Tips From an Advertising Agency | How to Do Keyword Research  

November 18, 2020

The more marketing changes, and evolves, the more it remains the same. While display, social media and app-based marketing often get most of the attention in the digital space, the basics of marketing remain unchanged. One critical goal of every marketer is to generate qualified traffic back to their website, where a consumer can continue on their sales journey, and, ultimately, convert. And, in the case of SEO, the old adage that the oldest ride in the park is the one with the longest line rings truest—it’s an effort that continues to prove its reward when done well.

Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, has existed since the Internet as we know it was in its infancy. And yet, search engines—particularly Google—remain the initiation point for virtually all online quests for information. What better way is there to attract attention from new customers than by making sure your website is at the top of the list every time?

It sounds simple, but SEO is actually quite complex. In fact, there’s almost an art to it. A lot goes into executing it effectively, and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not as simple as buying paid search ads. Doing SEO right requires a symbiotic relationship between keyword and web design; between user intent and practicality. All of the elements have to be right for your site to rise in the rankings. Let’s see how it’s done.

Keyword Research

In a perfect world, you could base your SEO strategy around the core of what your business actually does. In reality, there’s a lot more to it.

If you’re a shoe manufacturer, you can’t just make “basketball shoes” your keyword. Nike already has that covered. You also can’t make your keyword exceptionally complicated, like “basketball shoes made in the USA with memory foam insoles and custom laces”. Nobody is going to search for that.

Instead, your best bet is to be specific in terms of your company’s niche, in conjunction with a practical search term. Think about what makes your business unique—something that resonates with people. And the better you know your customers, the easier this is to accomplish.

Many newer businesses have made philanthropy part of their mission statement; that’s one direction to take—for instance, “basketball shoes with a charitable donation”. Or, you can focus on environmental initiatives (“basketball shoes sustainable”) or location (“basketball shoes in Chandler, AZ”). These simple differentiators not only help your business to stand out from the bigger brands in the marketplace, but they’ll help you to be seen by people searching for those terms—the very consumers that share the same causes and passions as your organization.

Validating Keywords

You’re off to a good start so far. But to this point, we’ve only dealt in hypotheticals—what we think people might search for. What do people search for in reality?

Fortunately, there are several free tools that provide keyword analytics. Google Keyword Planner is a utility that provides keyword volume reports on searches. In other words, you’ll be able to see the competition for your keyword of choice—who’s already using it and how much success they’re having with that keyword. You can even see what rates Google would charge to utilize that keyword in a paid search ad.

If all of that sounds too fancy at first, you can simply Google your keyword and see how the results look. If your website isn’t near the top, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If anything, you’ll be able to see just how far you have to go. You may find that the top of the search rankings is right for the taking. But if the top spot is dominated by conglomerates, maybe it’s time to try something different.

Fine-Tuning Keywords

If your keywords have made it this far, you’re on the right track. But, you’re not out of the woods just yet.

Marketing is an industry in which the details make all the difference. Therefore, it’s in your interest to make sure you’ve got the best keyword possible. Take advantage of tools like SEMRush’s Topic Research Tool that provide variations on the keywords you’ve come up with. You may come across a subtle tweak to your keyword that can make a huge difference in your keyword’s viability, or you might simply discover a new angle that can put your SEO strategy over the top.

This is also a good time to consider how you’ll utilize your keyword. Some keywords lend themselves better to natural usage than others. For instance, a keyword like “basketball shoes custom colors” is a great search term that someone might use to find what they’re looking for. But it’s not exactly a phrase you can pepper throughout your copy without looking like you’re obviously trying to game the SEO system—a huge no-no in the eyes of Google. Instead, you’ll want to incorporate that keyword naturally, with a few filler words in between. You’ll still get the benefit of SEO without resorting to keyword stuffing.

How Commit Agency Does Keyword Research

We’ve shown you some tools you can use to identify and use keywords to your advantage. But how do these tips work—and resonate—in the real world? Let’s take a look at how we do keyword research.

Google Search Console

Our first stop is Google Search Console. We want to see which keywords have lost impressions over the last month. We can also use Google Search Console to get some ideas for where we want to focus next.

Google Keyword Planner

With a little research done, we head to Google Keyword Planner. This lets us assess keyword volume for the phrases we’re thinking about using. We can also see if competitors are using the same keywords and, if so, how well they’re doing. We’ll also check Google Trends to identify industry trends within the marketplace and see how our keyword measures up.


Now that we have a better idea of what we’re targeting, it’s time to find ways to put that keyword into use. We use SEMRush to identify different phrasings for our keywords so that our copy looks organic, while still getting the positive impact of SEO.

Google Search

Our last stop is a simple and practical one—a quick search of our keyword on Google. Here we’re looking to see what sites are ranking for this keyword. We mainly want to see who these companies are and to try to figure out our chances of outranking them.

Of course, keyword research isn’t always this streamlined—there are many factors that go into SEO, and these are just some of the tools we use. But this is a good start for any business that wants to get a better handle on their SEO.

SEO is a concept that’s constantly changing. But the basics remain intact. Pick a phrase that resonates with both your company and your audience, and base your Web copy around that. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush and Google Search Console are always there to assist. But natural, high-quality content wins the race every time.

If you need guidance and assistance selecting the right keywords for your business, product or service, or if you just want to better optimize your website content to better incorporate those keywords, contact us at Commit Agency today.