SEO: How to Do Keyword Research

Who is my customer? And what are he/she/they searching for? (aka Keyword Research)

The first step toward SEO is understanding who your customer is. You likely created your product or service because it’s something that you – and other people like you – were looking for and found lacking. So, what were you searching for when it all started? Put yourself back into your customer’s shoes for a minute. What terms or phrases are your customers using?

Imagine that you run a dog boarding company in Anaheim. Even people without SEO experience can guess that the company’s customers are searching for things like:

  • Where can I board my dog in Anaheim?
  • Dog boarding Anaheim

Think up a handful of ideas of things your customers might be searching for and write them down.

Ready? Okay, let the research begin!

A. What is the most common way people search for your products and/or services?

For sure, some of your customers find your business (or your competitors) using the search terms and phrases you guessed.  But how are the majority of people or businesses searching?

Do a simple Google search to find out. Use the ideas you jotted down to do it.


Here are the top search results for that question:


A quick scan of these results shows that the top pages have the term “Dog Boarding in Anaheim” in their titles.

That’s important because successful businesses know how to SEO optimize their titles. These companies have probably already done their homework and discovered that “bog boarding in Anaheim” is the most common way people search for – and find – their services.

But, you know what they say about making assumptions, right?

They make an ass out of you and I. So, let’s not just assume they know what they’re doing.

Lets’ check if this is a good main key word to target by checking it out in a keywords explorer.

There are many keywords explorers out there. We like this one from Ahrefs, but we understand that many new small businesses don’t have any money to spare for SEO tools. Here is an up-to-date list of 10 free keyword research tools for 2019, but for today’s example, we’ll just stick to the most basic, Google Keywords Planner (GKP).

The GKP is completely free, but you know what they say about when the product is free, right? Yup, when the product is free, you’re the product. So, while there is no cost for using GKP, you do have to set up a Google Adwords account to use it– though you don’t have to run any active campaigns.

Before you navigate over to a keywords planner though, quickly scroll to the bottom of your Google page though and take note of the related queries that you might want to include in your search terms.


Aha! From this, we can plainly see that “dog boarding” is a good main keyword to target, but let’s use GKP just to double confirm our suspicions.

Here’s a good guide for getting started with GKP.

Once in, let’s click the wrench icon at the top, then click planning, keyword planning. first “get search volume and forecast” for the term we suspect is our “parent” keyword or “seed” word.

B. What are some other ways people search for your business?