Keyword Research Guide

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the most relevant and valuable keywords for a website’s content. It involves understanding user intent, search volume, and keyword competition to select the best keywords that align with the website’s goals.


The word “keyword” is a fundamental concept in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and plays a crucial role in website visibility and online marketing. In the context of websites and SEO, a keyword refers to a specific word or phrase that users enter into search engines to find information, products, or services.

Keyword Research Guide Section 1

Section 2: Keyword Research Basics

Section 3: Keyword Research Tools

Section 4: Keyword Research Process

Section 5: Keyword Research Metrics

Section 6: Keyword Research in Content

Section 7: Keyword Research Tracking

Keywords in the context of websites and SEO

Significance in SEO

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. They act as the bridge between what users are searching for and the content that websites offer. By targeting relevant keywords in their content, websites can increase their chances of appearing in search engine results when users search for those specific terms.

On-Page SEO

Once the relevant keywords are identified, they are strategically incorporated into the website’s content, meta tags, headings, and URLs. This on-page optimization helps search engines understand the content’s relevance to specific search queries, improving the website’s chances of ranking higher in search results.

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that target a narrower audience. They are valuable because they often have less competition and higher conversion potential, as they precisely match user intent.

Keyword Density

In the past, keyword density was considered important in SEO, referring to the percentage of times a keyword appears in a piece of content compared to the total word count. However, modern search engines prioritize content quality and user experience over specific keyword density metrics.

User Intent

Understanding user intent is essential when selecting keywords. Websites should aim to address the questions and needs of their target audience by aligning content with the user’s search intent.

Evolving SEO Practices

SEO is continuously evolving, and the importance of specific keywords may change over time. Search engines now use advanced algorithms and natural language processing to better understand context and user intent, allowing them to deliver more relevant search results.

Keywords in Websites

In the context of websites and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a keyword refers to a specific word or phrase that holds significant relevance to the content of a webpage. Keywords are crucial elements for optimizing web content to improve its visibility in search engine results and attract organic traffic. They act as the bridge between what users search for and the content webpages offer, making them a fundamental aspect of SEO strategies.

Keywords in Head of Webpage Documents

In the head section of a webpage’s HTML document, keywords were once used as meta tags to provide search engines with information about the page’s main focus. However, over time, search engines like Google started ignoring these meta tags as they were frequently misused for manipulative practices. Nowadays, search engines rely on the actual content of the page to determine its relevance to specific search queries.

Creation of the Meta Keywords Tag

The concept of the meta keywords tag is often attributed to Marc Andreessen, the co-author of the first web browser, Mosaic. In the early days of the World Wide Web, webmasters used the meta keywords tag in the head section of web pages to provide search engines with a list of relevant keywords for their content. However, due to abuse and keyword stuffing, search engines started giving less importance to this meta tag. Major search engines like Google no longer consider the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor.

Keywords in the Body

The body of a webpage is where keywords hold the most significance. Properly incorporating relevant keywords within the content helps search engines understand the webpage’s subject matter and improves the chances of ranking higher in search results. However, it is essential to use keywords naturally and contextually to ensure that the content remains valuable and readable to human users.

Keywords in the Footer

Keywords in the footer of a webpage can be used to reinforce the webpage’s main themes and topics. While search engines do crawl and consider footer content, the impact of keywords in the footer is generally less significant than those in the body of the page. It is important not to over-stuff keywords in the footer, as this can be seen as a manipulative tactic and may negatively impact SEO.

Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to the percentage of times a specific keyword or key-phrase appears in a piece of content compared to the total number of words in that content. In the past, keyword density was considered an important factor in SEO, with some marketers attempting to achieve high keyword density to improve rankings. However, modern search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, and they now prioritize content quality, user experience, and natural language over specific keyword density metrics.

TF-IDF (Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency)

TF-IDF is a statistical measure used in information retrieval and SEO. It evaluates the importance of a keyword within a document in relation to its importance in a corpus of documents. The higher the TF-IDF score, the more important the keyword is to the specific document relative to other documents in the collection. This approach helps search engines understand the significance of keywords in a more contextually relevant manner, moving away from strict keyword density considerations.

Related Density and Frequency Terms

  • Keyword Frequency: The number of times a specific keyword appears in a piece of content.
  • Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords: Keywords related to the main keyword, which help search engines understand content contextually.
  • Long-tail Keywords: Longer and more specific keyword phrases that target a niche audience.
  • Short-tail Keywords: Short and more general keyword phrases that target a broader audience.

The Godfather & Pioneers of Keywords for SEO

Bruce Clay (OG, Top Dawg, Godfather)

Bruce Clay is an early SEO consultant and educator. In the late 1990s, he established Bruce Clay, Inc., an SEO consulting firm that provided SEO services and training to businesses. Clay’s contributions to the SEO community include emphasizing the significance of keyword research and content optimization for improving search engine rankings.

