How To Search For Keywords: A Simple Guide For SEO Success

Illustration of a magnifying glass focusing on SEO related words like traffic, content, and strategy

By Melissa Ng   |   Last Updated 15 March 2024

Diving into the world of keyword search doesn’t have to be daunting. This guide is crafted to demystify the process, turning what might seem like a complex task into straightforward steps anyone can follow. Aimed at bloggers, business owners, or the simply curious, we’re keeping the language simple and the advice actionable. Ready to unlock the power of keywords? Let’s get started.

Understanding Keywords

Screenshot of a search engine results page with the query 'best flat white near me'
Finding the perfect cup starts with the right search

Imagine you’re trying to find a local café that serves the best flat white. You pull out your phone and type “best flat white near me” into a search engine. That phrase you’ve just typed is known as a keyword.

Keywords are the terms and phrases that people enter into search engines when they’re on the hunt for something — be it information, a specific product, a service, or the answer to a question. They act as the bridge between the searcher’s need and the content that you offer to meet that need. When your content and keywords are in sync, you become the answer they find, leading to more visits to your website or platform.

Want to learn even more about keywords? Check out our blog post: What Are Keywords? A Simple SEO Guide To Keywords For Beginners

The Importance of Keyword Research

Illustration of a laptop displaying search statistics with 68% of online experiences beginning with a search engine
The majority of online journeys begin with a search

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. It influences every other SEO task you perform, including finding content topics, on-page SEO, and outreach and promotion. A recent survey showed that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine [1]. That means if your content is optimised with the right keywords, there’s a huge potential to attract traffic to your site.

Starting with Keyword Research

There are several tools out there to help you start your keyword research.

Google’s Keyword Planner is a great free option, especially for those just starting. For instance, if you’re launching a blog on sustainable living, Keyword Planner can reveal search volumes for terms like “eco-friendly lifestyle” or “sustainable living tips”, highlighting which phrases have enough interest without being overly competitive.

Keyword research data from Google's Keyword Planner for 'eco friendly lifestyle' and 'sustainable living tips' with low competition
Uncovering niche keywords for a greener web presence using Google’s Keyword Planner

Ubersuggest steps in with its ability to generate fresh keyword ideas. Say you type in “organic gardening”; Ubersuggest might suggest longer, more specific phrases like “organic gardening seeds” or “organic gardening pest control.” These suggestions come with data on search volume, competition level, and even seasonal trends, helping you pinpoint keywords that are not only relevant but likely to attract the right kind of traffic to your site.

List of organic gardening related keywords with search volume and competition data from Ubersuggest
Digging into specific keywords for organic gardening enthusiasts using Ubersuggest

Semrush offers a comprehensive analysis that goes beyond just keyword suggestions. By examining competitors, Semrush could identify that your rivals are ranking for “sustainable fashion brands” but not “affordable sustainable fashion.” This insight allows you to target underserved niches with high potential. Furthermore, Semrush’s toolset includes tracking your site’s keyword rankings, conducting SEO audits, and more, offering a 360-degree view of your SEO health. But you’ll only really get the most use out of Semrush if you’re a seasoned pro at SEO.

Analysis of keyword rankings for various blogging-related terms with performance indicators in Semrush
Tracking and analysing keyword performance to inform content strategies using Semrush

Analysing Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume

Infographic comparing the search volume and difficulty of keywords 'Coffee' versus 'Best coffee shop in Sydney CBD'
Balancing search volume and difficulty for SEO targeting

Keyword difficulty is a measure of how hard it will be to rank for a particular keyword. Think of it like a game where some levels are harder to beat. This “level” tells you how tough it will be to show up on the first page of search results for a certain word or phrase. For example, trying to rank for “coffee” is like trying to win a game that’s set on the hardest difficulty level – there’s a lot of competition.

Search volume, on the other hand, shows how many people are searching for that keyword. It’s like the crowd at a concert. If lots of people are searching for a keyword, that’s a big crowd. But just like at a concert, if there’s a huge crowd, it can be harder to get to the front.

Your goal is to find keywords with high search volumes but low difficulty scores. This balance is key to choosing targets you can realistically rank for.

Let’s apply this to our coffee example. You might find that “coffee” has a high search volume, suggesting many people are interested. However, if the keyword difficulty is also high, it means many other shops are trying to rank for this term. In contrast, a term like “organic coffee shop Sydney” might have a lower search volume but also lower difficulty, indicating you have a better chance of standing out to coffee enthusiasts in Sydney looking for a cosy spot.

Understanding Search Intent

Infographic explaining different types of keyword search intent: Informational, Product-specific, Local search, and Brand
Aligning content with various keyword search intents

Search intent refers to why someone is conducting a specific search. Is it to find information, buy a product, or locate a website? By aligning your content with the user’s intent, you increase the chances of your content being seen and clicked on.

Let’s break it down with a few examples to illustrate how keywords work:

Informational Keywords: These are used when people are looking for information. For example, “how to make a flat white at home” is an informational keyword. A coffee-related blog that uses this keyword in their content would attract readers interested in learning about making flat whites.

Product-Specific Keywords: When someone already knows what they want, they use very specific keywords. For instance, “buy Breville espresso machine” is a product-specific keyword. E-commerce sites selling kitchen appliances would target these keywords to connect with buyers.

