Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

Keyword research is the first thing which comes when you start learning SEO.

You can say proper keyword research leads to good ranking in SERPs. This is the first thing that you should take before writing your blog post.

A proper keyword research is the key behind the successful blogs.

I’ve seen this mostly in beginners, who don’t care about the giving time on finding easy to rank, low competitive keyword to write on, they just start writing from scratch.

Which is really a big mistake beginners make which create obstacle in their way to success.

But you don’t worry, because in this post I will share everything that you need to know about the keywords research and tools that can make keyword research easy for you.

What Is Keyword Research?

Before knowing the keyword research, you should know what are the keywords?

A keyword is a phrase or word that searchers use to search in search engines like Google to find information about a certain topic. It is also called “search queries“.

You as a publisher, a keyword is a word or phrase that describe your content is all about.

There are basically four types of keywords:

Commercial Keywords: These are the keywords that bring real customers to businesses. For example, if a site selling tour packages, then keyword “travel guide” is useless for them. But if a website offering free travel guides and making money through ads then it will be profitable for them.

Informational Keywords: These are the type of keywords that searchers use to search through search engines like Google to learn about a particular topic.

Let’s say, you want to know about keyword research(for an example) so you will search “what is keyword research” in Google or any other search engine. So, “what is keyword research” is an informational keyword.

Navigational Keywords: Another type of keywords which people search to navigate to a site or brand like most people search for “Facebook login” to reach to the Facebook login page to log in their Facebook account.

Transactional Keywords: These are the type of keywords that people search on Google to buy something online. Let’s say you have a party to attend in next week, but you don’t have shoes to wear for the party. So, you decide to buy it online and finding for the best shoes, you search “buy party wear shoes for men“.

When a search query searched in search engines by keeping intention to buy something, known as Transactional Keywords.

Now, you know what is a keyword and how many types of keywords are available. Let’s take a look at keyword research:

Keyword research is the process of finding profitable and easy to rank keywords to write your content about. Is it looking like a piece of cake?

But it is not…

Keyword research isn’t an easy thing that you can start doing and bring huge rankings for your blog. There are many other things are involved, everyone is doing the same process, even your competitors also.

You need to be smart than your competitors to beat them in SERPs.

Methods Of Keyword Research

As I said above, everyone is following the same pattern to perform keyword research. You need to be smart.

Here are the two methods of keyword research:

Old-School Method

This is the old-school method that people are using from years back.

Just head over to your favourite keyword research tool and enter your seed keyword to find related terms to target in your content.

keyword research using SEMrush

The keyword research tool(I used SEMrush) will show you all the related terms along with the metrics like volume, keyword difficulty, CPC etc.

You then need to filter and sort the result to find the easy to rank keywords for your post. This is the traditional method of doing keyword research for finding profitable keywords to target.

Everyone is doing this same exact process to find keywords. As a beginner, it will be tough for you to outrank the authority sites to gain the first ranking.

Competitor-Based Method

In the first method, you saw that you need to find a keyword from scratch. You just know the main topic for which you want to find related keywords.

But in this method, you don’t need to find keywords from scratch. Rather, you can take advantages of your competitors’ keywords.

Your competitors have already done keyword research and ranked for those terms. You just need to find them and write content around that.

If your competitors can rank for those terms, why you can’t by creating a in-depth post.

Here are also two scenarios:

  1. You have a topic to write
  2. You don’t have a topic to write

When you have a topic to write on

When you have a topic idea in mind that you want to write about, you need to search that term in Google. For example, let’s say I want to write about “tips to increase domain authority score“. So, I searched the same term in Google…

Here are the top 3 ranking pages for the term “tips to increase domain authority score”.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

You can also do the same for the topic or term you want to write about in your next post. Pick URL of the page that is ranking on 1st position of Google.

Now, you need a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs. Open your favourite tool and enter the URL of the 1st ranking page for your searched term.

