Beginners Guide To Keyword Research For SEO

Beginners Guide To Keyword Research For SEO

Keyword research is the most important part of SEO - this guide will show you how to get it right!

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Guide Overview

Keyword research is quite possibly the most important part of SEO.

You cannot plan for a search campaign unless you know which keywords to target, and you cannot estimate costs and returns from SEO unless you know who you’re competing against.

I have spent years creating a process that has helped me to grow new websites to over 100,000 organic visits per month, that is proven and repeatable.

This guide will take you through all of the details in my process, including:

  • How To Identify The Best Keywords For Your Website
    This is a step-by-step walkthrough, highlighting all of the tools I use, including Google's new Keyword Planner and Display Planner.
  • How To Identify Search Intent
    One of the most important pieces of keyword research is to understand how your target audience looks for information, how they indicate context, and how these keywords can be grouped to move visitors through your conversion funnel.
  • How To Do SEO Competitive Analysis
    I will show you quick ways to identify your site's top ranking potential and calculate the cost and timeline it will take to get there.
  • How To Create A Keyword Opportunity Model
    Every keyword is a unique opportunity to gain qualified traffic to your website. You will get a copy of the actual Excel model I use to evaluate thousands of keywords at a time, and I will show you how to set it up for your website.
  • How To Build a Keyword Matrix
    If built properly a keyword matrix can increase your rankings and keyword spread exponentially. I give you my Excel template, complete with sample data, and show you step by step how to build it out.
  • How To Conduct A Keyword Performance Audit
    I will show you how to use Google Analytics to get an immediate sense of how your SEO efforts are working, and where you're leaving money on the table.

I've have also included never before shared tips and hacks for getting the most keyword data possible out of Google.

Bonus Features:

  • Keyword Funnel Templates
  • Download Link to Free Keyword Combiner Tool
  • Keyword Opportunity Template
  • Download Link for Free Search Intent Template for Excel

This guide will remain evergreen.
I will continue to update this guide as I come across new information, complete new tests, and when there are changes needed to keep the information accurate.

Guide Outline

  • Getting Started

    • The Value Of A Keyword

  • Time To Do The Research

    • Don't Forget To Check Plurals

    • Expand Your List

    • My Favorite Keyword Tools

    • Segmenting Keywords Into Funnels

    • Using Google Keyword Planner

    • The Keyword Combiner

  • Researching For Searcher Intent

    • Avoid Low-Intent Keywords

    • Inferring Searcher Intent

    • 2 Schools Of Thought

    • Understanding Keywords In Search Context

  • Validate The Big Opportunities

    • Evaluate With Google Trends

    • Evaluate Topic Popularity

  • SEO Competitive Analysis

    • Getting Started With The Analysis

    • Understanding Your Competitive Landscape

    • Anatomy Of A Keyword

    • Looking At Authority

    • Data Mining – Release The Scrapers

    • Usurp The SERP – Planning The Takeover

  • Create A Keyword Evaluation Model

    • The Simple Keyword Opportunity Model

    • Adjusting For Competitiveness

    • Build A Test Case

    • Estimating Your Development Costs

    • Estimate Your Revenue

    • The Advanced Keyword Opportunity Model

  • Creating A Keyword Matrix

    • Understanding The Relationships

    • How SEO’s Currently Approach Keywords

    • How To Build A Keyword Matrix

    • Tagging The Best Keywords

    • Why You Need To Be Using Matrices

    • Laying Out Your Matrix

  • Keyword Research For Page Titles

  • Conducting A Keyword Performance Audit

    • Dive Into Google Analytics

    • Open Excel

    • Open Up Your Freshly Downloaded Data

    • Time For Analysis

  • Closing The Loop

    • Additional Resources

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About The Author

Nick Eubanks

Nick Eubanks is the VP of Digital Strategy at W.L. Snook & Associates, a digital asset holdings company. He is the co-founder of I'm From The Future and organizes a user experience meetup in Philly. 

