A to Z Guide of Using Google for Keywords and Keyword Research

SEO starts with “Keyword Research.” You cannot and should not start an SEO process without knowing what you are targeting.

If you are tempted to write a blog without searching for keywords, do not do it. The likely result will be that you end up with a blog only targetin the most competitive keywords and only you as the “loyal” readership :).

Keyword research is the process of finding the right keyword for your website/blog or web page using different methods.

Unfortunately, it is also the most ignored or overlooked step while doing SEO.

SEO professionals are often too busy building backlinks to stop and think about keyword research. They do not want to spend time doing keyword research and analysis to make their website stand out for selected keywords.

That bad news – if the fundamentals of keyword research and analysis are not implemented, SEO professionals end up selecting the wrong keywords, often leading to SEO campaigns with little impact.

It is imperative to start keyword research before you launch a website for the following reason:

  1. Keyword research helps you identify a set of keywords you are targeting
  2. Keyword research also enables you to analyze your competitor
  3. You have a clear picture of the traffic you can expect, and you can target keywords to hit the top of rankings
  4. You can build a well thought out plan detailing the amount of time and resources you will need to allocate to get the best results

One cause of improper keyword selection (a prominent one) is the usage of the wrong – or limited – tools for researching the keywords. The word “tools” in relation to SEO can be scary for non-full-time SEO pros, but trust me, using the right tools is critical.

For non-pros, “tools” often means some complicated tool that churns out hundreds of keywords with complex data that does not make sense to them. I understand this apprehension.

For years, as a content writer, I stayed away from keyword research leaving it to professionals – until I realized “Hey! It’s not as complicated as they say it is.”

And when I turned to a digital marketing consulting company – I learned keyword research from A to Z by using a simple tool, one available to everyone…for free – Google’s search bar.

Today, I use a variety of tools ranging from simple ones to complicated ones to do keyword research. However, I find using Google’s search bar and my common sense to do keyword research is most effective.

Throughout the rest of the article, I will teach you the A to Z of keyword research to help you easily use google search bar as a tool.

How to Do Keyword Research in SEO?

The first answer I hear from all SEO professionals to this question is, “Let’s start with google keyword planner.” Most of the SEO Professionals I know rely a lot on google keyword planner for keyword research.

Since the keyword planner is free from Google, the popularity is quite understandable. Keyword Planner is the first tool you should use when you start with keyword research. But then like all free tools, it has its limitations. One of which is no clear indication of keyword difficulty – An essential factor that explains the competition the keyword has.

As a matter of fact, it does not have any parameter explaining how much you should slog to get to the top of rankings. Google keyword planner gives you excellent metrics like average monthly searches, but for me, it misses a trick by not telling me how difficult it is to get the keyword on top of rankings.

In this blog, I will be talking more in terms of using simple fundamentals of how to find SEO keywords for a website using Google search features like autofill, related keywords, etc.

To start with, let’s take an example to demonstrate the initial steps to do keyword research. I am going to be using the case of my startup and entrepreneurship blog for keyword research. Think of Keyword Research as the first step to reaching your goal.

The question you should answer before you get down to keyword research is, “What exactly are you planning to achieve from the page you are researching the keyword for?”

Identify the goal of creating the page: For the sake of better explanation, let’s assume that, in essence, I am writing a blog that helps entrepreneurs “write a business plan.” I aim to reach all internet users who are looking for articles to help them write a business plan. 

Let’s walk through the process of how to approach keyword research here.

Think of keywords related to the aim/goal/purpose of the web page:

Now, this is a crucial step. You will be using the step to identify an initial list of keywords. To start with, think like an end-user and then brainstorm the set of keywords you want to target. Since I am targeting “Write a business plan,” the first set of keywords that come to my mind, when I think of writing a business plan are:

  • How to write a business plan
  • Writing a business plan
  • Business plan explained for entrepreneurs
  • Business plan for startups
  • Simple business plan
  • Sample business plans

How about I expand the list by using a useful yet ignored feature of Google search called “Google related search”?

