display several things that relates to books on its results page. This list will include: an online bookstore like Amazon, book review sites like goodreads, Wikipedia will definitely be there (being an online encyclopedia), and the list goes on and on.

Google won't settle for one related aspect to display, because your search query is too broad and not streamlined to a particular aspect.

Keywords like this are very competitive. If your site ranks for a generic keyword, it will receive a lot of traffic but LOW conversion. By conversion, I mean people who actually visit your website and make a purchase.

Generally, if you are starting a new website, you would want to stay away from generic keywords because big companies are already competing for them.

Branded keywords:

Branded keyword is specific to a brand. For example, if someone searches for Nike shoes, the person is asking Google to just show them Nike shoes. They are not interested in Puma or any other brand.
Keywords like this are relevant for enterprise level business who already have the kind of strong name recognition that influences searches.

Long tail keywords:

Long tail keywords are long and more specific. For example, "non-fiction books by Wole Soyinka", "Travellers' bags under 5000 naira" and so on.

According to research, 70% of searches conducted online use long tail keywords. These keywords have a greater conversion rate, which means they are more likely to result in a sale because they give consumers exactly what they are looking for.

As a new site or business, these are the keywords you need to target.

How to research and select best keywords for your blog

What exactly are your keywords?

You probably don't have an answer. Or maybe you can offer a few guesses.

Not having a ready-made answer to this question means that you are not making a conscious effort to give your website the visibility it needs on Google and other search engines.

To know your keywords is to know your audience. And to know your audience is the first step to luring them to visit your website.

Tips for building list of keywords for your blog

Below are tips to help you build your list of keywords for your blog or website.

  • Go for keywords that align with your true audience's search intents: If you are someone your site would like to reach, what keywords are you likely to enter into a search engine? You need to understand the search intent of your audience. There is a big difference between what a buyer will type into Google and what a researcher will type into Google.

    For example, if you have a website that sells beaded handbags and you rank #1 for "leather bag designs", then the kind of audience your website will attract are those looking for leather bag designs. These people won't enter their credit card details to purchase anything from your website, even if you get thousands of them. The only way you'll earn is probably through Google AdSense, which amounts to nothing compared to real purchases, no matter how little. It's just an unfortunate case of wrong audience

  • Look at competing sites for the types of words they are using: Successful blogs are successful for a reason, so if a website ranks number 1 on Google for the keyword you want, you will be wise to take a look at what they are doing and follow in their footsteps. All you need to do is to enter your competitor's URL in a keyword research tool to see which keywords they are using. We'll elaborate more on this later.

  • Use keywords research tools: For obvious reasons, you can't do a proper keyword research without using research tools. Tools like Ahref, Ubersuggest, keyword finder and Spyfu provides valuable insight into your competition and make your keyword research journey a less stressful one.

  • Take note of traffic and competition: When you are doing your research, you need to look out for two main things: the traffic and the competition.

    Traffic is the amount of people searching that keyword in a month.

    Competition means how hard it will be for a new website to rank on the first page of Google or any other search engine. 

    When you are starting out you generally want to keep the competition as low as possible.

    A perfect keyword for starters would be getting about 250-1000 searches per month and have a low competition.

    When your website ranks for these keywords, you will see a steady flow of visitors. After few months you can make a new list of keywords and now target keywords that have 10,000 searches per month and have mid-level competition. Once you rank for those you will see huge traffic coming to your site.

    If your site is brand new and you are targeting keywords with 100,000 searches per month and with a high competition level, you will never be able to rank your website for that particular keyword and it won’t be a great experience.

Now, let's talk about profitability in relation to keyword research and selection.

What is CPC?

CPC stands for Cost Per Click. It is a measure of the profitability of a keyword. It is how much a Search Engine charges advertisers each time a visitor clicks on an ad. 

The cost per click for a search engine is different for each keyword, depending on the popularity of the keyword, as well as the popularity of the search engine. So, what Google will charge an advertiser for the keyword "Books by African authors" will be different from what will be charged for the keyword "Buy T-shirts online".

The general price range for advertiser’s CPC budgets is $0.01 to $0.50 per click.

For better understanding, consider these keywords: "Buy flute online" and "Learn how to play flute"

For "buy flute online", the person making that search has the intention to purchase a flute online. 

