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Driving Organic Traffic: The Essential Role of Keyword Research in SEO

How frequently do you scroll past the second page of Google's search results? Research indicates that over 90% of individuals never venture beyond the first page. This phenomenon underscores the significance of mastering the art of search engine optimization (SEO) for businesses and brands, as they strive to secure top rankings for their websites in search results.

The truth remains that, regardless of your efforts, if people are not searching for the content you provide, your website will not receive traffic from Google. This is where keyword research plays a pivotal role. Any effective SEO strategy must commence with a comprehensive understanding of keywords, as they form the foundation of any online marketing endeavor.

Are you aware of the key phrases your target customers use to identify businesses offering similar products or services? Do you possess the knowledge of words that may attract customers with commercial intent to your landing pages? These are crucial considerations to address prior to creating content. Without a clear understanding of your customers' language, optimizing your content, sales sites, social media posts, or other digital marketing initiatives becomes challenging. The implementation of a robust keyword research strategy helps expand your content's audience and drives organic traffic to your website. Conversely, poorly selected keywords can bury your website in search results. Moreover, if these keywords fail to align with customer intent, they can adversely impact your search engine ranking.

We have personally experienced this struggle, which prompted us to develop a beginner's guide that will aid you in this process. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of keyword research and its pivotal role in the success of your overall digital marketing plan.

Let us delve into the intricacies of conducting SEO keyword research, covering the following key aspects:

  1. What is Keyword Research?
  2. Why is keyword research important for SEO?
  3. How to Find Keyword Ideas?
  4. How to Analyze a Keyword?
  5. What are Some of the Best Keyword Research Tools?

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research involves the identification of popular search terms that users enter into search engines. This valuable information provides marketers with insights into the popularity of specific keywords, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding content selection.

Keyword research is considered a fundamental strategy in search engine optimization (SEO) as it focuses on analysing and prioritizing the most relevant terms for your content. Mastering the skill of keyword research is essential as it allows you to tailor your content to align with trending events and provides inspiration for future blog posts. Understanding what is currently popular and desired by your audience can greatly enhance engagement and drive traffic to your website.


Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?

Keyword research serves as the initial step in developing an effective SEO strategy, influencing various aspects such as email outreach, on-page SEO, and content promotion. By delving deep into searcher intent, keyword research helps you gain a thorough understanding of the goals and needs of your target audience, enabling you to align your efforts accordingly. After all, if your audience is not interested in the content you provide, all your efforts will be in vain. Prioritising customer interests and preferences is paramount.

Additionally, keyword research provides valuable insights into your current ranking, competitive positioning, and keyword difficulty. This information allows you to fine-tune your SEO approach and create content that revolves around high-performing keywords. Understanding which keywords to employ in order to improve your search engine rankings is essential.

The core idea behind keyword research is to boost organic traffic to your website. Therefore, possessing this knowledge is of utmost importance. It enables you to identify the type of content that will enhance your ranking, determine which terms to utilize, estimate the potential traffic generated by specific keywords, and much more.

How to Find Keyword Ideas?

Now that we have covered the basics of keywords, let's address a crucial aspect that almost everyone encounters: generating keyword ideas. Let's explore winning strategies that can help you generate effective keyword ideas, empowering you to plan and execute a robust keyword strategy that enhances the engagement and reach of your website.

  1. Brainstorming: Keeping your customers' buyer persona in mind, consider the type of content your target audience might be searching for. Brainstorm topics related to your business that would capture your customers' interest, and create content around those topics. Utilising seed keywords can also be beneficial for generating new ideas. Seed keywords are short-tail keywords with substantial monthly search volumes. Although these keywords usually face high competition, they serve as the foundation of the keyword research process, aiding in the identification of your main competitors and niche.
  2. Research Tools: Keyword and SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs can provide excellent keyword suggestions. These tools enable you to discover keywords that your competitors may not be targeting. Simply enter the seed keyword you want to explore, and the software will generate a comprehensive list of keyword suggestions. Another valuable tool is Google Trends, which provides insights into the overall trend of a particular keyword globally and in specific countries.

