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The perfect Keyword research:

So now you know what a good keyword should look like. But how do you like it? A successful analysis must be well thought out and well structured. There are several steps involved in choosing the best of the best.

collect data

The first thing to do is to collect as many keyword ideas and keywords as possible. You can sort and cluster them later. To get the data in the first place, there are various contact points:

1. Think for yourself:

Start with your natural resources: Your brain should be the first port of call when it comes to finding the right keywords. At the beginning, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do your users want?
  • What problems and needs do they have?
  • With what intent are you looking?

Make a note of key points and extract the first keywords from them.
Let's go through the entire process once using a shop portal for backpacking trips:


Here is an excerpt from the result of the first quick brainstorming session.



The search analysis in the Google Search Console


Transferring keywords from the Google Search Console.

2. Look into your analysis tools:

The data from point 1 can be optimally supplemented by appropriate analysis tools. Look at the keywords that brought people to your site. This works with SEO tools such as ahrefs or Searchmetrics, but also particularly well with the free Google Search Console. In the search analysis you will find almost all of the keywords that users have brought to you.

The data from the travel portal's Search Console provide some indications of customer needs:

From this data there are some important things that you should use as the basis of your research. For example:

  • What exactly do users enter as a search query in the search box?
  • How are they thinking? What is it that moves you?
  • What problem should you solve them?

But also important data about your product or your company can be read from the keyword data of the Search Console. For example:
  • Have users already heard of your site / product? Or is it your first time here? Is there a correspondingly high number of brand search queries?
  • What problems do they have with your product? Can you counteract this with the right content?


3. Talk to those who should know:

There are employees in your support and sales team who deal with the problems and needs of your users on a daily basis. Even if they aren't necessarily online marketing experts, their opinion is gold. Be sure to ask them for their opinion and assessment, use their information to create a list of the customers' wishes and problems. Then you break that list down into keywords.

The support and sales team sometimes have different points of contact with users and can thus sharpen the picture of user needs.

Have you already created personas for your company? If so, you will find additional keyword incentives here as well. Take a close look at your target groups and consider what specific needs each customer has.


Example of formulated customer problems that are formulated into keywords



Important information can often be obtained from forums and wikis.

4. Research the web:

The Internet offers an immeasurable amount of information. Take a good look at what users are discussing about your topic, what questions they are asking and what they are discussing. Write everything down and extract keywords from it.

An initial search for topics and keywords can be useful in the following places:

Wikis: Wikipedia and Co. are a good first port of call for research. Look at the articles for your first selected keywords and look in particular at the tables of contents and linked articles to come up with new keyword ideas.

Forums: For almost every topic there are (freely accessible) user forums in which users can exchange ideas. Here you will find extremely helpful data from which search queries can be generated.

Question & Answer Pages: Platforms like gutefrage.net or Quora are also real gold pits for collecting ideas for keywords. Simply enter your desired topic and read what the users are talking about.

Write down what you find and break the topics down into keywords.


5. Look at your competition:

You probably know who your competitors are. Then be sure to take a look at their pages and their data. Take a look at which keywords are ranking them successfully and which keywords you may not have thought of yet.

With the help of various tools such as ahrefs you can get an overview of the ranking keywords of your competitors. The keyword focus of each website can also be found out in this way.

There are hardly any free alternatives here. However, some providers such as SEMrush allow a limited number of queries. If the quota is exhausted, it is often helpful to take a look at the meta keywords of the competition - many sites enter these in the hope of having a positive influence on the search engine. You can look at the most important keywords of your competitors as often in the HTML code.

You can also analyze the text of a website and thus filter out the most frequently used words. Seorch, the Seitenreport or SISTRIX are tools that can help you with this. Simply enter the desired URL and display the most common keywords.
If you don't know who the competition is for your desired keyword, then Good-old-Google can help: After a short Google search, just take a look at the top 20 pages for the search term and get inspired. Check the website's keywords and add them to your list.