Using Google related search to get more keywords: I will add a few more keywords to the list by using Google search and related searches at the bottom of the page. I will access Google and type “how to write a business plan.”

The related searches throw up few random results:

google related search results
Image: Google related search

Here are the keywords I selected and discarded from the list based on the goal/purpose/aim of the article I am planning to write:

  • how to write a business plan step by step
  • example of a business plan
  • simple business plan
  • simple business plan example
  • business plan template

The above Keywords are the ones I selected from the list as they are entirely in line with what I am planning to write.

For example, the keyword “how to write a business plan step by step” is a keyword that helps me in identifying the structure of my blog. i.e., web users are looking for a blog that helps them write a business plan in a step by step manner.

Since I am writing a blog on “how to write a business plan,” keywords: simple business plan, simple business plan example, business plan template, example of a business plan qualify themselves by the value addition they bring to the blog.

What about the following keywords that don’t work?

  • free business plan software
  • business plan definition
  • how to write a business plan PDF

I will discard the above three keywords as they do not go with the theme of my blog. To start with, I am not selling software or giving a pdf. I am also not looking to define a business plan.

Although it would not hurt to provide a definition to help users better understand the blog, but for now I will stay away from the keyword “definition of a business plan.” My updated list now includes:

  • How to write a business plan
  • Writing a business plan
  • Business plan explained for entrepreneurs
  • Business plan for startups
  • Simple business plan
  • Sample business plans
  • how to write a business plan step by step
  • example of a business plan
  • simple business plan
  • simple business plan example
  • business plan template

I have around 11 keywords with me. I usually try to have at least a list of 20 keywords before I go to the next step of filtering the keywords. I need to add a few more keywords to the list. To do this, I will use another feature of Google called Google AutoComplete.

Again, a dominant feature of google to help us get more keyword research ideas.

Using Google Autocomplete to get more keyword ideas:

When I type “business plan” in the google search bar. I get the following result:

Google Autocomplete
Image: Google Autocomplete

I will add the keyword business plan sample to my list. I will expand my list further by using more keywords I researched earlier in the Google search and to get more auto-complete results. Let’s see what “Google” has in store for me.

I will be using keywords “write a business plan, business plan explained, sample business plan” to get more results. When I type, “write a business plan” the results I get are:

Google search example

I select “write a business plan for a startup, write a business plan template” from above autofill suggestions.  “Business plan sections explained” from the above autofill search result.

example of a google search

“Business plan sections explained” from the above autofill search result.

google keyword research

“Sample business plan for startup” from the above Google autofill search result is also added to my list.

Wait! I can see a trend here.

All the keywords I enter into Google search bar come back with results where “startup” is a common word in all autocomplete suggestions. It looks like; the keyword “startup” is quite popular in combination with “business plan.” How about we do another search using the two keywords and see what Google shows as results in related search.

I searched for business plan + startup, and Autocomplete gives the following results:

how to use google for keyword research

I will select the keywords “business plan startup template, business plan startup example” to my list. Related keywords section gives me the following result:

keyword tips

Here are a few observations I can make from the related search results:

  1. I should use “new business” along with “business plan” to extend my search. The logic for selecting this combination is that most of the internet users looking for the business plan are a startup and new business owners.
  2. Another obvious observation is the usage of words like “pdf, doc, excel” with our root keyword. Do you know what these keywords signify?

Simple! They tell us that the users looking for business plan want business plans in pdf, doc, excel format so they can quickly fill in the information in predefined formats and get a ready to use business plan in the shortest time possible.

I think I should add them to my list of keywords. But wait! If I recall correctly, I discarded a keyword “how to write a business plan pdf” from my initial list.

Yes, I did. But then we still have not finalized our initial keyword list. We are still brainstorming and are looking for more ideas to get as many keywords as possible to our initial list.

