Starting out to optimise your company website and business presence online in a bid to gain more exposure and ultimately more sales, there are a few things you need to know:

  • What kind of business is it
  • What does your business do, create or sell
  • Who are your customers or target audience
  • Who are your business competitors

Much of this, if you don’t already know it, comes from talking to the people in the business, getting to know the people, the products and the culture of the organisation, as well as speaking to and putting yourself into the shoes of the ideal customer.

The knowledge and insight gained from the all feeds into one of the key building blocks of the rest of the SEO journey: keyword analysis.

And ultimately getting the keyword analysis right up front before any other online work is done, is fundamental to the success or failure of any search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign.

By discovering the right keywords and phrases, and using these to optimise the website, you can improve the website visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic to your site.

Let’s look at a step-by-step guide on how to do keyword research for SEO.

Understand The Business

Depending on the type of business, keywords can vary wildly – for example, a customer with a radiator leak looking for an emergency plumber doesn’t search online for “radiator pipes”, they search for “emergency plumber”, whereas a customer for a plumbers merchant may well be looking for specific names plumbing supplies such as “radiator pipes for sale”.  And hence just knowing what kind of business it is can be critically important to bringing the correct type of customer to you.  Is it a shop with a storefront? Or an online marketplace? Or perhaps it’s a service industry with no fixed office but engineers based across the country.  Also knowing if the customers would visit the premises, whether it’s an online store or the business goes to the customer is great to know, as well as the town, county, country or countries in which the business operates, since this can help determine whether local, national or international SEO work will be required and we can start to get a scale of the work involved from this.

Understand The Products or Services

We need to get into quite some detail on what the actual customer is potentially buying.  Whether it be products or services.  We need to understand all the types of products or services that the business offer, what are their top sellers (and therefore the ones most likely to be searched for), as well as what it is they would like to sell more of.  Often the thing they want to sell may not be the thing searched for the most, and equally, there can often be opportunities in lesser used keywords for products as there may still be demand but fewer companies competing for these keywords online, so this may give you a competitive edge in an area that nobody else has seen.

Understand Your Target Audience

Next is to understand your target audience. Who are your customers? What are their interests, preferences, and pain points? What words and phrases do they use to describe your products or services? By answering these questions, you can create a list of seed keywords, which are the basic terms that we you want to optimise for.  This is our starting point in building a thorough keyword list for a business.

Brainstorm Seed Keywords

To generate a list of seed keywords, you can use various tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush, SERanking, Ahrefs, and Moz Keyword Explorer. I tend to use Google AdWords Keyword Planner, as that’s the search engine I most want to optimise for and their tool is free it seems the obvious choice!

Start with a broad term that relates to your business, for example for my business I started with terms such as “SEO”, “SEO agency”, “SEO company”, “website SEO” and “SEO northants” Then, use the Keyword Research Tools and use the option to Discover New Keywords to find related terms that people search for.

Analyse Keyword Metrics

After generating a list of seed keywords, you need to analyse the keyword metrics to determine which keywords are worth targeting. The metrics that you should consider include search volume, competition, and relevance. Search volume refers to the average number of searches that a keyword receives per month. Competition refers to the number of websites that are targeting the same keyword. Relevance refers to how closely the keyword matches your business or product.

In this example, Google shows me that SEO has the most searches, but perhaps that’s too generic, so I’d prefer one of the other terms as my primary keyword. SEO Agency and SEO Company have higher search volumes, and SEO Company seems to be on the increase and also has lower competition (shown by the Competition Indexed Value), so I choose this as my primary keyword to optimise for.  “SEO Northants” isn’t heavily searched for even though this is the area where I’m based, perhaps I chose the wrong keyword, or perhaps targeting my SEO services locally is a mistake and I should look more nationally – so I discard this one,  but I’m not discarding the other words by any means, as they are all heavily searched terms, these are referred to as Head Terms and I will be using all of these in fact, but I will focus mostly on “SEO Company”.

Keyword Currency Avg. monthly searches Three month change YoY change Competition Competition (indexed value)
seo GBP 40500 0% 0% Low 19
seo agency GBP 6600 23% 50% Low 31
seo company GBP 6600 83% 83% Low 22
website seo GBP 5400 50% 125% Low 9
seo northants GBP 10 0% 0% High 71

I would recommend using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool many times with different variants of the seed keywords, as it will gradually refine the core list, help you to exclude nonsense keywords, and you will end up with not only a good set of seed keywords but likely a lot of long-tail keywords too.

