How To Do Keyword Research in 2021 (Beginner’s Guide)

Keyword research is an important cornerstone of SEO and content marketing. Finding keywords that have low competition and high volume helps you rank higher on search engines, and, in return, you gain more traffic to your website.

There are hundreds of tools available nowadays to assist us with this process – some of them being paid, and some of them being free.

In this guide, we will attempt to use as much of the free ones as possible, but nothing would help your progress like a paid tool like SEMrush for instance.

The best keyword research method can be broken down into 4 steps, and we are going to take a closer look at them in this guide.

1. Discovering Seed Keywords

Seed keywords are essentially your starting point for your research. The only thing you will need is your primary keyword. There’s no way to get this wrong, so don’t take too much time on this step, rather than just write down the first keywords that pop into your head at this point.

Now that you have a list of 2-3 keywords, we can proceed by using some great free tools that will help us come up with related seed keywords. Here are some of them, and how they can help us with our keyword research.

Keyword research ubesrsuggest
Keyword research at

UberSuggest is an awesome tool by Neil Patel that uses Google’s autocomplete functionality to find related keywords. All you have to do is type in your primary keyword, and you will have a huge list of related keywords.

If it wasn’t for this tool, you would have to go and explore the Google autocomplete function by yourself, typing every letter of the alphabet until you have a list that’s big enough.

Keyword Research list
Generating a keyword list at Ubersuggest

After you have generated your keyword list, you can export it into a .csv file and upload it straight to your research tool.


Keyword research Answer The Public
Keyword research at AnswerThePublic

Yet another great tool used by many affiliate marketers around the globe. What’s nice about it is that it uses question words to generate even more keywords out of your primary one, such as “What… How… Which…”.

AnsweThePublic also gives you a vague idea of how competitive the generated keywords are, and this could be a very good starting point for your research.

2. Working with Seed Keywords

Now that you have compiled or exported a list of seed keywords, it’s time to plug them into your keyword research tool.

Since we are trying to focus on free tools, a good option to use would be Google’s Keyword Planner.

Once you have uploaded your keywords onto Google’s Keyword Planner, you should have a list of related and not-so-related keywords based on your seed ones. From here you can get an idea of competitiveness, search volumes and also get some new ideas perhaps.

3. Filtering Out Keywords

Now that we have a huge list and some data to work with, it’s time to drill down and remove the keywords we don’t need. We are essentially looking for the following three factors if we want our keyword research to be successful.

Niche Relevance

The best way to assess if a keyword is relevant to your niche is to just use your common sense and decide for yourself if it’s relevant.

Google’s Keyword Research tool doesn’t have that, so it just spills out any randomly and remotely connected keyword your way, which is nice, because you get a big list of keywords, but also not so nice, because you get some really irrelevant suggestions.

Perhaps you might find the perfect keyword – high volume, low competition, but if that keyword is not relevant to your niche, it doesn’t do you any good. So, take your time, and go through your list to remove any non-related keywords.

High Search Volume

Having people searching for your keyword actually is the number one condition for your keyword research. In case nobody is searching for it, or if it’s getting less than 100 visits per month, is it really worth it?

Now it gets a bit tricky if you are using Google Keyword Planner. You cannot filter and narrow down by monthly search volume automatically, so you have to again manually go through all of the keywords and assess if their search volume is big enough.

However, that’s not the case with other paid keyword research tools. In fact, Google is the only one that doesn’t allow you to do that. Furthermore, Google also doesn’t give accurate search volumes anymore. You only get a number range, which is yet another reason to consider getting a paid keyword research tool.

Low Competition

Now, if you don’t have access to a premium keyword research tool, you should skip this step, because Google doesn’t provide us with a “Difficulty” metric, which has been a key feature to the paid tools.

However, if you are using a paid tool like SEMrush or KWFinder for example, you can just set it to filter out the High and Medium difficulty keywords, so you are only left with the lowly competitive spots.

SEMrush offers the readers of Ad Specto a FREE trial! Try the best SEO tool for free!

4. SERP Analysis

SERP Analysis Free Method

In case we want to do SERP analysis for free, we can still use some free tools available that will help us with our research. An example of such a tool is the free Chrome extension called MozBar, which gives us useful insights on the search results websites.

Of course, it’s not perfect and it doesn’t give us all of the data, but still it does a sufficiently good job. Worst thing about doing SERP analysis for free is that you would have to go in and type every keyword separately, monitor results, take notes, and repeat for the rest.

SERP Analysis Paid Method

Doing SERP analysis with a paid tool like Ahrefs is still manual and semi-tedious work, but it gives you way more insights and data than the free method. Plus, you wouldn’t have to leave the tools interface to gather that data and evaluate it.


This keyword research method has been the backbone of content marketing for years, and it still is. The usage of premium tools definitely helps, but it can be done for free – it just takes a little bit of more time and work.

Using this strategy, you can easily research topics for your future blog articles, or ideas for product description content.

Either way, we hope you liked this article and that you master this method in zero time.

Written by Asen Levov

I am a startup founder with years of experience in web development and digital marketing. I have been doing affiliate marketing since 2015, primarily performance. Started Ad Specto to share my story and my knowledge with the world. Founder @SketchCoWorking @AdSpecto


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