How to do keyword research in 2022: the ultimate guide

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Keyword research is the process of finding words and phrases that people use in search engines when looking for content. It’s an essential part of SEO (search engine optimisation) and a crucial step in any SEO strategy.

However, keyword research is no longer as simple as finding a list of keywords that people type into Google.

In this guide, we’ll explain exactly how to do keyword research in 2022, as part of your digital marketing strategy, with tips on:

  • Understanding the audience search intent.
  • What factors to consider when selecting and researching keywords.
  • How to use your keyword research for SEO.

Keyword research should be a cornerstone of any content marketing strategy. In order to perform keyword research, you must first understand what keywords are and why they’re important.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keywords are the words or phrases people type into a search engine to find information on a particular subject. For instance, if you were looking to book a holiday, you might type ‘cheap flights to’ followed by the destination. The search engine would then show you results that match those keywords from various websites, including travel sites, such as Skyscanner.

Without keywords, search engines would have no idea what information was relevant to your query and therefore wouldn’t be able to return accurate results for your searches.

A few years ago, keyword research was simple. You’d find the most commonly searched words around your topic and then write a piece of content that included those terms in an attempt to rank for them.

The problem with this strategy is that it’s short-sighted. It doesn’t take into account how search engines have changed or how users respond to content that’s easily found online.

Thankfully, there are better ways to do keyword research in 2022 and beyond.

Choosing Keyword Research Tools

Nowadays, there is an abundance of keyword tools available to choose from. Whether you are seeking a paid-for tool or a free one, there are many options available that can help with your keyword research. Keep in mind some tools will be geared towards specific Marketing activities. For example, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner is designed for those running Google Ads campaigns, whereas Moz’s keyword explorer is more general.

Each tool has its own unique features so it’s worth trying a few to see which one works best for you and your needs.

Understanding Audience Search Intent

The first step in keyword research is understanding your audience’s search intent. The best way to do this is to research their pain points. What problems do they need solving? What information are they looking for?

When someone searches for something online, they have a reason for doing so – whether it’s looking for information, shopping for a product, service or looking for entertainment. Marketers need to understand the intention behind a keyword phrase before targeting it in content. This also means understanding which keywords are most relevant to your audience and how they use them to find the information they’re looking for.

There are different types of user intent that marketers should be aware of:

  • Informational intent. These searchers are looking for information on a topic and aren’t necessarily looking to make a purchase.
  • Transactional searches are people who are ready to buy.
  • Navigational searches might be someone looking for a specific website.
  • When a user is looking to make an online purchase at the time or in the near future, they will use ‘high intent’ keywords which are based on buying, deals, shipping etc.

Today, keyword choice should never be just a guess. Strategy is involved. Many businesses are still using keyword tools as they were used ten years ago, so they often miss out on opportunities to improve their rankings and drive more traffic to their sites.

Considerations for Keyword Research

Once you’ve figured out what your audience wants, you should use that language when thinking about keywords. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and imagine how you would search for a solution to their problem, if you were them.

Next, think about topics that are important to your audience. Put those topics into an excel sheet and brainstorm the different types of keywords that could be used to find information about them (eg: “how to X” or “what is X”).

If your business is located in a specific area, it’s important for local SEO purposes that you include this location in all of your page titles and descriptions. This helps when people search for businesses within their own community which might be different from where they currently live or work. You don’t just want any traffic – make sure it’s relevant!

Your competition can actually be one of the greatest sources of information when it comes to keyword focuses for your site. Analysing their keyword usage is one of the easiest – yet most undervalued—ways to perform research.

Create content around topics instead of keywords – People don’t always search using exact phrases; they may use related terms or concepts. It’s important not only to optimise content at specific points throughout your website (such as title tags) but also to create content around topics.

One of the most important advanced tips on keyword research in 2022 is to choose low-competition keywords. These are keywords that are so common that everyone is using them and this will do you no good. Choose keywords with lower competition – about 1,000 searches per month. You’ll then have a better chance of getting ranked and getting clicks. The competition here is much less than popular keywords.

With a robust and growing list of keywords, you can mine for gaps, low-hanging fruit, and opportunities to rank for more relevant and specific terms. For example, find long-tail keywords with low competition that are also related to a high search volume keyword. This is where you might see the best results and don’t forget about semantic search. These are similar keywords that are associated with the main keywords in question and this is how Google understands your content naturally.

If you need help with your keyword research or how to plan an effective content marketing strategy, get in touch with us at Think. Call our Marketing agency today on 0161 507 2410 or send an email to enquiry@thinkdesignagency.co.uk.