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How To Do Keyword Research In 5 Minutes (+3 Examples!)

by Abie Davis

Digital marketers and SEOs tend to over-complicate things when it comes to keyword research. 

In this article I'll show you how to conduct keyword research in under 5 minutes for any niche you can think of. 

Don't believe me? 

Check out the 3 examples I share below or watch this video to see how it's done.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is when you find and analyse search terms that people enter into search engines. With keyword research, you can:

  • Determine the popularity of search terms
  • Evaluate a keyword’s ranking difficulty
  • Discover new keywords

With keyword research, you can answer crucial SEO questions, such as:

  • What do people search for?
  • How many people search for it?
  • In what format do they want that information to be?

Once you understand what your audience is looking for, you can create search intent-optimised content. 

Understanding the user intent is critical, especially with Google’s Helpful Content update. This update is designed to rank content higher that genuinely helps users and addresses their specific needs.

So, to understand the user intent and to get your content to rank higher, you must master keyword research.

How To Do Keyword Research In 5 Minutes - Our Guide

SEO Keyword Research: Step-By-Step Guide With Keyword Research Tools

Let me show you how to do keyword research in 5 minutes. 

You’ll need a keyword research tool, such as Arhefs or Semrush. For this example, I’ll be using Ahrefs

You’ll also need a keyword clustering tool. I prefer using KeyClusters. It’s pretty easy to use and fast.

Example 1: Affiliate In The Kayaking Industry

Keyword Research Tools Needed: Ahrefs & KeyClusters

The scenario: We’re an affiliate marketer in the kayaking industry. We want to write content about the best kayaks, the top kayak carts, and kayak reviews.

Step 1: Choose Seed Keywords

First, we need to choose seed keywords. A seed keyword is a broad search term that distinguishes or characterises the industry or niche.  

I chose “Kayak” and “Kayaks” for my seed words. You’ll need both the plural and singular terms for proper keyword research. 

Step 2: Use The Keyword Explorer Tool

Next, you’ll have to use Ahref’s keyword explorer tool. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grab your seed keywords and head on over to Ahrefs. 
  2. Navigate to the Keyword Explorer tool.
  3.  Enter your seed words into the tool and click on search.
Keyword research - Step 1 - Use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer To Create A Keyword List

Once Ahrefs have generated an Overview report, you can click on the Matching Terms report.

Ahrefs will now find all the terms that have our seed words in them. 

As you can see there are 550,166 keywords with the see keywords "Kayak" and "Kayaks" in them.

The Results Of Our Matching Terms Keyword Research In Ahref

Step 3: Add Include Words

We need to curate our list of matching terms for the best result.

You’ll notice that some of the matching terms aren’t relevant. 

For instance, we end up with the term “kayak flights”. This is a flight and car rental aggregator and has nothing to do with kayaking.

Eliminate Unwanted Keywords From Your List

We need to refine our search terms if we want to eliminate any unwanted results. The best way to do it is to create a list of includes.

Includes are any words that should be included with our seed keywords. Since we’re an affiliate marketer, we only want terms with commercial search intent

Anything like “best”, “top”, “review”, and “reviews” is perfect. Remember to choose “Any Word” when you create this filter.

Use Include Words To Narrow Your Keyword Research List Down

Our filter condensed the keyword list down to 37,134 keywords. That’s much better, but we can narrow the list even more.

The Results Of Using Include Words With The Ahrefs Keyword Research Tool

Step 4: Add Exclude Words

To further narrow our keyword list, we must add some exclude words. 

An exclude word is any word that we don’t want. In this case, we don’t want our list to include terms like “best places to kayak”. 

So, create an exclude list. My list has the following words in it: “places”, “place”, “flights”, and “flight”.

Add your list to the Exclude filter and click on Apply.

Use Exludes To Further Focus Your Keyword Research List

Our list has now shrunk to 35,078 keywords. The goal is to end up with a list, depending on the niche, between 500 and 10,000 keywords.

The Results Of Using Exclude Words With The Ahrefs Keyword Research Tool

Let’s see if we can shrink our list down even more.

Step 5: Define Volume

Get rid of any low-volume keywords. 

Click on the Volume filter, and add a minimum. I decided that anything less than 20 wasn’t worth my time and effort.

Use The Search Volume Filter To Narrow Your Keyword List

The result is a neat list of 3,758 keywords. That’s a pretty solid number to work with. A glance through the list shows that this is the type of content we want to create.

The Results Of Using Volume Search With The Ahrefs Keyword Research Tool

Now, it’s time to use a keyword clustering tool to help us make better sense of this list. Hit the Export button. Remember to export all the rows as UTF-16.

You’ll end up with a list that looks something like this.

This Is The Ahrefs Exported List Of Keywords

Not very useful, is it? Don't worry! We'll use a keyword clustering tool to fix this mess.

Step 6: Cluster Your Keywords

Once you’ve got your exported list, you should head to KeyClusters.

Create a new job. Give your job a title, and upload your exported list of keywords. 

KeyClusters will look at our file and ask to confirm specific columns. We need to map the relevant column under the variables list. It should look like this.

Import An Ahrefs List Into KeyClusters To Group Your Keywords

Finally, choose your geography and device. For this example, I’m leaving it as the United States and Desktop.

Click on Launch Job

So what does KeyClusters actually do?

KeyClusters takes your keyword list and runs every single keyword through Google. It will group any keywords that share at least 3 ranking results on page one of Google. 

Basically if a set of keywords have 3 or more ranking pages that are the same, we know that we only need one article to target that set of keywords.

Once KeyCluster completes the analysis, you can download the file. It’ll look like this:

As you can see, KeyClusters has grouped together keywords into unique topics. Each row represents a distinct topic that needs it's own article.