Now, let's say I have a company and we manufacture flutes. If I am not ranking on the first result page when someone searches for "buy flutes online", I'd pay Google to show my website as an ad. Google would charge me $0.01 - $0.50 each time someone makes a click on my ad. 

If 100 people clicked on my ad and google charges $0.50 per click, the total would be $50. What that means is that I now have 100 potential buyers on my site. 

Let's say the cheapest piano on my site is $120. If only 1% of the people from these ads buy the piano, I have made profit. For this reason, this keyword will have a higher CPC because more and more people will ask Google to place their ads because the ROI (Return on investment) is good.

If you organically rank for such keywords, you will get more free, long-term and profitable traffic.

On the other hand, for a keyword such as "Learn how to play flute", the result page will have links to blogs, or YouTube videos. 

People ideally don't do ad campaigns for their blogs and YouTube tutorials or any other free material, because the main income source for them are ads and they cannot make much revenue from ads to cover up the ad campaigns costs. As a result, such keywords will have a low CPC.

Best free tools for keywords research

The recommend free tools for keywords research are:

1. Keywords everywhere:

In order to use this tool, you must have Google chrome installed on your computer.

Follow the steps below to install and use "Keywords everywhere" on your computer

  • Go to your chrome search bar and search the words "keywords everywhere chrome extension"
  • Click on the first link which is from

Google search results page for "keywords everywhere"

  • Click on "Add to chrome"

"Keywords everywhere" plugin page showing how to install the plugin

  • Click on "Get API key"

A "Keywords everywhere" page showing how to get API key

  • Enter your email address to receive an email that contains the link to your API key

A "keywords everywhere" post-installation page showing where to enter email to get the API key

  • Copy the API key, then go to your browser and click on the "Keywords everywhere" icon (K) beside the chrome search box (labelled 1) in the image below. If you can't find the icon, click on the "Extensions" icon and select "Keywords everywhere"
  • After that click on settings as indicated in
  • Go to 3 to paste your API key, select the country of your choice or select "Global" for a more generalized result. Also, select everything that needs to be selected, depending on your taste.

"Keywords everywhere" settings page showing where to enter API key

That's all.

Now, let's see how it works.

On my chrome browser, I entered the words "SEO for beginners" and I got the result below. Note how Chrome displays the SEO difficulty and related long tail keywords on the right-hand side, and the keyword volume for each search result on the left-hand side.

Google SERP showing installed "keywords everywhere" plugin

This tool is mainly concerned about the traffic and competition/difficulty. It helps you decide which keyword to go for or ignore (based on your website authority and your chances to compete).

2. Keyword surfer:

Another free keyword research tool is "Keyword surfer". The installation process is pretty much the same as that of "Keywords everywhere", so I won't bore you with needless images and explanation.

You can install both Keyword surfer and Keywords everywhere on your Chrome browser for more keyword info. 

The only limitation in using Keywords everywhere and Keyword surfer is that they are both extensions. You can only use them on PC.

3. Answer the Public:

This is one of the wonderful keyword research tools Neil Patel came up with. If you ever feel short of what to write about or what keywords to target, then you need to visit Answer the public to get lots of interesting keyword ideas. 

All you need to do is to enter the primary keyword your website already ranks for or wants to rank for, and you're good to go.

This tool is very simple to use, so there's really no need doing a step-by-step guide on how to use it. Thanks to Neil Patel.

Although the tool is free, you can also get more advantage by upgrading to Pro.

Answer the public website image showing the homepage

4. Uber Suggest:

Here is another wonderful tool by Neil Patel, the fine man in above image.

While "Answer the Public" gives you keyword ideas, Ubersuggest gives you practically everything you need to come up with a perfect keyword list. 

This tool also helps to track your rank on Google, audit your site, research and analyse keywords, and so on. See below.

Just like "Answer the Public" you can also choose to upgrade to a paid plan to get maximum benefits. And guess what! It also has chrome extension.

Ubersuggest website showing the dashboard

Ubersuggest dashboard showing keyword research

5. Spyfu:

SpyFu has a lot of features for you to dig into. It is one of the tools I use to monitor competition and my rank activities. It also offers free and paid features.

Spyfu dashboard showing services offered


In conclusion, this simple guide would help kickstart your keyword strategy. However, your work doesn't end here. 

Finding the best keywords is only part of the battle for authority. Successful pages also need to create value for readers, have strong SEO fundamentals, and be well written. 

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