4 Killer Tips for Picking Your SEO Keywords


Keywords are the lifeblood of an SEO strategy. They need to meet specific criteria to be successful — keyword research, in a lot of ways, is a science (that is difficult to master). So if a good SEO campaign is built upon solid keyword targeting, how do you set yourself up to jump page rankings?

By following a few tips, coupled with a little bit of luck, you’ll be on your way to producing an SEO campaign that is funneling leads to your website.

Tip 1: Understand Core Keywords vs. Longtail Keywords

Core keywords are one or two words that receive high volume searches, in addition to facing a lot of competition. For example, “shoe store” is a core keyword that yields thousands of search result pages. It is being jockeyed over by thousands of retailers, some of which are multi-billion dollar corporations. Therefore, ranking on the first page for that core keyword would be less than likely given the stiff competition.

However, longtail keywords offer businesses the opportunity to drive highly-qualified consumers to their site without trying to fight for those insanely high volume keywords. Longtail keywords are more of a phrase, normally 3+ words strung together, such as: “shoe store orlando fl” or “adidas women’s ultraboost shoes.” What makes these longtail keywords attractive in an SEO strategy is the lower volume and competition. Now smaller businesses have a significant chance at ranking on the first page of Google results. In addition, since longtail keywords are more specific, consumers often can be further along in the selling process — meaning they have a good idea of what they are looking for.

When picking your keywords it is important to include core keywords, but also build out a significant longtail strategy. These longer, more specific Google queries will drive a large majority of your traffic when done right.

Tip 2: Use a Variety of Keyword Tools

It is easy to conduct your keyword research using only a single tool, however, it is wise to diversify your information sources. By shuffling through multiple programs like SEMrush, Moz, Google Adwords, Answer the Public, and more, you are able to gain a more well-rounded view of what keywords might most align with your business goals. By incorporating insights from various tools your keyword research will be more accurate and reliable.

Tip 3: Roleplay as a Consumer

Critical thinking is a vital step in picking keywords. Your keyword research should revolve around your targeted consumer. Throughout this process, asking questions from the perspective of the consumer will help you better identify the right keywords.

Some of these questions might be beneficial:

  • What is the consumer’s goal? Information? To buy?
  • Why does the consumer need this product or service?
  • What are some common reasons a consumer may desire my product or service?
  • When is my product or service needed?
  • What are some related queries that consumers ask regarding my type of product or service?

Even the best keyword research is useless if you are not properly aligning the right terms with the consumer’s intent.

Tip 4: Understand the Playing Field

This goes hand-in-hand with your individual keyword research — analyzing your competitor’s keywords. Picking the right terms includes understanding what your rivals are targeting, and then auditing it. Do their keywords make the most sense? Should you also target those keywords, or is there better opportunity elsewhere? Not only should you examine competitors’ keywords, but also their content. How are they crafting their on-page content? Is their site text heavy? Do they have a big blog presence?

Looking at what your competitors are doing well, and not so well, can help you navigate the (sometimes) minefield of keywords.

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