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An integral part of any SEO strategy is choosing the right keywords. After all, without the right keywords for SEO, your efforts are likely to fall flat.

Because even if you have the best content and the most user-friendly website, you won’t get very far if you’re targeting the wrong keywords.

That’s why it’s so important to take the time to choose the right keywords for your SEO strategy. But how do you go about doing that? Let’s dive in.

Why is it important to choose the right keywords for SEO?

In any SEO strategy, keywords play a vital role. They are what help you get found in search engines and drive traffic to your website.

And while it may seem like a fairly straightforward concept, choosing the right keywords is quite complex. There are a few reasons why it’s crucial to choose the right keywords for your SEO strategy:

  • The right keywords will help you attract the right audience.
  • The right keywords will help you get found in search engines.
  • You avoid wasting time and money.

Check out SEO Best Practices: What’s Changing? An Expert Explains to know more about where SEO is going.

Factors when choosing the right keywords for your SEO campaign

There are several factors to consider when selecting keywords for your SEO strategy. Here are some of the most important:

How frequently is the keyword being searched?

The global monthly search volume for a keyword can give you an indication of how popular it is. And the more popular a keyword is, the more difficult it will be to rank for.

Naturally, you want to target keywords that have a high search volume. But you also want to make sure that you’re not targeting keywords that are so popular that they’re impossible to rank for.

To find out how frequently a keyword is being searched, you can use a tool like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush.

What is the competition like for the keyword?

Once you know how many people are searching for a keyword, you need to find out how much competition there is. This can be determined by looking at the number of results on Google for that keyword.

The higher the number of results, the more difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. Keyword research tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer can be helpful here. Read How to Discover Your Competitor’s Keywords & Use Them to Your Advantage to learn more.

What is the commercial value of the keyword?

Some keywords are more valuable than others, depending on their relevance. For example, a keyword like “buy shoes” will have a higher commercial value than a keyword like “how to tie shoelaces.”

This is because the former keyword is directly related to a purchase, while the latter is related to an action someone might take before making a purchase.

So when choosing keywords for your SEO strategy, consider the commercial value of each keyword. You can again use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to know how valuable a keyword is.

Step 1. Use keyword research tools.

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The first step to choosing the right keywords is to use keyword research tools. These tools will help you find popular keywords relevant to your business.

Some of the best keyword research tools include:

Google Keyword Planner

With Google keyword planner, you can research keywords and get data on the average monthly search volume, competition, and commercial value. Technically, this tool is designed for Google Ads. But it can be just as useful for SEO purposes.

To use Google Keyword planner, go to the tool and sign in with your Google account. Then, enter a seed keyword into the “Your product or service” field and click “Get ideas.”

You’ll then see a list of related keywords, along with data on each keyword.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer

Moz’s Keyword Explorer is another great keyword research tool. It works similarly to Google Keyword Planner but provides some additional features.

For example, with Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can see how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword, as well as get suggestions for other related keywords.

To use Moz’s Keyword Explorer, go to the tool and enter a keyword into the “Seed Keywords” field. Then, click “explore”. 

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By far, my favorite keyword research tool is SEMrush. This is because it provides a lot of data on keywords, as well as some other features that can be helpful for SEO purposes.

Take SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, for example. This tool allows you to find keywords based on various criteria, including:

  • Keyword popularity
  • Search intent
  • SERP features
  • Competition levels

All you need to do is enter a seed keyword, and the Keyword Magic Tool will generate a list of related keywords. From there, you can further filter the results to find the perfect keywords for your SEO strategy.

Step 2. Identify your business goals and align them with your audience’s needs and wants.

Say your business sells coffee beans. What do you want people to do when they come to your website?

  • Do you want them to purchase coffee beans from you?
  • Do you want them to learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee?
  • Do you want them to find the nearest café that sells your coffee beans?

Your goals will determine the type of keywords you want to target. For example, if your goal is to sell coffee beans, then you’ll want to target keywords like “buy coffee beans” and “coffee beans for sale.”

On the other hand, if your goal is to teach people how to make the perfect cup of coffee, then you’ll need keywords like “how to make coffee” and “the best way to brew coffee.” Consider the keywords that people would use if they were trying to accomplish your business goals.

Step 3. Identify the search intent of your target keywords.

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Search intent is what someone is looking to do when they search for something on the internet. There are four main types of search intent:


The user is looking for information on a topic. For example, they might search for “how to make coffee”.


The user is looking for a specific website. For example, they might search for “Starbucks website.”


The user is looking to buy something. For example, they might search for “coffee beans for sale” or even “iced coffee for sale.”

Commercial Investigation

The user is considering purchasing, but they want more information first. For example, they might search for “best coffee beans.”

You’ll need to target keywords with the right type of search intent if you want your SEO strategy to be successful.

Think about it – if you’re a transactional keyword like “coffee beans for sale,” but your website is full of informational content, people will be disappointed when they land on your site.

On the other hand, if you target keywords with commercial investigation intent, such as “best coffee beans,” you can provide potential customers with the information they need to purchase. 

The key is to choose keywords that align with the type of content on your website. Check out How to Create Long-Form Content and Reap the Advantages for more info on informational content. 

Step 4. Focus on long-tail keywords (and add some head terms).

As much as possible, you’ll want to target long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are simply longer and more specific keywords. While long-tail keywords might not have the same search volume (amount of people searching for them) as short-tail keywords, they’re much easier to rank for.

And when you do rank for long-tail keywords, you’ll generally get higher quality traffic – that is, people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Head terms, on the other hand, head terms are shorter and more general keywords. They have a high search volume but are much harder to rank for.

You’ll want to include a mix of both long-tail and head keywords in your SEO strategy. That way, you can target various keywords and increase your chances of ranking in the search engines.

Step 5. Check out the related search terms.

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Say you want to target the keyword “coffee beans.” When you type this keyword into Google, you’ll notice that there are a few related search terms that pop up beneath the search bar. Related search terms can give you some great ideas for other keywords to target.

To find related search terms, simply type your target keyword into Google and scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll see a list of related search terms that you can add to your keywords list.

Don’t forget to check out the “People Also Ask” section – this can give you some great ideas for content you can create to target your keywords.

Step 6. Analyze the competition level for your target keywords.

The final step to choosing the right keywords is analyzing each keyword’s competition level. You typically measure the competition for a keyword by looking at the search results and seeing how many websites rank for that keyword.

To analyze the competition level for a keyword, simply type it into Google and look at the search results. Look at how many websites are ranking for that keyword and how high they rank. The higher the ranking, the more competitive the keyword is.

To get a more accurate measure of competition, you can also use a tool like SEMrush and look at the Keyword Difficulty score. This is a score from 1 to 100 that shows how difficult it is to rank for a keyword.

A score of 1 means that the keyword is very easy to rank for, while a score of 100 means that the keyword is very difficult to rank for. You generally want to target keywords with a score of 60 or below.


There is no such thing as a perfect keyword for SEO. But by following the steps in this guide, you can come up with a list of keywords that are perfect for your website.

Remember to focus on keyword intent, long-tail keywords, related search terms, and competition level when choosing keywords for your SEO strategy. And most importantly, don’t forget to create great content that your target audience will love!

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