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Keyword research 2021

The keyword research deals with the Target group-oriented analysis of search termsthat are used in search engines. It is the most important component for search engine marketing. When used correctly, keyword research represents a roadmap for creating content and even implementing entire websites.

By doing keyword research, you can not only learn which ones Terms and phrases You should optimize your websites and content, but can, for example, predict fluctuations in demand, react to market conditions and sustainably strengthen your brand in your core target group.

Modern keyword research is no longer limited to search terms, but to the underlying ones Search intention. The phase of the visitor's customer journey also plays an important role here.

Let's take an in-depth look at the intricacies of keyword research together.


Keywords are the terms which, when entered into a search engine, land users on a website. The determination of relevant keywords is called keyword research.

Keyword research basics

Why is keyword research important?

We keep it simple: The right keywords give you access to the right audience.

Online users don't just stumble upon your website - instead they are looking for a product, information or content.
In order to be visible to your target audience, you have to be visible to the correct search terms (aka keywords) are found.

Traffic increase through targeted SEO measures based on keyword research.

Professional keyword research makes it clear which search terms your target group is using - and who knows how their target group searches, knows how they can be found. Unfortunately, most of the time your competitors know it too.

An essential part of keyword research is therefore also assessing the Competition situation.
For every search term there are competitors who, like you, want to rank in the best positions. With the right keyword research, not only should you find the right keywords, but you should too realistic keywords. The less the competition, the more likely it is that it will be easier for you to take the top positions.

However, if your website has achieved a certain level of relevance over time, there is a greater chance of getting involved in contested keywords.

How big the influence of the position can be can be seen by looking at the Click distribution by position within the first page throws:

Position in the SERPsAverage traffic share
132,5 %
217,6 %
311,4 %
48,1 %
56,1 %
64,4 %
73,5 %
92,6 %
102,4 %

Sistrix: click probabilities SERPs

How Often Should I Do Keyword Research?

15% of all searches on Google are new and have never been done before (source). Keyword research is therefore not a one-off measure.

The foundation of almost every website these days is based on keywords. Regular research is not only useful, but also worthwhile.

Keyword research makes sense if you:

  • create a new website
  • Create a new blog post / subpage / landing page
  • want to promote a new product / service
  • Want to restructure your website
  • want to revise a blog post / subpage / landing page

We recommend that keyword research should become an integral part of your SEO / SEA work. Depending on the size and relevance of the online marketing, it makes sense to do monthly keyword research.

Basic knowledge of keywords

Types of keywords

Keywords are usually after the number of words broken down and grouped within a search query.
The more words there are in a query, the easier it is to rate the term, as there tends to be less competition.

The number of words in the search terms per search process can be roughly classified into three categories: Head, body & tail.

Head, body and long tail keywords

Before we begin our first research using different tools, we should first familiarize ourselves with the different types of keywords. Keywords are grouped into three categories: Head, body and longtail

Head keywords

The head keywords are mainly Single word search terms with an extremely high search volume and corresponding competition (e.g. "insurance" or "vacation").

Because the search intent is often very broad (someone searching for "insurance" might search for auto insurance, life insurance, or a definition of the word "insurance"), head keywords usually don't convert well.

Body keywords

Body keywords are 2- to 3-word search phrasesthat have a large search volume (at least 2,000 searches per month), but more specific are as head keywords.

Keywords like "compare insurance" or "vacation Mallorca 2020" are examples of body keywords. These almost always have one lower competition as head keywords, but can still be very competitive.

Longtail keywords

Longtail keywords are long, at least four-word search phrasesthat are very specific.

Phrases like "good life insurance for students" and "Mallorca Holidays 2020 Magaluf" are examples of longtail keywords.

We recommend that you do most of your research in Body and longtail keywords to invest.

Why the focus on body and long tail keywords?

Head keywords are very competitive and most of them don't convert well. Therefore, they are not initially in focus for us.

In our experience, body keywords hit the core of search volume, buyer intent, and competition.

If you create and optimize landing pages around body keywords, you will usually also automatically rank for closely related longtail keywords.

In other words, when optimizing content for body keywords, a lot of long-tail keywords are generally covered. This means that a large amount of search volume can be tapped.

The big problem with longtail keywords

But watch out: A longtail keyword may only around 100-1000 searches per month received, sometimes less than 100 or 10 depending on the accuracy of the search phrase and the size of the market or niche.

That means: in order to get a lot of organic traffic from longtails, you have to produce dozens of content. And each of them has to be optimized around a single long tail keyword.

