About this process

  • Department: Content Services
  • Responsible: Content Writer
  • Accountable: Head of Content
  • Consult: Content Strategist
  • Inform: Lead Strategist
  • Date created: 21/01/2020
  • Date last updated: 21/01/2020

Keywords are the breadcrumbs connecting our clients’ websites and content to their target buyers. Today’s prospects are searching for our clients’ products or services and its in their commercial interests to be there when they do.

A repeatable, consistent keyword process is therefore important to ensure we’re identifying the best keyword opportunities for our clients, so whether we’re updating an ad-hoc webpage, preparing for a new site redesign, or creating a content calendar, we can make informed, search-optimised decisions.

Step 1 of the process

The Content Writer or Inbound Marketer should open up the Keyword Research template and clone it. Rename this cloned version after the client in question and save it in the client’s folder, under Content. You’ll also need to replace the BabelQuest logo with the client’s logo.

Step 2 of the process

Liaise with the Inbound/Content Strategist and review any workshop findings to identify any client-supplied keywords from the workshops/Strategy Phase. A client won’t always supply us with keywords, but often they have worked from lists in the past and will share these with us as an action point after one of the workshops.

Populate the first tab in the client’s Keyword Research sheet (‘Workshop findings’) with any of these keywords/lists. If there are no keywords to populate the first tab, simply hide it.

Step 3 of the process

The second tab (‘Seed list’) is where you gather as many ideas as possible related to the client’s quarterly topic. Crawl SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Google, AnswerThePublic, and any other current keyword research tools you’re familiar with to get lots of ideas.

Rename the quarterly column after the client’s topic and populate that column with your findings.

Step 4 of the process

For the third tab (‘Competitor research’), review your client’s competitors to discover any keyword ideas they might be prioritising or seeing success with.

A client’s competitors are usually surfaced during the workshops/Strategy Phase, so please liaise with the Accountable Strategist for an accurate list of competitors to research.

Review their blogs or resources sections for articles or other pieces of content pertaining to your client’s topic and enter these URLs into Buzzsumo. This will reveal lots of social information such as where the content has been shared and how much, giving you an idea of its popularity and perhaps where to test sharing your client’s content.

From the titles of the content, H2s, and alt image tags, you will be able to make an educated guess at the keyword(s) they are targeting. Note this in column B (‘Focus keyword’). 

Step 5 of the process

By this point, you will have lots of interesting keyword ideas. Given what you know about the topic in question and the client’s goals, pick the best ideas from the previous three tabs and enter these into the fourth tab (‘Keyword comparison’).

Run these keywords through SEMrush to get a much clearer idea of the search volumes involved, the difficulty associated with them, any SERP features they trigger etc. This will show you more objectively which keywords are the best choices for your needs/requirements and which to recommend in your calendars/site structures.


Occasionally, a client will ask to see the keyword research we have done for them. If this is the case, ensure the keyword research document is completed to the best of your abilities and offer to set up a meeting/call to walk the client through the document.

Topics: Content Processes