Identify Your Target Keywords

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 2

Identify Your Target Keywords

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 2

Optimizing your website to rank higher in SERPs depends heavily on starting with the right keywords, words and phrases that users can put into a search engine to find your site. Choosing effective keywords is crucial.


Research your industry and page rank using Google, Bing and Yahoo. Google, for example, has a free, quick, and accurate online tool called Google Search Console that lets you track where your site is ranking for certain keywords at this moment. Find which keywords and phrases are currently ranking you the highest as a starting point.

Using a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Search Trends, or Moz’s Keyword Explore, find related keywords to broaden your scope of phrases that could lead customers to your page.


Select keywords with low competition and high search volume. While short, general keywords may increase the number of searches your site is on, the competition for these terms is so high that your site will likely never appear anywhere near the top of the SERPs.

For example, a company that provides kayak tours in Upstate New York may wrongly consider targeting a generic phrase like “kayaks” in hopes of getting traffic from every person who searches for anything related to kayaking.

However, because “kayaks” is such a general term, your site will have to compete with every website dealing with kayaks, including massive retail dealers, popular online hobbyist magazines, and more. With such a generic keyword, the competition is too high—no one will find your site.

Consider a more specific phrase, like “kayak tours in Upstate New York.” The phrase’s specificity means you will appear in fewer searchers, but your site will be ranked much higher in SERPs when you do appear.

Consider Variations, like Voice Search

The rise of Alexa and other voice-command devices means the way people search has changed. Searches formed by voice are often more conversational and are typically formed as questions.

Start with your main keyword and write down all of the variations people may use to search for this term. Then use keyword search tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEO Book Keyword Tool to compare the keywords you have narrowed down and select the versions that make the most sense for your business.

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