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How To Find The Best Keywords For SEO

Not sure how to choose and find the best keywords for your website? Read our informative guide and improve your website SEO rankings with keywords.

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Kristi Ray
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Optimising website content using relevant keywords is one of the most crucial SEO ranking factors.

But the problem arises when it comes to finding and choosing the best keywords for your SEO strategy. While keyword research is the solution to this concern, there are a lot of factors that come into play, including search volume, search intent, competition, and more.

Find Keywords For Seo

These factors not only determine the direction of your content but will also help you find the search terms and phrases relevant to your business niche. Additionally, they will make your website more searchable and visible on the SERPs.

Now, keyword research is a time-consuming process, involving a ton of your effort in creating lists of keywords and then shortlisting them. That’s why we’ve come forward with this informative guide, hoping to simplify your task while building the foundation of your content development and SEO strategy.

Here we’ll be talking in length about keyword research and the steps involved in the process. But before that, let’s understand the basic concept of keywords in SEO.

What Are SEO Keywords?

Keywords are terms and phrases included in your web content to help searchers find your website with ease via search engines like Google. They are one of the primary elements of SEO that help your site rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

For that, you’ll need to understand the search intent of the user and know how they are looking for products, services or even the information you offer.

That’s why it’s important to know what phrases and terms they’re using to conduct a search on Google. This will help you create a list of keywords for running a successful online marketing campaign.

However, finding the right SEO keywords is a challenging process and getting it right involves many trials and errors, even for marketers who have undergone SEO training. Here’s where the concept of keyword research comes in.

Evolution Of Keyword Research

Finding The Best Keywords For SEO - Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process, which helps marketers find and choose terms people usually enter into search engines like Google to connect with websites or find an article and blog post relevant to the search. It serves as one of the most crucial aspects of online marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).

With proper research, you can target search queries (terms and phrases) based on their popularity and ranking difficulties. And the insight you get into these keywords can help you build a content and marketing strategy.

However, keywords may not be as important as one might think. After all, SEO has evolved over the years and using keywords to match a person’s search is no longer a crucial SEO ranking factor. It’s the user’s search intent that plays a huge role, but more on that later.

It’s important to note that even then, keyword research isn’t really an outdated process. Marketers depend on it to gain insight into the topics people are concerned about and their popularity among the audience.

Here search volume is a factor that comes into play; you’ll have to research keywords that are getting a high volume of searches every month. This will help you identify and then sort out topics you wish to create your content on.

Long story short, to address the queries of your audience you’ll need to conduct keyword research based on the popularity, search intent, and monthly search volume of the keywords.

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How To Conduct Keyword Research?

In this section, we’ll be highlighting a few points to help you go about the process of keyword research. Follow these steps to create a list of search terms and phrases to target. This list will help you establish and execute a strategy to find related keywords for your website.

1. Create A List Of Relevant Topics

Start by thinking about topics relevant to your business, and then use them to come up with specific keywords to improve SEO rankings. Now, for a blogger, the blog post topics are the ones to target, while business owners need to consider topics that usually come up during sales conversations. Irrespective of that, always think from the buyer or searcher’s perspective - consider the topics your target audience would most likely search for.

For instance, a company selling marketing software would have to focus on topics, such as “email marketing,” “inbound marketing,” “lead generation,” “marketing analytics,” and “social media marketing.” Additionally, you’ll have to keep track of the monthly search volume of the keywords to know how important these topics are for the audience.

Using the data, you can gauge the number of sub-topics for which you’ll need to create content, bringing us to the next step of the keyword research process.

2. Getting Keyword Ideas

After picking the topics, you’d want your website to focus on, identify the focus or seed keywords that fall under those topics. Potential customers might be using these keywords to conduct searches on search engines, so they’ll help you rank higher on the SERPs.