Alan Emtage

Alan Emtage, a computer science student, is often considered one of the pioneers of SEO and is in the Internet Hall of Fame. In 1990, he developed the first-ever search engine called “Archie,” which indexed FTP sites and allowed users to search for specific file names. Although Archie did not directly involve keywords as we know them today, it laid the groundwork for future search engines that heavily rely on keywords for retrieval.

Bill Hartzer

Bill Hartzer is a well-known SEO expert witness, SEO consultant, speaker, and writer with extensive experience in the industry. He has been actively involved in researching and analyzing search engine patents, especially those related to Google and Bing. Hartzer has shared his insights on various aspects of SEO, including keyword research and optimization.

Duane Forrester

Duane Forrester‘s multifaceted career in SEO has positioned him as a leading expert and influencer in the field. His work with Bing, his writings, speaking engagements, and continuous contributions to the SEO community have made a significant impact on the industry. His insights into keywords, website optimization, and strategic online marketing continue to guide and inspire.

Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski is the founder of SEO by the Sea, a renowned blog that focuses on patents, search engine algorithms, and SEO research. He is known for his in-depth analysis of search engine patents, including those from Google and Bing. Slawski’s work has shed light on how search engines process information and understand content relevance.

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is the founder of Search Engine Roundtable, a popular news and discussion platform dedicated to the search engine industry. He has covered search engine patents and advancements for many years, providing valuable insights into the world of SEO and keywords.

Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is a prominent figure in the SEO industry. In 1996, he founded the website Search Engine Land, which became a leading resource for information about search engines and SEO practices. Sullivan is often regarded as a key influencer who helped popularize SEO concepts, including the importance of keywords in optimizing web content for search engines.

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin, founder of SparkToro, co-founded Moz (formerly SEOMoz) in 2004, which became a prominent SEO software provider and resource hub. Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday videos and Moz’s content significantly influenced the SEO community, including discussions about keyword research, targeting, and on-page optimization.

Aleyda Solis

Aleyda Solis is an SEO consultant and international speaker known for her expertise in technical SEO and keyword research. She has been a vocal advocate of data-driven SEO strategies, including testing keywords to optimize website performance.

Barbara Starr

Barbara Starr is an SEO expert known for her expertise in Google patents and the search engine industry. She has contributed valuable insights into how search engines interpret content and use keywords for ranking.

Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez is an SEO consultant and industry veteran with a keen interest in search engine patents and algorithm analysis. His research has provided valuable information on how search engines handle keywords and content.

Eric Enge

Eric Enge is a respected SEO expert and the founder of Stone Temple Consulting (now Perficient Digital). He has conducted extensive research on Google and Bing patents and has shared valuable insights on keyword strategies and website optimization.

Patents Related to Keywords

Several individuals and companies have filed patents related to keyword-based technologies and search engines. Notable patents include those held by search engine companies like Google, Microsoft, Baidu, Yandex, and Yahoo, covering various aspects of search algorithms, contextual analysis, and keyword-based advertising.

It is essential to note that the concept of SEO and the use of keywords have evolved significantly since their inception. SEO professionals and marketers continue to adapt their strategies based on search engine algorithm updates, user behavior, and advancements in technology.

Overall, the Godfathers of SEO played crucial roles in shaping the industry and emphasizing the importance of keywords as a fundamental element in website optimization and search engine ranking strategies. Their contributions continue to influence the way websites are optimized for search engines and users today.

Keyword Analysis and Intent

Patents that focus on understanding the intent behind search queries, such as determining user intent based on keyword usage and context. US8868548B2

Keyword Extraction and Identification

Patents related to techniques for extracting keywords from web content, identifying important keywords, and evaluating their relevance to a particular topic. US8001105B2

Keyword Ranking and Relevance

Patents that cover algorithms and methods for determining the ranking and relevance of web pages based on the presence and usage of keywords in the content.

Keyword Variations and Synonyms

Patents that address identifying and using keyword variations, synonyms, and related terms to improve search accuracy and user experience.

Keyword-Based Advertising

Patents related to keyword-based advertising systems, such as Google’s AdWords, that allow advertisers to bid on keywords to display targeted ads to users.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and Contextual Analysis

Patents that involve using LSI and contextual analysis to identify related keywords and understand the overall context of content.

Keyword-Based Information Retrieval

Patents focusing on techniques to retrieve and present information based on keyword queries and relevance.

Keyword Performance and Analytics

Patents that cover methods for tracking and analyzing the performance of keywords in search results and advertising campaigns.

Keyword-Based Content Suggestions

Patents that suggest content based upon user input and another metric, as well as keywords from advertisers matched to website rankings. US20130254030A1

Keyword-Based Content Optimization

Patents related to strategies for optimizing website content based on keyword research and analysis.

Read Section 2: Keyword Research Basics