Keywords research in 6 steps

Puck, 28 September 2022

Keyword research is of great importance. It is important for optimizing the user experience of your website. And of course it is crucial for making your website visible and for executing a good campaign and strategy. But what is the best way to do keyword research and how do you proceed? We will explain this to you.   

Why do keyword research?  

Let’s start with the basics. Why is it important to do keyword research? Almost every marketer knows that it’s important to know what a customer is looking for and where. What’s unfortunate about this is that many companies use keyword research only for SEA and SEO (search engine advertising and search engine optimization). This is a missed opportunity, as keyword research is not only important for marketing purposes.   

A company’s entire operation and philosophy can benefit from good keyword research. Think about your website’s positioning, page layout and even business strategy. If you know what your customer is looking for and wants from a company, you can respond accordingly. Think of it as market research focused on keywords, search terms and search behavior. 

How do you do keyword research?  

In any keyword research, you go through a number of steps. Depending on the purpose for which you are doing keyword research, these steps will be completed. For example, if you are doing keyword research for online marketing campaigns, you will want to gather additional information from your customer. For example, specific needs expressed in product terms. While for the sharpening of your business strategy you do not have to go into so much depth.   

Step 1: Set goals  

First, determine the purpose of the keyword research. Are you looking for new keywords for marketing campaigns? Do you want to know which topics might be interesting to write about within your industry? Or do you want to do it on a larger scale and look for the strong demands of potential customers to sharpen your strategy and/or website?  

The process starts with this mapping of your goals and having a clear idea of what is behind it. After all, the solution to the query may not be solvable through keyword research. Carefully examine the cause of the goal or problem. Perhaps the solution can be found internally rather than externally.  

 Step 2: Brainstorming.  

Whether you work with a team or on your own, first make a list of possible search terms. Think of words or phrases that are relevant to your products, company, article, etc.   

This is a good way to get started. It is also interesting to look back at what you wrote down during the brainstorming session later in the process. You may have estimated the keywords differently, and can now take active steps in optimizing the processes using really working keywords. It’s a nice reminder that you may be looking at the products or services differently than your client.  

Step 3: Competitor analysis  

After compiling your initial list, take a look at the competitors. This, of course, depends on the purpose of the research. This could be a company with the same products, a company with a similar philosophy or a blog article on the topic you want to write about. Look at the topics and at the language used. Now complete the list with the most interesting keywords.  

Extra tip: It is also interesting to look at your competitor’s menu layout. The most important terms are often already listed there.  

Step 4: Related searches & suggestions  

Now that you already have a better idea of possible search queries, words and terms, let’s dive into the search engine. Enter a keyword or term into Google and scroll to the end of the page. There you’ll find a list of related search terms. You can also have search engines suggest searches by typing in a word and see what is indicated as suggestions.   

Extra tip: Look especially on the platforms that are of interest to you. Consider forums or social media platforms as well. For example, the YouTube platform is an excellent tool to see what your potential visitor/customer is researching or asking.   

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Step 5: Which keywords are already ranking well?  

To make sure you don’t cannibalize keywords on which your website already ranks well, or which are already benefiting you, it’s important to take a moment to consider what’s already doing well. There are a number of ways you can use to find out which keywords you are ranking well for now.   


Use the list you’ve compiled so far and enter it into Google, for example. Then see what spot you rank in this search engine. This will give you a rough idea of your position in Google and which keywords are already working. However, do not stare blindly at these positions and your keyword quality. A ranking in Google is not only determined by keywords. Factors such as advertisements and the level of competition in keywords also play a role.  


A better way to find out on which keywords you rank well is by using tools. Nowadays, there is an abundance of tools for analyzing keywords and positions within search engines. It is especially important that you look at which tools suit your company.   

For example, we like to use the following tools from Google: Google Analytics and Google Keyword Planner. These tools provide direct insight into your website’s data. This allows you to see in real-time which keywords you are currently ranking well for. Not only that, these tools also make it possible to gain insight into search patterns and specific characteristics of your target audience. One small note: to make full use of these tools, your site must be linked to Google Analytics.  

Is your site not linked to Analytics? Then you can still get insight into your keywords statistics with these tools. To do so, you can use Google Search Console or go to Google Trends. Or create an account with Google Ads and use the Google Keyword planner “finding new keywords.” In Google Search Console and Google Keyword planner, you get the option to enter the URL of your site and Google rolls out a report with keywords you are being found on.    

Step 6: Work out your research  

If you have gone through all the steps so far, you now have a nice list of keywords. It is important to work these out in a file where you distinguish between long-tail and short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords – or search terms – are specific search terms consisting of several words or a phrase. They often generate less traffic but can provide specific results. Short-tail keywords are search terms consisting of one or two words and are often high in competition.   

It is wise to take note of these while working out the research. In fact, you may have discovered that your customers are searching for long-tail keywords that are relevant to your business. You can take advantage of this because there is often low competition for these words and you will be found faster.   

Extra tip: Try to work with categories in an organized way. There are many programs for doing keyword research. We ourselves regularly use Excel for processing results. There we categorize keywords by properties and modifiers, for instance. Example: You sell office chairs. Examples of keywords would then be office chair or desk chair. Properties are words that affect the keyword, for example: Blue, ergonomic or backless. And modifiers are properties that affect the search term, for example: Free, pick up or a company name. Try to come up with a logical format for your research. 

Bonus tips  

Marketing Campaigns  

Chances are you’ll be using (Google) Ads as soon as you set up a marketing campaign. To do keyword research for an Ads campaign, you go through roughly the same steps. There are some points of interest, though, so here’s a tip:  

Make use of negative keywords  

Not all keywords you come across will contribute to achieving your goals. In fact, there is a very good chance that you will find words you absolutely do not want to be found on. For example, if you want to set up a marketing campaign for office chairs and you find the word “Free” in many searched keywords, it may not fit your research. So write these kinds of words down as negative keywords. After all, you can use these in Google Ads to exclude from your campaign so that you are not found on these words.  

Website layout and articles  

Both when creating a layout for your website and writing articles, researching keywords is important. Therefore a tip:  

Make use of synonyms  

In your list of keywords, you must have found synonyms of words you wrote down. Are you working on articles or the layout of your website and have you seen that people do search for synonyms? If so, take advantage of that. There are many options for adding synonyms of keywords to your blogs or website.   

In short  

Doing keyword research is the foundation of many projects. Keep the research structured and comprehensive.   

Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better idea of how to proceed in setting up and conducting a keyword research. 

Puck Lamée

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