How to do SEO
At this point, you should have a decent foundation for SEO success. But this is just the beginning. SEO is an ongoing process divided into four facets:
We’ve published beginner’s guides on each of these facets so we won’t cover all the points here. Instead, we’ll focus on the basics and look broadly to help you understand why each facet is important and how it all works together.
Keyword Research is the process of finding what your customers are searching for, how much traffic those terms can drive to you, and how difficult it can be to rank well for those terms. Let’s explore the basics of each step.
Understanding what kinds of things your potential customers are looking for is the first step in understanding the keyword research process. Without knowing it, there is no way to start creating pages that rank in search engines and attract valuable traffic.
Brainstorming words and phrases that define your industry is the best way to start this process. For an online computer store, these might be:
You can use these words as ‘seed’ keywords to find other ideas. Just enter them into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and check one of the keyword reports.
Check potential traffic
Almost all keyword research tools show estimated monthly search volumes for the keywords they find, including Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Search volume is generally a reasonable way to estimate potential traffic for keywords. In general, pages that focus on high-volume keywords will usually drive more traffic to your website than pages that focus on lower-volume keywords.
But keyword traffic volume is not foolproof . There are cases where the #1 position for a keyword with 1,000 monthly searches generates more traffic than the #1 position for a keyword with 2,000 monthly searches.
For example, “submit website to a search engine” vs. “SEO tips”.
Even if the second has a higher search volume, the top ranked page of the first gets more organic traffic.
So it’s worth looking at the estimated organic traffic to the top ranking page to get a better idea of a keyword’s traffic potential. You can do this in the Keyword Explorer .
Check positioning difficulty
Even if a keyword seems relevant to your business and has high traffic potential, it won’t always be easy to rank for.
Many things influence how difficult a keyword is to rank, but the number of relevant and prominent websites linking to the top ranking pages is arguably the most important. Google talks about this in their guide to how searches work :
If other websites prominent in the subject link to link to the page, this is a good sign that the page is of high quality.
It is, in part, for this reason that we base Ahrefs’ Keyword Difficulty (KD) rating on the number of websites linking to the top ranked pages. This ranks each keyword on a scale of 0 to 100 and is a good first point of attention when trying to gauge placement difficulty.
However, as it is impossible to distill the complexity of placement difficulty into 1-3 digit numbers, we do not recommend relying on this data entirely. We go into more detail about assessing placement difficulty in our keyword research guide.