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Keyword Research in General- A Comprehensive Guide



If you’re a new digital marketer or business owner who wants to know the process of keyword research then you’re at the right place. Keyword research is a crucial and favorite priority task in Digital Marketing.

When users are putting keywords into their search bar, then keyword research is the need of the hour for businesses or digital marketers.

Businesses should get keyword research done to get what keywords their audience is using. If you don’t know what people are looking for, how will you make them reach you?

Understanding Keyword Research 

Keyword research is the process of discovering all of the possible queries which can be relevant to your business and your customers.

Keyword research includes not only getting these keywords but also organizing and ordering them into relevant, connected groups, which then inform how to possibly change existing pages of your website or create new content.

In other words, Keyword research is the process by which you analyze popular search terms people type into search engines and include them deliberately in your content in order to make your content appear higher on a search engine results page (SERP).

Keyword research is a basic exercise in search engine optimization (SEO).

However, keyword research isn’t mainly for SEO. It’s the inspiration of all of the other digital marketing practices like niche selection, content marketing, social media marketing, conversion rate optimization etc.

Keyword research now as a practice has evolved many folds.

Now search engines prioritize well-written content aligned with search intent while ranking. This is what is known as semantic search.

The Keyword density (number of times you place a keyword in your content) is no more, the foremost important factor for search engine optimization. 

Importance of Keyword Research

Actually, keyword research takes place within the early stages of campaigns and sometimes lays down a foundation for future projects, campaigns, or content. 

You’ll use keyword research to assist you ideate around a replacement piece of content you’re writing, to assist you to opt the way to name your product features, or to optimize your website after publishing.

Some of the important things we can do using keyword research are

Niche Selection – Knowing your keywords helps you to know your brand and your business. What are the services or products you offer?

SEO – Targeting keywords on different pages of your website makes Google rank you for those keywords. Search engines can only rank your website if they get to know about your business.

Content Marketing – Keyword research can tell you what people are checking out, instead of what you think that they’re checking out. Identifying keywords to use in blogs and other content can drive traffic to your website.

PPC – the proper keywords will assist you to connect together with your audience and, when used correctly, show them relevant messaging that matches their level of intent. So the effectiveness of paid search ads weighs heavily on keywords success.

Types of Keywords

Before going into keyword research methodology let’s try to understand the types of keywords.

Short-tail keywords

Short tail keywords are search terms that are made up of three or less than three words. They actually refer to very broad topics rather than specific ones.

For example, “walking shoes” is an example of a short tail keyword while “best walking shoes for women” is an example of a long-tail keyword.

Short tail keywords are often used as a root that you can use to find several longer variations of search terms.

Due to that there are a few alternative names for them, like Primary keywords, Seed keywords, Focus keywords, Broad keywords, Head terms.

Short tail keywords also tend to have very high search volume, due to fact that they are broad

The big benefit of optimizing your website for short tail keywords is that they have the highest amount of searches per month.

They also make up almost one-fifth of all searches, out of hundreds of thousands of keywords.

This doesn’t imply you should optimize your website for short-tail keywords. Remember those seed keywords are part of long-tail keywords.

So if you optimize your content for long tail keywords, it will help you also rank for the short, broad keywords.

Also, the broadness and the high volume make short-tail keywords highly competitive.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are basically defined as keywords made up of three or more individual words. But many times, they’ll be much longer. They are long-tail because they fall on the very long tail of the search demand graph.

They are also called secondary keywords. 

Mostly these long-tail or secondary keywords will be so closely related to your primary keywords that they don’t justify having their own separate pages.

These are actually the most valuable keywords for an SEO strategy because they are very specific and have crystal clear search intent.

To understand this concept, just see your own search engine usage. In the early research stage of any purchase, you likely use short-tail, broad search terms.

Then, as you learn more about your options, you find more specific products and information by including more details in the search. 

These longer, more detailed searches are the ones that ultimately lead you to purchase.

Performing Keyword Research

The main reason that keyword research has gotten significantly more difficult in recent years is due to changes in search engine algorithms.