This is not to say that you shouldn't use longtail keywords as part of your search engine strategy after all.

But soon hundreds of articles with long-tail optimized content Throwing it into the index is no solution either, since it still does Added value for the user and the quality of the content must be in focus. If this is not the case, the content automatically loses its relevance for search engines.

Search intention

Search intention is an important aspect of keyword research. Without a deep understanding of the intent behind a user's search, SEO efforts are almost certainly not going to contribute to business goals. There are three basic types of search queries:


Informative keywords do that most of the internet research out. From general research to reading / browsing online news to looking at funny memes - this is the information category. Can you make some money with these keywords? You can, but your website should have a lot of traffic and be marketed very well with the right ad placement.

Wikipedia defines informative search queries as "queries that cover a broad topic (e.g. Black Forest or cars) for which there can be thousands of relevant results". When someone enters an informative search query on Google or another search engine, they are looking for information - therefore the name. You're probably not looking for a specific website like you would in a navigation query. They just want to answer a question or learn how to do something specific.


The navigational search can be done in informative and transactional search intentions be subdivided.

As the name suggests, navigation-related searches are intended for users who are looking for something. That "something" could be a product, but it could also be a specific URL.

A navigation query is a search query that is entered with the intention of finding a particular website. For example, instead of typing the URL in a browser's navigation bar or using a bookmark, a user can type "youtube" in the Google search bar to find the YouTube page.


A transactional search query is a query that is intended to be a Complete transaction. Transactional searches can be exact brand and product names (like "Samsung Galaxy S6"), generic (like "coffee maker"), or actually contain terms like "buy" or "order". In all of these examples you can infer that the seeker will be in the near future a transaction considering if he hasn't already pulled out his credit card. Many local searches (e.g. "Restaurant Cologne") are also transactional search queries.

Addition: Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Latent semantic indexing is a technology that has been used by various search engines for several years to improve the quality of search results. With the help of LSI, search engines try through Word association to decide what the seeker is after really looking.

For example, if you were looking for "keyperformance" (that's us), Google would try to use the context to decide whether you were looking for information on the technical term "key performance indicator" or on our little agency. There's a great way to keep track of LSI keywords: LSIGraph: LSI Keyword Generator (Free)

We are now through with the basics of keyword research.
In the next chapter we begin with the actual research of keywords.

At the same time, we look at the most important tools to reduce our workload.

Chapter 1:

Find keyword ideas

Now we start with the actual keyword research. At the beginning we have to create a basis for the research.

We work with so-called seed keywords, which serve as the basis of the research.

The first part of our research is about collecting as many keyword ideas as possible. In the third step, we then separate the wheat from the chaff.

Before we start with the keyword research, we must first set up the most important helper correctly:

A table.

Regardless of whether it is Excel, Google Sheets or Airtable - it is important that you have a central file where you can maintain your keyword data.

Once you have your spreadsheet at hand, let's get started.

There are several approaches to starting keyword research:

  • Start with seed keywords:
    A seed keyword is the basis for the research. These are mostly head keywords.
  • Starting with my competitors:
    Which keywords are my competitors ranking for? Where are my competitors ranked, but not me? Which other keywords should I cover?
  • Start with an existing page:
    If you can already access an existing page and, above all, its data from the Search Console and possibly web analysis data, you already have a good basis for the research.

We are fans of practical tips and instructions.
In this article, we will therefore conduct the keyword research from the perspective of a social media agency.

The most common is the keyword research with Seed keywords.
To find a keyword that can be used as a seed keyword, the following considerations help:

  • How do you search for your product or service?
  • What do your customers call your product or service?
  • Are there any circumscribing words?

For our example agency, the following terms would now move into the table:

  • "Social media"
  • "Social Media Agency"
  • "Facebook advertising"
  • "Instagram advertising"

Keyword Idea Tools

The first and logical way is initially quite simple:

We google our terms.

Google is our main source of information. You can infer a huge amount of information from a search results page:

  • What is the search intention?
  • Local or national focus?
  • What kind of content does Google prefer for the search query?

The search results reflect Google's view of good and useful content and provide direct information about the search intention. Therefore, use the search results and the elements for your keyword research.

In the following, we will go into the most important elements of the search results page and how you can use them for research:

Google Suggest

The first useful tool is revealed as soon as you enter your search term: Google Suggest.

While entering your search query, Google Suggest shows frequently searched queries for the respective search directly below the search box. This function saves time for the searcher - it gives us an insight into the most frequent searches of other users.

