SEO Basics: How to do Keyword Research & 3 Free Tools

If someone asked you what you know about SEO, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Most people say it has something to do with keywords.

But there’s a lot of confusion about what to target, how to target, how to research, and so on. It can quickly become overwhelming and causes many people to give up.

But here's the thing. Keyword research doesn't need to be that hard!

I'll show you how. Let's dig into the basics of how to effectively research and target keywords on your site and blog.

Keyword Research SEO Basics | Tools & Tips for Entrepreneurs


What's a keyword or keyword phrase?

  • Keywords are the words or phrases that describe your site.

  • They are what people might type into a search engine to pull up your website or blog post.

  • A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that is really specific, detailed, long, etc.

    • A more detailed phrase such as "highly rated holistic health coach for women" rather than "holistic health coach"

    • A question such as "how can I find good keywords for my blog posts?"

Where are keywords displayed?

First, forget trying to add a list of keywords to your code. This hasn't been useful for like...over a decade.

Here's where you DO want keywords to show up:

  • Title tags

  • Meta-descriptions (doesn't help with ranking, but helps the description stand out to readers)

  • URL

  • Header tags, especially H1

  • In your copy (blog post, webpage, etc.)

  • Alt tags & files names

  • Links in your copy (preferably pointing to other content on your own website)

    • This tells Google that you have a cohesive website, and keeps readers engaged and clicking through to other content.

Example: Search term: "keyword research tools free"  (worded this way because that's what Google suggested when I started to type "keyword research")

Having your keywords in these areas tells the search engine that the topic of your page is consistent, and the keywords will stand out more to the searcher when they're bold.


How can you do keyword research for your site?

This part can seem time consuming, but you honestly don't need to spend hours researching keywords.

Spend more time creating high-quality content. You want to write for readers, not search engines.

Using the tools below can clue you in on how your readers are searching the web, however.


My favorite FREE keyword research tools:


6 Tips for Choosing Good Keywords to Start Researching

 1| Brainstorm a list of keywords related to your topic

 2| If your website has been live for awhile, use Google Analytics or Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) to see what people are already searching to find your site/content

 3| Enter your term into Google and see what pops up

 4| Think in the way people talk or ask questions

 5| What words do your customers use? What questions do they ask?

 6| Start playing with your ideas in the tools above


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seo basics how to do keyword research

Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!