written by
Jeremy Moser

Keyword Research 101: Tools, Tips, and Strategies

Search Engine Optimization 7 min read

When you’re a new B2B content agency, building trust with your ideal clients is essential to staying in business. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to conduct keyword research in line with their goals and target audiences.

In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through some key tools, tips, and strategies you can use to conduct B2B keyword research and create content plans for your customers.

Ask for B2B target buyer personas

When you’re working with a new client, immediately ask for their B2B target buyer personas.

These are representations of your client’s audience using fictional characters, such as “No Time To Waste Enterprise” and “Overwhelmed Startup.”They also include their target customer’s firmographics, concerns, and goals.

These personas help you better understand your customer's target audience, the pain points their audience has, and how your customer helps them succeed.


Dig deep into the target audience’s pain points and questions

Ask for first-party data, researched data, and any other details your customer has about their target audience. You may need to help them sort through or pull more data.

Dip deep into their audience’s pain points and top questions. Uncover their top questions, needs, and problems by funnel stage — and turn this into a long-tail keyword list.

For instance, for the Awareness Stage, highlight keywords that can help their audience solve top problems. (Your customer’s product or service will be the solution to these problems.)

These terms include questions or long-tail keywords with words like:

  • Examples
  • Resource
  • Where
  • Guide
  • Learn
  • What
  • Who
  • How

For this funnel stage, you might include the following on the long-tail keyword list:

  • How to manage projects with project management software
  • 2024 guide on project management software
  • What’s a project management tool?

For the Consideration Stage, highlight keywords targeted at audience members who are looking for product details and features. (Your customer will rank their product among other high performers.)

These include questions or long-tail keywords with words like:

  • Comparison
  • Review
  • Best
  • Top
  • Vs

At this stage, you might include the following on the long-tail keyword list:

  • Top project management tools in 2024
  • Asana vs Clickup — which one’s best?
  • Best project management software

And finally, for the Decision Stage, highlight keywords targeted at users who are thinking about signing up or making a purchase. (Your customer will use these to explain the options they offer.)

These include questions or long-tail keywords with words like:

  • Discount
  • Coupon
  • Pricing
  • Plans
  • Buy
  • Get

For this funnel stage, you might include the following on the long-tail keyword list:

  • How to get a project management software discount
  • Project management tool pricing list
  • Buy project management software

Plug long-tail keywords in a keyword research tool

At this point, you know a lot about your B2B customer’s audience, and you’ve put together a long-tail keyword list.

Next, you’ll conduct keyword research using a keyword planner tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.

Once you have the tool pulled up, plug in your long-tail keywords to analyze their monthly search volume and competition level (also known as keyword difficulty score or KD).

Your goal?

Uncover which keywords on your list have high search volume and low competition. These are the SEO keywords you’ll use to create your customer’s content plan.

Ahrefs recommends pursuing keywords that have a high potential value for your business, with 10–100 searches per month. Ofcourse, you can also target terms with higher search volumes if they make sense for your brand and audience.

It also recommends filtering for keywords with a KD score between 0–10.


It’s important to note that this isn’t a perfect science. Some keywords will still be relevant to your business, regardless of stats.

Let’s take a look at two brand examples for context.


Hightouch focuses on creating content around Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), specifically Composable CDPs.

Using keyword research tools, it identified “composable CDP” as a keyword with a high search volume (around 1,100) and a relatively low competition level of 14 (See below). Since this term is highly relevant to its product and audience, it’s okay that the search volume is above the range.

Hightouch also targeted “what is a composable cdp” which has a 60 search volume (within the range we covered above). And a competition score of 12 — just slightly above Ahref’s recommendations.

By targeting these terms and including relevant secondary keywords, it ranked number one on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for both:

Henry Meds

Henry Meds, a weight loss telehealth brand, writes SEO content about designing a semaglutide diet. In the image below, you’ll see the KD is 7 or lower in most of the keywords it's targeting, which is in Ahrefs’ recommended range.

Most of its long-tail keywords’ search volume is also 100 or below, as per Ahrefs’ recommendations.

But it does have a few reaching as high as 200 and even over 2k, including “semaglutide diet” and “semaglutide diet plan”. These keywords make sense for its niche, though, even with a search volume that’s higher than Ahref’s 10–100 recommendations.

Note: Attempting to rank for keywords that have a very high search volume can prove to be ineffective for new websites or those with a lower domain rating. This is because major players are likely already ranking for these terms, making it almost impossible for smaller sites to appear on Google's search results for those keywords.

With this strategy, brands like Hightouch and Henry Meds cater to search intent and draw more relevant users to their websites.

Plan topic clusters with semantic search

Now that you have a list of keywords you’ll base your customer’s SEO strategy around, use a semantic search tool, like Frase or Clearscope, to research secondary keywords.

Semantic search means researching secondary keywords related to your target keywords. This search process helps reveal other keywords you should include throughout your content to optimize it for search. They also help you analyze patterns so you can plan topic clusters for your customers.

Topic cluster content can help your customer demonstrate more expertise in their niche, which can boost their domain authority. This means they’ll showcase main topics on “parent pages” and sub-topics on “child pages” on their website. They’ll also interlink these to create the “clusters.”

For instance, piggybacking on our project management example, you might uncover your customer’s main themes should be:

  • Project management software comparison guides
  • Project management workflows
  • Project management how-tos

Careful analysis may also help you choose the following as their subtopics:

  • How-tos for construction project managers
  • Popular project management integrations
  • How-tos for marketing project managers
  • How-tos for technical project managers
  • Product management workflow guides
  • Team management workflow guides
  • Task management workflow guides
  • Best project management features
  • Top project management tools

This combination gives them three topic clusters for their blog and other content marketing channels that are relevant to their brand and audience.

Recommend adding target and secondary keywords throughout website pages where relevant

Now it’s time to advise your customers where they should add the keywords you put together for them.

If their website performs well, take a look at each page, and recommend the most relevant keywords — where they’d naturally fit.

If it doesn’t perform well, you may need to consider doing an SEO overhaul on their website.

For instance, they might recommend that your customer optimize their site for mobile, restructure the formatting, and add metadata information. After that, you can recommend where to add keywords and what kind of copywriting and content to include.

This includes ‌topic cluster content.

Be sure to show them the topic cluster plan you created and how it’ll work on their site. You might keep it simple by recommending a blog with theme tabs readers can choose through, like this:


Or, if they’re ultra-competitive, you might recommend they use your topic cluster plan to create a full resource center with:

  • A Knowledge Base
  • Product pages
  • An FAQ page
  • A help center
  • Case studies
  • Blog posts
  • Tutorials

Here’s an example:


Whichever option you recommend, posting valuable content consistently can help your customer attract quality organic traffic and build authority with search engines.

Wrap up

Creating an SEO content strategy for B2B businesses is rewarding work. Not only do you get to help your customers dig deeper into their audiences’ concerns, but you also get to be a part of their online growth.

By studying more about keyword research, mentoring with SEO experts, and putting insights into action, you can become a better SEO marketer and help clients reach big goals.

For good measure, here’s a quick recap of what we shared today:

  1. Ask for B2B target buyer personas
  2. Dig deep into the target audience’s pain points and questions
  3. Plug long-tail keywords in a keyword research tool
  4. Plan topic clusters with semantic search
  5. Recommend adding target and secondary keywords throughout website pages where relevant

That’s it for now.

Here’s to your success!

PS: Need a better way to manage your client’s content plans? Collaborate, publish, and gain actionable insights with StoryChief — an all-in-one content marketing platform. Book a demo or try it free today.