While Google keeps us on our toes with all the algorithm updates they keep rolling out, keyword research is the one thing that has remained consistent for inbound marketers looking to optimize their websites for search. Finding keywords is one thing, but knowing which keywords are useful to your SEO campaign is another.

That is why I advise that you conduct keyword analysis to narrow your selection down to the most relevant and profitable terms. Here, I will define keyword analysis, how to conduct your analysis for your SEO strategy, and why it’s important for your website.

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: WebFX

What is Keyword Analysis?

Keyword analysis is the second phase of keyword research. After tracking competitors’ blog posts for keyword ideas or using search engines to uncover long-tail keywords, what do you do with them? Don’t overstretch your SEO strategy to target every single keyword you’ve discovered. While all of these keywords will be connected in some way to the major focus of your blog, some may not fit the object of your domain.

Instead, you should conduct keyword analysis to determine which search terms could benefit your campaign. Not only that, but keyword analysis can even help you determine which keywords are most important. Keyword analysis can also help you target keywords that are within your reach, and pick out the ones that are too difficult to try.

It can also help you determine why web searchers use certain keywords in their search terms so that you can create content that better matches up with the intent behind their search query. Above all, conducting keyword analysis helps you determine which keywords to target first. For instance, if you’ve conducted keyword research for a paleo diet blog you’re about to start, and your list of keywords includes the likes of:

  • Caveman diet
  • Stone age diet
  • Paleolithic nutrition
  • Hunter-gatherer diet
  • Grain-free diet
  • Healthy fats
  • Low-carb diet
  • Grass-fed meats

At that initial stage, some of these may not be worth targeting due to the fierce competition for them. Or, some may not be as directly relevant to your SEO campaign compared to others. So, how do you determine which keywords to target first? Besides employing common sense, there are some metrics you can use to determine which keywords to target and those to put aside for the time being. These key metrics can all be analyzed with the help of Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool. This is the keyword analysis part of the research process.


How To Do Keyword Analysis

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: SEO Brand

Keyword analysis can be accomplished by examining the keyword difficulty, monthly search volume, conversion potential, and the search intent behind a given keyword. With Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool, here’s how you perform keyword analysis:

1. Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty, or “SERP competition,”  refers to how difficult it would be to rank for a specific keyword. The difficulty of a keyword is determined by the authority score of rival domains that are ranking for that keyword. For instance, if I were to put “paleo diet” into Keyword Overview, here’s what would come up:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

In the Keyword Difficulty section on the left, you can see that this search term has a score of 99%, indicating that it’s very hard to rank for. Keyword difficulty is a good metric to pick out what keywords to use, as it reflects the chances you have of ranking for that keyword yourself.

In this instance, ranking on the first page of the SERPs for this keyword alone would be next to impossible. This begs the question ‘What percentage of keyword difficulty should you target as a start-up site?’ Here’s what happens when I put another keyword, “hunter-gatherer diet” in the tool:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

Note that 66% is better than 99%, but still not ideal. Semrush splits its keyword difficulty percentages into many categories, which include:

  • 0-14% = Very easy
  • 15-29% = Easy
  • 30-49% = Possible
  • 50-69% = Difficult
  • 70-84% = Hard
  • 85-100% = Very hard

As a start-up or low-authority site, you should aim for the very easy/easy brackets. If you’re unsure of your authority score, you can inspect this in Semrush’s Domain Overview, as shown here:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

It’s worth noting that keyword difficulty is just one of several metrics you should use when conducting keyword analysis. You shouldn’t ignore a keyword just because it has a high score. As your domain authority improves, you can begin to target keywords with higher scores. You shouldn’t throw all your budget and time at a keyword just because it has a low score. You should rate the keyword based on monthly search volume, search intent, and conversion potential.

2. Monthly Search Volume

Another metric you can see in Keyword Overview is the “Volume”:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

This metric is an estimate of how many times your keyword was searched over a month (Semrush updates this metric once per month). The higher this volume, the more online appeal there is regarding the keyword.

