What it is and how to do it with free and paid tools

The foundation for being found online by your target audience is represented by Keyword Research: finding the correct keywords to work on for achieving a good ranking in Google’s organic results is essential today, and it’s a cornerstone of the so-called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. On this page, you will find a brief guide on the method and the best tools to start working with. You will discover the initial steps that will help you identify what keywords your users are searching for online and what topics are of the most interest to your industry and your business.

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Keyword Research: what is it?

The first thing to do in the context of keyword research is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes: after identifying the correct buyer personas, you need to think about the keywords they will use to search for our products on Google. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the concept of search intent: it doesn’t always correspond to the keyword entered by the user. User searches can fall into the following types:

  1. informational search, where the user is seeking information on a topic;
  2. navigational search, where the user uses the search engine as an encyclopedia to find specific words and sites;
  3. commercial search, where the user browses and compares various products they need and would like to purchase;
  4. transactional search, where the user conducts a focused search for a product they want to buy.

what is keyword research

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research is the only way to anticipate what a potential customer will type into the search engine to satisfy their needs. It’s crucial to consider it during the web page design phase to avoid wasting time creating content that no one is looking for. Approximately 90% of websites receive no organic traffic from Google: it’s clear that the page’s construction logic didn’t incorporate this technique.

Types of Keyword Research

There are three types of keyword research:

  • broad spectrum keyword research: this is performed the first time a company approaches this analysis and produces a significant list of relevant keywords based on search volume, effort-to-reward ratio, and keyword difficulty;
  • editorial keyword research: the goal here is to identify informational keywords or questions that users pose to search engines for the production of articles and blogs;
  • targeted keyword research: specialized research on a macro-topic, often related to the industry in which your product is positioned.

Keyword Research factors

What are the important ranking factors for Google to keep in mind during keyword research?

Mainly relevance, authority, and volume: let’s delve into them together.


To earn a high position in the SERP, the content must be useful and of high quality for Google users who have entered specific queries. This is where the concept of ”search intent” comes into play: the content producer must try to create the most comprehensive content possible for the topic searched by the user.


Once the site’s content is complete, it should be promoted on the web to earn backlinks that redirect to it. The more authoritative sites (such as news outlets) compete with us on a keyword, the less likely we are to appear in the SERP.


This is measured by the MSV (monthly search volume) index and indicates the number of times a keyword has been searched per month by the entire audience. Keywords with low searches will consequently not generate much traffic to your site.

How to perform Keyword Research?

There are 4 activities to carry out to set up effective keyword research. It starts with defining your purpose, followed by drafting and refining the keywords to work on and studying the competition to improve your work. It’s advisable to be methodical and follow the process phases meticulously.

Define your goal

The first thing to define for the Keyword Strategy is the mission of the business you want to promote. In particular, it needs to be clarified what sets your business apart uniquely from the competition.

Find easily classifiable keywords

Once you have defined your core business and your typical customer, you can formulate hypotheses about their requests and needs, creating a list of keywords relevant to your concept with significant search volumes. Starting from this, you will delve into their correlations with the simple aid of Google: by searching for each keyword one by one, you can check the suggestions that the search engine offers as you type the keywords. At the bottom of the first search result page, you also have the so-called related searches: a precise tool for identifying related queries on the most typed topic. The results of this type of research will then enrich the original list.

Identify long-tail keywords

It is also important to find more specific and less searched words, the so-called long-tail keywords, which target a niche audience. The longer and more specific the keywords, the more likely you are to have a good position in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This is because in these cases, there is less competition, and people who follow long-tail keywords, although they are a small number, are often more motivated to make a purchase and take action that leads to conversion.

Furthermore, it is very useful to consider latent semantic analysis, which involves taking into account synonyms and terms similar to the keyword with significant search volumes, even if they are already used by competitors.

Analyse the competition

At this point, you have established a good foundation for your keyword research. You can then move on to a comparative analysis of your competitors, establishing the SEO benchmarks with which to measure yourself. Start with short-tail keywords to see how much competition there is and whether it involves structured companies with well-managed SEO. If so, you can try to enter the SERP for long-tail keywords. The analysis can also be completed by searching on Google Ads for the cost per click of each word: the higher it is, the more difficult it will be to compete.


