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Best practices for keyword search for SEO, a step-by-step guide for keyword research

Let’s start from the basics: what is keyword research?

“Keyword research it’s the research of a word that matches the research of our target users”. For example, if I search for the best pastry shop in Italy on Google, I will have different results, each of these sites that will appear uses keywords that are related to my research.

Two types of keywords

We have two types of keywords: long tail and short tail. Short-tail keywords are for example the word “SEO”, long-tail keywords contain more than one word and can be for example the phrase “best sites for SEO”. We have two keyword characteristics to consider: search volume, so how much the keyword is searched for each month, and the competition, so how many sites use that same keyword you want to use. We usually have pros and cons for these two types of keywords. -Short-tail keywords have high search volume as their pro but have high competition as con. -Long-tail keywords have low competition as their pro but low search volume as con. For those who have a new site, it is more challenging to have a high ranking because their sites have little authority. Authority is gained over time, with the constant creation of high-quality content, is gained also following SEO procedures and getting backlinks. So when you have little authority it is better to use long-tail keywords, because since there is less competition we have more chances of appearing in the first results, and from there we will gradually develop authority and then we will start using more competitive keywords.

How to do keyword research with free tools

We have different types of free tools that allow us to do our keyword research and they are: Google Keywords Planner; Ahrefs; Ubersuggest;

Google Keywords Planner:

In order to use it, you must have a Google Ads account. In Google Ads, you have to click on “Tools and settings” and then on “Keyword Planner”. Then you have to click on “Get search volume and forecasts” Then it will open a text box, where we will write the keywords we are interested in, and then we have to click on “GET STARTED” (for example we can search the word “seo”) Now we are able to see some values. We need to look at “Avg. monthly searches” and “Competition”. If we can find keywords with at least 100-1,000 searches per month and low competition, we can start considering using them.


Let’s search on Google “AhrefsFree Keyword Generator”. On the search bar, we will insert our keywords and then click on “Find keywords”. Then we are able to see the value “KD” which stands for Keyword Difficulty. It’s like the competition value in Google Keywords Planner, but instead of saying if the competition is high or low, it gives you precise numbers (from 1 to 100) and the color gives you an idea of the difficulty: It’s high if it’s red, it’s intermediate if it’s yellow and it’s low if it’s green. We can also see next to it the “Volume” value which is the search volume.


On the Ubersuggest site, we can write our keywords on the search bar and then click on “SEARCH” (Ubersuggest only gives you three searches a day for free). Then we can see the “SEARCH VOLUME” value and the “SEO DIFFICULTY” value (the difficulty value goes from 1 to 100 like Ahrefs).

Where to find keywords ideas

We can also use something that isn’t meant for keyword research but can be very helpful to find useful keyword ideas. For example Wikipedia but we can also use Reddit, Quora, forums, Fb groups. After searching for the keywords that interest us, we must select them based on the two values of competition/difficulty and the search volume. We only have to keep those ones that have low competition and a good amount of search volume.

How to analyze our competitors

We need to analyze the competitors to have more elements to decide whether or not it is convenient to use a certain keyword. So let’s choose 10 keywords that have had good results and that we want to use. Let’s search for these keywords on Google one at a time. Download Moz bar extension which is free and will allow us to see the authority of each competitor. If we find on the first page of search results competitors with low authority so less than 50, we have some chance of ranking.

What is the keyword search intent?

A fundamental thing to understand about keywords is the search intent or we can explain it with this question: people who are searching for a specific keyword what are they looking for? We have different types of search intent:


When someone already knows what they are looking for, like a particular brand.


When someone has a question and is looking for an answer.


When someone is about to buy something but isn’t sure yet, they need to know more about the product.  


When someone is looking for something he wants to buy. So it’s important to know the type of search intent of the keyword you want to use, for example, if we use an informative keyword but our goal is to sell a product, it’s not the best choice. Always remember to use consistency in your choice of keywords with your goals.

How to avoid the keyword cannibalization

The keyword cannibalization it’s when different pages of your site use the same keyword. But how to avoid this? First of all, it is allowed to use the same keywords if they have different search intent. If you have multiple pages with the same primary keyword and with the same search intent you need to use the canonical tag to indicate to google the page you want to rank instead of the others. (the canonical tag is a snippet code inserted in the head of the page, to let Google know which version of the page is the main one and that should be indexed. It is generally used if you have multiple pages that are the same or similar to each other. It is good practice to place this tag on all versions of the page, and to always indicate the link to the main one). Not sure if you have chosen the same keywords for different pages? No problem just write on google the site url and the primary keyword, and if more than one page comes out then the phenomenon of keyword cannibalization is taking place.


In recent years the market has become increasingly crowded and it has become more difficult to rank. In general, it takes about 1 or 2 years to be able to reach the first page of the search.   It’s very important to do a correct keyword research and competitor analysis but never forget that Google consider also the value we are giving to our target users with our content. We need to create valuable content and also use SEO strategies to be able to have results. At the start, it can be hard, but with time it will become easier and easier to do all these steps, you’ll do them naturally so don’t worry. Remember also to persevere and never give up because your efforts will pay off. #seo #digitalmarketing #keywordresearch

Hey guys! I'm Florinda Arnese, the founder of Web Marketing Edu, and a digital marketing blogger. I'm here to help you take your digital marketing skills to the next level. I'll teach you step by step the best tactics, secrets and strategies to grow your online business You will learn about SEO, SEM, social media, DEM, copywriting, blogging, website creation and much more! 

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