how to find seo keywords

Your Nutshell Guide: How to Find Killer SEO Keywords for Your Online Content

What’s one way to make sure your content gets search engine-indexed, ranked, and, ultimately, discovered by users in your target niche?

I’m sure you already know the answer from the headline – you need SEO keywords.

More importantly, you need to know how to find SEO keywords.

Why? Because the benefits are incredible.

When you target the right keywords and use them to optimize your amazing content:

  • You’ll start ranking for those keywords.
  • You’ll hit desirable top spots in the SERPS.
  • You’ll drive much more profitable traffic to your website.
    • Take a look at this chart from Ignite Visibility that shows how much your click-through rate increases as you climb into the top 5 spots on Google for a keyword. When you hit #1, your CTR makes a huge leap from 13.32% to 20.5%.

  • More clicks and more profitable traffic will lead to:
    • Leads
    • Conversions
    • Followers
    • Sales
    • Unicorns and rainbows (not literally, but you’ll FEEL just as magical as these things – like you’re an SEO wizard)

That’s a LONG pathway of benefits.

And with Facebook ad costs up 43%, and 30% of all internet users using adblockers, it’s even more important than ever to make sure you’re honing on the right keywords and building great onsite, organic content.

In essence, you’re building content people want to find.

It’s an investment for your future.

So, how do you find the right ones that will amount to traffic boosts, lead boosts, and conversion boosts?

I’m going to show you, step-by-step, using two of my favorite tools for keyword research and discovery (KWFinder by Mangools, and SEMrush).

Let’s do this.

how to find seo keywords

How to Find the Right SEO Keywords for Your Online Content in SEMrush

The right keywords are ones that give you opportunities to break into the rankings – and maybe even climb past all the other results to hit that coveted #1 position.

These high-opportunity keywords all follow a specific formula. Usually, they:

  • Are specific (A.K.A. long tail keywords)
  • Have low search competition (don’t confuse this metric with keyword difficulty – competition shows how many advertisers are bidding to show up in paid spots in results for the keyword)
  • Have relatively high search volume (people are actually typing them into Google)
  • Have low keyword difficulty (a score that rates how hard it is to rank for a keyword)
    • Most keyword tools have their own method for calculating difficulty scores. For example, here’s how KWFinder does it:

If this is a lot to take in, I get it. These criteria seem like a lot to juggle at first.

But that’s what I’m sharing today – I’m answering the ultimate question:

How do you find SEO keywords that fit ALL of these factors?

Let’s see what that process looks like in SEMrush.

1. Start with a Relevant, Broad Search Term with Potential

To narrow down keywords in SEMrush, start by searching for a keyword you think has potential.

For example, if I sell graphic t-shirts in my online store, I would research the term “graphic t-shirts.”

As you can see, this keyword has an average organic search volume of 6.6K searches per month. But, check out the competition.

We’re looking at .93.

That’s almost 100% competition, which means you’re up against tough luck.

Another thing to consider is that even though you may net many of these numbers in search volume, few will be qualified to buy. The search term is too broad: They’re probably at the early stages in the buying cycle, and haven’t made a decision on what to buy yet. So, this traffic potential is useless for your bottom line.

For even more proof, when I plug “graphic t-shirts” into Keyword Explorer, it rates 44 on a difficulty scale of 1-100. In general, scoring 50 or above means it’s impossible to rank for the phrase.

While this ranks below 50, it’s a best-practice to only use keywords that rank at 40 or below. Lower difficulty = lower competition = higher ROI.

So, we’ve ruled out using this keyword in our SEO. We need to get more specific to find a better option.

We need a long tail keyword.

2. Use Your Broad Term as a Root, and Go Long Tail

“Graphic t shirts” is too broad. How do we make this root keyword more specific?

We add to it.

Let’s try “women’s graphic t shirts.”

Search volume is 5.4K for this one. That’s better, but still too high. Let’s look at the “related keywords” to see if there’s an option with lower competition.

“Womens graphic tee shirts” has an average monthly search volume of 210. I would need to do a little more research on keyword difficulty and brand competition, but this could be a good option for SEO.

3. Dig Deeper – Check Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume

To dig deeper, I could click on “View full report” to view all the related keyword possibilities. Then I could sort them by keyword difficulty and search volume to find my sweet spot.

