How to Choose Keywords

To understand what keywords are and why they are important to SEO, we have a separate blog post with a complete description. For a definition of SEO visit what is search engine optimization.

But now we discuss how to choose keywords for your pages. We focus here on Google keywords, but this is very similar for Bing and other search engines.

The number of keywords needed for an organic SEO project depends on the business and what words would provide the site with acceptable and properly targeted traffic. You can easily make a list of Google keywords you think you should use on your SEO project. Be prepared – you may be wrong.

Start by generating this initial list of words. These keywords should be a short list of what your website is trying to promote and other words related to your industry. These words will provide the jump start you need to choose the right keywords for the site’s organic search engine optimization campaign.

Once you have this initial list, you’ll want to read through the site to see how it has used these keywords that you have chosen and to gather ideas for additional keywords. The keywords chosen may be broad terms which may or may not work for your particular site. You want to include the words or phrases that will enable the site to have top SEO ranking and deliver qualified traffic.

Another way to gather keywords is to see what words are being used by competitors. Enter one of your keywords into the search box of Google to determine the sites with the top ranking for that query. You are aiming for keywords that are frequently used by your target audience, but do not have many competing pages. This way, you will have a better conversion rate.

It is probably best that you check out the top five search engine results to see what keywords they are using. Run the page through a tool to analyze its keyword usage (such as the Single Page Analyzer in our SEOToolSet®). Repeat this procedure with all the keywords from your initial list. Doing this SEO research allows you to decide whether these words or phrases are targeted to your website’s products or services.

Once you have accumulated enough words and phrases, you will need to find out the monthly activity or search volume of each potential keyword. We provide great keyword tools in our SEOToolSet product that do a solid job of helping identify Google keywords.

There are other tools (besides ours) available that will perform this duty, including the Google Ads Keyword Planner. Although each tool works a little differently, each one produces a list of relevant keywords based on a single keyword phrase that you provide. In the age of semantic analysis and the Google Knowledge Graph, it’s important to research the family of related keywords surrounding an entity, also called an n-gram. You can use keyword suggestions derived from a keyword research tool to add keywords to your list.

To use these tools, type in the keyword that you want to research and the tools will display other relevant keywords. Adding more potential keywords means that you may want to repeat the process of typing these words into the search engine and reviewing the sites with top search engine ranking; you could find even more keywords and you will verify their relevancy.

After you have generated a large enough list of possible keywords, you’ll need to decide which words target the website’s subject the closest. You need to ask yourself, would I type this word into the search engine in the hope of locating this website or is it a relevant word to the site? If it is an appropriate word but it has not been used on the site, would we be willing to write more content on the subject? After you have gone through your list and taken off words that are not relevant or that your website does not have sufficient content for, you should have a shorter, but more relevant, list of keywords, which should have pages to support them.

Personalization is critical — what other words would a potential visitor that is properly targeted for your content use to find your site? These potential Google query keywords should be added to the pages of your site or your traffic will decrease. The identification of persona, community, location and anticipating the searcher’s intent have become critical parts of keyword selection. We spend time on this in our SEO training course.

More keyword help and free SEO tips:

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