The New Approach to Keyword Research & Allocation

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Keyword research has always been an integral part of SEO and digital marketing. The process is usually pretty basic – find the keywords that have high traffic, relate to your business and low competition if possible.

Expert SEO’ers will have a more in-depth approach but the above is quite common.

The approach below simplifies the process so anyone can conduct keyword research like a pro.

Let’s introduce Gavin…

Gavin (who is completely made up) owns a resort in Port Douglas, Australia. He advertises his rooms as hotel-style accommodation that is perfect for families. It is also on the cheaper side when compared to other resorts in town.

Gavin completed some KW research for his website, coming up with the list below:

  1. Accommodation Port Douglas
  2. Hotels Port Douglas
  3. Resort Port Douglas
  4. Hotel accommodation Port Douglas

It’s basic, but that’s what Gavin wants to rank for. After a few months he’s not getting any love. The competition is tough and Gavin’s new site just can’t get the traction it needs. Those in the know will identify that he isn’t targeting any long-tail variations.

But how does he select them?

Lucky we’re here to make it simple, providing him with Base, Secondary & Supporting keywords.

Step 1 – What are Gavin’s customers searching for?

Gavin’s potential customers are searching for accommodation in Port Douglas. That is the purpose of their search.

As a result, we can come up with his Base keywords, which are commonly used for Research. When searched, either individually or together, you know the person is looking for information on the given subject i.e. accommodation/hotels/resorts in Port Douglas


  • Accommodation
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Port Douglas

Someone inexperienced in SEO would split accommodation/hotels/resorts up into their own pages.  It’s a common mistake. There is no need to split them up because they are essentially the same keyword.

How do you find out if two words are considered the same I hear you ask? Do a search and you will find out:

Even though the search is for hotels, accommodation is still highlighted in the SERPs. Same same, but different! Creating a new page just to house the resort keywords and a new page to house the hotel keywords isn’t necessary.

These Base keywords will form a foundation for Gavin’s website. They’ll feature on the homepage and throughout the site, simply because that is the purpose of his site’s existence.

Step 2 – Who are Gavin’s customers searching for?

We know they want accommodation, but who is it for? Gavin knows families love his hotel, but he also has a lot of couples stay with him and doesn’t want to shut them out. He also just put the finishing touches on a special secluded honeymoon suite and wants to get that up and going.

This brings us to our Secondary keywords. These are the things that people will add to their Base keywords to identify to Gavin exactly what they are looking for. They are also known as Shopping keywords, because the searcher has narrowed their search and is more likely to buy.


  • Family
  • Couples
  • Honeymoon

The keywords above outline which internal pages we are going to target. Remember how Base keywords feature throughout the site? Secondary keywords are added to these to form the focus for the internal pages.

Gavin has pages for both his single bedroom and two bedroom rooms. He has also decided to create a new page for his swanky honeymoon suite:

The base keywords still feature, just with a Secondary keyword attached. That defines to Google what the specific page is about. They know Gavin’s site offers accommodation in Port Douglas, but wouldn’t have a clue what type of people to send where if the internal pages aren’t targeted correctly.

The result? People won’t just end up on a generic homepage and have to navigate their own way around. They will be provided with the information they want after just one click, and Gavin will be more likely to get a booking.

Step 3 – What are Gavin’s customers’ requirements?

These are the money makers. This list of Supporting keywords outlines exactly what people want. They are also referred to as Buying keywords. If someone searching using these terms and your site provides the goods, it’s a safe bet to say that they’ll have their credit card ready to go. For Gavin they would be:


  • Cheap
  • Budget
  • Affordable
  • Close to
  • Near
  • Retreat
  • Getaway
  • Secluded
  • CBD
  • Last minute
  • Deals

You take this list and scatter them to the appropriate areas.

‘Cheap/Budget/Affordable’ keywords would go to the homepage because that is the biggest selling point and underlying factor of Gavin’s resort.

They can also feature on the internal 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom pages.

They shouldn’t feature on the honeymoon page – no one wants to admit they are looking for cheap honeymoon accommodation, even if that is their intention. Featuring those types of keywords on the page will scare people off.

‘Secluded’ and ‘Getaway’ are good additions to the honeymoon page, as they accurately identify what the room is suited to.