What Is A Seed Keyword

Let’s take “marketing automation” for example; some of the popular keyword phrases related to the topic are “marketing automation tools,” “email marketing automation,” “lead nurturing,” “top automation tools,” and more. Now, these aren’t the final list of keyword phrases; you’ll later have to narrow them down, but before that, include as many phrases and terms as you can brainstorm.

A smart way to get keyword ideas is by figuring out the keywords which are already helping your website rank on the SERPs. There are many web analytics and keyword tools to provide metrics related to this, such as Google Analytics and the Traffic Analytics Tool.

If you’re still having difficulty in finding relevant keywords, reach out to your sales or customer service team and enquire about the questions they have and the terms they use. This, in fact, is a great way to get your keyword research started.

3. Understanding The Importance Of Search Intent

As mentioned earlier in the article, the user’s search intent plays a pivotal role in how a website ranks on Google and other search engines. The terms and phrases you use should be able to address the queries or concerns the user intended to seek answers for.

Keep in mind that keywords may have different meanings, so using a particular term for face value won’t be beneficial to your site unless it fulfils the audience’s search intent. You’ll also need to be careful about how you interpret the related terms and phrases.

Suppose you wish to write an article on the keyword “how to start a blog.” Here blog can refer to a blog post or the website itself. You’ll need to build the content based on the user intent, i.e., know if the user wishes to start their own blog post or if they want to know how to launch a website domain for blogging.

The users intent of a keyword can be verified by conducting a keyword search to see the types of search results that come up. Remember, the kind of content showing up on Google’s SERPs should be closely related to the content you intend to create.

That being said, let’s now take a look at the five primary categories of search intent:

Examples Of Types Of Search Intents

A) Informational Intent

When people search for information on a topic, such as the weather, children education, or even SEO, it means they have an informational intent. They wish to know more about the specific topic, and Google understands this, but it doesn’t simply provide information related to the term.

For example, it understands that people looking for the recipe of tomato sauce are not essentially interested in its culinary history. Or, if people search for the term “Mercury,” they are more likely looking for the planet and not the element.

A few examples of keywords for informational searchers are “how to,” “why,” “what,” “best way to,” “information,” etc.

B) Navigational Intent

Next is navigational intent; people with this intent already know where they want to go on the internet. For example, people searching for “Facebook” are usually headed to the Facebook website. So, ranking high for a navigational keyword is only possible for organic search trafficwhen it’s your site that people are searching for.

C) Transactional Intent

Transaction intent is when people conduct a search with the intention of buying something, be it a product or service. They browse the internet to come across the best option for their purchase.

Some of the search terms used to conduct searches with transactional intent are “discount,” “deal,” “buy,” etc.

D) Commercial Investigation

Some people research a particular product or service on the web with the intention of buying it in the near future. They have a transactional intent but need more convincing before making the purchase. As such, they conduct searches, like “what is the best coffee machine to buy” or “which is the most helpful SEO plugin.”

Long story short, the combination of transactional and informational intent is what we refer to as commercial investigation.

E) Local Queries

Searchers conduct these searches when they wish to find something locally, such as a coffee shop, music venue, dance academy, doctor, etc.

4. Find Search Terms Related To Your Research

After a point, you might find it difficult to come up with keyword ideas related to a specific topic. This is when you should consider the search terms that appear when you enter a keyword in Google’s search bar.

When you type in the keyword phrase or term and scroll down to the bottom of the results page, you’ll notice suggestions of terms related to the conducted search. These keywords might help you add more search terms and phrases to your keyword list.

Google Search Suggestions Footer

5. Use Keyword Research Tools

SEO and Keyword research tools will help you get more keyword ideas to create relevant content for your business website. Here is a list of popular tools, keyword research requires you to consider:

A) Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a free and useful keyword research tool that can help you build strong keyword lists with search terms and phrases relevant to your online business. It also allows you to track the search estimates and cost. This, in turn, will help you build your online marketing strategy accordingly.