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The best free tools for keyword research

This is a brief guide for those who want to approach Keyword Research using free tools to create a winning strategy. What are they, and how can you use them? To answer this question, we will refer to three platforms: Google Autocomplete, Answer The Public, and Google Trends. Among the best and most popular resources on the web, let’s now discover how to leverage and use them to the fullest.

Google Autocomplete

Google Autocomplete activates when you go to Google’s homepage and start typing a word to search for something on the internet, right after typing the first character, a list of suggestions appears to complete the sentence. This list updates in real time as you continue typing. It is the main tool that can assist you in your Keyword Research. By entering the query in the search bar, Google shows various semantic correlations below (also available at the bottom of the results page) and the main searches related to your keyword).

It is based on a true artificial intelligence system, the algorithm of which aims to interpret user queries to identify the search intent. In practice, the algorithm tries to understand what you will write and helps you complete the sentence, so you can conduct searches more quickly. Furthermore, if you make a mistake while typing a word, the error correction is suggested immediately. The search predictions that Google provides not only change based on your location but also depend on the language you use on the device you are browsing with.

google autocomplete keywords

Furthermore, it is important to analyze the Vocal Search snippet that the Mountain View giant inserts among the top organic results of the SERP, with the statement “People Also Ask” highlighting how important it is for the search engine to satisfy user requests.

vocal search and people also ask

Answer The Public

This is the second indispensable free tool. Quick and easy, this platform allows you to search for keywords with a single click. It is an excellent ally for writing online and finding topics for new content.

Answer The Public lists the Google suggestions thanks to circular graphs that create different combinations. However, its peculiarity is the discursive approach: it can capture long-tail and various topics, allowing you to structure a comprehensive editorial plan. The main function of the tool is to show us the questions users ask Google when typing the keyword that we have entered into the tool. This way, questions become potential titles and subtitles to use for our posts.

Nevertheless, Answer The Public still provides us with a list of related terms, also sorted alphabetically, to have a complete overview of the situation. The main function of the tool is to show us what context certain keywords are searched for.

answer the public keyword research

Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool capable of identifying the most searched words on the internet within a specific period and/or in a particular geographic area. Analyzing internet users’ search trends and interests in specific sectors has never been easier.

This tool doesn’t explicitly provide the absolute number of searches conducted but rather indicates a trend, with the maximum value set at 100 by convention. To understand if the chosen query is genuinely the most popular among the public, we can compare the keyword with similar or related ones, i.e., searches conducted by users that Google considers related to the specified query.

This tool is crucial in terms of SEO. Through Google keyword statistics based on Google data, you can quickly determine whether the chosen keyword is promising for indexing a website.

You can confidently use Google Trends alongside Google Ads’ “keyword planning tool” when evaluating the opportunity to utilize specific keywords for SEO. The visual comparison of keywords is immediate and highly efficient in terms of SEO strategy and content management.

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To achieve satisfying results and become true professionals, it’s important to learn how to use both freemium and paid SEO tools. These tools allow you to plan an SEO strategy, analyze website performance on search engines (SEO Audit), and are essential for building an SEO-friendly website. They will help you identify issues to resolve, thus increasing visitor traffic and improving rankings, leading to a higher number of conversions. Among the most important ones, we cannot fail to mention: SEOZoom, SEMRush, Ubersuggest, and Ahrefs.


SEOZoom is a tool that enables the optimization of the SEO aspects of websites on both on-site and off-site fronts. Its strength lies in the ability to structure link-building campaigns and conduct link audits.


SEMRush is perhaps the most widely used and appreciated platform among SEO specialists. It’s freemium, so registration grants access to various tools, including site traffic trends, organic search with primary keywords, backlinks, and specific URLs for certain pages.


Ubersuggest‘s uniqueness lies in its precision in studying related terms. Once a query is identified, it proposes a series of closely associated search terms.


Ahrefs specializes in studying backlinks to websites and provides particularly accurate reporting on real-time traffic sources.

Suggestions and conclusion

If you want to be competitive, never lose sight of your goals, stay updated on new trends, and remember that well-done keyword research is part of user search intent.

To understand how to optimize or change your strategy after selecting the best keywords for your website, proceed with performance analysis, always considering position tracking.

Experiment, periodically check the changes within your SERP, and test continuously on the keywords you’ve targeted to specialize in effective keyword research.


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