Does keyword research feel like a foreign language? It’s no surprise. It’s not black magic we swear, but you do need to learn how to do the process. We noticed there is a lack of keyword research tutorials on the web. This is especially true for tutorials with step-by-step videos and free templates to learn how to actually do it. So we created the ultimate, easy to use keyword research tutorial so that you can start creating keyword lists and making some sweet, sweet content.
- Keyword Research Tutorial: How to Get Started
- Make a copy of the keyword research template
- Watch the Keyword Research Video Tutorial
- Keyword research tutorial step-by-step instructions
- 1. Pick appropriate seed keywords
- 2. Enter each seed keyword into each source to build your larger list of keywords
- 2e. Find volume and other key information for the terms on your list using Ahrefs (or similar).
- Conclusion: Keyword Research Tutorial
Keyword Research Tutorial: How to Get Started
How does it work? Simple. This is all you need to do to start doing keyword research:
- Navigate to the KW Research Template Google Sheet (click to open in a new browser).
- Important: Create a copy of the worksheet to your drive so you can edit it by clicking File -> Make a copy
- Watch the step by step keyword research tutorial video that walks you through the process step-by-step.
- POOF! Start doing keyword research for your website or blog. No magic required (we swear).
We use mostly free tools to do the keyword research process shown in this tutorial. These free tools include Google Search, Google suggest, Keyword Planner (accessed through Google Ads), Google Trends. The only exception is the final step where we use Ahrefs, but you can use several SEO tools to get similar results.
Make a copy of the keyword research template
We put together a template for you to use to build a list of keywords related to your seed keywords.
Access the free Google Sheets keyword template (opens in a new tab). You will need to make a copy of the worksheet in order to edit it and save your work. You can do that by opening the sheet and clicking File -> Make a copy. See the screenshot below.
Watch the Keyword Research Video Tutorial
Our keyword research video tutorial walks through how to use the template and tools to complete your own keyword research (or follow along with our example). Watch the keyword research tutorial video on Youtube so you can comment if you want to share any additional tips or want to ask any questions.
Keyword research tutorial step-by-step instructions
We recommend you watch the video above because it shows you the process in detail for filling in the worksheet step-by-step. But if you aren’t a video fan that’s cool. See the keyword research tutorial steps below.
Below are the steps to fill in the keyword research template.
1. Pick appropriate seed keywords
Pick appropriate seed keywords that are relevant to the theme/topic of your website, blog or cluster you are trying to create content for. Seed keywords are usually a few words and are the main, short-tail topics that are used to build a list of related keywords.
An example of seed keywords might be “keto” and “low carb” for a diet blog or “content marketing” for a blog or site centered around content marketing. For our example we use “Affinity Designer” as our seed keyword to build a list of related keywords for a new, hypothetical blog.
2. Enter each seed keyword into each source to build your larger list of keywords
Take each seed keyword and enter them into each of the tools below. This will help you gather additional, related and relevant keywords to add to your list.
2a. Generate related keywords using Google Suggest
You can find additional keyword ideas by using Google Suggest in the main Google search bar. Enter each seed keyword into the Google search bar BUT don’t hit enter. You will notice Google provides a list of frequently searched, related terms. The screenshot below shows what we get for our example seed keyword “Affinity Designer.”
Repeat the process for each of your seed keywords (if you have more than one).
Copy each relevant term shown to the Google Suggest section of the “Search KW Builder Worksheet”. Add additional rows to your worksheet as needed.
2b. Gather related keywords using Google’s Related Searches
Next we can find more related keyword queries by searching Google for the term (hitting enter).
Related searches are those searches which Google seemingly finds relevant and related to your seed keyword search. These are helpful as they indicate search queries that Google thinks is relevant vs. you guessing what you think is relevant.
To get the related searches you just need to enter each seed keyword into the Google search bar and hit enter. We want to find the “Related Searches” section of the search engine results page (SERP). These are all the way at the bottom of the search results near the page navigation and the colorful “Goooooooooogle” logo.
The screenshot below shows what we get when searching for our example seed keyword “Affinity Designer.”
Repeat the process for each of your seed keywords (if you have more than one).
Copy each related search term shown. Add it to the “Google Searches Related To” section of the “Search KW Builder Worksheet”. You can add additional rows to any section of your keyword research template worksheet as needed.
2c. Find related and trending keywords using Google Trends
Google Trends is a great tool for content marketing as a whole. For purposes of keyword research it can be used to find top, relevant terms and trending, related terms. This is helpful for many reasons, including producing content on topics that are trending right now (or during a certain season).
Enter your seed keyword into the main search bar. Navigate down to the “Related queries” section and copy the top, related queries and the rising, related queries. These may be limited based on the seed keyword used, but it is worth a try.
See the screenshot below for the top Related queries for our example seed keyword “Affinity Designer”.
2d. Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to generate a larger list of related terms
Another great, free tool to use is Google Ads Keyword Planner. You can access this resource through your Google Ads account. It’s free to sign up for one if you don’t have one already.
Follow these steps to build a list of related keywords using Keyword Planner:
If you need help accessing Google Keyword Planner see our guides on how to access Google Keyword Planner in Expert Mode and how to access the Keyword Planner through Smart Campaigns mode (for new ads accounts).
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- Click on the “Tools and Settings” wrench icon.
- Under “Planning” click on “Keyword Planner”.
- Click the yellow light bulb option to “Discover new keywords”.
- Enter your seed keyword(s) into the search bar
- Set any relevant filters for geography, language, etc.
- Hit “Get Results”.
The tool will provide you with bits of information. First, it gives you information on the provided keywords. Second, it generates a list of keywords that are relevant to your provided seed keyword.
You can “REFINE” your keywords with any appropriate filters that you think are necessary. To do this click on the blue text on the upper right hand side of your screen that says “REFINE KEYWORDS”.
Next you want to “DOWNLOAD KEYWORD IDEAS” to either a Google Sheet or a .csv.
If you want to clean up your list you can go through the download and delete any keywords that aren’t relevant.
Once you are happy with the list you want to copy just the terms (not the other information). Paste that list of terms into the “Keyword Planner Related KW’s” section of the “KW Research Template.”
2e. Find volume and other key information for the terms on your list using Ahrefs (or similar).
You now have a pretty long list of keywords, but that’s really all. We need more information on each of the keywords, such as volume, keyword difficulty, SERP features, etc. This information will help us determine which keywords to target and which ones we shouldn’t bother with.
In this example we use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Tool. If you have an Ahrefs account you can follow along. You can also do a similar process using other SEO tools. If you weant to do it completely free you can use Google Ads Keyword Planner, but the information will be limited vs other paid tools.
Build your final keyword list with Ahrefs using the process below:
- Copy the entire list of keywords from all sections of the “KW Research Template”
- Paste the entire list into Ahref’s Keyword Explorer.
- Under “Keyword Ideas” on the left navigation bar click on “Matching terms”.
- Select “Phrase match” mode.
- Choose whether you want all results or only questions.
- Select any filters and set the parameters. These could include keyword difficulty, volume, search results features, etc.
- Export the final list.
- Copy and paste the data into the “KW List (Ahrefs format) tab” of the “KW Research Template.”
See the screenshot below to see how we get our final keyword research list.
Conclusion: Keyword Research Tutorial
Hopefully this keyword research tutorial and video have put you in a good position to start doing keyword research. As shown here you can do keyword research using mostly free, readily available Google tools. You can also get information for your keywords using a paid tool like Ahrefs or a tool like Google Keyword Planner.