To use keyword research tools like Keyword Planner, make sure you set up a Google AdWords account. Once you log in, you’ll get to see an icon resembling a wrench; click on it and then select “Keyword Planner.” You can then make use of the two tools within Planner itself: “Get Search Volume and Forecasts” and “Discover New Keywords.”

Keyword Suggestion Tool Google Ads

B) Google Trends

It’s important to know about seasonal keyword trends for setting a content strategy. With Google Trends, you can do all that and more. It will help you optimise marketing strategies by understanding keyword search volume, finding trending topics relevant to business, and identifying seasonal trends.

Screenshot Of Google Trends For Research

All you have to do is enter a search term or topic, and the keyword tool will present you with all the required data. Furthermore, it offers features like “interest by sub-region,” allowing you to conduct keyword research based on region. The region-specific research can help make your content more relevant and relatable to the .

C) SEMrush

SEMrush is not just a keyword research tool, but it’s an all-in-one platform for SEO and content marketing. It includes an SEO toolkit with all the tools required to boost organic search traffic by tracking your website’s SERP ranking, running technical audits, and uncovering millions of local and national, short and long-tail keywords.

In fact, it will give you access to the world’s largest database of 30 million ads, 20 billion keywords, and 17 billion URLs crawled each day. The data obtained is then analysed to give you recommendations and suggestions on improving brand visibility and rankings on the search results pages.

Semrush Keyword Research Country Filter

D) Answer The Public

Answer The Public is another keyword tool to search for queries and questions surrounding a specific keyword within no time. Additionally, you get to use it with yet another free research tool, namely Keywords Everywhere, for prioritising its suggestions based on search volumes.

It usually combines the primary keywords with a wide range of questions like “who,” “what,” “why,” etc. You’ll also get a couple of keyword ideas through comparisons and “preposition” keyword terms and phrases.

For those who are unaware, these are seed keywords combined with other keywords using prepositions like “to,” “on,” “of,” etc.

Answerthepublic Keyword Suggestions

E) Moz Keyword Explorer

You can use the Moz Keyword Explorer to get relevant data and information on SERP features, such as features snippets and local packs and monthly search volumes. It utilises live clickstream data to extract the accurate search volume of a particular keyword that might help your website rank higher on Google’s SERPs.

That’s not all; Keyword Explorer comes with a “Keyword Difficulty Scores” feature to help narrow down the keyword list to the terms and phrases you might have a better shot at ranking for. Keep in mind that a higher keyword difficulty, aka, SEO difficulty score would mean that it will be more difficult to rank for the specific term.

Moz Keyword Suggestion Analysis Feature

F) Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another web analytics and keyword research tool that will make your website shine in search results. In addition to keyword research, it helps you measure your website’s search traffic and performance.

Google Search Console Performance Report

The data provided by Google Search Console can also help you find unexpected shortcuts. For instance, if your keyword-optimised URL ranks on the second or third page, Google already considers it relevant for that particular keyword.

All it needs is a little boost to rank on the first page and bring more search traffic.

G) Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword Tool Dominator is a free keyword research tool that will enable you to dig through Amazon’s database. The only issue is that it only provides keyword ideas; there’s no way to determine the search volume for each keyword.

Keyword Tool Dominator Suggestions

6. Identifying Long-Tail Keywords

Focus or seed keywords are the shorter search terms closely related to the primary categories and topics of a brand. On the contrary, long-tail keywords are related to the smaller sub-topic buckets of a business and are more descriptive, making it easier to match them to the search intent of your target audience. This is a bit challenging when it comes to seed keywords.

Let’s take, for example, published content related to coffee machine reviews; long-tail keywords like “the top 9 coffee machines of 2021” will attract a more relevant target audience than the seed keyword “coffee machine.”

It’s true that long-tail keywords don’t really get that many clicks, but they have higher conversion rates since they’re more focused on a specific topic, product, or service.

