Conquering SEO Keyword Research

By Studio X. November 22, 2019
Get tips from our SEO experts!

Doing the prep work for pretty much anything, although necessary, can be way less fun than experiencing the final result.

  • Who would rather cut onions than eat the chili?
  • Who would rather sew the buttons instead of wearing the new dress for a night out?
  • And who wants to do keyword research instead of seeing your site rise in the Google rankings?

All of it is hard work, but somebody has to do it. 

As the top SEO marketing team in Philadelphia, at Studio x. – we get it. We know that doing keyword and competitor research to establish an effective digital marketing campaign can be daunting, but it is essential.

No matter the size or location of your business, our Philadelphia-based SEO specialists are ready to do the legwork of keyword research for you before launching your new campaign. However, if you want to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself, here are our top tips for conquering your SEO keyword research:


One of the biggest mistakes that we see companies make with their keyword research is that they aren't truly paying attention to what people are saying when searching online. Identifying user intent and picking keywords around that research seems like a no-brainer, but often isn't thought of and followed. For example, are more users looking to learn about your company or make a purchase? What do they want to do when they find you? What step in the sales funnel are they?

Sometimes we can get so in our heads about our products and terminology that we don't consider what the end-user might be attempting to do to find us online- and that is the name of the game when it comes to search engine optimization.

Do you have a brick and mortar and online store? Are users looking for location information and hours? What about an inventory update? What if they want to make a purchase right now?

All of these examples have hundreds of different search possibilities and different outcomes. Researching the most common intent around your business, and figuring out how you can boost it, or enhance other portions of it that aren't seeing as much play, is possible with keyword research. 

To see WHAT user intentions are, try some simple keyword searches by toying around on Google. Enter the first few words of your potential keyword in the search bar, and without clicking "enter," see what comes up as a proposed search. Also, after hitting enter, try scrolling to the bottom of the results page for more suggestions in the form of "searches related to." Document all of this information and use it to create keyword variations that support your goals.

Also, worth mentioning, after all the decisions about what keywords you will target, make sure your content strategy follows suit too. You probably won't get to page 1 for "Philadelphia Car Repair Shops" if half of your website and blog is about fuzzy bunny rabbits, right?


Of course, not only seeing WHAT people are searching but HOW they are searching for it goes hand and hand. As we mentioned above, intent and meaning can often manifest in very different ways, from person to person.

But here we are concerned with the meaning of a search, and the relationship of the words in searches. We can call these semantics.

Google does its best when it comes to trying to understand semantics and natural language. Still, intent versus actuation always has a great divide that computers might not ever truly understand. I mean, heck, as English speakers, it is often hard for US to even know what we mean!

For example, does your search for "Black Car Parts" mean that you are looking for car parts that are themselves black colored, or are you searching for parts for your black car?

Slang, nicknames, even misspellings can all offer up very different search results that you must plan to accommodate. Not to mention, the rise in voice-activated searches is making this more of a priority in the coming years.

All and all, learning how users may be searching for your products by using Google Search Console and Keyword Planner, as well as just talking to your users and doing some search tests, can go a very long way.

Speaking of going a long way, make sure you aren't ignoring "long-tail keywords," which are just as they sound: lengthy searches. More people are asking questions and searching for long-tail terms than ever before. So just because you THINK your end-user might just be searching "Auto Parts," they are more than likely searching: "Auto Parts for my 1979 Mustang that I just bought off of Craig's List."


Again, all of these concepts go hand-in-hand very much with each other. Making sure you localize your keyword strings to some degree is never a bad idea. If you are a company based in Philadelphia, who sells exclusively to this market, it might not be in your best interest to target "Auto Parts Kansas City." 

Of course, you could have goals to expand to a new market, and keyword localization can certainly help there. But if that is not the case, adding an iteration of a specific city or town or zip code to your keyword plans is a great idea. You are much more likely to rank for "Car Parts in Fishtown" than "Car Parts"- which puts you up against every single website trying to rank for that term not just in the state, or the country, but the world!

Not sure how people are searching for you? Find out by reaching out to your Philadelphia SEO specialist at Studio x. by clicking here! 


When selecting a targeted keyword list, it is also essential not to discount your competition. We try to inform so many of the businesses we speak to who aren't 100% sold on SEO services that just because they are choosing not to do it at this time, their competition might be already, and that can give them a leg up.

More than likely, you have your business because you have an in-demand product, to some extent or another. It may be niche, you may have a corner on a unique market, but regardless, you will probably have competition at some point if you don't already. And if sales aren't going to you, they are going to your competitor.

Take time to learn what your competition is doing in terms of the keywords they target. See how they talk about their products online compared to you, because it can make all the difference. And no, borrowing some of their ideas can't hurt either.

For example, are they targeting your city based upon specific neighborhoods, like using "Harlem" instead of "NYC?" What about particular product models or makes, like "Chevy Suburban" versus "SUV?" Maybe they use a specific "catch-all" phrase more than you do, such as using the term "cars" instead of "automobiles" across their site.

You can learn about so much of what they are doing by checking their Meta-Titles, Descriptions, Alt-Tags, and content. See when, if they do, come up in Google Ads for searches which you want to rank highly. Improving upon what your competition does is all part of the business, and all is fair when it comes to keyword research!

If you have no idea where to start with the above keyword planning concepts or you are looking for a partner who will help you plan the perfect SEO marketing strategy for you and your business: we have your back. Contact the top search engine optimization specialists in Philadelphia at Studio x. by clicking here today!


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