11 Effective Tips for Finding the Best SEO Keywords

What if you could get more out of your SEO strategy?

Good SEO always feels like a moving target. After all, the strategies that worked just last year may not be as effective as they once were. So to achieve the best SEO, you need to stay on top of the best SEO keywords.

But how can you find these words and take your company to the next level? Keep reading to discover our most effective tips for finding the best SEO keywords!

1. Start By Asking the Right Questions

As you might have guessed, choosing the best SEO keywords involves several steps. But before you take a single step, it’s important to sit back and ask yourself some important questions pertaining to your product, your audience, and your digital marketing.

For example, let’s say that you run a restaurant. Do you know what types of foods your local community is searching for at lunchtime? Do you know which demographics are searching for which terms?

And once you have some tentative answers, you must ask follow-up questions. What exact words are these hungry consumers using when searching? And what are their primary motivations when searching: is it proximity, price, taste, customer service, or something else entirely?

The more information you have ahead of time, the easier it will be to do your keyword research. As an added bonus, you may discover more about your prospective customers than you ever knew before!

2. Create Your Big List

We are going to walk you through how to narrow down your SEO keywords. But before you can start narrowing things down, you need to put your big list together.

In this case, the big list should contain topics related to your business. In our previous example of a restaurant, these search terms may include different types of food dishes they serve, special events they conduct, special delivery services they offer, and so on.

At this point, you can check to see the monthly search volume of these terms. However, you’ll quickly discover how much competition you have for certain terms. This is why your next step involves creating more specific terms.

3. Creating More Specific Terms

Next, you need to take out that big list of keywords again. Try to look at different terms and come up with additional related searches people might use.

Like if our hypothetical restaurant is Italian, they most likely have “pizza” on that initial list of words. If the restaurant owner brainstorms related keywords, they might come up with things like “pizza delivery,” “local pizza,” “pizza party,” and so on. At this point, we are just coming up with related ideas to each initial keyword.

Keep in mind that we are not nearly done yet. But the more ideas you can generate now for each keyword on the big list, the more material you will have for generating the best SEO keywords. 

You can supplement this process by using the right analytics tools to discover how existing customers are searching for your business. Such information will be really invaluable as you conduct further keyword research.

4. Working Backwards From Customer Needs

By now, you should have a large list of keywords. So how can you start to really narrow things down? It all starts by identifying customer needs and working your way backward from there.

In order to know customer needs, you need to understand the intent behind their searches. Like, if many customers are searching for something like “Italian restaurant open late,” are most of the night owls looking for a regular place to eat? Or maybe they are mostly people who go out to local bars and restaurants and want somewhere to eat when their other haunts close.

If you have previously conducted extensive customer demographic research, you will have a much easier time answering these questions. Once you know the intent behind customer searches and the specific needs they are trying to take care of, you can tailor a keyword strategy unique to your specific audience.

5. You Don’t Have To Reinvent the Wheel

When it comes to SEO keyword research, here is some good news: you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. In fact, good research sometimes involves going to Google and letting your fingers do the walking!

Simply take some of the keywords and phrases you have generated and start popping them into Google. As a helpful feature, the search engine will then suggest searches related to your original term.

Those suggested terms actually come from what Google users have been searching for. Since your ultimate goal with good SEO is to rise through the search ranks of Google, getting suggestions directly from Google is a really good idea.

And you can continue this process by taking some of Google’s suggested keywords, searching for those, and getting new suggestions for related keywords. You’ll still need to narrow things down to pick the best ones, but this is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to discover exactly what users are searching for.

6. Tech Tools Are Your Friend

As you can tell, simply using Goole is a great way to generate some ideas. And whether you want to generate more keywords or begin the process of narrowing things down, remember that tech tools are your friend.

Google Analytics is usually a foundational tool for keyword research. When used right, this tool can help you come up with new search ideas while revealing how often different terms are searched for. You can even use other Google tools like the Keyword Planner to uncover some of the keywords your competition is using (more on this later).

Additionally, it’s wise for your business to work with a third-party expert in SEO. Such an expert can help you to optimize for both SEO and local SEO, all while helping to set your business apart from the competition.

Long story short? If you don’t have time to personally master SEO strategies, you can ultimately save a lot of time and money by working with an expert who can take your company into the future.