Long Tail Keywords Effectiveness

7. Knowing About Competition

Conducting keyword research on Google for your brand alone isn’t enough. You need to be aware of the keywords your competitors are targeting to understand the content landscape of the industry better.

In fact, understanding the competitive levels of different keywords will help you identify phrases and search terms that might be difficult to rank on SERPs. Plus, you’ll get to find keyword opportunity gaps, which usually occur when you find related keywords for your business or brand with medium or low competition levels.

You can easily find these keyword opportunity gaps by performing a keyword search on the competition. There are keyword research tools to help you in the process. For instance, the Keyword Tool Pro’s paid version comes with a competitor analysis feature that enables you to do that.

All you have to do is enter the URL of the competitor in the search box, and it will show you a list of keywords that the particular page ranks for.

Semrush Keyword Competitive Analysis Graphic

How To Choose Keywords For Your Website?

Keyword research is the process that will you find keywords relevant to your business or website. Not all these keywords will help your site rank on Google’s SERPs. You’ll need to refine the list of keywords and shortlist the best ones for your content strategy.

In other words, you’ll need to choose the most relevant keyword with a high volume of monthly searches. Here’s where we’ll help you know how to go about the selection process.

1. Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best Keyword

Like we’ve mentioned earlier, you can’t really expect your content to rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) no matter how relevant the target keywords are. You need to choose the best keywords based on the following five factors:

A) Relevance

As you already know, Google tends to rank content based on relevance and here’s where the concept of search intent steps in once again. You’ll need to choose keywords that will meet the searcher’s needs; only then will your content rank on the SERPs.

Additionally, your content should be the best source of information on the internet for the search query. After all, Google will only consider the most relevant site capable of addressing the searcher’s queries if you offer the most value compared to the other online brands and websites on the web.

How Keyword Relevance Works

B) Authority

Google usually gives more importance to sources or websites that seem credible and authoritative. So, you should gain authority as a credible site on the web by enriching it with helpful and relevant informational content and then promoting the content to earn backlinks and social media signals.

Sites that aren’t seen as an authoritative source in the industry or space have a lower chance of ranking; the only exception to this is if their content is exceptionally outstanding. The site will also fail to improve SEO rankings if the SERPs for a specific search term is flooded with highly authoritative websites with relevant content and backlinks to other credible sources.

C) Search Volume

Even if your website is ranking on the first page of the search results for a specific search term or keyword, it might not result in search traffic to your site, especially if no one ever searches for it. So, make sure you consider the MSW (monthly search volume) of the individual search terms while choosing the right keywords for your website content.

Speaking of MSW, it’s the number of monthly searches conducted by users for any specific keyword. You may use SEO tools like the Google Keyword Planner to find search volumes of the keyword.

The ones with a high volume should be considered while creating content for your online business or website.

D) Keyword ROI

Next, think about return on investment; in other words, check whether or not the keyword brings value to your website. It should be able to optimise the content and result in conversions.

That said, it’s important to bear in mind that long-tail keywords ensure higher conversion rates compared to short-tail or seed keywords.

Long Tail Keywords Convert Better Statistic

E) Keyword Intent

We’ve spoken in-depth about search intent for finding keywords for your website but when it comes to choosing keywords, even keyword intent plays a crucial role. After all, you can’t really control the type of user your content brings to the website page by controlling the keywords it ranks for.

For example, if you intend to boost conversion rates, include calls to action in the keyword phrases for which you’d want to rank on the SERPs.

Infographic Conversion Rate Optimisation Cro

2. Checking For Long-Tail Keywords And Seed Keywords

First, it’s important to know the difference between head/seed and long-tail keywords. Head keywords are shorter and more generic keyword phrases, including two to three words. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are comparatively longer phrases containing more than two to three words.

That being said, if you wish to have a balance keyword strategy for both long and short-term goals, make sure you have a mix of both long-tail and head keywords. This is because people search head keywords more frequently, which makes them more competitive and difficult to rank for.