Keywords to target Products and Services

Again depending on the type of business, there may be keywords that target your specific products and services.  In the case of an SEO company, there are some key services that they will usually provide such as “keyword research”, “SEO analysis”, “technical SEO audit”, “link building services” and perhaps some specific “local SEO services”

Keyword Currency Avg. monthly searches Three month change YoY change Competition Competition (indexed value)
keyword research GBP 3600 23% 50% Low 27
seo analysis GBP 2900 50% 50% Low 18
technical seo audit GBP 390 50% 50% Low 8
link building services GBP 480 -18% -56% Low 27
local seo services GBP 1300 -70% -63% Low 8

Reviewing the search volume, and competition during this exercise can often throw out a few keywords that can help define additional products and services that your company could and perhaps should provide, for example in this instance there is clearly a demand for free website audits, and also potential opportunities to supply free keyword research tools online to bring more customers into the business, both keyword and business opportunities that may not have been previously considered.

Keyword Currency Avg. monthly searches Three month change YoY change Competition Competition (indexed value)
keyword planner GBP 12100 22% 22% Low 23
web site analysis GBP 8100 22% 83% Low 10
keyword tool GBP 5400 23% 84% Low 16
free keyword research tool GBP 3600 23% 86% Low 15
keyword research tool GBP 2900 24% 50% Low 13
seo competitive analysis GBP 2400 24% 177% Low 2
website competitor analysis GBP 2400 24% 125% Low 4

Look for Lower Volume Keywords that you can SEO Rank For Easily

If the company has been in business for some time, then they may actually have some Google and Bing ranking already, but perhaps not on page 1.

These may be unloved keywords that get some search volume, though not as much as the head terms, but typically have less competition fighting over them, and as a result, can be easier to rank for.

Using another free tool, Google Search Console, on the Performace page we can see keywords that the site already ranks for, the position and the search volume.  In this example “SEO Thrapston” seems a potentially good keyword to target, as we are currently ranking in position 22 (around the top of page 3 on Google), but being a small town there is potential there are few other companies targeting this phrase, so doing some pages, blogs and content to SEO the site for this phrase could gain us some low hanging fruit.

SEO low hanging fruit keywords by Wiser IT SEO Thrapston

Use Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific phrases that people use to search for information. They typically have a lower search volume but are less competitive. By targeting long-tail keywords, you can attract highly targeted traffic to your site. For example, instead of targeting the keyword “SEO,” you could target “best SEO marketing companies”, which has a lower search volume but also much lower competition.

Keyword Currency Avg. monthly searches Three month change YoY change Competition Competition (indexed value)
seo GBP 40500 0% 0% Low 19
best seo marketing companies GBP 210 -18% 0% Low 11

Analyse Competitor Keywords

Analysing your competitors’ keywords can provide you with valuable insights into what keywords are driving traffic to their sites. You can use paid tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs, or free tools such as spyfu to identify the top keywords that your competitors are ranking for. With free tools, or free startup accounts on paid tools you usually only get visibility of limited amounts of data, but it can still really help you to see the top keywords they are gaining organic clicks from.

There is nothing to say that your competitors are necessarily targeting the correct keywords, but it’s good to know what they are doing anyway, whether it’s good or bad, so you know whether they are a threat that you need to target, or not.  By targeting any relevant keywords that they are ranking for too, you can also improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs against them.

Refine Your Keyword List

After analysing the keyword metrics and competitor keywords, you need to refine your keyword list. Remove any irrelevant or low-volume keywords and focus on the ones that have the highest search volume, relevance, and low competition. Make sure that your keywords are specific and relevant to your business, products or services.

Group Keywords by Topic

Group your keywords by topic and create separate pages on your website for each topic that is relevant to your business.  You can also create blogs around each one as its subject and link from these to the relevant pages using internal links.

Doing this will help search engines understand the structure of your site and improve your chances of ranking higher in SERPs. For example, if you have a fitness website, you can create separate pages for “home workouts,” “fitness equipment,” and “healthy recipes.”

As well as this it’s good practice to gain external links into both these new pages and the blogs that link to them as it helps to build your dominance within Google and Bing as an authority on the subject as well as your overall website domain authority.  To read more about this SEO technique see our blog on link building.


If you are looking for an SEO consultant to help your business, advise or give hands-on help in building the keyword lists for your website, analyse your competition and advise on your website structure as well as a content plan to build your web dominance through SEO, call Wiser IT today on 07941 783434 or fill in the contact form