Even now in 2016, keyword research is still immensely important for finding the right keywords to implement to your content. There are four major points of criteria which you need to fulfill to find the right keywords to base your content around, so without wasting any time, let's talk about how to do keyword research correctly.
How to Do Keyword Research Correctly
Relevancy - First and foremost, the keywords which you select should be relevant to the topic of your website and specifically to what you're writing about in that specific page/post/article. You want to just target one keyword per page of content which you're creating, so decide what it is that you're writing about or trying to convey on this individual page and narrow your scope to keywords which are relevant to what you're writing about.
That's a no brainer, but remember that if you don't do this and you're trying to rank for keywords which aren't related to the focus of your site then people will quickly leave which will not only do nothing for your website or conversion goals, but it will also quickly knock you out of ranking contention once the search engines realize your content is literally irrelevant.
Volume - Next, look for keywords which have enough daily or monthly search volume to make it worth your while if you're ranking for it. You can find a great relevant keyword to your site, but if no one is searching for it, then it's a waste of your time as it will bring you no traffic. It's up to you to decide how much traffic is worth your time, by the way
Speaking of finding search volume and a free tool to use moving forward to find the best keywords, my pick is Market Samurai. Again, the keyword module is completely free and it gives you so much great in depth information about the keywords you're targeting, so check it out if you haven't already.
Competition - On the reverse side, you can find a relevant keyword with a lot of search volume but if the competition is too fierce then you'll never have a realistic chance to crack the top ten. More valuable and high volume keywords are generally being ranked for by big businesses which have a lot of resources in the form of a complete marketing team to earn them those top spots, making it difficult to beat them out for visibility. In that case, it's more helpful to go after the less searched for but also less competitive keywords. Oftentimes these longer tailed keywords will be much more targeted and will be more valuable to try to rank for because they're more likely to result in a conversion.
Commerciality - To continue on that last point, none of the other criteria matters one iota if the keywords you're ranking for aren't leading to conversions. A conversion for your website might be generating a lead via signup form, or it may be an outright sale from your website. Regardless of your site's goals, if the keywords you're targeting aren't converting on those goals, then they're not worth your time.
More specific keyword phrases can tell you a lot about someone's intent when they're searching. If they're searching for "acoustic guitar", then they might just be looking for information on acoustic guitars. They might be interested in buying an acoustic guitar or just in learning the history of the instrument. Either way, that search term indicates that they're still in the information gathering phase.
Let's get more specific and look at the search phrase "acoustic guitars for kids". The more specific the person searching gets, the more likely that they're interested in making a purchase, in this case looking for specific options of acoustic guitars for kids. If you were ranking for this keyword and were selling acoustic guitars for kids either through your website or through affiliate links to another website, there's a good chance that that visitor would be ready to buy that product. Getting even more specific, searching for a particular make and model of guitar in the search phrase continues to increase the intent toward the end of a purchase.
If you can satisfy these 4 factors, you can find the best keywords to base your content around and rank well in the search engines, garnering you traffic and conversions.