Casting A Wide Net: A How-To Guide For Keyword Analysis And SEO

keyword analysis

Keyword analysis is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). It involves researching keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for and then using that data to optimize your website content and structure. 

The goal of keyword analysis is to identify high-value keywords that drive qualified traffic to your site. By understanding the searcher intent behind keywords, you can create content that ranks well and converts visitors into customers. 

Effective keyword analysis gives you insights into 

The terms people are using to find your products, services, and information online How difficult it will be to rank for those keywords 

Which keywords your competitors are optimizing for Gaps in your keyword targeting that need to be filled In this guide, we will cover: 

How to research and select keywords using tools like Google Keyword Planner Tips for analyzing keyword difficulty and competition 

Ways to match keywords to relevant pages on your site Best practices for optimizing pages for your target keywords How to track keyword rankings over time to measure SEO success 

Properly optimizing for keywords through ongoing analysis is crucial for improving your site’s visibility and traffic. This guide will teach you step-by-step how to perform effective keyword research and use it to boost your SEO results. 

Understanding Searcher Intent 

Searcher intent refers to the goal or purpose behind a user’s search query. When someone searches for a keyword or key phrase in Google, they are looking to satisfy a specific need or find a particular type of information.

Understanding searcher intent is crucial for SEO because it allows you to optimize website content in a way that provides users with the information they are seeking. There are generally three broad categories of searcher intent what is SEO

Navigational – The searcher is looking for a specific website or webpage. An example would be searching for “Wikipedia” or a brand name. 

Informational – The searcher is looking to learn or research a topic. Keywords and questions like “What is blockchain” or “How to bake a cake” have informational intent. 

Transactional – The searcher intends to make a purchase or acquire a product or service. “Buy hotel rooms,” “Samsung TV deals,” and other product-related keywords have transactional intent. 

When doing keyword research, it’s helpful to group keywords and keyphrases according to these searcher intent categories. This allows you to focus content optimization on pages that will satisfy each type of intent. 

For example, keywords with transactional intent should be targeted with product description pages, pricing information, calls-to-action, etc. Informational keywords call for in-depth articles, guides, and reference material. Grouping keywords helps match content to searcher intent. 

Optimizing for searcher intent results in positive user experiences. When a query and page content are aligned with intent, searchers find relevant information quickly. This boosts conversions for transactional searches and keeps informational searchers on your site. Understanding intent is key for useful, goal-oriented SEO. 

Doing Keyword Research 

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO. It involves researching and analyzing keywords and keyword phrases that are relevant to your website or business. The goal is to identify the terms and phrases that your target audience is searching for, so you can optimize your content around those keywords. 

There are several tools and methods you can use to conduct effective keyword research: 

Google Keyword Planner – This free tool allows you to see estimated search volumes for keywords, as well as get suggestions for new keyword ideas. You can enter seed keywords to generate new related keywords and phrases. 

Google Trends – Google Trends shows you search volume patterns and trends over time for keywords and topics. This can help you identify seasonal keywords, or find ones that are steadily rising or declining in popularity.

Amazon’s Best Sellers lists – Analyzing Amazon’s category-specific best sellers lists can reveal high-performing keywords for different topics and products. 

Competitor analysis – Study what keywords your competitors are optimizing for by analyzing their content and metadata. Their top-ranking keywords should give you ideas. 

Keyword research tools – Paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz Keyword Explorer, and KWFinder provide keyword data and suggestions to fuel your research. 

Search autocomplete – Google’s autocomplete search suggestions reveal what people are actively searching for in real-time. 

Forums and social media- Pay attention to the keywords and questions people use when discussing your industry online. These can make good keyword targets. 

Start with broad-seed keywords for your overall topic, then break those down into more specific long-tail variations. The goal is to build a comprehensive list of relevant keyword opportunities. Focus on keywords with decent search volume and difficulty to target for content optimization and rankings. 

Analyzing Keyword Difficulty 

Keyword difficulty measures how hard it will be to rank for a particular keyword. There are a few key metrics you should look at when analyzing difficulty: 

Competition – This refers to how many other pages are already ranking for your target keyword. The more competition there is, the harder it will be to rank. You can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see how many pages are ranking. Look for keywords with less than 100,000 results for a manageable level of competition. 

Search volume- The monthly search volume indicates how often people are searching for a given term. Higher volume keywords have more competition, so look for ones with at least 1,000 searches per month. But extremely high volumes like 1 million can be difficult to rank for as a new site. 

