What is keyword research in search engine optimization?


Search Engines such as Google, Bing, Firefox, etc. have a search box wherein the viewer types the search query to get information from them.

This search query is a set of words or phrases that the searcher intends to look for and get information about. These words or phrases are known as keywords.

Keywords for the basics of Search Engine Optimization efforts of any digital marketer.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is defined as the search for keywords related to a website. Analysis of keywords helps determine which ones would yield the best return on a search engine optimization (SEO) program.

In simpler terms, keyword research means finding those keywords that suit best your business and will attract the attention of the targeted audience.

For example, if someone is looking for a PGDM course in Pune, if your business is engaged in education, then having these or related keywords on your website. MIT School of Distance Education appears in the top 3 on the SERP


Why is it important?

Keyword research helps you to understand the demand for each keyword and understand its performance.

When you create any website or a landing page, the primary goal is to be discovered by your target audience and drive traffic to your website. 

It is the starting point for all your SEO efforts such as content creation, email marketing, on-page SEO, promotion, and advertising.

Building content around what people are searching for, the popularity of the keywords, and their fit with the business generate a stronger pull and a higher chance of getting noticed.

How to do keyword research?

  • Seed keywords – To kick off the process, the first step is to identify and list down the basic keywords associated with your business. Any search engine or keyword research tool asks for the seed keywords to come up with potential keywords. 

An extensive brainstorming session with your team can help you to come up with a list of keywords that define the business, offerings, and products. Taking a look at competitors’ websites can help you get more ideas.

For example – If you own a bakery, then the seed keywords can be – cakes, cupcakes, pastry, confectionary, bread, etc.

  • Keyword research tools – Once you have identified the seed keywords, running them through a tool will help you expand your list of keywords. These can include phrases that your potential customers might be looking for or relative or similar words. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz, Ubersuggest, etc. are used extensively across the globe.
  • Competitor analysis – Understanding what the competition is doing by monitoring their campaigns or keyword they bid for using these tools will give you an idea of which keywords perform well. This will help you with better targeting and bring relevancy to your SEO efforts.

Here is a list of a few important terms in keyword research that you as a digital marketer need to look out for – 

  • User intent – It is one of the most crucial factors in SEO. It refers to whether your website addresses and satisfies the intention of the user. When bidding for keywords, it is important to identify the words that fit the bill of what you offer, who is your customer and what are they looking for. 

It does not make any sense to bid for words like dry cleaning services when your product is a coffee machine. This misleads the user, resulting in a higher bounce rate or the search engines blocking your site as spam. Hence your website needs to solve the user’s query.

  • Search volume – It is a metric to decide the performance of a keyword. High-volume keywords help rank the website at the top of the funnel and generate more traffic. They are important for brand awareness.
  • Keyword Difficulty – It is a metric that denotes how difficult it is to rank the keyword organically. The higher the difficulty, the harder it is to rank the keyword.
  • Relevancy – It refers to the validity of the words to the business or the user’s intent. 
  • CPC – Cost Per Click is the willingness of the marketer to pay for each click. Keywords that perform well generally have a higher CPC. A digital marketing manager is expected to find the perfect mix of high and low CPC keywords that drive desired results.
  • Broad, exact and phrase match – Broad match keywords are those which are relevant or relate to your seed keywords. Exact match is those that include the exact meaning of your keywords and phrase match are of the same meaning as your keyword.

For example, if your company sells dog food, exact match keywords are dog food, canine food, etc. are phrase match, broad match can be animal food, cat food, pet food, puppy food, canine food, etc. and phrase match is best dog food, food for puppies, dog food shops near me, etc.

The digital world is vast and ever-changing, hence staying abreast with the evolution and competition requires updated skills. MIT School of Distance Education (MITSDE) is one such institute that understands the current skills gap in the market and strives hard to reduce it. For this purpose, MITSDE brings to you PG Certification in Digital Marketing (PGCM Digital Marketing). This course covers the latest concepts, gives hands-on training on the latest tools, and teaches you to create a virtual brand, analyse market trends, and design campaigns.