How Long Should Keyword Research Take?

Keyword research is a fundamental part of SEO so it shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to doing it. If you don’t nail your keyword research before starting a website then you’re likely going to be doomed from the start. You can have the best-designed website or a niche with no competition, it won’t matter if you’re targeting keywords that no one is searching for.

In this article we’re going to cover how long keyword research should take, why it’s important, how often should you do it, and everything else you need to know. 

How Long Should Keyword Research Take?

There is no defined answer when it comes to how long keyword research should take, how long is a piece of string? The answer will vary from person to person. For example, someone with a micro niche website about German Shepherd dogs will have a lot less keyword research to do than someone who owns a dog authority website. 

On average when you’re starting a new website, you should spend around 1-week gathering as many keywords as you can possibly find. After this, you then go and write the content targeting these keywords. Keyword research can be done in batches until you’ve either run out of keywords or you’re happy with the about of articles you’ve currently got. 

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

As we briefly covered in the introduction, keyword research is the foundation upon which your website is built on. 

Keyword research allows you to find article ideas that people are actively searching for. If you were to do no keyword research and just write articles blindly you’re basically gambling that people will search for that keyword.

It also tells you more in-depth information about that keyword. You can find out things like :

  • Estimated search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Related keywords

It also gives you a closer insight into the audience of your website and how they think. This can open up more opportunities when it comes to sales and appearing as an authority to your target audience, which is something Google rewards. 

Not only does keyword research give you an insight into your audience, but it can reveal what keywords your competition is ranking for. This allows you to collect a list of all your competitor’s keywords and target them yourself – which will increase your organic traffic over time.

How Do You Do Keyword Research?

Now you know how important keyword research is, let’s find out how you do keyword research. 

I like to think of keyword research as a skill, and the only way to get better at a skill is to repeatedly do it. 

The best way to perform keyword research is using a keyword research tool. They save you time and can provide you with an endless list of keywords to target, however, the downside is you’ll have to spend a bit of money. 

In this tutorial, we’re going to be using SEMrush, which is our favorite SEO tool as a whole. 

Step 1: Create A List Of Topics In Your Niche 

To start off your keyword research you need to come up with a list of generic keywords that are associated with your niche. These seed keywords are used to then give us a list of other related keywords we can use to target. 

For this example, our website is going to be anything kitchen-related. I’ve come up with a list of main topics that can be associated with a kitchen, there are :

  • Knives
  • Microwaves
  • Coffee machines
  • Toasters
  • Fridges
  • Blenders
  • Kettles

These are going to be the seed keywords we can use to find a comprehensive list of keywords we can rank for. Obviously, the keywords ‘knives’ or ‘microwaves’ will be too hard to rank for so we need to dive deeper.

Step 2: Enter Your Seed Keywords Into A Keyword Tool

For this example, we chose to do some keyword research on the term ‘best kitchen knives’. Once you’ve plugged it into a keyword tool you’ll then get a report on all of the metrics surrounding that keyword, so you can decide if you want to target it or not.

These include things like :

  • Estimated monthly searches
  • Keyword difficulty 
  • Related keywords
  • Keyword trend

You need to inspect these metrics and make a decision on whether or not you can rank for it or not. In this case ‘best kitchen knives’ would be lucrative to go after as it has an average of 12,000 searches per month however with a keyword difficulty of 78 it would be incredibly hard to rank for this keyword. 

A massive part of keyword research is trial and error. You need to brainstorm different topics within your niche until you find keywords that are low competition and easy to rank for. 

After doing some more research I discovered this keyword. It’s got an estimated monthly search volume of 140 and the keyword difficulty is described as easy. This is a keyword you could go after if you were in the kitchen niche. 

You would add this to your keyword list and move on to find another, and then another. That’s the process of keyword research simplified. 

How Often Should You Do Keyword Research?

You should do keyword research every time you’ve finished a batch of keywords and written content about them. The truth is keyword research is an ongoing process unless you’re in an extremely small niche. 

There are always going to be keywords out there you can target, it’s just a matter of looking for them. If you’re happy with the amount of content you’ve got on your website then you can stop doing keyword research, but if you want to gain organic traffic and grow your website you should continue to perform keyword research. 

How Long Does It Take To Rank For A Keyword?

Once you’ve got your list of keywords and written the perfect article you’re probably eager to find your keyword at the top of the SERPs. Ranking for a keyword takes time and can depend on a number of different factors.

The biggest factor will be your website, is it under 6 months old, or have you been working on it for 3 years? If your website is new then don’t expect to rank on Google for the first 6 months. As new websites don’t have much authority, so Google doesn’t like to display them on the first page. 

The second biggest factor is the competition for that keyword. If you’ve targeted a keyword in which the first page is full of websites that don’t answer the search intent then you’re likely to rank much faster.

There is no specific timeline in which a keyword will automatically rank on Google there are too many external factors. However as a rule of thumb – if you have done your keyword research correctly and written a solid piece of content you can expect to rank anywhere between 6-9 months. 


To finish off, keyword research is never really finished. There are always opportunities to find more keywords unless the niche you’re in is extremely small and you have covered it all. 

You, as the owner of the website, decide when keyword research is finished. If your goal was to publish 100 pieces of content and you found 100 keywords in one day then you can consider your keyword research done. As you can see the answer depends on you and your personal goals. 

One thing you shouldn’t do is rush your keyword research in an attempt to get it over and done with. Keyword research is a vital part of SEO because if it’s not done properly your website is destined to fail.

Written by AJ Silber

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