You can also inspect the international, regional, and historical search volumes of any given keyword, which will benefit you when conducting specialist methods of keyword analysis. The volume metric has multiple benefits, including that it allows you to estimate the traffic potential of a keyword. Here’s an example of a high-volume keyword:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

The keyword “Bitcoin Price” has a great search volume of 6.1 million in the US. However, like “Paleo Diet,”  it would be hard to rank for this particular keyword. A high search volume is always indicative of high keyword difficulty. However, you could use the monthly search volume metric to compare many keywords with low keyword difficulties. This will assist you in determining which to target first.

A monthly search volume of between 100 and 1,000 is often a great place to start. But it’s worth noting that search volume is not the most reliable keyword metric either. Results are just estimates and tend to become less accurate the less difficult the keywords are to rank for. While it’s vital to consider, search volume should never be your main port of call when it comes to keyword analysis.

3. Conversion Potential

While still in Semrush’s Keyword Overview, you should also assess the conversion potential. Conversion potential is how likely a web user is to purchase your product, sign up for your mailing list, and more. The more the keyword is valued, the higher the conversion potential—but how do you calculate a keyword’s worth? This is best reflected by cost-per-click (CPC), which can be seen on the right side of the Keyword Overview tool, shown here:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

This metric depicts how much advertisers are currently bidding on this keyword. A high CPC indicates a popular keyword that multiple advertisers are bidding on to appear in the SERPs. If high bids are thrown at this keyword, it must have a high conversion potential. For instance:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

“Paleo Diet” has a recent CPC of $0.97. Although this isn’t a significant price, it suggests that the keyword has strong conversion potential. Keywords that hold low keyword difficulty, a steady search volume, a decent conversion potential, and real relevance to your topic are worth targeting over keywords that don’t meet these four requirements.

4. Keyword Intent

Including a keyword in your content isn’t the same as “targeting a keyword.” To target a keyword, you need to understand why the keyword is being searched for. Misunderstanding keyword intent is where a lot of content gets awkward. If your content does not match up with searchers’ needs, what then is the purpose thereof? Other than looking spammy and irrelevant, not much.

To understand keywords, you need to understand why web users are using them in their search queries. Then, you can create content that answers these queries. See search intent from a search engine’s point of view: Google is attempting to create a service where it matches search queries with relevant sources of information. But how do you analyze keywords to understand their search intent? You can begin by categorizing your keywords. The main search intent categories comprise:

  • Informational: This is when users need information on something. I.e., “How long does it take to build a six-pack?”
  • Commercial: This is when users demand information to help them make a buying decision. I.e., “Top 10 protein shakes for building muscle.”
  • Navigational: This is when users seek for a specific page, i.e., the “Strava log-in page.”
  • Transactional: This is when users have a precise purchase in mind and are ready to buy, i.e., “Buy a dumbbell set”.

You can identify the keyword intent by looking at how the search term is worded. For instance, “why…” leads to an informational search, and “buy…” leads us to a transactional search. Or, you could check for Intent on Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Source: Semrush

This shows us that the search intent behind “paleo diet” is mostly informational and commercial. Search intent influences all facets of your keyword analysis. You shouldn’t just look at monthly search volume without also analyzing the search intent.


Why Analyzing Keywords is Important

As I have explained above, keyword analysis is done to separate relevant and profitable keywords from the ones that will hold you back. But how does conducting keyword analysis help you and your SEO campaign? Here’s how:

1. It Reveals Keyword Value

With keyword analysis, it’s easy to decipher if it’s worth targeting a keyword. If your website will only appear halfway down the first page of Google despite being in pole position, is there much point? Semrush helps to make judging this a little easier, and I would add that if a keyword has low difficulty, moderate search volume, and low competition, then it’s always going to be worth it, as people generally trust organic searches.

2. It Helps You Manage Your Time and Money

Knowing the individual significance of each keyword will help you plan your content strategy timeline. You can concentrate on creating content that will make a difference to your domain authority, rather than wasting days creating content that won’t. With proper keyword research, you can pick out the keywords that hold conversion potential instead of throwing your money at keywords that won’t convert. This way, you also improve your chances of gaining good returns on investment.

