Why keyword research is important, and a list of the best tools to use for keyword research

Why Keyword Research Is Important In SEO

In SEO, the research stage can make or break the overall success of a Manchester SEO marketing campaign. Keyword research is the phase where you look at the type of keywords a campaign should be targeting – such as transactional keywords, short/long tail keywords etc. It will also determine how a campaign’s success should be measured. For example, targeting high-traffic and generic keywords will mean the campaign is focused on driving new traffic and users to the website, whereas targeting buying keywords will mean the campaign is focused on primarily increasing sales and conversion rates by increasing traffic from an audience that is ready to buy. In this blog, I’ll outline the importance of keyword research and how it should be done.

The Importance of Keyword Research

As already mentioned, and should be obvious, your keyword research will decide what keywords you should be targeting, how long it will take to reach your goals and how to reach them. Therefore, keyword research will ultimately guide and decide on almost every aspect of an SEO marketing campaign. Your keyword research may also depend on the client/situation.

For example, an eCommerce client with a brand new website will require two SEO solutions to think about when conducting keyword research.

  1. The client is an eCommerce and will therefore be more satisfied with less traffic but a higher conversion rate. This means we will research buying keywords.
  2. The website is brand new. This means we will have to incorporate a lot of branding, authority & trust building in our SEO campaign whilst the website is in the mythical Google Sandbox. Spooky!

Keyword research will set both the foundation and conclusion of your SEO marketing campaign. Foundation, as it will ultimately guide and decide which keywords to target. Conclusion, as it will determine how the success of a campaign is decided – traffic, rankings or sales?

Tools For Keyword Research

To conduct thorough keyword research, you will require access to the right tools. I’ve decided to compile a short list of some of the best and most popular tools that are used for keyword research in the SEO industry.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword planner is seen as one, if not the, most reliable and accurate tools for keyword research. Compared to third party tools it is very limited in what it can do, but this is overshadowed by the fact what what it can do, it can do amazingly. 

The main uses of Google Keyword Planner

  • Keyword ideas and variations
  • Monthly search volume
  • Search trends

The best part about Google Keyword Planner, beyond the fact that it’s free and very user-friendly, is the fact that the information comes straight from the source: Google itself. Metrics for traffic and search volumes by third party tools are usually some type of estimation and will not be able to identify search trends.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console its a tool that many people will not associate with keyword research. That’s because it wasn’t developed to be used as a keyword research tool. However, if you have access to your client’s search console, you can use it to find search terms with a lot of impressions but not a lot of clicks. This means the website is ranking, in some way, for the keyword but garnering a lot of clicks from, so you can identify the keyword or page as something that needs to be improved.

You can also look at which search queries are being used by people who find your key landing pages. This allows you to see what the top-performing keywords are for a page and how the can be improved or strengthened to bring in more revenue.

Google Trends

By now you can probably see the trend here: I’m picking reliable tools over the most popular ones that agencies can spend thousands on every single year.

Google Trends is another tool where you can find the search volume and trends of search terms within Google. Google trends allows you to become more specific, and can even see the trends of a search query on an hourly basis. Additionally you can view the search trends by regions, sub-regions and cities/towns. For example, we can see whether “buy iphone x” is more popular with searchers in Scotland than in England.

Google Trends is a great tool to identify whether your keywords and phrases are seasonal, reliant on trends or are quite evergreen and can remain popular all year around. 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahrefs is a fantastic suite of SEO tools and will commonly find itself battling with Moz as the most popular and common SEO tool used by professionals. One of the many tools included in the Ahrefs package is the Keyword Explorer.

As a paid customer, you have access to many different metrics and features of the Ahrefs keyword explorer. This tool allows you to view the volume of the keyword, the cost-per click value, estimated breakdown of clicks (organic vs paid vs searches without clicks), top questions about the keyword, keyword difficulty, an estimated number of backlinks and referring domains required to rank for the keyword… In conclusion, there’s a lot of important information included with the Ahrefs keyword explorer that gives it a massive edge over its competitors.


Another suite of SEO tools, SEMrush has its own set of tools dedicated to keyword research. SEMrush stands out from the competitors with a higher focus and more features for competitor analysis/comparison for keywords. You can find the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, and see which domains are competing with the keywords that you are targeting. The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool also presents the basic information of a keyword or search term you may require, such as search volume, an estimated cost per click, keyword difficulty, related keywords and variations etc.


In conclusion, we know that keyword research is of massive importance for any SEO marketing project and not only does it impact the foundations of the campaign, but it will also determine how a campaign will be viewed as successful or not by being a key factor behind what the goals and objectives are.