Keyword Research: How to Read a Keyword Report

by Jared Goss

So what is a keyword research report? As a Kodeak client, you will receive this report with any service that we perform for you. This is the first step in any project that we take on. We use these to help us understand your target user, customer, or client better. This report gives us an idea of what people are searching for; how they are searching it, what their intent is with certain queries, and what they expect to find when they click into a website when they search for what you offer.

Keyword research reports give us a ton of information that we use to target each one of your pages to build your organic ranking. These reports also help you plan out future blog articles and how to target them or answer commonly searched questions. We design websites for your user and what we can tell they want to see when they come to your site. This not only helps with conversion on your website, but it will help with ranking in the search engine results pages too.

This article is going to cover how to read your keyword report and how to use it to your benefit going forward.

Keyword research report definitions

First, let’s cover some definitions you will see in the header of the report.

  • Keyword: This is a word or phrase that your user is using to find your or your competitors when they are looking for something that your business offers.
  • Pos. or Position: This number represents the current ranking of your website when someone searches for that keyword. There are 10 organic listings per search results page, so ideally, you want to rank 1-10 for the best keywords. 11-20 will be page 2, 21-30 will be page 3 and so on.
  • Volume: This is the current monthly search volume of that specific keyword. This can be drilled down from a national search volume to a local city or area. This tells us how the majority of your users are searching for what you offer in your geographic location.
  • Keyword Difficulty (KD): This is how difficult it will be to rank organically for this keyword based on the number of results and competition. The higher the percentage, the harder it will be to rank.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click): This is used for paid marketing (like AdWords) and it tells us what an estimated average bid for that keyword is. If you can rank organically for high CPC keyword, you essentially are saving yourself that dollar amount everytime someone clicks on your website.
  • Traffic %: This is the estimated percentage of your organic traffic that comes from a particular keyword.
  • Com. or Competition: This is the competition density for paid marketing. One is the highest competition and 0 equals no competition.
  • Results: This is the number of websites that populate the search results for any given keyword.
  • Trend: This tells us how a particular keyword trends in search volume over a 12 month period.

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, let’s look at how to use this information.

How to start your keyword research

The first step is compiling your keyword list. I would recommend starting by listing all of the keywords that you believe that your customers are using right now to find you. Think about questions that you get asked often as well and how you would search that. Once you have a solid list together, you can input those into a keyword tool like SEM RushMOZ, or Google Keyword Planner. We use SEM Rush for our keyword research and website tracking so we will be referring to this type of report in this article.

In SEM, we will set up a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign to build our list. You can do the same thing in Google Keyword Planner without actually setting up any ads too. When you paste your list of keywords into the planner, SEM gives you an option to add related keywords to each input. This will give you 20-50 additional keywords that are phrased differently for your report. You will want to sift through this list and remove anything that isn’t relative to your website.

How to use keyword information to pick the right keywords


We need to start by looking at the most drilled down location. If you are a local business or want to focus on local keywords, you will want to make sure that you are pulling data from people that are searching from your geographic. Since we are here in Tucson, AZ, I want to look at how & what people are searching for in our city only. For this example, national search volumes mean nothing to me. On the other hand, if you have an eCommerce website that delivers nationwide or a blog that you want to rank nationally, we would set the location to the U.S. and not drill it down to a city.


Next, we want to look at the estimated monthly search volumes for each keyword. We want to target high volume keywords for each page of your website, each blog post, or each marketing campaign ad. If you are ranking for a high volume keyword on the first page of Google, you stand to get a portion of a bigger pool of users into your site. You can get a better portion by ranking higher and/or by writing better meta titles & descriptions than your competitors, which will consequently rank you higher too.


We aren’t just looking at volume when we are picking out keywords. We also want to look at the intent of the query. What do we think the user is looking for when they type that phrase into the search field. More and more, people are searching with complete questions or more complete thoughts rather than a few keywords jammed together. We try to find words that suggest that the user is further down the sales funnel or at least interested in buying something and not just information to do something oneself.

PRO TIP:This is a good way to help you come up with good blog topics based on what your users are searching for.


Lastly, we want to look at the trend of the keyword over time. Is the keyword you are looking at seasonal? Is it something that is based around a holiday or a certain weather condition? If so, this might be a good keyword to use for an ad that you can turn on and off when it is relevant to do so. But I wouldn’t want to target a key page on your website for that type of keyword. Find keywords that are pretty steady all year long for pages that will be visible on your website year round.

You will want to look at other metrics from this list as well depending on what your keyword research is for. If you are tackling building a successful Google Ads PPC campaign, then you will want to look at the cost per click along with search volume. Depending on your budget, you might not be able to afford to go after $30/ click words and might want to look at a lower volume, lower competition keyword that still has the intent to purchase for a $4-5 per click.

For an SEO campaign, you will want to look at the keyword difficulty of some words and who is currently dominating the first page for them. If you are going after huge brands or major information sites, you may not be able to win the first-page spot for that keyword.

I will leave you with one last thing that we often run into as we meet with new clients. Most have a few keywords in mind that they feel that they should be ranking for. After presenting the keyword research report, a lot of the time, that keyword has very low search volume. BUT, we were able to find other related keywords that had significantly higher volumes with good intent that slightly differed from the original word they wanted. The point is, don’t assume that the keyword that you would use to search for what you offer is what the majority uses. Do the research, know what your customers want, and pick the best targets for your campaigns to get you the best ROI.

If you would like to start your keyword research with a keyword report or an analysis of your current online presence, drop us a line and we can help you out with that. We are always happy to help!

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