Consider, for example, “blogging” and “how to create a blog post.” Without even considering keyword difficulty and search volume, it’s obvious that the seed keyword “blogging” will be more difficult to rank for.

There’s no doubt that seed keywords will have the most number of searches (search volume), but in this case, the long-tail keyword “how to create a blog post” will be more desirable and beneficial for the website.

That’s because these keywords tend to be more specific to the Google user’s search, and people here know what product or service they wish to find will be able to reach your site more easily. In contrast, your website might get lost amidst the thousands of pages in Google’s search results for a more generic term, such as “blogging.”

Searchers might be searching for this specific keyword for a number of reasons, which not be even related to your site or online business. So, even if they click on your site and visit it, the chances of getting a conversion would be slim.

Long story short, check your keyword lists to make sure there’s a healthy and balanced mix of both long-tail and seed keywords also known as head keywords. Of course, you’d want the easy wins with long-tail keywords, but for the long run, you might need the shorter, more generic ones to rank for diverse topics.

Monthly Search Volume Disribution Of Search Queries

3. Checking The Performance Of Competitors

As a digital marketer, keep in mind that you need not do the same thing your competitor does, and the same goes for keywords. If a keyword is important to your competitor, it doesn’t mean it’s the best keyword for you.

But even then, it’s crucial to know about the keywords other websites in your industry are trying to rank for. It will help you evaluate the list of keywords better and know if there’s any term or keyword phrase that needs to be added or removed.

Suppose the competitor is ranking on the first page for search terms and phrases that are on your list too, it makes sense to try improving your SEO rankings for those keywords. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the ones competitors don’t really care about.

Use these keywords as opportunities to own a significant share in the market for important search terms. Just make sure you understand the balance between the realistic terms and the ones that can be a bit challenging because of the competition.

This will help you strike a similar balance between long-tail and seed keywords. After all, the goal is to create a list of keywords for which you’d want to rank higher on the SERPs while making progress to more challenging SEO goals.

You can easily find the keywords your competition is ranking for by manually searching for them in an incognito browser. It will allow you to see the positions the other websites are in.

A more efficient method is by using tools and software platforms like Ahrefs. It will enable you to run several free reports, showing the top keywords for the domain or URL you enter. This serves as a quick way to understand the types of search terms your competition is ranking for.

Ahref On Page Health Report

4. Cut Down The List Of Keywords

After striking the right balance of keywords, go ahead and cut down the keyword lists with more quantitative keyword data. Now, there are several tools to help you go about this, but today, we’ll be highlighting Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trend.

Both of these tools can be used together for the process; just make sure you create a Google Ads account before that. The Keyword Planner will provide data on search volume and estimate search traffic for the keywords you’d want to rank for.

Next, collect all the information provided by Google Keyword Planner and use Google Trends to fill up the missing gaps.

Note that Planner will help identify the keywords, having a search volume that’s too low or high as they won’t help maintain a healthy balance (like we’ve discussed above). However, before eliminating these terms from the list, make it a point to check their projections and trend history on Google Trends.

This is because even the low-volume or low-competition keywords might ensure returns in the long run. As such, it would be beneficial to invest in them.

Google Trends also help identify the terms and phrases trending upwards, which, in turn, might be requiring more of your focus. The keyword trends will make it easier to narrow down the keyword lists, especially if they are unwieldy.

How To Make SEO Keywords Work?

Once you complete the keyword research process and find the best keywords for your website, use them to achieve the desired SEO results, including higher conversion rates, cost per click, search traffic, and more. Now, you may start including relevant keywords in the high-attention areas on your website.

Here are some of the areas where they should be strategically placed to optimise the site’s pages:

1. Page Titles

It’s a good idea to use target keywords or a keyword phrase while writing your web page title to make it more relevant and attractive to the target audience. This will also boost brand visibility, especially in mobile SERPs, where the page title of a site usually gets cut off.

