What to Consider when Choosing SEO Keywords

Ian HancockGeneral, Search Engine Optimisation

Choosing the best SEO keywords requires careful planning. There’s a real skill to picking phrases that: are relative to your site, which will be frequently searched for and can find a place above your competitors search rankings. Here’s a look at exactly what to consider when picking the keywords for your SEO campaign:


For your keywords/phrases to work most effectively, bringing significant traffic to your website, they need to be relevant to your content and offering. You need key phrases that will not only help your website to climb higher in the Google rankings, but to lead the right users to your web page; users that can convert into new customers. Relevant keywords are words and phrases that closely relate to your site content, services and product – if you sell rare wines then you want to appear for the keywords like ‘rare wines’ or rare red wine’, not something as generic as just ‘wine’. Usually the most relevant keywords are those that you think of first! The easiest way to decipher effective search phrases is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes; imagine that you are trying to reach a website for the same products and services you provide – what would you search for? Don’t forget to consider the importance of location to your customers. Adding a town or destination to your key phrases can help improve your search ranking in the locality. For example, if you are an SEO consultant based in Coventry you want to appear for keywords like ‘Coventry SEO consultant’ and ‘SEO Coventry’, as these will drive highly targeted traffic to your site. There is more on this below.


Save yourself time and effort by researching into the competition for your keywords. Keyword competition is based upon the number of other websites that are targeting particular search terms. Achieving good rankings on high competition keywords will certainly be difficult if new to SEO or if your website is not well established.

When ranking with your ideal keywords is out of reach, use your imagination and alter these key phrases to find something that has less competition but will still put you in front of a relevant audience. Think about how else users may write common search terms. It is often a lot easier and just as productive to rank for 2 or 3 lower competition keywords than one high competition keyword. As well as considering the amount of competition, consider who your biggest competition is. If huge corporations are filling the first slots of Google’s search results they’re going to be hard to nudge. If you don’t recognise the brand, find out how good their website is. A business website that also pays attention to SEO is going to be more difficult to move than a personal blog with little care for rankings. When looking at competitors sites you may also be able to learn how they have come to perform well online and the keywords they are going after. This can save you a lot of time and effort.

Search Volumes

Another vital element you must consider when choosing your SEO keywords is search volumes. How many searches is your keyword likely to get? It’s common that high traffic terms have high competition, so you need to be realistic and think about what’s more important: getting a lot of traffic (but having to put in a lot more effort and budget to get that traffic), or settling for easier to obtain traffic (in smaller amounts). What will work best depends on your site and sector. There are various tools that you can use to determine how many people are searching for particular terms. Google also provides tools for this.


As touched upon above using geographical terms is a great way of creating highly relevant, targeted keywords. Depending on what you provide and what your service is people will search for it geographically. To continue the example used above; if someone in the Coventry area is looking for some SEO advice they may start off by searching just for ‘SEO’, but as their search becomes more qualified they will search for regionally specific terms like ‘SEO Coventry.’ Appearing for regional search terms is great as it delivers high quality, target visitors to your site, who are highly likely to convert.


The keyword research process is extensive and the more time you dedicate to it, the better the keywords you will end up with. The end goal is a set of keywords that are highly relevant to your offering, not unrealistically competitive and with a good search volume. Remember that it may be more lucrative to go after a range of keywords than one highly competitive, time consuming one. Don’t be afraid to get professional assistance in choosing your keywords, even if you plan to carry out the SEO strategy yourself. Resources spent on determining the perfect keywords are never wasted. It’s all too easy to waste time and money going after keywords that aren’t actually right for your site.