Keyword Research: Keyword research is the process by which individuals with marketing campaigns discover relevant keywords and keyphrases for inbound advertising tactics like SEO and PPC. This type of research is often done using a keyword planning tool, such as Google AdWords or other tools on the web.
Most of the time, keyword research tools will rely on thesaurus-like suggestions for similar keywords. Businesses often rely on strategic placement of keywords in their site's content and metadata in order to boost their Google rankings (and, thus, increase the number of customers using their services). Good keyword research will make it easier to find that business on the web. For instance, a company that sells wood chippers in Fargo, North Dakota, may have its website optimized for keyphrases like "wood chipper fargo."
For SEO and PPC analysts doing their own keyword research, however, it is also important to consider the intent of the search engine users. Keyword research isn't aimed so much at getting results from search engines (though that is part of it) but from helping actual users find content on the web. This may lead to the use of long tail keyphrases that pose questions that a user might ask.
In addition to developing and funneling lists of keywords and keyphrases, keyword researchers will also look at the amount of competition a website may have for a particular phrase. They may also track the usage of keywords on search engines in order to determine those words' value in a campaign, so businesses have a good idea of just how much revenue they could make from a particular keyword's usage, especially in something like a PPC campaign, in which these website visits can be measured.