Within each row you have the primary keyword and all it's keyword variations.

But wait, how do we use keyword variations at Contentellect?

When we write an article, we always try to keep the primary keyword in the title, meta description, and first paragraph. We’ll use keyword variations as an H2 and organically sprinkle them throughout our content.

Example 2: SEO Agency In The Dentistry Niche

Keyword Research Tools Needed: Ahrefs & KeyClusters

The scenario: We’re an SEO agency targeting dentists.

Step 1: Choose Seed Words

I chose the following seed keywords:

  • Dentist
  • Dentists
  • Dentistry

Step 2: Use The Keyword Explorer Tool

I used Ahref’s Keyword explorer tool to generate a list of matching keyword terms.

Ahrefs gave me a list of over a million matching keywords.

Step 3: Add Include Words

I filtered the list down by adding some include words. For this scenario, I added anything along the lines of:

  • SEO, blog, blogs, podcasts, podcast, digital, marketing, internet, CRM, paid ad, paid ads, PPC.

Once I applied the filter, Ahrefs narrowed my list down to 2,418 keywords. That’s perfect!

Keyword Research Example 2 - How To Do Keyword Research As An SEO

Step 4: Add Exclude Words

Since my list is pretty focused, and I didn’t spot any odd keyword terms, I decided not to use any exclude words.

Step 5: Define Volume

I decided to get rid of some low-volume search terms. So, anything below 10 isn’t going to be worth my effort.

This filter narrowed my list down to 425 keywords. Let’s take our list into KeyClusters.

Step 6: Cluster Your Keywords

I exported my report from Ahrefs and imported it into a new KeyClusters job. KeyClusters generated the following report.

KeyClusters Report - Dentists - Keyword Research Example 2

As you can see, every line is a unique article idea, ranging from “dentist marketing” to “email marketing for dentists”.

Let’s do one more example.

Example 3: eCommerce Website In The Footwear Niche

Keyword Research Tools Needed: Ahrefs & KeyClusters

The scenario: We’re an eCommerce site specialising in footwear. We want to create content for our new line of waterproof socks. 

Step 1: Choose Seed Words

I chose the following seed keywords:

  • Sock
  • Socks

Step 2: Use The Keyword Explorer Tool

I used Ahref’s Keyword explorer tool to generate a list of matching keyword terms.

Ahrefs gave me a list of over a million matching keywords. I expected that because my seed keywords were broad.

Step 3: Add Include Words

Now I filter the list down by adding some include words. Here are the words that I want to see.

  • Waterproof, water-proof, water proof, water-resistant, water resistant

Notice that I played around with the spelling of certain words. As a content marketer, you must anticipate how people will search for a product online. Keep in mind how they spell products, services, and brand names.

When I include all the spelling variations, I can easily cover those search terms and rank for them.

Example 3 - How To Do Keyword Research As An eCommerce Site

Once I applied the filter, Ahrefs narrowed my list down to 2,035 keywords. That’s perfect!

Step 4: Add Exclude Words

Since my list is pretty focused, and I didn’t spot any odd keyword terms, I decided not to use any exclude words.

Step 5: Define Volume

I decided to get rid of some low-volume search terms. So, anything below 10 isn’t going to be worth my effort.

This filter narrowed my list down to 297 keywords—time to take our list into KeyClusters.

Step 6: Cluster Your Keywords

I exported my report from Ahrefs and imported it into a new KeyClusters job. KeyClusters generated the following report.

KeyClusters Report - Waterproof Socks - Keyword Research Example 3

As you can see, every line is a unique article idea, ranging from “waterproof socks for hiking” to “waterproof socks for running”.

You can quickly build a list of articles to write from these results.

Tips For Doing Keyword Research Like A Boss

So, what do you do with your epic list of keyword ideas? Here’s how we leverage the power of keyword research.

1. Choose Suitable Ideas

Browse through your keyword list. Highlight options that are:

  • High volume: These articles will bring more organic traffic than low-volume ones.
  • Easy keyword difficult: Don’t waste your time trying to conquer ridiculously challenging keywords. A low keyword difficulty, paired with high volume searches, is often easier pickings.
  • Relevance: Your chosen keyword must be relevant to your industry or niche. Relevance improves the user intent.
  • Marketing funnel: Finally, understand how the article aligns with your business goals. Is it at the bottom of the marketing funnel or the top of the funnel?

Ideally, you’d want to create articles for every keyword. However, this can be expensive and time-consuming. So, I believe in prioritising keywords.

If a keyword is high in volume, low in difficulty, relevant to my niche, and aligns with our business goals, it’s a winner. 

2. Link For Success

Internal and external linking is crucial to capitalise on your keyword research efforts.

At Contentellect, we often create internal links on secondary keywords (also known as keyword variations). This is a powerful way of boosting your overall SEO performance.

As for external links, if you’ll be guest posting or link building, use the keyword variations as external link anchors.

How To Do SEO Keyword Research In Less Than 5 Minutes

There you have it—the ultimate step-by-step guide for doing keyword research in less than 5 minutes. 

As a quick wrap-up, here are the steps again:

  • Always start with a broad search term (seed keywords).
  • Narrow this list down with include and exclude words.
  • Remove low-volume keywords.
  • Use a keyword clustering tool, such as KeyClusters.
  • Check that the results satisfy the user’s search intent.

When you follow these steps, you’ll quickly become a topical authority on any niche.

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Abie Davis

Abie Davis is an avid miniature war hobbyist. When he's not knee-deep in the trenches, he's helping to write content that charms, converts, and convinces. Relentlessly helpful and creative, he loves to write while exploring with his partner and their two brilliant dogs.


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