Follow him on twitter and check out his top ranked SEO Blog

What Are People Saying

Guide Reviews (44)

Alexa McConnell

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Ashley McNamara
The information in this guide is useful, but it's the *exact same* information and text used in his blog posts. You don't need to pay to get it!

- Rated this guide 1 out of 5

Austin Benton

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Peter Lalonde

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Ignasi Faus

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Louis Fletcher-Walker

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

Mitesh Dabhi

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

marta nunes

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

Javier Arias

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Edmond Hong

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Nick Joelson

- Rated this guide 3 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Adrian Lazo

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Tom Kittimonthorn

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

Van Vaughn

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

David Huckabay

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

very brilliant

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Craig Milligan
A tremendous and comprehensive resource for keyword reseach! Nick, is the mailman... always delivering!

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Doug Willbanks

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

Jason Acidre
This is the most extensive guide on Keyword Research that you'll ever find on the Internet. Very actionable and I'll highly recommend it to anyone who's working in the digital marketing space - whether you're a newbie or advanced.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

David Craige
Awesome work Nick! Really impressed! Love the fact that you can continue to add value to this ebook! Keep kicking ass.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Wilde Mooney

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

NIck, this guide rocks. I have been waiting for something like this. Thank you for all the effort you have put into this.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Chris Kilbourn

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

Bookmarked this guide, I know I'll be coming back to it a lot. Phenomenal guide, Nick!

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

So much information and great resources. I can't imagine how much time this took you to compile- seriously awesome work!

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5

This is an excellent and easy to understand keyword research guide. Ideal for beginner to intermediate search marketers. It coverts all the important points you need to consider when doing keyword research for SEO, pro tips, and recommended tools. I have really enjoyed Section 6 "Create A Keyword Evaluation Model". A guide I will keep at hand and recommend.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Not just the quantiative approach but the heuristic process Nick has developed over the years means that this keyword research guide is $37 well spent

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Nick has went over the top with this guide, taking the reader from the basic concepts of what keyword research is and right up to performance analysis. One of the "must read" guides if you're into SEO, even if you're a "veteran" and especially if you are just getting started. Prepare yourself to be awed and get a ton of info and tools to use in your keyword research process. Thumbs up, Nick! Congrats!

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Nick, Excellent job. Very helpful for real world use. One suggestion: The Introduction is not strong. It immediately starts with the distinction between traffic and conversion, which is well understood by most of your readers. This made me think that the e-book would be set at a beginner level. In fact, the information, detail, and level of thought is well beyond that. So, change the Intro. Start with a brief high energy explanation why the guide will benefit the busy professional reader. Also: there is a typo and a grammatical error in the section called "Understanding Your Competitive Landscape". It says: "yourclients money" and it should say: "your client's money" Best, Mike Cullina

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Jordan Godbey

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5


- Rated this guide 4 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

This is AWESOME Nick! No joke, just yesterday I was binge-reading your blog posts at and wishing you had a start to finish guide of your process. Seriously. This is amazing. Thanks! -Nathan

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

This is by far the most comprehensive yet easy to understand guide on keyword research that I have ever come across. A must read for all new employees and veteran SEOs looking to improve their skills. Top notch.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

I really liked reading it. I learned alot and it was very helpful! Thanks for putting it tother!

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Fantastic guide, by far one of the best I have read. I read the one on your blog a few months back which was really helpful but this is better still, well done Nick and thank you for sharing. Is this available offline by the way?

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Cracking resource, Nick - some blood, sweat and tears gone into this piece!

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Julian Seery Gude
You've produced highly valuable content in an engaging format and straightforward style.

- Rated this guide 4 out of 5


- Rated this guide 5 out of 5

Its going to take me some time to go through all of this info but if its anything like your previous posts, this will be filled with golden nuggets of information. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

- Rated this guide 5 out of 5