11 February 2022

How do you do SEO research? A step-by-step guide

️ Blog
12 min. reading time

written by Steven Ammerlaan on 28 Apr. 2020

Good SEO starts with keyword research or keyword research. Through this research you know which keywords you can best use on your website. Of course you don't use those SEO keywords for old-fashioned tricks like keyword stuffing, but as topics where you sincere content is about to write.

We explain step-by-step how to approach this keyword research. This way you get a good basis for your SEO strategy.

Steven Ammerlaan

[email protected]

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization or search engine optimization. It's about writing texts that rank highly in commonly used search engines, such as Google. At its core, search engine optimization consists of writing good texts in which SEO search terms appear in strategic places. You can find more information about it in our complete handbook on SEO.


1. Determine your target group and/or buyer persona: who is looking for you?

To gain insight into the search terms that people use when you search for your products or services, you first need to form a picture of the people for whom your company can be useful. Who is looking for your products and services? For whom does your company add value?

So make sure you have a good picture of your target group or buyer persona. That's a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is an important principle in inbound marketingin which the customer is central.


2. Brainstorm and make a list of SEO keywords

Think of search terms or keywords that people might use when they search for the products or services you offer. Since you probably offer several products and services, it is most useful to sort the search terms by subject, such as website, app, online marketing. Provide a list of relevant terms for each topic.

Of course you keep the buyer persona from step 1 in mind: which terms will your ideal customer use? Is a large company looking for a 'web builder' or a 'web developer' to revamp their website?

Note: a search term or keyword is not necessarily one word. Actually, it is better to speak of a search phrase or phrase. According to Google, people often use a combination of two to three words.

Social Brothers gives you some more tips to find SEO keyword suggestions:

  • View which SEO keywords are currently used to find your website via the Google Search Console. You can find this at Search Analytics.
  • If you do SEA, you can also use the input from Google Ads for this. You can see which search terms are used per campaign. Which ones went well?
  • Take a look at the competitor. Which SEO keywords do you see on their website? What topics do they pay attention to on their blogs?
  • Talk to colleagues from other departments. They may look at your company from a completely different perspective.
  • Use the 'related search terms' in Google. Google hereby gives suggestions that are related to your search query.
  • Use keyword tools to help you find SEO keywords. For example, think of the Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush.


3. SEO research: data with the search terms

With the keyword research you reduce the list from step 2 to the most suitable words based on data. That is why you need a program for keyword research that can provide you with information about the search volume and the competitiveness of keywords. This can be done, for example, with the Google Keyword Plannerbut also with SEMrush† Fill in the SEO keywords of the lists you made in step 2.

Then, based on the results, determine which keywords are actually suitable. These are search terms that are often searched for, but that few other websites try to rank for. Words with a high search volume and the lowest possible level of competition. These are your so called head terms.

It is also wise to go for the low hanging fruit: long tail keywords† These words have a low search volume, but are very specific to your company. This has the advantage that there is little competition and that the person who uses these search terms is very likely to want to do business with your company. They will therefore also lead to high conversions than the more widely used head terms.


4. From data to goals

After step 3 you have a list of relevant keywords that you actually want to rank for. It is a good idea to check the organic search results now to see how you are doing with these search terms. Use an incognito window to make sure your past searches aren't impacted.

If you are already at the top: great! If your company only appears on the third page of the search results, then you know what you can work on. You may already be doing very well on some terms, while there is work to be done on others. Therefore, set a goal for each SEO keyword.

Extra tip from us: Now that you're Googling, immediately look at what people who use these keywords are actually looking for. Does 'SEO' lead to search results that explain how to get started with SEO or to results where an expert offers himself? The results say something about the keyword intent† They indicate what the searcher wants when he googles these terms: info or help? It is wise to ensure that the information on your website matches the needs of the searcher.


5. From Goals to a Plan

Now that the research has made it clear for which SEO keywords there is still profit to be gained for your company, the next step is to make a plan to get started with these topics. Opt for a targeted approach, for example via inbound marketing and topic clusters† This way you provide more content about the subject in a structured way.

A content calendar is also useful in which you keep track of what has already been published and what is still planned. This way you keep an overview and you avoid publishing two texts about the same subtopic, for example.

Extra tip: don't forget to track data. This way you can see whether the new content actually attracts more people to your website.


6. Repeat the SEO research regularly

You thought you were done after these steps…. Unfortunately, search terms are not stable. Your buyer persona may be searching for completely different SEO keywords for your products and services in a year. In a few years, companies may no longer need a specific web developer. Rather, they are looking for an all-round developer who can also handle apps and other issues.

In addition, your company, your field and the competition do not stand still. If you are going to offer new products or services, it is wise to conduct the keyword research again and determine new keywords.

Also keep an eye on developments in your field to spot new topics and keywords. In addition, regularly review the SEO research on the terms used, due to changes in search volume and competition. A one-off mapping of the search volume is therefore not sufficient.


Want to know more?

If you want to be kept informed about developments in the field of SEO and more, sign up for the newsletter.

Check out our here SEO services† If you need help with your keyword research, don't hesitate contact on. Social Brothers is ready for you.

Steven Ammerlaan

Innovation Consultant & Owner

[email protected]


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