Let’s take a break and list all the keywords we have identified up until now: The definitive list of 11 keywords we came up with had the following keywords:

  1. How to write a business plan
  2. Writing a business plan
  3. Business plan explained for entrepreneurs
  4. Business plan for startups
  5. Simple business plan
  6. Sample business plans
  7. how to write a business plan step by step
  8. example of a business plan
  9. simple business plan
  10. simple business plan example
  11. business plan template

And then, we added a business plan sample, business plan for a startup, write a business plan template, Business plan sections explained, sample business plan for startup, business plan startup template, business plan startup, business plan samples for new business to the list.

I can further expand the list by adding doc/pdf/excel at the end of all the keywords when I have a final list before taking the keywords. And put them through our keyword processing plant (something I just discovered. Don’t make too much out of this. It merely means putting them through analysis).

Our updated list now has

  1. How to write a business plan
  2. Writing a business plan
  3. Business plan explained for entrepreneurs
  4. Business plan for startups
  5. Simple business plan
  6. Sample business plans
  7. how to write a business plan step by step
  8. example of a business plan
  9. simple business plan
  10. simple business plan example
  11. business plan template
  12. business plan sample
  13. business plan for a startup
  14. write a business plan template
  15. Business plan sections explained
  16. Sample business plan for startup
  17. business plan startup template
  18. business plan startup
  19. business plan samples for new business

8 new entries. I still need to do the keyword research using “business plan” + “new business” keywords.  As you can see, I get a list of keywords that I have more or less covered up until now.

google research for SEO

But since I have taken the pain to search using the keyword combination I just mentioned, let me browse the list and see if I can dig out something useful.

Free business plan, business plan examples for students are two keywords I find quite interesting.

Free business plan because we are always looking for freebies on the internet, and I am writing a free business plan.

I will add the “free” keyword to my list.

Moving forward, I think I missed a vital target segment “student” while doing keyword research.

Thank you, Google, for pointing me in the right direction. Students search for business plans for studies or for making a business plan for the ventures they might start from their room.

The keyword “business plan examples for students” definitely deserves to be a part of my initial list.

In between, I think I might have missed a crucial keyword, which I am sure can give me a few more ideas for my initial list. The keyword is “small business.”

I can bet small business owners are always on a lookout for business plans to organize their business or to get loans or raise funds through VC, Angel investors for their business.

Let me try the keyword combination “small business” + “business plan” on google to get a few more ideas.

doing keyword research on google

I get similar keywords to what I had researched earlier. The only difference is the word “startup/business” replaced with “small business.” The related search also does not give any new ideas.

google keyword research

We have almost covered all of them. Our list now has a total of 21 keywords.

  1. How to write a business plan
  2. Writing a business plan
  3. Business plan explained for entrepreneurs
  4. Business plan for startups
  5. Simple business plan
  6. Sample business plans
  7. how to write a business plan step by step
  8. example of a business plan
  9. simple business plan
  10. simple business plan example
  11. business plan template
  12. business plan sample
  13. business plan for a startup
  14. write a business plan template
  15. Business plan sections explained
  16. Sample business plan for startup
  17. business plan startup template
  18. business plan startup
  19. business plan samples for new business
  20. Free business plan
  21. business plan examples for students

And few extra keywords which will be formed by suffixing pdf/doc/excel to keywords where word business plan is used. For example, a free business plan will have three more keywords –  free business plan pdf, free business plan excel, free business plan doc –  derived from the root keyword free business plan.

Also, “business” and “startup” wherever they are used in the context of defining a business entity will be replaced with the word “small business” to form a new set of keywords like “business plan for a small business.”

keyword research ideas

Before I end the blog, I want to do one more search and get a few more keywords using the search phrase free business plan.

I get the above result when I do the search using the keyword free business plan. I can see a few new keyword combinations like software, generator, etc., but we don’t do any of those things.

I will stick to my original list, but to make sure I am not missing any critical keyword, I will make it a point to prefix-free in front of the business plan keyword wherever it is used.

This brings us to the end of our first tutorial. I hope the above blog helps you prepare an initial list of keywords without getting into the technicalities of the number of searches, difficulty level, competitor research, etc.

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