The tool will show you the list of organic keywords that one page is ranking for. You can filter the result to find the less competitive keywords with good search volume and target them on your post to get rank.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

If you need more keywords or the first page shows you fewer numbers of keywords then you can do the same for the second and third position ranking pages.

When you don’t have a topic to write

This method will help you when you don’t have a clear idea about what to write, or when you started your blog and planning to write some content that ranks fast.

You can steal some profitable keywords from your competitors, you find what are the less-competitive terms your competitors are ranking for.

You can easily do this using any domain analysis tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs. If you want a free tool to perform this then you can go with the UberSuggest.

Pick your competitor’s URL and put that into a domain analysis tool, I am using Ahrefs here. You can use any as per your comfort.

Ahrefs report

As you can see in the above image, Ahrefs showed all the keywords that my competitors are ranking for. I can easily sort and filter the list to find low-competitive keywords with good search volume.

You just need to follow this exact same process to spy on your competitors’ keywords.

So, these are the two methods of keyword research you can use. The second “competitor-based” method is less time-consuming and needs fewer efforts to find easy to rank keywords.

Factors Involved In Keyword Research

Let’s discuss the important factors involved in keyword research, once you understand them. It will be easy for you to perform effective keyword research and find easy to rank keywords.

Search Intent

Search intent is the reason why people are searching for a particular query in Google.

If you come to know the search intent of your audience and cover the same on your blog in form of post, It will help you to drive some quality audience, email subscribers and there will be high chances they will help in your earning by purchasing products through your affiliate links or by purchasing your course.

Because you delivered them what they are looking for… They trust you for that particular topic/niche.

There are 3 types of search intent:

  1. Informational Intent: In this type of intent, searchers find information about a certain topic.
  2. Navigational Intent: When a search made only to reach a destination, like Facebook Login, Amazon etc. Searcher just wants to open these sites.
  3. Transactional Intent: These are the money-making intent when searchers make a search just to buy something. Like, buy shoes for men etc.

Monthly Search Volume

Search volume is the total number of searches made for that particular keyword in a month. However, there is not a tool that will show you a 100% accurate result.

But you will get an approximate idea about how many searches a keyword gets per month.

You surely want to rank for keywords that have a huge total of monthly searches in a month. But these keywords with high volume always have super high competition, authority sites already spend huge money on SEO and paid ads to get that top position so your chances are very low.

Tip: Target long-tail keywords because they usually have low competition. That’s why they are easy to rank. Learn more about Long-Tail Keywords here.

Keyword Difficulty

It matters a lot in keyword research…

Keyword difficulty refers to how difficult it will be for you to rank on the first page on Google. The higher KD score a keyword has, the more difficult it will be for you to rank for that term.

All keyword research tool will show you the KD score for your searched term. As I said above, keyword with high monthly search volume usually have high keyword difficulty.

So, you need to find keywords with low-competition which are easy to rank.

This is where Long-Tail keywords make easy to rank for the terms and get high conversion. Below image will explain this better:

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)
Image Source: SEMrush

Long-tail keywords are the keywords which have 3+ words in their body. As you can see in the image, the “tomato plant” is the head term, or you can say short-tail keyword which has high search volume and high traffic as well.

Where the long-tail keyword “why are my tomato plants turning yellow” contains 3+ words and have low competition but low search volume also.

So, it is better to rank for the long-tail keywords with low search volume than the short-tail keywords, where getting the first page in next to impossible.

But there is a benefit of targeting long-tail keywords, which is, you are targeting the short-tail keyword at the same time.

You are hitting two targets at one shot.

Keyword Research Tools To Use (Free & Paid)

There are tons of keyword research tools are available that you can start using.

But not a single tool is 100% accurate, but you will get a approx idea of the metrics about a particular keyword.

Here are some free & paid keyword research tools that you can use for performing keyword research:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword research tool created by Google. You can use it for keyword research without spending a penny.

You can access the Google keyword planner tool by clicking this link here. No account need to create, rather you can access it using your Google ID. If you don’t have a Google account, you can get one from here…

You will get a screen like the below image, click on Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.

