What Is a Keyword Research Report? [+ How to Create One]

Almost half of all marketers report that organic search is the marketing channel with the highest ROI.

In fact, SEO reduces the cost of customer acquisition by over 87%.

These statistics show that the keys to lowering your marketing costs are identifying the keywords that your target audience is searching for and optimizing for them. 

The fact that over 90% of web pages get no organic traffic from Google brings the importance of SEO into even sharper focus.

Not just SEO, but organized, strategic SEO with trackable metrics and measurable goals.

One way to get organized and strategic? Compile a keyword research report.

Let’s talk about what goes into a keyword research report, why you must compile one, and the steps to follow when compiling it. That way, your SEO will be more likely to bring in results.

Table of Contents

What is a Keyword Research Report?

A keyword report lists the keywords you intend to target in your SEO or content strategy against important metrics: search volume, search intent, and ranking difficulty. It offers a detailed view of the topics your target audience is searching for online.

The main aim of a keyword research report is to determine the search terms that will draw qualified traffic to your website or blog. The report should include:

  • The intent behind each query.
  • How many people on average are searching Google for it each month.
  • The ease or difficulty of ranking for that keyword.
keyword research report example

An example of a keyword research report via Backlinko

A keyword report can also include an analysis of how each keyword on the list has trended over time. Trends determine if there’s any seasonal variation in interest levels. Interest in some topics peaks at certain times of the year. 

keyword research report

Why is a Keyword Research Report Essential?

A keyword research report offers a detailed analysis of the words and phrases people use when researching topics related to your business. Compiling a keyword report helps with the following:

1. Shapes Your Content Strategy

Identifying the keywords your target customers search for helps you identify their most pressing worries, questions, and goals. This in turn can shape your content strategy.

For example, if you notice a high number of what, why, and how question queries, it may mean your target customers lack awareness of their problems and their available solutions. Going forward, you might have to make how-to guides and case studies a priority in your strategy to build their awareness.

2. Helps Identify Your Main Competitors

If you notice during your keyword analysis that the same websites tend to rank for the keywords you have selected to target, those are likely your closest competitors. 

Knowing the competitors that are outranking you is essential as it shows a standard you must aspire to. If they are ranking for the best keywords, it must mean that they are doing quite a few things right, which makes them a great target to reverse-engineer.

3. Ensures You Prioritize the Right Tactics

Sometimes the reason you might fail to rank for any keywords with your content is that you’re using the wrong tactics. For example, you may be targeting keywords you can’t rank for because of your low domain rating.

Thankfully, a keyword report that shows clearly how difficult (or not) it is to rank for a keyword helps focus your efforts on attainable goals. On the other hand, pursuing high-volume keywords when you lack the necessary authority leads to frustration and wasted effort.

How to Create a Keyword Research Report

A keyword research report is useless if it’s inaccurate or lacks detail. To avoid these pitfalls, here are five essential steps you should take when creating your keyword research report:

1. Identify Relevant Keywords

The first step to any SEO endeavor is to identify the keywords related to your business or product. Consider words and phrases associated with your industry and brainstorm topics your target audience may be interested in.

There are several ways you can conduct keyword research without a tool. Otherwise, you can reduce your research time by using trusted tools like Google Keyword Planner and Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. 

Premium tools offer deeper insights and useful data such as search volume and keyword difficulty that you need to gauge the viability of keywords and your chances of successfully ranking for them.

Once you have identified and collected your keywords in a spreadsheet, consider grouping closely-related terms into clusters so you can target them in the same pieces of content.

2. Analyze Search Volume

Keyword search volume helps you gauge the search popularity of keywords, helping you decide if they’re viable for SEO.

A keyword has no business value unless a reasonably high number of people search for it. It also should have the potential to drive qualified traffic to your website.

keyword research report

Once you’ve identified relevant keywords, analyze their monthly search volume. You can use tools like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool or Moz’s Keyword tool. 

You should also consider geographic factors when looking at search volume data because certain terms may be more popular in certain countries or regions due to cultural differences or language preferences.

For example, if most of your audience is based in France, then it would make sense to go after French-language keywords like “acheter un ordinateur portable” (buy a laptop) instead of “laptop computer.”

3. Determine Keyword Difficulty

Some keywords are easier to rank for than others. Because of their high search volume, head keywords that are typically broad in terms of their scope are the hardest to rank for, especially for newer and smaller sites without much domain authority. 

Knowing the keyword difficulty of each search query you’re targeting tells you at a glance if you can rank for it or if you should target a less competitive keyword.

Most premium SEO tools have features for determining keyword difficulty. Some refer to it as SEO difficulty. The lower the score, the less competitive the keyword.

keyword difficulty as shown in semrush

4. Monitor Trends

It’s vital for SEO success to monitor trends in keyword popularity.

  • Tools like Google Trends will show you how a topic has trended over time.
  • A tool like BuzzSumo that tracks mentions of particular terms across social media platforms over a period of time can also help gauge general interest in a topic.

By monitoring changes in search volume over time, you can gauge the term’s relative popularity and adjust your strategy accordingly. It’s also helpful to compare different variations of a single keyword since some might perform better depending on the context and intent behind the query.

5. Track Competitors

Tracking what keywords your competitors are targeting is another essential step when compiling a keyword research report – especially if they’re doing better than you in terms of traffic. 

Tools such as SpyFu allow you to see what organic phrases your business rivals rank for, while services like Semrush offer insight into paid traffic acquisition. 

By monitoring how competitor pages are performing on search, you can determine what’s working and what’s not. This will help you make the necessary adjustments to your own pages. You can even reverse engineer their entire SEO strategy and replicate their success.

Tracking your competitors also means checking their backlinks. After you identify websites that are linking to the competitor page you are hoping to outrank, you can create a better page than theirs and perform outreach to the linking site.

FAQs – Keyword Research Reports

What is a keyword research report?

A keyword research report is a detailed analysis of the keywords you are targeting. It analyzes monthly search volume, keyword popularity, competition levels, and keywords closely related to your primary target audience. This information helps you create SEO-friendly content. In turn, this increases your business’s visibility online and drives traffic to your website.

What are the elements of keyword research?

Keyword research identifies and analyzes a keyword’s search volume, competition level, and relevance. Search volume is a measure of a keyword’s popularity. 

The competition level, also identified as keyword or SEO difficulty, assesses what websites rank for a keyword term to determine how difficult it would be to beat them. Relevance, on the other hand, assesses whether the traffic a keyword attracts matches your target audience. 

How do you write a keyword report?

A keyword report is a document that outlines the most desirable keywords for SEO purposes. It should include research into relevant search terms, an analysis of the competition level, and an assessment of potential opportunities to improve rankings. 

A keyword research report can also offer tips on how best to optimize existing content with the targeted keywords. Ultimately, the report should be crafted to meet the marketing objectives you have established for your business.


A keyword research report provides insights into what specific words and phrases your target audience uses in their web searches, how often they are being used, and which ones are most popular. That means creating these reports helps make your SEO both more strategic and organized — a powerful combination that leads to better results.

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About the author

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an 8x author and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and presence that lasts online. As the VP of Marketing at Content at Scale, she helps marketers achieve insane ROI (3-10x their time back at 1/3rd the cost) in a new era of AI as a baseline for content production. She's been named in the top 30 of all content marketers worldwide, is the founder of Content Hacker, and recently exited her 100-person writing agency with a desire to help marketers, teams, and entrepreneurs find the keys of online success and revenue growth without breaking.

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