Are You Selecting Your Keywords for the Right Reasons?

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Keyword research has, and always will be a major part of SEO. It’s a vital part of any effective SEO campaign and ensures that all the time and money you invest is going in the right direction.

Far too often people underestimate the importance of spending enough time researching potential target keywords, and instead rush to get started on the optimisation – after all, the sooner you get to work optimising the sooner traffic is going to come right? Not necessarily…

The main aim of keyword research is to find out which keywords are going to be the most profitable for your SEO campaign based on the amount of time you have to invest. Considering this, there’s a few different key metrics you want to be looking at that often get overlooked.

Traffic Volumes

This is the obvious one. Keyword research is often performed to find out which keywords people are looking for, and which ones they aren’t. The amount of searches on a phrase is a good indicator of popularity, and can help you remove any keywords that probably won’t drive any traffic to your site.

It’s important to try and get figures from a few different keyword tools, as this can help to give a more varied view on traffic figures to help give you a better understanding of what you are more likely to receive.


Most people are driven by traffic volumes, without properly considering the competition on the keyword. It’s a lot more beneficial to be position 1 on a term that has 1000 monthly searches than page 2 on a term that gets 5000.

Make sure you properly research the competition before getting started on the optimisation. Not just a quick check, make sure you look at link volumes, on page optimisation and other important metrics to help you gauge the competitiveness of the target keyword. This can help you assess the amount of time it will take to gain rankings based upon the resources you have and make much more informed decisions.

Relevance and conversions

Another important factor to consider is the relevance of the keyword to your business. Is the most popular keyword really relevant to what you offer? What are the chances that someone searching for that keyword will convert into a sale? Rather than targeting the broadest phrases in your industry, have a look to see if there are niche keywords that are more relevant – the chances are these will have less competition and a higher conversion rate.

A lot of people will be mislead by traffic figures, without considering the competition or relevancy. The result is that a lot of time and money is invested trying to reach a larger audience, only to bring the same results as a smaller, targeted SEO campaign that focuses on the more relevant and effective keywords.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and target the keyword with the highest searches – as long as it’s relevant and rankings are achievable you’re on to a winner.

Ben Hook
Ben Hook is a search marketer who works for Navaro, a SEO company in the UK that provides regular SEO tips and advice
Ben Hook

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  • Alexis

    I think apart from traffic volume ,competition the other important aspect is the commercial potential of the keyword. Because what would be the point to rank for a keyword that brings no money in you pocket?
    So your last point relevance and conversions seem crucial now.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    You also have to take user-intent into consideration when selecting keywords. Different variations can mean very different things to depending on what someone is looking for. That’s where long-tail keywords come in handy.

  • Praveen Rajarao

     I got linked in from V7 network. This is a great article, i do have some issues selecting the right keywords, and i get carried away with competition a lot. The point where you mentioned ‘relevance’ struck me and I will keep that in mind. Thanks for the post.

  • Alyasha

    Talking about commercial intent, I think it is important to take into consideration. Microsoft had free tool that specified commercial or non-commercial intent for keyword, and although I don’t know how good the data was, it was nice to have free tool at our disposal. If I am not mistaken the tool is currently down, so we need to search for new one to determine that factor.

  • Ryan

      To many people get caught up in the numbers. I know when I am sitting with a new client I have to make sure that they understand that is not always wise to choose the keyword with the highest number of searches each month. There are to many other factors that will play into if it is a good keyword to approach or not.

  • Mahendra Sharma

    Keyword selection is as important as Selecting a Niche for your business.
    We got to nurture those keywords all across the site.
    Google keyword tool is recommended by me and various expert SEO gurus. 
    Search Volume should be always above 1000 and Competition I recommend under one million, that is a best combination for good keyword. 

  • J Gunzz

    I totally agree that high search volume and low competition are two critical factors in keyword selection. However, when selecting keywords for a client, keep in mind their goals for the SEO project. Don’t get caught up with exact numbers for search volume and competing pages – every client will be different. When I select keywords, I look for “relative search volume” with a “relatively low” number of competing pages. You have to understand your client’s business and their business goals for the SEO project before researching keywords.

    • Jean Paldan

      Very well said.  I do the same with relative search volume with a relative low number of competing pages.  And you’re right…every client and project is different.  What I recommend to one client, may not necessarily work for another.  

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  • Guaranteed SEO

    The post is written in very a good manner and it entails
    many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of
    writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the
    concept. Thank you for the post.

  • referencement la rochelle

    The best practice i use with my customer is to define the customer language (not the technical one of the company). That’s the best way to find relevant keyword

  • Afrin

    This is a helpful system. I hope you will give us great help.thank you

  • SEO Blog

    Keyword research is the first step in SEO and still many people do it wrongly some people target the most competitive keyword in their niche right from the start and some waste their time in long-tail keywords which no one searches for.