Keyword Research Step by Step Guide

It all begins with the keyword. Keyword research is the first step for any SEO campaign.

Performing a proper keyword research will let you know if you should put your time and energy to rank for the keyword (it’s impossible to rank for all keywords).

A keyword is basically the search term a person types into Google. For example, someone may type “best laptop in 2018” into Google, and this would be the keyword.

Before we start diving into the step by step guide to performing a full keyword research, let’s look at the 3 key components of keyword research.


3 Key Components of Keyword Research and Analysis 

#1 – Search Volume

Search volume is a monthly estimate from Google on the number of people who search for the keyword.

For us, in the B2B industry, we will consider ranking for keywords that have a minimum of 50 or more monthly searches. On the other hand, if you are in the B2C space, your numbers should be higher.

There is no universal number for this as everyone has their own judgement of how high or low their targeted search volume should be.

However, if you are just starting out, go for keywords with lower search volume as it usually means there are lesser competitions.

Which brings us to the next point.

#2 – Competition

Once you know your search volume, the next step is to figure out the level of competition for this keyword.

If the keyword has a high search volume and high competition, we recommend you to stay away from this keyword and rank for other related keywords. (unless you are an advanced SEO).

We will discuss how to determine the competition level later below.

#3 – Relevancy

Once you have identified keywords that meet your search volume criteria and has low to medium competition, the last step is to ensure the keyword is relevant to your website’s topic.

For example, if your website is about basketball and your keyword is “basketball shoes for men”, don’t rank for “football jersey for men”.

Even if the search volume high and competition is low, this will confuse Google and as football is not relevant to basketball.

We will now cover how you can determine the search volume and competition level for your keywords below.


How to Do Keyword Research: Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Find Your Seed Keyword

A seed keyword is a general keyword that you wish to rank for.

For example, if you are running a restaurant in kl, your seed keyword would be “restaurant in kl”

Step 2: Use KW Finder to Search for Related Keywords

Use the KW Finder software to enter your seed keyword and set your country.

In this example, we will use the keyword “restaurant in kl” and set the country to Malaysia:

KW finder example

You can use KW Finder as a keyword research tool for free 5 times per day. If you are searching for more than 5 times per day, we recommend going for their paid plans.

KW Finder is still one of the more affordable and useful SEO keyword research tools we have come across.

Step 3: Assess Competition Level and Search Volume

KW Finder will then show you the search volume, cost per click and keyword difficulty (KD).

Kw Finder search results

To assess your competition level, we recommend going for keywords with KD of 35 and below. If the KD is 35 and above, it probably means there are plenty of established websites already targeting this keyword and you should probably stay away if you are new to SEO.

So if your keyword is “restaurant in kl”, pick another keyword since the KD is 44 and has high competition.

You can go for say “best buffet in kl” since the KD is 35 and it has a decent monthly search volume of 1,600.

Step 4: Rank for Multiple Keywords Using Google’s Autosuggest

Here is a hack that will save you a lot of time.

Don’t just rank for one keyword, there are plenty of related keywords you can rank for locally as well.

And the best part is, Google will let you know what to include in your content.

Head over to Google and type your keyword “best buffet in kl”.

Google autosuggest example

Click on the search term and Google will show other suggested keywords. This is called Google Autosuggest.

You should still target “best buffet in kl” as your primary keyword and sprinkle these related keywords into your content if it makes sense.

This will help you rank for multiple keywords in one page.

Also, when you scroll to the bottom of Google, you will see “searches related to”

Searches related to

In this case, the keywords are the same as Google Autosuggest, but for some other keywords, you will notice different keyword suggestions in Searches Related to and Google Autosuggest.

Consider adding these keywords as well if it makes sense to your topic and business.

Step 5: Write the Article

Once you have the list of keywords ready, you can now write the article and include the primary and related keywords.

Repeat the process again for all other keywords you wish to rank for.


A Vital Component of Keyword Research – Understanding the Buyer’s Journey 

We will now tap into the buyer’s journey and how to utilize the keywords to convert strangers into buyers.

Here’s the thing, we often go through a buyer’s journey, whether we are aware of it or not.

The buyer’s journey is a process that follows a buyer’s progression from awareness to making a purchase.

Here are the 3 stages in every buyer’s journey:

Stage 1: Awareness

The buyer becomes aware that he or she has a desire.

In this stage, 72% of buyers will turn to Google to research and gather information.

Stage 2: Consideration

Moving onto the consideration stage, the buyer now is now aware and would begin to explore the available options.

Stage 3: Decision

This is the stage we all love!

The buyer is now prepared to make a purchase decision and would select the preferred product or service.


Keyword Research Tips to Mimic the Buyer’s Journey 

It’s crucial to have a keyword research strategy that mimics this buyer’s journey. If your keywords only focus on one stage of the journey, you are leaving A LOT of money on the table.

You can mimic the buyer’s journey by producing content at each stage to address the buyers’ needs and seamlessly bring them from Stage 1 to Stage 3.

For example, let’s say you are running a hotel in Penang.

Stage 1: Awareness

At the awareness stage, your hotel could produce content such as:

  • Top 10 Things to Do in Penang
  • Where to Travel in Malaysia

Stage 2: Consideration

At the consideration stage, the buyer is now considering to travel to Penang. You can produce content such as:

  • Best Seafood Restaurants in Penang
  • When Is the Best Time to Visit Penang

Stage 3: Decision

At the decision stage, the buyer has decided to go to Penang. Now you can close the sale by ranking keywords such as:

  • Best Hotel in Penang
  • Hotel Discounts in Penang
  • Affordable Hotel in Penang

Before you start producing the content, use the 5-step keyword research process to search for suitable keywords and rank for all 3 stages of awareness, consideration, and decision.

Here’s a recap of the 5-steps:

Step 1: Find Your Seed Keyword

Step 2: Use KW Finder to Search for Related Keywords

Step 3: Assess Competition Level and Search Volume

Step 4: Rank for Multiple Keywords Using Google’s Autosuggest

Step 5: Write the Article



Keyword research is one of the important components of SEO as it builds a solid foundational base to allow you to rank for your desired keywords.

Keyword research should ALWAYS be the first step toward producing content. Don’t start writing until you know which keywords you are going for.

Performing keyword research will also help you to understand your customers better as you will know what are the search terms your target customers usually type into Google.

We hope this article has provided you a step by step guide to performing the keyword research. Apply the strategies covered above and you will find plenty of relevant keywords for your business.

If you need a done-for-you keyword research service, head over to our SEO KL page to learn more.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or email us at