The suggestions are based on the previous search and are often in the same subject area. To do this, add a "*" in front of your search term. Google then also shows you what was placed in front of the term.

We add all relevant terms to our table. You can take this step as often as you want with the new terms to repeat.

Danger: Google Suggest relates previous searches and personal search history in the suggestions. Therefore, carry out your search in the incognito mode of your browser.

Related searches

Under the search results, Google also shows "Related Searches", sometimes also "Related Searches" for the current search:

Here, too, you can note relevant search terms and add them to the list.

For a more in-depth research, you can also other search engines how to consult Bing:

Depending on your search intent, you can too Youtube for research use. As the second largest search engine in the world, there is also quite a bit of keyword inspiration here:

In the case of transactional search intentions, research on Amazon is also a good idea.

But there are other elements on the search results page that can provide you with valuable ideas.

Users also ask

With this element you can easily find out which problems and questions Google users have on your topic:

You should now have enough keyword ideas together.

There are actually other ways to find keyword ideas. In our experience, from this point on you often get lost in the data. We therefore recommend that you now focus on the sorting & clustering of keywords.

In the following, we are therefore introducing tools to help you find the most relevant and promising search terms from your keyword ideas.

Other useful tools

For the sake of completeness, we would like to introduce you to a few other useful tools for keyword research at this point.

In our experience, the tools mentioned above are definitely sufficient. If you find yourself in a competitive market, the following tools can help you find additional keywords:

The tools are all suitable for researching German keywords.

Chapter 2:

Select keywords

Now it's time to sort our seed keywords. We're now trying to figure out which search terms to focus on.

First of all, we need to enrich our keywords with some necessary data - the Search volume.

The search volume is the number of monthly searches for a single search term. Search volumes can sometimes be highly seasonal and only represent estimates. Think of terms such as "air conditioning" or "summer vacation".

Really exact data on the actual volume is only provided here in the search console - but only in retrospect.

The most important tool for determining the search volume of a keyword is the Google Keyword Planner.

Danger: Since 2018, the search volumes in the Keyword Planner have been for Google Ads customers with low sales Not more visible.

Google Keyword Planner

The in-house keyword planner from Google Ads is one of the most important tools for research and evaluation.

The Keyword Planner shows the average monthly search volume of the queried keywords, as well as matching related search queries. Since 2018, the exact data for Google Ads customers with low sales can no longer be viewed.

If you have access to a Google Ads account, we recommend using the keyword planner. Here you can now enter your keywords and receive the average search queries per month for your keyword and for further suggestions displayed.

Now add this data to your keywords.

If you do not have access to a Google Ads account with enough sales, you can also use third-party providers to determine the search volume.

The best third-party tool right now is Serchvolume.io. Here you can get up to 800 keyword check at once - without restrictions.

Many tools also indicate a "competition" metric or difficulty value. You can usually derive this indirectly from the CPC information in the Google Keyword Planner. The higher the CPC, the greater likely the competition.

Alternatively, you can find out the difficulty level from the following tools:

With the search volume and the difficulty, it is very easy to find out which keyword to prioritize:

Look for keywords with high search volume and low competition. This is where you are most likely to achieve success quickly.

Nobody can say exactly how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. On the one hand, Google search results are subject to dynamic fluctuations every day and, on the other hand, there are competitors everywhere who also want to get the first position.

Sort search terms

Next you have to sort your search terms. Where is the most search volume and the fewest competitors? For this it is advisable to work with keyword clusters.

What are Keyword Clusters?

Keyword clusters are used to clearly sort your keywords. By grouping your keywords according to the appropriate guidelines. Which these are depends on the type of keyword research.

A keyword cluster consists of secondary keywords that are thematically linked to the focus keyword.

How does the clustering work?

Basically, it is a matter of defining a main keyword and clustering it - that is, collecting suitable keywords for the main keyword. You then have a better overview and can use the clusters to build your website more easily.

Cluster by topic

Probably the most common is the variant that sorts by topic. The following categories can form the basis: products or services, manufacturer / brand or no-brand, seasonal, origin (e.g. regional vegetables etc.), customer journey, priority, etc.

Then one or more sub-topics and a link are assigned to the generic term. Each topic has its own keyword.

Let's take a look at this cluster using Google Analytics as an example. The main topic is fixed and our task is to find suitable sub-topics with keywords.

Cluster by domain

If you are doing page-related keyword research, clustering by domain is suitable for a good overview.

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Philippe Grossmann

Philippe develops online marketing campaigns, is a web analytics enthusiast and a big fan of PPC marketing.