Google Keyword planner, what is keyword research

I have highlighted three steps in the below image which you need to follow.

  1. Enter your seed keyword or topic for which you want to find keyword ideas.
  2. In this second step, you need to select a targeting country.
  3. last and final step hit Get Ideas button.
Google Keyword Planner, keyword research

Google will show you all the related terms for your main keyword that you searched for, as you can see in the below image. I searched for “what is keyword“.

Google showed monthly searches for seed keyword that I searched for and some other related terms.

Google Keyword Planner, keyword research

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz Keyword Explorer tool is a powerful keyword research tool offered by Moz, It is a free keyword research tool with some limitation.

You can search 20 keywords per month for free. However, Moz pro offers 30-day free trial that you can claim to use without any limitation.

Moz Keyword Explorer,keyword planner,google adwords,keyword,google keyword tool,keyword research,key words,keyword research tool,adwords keyword tool,keyword generator,seo keywords,keyword search,keyword planner tool,keyword analysis,seo keyword tool is a free keyword research tool that you can use for keyword research. It also allows you to find keywords for various search engines like Amazon, Yandex, Bing and many more.


Ubersuggest Keyword ideas

For me, UberSuggest is the best free tool for keyword research. You will also say the same after using it for once.

Now it started offering premium plans as well but you can perform keyword research for free.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

SEMrush offers 40+ advanced SEO tools, Keyword Magic tool is one of them take makes keyword research very easy.

I am using SEMrush from years back for keyword research and other SEO tasks. It literally amazing tool when it comes to growing a blog’s ranking and traffic.

However, SEMrush also has a free plan which has some restrictions.

Grab this SEMrush Pro 14-Day free trial to use SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool without any limitations.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer


Another a great SEO tool and a true competitor of SEMrush, you can find here which is best between SEMrush vs Ahrefs.

Ahrefs offers many SEO tools which really helps in grabbing most out of SERPs. Ahrefs offers a keyword research tool that will help you to find easy to rank keywords with fewer efforts.

But Ahrefs doesn’t offer any free plan where you can access its keyword research tool. However, you can get a 7-day trial for $7.

How To Do Keyword Research?

Now you know what is keyword research? and know the tools(free and paid both) to use to find easy to rank keywords for your blog.

But remember, keyword research ins’t a piece of cake as it used to look like…

There are both types of keyword research available, free and paid. If you are a beginner and can’t afford to pay for a premium keyword research then there are free tools also like UberSuggest which you can start with.

I personally prefer using SEMrush keyword magic tool which is a paid tool, however, you can use SEMrush free account to perform 10 keyword search per day.

But if you want to remove this limitation, you can claim SEMrush Pro 14-Day Free Trial from here…

How To Do Keyword Research Using UberSuggest? (Free Method)

Well, UberSuggest is the best free keyword research tool which you can use to find easy to rank keywords for your next post.

UberSuggest is a tool created by Neil Patel which helps in keyword research, domain and backlink analysis, site audit and many other SEO related tasks.

You can access the UberSuggest Keyword tool by clicking here…

Enter your head keyword for which you want to find keyword ideas to target in your blog post. You can also enter your competitors’ domain to find keywords they are ranking for.

The result page is divided into three sections:

  1. Keyword Overview
  2. Keyword Ideas
  3. Content Ideas

Let’s discuss all one by one…

Keyword Overview

In the keyword overview section, you will the search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty and cost per click(CPC) for the keyword you searched for(your head term).

ubersuggest overview

It also tells how many average backlinks web pages have that ranks for the top 10 and an average domain score. Just a bit down, it shows the volume graph over time for mobile and desktop searches.

Scroll down a bit and you will see the number of people click on SEO and paid results for your searched term and also the searchers’ age range.

Keyword Ideas

Next section will show you the keywords ideas for your searched terms along with the volume, CPC, Paid Difficulty and SEO difficulty.

These metrics matter a lot when doing keyword research. You can see more keywords just by clicking on “View all keywords ideas“.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

When you click on View All Keyword Ideas, UberSuggest will show you all the keywords ideas they have generated.