Instead of sifting through content to find particular keyword phrases, today’s search engines rely heavily on semantic search, also known as intent-based search. It’s something that search engines are increasingly gravitating toward. 

The reason for this is that, in addition to searching from a range of devices, users are now conducting searches using a new set of queries.

A searcher might have typed “Hotels New York” ten years ago. Today’s searcher can utilize voice-activated search assistants to say things like, “Find me the best hotels in New York,” or even “Best hotels in New York.”

Keeping the above facts about intent-based search in mind, we can do keyword analysis in three steps.

  1. Make a list of broad (or seed) keywords (short-tail keywords)

Your broad keywords are the ones that closely match your target phrase. These keywords give meaning and structure to the rest of your content. Without them, it’s difficult to do other keyword research that is even moderately effective or profitable.

There are many ways to find your broad (seed) keywords. 

You can do your customer survey, where you can ask them the most basic queries they would use to find your company’s products or services. 

You can also do competitor research to see what keywords they are doing well on, and then add those to your keyword research.

These basic keywords are used to develop more advanced (long-tail) keyword ideas.

There are several free tools like Keyword Generator, Keyword Sheeter, Answer the Public, Keyword Surfer, Keyworddit, Google Search Console, Questiondb, Bulk Keyword Generator, available to help you in getting broad or seed keywords. 

The best way to find important keywords is to ask, “What phrases do my clients or potential clients use most often to find me?

  1. Google auto-suggest

Auto-suggest is a very simple, but extremely effective way of figuring out what keywords you’re targeting. It can help you use overlooked keyword phrases or parallel phrases that you haven’t considered. 

  1. Refine and prioritize keywords

In this step, you refine your long-tail keywords and prioritize them.

The main factors that define a keyword’s value are: 

  • Search Volume 

It’s a measure of the number of searches made for a given set of keywords.

Paying attention to the search volume will help in finding out if the keyword is even worth pursuing. If you see a low search volume, be sure that there’s no market for the keyword, or that you’re using the wrong terms.

There are many keyword research tools that provide search volume as part of their data. Google’s Keyword Planner is the best place to get the search volume numbers.

  • Trends

For each keyword, you need to consider trends for Interest over time, Interest by region, Related topics, and Related searches

All of this can be found on the Google Trends page. Now you know how long the keyword is going to last. You also know where it gets the most attention.

  • KD (keyword difficulty), 

The Keyword difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to rank for the top positions in the SERP. Many tools calculate the level of difficulty in their own way. 

Most of them, after analyzing the search results, score them to determine:

The domain authority of competing domains,

The number of strong links maintained by the top pages,

How often do the top positions change 

The high level of difficulty means often that main pages are difficult (expensive) for many reasons. Backlinks are also a way to measure the keyword difficulty.

  • CPC 

Its Cost Per Click. It shows the dollar value of a keyword which advertisers are willing to spend. 

Even if you’re not running ads, you need to know what your competition is worth in the SERPs. Again Google keyword Planner is the tool to consider for this metric. 

A high CPC shows that many advertisers are working to outperform organic results. It becomes harder to rank in organic results when the market is influenced by a lot of advertising. 

  • Com (Density of competition)

The density of competition is a number that shows how many advertisers are competing for that particular keyword in paid search. The closer this number is to 1.00, the harder it becomes to rank. 

  • SERP feature (the way contents are displayed on SERP)

Earlier on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), only Ad listings were shown above the organic results, but now search engines can also be accompanied by a listing of “people also ask, local business or other information that allows the searcher to gather information without leaving the SERPs.

So now you’ll need to compete for the features in addition to the organic listing.

Therefore prioritizing volume, trends, difficulty, and how SERP functions capture them, helps you to choose strong keywords that are useful and valuable. 


Today’s content is all about user intent, which is often contextualized. By using optimized keywords (the result of keyword research) and synonyms to create context around the keyword phrases of your choice, you can provide your users with a richer, more relevant, and more useful search experience. 

Hope this article has provided enough details to understand the keyword research process. 

Ashish Mishra


  1. Ashish

    A very helpfull topic. Thanks a lot..


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