Optimization difficulty – This metric estimates how optimized existing ranking pages are for SEO. Well-optimized pages with lots of backlinks, strong on-page SEO, and high-authority domains will be quite difficult to outrank. Look for keywords with “Medium” difficulty scores.

To calculate overall difficulty, you can use a tool like SEMrush that aggregates these factors into a 1-100 score. Anything below 30 is easy, 30-50 is medium, and over 50 is hard. 

Start with easier keywords, and you can work up to more difficult ones as your site establishes more authority and you create optimized content over time. Regularly check keyword difficulty so you know how your rankings are progressing. 

Optimizing for Different Keywords 

Keywords come in different shapes and sizes, and each type requires a different optimization strategy. Here are the main types of keywords: 

Head Keywords 

Head keywords are short, high-traffic keywords that are very competitive. For example, “SEO” and “marketing” are head keywords. 

Optimizing for head keywords requires extensive on-page and off-page optimization across your entire site. You need lots of high-quality backlinks, optimal page speed, excellent content, and perfect technical SEO. Head keywords drive huge traffic but are notoriously hard to rank for. 

Torso Keywords 

Torso keywords add some specificity to head keywords. For example, “SEO audit” and “content marketing strategy”. 

Torso keywords are easier to rank for than head keywords. Focus your optimization efforts on creating dedicated pages targeting torso keywords. Make sure each page offers in-depth information matching the keyword. 

Long-Tail Keywords 

Long-tail keywords are ultra-specific and contain 3+ words. For example, “conducting a technical SEO audit” and “developing a content marketing strategy for small business”. 

Long-tail keywords have lower competition and are much easier to rank for. You should optimize important pages to target closely related long-tail variations. Include long-tail keywords in page titles, headers, content, URLs, etc. 

Optimizing different pages across your site for a combination of head, torso, and long-tail keywords is crucial for increasing organic traffic.

Tracking Keyword Rankings 

Monitoring your website’s keyword rankings is crucial for understanding your website’s overall search engine optimization (SEO) performance. Keeping track of rankings helps you identify opportunities for improvement as well as recognize areas where your SEO efforts are paying off. 

There are a few key tools available for tracking keyword rankings: 

Google Search Console – This free tool from Google provides data on your website’s performance in Google search. It shows your rankings for keywords you’re targeting, so you can see how your site ranks for those terms over time. This is one of the most important tools for monitoring Google rankings. 

SEMRush – A paid SEO tool that provides in-depth keyword ranking data for your site and competitors. It tracks rankings across search engines and shows where your site ranks for target keywords versus competitors. This allows for monitoring rankings and identifying opportunities to improve. 

Moz– Another paid SEO tool that includes useful keyword ranking tracking. It shows keyword rankings over time so you can identify trends and track the impact of SEO optimizations. 

Serpstat – A paid tool that tracks keyword rankings across search engines. It provides tracking for international/localized rankings as well. 

Ahrefs – A robust paid SEO tool with keyword ranking capabilities across multiple search engines. It provides helpful tracking of your most important target keywords. 

The key is to consistently monitor rankings over time, instead of just checking sporadically. By tracking rankings regularly (such as weekly or monthly), you get a better understanding of the impact of your optimization efforts. 

Monitoring tools also help reveal issues leading to declines in rankings, so you can quickly diagnose and address problems. They provide key insights to help inform your overall SEO strategy and identify new opportunities for improvement. Consistent tracking of keyword rankings is vital for maximizing your search visibility. 

Performing Competitor Keyword Analysis 

Analyzing your competitors’ keywords can provide valuable insights to help improve your SEO strategy. Here are some of the main methods for researching competitor keywords: 

Analyze Competitors’ Top Landing Pages

Look at the top pages of your competitor’s sites ranking for your target keywords. You can do this by searching for your target keyword and browsing the top results. 

Examine what keywords your competitors are ranking for with those pages. Pay attention to the types of keywords, their difficulty, and search volume. Identify potential keywords you may want to target as well. 

Use SEO Tools 

Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz to analyze your competitors’ keywords. Most SEO tools have options to see which keywords a specific site ranks for along with keywords they are targeting but don’t yet rank for. 

Study which terms your competitors rank well for versus those they don’t. Look for “low-hanging fruit” keywords they aren’t focusing on that you may be able to target. 

Analyze Their Metadata 

Check their page titles, meta descriptions, images, and other elements for keyword optimization. See which keywords competitors are targeting for each page. 

You can then consider optimizing your own site’s metadata for similar terms when appropriate. Just avoid copying verbatim. 

Check Their Backlinks 

Use backlink analysis tools to see what keywords their existing backlinks use as anchor text. This can indicate what terms they are trying to rank for. 