Page Titles In Serps Google

2. Meta Description

The meta description of a page allows searchers to know what the content of that page is about. That’s why it’s important to include the appropriate keywords here, which are relevant to your online business.

This will also help the searchers decide whether or not to click on the search result to see the entire content.

Meta Description Example Google

3. Headings And Subheadings

Including headings and subheadings in your content will make it more skimmable for the readers, helping them decide if the content is relevant and capable of meeting their requirements. So, make it a point to use keywords in a few of its headings and subheadings.

This will also make your website more search engine-friendly, thereby improving your SEO rankings by a margin.

4. Web Page Content

The most important place to use SEO keywords for optimisation is your web content - one of the top-most SEO ranking factors. However, it’s crucial to do it in the right way; after all, poor use of keywords can deteriorate your SEO rankings.

Avoid keyword stuffing; if you have keywords in every sentence, there’s a high possibility of incurring Google penalties. This will also negatively impact your content readability.

Contentwriters Com Example Of Keyword Stuffing

Use keywords effectively by using the primary keyword in the first few sentences or paragraphs of the content. And then use its variations throughout your content strategically.

It’s better to use latent semantic indexing or LSI keywords instead of the exact keywords every time to make the content more understandable and readable.

5. URLs

URLs give both visitors and search engines like Google an idea about what your page is about. So, it’s a good practice to keep the URLs short with the inclusion of one or two target keywords. This will help people visiting your site understand your website content more easily.

Readability In Url Structure

6. Links And Anchor Texts

Links are among the top SEO ranking factors, which have to be optimised for SEO. Here the rule is to vary the anchor text so that you don’t get flagged and penalised by Google. You may use LSI keywords to vary your inbound anchor texts.

Keep Track And Diversify Infographic

7. Social Media

Now, social media isn’t really a direct ranking factor, but it has a strong link between brand visibility and social shares in the SERPs. That’s one of the reasons why you should use keywords in social media posts and updates to boost SEO ranks.

In fact, keywords can also be used as hashtags in social media posts and updates, making it easier for people to find relevant content on sites. Just make sure you pay close attention to how you use the keywords as hashtags since hashtag usage may vary from website to website.

Social Media Engagement Statistics

Keyword Grouping And Organisation

Now that you know where to include keywords after doing your keyword research, let’s understand keyword grouping and organisation. It’s the process of dividing keywords into smaller, manageable groups of relevant and related keywords to cut down on workload while creating targeted, specific web pages.

Consider, for example, that you’re running the website of an online electronic store. In this scenario, it would be wise of you to group terms related to smartphones and then create a separate group for the terms and phrases related to home appliances.

Next, you’ll have to create sub-groups for each keyword group and even smaller groups for type of electronic product (e.g., washing machine, phone, air conditioner, etc.). Once this is done, it will be easier to create pages and ads optimised for each keyword group and subgroup.

The Best Keywords For SEO

Now that we’ve reached the end of our informative guide, we’d like to share a bit of advice before taking your leave.

Keep in mind that the “best” keywords are the ones highly searched by the target audience. And with the help of these, you need to develop a strategy that will help you drive search traffic and rank pages.

We’ve already discussed in length how to find and choose keywords for your SEO strategy through keyword research. These keyword lists will help you achieve both long and short term goals while allowing you to stand out from the competition.

But that doesn’t mean all your work is complete. Make sure you keep re-evaluating these keywords every couple of months (ideally once every quarter). You could also choose to do keyword research more frequently if needed.

Once you start gaining more authority as a website in the SERPs, you can keep adding relevant keywords to your list to grow as a brand in the future while maintaining the current online presence.


Photo of Kristi Ray

Kristi Ray

Kristi is head of content production and editing at sitecentre and joined the team in early 2021 based out of our Sunshine Coast office to deliver higher-quality content to our partners. Kristi has a vast knowledge of copywriting styles and experience to accelerate the production of SEO friendly content at the highest levels.

Find them on their website: sitecentre and LinkedIn.

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