What are you left with? A comprehensive list of relevant keywords targeted correctly!

This process should be in your mind every time you conduct keyword research. Simply typing what you think is best into the Google Keyword Tool and pulling out clusters is a caveman-like approach.

Your website should be your inspiration for keyword research:

Remember – Keywords don’t pick their Pages, Pages pick their keywords.

Thinking about what your target audience wants for each specific page is the key. You’re attempting to answer their search query with information on your page – if the page doesn’t answer the query, the keywords shouldn’t be targeted there.

The above may seem elementary for some, but it’s a simple way to get your keyword research correct first time. From beginner to expert, keep this 3-step process in mind!

Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas is a digital marketing professional from Melbourne, Australia. His background is in content and he has experience in running website and social marketing... Read Full Bio
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  • Kamal

    Worth spending time on reading this, especially if you wanna know how the “keyword” game works in the search engines. Website owners would love to read :).

    • Dylan Thomas

      Thanks for the comment Kamal. Keyword research and allocation is important, but doesn’t need to be complicated! Hopefully this is something all website owners can utilise as they look to grow their SEO knowledge base.

  • Lance

    Dylan, really good post that companies small or large can use to give structure to keyword research. Good work chap!

    • Dylan Thomas

      Thanks Lance. It’s a pretty adaptable approach – sometimes we’ve just got to keep it simple!

  • Marina

    Really liked the article Dylan. This whole keyword research stuff has been confusing me no end, so it’s good to read a nice, simple approach that I can actively apply to my own business. Thanks!

    • Dylan Thomas

      Good to hear I could help ease some of the confusion Marina!

  • Jason

    Great post for an SEO novice like me. Thanks for the simplified strategy.

  • sanjeev

    Nice article, you put them in step by step.. it’s easy to understand on how ppl need to target their customer with right keywords for their business in SE and also with example of google highlights synonymous of the keyword.

    • Dylan Thomas

      Glad the steps were easy to follow Sanjeev. Remembering what the customer is searching for should be the underlying thought process for all SEO work.

  • Aman Singh

    You are right in all the aspects. I would like to add that keyword research is not meant to provide ideas. But, you should have your own ideas and them find the closest keywords with good no. Of visits.

    • Dylan Thomas

      I agree and disagree on this one Aman. You should have your own ideas in mind when selecting keywords, but don’t assume you know it all!
      Sometimes searching through keyword lists can provide topic inspiration that you hadn’t thought of before. The key is not getting sidetracked and sticking to the primary goals of your campaign!

  • Nick Stamoulis

    “Keywords don’t pick their Pages, Pages pick their keywords.”

    Exactly what I tell my clients every day! It doesn’t matter what keyword you want to target, the content has to support it. Keywords that don’t make it onto your site can still be used in your blog and other content marketing pieces.

    • Anthony

      “Keywords that don’t make it onto your site can still be used in your blog and other content marketing pieces.”

      Agreed Nick, we use this tactic and it has worked pretty well so far.

      Great advice Dylan, i’ll keep it in mind!

    • Dylan Thomas

      Thanks Nick and Anthony. Good to hear this thought process is consistent throughout the industry. This follows on from what I was mentioning to Aman above – if you come across new keyword clusters that won’t fit naturally into your target pages, considering them for blog posts is a smart idea. As always, relevancy is the key!

  • Shahbaz Khan

    Dylan, brilliant article, You have described the keywords research process in such a simple way that can be easily understood by beginners as well. Thanks!

    • Dylan Thomas

      You’re too kind Shahbaz! Glad to be of help.

  • Zankhana

    Nice post! Basic information but worth reading to get reminded of time and time again. Not only keyword research but also keyword allocation and placement are equally important.

  • Henry Martin

    Great post Dylan, and the “Same same, but different” line was perfect haha.

    • Dylan Thomas

      Inspiration from Indonesia! Amazing place.

      • Henry Martin

        Yes! I traveled through Thailand, Cambodia and Nam. I almost bought a T-Shirt that had that phrase.

  • Mustafa Sattar

    Thanks Dylan Thomas.

    Keyword Research process in three easy steps, a great and simple approach. I am a beginner in SEO and this helped me a lot.