Consider earning backlinks using similar anchor text where logical for your site. But take care not to over-optimize anchor text. 

By learning from competitors, you can identify both gaps and opportunities in your own targeting. Just be sure not to copy their work directly when optimizing your site. 

Matching Keywords to Pages 

Once you’ve done your keyword research and determined which keywords you want to target, the next step is matching those keywords to relevant pages on your site. This process is known as “siloing” and it involves organizing your site’s architecture and content around specific topics and themes.

Some tips for assigning keywords to pages: 

Group related keywords into silos or clusters. For example, keywords around “SEO tips”, “on page SEO” and “technical SEO” can go into an SEO silo. 

Ensure you have a strong informational hub or pillar page for each silo. This is the main page that targets your core keywords and themes. 

Funnel long-tail variations of keywords into supporting pages around the pillar. For example, “SEO audit checklist” and “how to do an SEO site audit” would be pages within the SEO silo. 

Pay attention to searcher intent and match pages accordingly. Keywords for buying guides or product comparisons should go on different pages than informational keywords. 

Consider creating new pages or updating existing pages to align with keyword opportunities. Fill in any gaps in your silos. 

Be tactful about optimizations on pages targeting multiple keywords. Prioritize the core keyword first. 

Avoid going overboard and forcing keywords onto irrelevant pages. The connections should feel natural. 

Use your sitemap to visualize the site structure and flow of pages within silos. 

By organizing your content and keywords into logical silos, you can provide a better user experience. Visitors can easily navigate and find information on a specific topic. This siloed structure also signals relevancy to search engines. Just take care not to silo too aggressively or you may over-optimize. 

Optimizing Pages for Target Keywords 

Once you have selected your target keywords, the next step is optimizing your pages to rank for those terms. On-page optimization refers to changes you can make directly on a webpage to improve its rankings. Here are some effective on-page optimization strategies: 

Use keywords in headings and subheadings 

Structure your content so keywords appear in your H1, H2, and H3 tags. Place your primary keyword in your H1, and sprinkle related keywords in the subheadings. This helps search engines understand your page’s topic and what sections are most relevant.

Include keywords in the meta description 

The meta description is a short paragraph that summarizes a page’s content. Include your target keywords here, as this summary can impact click-through rates. But avoid keyword stuffing. 

Optimize image filenames and alt text 

When uploading images, ensure the filenames include target keywords. Write keyword-rich alt text that summarizes the image content. Images boost your page’s relevance for image search. 

Create keyword-focused content 

Naturally work keywords into your page’s body content. Mention them multiple times, but don’t over-optimize. Craft the content around searcher intent rather than exact keyword phrases. 

Include keywords in URL slugs 

If possible, add keywords to your page URLs. For example 


Optimize site architecture 

Ensure your site’s information architecture makes it easy for search engines to crawl and index keyword-focused content. Keep site navigation clear and pages no more than one or two clicks away from home. 

Check keyword density 

Use tools like Yoast to check your page’s keyword density. Generally, 2-3% density is ideal. Higher than 10% risks over-optimization penalties. 

Audit internal links 

Ensure other pages on your site link to your optimized page using its target keywords as anchor text. This passes authority and helps rankings. 

With a strategic approach to on-page optimization, you can align pages with target keywords and improve visibility in search results. Monitor rankings regularly and refine as needed. 


Keyword analysis is an essential part of any SEO strategy. By understanding searcher intent and doing thorough keyword research, you can identify the terms and phrases that your target audience is using to find your products, services, and content online. 

Performing ongoing keyword analysis allows you to optimize your site architecture, on-page content, and off-page efforts for your most important keywords. This helps search engines understand what your pages are about and match them to relevant search queries. 

The key takeaways around keyword analysis include: 

Use a mix of keyword research tools to generate an extensive list of keyword opportunities and analyze their difficulty, competitiveness, and search volume. 

Identify the 3-5 core keywords that are most aligned with each page based on topical relevance and searcher intent. Avoid targeting keywords that are unrelated to the page content. 

Optimize on-page elements like page titles, headers, content, image names, and meta descriptions for each target keyword. This helps search engines understand the topic and focus of the page. 

Perform regular checks on your keyword rankings to see how you stack up against competitors and monitor changes over time. 

Adapt your keyword targeting strategy based on this tracking to capitalize on new opportunities and emerging trends. 

Update keyword-optimized elements as website content is added or changed to maintain relevance. 

Ongoing keyword analysis and optimization is crucial for staying ahead of the competition and providing the most relevant user experience. By following search intent, you can create content that not only ranks highly but also satisfies searcher needs.