Keyword analysis from seorch.de, including the frequency distribution of the tool's phrases, can provide information about certain keywords.


Main competitor's top keywords



The keywords from all sources together form the basis for keyword research. The keyword lists are usually much more extensive than here.

6. Write down your information:

Based on the data you have collected in this way, you can create your first set of keywords. Bring all matching search queries together in one document.


Extend the keyword set with the help of tools

With programs like the Google Keyword Planner, you can now duplicate keywords and keyword combinations and add other related search terms. This way you can multiply your existing ideas and expand your keyword set.

Keyword Planner

In the keyword planner under the item Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords (German: multiply keyword lists to get new keywords) you can mix different keyword lists and get new combinations.

Enter your desired keywords and click on Get Search Volume. The tool then shows the matching search term combinations and their monthly search volume.




More tools

If you don't have an AdWords account, you can use alternatives such as Ubersuggest, the keywordtool.io or simply the Google Related Keywords.

Ubersuggest primarily offers keyword variations and long tails. The related keywords are limited in scope, but are a useful addition to find related search terms for your keyword. Together, the tools provide an excellent, free alternative for doing keyword research.

Synonym databases such as OpenThesaurus or Wortschatz Uni Leipzig also provide useful ideas for other terms, especially in the form of synonyms. Semager or Vionto, among others, help to find semantically related words.

Expand your existing list by entering the keywords you have found. Use your head to pre-sort the search terms well: Often there are keywords that just don't make sense. Also make sure that you do not only generate short-head keywords, for many topics mid- or long-tail terms can be much more useful.

Analyze and select keywords

Collecting the keywords was the easy part. You should now have a long and probably confusing list of search terms. This mountain of keywords has practically applied for the content on your site - now we can see which terms are useful: It's up to the analysis and selection.

Remove duplicate keywords

First throw out all duplicate keywords, there is always overlap due to the parallel use of different tools. Next comes the numbers part: Use analysis tools to find the right keywords. A popular program for this is the Google Keyword Planner:

Keyword analysis with the Google Keyword Planner

Even if the selection of keyword and SEO tools is huge, Google basically provides its own tools that you can use for search engine optimization. Whether the data is more reliable, more complete or better than that of other tools is controversial.

Online marketing expert Russ Jones wrote an interesting article some time ago on the dirty secrets of the Keyword Planner.

The Google Keyword Planner is still one of the most frequently used tools for keyword research. Although it is actually made for SEA purposes, a lot of important data can also be derived for organic search engine optimization. However, Google now limits the data in many cases.

If you want to know what is possible with the Keyword Planner and how you can use tricks and tips to get good data despite Google's parking claw, then take a few minutes to watch our video. We'll explain to you quickly and clearly how the planner works and show you a few secret tricks.

If you already know how to use the Keyword Planner and also how to get the hidden data, then you can simply skip this part of the guide to perfect keyword research.



After you have analyzed the search volume, impressions and clicks and exported all keyword lists, you can presort the list if necessary. This simplifies the following analysis and reduces the effort:

Complete keyword list after analysis with Google's Keyword Planner.

To do this, remove the superfluous information from the list: The columns Keyword, Average Monthly Searches, Competition and Estimated Impressions are particularly important. Estimated clicks and estimated CTRs can also be helpful.

Sort the list in descending order according to the monthly search queries or the impressions. Now look in particular at the keywords that have no search volume / impressions. There are always redundant keywords that you can delete.

Even more keyword research and tool alternatives: Of course, instead of the keyword planner, you can also use ahrefs, Searchmetrics or another tool for keyword research.