    The advantages of using keyword research tools are significant. They save you considerable time by generating numerous keyword ideas within seconds. Moreover, they provide crucial data such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) data, all of which assist in selecting the most effective keywords. Finally, since many of these terms may not be utilized by your competitors, you gain a competitive advantage by incorporating them into your strategy. This can increase engagement and drive visitors to your site.
  3. Related Searches: Exploring the "Related searches" section at the bottom of Google's search results can be an intriguing technique for developing keyword ideas. This section presents a variety of terms related to your search phrase, indicating that users have searched for those specific terms as well. Similar opportunities exist with Google and YouTube recommendations, as well as the automated recommendations and "People also ask" sections on search forms. These sources can provide valuable insights that you may want to consider.
  4. Competitors' Information: Conducting a comprehensive review of your competitors' rankings is a recommended approach for gaining an edge in keyword research. Understanding what your competitors are doing can provide valuable keyword ideas and insights on which keywords to include or exclude from your strategy. To conduct keyword research on your competitors, begin with a seed keyword related to your industry or niche. Analyze the websites ranking on the first page of Google for that seed keyword, and then use competitive intelligence tools like Owler or Crunchbase to obtain a snapshot of your competitors' key details and perform a brief analysis. You can also utilize tools like MOZ to assess the domain authority of your competitors' websites, which can help you gauge the level of difficulty in outranking them.

Once you have collected and analyzed the data, you will have valuable insights to enhance your keyword strategy.

How to Analyze a Keyword?

Now that you have compiled a list of keyword suggestions, the next step is crucial: analyzing the keywords to determine which one is the most preferable for your organization. In this section, we will explain how to successfully accomplish this task.


  1. Search Volume: The popularity of a keyword is measured by its search volume, which refers to the average number of times a keyword is searched per month. For example, the term "keyword" receives approximately 27,100 monthly searches in the United States alone. It's important to note that the number of searches is not the same as the number of individuals searching for a specific keyword.

    Keywords with high search volume may indicate that ranking high for those keywords will be incredibly challenging. If you are just starting, it may not be advisable to target keywords with high search volume. Instead, consider filtering for keywords with lower search volume as they can still drive traffic to your website. If your offerings are global, it's important to take into account the search volume and buying power of different countries, rather than limiting yourself to just one country.

    To determine the search volume of keywords, you can use keyword tools such as Google Trends and Keyworddit.
  2. Keyword Difficulty: The keyword difficulty score indicates how challenging it is to rank for a specific keyword. In other words, keywords with a higher difficulty level are more difficult to rank for.
    The keyword difficulty is determined using various parameters such as the quantity and quality of backlinks, relevancy, search intent, domain rating, and more. It's important to note that there isn't one single crucial factor, as it varies from person to person and from business to business. Backlinks may be important for some, while domain rating may be more essential for others.

    When assessing keyword difficulty, it is advisable to manually evaluate keywords rather than relying solely on keyword tools' difficulty scores. Each tool may provide a different difficulty level for a keyword. Moreover, since Google's algorithm is complex, it's not enough to rely solely on the difficulty score to determine whether a keyword is worth targeting. The difficulty score should be considered as a guideline rather than an absolute value. Other subjective factors such as your SEO skills, content quality, and relevancy are also important considerations.
  3. Search Intent: Search intent refers to the primary reason why a user searches for a specific term, describing the purpose of their online search. There are four types of search intent. Navigational intent indicates that the user is looking for a specific product or website. Informational intent suggests that the user is seeking general information about a service or brand. Commercial intent indicates that the user wants to conduct thorough research before making a purchase. Transactional intent refers to users who are ready to make a purchase or take a specific action.

    There may be instances where a keyword has high search volume and is relevant to your topic but does not align with the search intent. To address this issue, you can conduct a Google search for the keyword and analyze the results on the first search engine results page (SERP).

