The first thing is that keywords are actually usually keyphrases. They are basically a search phrase that people will type into Google to find the service or product they want. It would be unusual for someone who is looking for shoes, for example, just to type into the Google search box “shoes”. Usually a person might be a little bit more specific, “trendy brown leather shoes”. As a business owner with a website, what people are searching for and the phrases or “keywords” they use are gold dust. These keywords allow you to model your pages of your website around what customers are looking for.
Let’s say someone is looking for a plumber in Glasgow. They might search in Google (or Bing) for:
“Glasgow plumbing company”
“recommended plumber in Glasgow”
Where is the keyword data?
Google Webmaster Tools (again this should be implemented on your website). This tool has a section called “Search Queries” which provide an indication of which phrases people are searching with and how frequently that phrase is being used.
This is usually used by people, who are setting up an AdWords campaign, but it is a free tool and it does provide approximate volumes of search queries and suggestions of other keywords that are being used.
I am talking about Google here but Bing also has similar tools which can be used in the same way.
There are also lots of keyword tools online which can help find keywords for you. Keyword research is not straightforward and it takes time to get right. As well as looking at search volumes in the Google Keyword Tool, it is wise to also look at the competitiveness of the keyword being used. Using a keyword which is really popular and is searched for loads of times may seem like a good idea, but if you are competing with big brands for the same keyword then the chances are that you will not have the same marketing budget to get onto the first page of Google. The right keyword is a combination of search volume, competitiveness and relevancy.
I hope this has helped in your understanding of what keywords are and give me a shout if you would like help with your keyword research.