Cluster and prioritize

You should now have the search volume or impressions for each of your keywords and a rough guide to the competition for your search terms. Next comes the clustering and sorting:

1. Check for relevance

As always, of course, do not take over the data from the tools without using your brain. Reflect on them, question them and adapt them to your content. Check that all keywords meet your requirements for good search terms. As a reminder, here are the properties of good keywords again:

  • Topic relevance: The keyword MUST be relevant to your website or to the topic of your planned content.
  • Needs orientation: Is the search term tailored to the needs of your users? He tells you what information a user needs via the search queries.
  • Conversion relevance: Conceptual accuracy and level of detail with regard to short-head, mid-tail or long-tail: Make sure to choose the keywords that are conversion-relevant for your topic.
  • Target group relevance: Check whether the keywords have a local and / or temporal reference and whether the tonality suits your target group.
  • Related terms: Remember that in addition to the main keyword, you should also keep variations, synonyms, and thematically related terms. So also use keywords that are very similar, such as Buying Texts on the Internet and Buying Texts on the Internet. We'll sort that out later.

Based on these properties, remove any unnecessary keywords. After that, there should only be keywords with variations and synonyms that fit your target group and your site and meet a user need.

Sort the results from your AdWords analysis into thematic groups

2. To summarize:

Think about sub-categories and put all keywords and keyword combinations that are very similar into groups. Think about which keywords cover a common topic. Ideally, at the end of each keyword group there should be variations, synonyms and different short head, mid and long tail queries of one and the same keyword or topic.


3. Sort duplicate keywords with Google:

The next step is to check your keywords for uniqueness. This way you can focus on the more important keywords while writing.
Enter the keywords of each group that are very similar on Google. If the search engine spits out two very different search results, you should definitely consider both keywords in your content. If, on the other hand, the results are very similar, then you can concentrate on the keyword with the better search query / impression values ​​- Google then apparently sees these two search terms as synonyms. Highlight the relevant keyword, but leave the weaker search term in your list so that you can see it.

The results for "rucksack wandern" and for "wandern rucksack", for example, are very similar - here the focus can be placed on the stronger keyword:


4. Check the competition with Google:

Now let's take another look at the competition for the individual keywords. The competition data from the Keyword Planner cannot be relied on: They are used for competition analysis in the SEA and at most give a weak indication of how competitive a keyword is in the organic SERPs. Instead, enter the individual search terms on Google. That's a lot of work, yes - but it's worth it: The results show you exactly how strong the competition is for a keyword and you can see directly how the topic has been dealt with.

Which pages rank? Is it forum posts or websites with thin content that are usually easier to beat? Or do you find well-researched, informative articles with lots of social signals and backlinks here? Are you trying to compete against an online shop for a product keyword? It's going to be difficult. Take a look at the top 10 for each keyword and check the search hits:

  • How exactly does the content of the individual pages respond to user needs? Does he answer all of the questions? Does he help solve the problem that my search query is expressing?
  • How detailed is the content on the individual pages in terms of word count, keywords and multimedia use? The number of words and keywords can be determined with a WDF * IDF tool, but also manually with Word.
  • How many backlinks do each URL have? How many social signals do you have? Tools like BuzzSumo make it easy to find out this data.
  • Which page and domain authority have the results in the top 10? How many backlinks? Use the MozBar, for example, to display such values. The stronger the competition here, the more difficult it will be for you to rank.
  • What is the design like? Does the article look high quality? Is it well structured?

Finally, ask yourself the following questions: Can I do better? Can I offer my users more interesting, helpful and appropriate content for this keyword? How difficult is it getting to the top 10 for that keyword?

On the basis of this analysis, give each keyword its own rating: 3 points if it becomes easy, one point if it is almost impossible to produce better content.

Universal search result when searching for Tim Burton

Danger: When examining the competition, also think of Google's Universal Search: For terms that Google already covers with its advanced search results, it becomes all the more difficult to storm the SERPs. Because Google tries to answer the search query directly in the SERP and selects the right content for it very specifically. And even if you do rank, users may not even appear on your site, but have already said goodbye to the SERPs - they have what they wanted.