7. See If Your Keywords Measure Up

At this point, you might say we are halfway done. That’s because you should have a list of keywords that you think are likely to rank well. But if you really want to focus on the best SEO keywords, then we need to figure out how these different keywords measure up with each other.

To pick the right words, you need to know how Google ranks different terms. And Google’s rankings are based on three factors: relevance, authority, and volume.

The most relevant terms are the ones related to what customers actually search for. And Google also considers the relevance of the content on your page. If you want to end up on the front page, the content needs to be absolutely top-notch.

In the eyes of Google, “authority” refers to how authoritative your site is as a source of information. While authority comes partially from having thought-out and well-sourced content, it mostly comes from getting backlinks from other authoritative sources. Basically, no good SEO strategy is complete if you aren’t determining how to get more (and better) backlinks.

Finally, volume is simple: this is how often users are actually searching for a word. The higher the search volume, the more competition you may have for that keyword. But the lower the search volume, the more it is clear that hardly anybody is searching for these terms!

8. Don’t Forget the Long-Tail Keywords

We have touched on the topic of standing out from the competition with your keywords. But how can you actually set yourself apart? One of the best strategies for doing so involves using longtail keywords.

What are longtail keywords? Think of it this way: initially, most companies focus on keywords that are only one or two words long. But this can result in a lot of competition for certain terms.

Using our restaurant as an example, they might have “Italian restaurant” as a short keyword. But this puts them in competition with other Italian restaurants in their community and around the country.

However, let’s say the restaurant is located in Philadelphia. In that case, they can (and should) use longtail keywords such as “best Italian restaurant in Philadelphia.” This can improve local searches and will be far easier to rank for.

But don’t go too long with longtail keywords. Try to keep them limited to 3-5 words. And don’t ignore shorter terms altogether: instead, use a mixture of short and longtail keywords to maximize your SEO.

9. Scoping Out the Competition

Obviously, your goal as a business is to do better than your competitors. But the last thing you should do is ignore the competition. Instead, you can learn from what the competition is doing with their own search engine optimization.

By using platforms such as Google Keyword Planner or working with an SEO expert, you can research the search terms that your competition is ranking for. Once you have this information, it can help your own SEO in multiple ways.

First, you can compare your list of keywords to what the competition is ranking for. Have you left any important terms out? If nothing else, researching the competition can help you brainstorm additional terms to use.

Second, you can discover keywords that your competition seems to be overlooking. By focusing on such keywords, you can rank with local SEO easier because your competition won’t be putting up a fight.

Finally, researching competitor keywords can help you find the right ratio of short and longtail keywords you’ll need to succeed. 

10. Narrowing Things Down Even More

Believe it or not, we’re not done narrowing things down. You should now have some very specific keywords in mind. But the time has come to start using some free resources to see if your keywords are on the right track or not.

Remember the Google Keyword Planner we mentioned earlier? With it, you can discover exact traffic volume and search traffic estimates for each term.

Now, you have some hard decisions to make. If certain keywords are hardly ever searched for, you should drop them. And if certain keywords have a very high search volume, then you may need to let them go because ranking will be a real uphill battle.

You can also plug certain terms into Google Trends. This tool can help you more accurately plan for the future. In some cases, a low-volume term today could become a high-volume term later on, and you can go ahead and capitalize on that term before the competition beats you to it.

11. The Best SEO Keywords: Trial and Error

Now we come to the moment of truth: what are the best SEO keywords for you to use? The simple truth is that you have no way of knowing right away. The entire thing is a process of trial and error.

Until you begin your SEO campaign, you won’t know how well certain terms will actually perform. You may not know how fierce the competition will be. And you won’t really know how authoritative and relevant Google considers your content to be until you put everything to the test.

Fortunately, you can spend this process up. When you consult with true SEO gurus, they can help your campaign hit the ground running and help you leave the competition far behind you.

Your Next Move

Now you know our top tips for finding the best SEO keywords. But do you know who can transform your digital marketing strategies?

Here at DesignLoud, we specialize in SEO, content writing, social media marketing, and so much more. To see how we can help plan your next digital marketing campaign, contact us today!


DesignLoud is a web development & digital marketing agency located in Wilmington, NC. Our team takes great pleasure in teaching others how to build and market their websites to see higher returns.

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