    The content you write should be suitable for the audience's search intent and the specific terms people are searching for.
  4. Cost Per Click: The cost per click (CPC) is the amount that marketers are willing to pay for each ad click from a keyword. In other words, it provides an indication of whether consumers are willing to spend money on a specific keyword. The CPC can serve as an effective proxy for the keyword's value.

    For example, if the CPC for the keyword "espresso machine" is $14, it indicates that people are actively looking to purchase an espresso machine. Choosing keywords with a high CPC can be beneficial even if they have a low search volume. Therefore, CPC is a more versatile metric compared to search volume alone.

Best Keyword Research Tools

While it is possible to find keywords without using tools, it can be time-consuming. Keyword research tools greatly simplify and expedite the entire process. The best SEO keyword research tools enhance and optimise your SEO process when used effectively. They help you identify the right keywords to target and provide the necessary information to rank for them. However, it's important to choose the tool that best suits your company's needs, as using the wrong tool can hinder your search efforts.

Here are some of the best keyword research tools that we personally use or have used at Cosmo Inc.

SEMrush: SEMrush is a powerful SEO tool and one of the best-paid keyword research tools available. One of its notable features is the ability to see the precise keywords that a website ranks for, rather than simply entering random keywords into a tool. This makes it ideal for competitor analysis. SEMrush also provides various keyword research features such as search volume, cost per click, and competitive keyword gap analysis.

SEMrush offers three pricing options:

  • Pro: Starting at $99.95 per month, this plan is ideal for newcomers and small in-house teams.
  • Guru: At $191.62 per month, this package is suitable for growing firms and marketing consultants.
  • Business: Starting at $374.95 per month, this plan is designed for large businesses and agencies.


Moz Keyword Explorer: It provides transparency in keyword research. While it may not have advanced features like SERP position history, it offers a user-friendly experience for those who prefer a simpler interface. One distinctive feature of Moz is the organic clickthrough rate (CTR), which shows the expected number of clicks on the first page of Google. Additionally, it provides a priority score that indicates the relevance of a keyword based on factors like search volume, keyword difficulty, and organic CTR.


Moz offers four pricing options:

  • Standard: This plan costs $99 per month and is suitable for SEO beginners or those who only require basic tools to get started.
  • Medium: Priced at $179 per month, this package provides access to keyword research tools with some limitations.
  • Large: Designed for medium to large organisations, this plan costs $249 per month.
  • Premium: Perfect for SEO agencies and in-house marketing teams, the pricing for this subscription is available upon request.


QuestionDB: It is a tool that identifies the most frequently asked questions on a given topic. By entering a term into the tool, you can access a list of similar queries that people have asked on platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Stack Exchange. This tool is highly efficient and valuable because it helps you understand the questions to address in order to enhance your blog's reach and engagement. Sorting the questions by popularity allows you to see what others are discussing and helps you come up with relevant topics to explore.


QuestionDB offers two pricing options:

  • Free: This plan provides up to 50 results per search, offering a general idea of what readers are interested in.
  • Pro: Priced at $10, this package offers unlimited searches and API access, making it ideal for ongoing content creation.


Ahrefs: It provides detailed information on each keyword and includes a comprehensive keyword report with an analysis of the competition on the first page of search results. While many tools only indicate the difficulty level of a keyword, Ahrefs precisely estimates the number of backlinks required to rank high on the first page of Google. It serves as both a link-building and keyword evaluation tool.


Ahrefs offers four pricing options: Lite, Standard, Advanced, and Agency. The Lite plan starts at $99 per month, while the Agency package is priced at $999 per month.


Although keyword research may be laborious and time-consuming, it pays off in the long term. By understanding what your target audience is searching for and how frequently, you can develop a comprehensive and effective keyword strategy. Utilizing the best keyword tools and techniques for your business will help you stay ahead of the competition.

It's important to periodically review your keywords, with a recommended frequency of once every three months. However, some companies prefer to review them even more frequently. By utilising the appropriate keyword research tools and strategies for your company, monitoring your success, and adjusting your plan as needed, you can effectively align with the search intent of your target market.

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