How to Conduct Keyword Research When Starting an SEO Campaign

Most businesses begin keyword research by imagining what their customer are likely searching for each month. There are several free tools needed in order to conduct keyword research, but one of the most commonly used and popular tools for this task is the Google Keyword Planner tool. In this piece we’re going to show you how to conduct keyword research for new SEO campaigns, if you need a more in-depth look at getting started with Google Keyword Planner check out this handy guide.

We should also mention one of the other essential tools to use when starting an SEO campaign, and that is a Google Chrome extension known as Keywords Everywhere. This extension makes finding related keywords and keyword volumes easier than ever as we’ll see in this guide.

Keyword Brainstorming

Even with all of the keyword tools available, you still need to have a starting point to begin searching, so it’s best, to begin with, the services you offer, and branch out from there.

So, if you’re a local dermatologist office in Columbus, Ohio for example, and you need to attract local organic traffic, then you’ll want to think about all the different services you offer. Essentially the process for all local companies is to make a list of all the services you offer, and then add your city and state after the keywords.

What you also need to consider is the suburb where you’re located. While there will be more people searching for “Columbus Dermatologist,” the conversion rate on your organic traffic can increase if you are located in Gahanna, Ohio (a popular suburbs of Columbus) and rank well for “Gahanna Dermatologist.” Don’t forget about your local suburb to make the determination whether or not your industry will get searches at the suburb, city, state or nationwide level.

Start with Google’s Keyword Planner using the most obvious keywords to begin your campaign, so in this case, “Dermatologist Columbus Ohio” is a decent place to start. Let’s dive into the Google Keyword Planner, the two main functions of this tool are finding new keywords and determining search volumes for your keywords

Google’s Keyword Planner Functions

Keyword Ideas from Keyword Planner



From using the Keyword Planner, we now know that “Dermatologist Columbus Ohio” receives 1900 searches monthly, and we also have uncovered some fresh new keyword suggestions like “Best Dermatologist Columbus Ohio” to target, so we’re off to a good start.

Additionally, we can see that Google recommends “acne treatment” as another keyword idea, so now we can repeat this same process again for “Acne Treatment Columbus Ohio” except this time we’ll use the Keywords Everywhere extension.

The one flaw with keyword planning is the lack of suburb level insights. Since there is not a lot of volume for “Gahanna Dermatologist” (210 searches to be exact) a novice SEO would overlook this as part of the strategy. This is where local insight is extremely valuable. If the dermatology practice example in this article generates 80% of their business from people in Gahanna, this should be considered a primary keyword for your SEO strategy.

Keyword Everywhere Tool

This Chrome extension provides all of the data from Google’s Keyword Planner right on the Google search page.

So it turns out there are exactly 0 monthly searches for “Acne Treatment Columbus Ohio”, however, we can now see a slew of new keyword terms including “Skin Care Columbus Ohio”, “Acne Scar Treatment Columbus Ohio”, “Microneedling Columbus Ohio”, and “Microdermabrasion Columbus Ohio” for starters.

Essentially you can repeat the same process for each keyword you discover. The process is just plugging each new keyword you find into the tool until you’ve completely saturated all of the related keywords for your niche, this is the best method.

Using Google’s Keyword Planner in conjunction with free tools like Keywords Everywhere, you can find all of the related search terms that are receiving traffic and create a list of keywords to begin targeting.

Final Keyword List

Now that you’ve determined all of the highest volume keywords for a dermatologist office in Columbus, OH your keyword research, it is time to make sure this information aligns with the businesses revenue, profit and goals.

If the local dermatology practice just fired their aesthetician and couldn’t offer Microdermabrasion at the moment, you want to hold off on this from an optimization standpoint. The same holds true if the service isn’t profitable, it wouldn’t make sense for an SEO Agency to allocate a lot of time, effort and resources into this practice area.

Make sure the SEO company or in-house SEO specialist gets approval on a final list. Once you’ve created pages on your site targeting each of these keywords, you can continue the process of uncovering new keywords until you’ve covered all the necessary ground.

  • Dermatologist Columbus Ohio
  • Dermatologist Gahanna Ohio
  • Skin Care Columbus Ohio
  • Microdermabrasion Columbus Ohio
  • Acne Scar Treatment Columbus Ohio
  • Laser Hair Removal Columbus Ohio
  • Microneedling Columbus Ohio

Competition Analysis and Allintitle: Searches

One of the last steps is to do two types of Google searches for the keywords you are going to target. This will help you determine what type of content is currently ranking for the #1 spot for these terms, this way you can actually compete with the top dogs by visiting their sites. For example, if the #1 ranked site has a 2500 word piece of content on “acne treatment in Columbus, OH” then it’s likely you’ll have to write something of similar weight in order to stand a chance.

Then do one more search for the same keyword using the “allintitle:” command. The Google search bar should look like “allintitle:Best Dermatologist Columbus Ohio” by doing this, Google will show you how many other sites are currently indexed for that exact keyword.

You can see in the below screenshot that there are only 7 pages with this exact keyword combination, that’s extremely good news for your dermatologist office because most keywords will have 1000’s of pages, especially non-local terms.

National Keyword Campaigns

One last point about national keyword campaigns, let’s say you’re a national eCommerce company selling electronics and you’re trying to rank for keywords like “Best VR Headset” a national keyword with a search volume of 33,100 each month. The process is essentially the same as described above, except you can ignore the city and state modifiers that are added when running a local SEO campaign.

It’s important to mention that in order to begin ranking for national keywords, due to the highly competitive nature of the these keywords, it’s important to understand advanced SEO techniques including cornerstone content and internal linking to name a few.


Start with the services you offer, and the city you’re targeting, from there you should be able to create a modest list of keyword ideas. Then using tools, you can transform all of your brainstorming into a finalized keyword list, complete with search volumes for each term you’re going to target.

Conducting keyword research in this way, you can determine what’s worth focusing on, and then allocate more time to the keywords that will provide the most traffic.

This article for The Media Captain’s site was written by Eric Folts. Eric has been making his living doing SEO and affiliate marketing for the past 7 years. He studied English in college and naturally gravitated towards content writing after graduation. WordPress is his go-to CMS with over a dozen affiliate sites in his portfolio at the moment.