What Is Keyword Research? And How To Do It For Best Results

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 July 2022

Published 16 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

One of the major goals of a website is to target relevant traffic that may turn into buyers. Getting this targeted audience requires the use of search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies, such as applying keywords, integrating content optimisation, improving user experience, finding appropriate word counts and optimising meta titles or meta descriptions. Using the right keywords is an important aspect of SEO, as it can determine how many and what kind of visitors may discover your website. In this article, we discuss what keyword research is, where and how to do keyword research and its benefits with examples.

Related: What Is An SEO Analyst? (With Skills, Duties And Salary)

What Is Keyword Research?

The answer to "What is keyword research?" requires an understanding of what a keyword is. Keywords are a combination of words or search terms that users enter into a search engine. Keyword research refers to the identification of the keywords or search terms that your target audience may be using. Creating and developing your content while incorporating the appropriate keywords for the business can help the website rank higher than doing it without planning and research. Keyword research is one of the initial steps in SEO, as every website or webpage requires content before it gets published.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is a crucial part of the planning process when building a new website, launching new ad campaigns, creating new content, or planning future projects. Here are some ways in which keyword research can be beneficial:

Gain more visibility

Whether your goal is getting more sales, more subscribers, or enquiries via phone calls, ranking high on the search engine is going to help with these. Only if people can find the website via the search terms that they are using can you get the desired results. Choosing the right keywords can help you achieve these goals.

Write focused content

When you have a good list of relevant keywords, it becomes easier to create targeted content that covers those topics and sub-topics. This requires using a structured format with relevant headings and subheadings that also include these keywords. Refrain from keyword stuffing, which can occur if you try to insert the keywords too many times into the content. Search engines favour content that adds more value to the readers than content that just has a high keyword density but does not adequately answer their query.

Related: What Do Content Writers Do? (With Job Roles And Career Path)

Name features and descriptions

When you have a clear idea of the keywords that the users or potential customers are using, you can use them to describe elements of your product or service. For example, if you sell cat food, knowing that cat owners are searching for cat food that can make their cat's excreta smell less repulsive may be helpful. You can look into related keywords and check search volumes to mention that on the website as one of the USPs.

Create better-paid ad campaigns

Knowing the right keywords can make your paid ad campaigns more effective. When readers search for those keywords, they are likely to find your ad displayed and if that answers their question or solves their problem, they may even click on it and make a purchase.

Related: Digital Marketing Job Description (With Job Examples)

Gain insight on your audience

When you are aware of what your target market is searching online, you can understand their problems, desires, and their mindset. You can use this knowledge to target them on search engines and ad campaigns. This might also help you innovate and come up with new products that solve those or related problems.

How To Do Keyword Research

You can follow a set of sequential steps if you want to learn how to do keyword research:

1. Start by identifying your target audience

Keyword research first requires an in-depth understanding of your target audience. Start by identifying the profiles, problems, desired solutions, locations and other information about the potential customers or readers. This is easy to do if you know well enough what the business is about and what it offers to the customers. For example, for a pizza outlet in Bangalore, the customers may be those who like to eat pizza. They could be college students, children and their parents or even busy working professionals who prefer to order food that is convenient to eat while working.

You can ask yourself the following questions to help with this:

  • What is the business?

  • What products or services does it offer?

  • Who buys these products and services?

  • Why do they buy these products and services?

  • What problems does the product or service solve for them?

  • To what age group, gender or economic status do most customers belong?

  • Where do they look for these products or services?

  • Are most customers repeat buyers or one-time buyers?

  • What questions are they asking online?

2. Explore the search terms in the search engine

Once you have decided on a list of search terms or questions that people are asking, feed these into the search engine. Google makes this process much easier by suggesting terms that people are already searching for. For example, when you start typing how to go vegan in the search box, you may see the following list of suggestions in the drop-down: how to go vegan on a budget, how to go vegan for beginners, how to go vegan safely, how to go vegan for a month, and more.

These suggestions are based on Google's algorithms and metrics. These are the keywords that people are actually typing into google and for which they want answers. Incorporating some of these keywords into your content or creating content around these topics for a health and fitness website can enhance visibility and readership. Another useful tool is AnswerThePublic. Here, you can enter any generic term and get suggestions for related questions people are asking with volumes or frequencies.

3. Check the search volumes

While AnswerThePublic shows you which questions have a higher search volume than others, to find accurate figures you can use Google Keyword tool. This is a free tool that helps you find keyword ideas along with monthly search volumes according to locations. You can find this tool within your Google Ads account and it is free to use. It also offers a list of related keyword ideas based on your search term to help you choose a better keyword than the one you were originally considering.

Another free tool that you can use is the keyword research tool from H-Supertools. While Google Keyword Planner shows a range for the search volumes, H-Supertools gives the exact search volume for the keywords. You can just enter a seed keyword and view related keywords with the exact monthly search volumes, paid competition and cost per click (CPC). H-Supertools has a wide array of other useful SEO tools too, such as questions explorer, SEO analyser, Youtube keyword tool, hashtags explorer and more.

4. Analyse your competitors

The first three steps are a good starting point, but analysing your competition can give your SEO strategy a greater boost. It also makes your task of finding appropriate keywords and ranking higher on the search engine much easier. Companies or websites that have the same or similar business or product offering are close competitors, especially if the business is one that is location-specific. For example, if you run a dry cleaning service in the Viman Nagar area of Pune, your competitors are similar businesses in the same or surrounding areas.

Find out if those competitors have a website or online presence. You can check this by typing something like 'dry cleaners near me' or dry cleaning services in Viman nagar' into Google. Check the first few results and analyse their content and the keywords they have used in their pages. Wordstream is a great free competitor keyword analysis tool. You can simply enter the website's URL or industry and location, and it shows you all the keywords that your competitor is ranking for along with the search volumes, CPC and the level of competition.

4. Identify the seasonal and regional keywords

Every region comes with its own set of unique vocabulary and slang that is prevalent in those parts. For example, the street food that Delhiites call 'gol guppa' is more commonly referred to as 'panipuri' in Mumbai. They may still understand what the other is talking about, but if a Mumbaiite had to search for local outlets that serve this food, they are likely going to type 'panipuri stalls' or 'restaurants that serve panipuri' into Google. Getting familiar with such nuances can greatly improve your keyword choices and thus the performance of the site.

First, identify where your readers, market or buyers live. Then, do research into the more commonly used terms or language in those parts for your product or related terms. Feed these regional terms into the keyword tool and get more keyword suggestions. There are certain keywords whose search volumes increase sporadically in specific seasons or during festivals. For example, you might find keywords like 'buy diyas' or 'buy firecrackers online' on the run to Diwali.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

  • 10 Useful Keyword Tools To Use (With Features And Tips)

  • What Is SEO? (Plus How To Use It In Marketing Campaigns)

  • 47 SEO Interview Questions With Example Answers To Expect

  • 12 Useful SEO Analysis Tools (Definition And Importance)

  • Important Digital Marketing Skills And How To Improve Them

  • Types of Online Marketing Jobs (With Salaries and Duties)

  • 35 PPC Interview Questions (With Example Answers And Tips)

  • What Is PPC? (Definition, Importance And Advantages)

  • What Is Internet Marketing? (Definition And Types)

Explore more articles