Keyword Research

How to choose the right keywords for your SEO campaign

Published by April on 12/28/2018

The most important step in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to select the right keywords to optimize your website for. Each page on your site should be optimized to target specific keywords relating to the page content. Finding the perfect keyword or phrase takes careful analysis. In this article, I will address 1) the two types of keywords, 2) how to find potential keywords, and 3) how to select the best keywords for your SEO campaign.

The two types of keywords

There are two types of keywords, short tail and long tail. Many people use a combination of both types throughout their website. Short tail keywords contain one or two words. In most cases, these keywords have a high search volume, which means there's a lot of competition for them. It will take a lot of time and a good SEO strategy to begin to generate traffic from these keywords. If you’re just starting out, consider optimizing your site with long tail keywords, which contain three or more words. Once you have  established a higher ranking with search engines then you can optimize for short tail. Long tail keywords attract more targeted traffic because they are more specific. Long tail also have less competition than short tail and a higher chance of converting your visitors to customers. The following table provides you with some examples.

Short tail keywords Long tail keywords
Beauty Salons
Hair Salons
Hair Salons in Sacramento
Sacramento Hair Salons
Hair and Beauty Salons

How to find potential keywords

Now that you are familiar with the two types of keywords, the next step is to find some keywords to analyze for your SEO campaign. When creating your list, be sure you select keywords that relate to your page content. Here are some suggestions on how you can get ideas:

  1. Research your competitors by visiting their websites. View the page meta tags to see what keywords they are targeting. You can do this by right mouse clicking the webpage and selecting view source.
  2. Ask yourself what words you would type into a search box to find your products or services.
  3. Ask others what words they would type into a search box to find your products or services.

Selecting the best keywords for your SEO campaign

The last step will require you to register for a free Google account in order to access the Keyword Planner tool. It’s one of the most used and accurate tools available for keyword research. Once you have registered, visit Google’s Keyword Planner to get started. Follow the instructions below to learn how to use the tool.

  1. Enter your keyword(s) in the "Word or phrase" textbox.  If you have multiple keywords, enter one per line. Google will display the results for each one you enter.
  2. To select a particular category, select the "Category" text box and choose the category that relates to your page content.
  3. Select the "Only show ideas closely related to my search terms" box to ensure your original search term is included in the suggested keyword idea results.
  4. Google automatically sets your default location and language, if you would like to change this criteria click the "Advanced Options and Filters" link.
  5. Select the Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, Approximate CPC (Search) and Local Search Trends check boxes to display in your results. If some of these columns are not available, you are most likely not logged into your Google account.
  6. Now you’re ready to click "Search"

It's now time to evaluate the search statistics for your potential keywords.

  • Competition – Is the number of Google advertisers worldwide that are bidding on a keyword.
  • Global Monthly Searches – Is the average of all searches performed for a particular keyword over a 12 month period by users worldwide.
  • Local Monthly Searches – If you specified a country or language in your search criteria, this value would be the average of all searches performed for a particular keyword over a 12 month period by users from that country or language.
  • Approximate CPC (Search) – This is the approximate cost-per-click a person might pay when their advertisement is clicked.
  • Local Search Trends – This shows the local search trends for a particular keyword on the Google Search Network per month over a twelve month period. Each bar represents the overall monthly performance for the keyword.

Use the information provided in these columns to find the right keywords for your SEO campaign. The keywords you select should be high in demand, have a large enough market to be profitable, and have low to medium competition.

Keyword research is an important step in the search engine optimization process and could make or break your SEO efforts. When you select the right keywords, you have a far greater chance of increasing your visibility in search engines. Thank you for reading this article, and in the next post I will show you how to optimize your web pages.