What Is Keyword Research And Why Do You Need It?

Published on 5. December, 2019

What Is Keyword Research And Why Do You Need It?

Anyone looking to build a successful website needs keyword research to bring as much relevant organic traffic to their site as possible.

They will want their site to appear at the top of the search pages for anyone entering search queries that relate to their website and the products/services they offer.

But how do you do this?

Well, the first and probably most important step is…

Intelligent Keyword Research.

What Exactly Is Keyword Research?

Search engines exist to match a person’s search term with the most relevant website. They do this by keeping a database of websites that are indexed and tagged according to their topic.

A search engine understands these topics by crawling the website and seeing what keywords are most commonly used.

So you see it is very important to optimise your pages for the right keywords in order to appear in the search results.


There are hundreds of keywords that could fit this description in most niches, so you need to figure out which ones are gonna bring in the most bang for your buck.

This is where keyword research comes in.

You need to find the keywords that have a high volume of people searching for them but you also need to look at the competition for those keywords and choose your battles wisely.

All this is made very easy with the keyword research tools that are available. We’ll take a look at these later in the article. 

Let’s take a closer look at the type of keywords you should be choosing for your business and why…

What Keywords Should You Be Using?

The type of keyword you decide to optimise on your site will determine whether you are bringing in the most visitors for your business goals.

If you get this wrong, this will have a knock-on effect… starting with your bounce rate increasing as your visitors leave, which can then become a negative ranking signal. 

I will show you the 7 keyword types you need to be aware of.

#1 – Broad Keywords

You usually get a good amount of traffic and there isn’t crazy competition.

People using broad keywords usually have more of an idea of what they are looking for but still could be open to different options or narrowed further down.

See some examples:

  • Pink wedding dress
  • Satnav reviews
  • Ipad case

But. there is still room for interpretation when it comes to these keywords.

#2 – Exact Keywords

Exact keywords are pretty self-explanatory. 

People using these usually know exactly what they are looking for. 

See some examples:

  • Pink lace wedding dress
  • Garmin satnav reviews
  • Apple Ipad mini case

They can be good keywords to optimise for as they usually give high levels on conversion but you’ll find high levels of competition.

#3 – Generic Keywords

Generic keywords usually have only one or two words that give an indication of the topic and are often called ‘short tail’ keywords.

They don’t usually have any descriptive words (no ‘tail’ or ‘head’) to qualify the topic any further.

See some examples:

  • Wedding dress
  • Satnav
  • Ipad

It’s best to avoid these keywords as they have pretty low conversion rates with high competition levels. 

#4 – Brand Keywords

Brand Keywords contain a word that is related to the branding of that product.

They are much better than generic keywords but it can still be hard to understand the intent of the searcher.

See some examples:

  • Dior wedding dress
  • Garmin satnav
  • Apple Ipad

Remember if you decide to use this kind of keyword then you’ll be in direct competition with the actual brand itself.

#5 – Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are normally the keywords you should be focusing on.

With lower search volumes (meaning fewer competitors) and higher conversion rates, this is where you should be focusing your keyword research.

See some examples:

  • Pink wedding dress with lace sleeves and veil
  • Garmin motorcycle satnav reviews UK
  • Apple Ipad mini case with keyword

They give a perfect balance of traffic, conversion and competition.

#6 – Buyer Keywords

Throwing in some buyer keywords could be right for you, depending on the type of your business.

They would usually have a keyword that indicates the searcher is ready to spend their money.

See some examples:

  • Pink wedding dress discount
  • Garmin satnav coupon
  • Buy Ipad mini case

If you can put the right product in front of someone searching using buying keywords then you’ll be seeing nothing but dollar signs.

#7 – Tyre Kicker Keywords

Unless these keywords fall directly into your business plan… avoid avoid avoid.

These keywords usually indicate that the searcher is looking for a freebie.

See some examples:

  • Free pink wedding dress
  • Download satnav maps
  • Swap Ipad case

Not really the kind of people you need visiting your site if your goal is to make money.

Keyword Research Tools

There are a bunch of keyword research tools on the market that can be extremely helpful. 

Some are free but mostly you’ll need to make a little investment to make use of the top quality tools. But if you play it right then this can be done by taking advantage of trials to bring the cost down.

But, you get what you pay for and often free keyword research tools can be somewhat limiting in the data they provide.

Here are the top tools I would recommend:

Free tools:

Premium Tools:

  • Ahrefs (7 days for $7)
  • Longtail Pro (30% off for Matthew Woodward followers)
  • SEMRush (14 day free trial for Matthew Woodward followers)

How To Do Keyword Research

Let’s take a quick look at how to complete keyword research using these tools.

Google Keyword Planner

Create a Google Adwords account and add some keyword ideas.

You will see from the results a lot of keyword suggestions and get a general idea of the competition levels and average search volumes.

how to use google keyword planner for keyword research

Not bad considering it’s completely free!


Enter a handful of seed keywords into the ‘Keyword Explorer Tool’ and hit search.

Then select from the menu on the right which keyword type you want to search for:

how to use ahrefs for keyword research

You can then play around with the filters to find the best keywords to optimise into your website.

how to ahrefs to filter keyword ideas

As easy as that!

Longtail Pro

You can start by finding out what level of competitiveness you should be aiming for:

how to use longtail pro for keyword research

Then you can enter your seed keyword into the keyword research tool and look for relevant keywords within the range of recommended competitiveness.

You can also play around with the filters to narrow the results even further to find those golden nuggets…



SEMRush has a fantastic tool called ‘Keyword Magic’ that really gives them the edge.

Using this tool can help you find hundreds of data-driven relevant keywords.

You can even go further and explore phrase match and related keywords:

how to use semrush for keyword research

Matthew Woodward’s Intelligent Keyword Research Spreadsheet

Instead of analysing your own SEMRush data you can simply export it in this intelligent spreadsheet, which will do all the hard work for you.

It will spit out the top keywords you should focus on in terms of data.


Wrapping It Up

If you don’t optimise for the right keywords then searchers with the right intent have a much harder time finding your site.

If you don’t research those keywords you will fail to rank above your competitors in the SERPs.

This should be one of the main priorities in any SEO strategy. 

Invest the time and money in doing keyword research the right way.

Author Bio:

Matthew Woodward started his internet marketing and SEO award-winning blog in 2012 and it is dedicated to helping anyone with an online business reach and exceed their goals. He publishes easy to follow case studies and tutorials which show SEO in action.

Image 1 – From MatthewWoodward.co.uk

Image 2 – Google Keyword Planner screenshot

Image 3 – Ahrefs screenshot

Image 4 – Ahrefs screenshot

Image 5 – Longtail Pro screenshot

Image 6 – Longtail Pro screenshot

Image 7 – SEMRush screenshot

Image 8 – Matthew Woodward’s keyword research spreadsheet

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What Is Keyword Research And Why Do You Need It?

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