5. Rate & prioritize keywords

After all the analyzes, you can finally rate your keywords based on the collected data. Set up a rating system that you integrate into your Excel spreadsheet. Go through your keyword list step by step and assign points for each of your examined values: you give three for good values, one for bad values, two for medium values. Take into account

  • the search volume or the impressions
  • the data for the competition from AdWords and from your competition analysis
  • the values ​​from your uniqueness analysis
  • if necessary also the clicks

Example of an evaluation of the collected keywords

Also think about which search queries can be answered with informational, transactional or navigational content.

Finally, sort the search terms within each individual group according to points. The result is the ranking of your keywords within a group, which you can use to estimate which keywords you should definitely use in your content and which are less important. You can use the keywords with the highest scores as the main keyword.

Danger: Be sure to pay attention to any cannibalization effects with keywords or pages that already exist. If you are already ranking for some of your examined keywords, then it may be better to expand or revise the existing content.

When do I award how many points?

From which search volume, impressions or clicks etc. you should consider which keywords or how you should grade, depends on various factors: For example, the industry and awareness of your topic as well as the length of the keyword - long-tail keywords usually have a low volume, but also weaker competition. Ultimately, you have to develop a feeling for yourself and weigh up which search volume is high and which is low for a keyword.

With the point system presented here, differences such as those between high search volume and length of the keyword are to be compensated to a certain extent. In principle, of course, the higher the search volume, the better. In my example, I gave 3 points for a value of 1000 impressions or more, 1000 search queries, 200 clicks and a value below 0.3 for the AdWords competition.

6. Prioritize keyword groups

Finally, you prioritize the individual keyword groups in order to determine for yourself which keywords you should process first into high-quality content according to the respective user needs.
Sort the groups on the one hand according to the total volume that the keywords generate (just add them up) and according to the competition that is waiting for you. On the other hand, think about which keyword groups meet the most urgent needs of your users:


Example for the prioritization of keyword groups

  • Which content is your priority? What content do you or your customers need?
  • What is the traffic potential of this keyword group?
  • How strong is the competition for this keyword group?
  • How much work does I have to do to achieve something?
  • What kind of ROI do I expect from this keyword group? What is the profit that it brings?

The individual keyword groups are now the basis for your content. From now on you can start creating the content.

Build themed worlds

Process your keywords into ingenious content - appropriately long, multimedia, tailored directly to user needs. Think about whether you are creating transactional, informational (in-depth or less in-depth) or navigational content and start thinking about the right topics.

Which types of content are the right ones?

Basically, depending on the search query types, a distinction can be made between informational, transactional and navigational content. Depending on what the user needs, you should therefore have the right content ready. In our detailed glossary article, we explain the differences between these three types. Here just the short form:

  • Informational content A distinction can be made between in-depth information, which depicts a whole, comprehensive world of topics, and more superficial, smaller content units that provide users with quick answers to their questions.
  • Transactional content is designed to convey a product or service to the user. It is convincingly designed and shows the user how he can help him with his needs.
  • Navigational content in turn, helps him with orientation and navigation in the network.

How good, SEO-relevant content should look is also described by Google in its Webmaster Guidelines. Some tools also give you a little help with your content planning:

W-question tools make you different topic suggestions based on your keywords. You shouldn't always take all of them very seriously, but there are usually some useful ones.

Google Trends gives you a good clue as to whether you are betting on the right horse for your topic or keyword. Enter the keyword and see if the topic is following an upward trend or if user interest is already waning.

Keyword research: laborious but effective

Good keyword research is the basis for the content with which you convince your users and the search engine. Even if the path to the right keywords is tedious, a detailed analysis is a must. Keywords are not dead or unusable, they are an excellent source of data on what your users want. With the steps described here, you can create the basis for perfectly balanced content.

If you want to get to work right now analyzing your own keywords, then you should read on a bit (I know it's quite a bit of input). It's worth it: In the following we will not only show you the perfect tools for your keyword research, we will also tell you which mistakes you should absolutely avoid, how to optimize your site with your keywords and how to monitor the success of your search terms. We also answer the most important questions about keyword research. Hang on a little longer and perfect your keyword work.