How to Perform Keyword Research

What is a keyword? 

A keyword is something that people search on Google, or other search engines to find information that’s relevant to their requirements. 

Example – 

  • Mr Mishra has developed an app, and now wants to increase his app installs, therefore he’s looking for people who can help him increase his app installs, so if he searches for “Hire Digital Marketing Experts“. This phrase that Mr Mishra searches for can be termed as a Keyword.
  • Mrs Gupta is looking to buy a smartphone for her daughter but is confused whether she should get an iPhone or a One Plus, so she will search for “iPhone vs OnePlus”. This keyword is an indication that Mrs Gupta is looking for a phone, but is confused between 2 brands. In this case both Apple, and OnePlus have an opportunity to create content around this keyword, and potentially acquire Mrs Gupta as a customer. 

Taking the above 2 examples, we can only imagine the humongous number of permutations that can be potentially used by people to find what they are looking for on the internet. 

A keyword is usually categorized into 3 categories – 

Image credit: SEOPressor

  • Short Tail Keywords – These are short terms people use on the internet, and usually are high in volume, and competitive, therefore the intent is low.
  • Mid-Tail Keywords – Usually comprises 3 words or more, and have higher intent than short-term keywords, but the volume becomes lower.
  • Long-tail keywords –  Long-tail keywords are easiest to rank for, and are usually very low in volume, therefore the competition is low, but the intent is very high, since people are looking for specific keywords. 

Targeting high intent keywords can be highly advantageous. These keywords signify that users are in advanced stages of their purchasing journey, leading to better conversion rates. Prioritizing such keywords can improve the relevance of your content and attract genuinely interested visitors to your website.

How to perform Keyword research? 

Now that we have a fair idea of what keywords are, let’s understand how to go about performing keyword research. 

But before that, let’s understand that one can look for keywords at all those places where people perform searches. Here are a few places where people perform searches – 

Google – Most obvious, and most commonly used by people to search for information online. Google Search provides contextual and actively searched queries that can serve as the foundation for root keywords, based on which marketers can perform deeper forms of content research.

Looking at the following image, we can note that for a search query “hire social media Manager” we get the following suggestions by Google. One can use these keywords to be included in their blogs, and there are chances that if the content has been written well, it can rank on the top, therefore allowing businesses to come at the top, and therefore attract organic visits from people who are intending to hire Social media managers.

YouTube – If YouTube were a search engine, it’d be the 2nd most popular search engine, and a lot of people go to YouTube to find relevant keyword opportunities. With billions of hours of content watched everyday YouTube provides a good idea as to what kind of content is being searched for, and consumed.

Looking at the image below, we can see that for a search query – “app developers”, Youtube is suggesting many keywords that are in-line, or similar to my search query. Marketers will find opportunities by making a note of these keywords, and find more questions that are similar to my search query.

The first keyword suggestion says – “App developers in India”, and this implies that there are people who are looking.

Amazon – People with the intent to purchase use Amazon, and similar ecommerce sites to search for the goods, and services they need to buy. If one is selling products online, one should definitely look for Amazon, and list out search suggestions.

Look at the following image, you will notice that searching for the root keyword “Anniversary” opened up different suggestions that people are maybe looking for. Based on these suggestions, one can mix, and match and attempt to find more suggestions.

One should note that these keywords are high in “buy intent”, since they are being searched for on Amazon.

This process can be repeated on similar e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, eBay, Snapdeal, etc.

Quora/Reddit – Question-answer platforms, and Forums where people post questions and hold discussions are a goldmine for people to discover “long-tail keywords”

If you look at the following image, you will notice that for the term – “WordPress developers”, there are many questions that have been listed out by the people who are seeking answers to some questions.

One can list these questions, and use it as a source to identify opportunities for “long-term keywords”.

Pinterest – This is a great platform for people to search for visual elements. Hence platforms like Pinterest, Behance, and all other media-first social networks are a gold mine for finding relevant content and performing keyword research.

A lot of people use Pinterest to find inspirations and ideas that they can either use in their own projects or for someone else’s projects. Therefore if you notice in the following image, you’d notice that the keyword suggestions are more artistically inclined.

Pinterest is a very underrated platform for Keyword research, but very powerful to discover underrated keywords.

Google Keyword Planner – Under Google ADs, this is one of the most reliable tools that is used extensively by Digital Marketers to find relevant keywords. 

In the following image you will notice that for the keywords – “Content writers”, and
“Hire content writers”, the Keyword Planner has given me a lot of suggestions that are very much related to my search query.

Usually marketers use Google Keyword Planner to identify keywords for running ADs, but keyword opportunities can be found out using this amazing tool.

Paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, UberSuggest, etc are also actively used by PRO digital marketers to identify opportunities for keywords, find keyword trends, and more. 

Following is a snapshot from Ubersuggest, which is a paid tool by Neil Patel, and one can use this tool to not only find keywords, but also generate content ideas that can potentially help businesses identify keywords, and opportunities for growth.

Competitor Research – This is one of the most under-rated forms of research, but one of the most useful tactics that allows people to research, and find relevant opportunities by researching on their competitors. There are tools like Spyfu that allows people to spy on their competitors, and their keywords 


Keyword research is an essential part of digital marketing, and SEO. Be it running ADs or planning for SEO, one should be very careful in choosing their keywords. The wrong choice of keywords may result in efforts going waste where-in one is targeting keywords that may not have the desired intent. 

One tip that can save a lot of time is to first start with keyword research of one’s competitors, this helps one get a fair idea of what works, and what doesn’t, and then use the above mentioned tricks to identify potential keywords that may work for one’s business.