How to Learn SEO Step-by-Step (2023 Update)

But the truth is that most people don’t understand how to do proper keyword research. And it stems from not understanding the core principle of keyword research, search intent.

What is Search Intent?

It’s simply what a searcher wants to achieve when using Google.

By understanding the searcher’s end goal, you can deliver the perfect page for them.

When you deliver the perfect page, Google will reward you with rankings (if you do everything else right).

The good news is that you don’t need to be a genius to understand search intent.

Here are two foolproof ways to understand intent:

Use Google to Study Intent

Google will show you the types of pages it believes satisfy the intent of the keyword.

It’s right most of the time, except for lower competition keywords. With lower competition keywords, Google won’t have a big enough pool of pages to pick from.

This means you’ll be able to rank easily if you create a hyper-focused page.

For example, look at the keyword “imovie crashes when importing.

At one point, Gotch SEO ranked around #50 for this keyword with our “imovie review” page.

However, this page would never be able to rank for this long-tail phrase because it isn’t focused enough. So what I did was create a dedicated page for this keyword.

And within a few days of publishing, it hit #1 on Google.

Yes, it doesn’t have much search volume yet, but compound this strategy across many keywords, and you’ll start to see why it’s so powerful.

Now let me walk you through how a searcher’s intent changes during the sales cycle:

First, they’ll often start with a keyword phrase at the top of the funnel, with informational intent like “What is SEO.”

Once they understand what SEO is, they might discover a laundry list of SEO tools you can use to get the job done.

So now they might search for a keyword with investigative intent, like “Best SEO tools.”

Once they learn all the tools they can use, they’ll likely transition into a keyword phrase with comparison intent like “Semrush vs Ahrefs.”

At this stage, they’re brand-aware and getting closer to the conversion stage.

From here, it’ll likely lead to a bottom-of-the-funnel keyword phrase like “Semrush review.”

And then, at the very bottom of the funnel, they might search a keyword with transactional intent like: “Semrush free trial.” As you can imagine, keywords at this stage have sky-high conversion rates.

So what I just demonstrated is the searcher’s journey through the sales cycle. Your website needs to attack each stage of this searcher journey.

And speaking of Semrush, you can use it to classify your keywords based on intent.

Use Semrush to Understand Search Intent

Enter your domain into the search bar, go to “Competitive Research,” click on “Organic Research,” and then click on “Positions.”

Look under the “Intent” column:

It’s not perfect, but it’s accurate at least 80% of the time.

Now that you understand intent, how do you find keywords?

3 Ways to Find Keywords (Fast)

There are a variety of keyword research tools you can use:

1. Use Semrush

There are two ways to do keyword research with Semrush.

First, you can analyze your existing keyword profile.

Start by throwing your website into the Semrush search bar.

Then click “Organic Research” and click “Positions.”

I recommend sorting using the “Positions” dropdown and entering a “Custom Range” from 2 to 15.

You’ll now see low-hanging fruit keywords.

These low-hanging fruit keywords are a great place to start because you’re already doing well. So with some optimization techniques and promotion (more on this in a second), you’ll drive more traffic fast.

You can also use Semrush’s Keyword Gap tool under the “Competitive Research” section.

Then enter your top competitor’s domains:

You can then sort the keywords by “Untapped,” which your competitors are ranking for, but your website isn’t.

You can also leverage the filters to sort through the keywords to find lower competition opportunities.

2. Use Google Search Console

Open up Google Search Console and go to the “Performance” report:

Click on “+ New” filter:

Then click on the “Query” option:

Now select the “Custom (regex)” and “Matches regex” from the two dropdowns:

Enter this formula: “\b(how|what|why|when|is|who|where)\b”

Now you’ll have access to countless keywords with “Informational” intent that you can focus on:

Repeat with this formula: “\b(best|top|vs|review|reviews)\b”

And then you’ll have access to keywords with “Investigative” intent:

Here’s how the cool part about what I just showed you:

I didn’t create these “regex” formulas myself.

All I did was use ChatGPT:

3. Use Google’s People Also Ask (PAA)

One of the best ways to find long-tail keywords is to use Google’s “People Also Ask” section:

I recommend downloading the free SEO Minion browser extension to streamline this process.

Just enter your keyword into Google and then section “PAA” from the dropdown:

Click “Go” and SEO Minion will crawl the PAA section. Once it’s done, you can download the result.

Add these awesome ideas to your keyword database:

And now, let’s move on to the third pillar of SEO, which is:

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