On the top, you can see the total keyword ideas UberSuggest generated for your searched term. On the right side, it will show you all the top 100 pages that are ranking for your selected term. This data is restricted to the top 10 for free users.

ubersuggest keyword research report

UberSuggest also allows you to Export the data in CSV format.

Content Ideas

At the bottom, you can see the content which are performing well in search engine result pages and social media.

You will see the estimate visits, backlinks, Facebook and Pinterest shares etc for each page that are performing well for your searched term.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

Content Ideas section will help you to know which types of content your pages are doing well have written.

How to Perform Keyword Research Using SEMrush? (Paid Method)

SEMrush keyword magic tool is the tool that I always use to do keyword research for my blog. Because it makes keyword research too easy, you can easily found low-competitive keywords to write on.

You can claim the SEMrush 14-day free trial from here to use SEMrush without limitations for the next 14 days.

You can start your keyword research just by entering your seed keyword on the top box which you can see on the SEMrush dashboard.

Keyword research SEMrush dashboard

On the keyword overview, you will be seeing the organic search volume and the number of organic results appears for that keyword. Apart from Organic, you will also see some paid search metrics like CPC and Competition.

Just beside that, You will get CPC distribution for various country, trend graph and total keyword suggestions generated for your searched term.

SEMrush Keyword analysis

Down from there, you can see two sections, Phrase Match Keywords and Related Keywords.

Here is what both exactly mean:

Phrase Match Keywords: These are the keywords that contain you seed keywords in the body or you can say it match to your seed keywords.

Related Keywords: These are the related keywords to your seed keywords, it will help you to explore more related terms peoples are searching for the topic you are going to write.

SEMrush also allows you to check the results for any particular keyword by clicking on the Page icon.

SEMrush keywords

In the next section, SEMrush will show you the all top 100 pages ranking for your searched keyword. It will help you spy on them to know what type of content they have written.

You will get some ideas after analyzing some pages that are already ranking for your searched term.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

There is another way to perform keyword research using SEMrush. Access the Keyword Magic Tool from the left-side menu under the Keyword Analysis.

Enter your head term in the box and hit the search button to see the keyword ideas related to your head term.

SEMrush Review 2020: Is It Deserve To Be The No.1 SEO Tool?

SEMrush will show you all the related keywords for your seed keyword along with their important metrics like Volume, Trend Graph, Keyword Difficult, CPC and some other important metrics.

Keyword research interface

On the top of the result page, you can find the filter options that you can use to filter out the rows and find low-competition keywords.

advanced filters

SEMrush keyword magic tool has many other options which make keyword research easy. You can learn more about keyword research using SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool here.

How To Include Keywords In Blog Post?

A good keyword placement leads to get high rank on SERPs. But sometimes, beginners end up with keyword stuffing, just to rank high for a particular keyword.

This can bring Google penalties and will not let your post rank in Google and other search engines.

If you are a WordPress user then it becomes easy for you because of WordPress SEO plugins available out there to help you in this.

RankMath SEO and Yoast SEO are examples of those. I prefer using RankMath SEO because it’s completely free and provides you with all advances features for which Yoast SEO is taking charges.

Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)

Here are the places where adding target keyword can help you in getting rank:

On-Page SEO

Target Keyword In URL

It is recommended to add the target keyword in the URL of the post. RankMath or Yoast whatever you are using, shows you to add the focus keyword in URL.

Once you added your target keyword in URL, it will show you a screen signal.

keyword planner,google adwords,keyword,google keyword tool,keyword research,key words,keyword research tool,adwords keyword tool,keyword generator,seo keywords,keyword search,keyword planner tool,keyword analysis,seo keyword tool

Target Keyword In Title

Your title will be the first thing that searchers will see when your post gets to appear in SERP. If you add your target keyword in your title tag, it will make clear for search engines and users to understand what you post is all about…

keyword planner,google adwords,keyword,google keyword tool,keyword research,key words,keyword research tool,adwords keyword tool,keyword generator,seo keywords,keyword search,keyword planner tool,keyword analysis,seo keyword tool

RankMath SEO plugin will also give you signal for this. Make sure, it should be green.

