Quality over quantity is a hallmark of choosing keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). You want to attract the most qualified traffic to your site, and that starts with selecting the best keywords based on your business, target audience, and website.
Learn how to choose keywords for SEO in this quick-start guide!
What makes a keyword “right” for SEO?
A keyword is the word or phrases people use to search the web. What makes a keyword “right” or “best” for SEO revolves around whether the keyword is relevant to your business and target audience and whether the keyword is feasible for your website to target.
Below, we’ll explore how to choose the best keywords for SEO in-depth.
How to choose keywords for SEO
Improve your keyword selection by learning how to choose keywords for SEO now:
1. Generate keyword ideas
First, start with compiling keyword ideas. If you’re unfamiliar with keyword research, we recommend reading our walkthrough on how to do keyword research first. It’ll provide you with a baseline for generating keyword ideas.
For this step, store your ideas in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and create additional columns for:
- Search volume
- Average cost per click (CPC)
- Competition level
- Search intent
- Business relevancy
You’ll use these columns in the following steps.
2. Evaluate keyword relevancy
Next, begin evaluating each keyword’s relevancy to your:
- Target audience
Start your evaluation by looking at the keyword’s search results. Here, you can browse the top-ranking pages to gauge the search intent. Enter the search intent in your Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel document for your records.
Based on your findings, determine if the keyword is relevant to your business and target audience.
For example, take the keyword “furniture woodworking techniques” for a business that handcrafts wooden furniture. While relevant to those working in the industry of crafting wooden furniture, it’s likely a term with low relevancy for a company that sells wooden furniture.
These are people who are looking at how to create furniture themselves — which, from a business standpoint, would make the term more relevant to companies that supply the tools and materials for crafting wooden furniture vs. a furniture seller.
In this case, you’d likely mark the keyword (in your Business relevancy column) as “Negative.”
Now, you can proceed with the above process for your remaining list of keywords.
3. Analyze keyword metrics
Once you’ve finished evaluating your keywords’ relevancy to your business and audience, you can dig into some data with keyword metrics. These metrics help you further quantify which keywords are worth targeting now, later, or in the future.
The three metrics you’ll look at include the following:
- Search volume, which measures the average monthly search volume.
- Cost per click, which measures the average amount paid by advertisers for this keyword.
- Competition, which measures the competitiveness of a keyword.
Typically, you’ll find keywords with a higher search volume have more significant competition. If the keywords have more of a transactional, I-want-to-buy vs. informational, I-want-to-learn intent, they’ll also have a higher cost per click.
Here, you’ll need to consider your website’s backlink strength.
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors. Search engines like using backlinks in their algorithms because backlinks convey trust — for a reputable site to link to yours means you’re doing something right.
Depending on your site’s history, you might have a weak, okay, or strong backlink profile. The strength of that backlink profile will determine which keywords are feasible for you to select. If you have a weak backlink profile, it’s unlikely you’ll rank for a competitive keyword.
That’s why we often recommend targeting long-tail keywords to our clients.
Long-tail keywords are typically more relevant to your audience and generate more qualified traffic. For your website (and business), that can increase your chances of nurturing and converting this traffic into sales.
Log your work in your Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel file as you evaluate these keyword metrics.
4. Choose the keywords
Now that you’ve gathered your data and analyzed your keywords, you can choose your keywords for SEO. Here is where your Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets file will come in handy as it’ll compile all your efforts.
Remember these best practices for selecting the best keywords for SEO:
- Focus on long-tail keywords
- Target keywords most relevant to your audience and business
- Diversify by targeting bottom-, middle-, and top-of-the-funnel keywords
- Pick low-competition keywords
Then, make your choices and start creating your content!
You’ve learned how to choose the best keywords for SEO, and now you’re ready to put what you’ve learned into action. If you can’t find the time to do the above, consider getting professional SEO help, like from our award-winning team of SEO experts.
Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services.