3 min

How To Choose SEO Keywords

Rebecca Eaton

It’s a common request; I want my website to rank higher in the organic SERPS (search engine result pages). Ideally, you’d like to list in the top three, but you’d settle for making it on the first page. If you want to rank higher in the SERPs, you need to start paying close attention to Screenshot of organic listings search resultsyour keywords. Keywords are the words and phrases that your potential customers are typing into a search engine to find a particular product or service.

When you begin the process of choosing the SEO keywords that you’ll be using as part of your website copy, you’ll find that the process is part guess work, part trial and error and part research.

First, you’ll need to ask yourself some basic questions about your web audience and your products and services.

  1. Who uses your website?
  2. What product or service are you selling?
  3. Why/How is your business different?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start putting together a list of words that adequately describe your business. If you own a bicycle repair shop, it’s likely that the words “bicycle repair” will be included in your search. Don’t feel that you have to limit your keywords to just one or two words. Pick a variety of short phrases to test out such as, “bicycle repair Santa Monica.”

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and think about what they would type into a search engine when looking for your product or service. Also think about more specialized products or services that your shop might offer that people might search for, such as “beach cruiser rentals.”

Once you’ve come up with a list of potential words and phrases, it’s time to do some research. Pull up a Google search page and start typing. Many times Google will guess what you’re typing and auto fill the rest of your keyword or phrase. This information will give you an idea of what people are searching for. Doing this little test may help you tweak your keywords or phrases.

Next, you’ll want to find out how many people are using your keywords to see what your competition looks like for particular keywords or phrases. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to tell you how much competition (high, medium or low) you have for a particular keyword or phrase.  The keyword, “bicycle repair” for instance, comes in at medium competition with 165,000 global searches a month, whereas “bike shop Santa Monica” has low competition with only 1,300 global searches per month.Screenshot of keyword rankings

When it comes to using your chosen SEO keywords in your content, remember not to overstuff your writing with keywords. There’s no hard-and-fast rule to how many times you should use the keywords – just make sure that your content sounds natural. Using keywords too many times can lead to the content sounding “robotic.” The best SEO copy not only includes targeted keywords, but also provides meaningful information to your reader. As Google continuously makes changes to its search algorithm, organic search will be highly dependent on meaningful content to weed out spam indexing.

In other words, don’t just write meaningless content on your site as a placeholder for your keywords.  And remember, constantly updating onsite content can help you climb in the organic search rankings, but it also takes time.

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