Best practices for creating indexes in MS SQLSERVER

I stood up a new database that has 5 tables and I am looking to create indexes on the table columns to increase performance.  When running SQL containing JOINs the perfomance is not great.

Are there obvious columns where indexes should be created?  Primary keys?  Columns used in JOINs?
szadrogaAsked:
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Russ SuterConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Primary keys are always indexed. It can certainly help to add indexes to columns used in joins.

What I tend to do is use SQL Server Management Studio's built-in query analyzer. Just put the query into a new query window, right click, and select "Display Estimated Execution Plan" from the context menu.
SSMS Context MenuIt often provides good suggestions for performance enhancements.

You should also check that your queries aren't using functions around join columns. These tend to prevent SQL from properly discovering indexes.
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szadrogaAuthor Commented:
So if I have created tables without primary keys, do you recommend i assign them first?
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Éric MoreauConnect With a Mentor Senior .Net ConsultantCommented:
a table should (almost) always have a primary key. There are some tools that will not work if you don't have one (like Red Gate SQL Data Compare). A primary key should be as small as possible because it will be duplicated in all indexes.

You will also need indexes on the main columns used in JOINs. Have a look at your execution plan and search for the table scans
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