A Guide to YouTube SEO

What is keyword research in SEO and why is it important?

Have you ever wondered about keyword research and why is it important to your SEO strategy? We have you covered. In this guide we explain some definitions, show you how to use a free tool for keyword research and explain to you why it is important to do it before you implement your SEO strategy.

What is a keyword?

Keyword is a word or a string of words (called a phase) that users type into the search engines, to find the content they want. The most common search engine users use to find information is Google. These keywords can also be referred to as ‘SEO keywords‘ or ‘Search Queries’. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two terms. Keywords are used to for SEO purposes, while search queries are what the user type in the search engines to locate the information they need.
Another common tern is long-tail keywords. Long-tail Keywords are usually longer than most keywords. They are sentences or phrases. In simpler words, when 3 or more words are strung together to make a key phrase, it is called long-tail keyword.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing keywords and using them for specific purposes like SEO (search engine optimization) or other marketing efforts. Keyword research can help us find out the search queries our target audience is looking for, the volume of the queries, their popularity, ranking difficulties and much more.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of making your webpage more attractive and easier to find by the search engine and your target audience. When search bots (or spiders) crawl a webpage, they index and store the details of the page in a database making it easier to retrieve and match with to a query (or search terms as typed by the human searchers).

The importance of keyword research in SEO

To understand the importance of keyword research, let us first understand how the search engine behaves when a person types in the search terms (or queries) in a browser.

When a user types a search query in the search bar of a search engine, the search bots grab that query and comb the internet trying to find content that is the closest match to it. They first start matching the query to the webpages (or websites) they have indexed or stored in their database. Once their search of the internet is done, the web pages are displayed in descending order of their relevancy on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Terms to consider when doing keyword research

1. Authority

To have you rank your content higher, you need to prove to Google (and the other search engines) that your content is worth ranking higher on the SERP (search engine result page). You need to have expertise to show that you have authority in your niche.

2. Relevance

The keywords you choose should be relevant to the content you create.

3. Search volume

This term refers to how many users will actually be search for a particular keyword. In most cases, higher the search volume, better is the keyword to target.

RELATED: Why ‘Content is King’ in Digital Marketing?

Manual Keyword research

This implies using a search engine like Google to start doing keyword research. This should always be your starting point for doing keyword research for any SEO campaign.

Imagine you have just moved to New York City and want to have donuts. Who do you ask? Our trusty friend, Google comes to the rescue. You type the query ‘where can I buy donuts in NYC’.

The query ‘where can I buy donuts in NYC’ is called your search query. Once you type this sentence in the search window and hit enter, the search engine bots look through their list of indexed webpages (it is a database of webpages) to find a webpage with the closest match to the search terms. The web page that shows the list of relevant websites is called the SERP (search engine result page).
The first website shown on this page is a list of 20 places that sell donuts in NYC. It is called 20 Best Donuts in NYC to Eat With Your Coffee This Morning. The search engine has decided that this website is the most relevant to your query, and hence shows it at the first place on the SERP.

Using Google Trends for Keyword Research

Google Trends is a free tool by Google that allows you to analyze the popularity of search queries typed in Google Search in various regions and languages. To access this tool, type trends.google.com in your browser.
For people in US, you will see

Let us type in the search query Donuts in NYC in the search window

Once you hit enter, you can a graph showing the volume of daily searches for that search query for the past year in the United States.

You can also find the regions where this search query is used the most. In the above case, it is the New York State.
Another important bit of information we get from Google Trends is Related Topics. This is important for keyword research as it gives us information and approximate volume of searches for related topics.

This above example is for users in the United States. For audiences in other countries, google trends can be used in similar ways. Remember to tap on the country to see a drop-down menu of different countries.

This screenshot shows the drop-down menu containing a list of countries. This step is important so that you can target the audience in a specific location.


Let us sum up this article. We have talked about keyword research and why is it important in SEO. We also learned how to use a free tool like Google Trends to perform keyword research. One of the things to remember about using keyword on your webpage is to always make sure that the webpage remains readable by humans. In other words, do not engage in practices like keyword stuffing.

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Edit: This blog post was first published in November 2021. Additional content added and republished on January 30, 2022.