3. It Helps You Reach the SERPS and Build Authority

You can target keywords that you can rank for in the meantime instead of pursuing highly competitive keywords that you won’t rank for immediately. After reaching the SERPs for several low-difficulty search terms, you may gain enough domain authority to target the bigger, more competitive keywords.

4. Analyzing Keywords Also Helps You Create a Keyword Map

Another massive way that analyzing keywords helps you on your SEO mission is by mapping your site. It is so helpful that this point deserves a section all to itself. In case you don’t know, you need to create a keyword map to keep your website organized and avoid keyword cannibalization issues, which occur when you have more than one page written on the same topic and attempt to rank for the same keyword. But how do you create a keyword map, and what does it have to do with keyword analysis? Let me explain:

Keyword mapping is the process of assigning a distinctive focus keyword to each of your site’s pages. Each page of your website should be built around this main keyword, which suggests the purpose of the page, and helps search engines define it. A sample of a main keyword would be something like “The Benefits of the Paleo Diet.”. You should also have variations of this keyword ready to swap in to avoid your content appearing spammy. For instance, “Paleo Diet Benefits”, “Pros of the Paleo Diet”, etc.

On each page, the focus keyword (and its variations) will show in the URL, title, and some headings. Below this main keyword, there’ll be a list of secondary supporting keywords, or keyword clusters that have direct relevance to the main term. These secondary supporting keywords should be sprinkled throughout your content.

As you research and analyze your keywords, you’ll discover the primary terms that will serve as your main keywords. These will be notable search terms that you aim to address in your content. With the help of the Keyword Magic Tool, you can establish secondary keywords that help answer the search intent of the main keyword.

Creating these keyword clusters helps organize your website, as it means that each page can target a different selection of keywords. This brings order to your website and keeps topics well-defined and distinct. With that, you don’t risk running into keyword cannibalization problems, and the best way to create solid and well-defined keyword clusters is by performing keyword analysis.

Keyword Analysis Tools

As I delve into the different specialist methods of analyzing keywords in the next section, it would be useful to first give you a rundown of the best tools to use before we get to the specialist methods section of this guide. The best keyword research tools I use comprise:

1. Semrush

You should make Semrush your plug for both keyword research and analysis. It’s a multi-faceted toolbox that can assist you at all stages of your SEO campaign. It can provide excellent keyword suggestions, review your backlink profile, or help you perform competitor keyword analysis.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is most useful for analyzing keywords that are already on your site. It’s essential for understanding what leads visitors to your site, and determining how to attract more in the future.

3. Google Trends

Google Trends is a tool that enables you to analyze the current and long-term popularity of keywords. It’s essential for keyword analysis as it helps you determine the best times of year to target specific search terms. It also enables you to review current and past spikes in popularity for specific keywords.

4. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is mostly beneficial for keyword research purposes, but it can also be used to analyze your keywords once you’ve collected them. With it, you can inspect the keyword volume, trends, CPC, and competition level of each keyword suggestion that the tool suggests, as shown below:

How To Do Keyword Analysis: Full Guide

Does this remind you of Semrush’s Keyword Manager? Well, they serve the same purpose. However, Google Keyword Planner has a slight advantage in that it’s free to use, an unlimited amount of times.

Is Keyword Analysis Still Relevant?

Keywords are still relevant since they both define your content strategy and also help search engines and web users understand what your content is all about. Through keyword analysis, you can discover what topics you need to address in your blog. It also enables you to better understand your target audience and the questions they are looking for you to answer.

On another level, keyword analysis helps you pick the keywords that will help search engines link up your content with your target audience. By including and placing certain keywords, you increase the chances of search engines linking you with specific search phrases.

The Bottom Line

You should check in on your keyword analysis strategy at least once a month and update it whenever necessary. There’s no hard-and-fast rule regarding the number of times you should update your keyword analysis strategy. However, every quarter you should check to see if there are any alterations to search trends.

You should also carry out competitive keyword analysis to identify new keyword gaps. For example, every time you reach the top of the SERPs, you need to keep an eye on your competition to maintain your position. But if you need professional help to keep your place online, reach out to me since I’m an expert in digital marketing and SEO, and I’ll help you out.