The sweet spot, where a keyword is balanced between low keyword difficulty, low competition, and high search volume, is ultimately what you’re looking for.

Tip: Use More Than One Tool to Find Great SEO Keywords (How to Use KWFinder)

One of my number one tips for how to find SEO keywords is to NEVER rely on one tool exclusively.

Instead, use multiple tools to double-check your research and compare how each tool rates keyword difficulty, measures search volume, and more.

Here’s what I mean:

In SEMrush, “women’s graphic tee shirts” looks like a solid SEO keyword option with high potential.

To make sure I’m on the right track, I’m going to turn to another one of my favorite SEO tools, KWFinder, to double-check.

As you can see, KWFinder gives this keyword a difficulty rating of 37, or “still easy.”

Plus, the search volume is 260/month, but many of those searchers could be in a later stage of the buyer’s journey.

There’s definitely potential here.

Now that I’ve double-checked the results for this keyword, I’m 101% confident I can use it in my content advantageously.

How to Find SEO Keywords: Research, Research, Research

To find profitable, high-ROI keywords that can net you fantastic results, you need to dig in and do the research.

These keywords are not going to fall out of the sky and into your lap. You won’t magically come up with them through brainstorming, either.

For the best results, you have to make sure the keywords you use are backed up with data.

Look at the numbers (keyword difficulty, search volume, and competition) and try to find the best balance of all three metrics for every keyword you go after.

This is the road to help your content not only hit the SERPs, but also climb to the top of page one.

It’s not magic; it’s just smart, consistent, and sometimes grueling research.

Do the work, learn as you go, and that SERP mountain won’t seem so daunting anymore.

20 replies
  1. Ananya Pandey
    Ananya Pandey says:

    Thank you for this awesome article. I would like to find keywords with Ahrefs but I don’t know how to use that tool. please guide with upcoming aticle.

    Reply
    • Julia McCoy
      Julia McCoy says:

      Hi Ananya! Ahrefs is an awesome tool, as is Moz. I find KWFinder easier than both of them to navigate, and SEMrush one of the most accurate. So, I’ve chosen those tools over the years. If I ever move to Ahrefs (which I’m considering!), I’ll create a guide. For now, I find less is more and these tools give me the fastest AND most accurate way to find the best keywords I need, quickly.

      Reply
  2. Flora Nicole
    Flora Nicole says:

    Hey, Thanks a lot, Julia! I am new in the field of SEO and learning how to become a professional or expert SEO. Your this blog post helped me amazingly!! Before your blog post, I used to watch the tutorial videos or explainer videos at videoanimationinc, they helped me as well. Well! I have done with half of the learnings and trying out to learn more. Thanks a bunch again. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Shahriar Hossain
    Shahriar Hossain says:

    What a great article! I am bookmarking it to read it again. It seems like a very interesting topic to write about. Your posts are really helpful for me. Thanks for your wonderful post.

    Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      You’re welcome, Shahriar. Thanks for visiting our blog! – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  4. Sally Sugg
    Sally Sugg says:

    Thanks so much for the informative and enjoyable article. I’m new to the SEO world, and I’m going to bookmark this article. I know that it’s a little beyond this article, but how do you decide how often to repeat a keyword in a typical 1000 article? Does it matter if the keyword only appears once or twice in an article? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Kristel
      Kristel says:

      Hi, Sally! Thanks for dropping by. The metric you’re looking at is called keyword density. It’s recommended that the keyword shouldn’t be more than 3% of the whole article. You can read more about it at Point No. 5 in our article What NOT To Write: The Don’ts of SEO. Hope this helps. 🙂 – Kristel, Content Specialist at Express Writers

      Reply
  5. Asif
    Asif says:

    Thanks for the post. I was looking for a good article regarding keyword research. You have explained it very well.

    Reply
  6. Mario Briana
    Mario Briana says:

    Great information on this blog. Your blog gives a lot of useful information regarding finding keywords. I appreciate it very much!

    Reply
  7. jackjones
    jackjones says:

    I think its really nice article and helpful for me. I gathered some information on this post. I wish you all the best and it is grateful to me for learning. Please, sir, you will visit my website.

    Reply
  8. Adelina Adell
    Adelina Adell says:

    Love this!! I have notes aplenty from this blog and would love to try it! How awesome is that?! Thanks so much. . .

    Reply

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