Local Search Keywords: These include a location and are used by people looking for products, services, or businesses in a specific area. “Café open near me” or “Sydney CBD coffee shop” are examples of local search keywords. Cafés in Sydney looking to attract more customers would do well to include these phrases in their online content.

You can find more information in our blog post: What is Local SEO and How Does it Work? A Comprehensive Guide to Local Search in 2024

Brand Keywords: These are keywords that include a brand name. Someone already familiar with a brand might search for “Starbucks menu prices” or “Nespresso coffee pods.” These keywords are crucial for businesses to rank for because they capture an audience already interested in what they offer.

Utilising Long-Tail Keywords

Woman enjoying a latte at a Sydney cafe with a sign reading 'Best organic almond latte in Sydney' demonstrating the effectiveness of long-tail keywords
Reach the right customers using long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search. They might have lower search volumes, but they often lead to higher conversion rates because they’re more specific.

For example, someone searching for “coffee shop” might just be browsing, but someone searching for “best organic almond milk latte in Sydney” knows exactly what they want.

By focusing on these detailed phrases, you not only cut through the noise of generic coffee terms but also connect directly with your ideal customer – the one looking for exactly what you offer.

Want to learn more about long-tail keywords? We discuss this in depth in our blog post: Long Tail Keywords: Find and Use Them for Traffic.

Keeping Your Content Relevant

It’s important to incorporate your keywords naturally within your content. For example, if you’re telling a friend about the new coffee blends at your café, you wouldn’t just repeat “best coffee Sydney” over and over. Instead, you’d naturally mention it while explaining what makes your coffee stand out.

That’s how you should use keywords in your content. Sprinkle them in, making sure they fit naturally into what you’re saying.

Your priority should always be to create content that’s valuable and engaging for your audience because search engines love content that people find helpful. If your audience enjoys and shares your content, search engines take that as a sign you’re offering something worthwhile and are more likely to show your pages to more people.

Read our blog post to learn some tips to avoid keyword stuffing: What is Keyword Stuffing? Definition, How to Avoid and Why It’s Bad for SEO

Monitoring and Updating Your Keywords

Laptop showing analytics dashboard with various data visualisations
Navigating the depths of SEO with real-time data analysis

SEO isn’t a set-and-forget process. You should regularly check your keyword rankings and the performance of your content.

Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you monitor how your keywords are doing and whether you need to tweak your strategy. They can show you which keywords are bringing people to your website and how visitors are interacting with your content.

Maybe you notice that “best cold brew in Sydney” is getting a lot of attention. That’s a sign to maybe write more about your cold brew process or offer a special deal on it.

It’s important to do this regularly. If a keyword isn’t performing well, it might be time to try a new one. This way, you’re always improving and making sure your website is an inviting spot for users.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Keyword Research

Fisherman casting a large net into the river, symbolising targeted keyword research
Casting the net wide with targeted keywords for better SEO catch

Doing keyword research can feel a bit like fishing. Sometimes, you might try to catch a big fish with a net that’s too wide, using very general keywords like “coffee” or “cafe.” The problem? These keywords are so broad that competing for attention is like fishing in the ocean with a tiny rod. You’re likely not going to catch what you’re after because everyone else is fishing in the same spot with bigger boats. It’s better to use more specific keywords or phrases that match exactly what you offer, like “organic coffee shop Melbourne” or “hand-roasted coffee beans.”

Another common slip-up is not thinking about why someone is searching for a particular term. Imagine someone types in “coffee brewing methods” because they want to learn how to brew coffee at home. If your page pops up but only talks about the types of coffee beans you sell without explaining any brewing methods, the visitor won’t find what they need and will likely go elsewhere. It’s crucial to match your content with what people are actually searching for, ensuring that when they land on your page, they find exactly the information they were looking for.

Avoiding these mistakes means you’re not just casting a net into the sea and hoping for the best. Instead, you’re fishing in the right spot with the right gear, ready to catch exactly what you’re after.


Keyword research might seem complex at first, but by breaking it down into manageable steps, it becomes much more approachable. By understanding your audience, using the right tools, and keeping your content relevant and engaging, you can significantly improve your online presence. Remember, the world of SEO is always evolving, so stay curious, keep learning, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategies as you go.


[1] BrightEdge:


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the service, we may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, we only recommend products we believe will add value to our readers.

Melissa Ng, the Business Development & Operations Manager at AppSalon, is a versatile professional with a wealth of experience across fintech, startups, content creation, SEO, marketing, product management, and QA.

Melissa's career journey is highlighted by her seven-year tenure at Credit Savvy, a fintech startup under Commonwealth Bank. Here, she wore various hats, including product manager, content manager, operations manager, lead QA, and account manager. Her contributions led to the remarkable achievement of growing the user base from zero to over one million Australian members, in just over 5 years.

Beyond her professional achievements, Melissa embraces adventure, with interests ranging from hiking, pilates, and baking to knitting. Surprisingly, she even finds relaxation in cleaning.

Melissa Ng is a seasoned expert in the realm of digital business. With both extensive experience and commitment to excellence, Melissa endevours so that every single client receives the best possible outcome.


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