Target Keyword In First Paragraph

Make sure to add your targeted keyword in the first 100 words of your blog post.

If you are using RankMath SEO plugin, it will show you add your target keyword in the first 10% of your content.

It helps readers to understand the topic of your post in the first view.

Target Keyword In Subheading

It is recommended to add the target keyword in the subheading to create a well SEO-optimized piece of content.

Tip: Your subheading should not be using the H1 tag. Because it is recommended to keep one H1 tag in your page which is your title tag.

Put Target Keyword In Image ALT Text

As you know “An image speaks thousand words“.

But do you know it can bring a good amount of traffic also?

Yes, Images can also bring organic traffic to your blog post from image searches.

Search engines can’t see your images to understand. Instead, ALT text helps them to understand what is all about this image is.

So, always make sure to add your target keyword in at least one image’s alt text.

Add Target Keyword In Meta Description

Meta description aka blog description is the text shown after the title of your post in search engine results pages.

By adding the target keyword in the meta description, you can help search engines and searchers to easily understand your post.

You can learn more about meta description and how to get most out of it.

FAQ About Keyword Research

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words and phrases that people are searching using search engines like Google to find relevant information about any certain topic.

For a publisher or content creator, A keyword helps search engines and readers to understand the topic of content.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding popular words and phrase that people search using search engines. It helps in finding good keywords ideas to write content around to gain ranking in SERPs.

What is keyword research tool?

Keyword research tool is an SEO tool that helps in finding keyword ideas around a topic or niche. There are tons of keyword research tools available, free and paid both like UberSuggest, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and many other.

How do I do keyword research for free?

You can easily do keyword research for free and find profitable low-competitive keywords for your blog using free keyword research tools like UberSuggest, and Google Keyword Planner.

Where to place keywords in a blog post?

Here are the places where adding a focus keyword is recommended in SEO:
1. Add keyword in the title
2. Keyword in the first 100 words
3. keyword in the image ALT text
4. keyword in URL
5. keyword in subheading

You can use RankMath SEO or Yoast SEO plugin, it will highlight all the places where you should include keywords to create a well-optimized post.

What is a good keyword?

A good keyword has these characteristics:
1. Clear search intent
2. Low-competition
3. Good search volume
You can easily find a good keyword to rank your blog for using the SEMrush Keyword Magic tool which makes easy to find profitable keywords using its advanced filters and sorting options.

Grab the SEMrush 14-Day Trial Now…

Your Turn

Keyword research is the essential step that you should always take before writing your post.

As I said, everyone using the same technique to find keywords to target. So, you have to be different than others if you really want to outrank your competitors.

Here are some hand-picked articles for you:

I hope you found this detailed keyword research guide helpful for you to learn keyword research, If you did then must share it with others.

Keyword Research
Photo of author

About Ravi Dixit

Ravi Dixit is the founder of StayMeOnline, a full-time blogger and affiliate marketer since 2016. He helped many people in starting their own profitable blogging journey and earning decent money from blogging. Apart from blogging, he loves travelling a lot.

One Humble Request!

I’ve put a lot of effort and done lots of research into writing this post to provide value to our blogging community. I will be glad if you share this post on social media. Sharing is caring 🤗

StayMeOnline Facebook group


  • Get Free Help From Experts
  • Daily Actionable Tips To Grow Your Blog
  • My Secret Strategies
  • Free Bonuses & Giveaways

11 thoughts on “Keyword Research In SEO: the Exhaustive Guide 2021! (Free Tools Included)”

    • Yes, I always use SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool and also recommend the same to others. This is my first choice when it comes to keyword research.

      However, Ahrefs also a good tool for keyword research.

  1. Your article is quite helpful! I have so many questions, and you have answered many. Thank you! Such a nice and superb article, we have been looking for this information about keyword research . Indeed a great post about it!!


Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link