SEO: Keyword research. How to choose the right SEO keywords?

Karlis Blumentals

One of the key factors for ranking high on search engines is masterful use of keywords. You need to choose the most effective SEO keywords for your page and then you need to make sure they appear on your web page in a search engine friendly way. The fact is that you can not gain the top position for all keywords. And since some keywords will work much better for you than others, so you must choose wisely. So how do you do it?

Choosing the right SEO keywords is a result of a process that is called keyword research.

Here is a quick overview of what are good keywords:

  • What your potential customers would use
  • Precise and relevant to your content
  • Popular enough to generate sizeable traffic
  • Narrow enough for you to be able to compete

Here are some tips on how to find out the best keywords for you.

1. Determine keywords that your customers would use

Before targeting any particular keywords, it is always a good idea to do research and find out what keywords your potential customers would actually use. Here are some tips:

  • Think about what keywords would you use. What are the most relevant phrases?
  • Ask a few friends or family members to search for a competing product or service. Check what keywords they use.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner to determine relevant keywords and their popularity

2. Use only relevant and precise keywords

By keywords we actually mean keyphrases consisting of several words. This is because due to the volume of data on the Internet it is usually impossible to find anything specific using a single word.

Your keywords should be 100% relevant to the page content. Do not choose too broad keywords. The more specific your keywords, the better are your chances for ranking in the top search results and attracting the right visitors.

For example, if you sell used digital cameras, do not choose keyword digital cameras, try used digital cameras or refurbished digital cameras.

Another example - you own a cell phone repair shop in, say, Amarillo, do not choose keyword cell phone repair, try Amarillo cell phone repair or cell phone repair in Amarillo.

Of course, your keywords also should not be too narrow. Your pages will easily rank high for very narrow and very specific keywords, but it could happen that very few people use these keywords and you get very few visitors.

3. Evaluate the popularity and competition

Try not to target keywords for which you do not have chance to rank high because of huge competition. At the same time you should target keywords that are reasonably popular and can generate some traffic. You can check competition by using Google Keyword Planner.

For example, due to competition, it is almost impossible to get good results for a keyword like digital cameras. You can try something more realistic, like cheap refurbished Nikon D5000.

Make sure the keywords that you choose are actually the ones that many people would use. If a web search returns rather few results for a particular keyphrase, it usually means that very few people would use that phrase.

4. Choose just a few main keywords per page

While you can use as many keywords as you wish within your content, you should first try optimize your web page for just a few of them. For best results, you have to have your keyword in your title, heading, and near the top of the page and this is very limited real estate. In our experience, best results can be usually achieved when you optimize a page for 1 - 3 keywords or keyphrases. Of course this does not mean that your page can not rank high for more than two keywords or keyword combinations, there are pages that rank well for 20 or more keywords, however it is always best to try to hit a very clear and definite target first.

If you have multiple products or services and you need to target multiple keyword sets, simply create and optimize separate page for each of your important keywords. For example, if you sell used electronics and want to be found by used digital cameras, refurbished mobile phones and used flatscreen TVs, you should create and optimize separate pages for each keyword rather than try to optimize your front page for all of the keywords.