How to Pick the Best Keywords for SEO

When it comes to matters of search engine optimization, it’s important to focus the appropriate amount of time and resources on choosing the best keywords.

Keyword research may not sound important, but it will have a big impact on the future success (or failure) of your website.

With all this in mind, let’s examine four of the most common questions associated with keywords.

What are Keywords?

As the name suggests, this is nothing more than the words and phrases that people will use to (hopefully) find your website in the search engines.

It goes without saying that your keywords should match the overall theme of your business, as well as your products and services.

Take for example a web design firm in Tampa, Florida. Appropriate keywords could include:

  • Web design Tampa
  • Tampa Bay web design
  • Tampa Florida website design

What words do you want your target audience to associate with your business?

What’s the Impact on SEO?

While there are many ways to drive traffic to your website, you want to spend plenty of resources on organic traffic.

Your goal is to optimize each individual webpage for the search engines. If you do so with success, you’ll eventually find your keywords ranking somewhere in the search results (hopefully at the top of page one).

This is why it’s so important to select the right keywords.

What is Keyword Research?

In short, this is the act of uncovering the best keywords for your business. You can conduct research in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Personally creating a list of keywords that most closely associate with your business.
  • Taking cues from your competition, using tools like SEMRush.
  • Using one of many keyword research tools, such as the Google Keyword Planner.

As you conduct keyword research, keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Keep an open mind, as the most generic (and competitive) keywords are not always the best.
  2. Make a list of primary and secondary keywords, eventually prioritizing them based on your research and marketing related goals.
  3. Long tail keywords can be easier to rank for, while also driving more targeted traffic to your website.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

As noted above, long tail keywords can have a positive impact on your website.

These are longer keywords and phrases that are more specific than the most commonly searched keywords. Typically, long tail keywords consist of three or more words.

Here’s an example to help you better understand the difference between seed keywords and long tail keywords.

As the owner of an online shoe store, it’s only natural for your seed keyword to be “shoes” or “shoe store.” However, these are extremely difficult to rank for.

Even though long tail keywords get less traffic, they typically have a high conversion rate because they are more specific. Sticking with the above example, ideas include:

  • White Nike running shoes for sale
  • Black Under Armour basketball shoes
  • Women’s white Nike tennis shoes

These keywords are less competitive but more specific.


As you develop your SEO strategy, keyword selection should never be overlooked.

By answering the questions above, as they relate to your website, you’re in position to choose the right keywords and then optimize your website accordingly.

About Charlie Rose

I am the founder of SEO Mechanic. I have 20 years of experience helping multinational corporations and small businesses take the guesswork out of SEO. You can find me on Twitter.

20 responses to “How to Pick the Best Keywords for SEO”

  1. Dan House says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Great clarification for keywords

  2. L. Jay Mozdy says:

    Thank you, this is great stuff; now I just need to know where to put the key words.

  3. I’m using Keyword Planner and I also use long tail keywords. And yes I agree with you, they have a high conversion rate because it’s more specific. Anyway, this is a good post. This may help SEOs in doing keyword research the best way.

  4. Jason says:

    Great article! I have been using a keyword planner that has helped and I completely agree with using the long tailed keywords.

  5. I agree with you that Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for your keyword research. I think putting yourself into your target audience’s place will also give you an idea for keywords to use and asking yourself what words would you want to use for your website to be recognized.

  6. Sonali says:

    great article and thanks for sharing with us….

  7. Well its really helpful thank you for sharing.
    Thank you

  8. sandeep says:

    Thanks for the article .In this era of long tail keywords.What differentiates between search query and keyword?

    • Charlie Rose says:

      Hey Sandeep, These are just different ways of saying the same thing. Though keywords relate to the specific content while search query is what people are typing in. But they can be interchangeable depending on the context of the discussion. – Charlie

  9. Rosie Tesmenitskaya says:

    Because search retargeting ads are served on display inventory rather than search engine inventory, pricing is not dependent on keyword competition, making it an extraordinarily profitable solution for marketers whose choice keywords are highly competitive.

  10. Great article.
    Loved this one. I have been looking for this article for a very long and finally, I have found your article. Very amazing tips.

    Thanks for sharing this valuable article. Keep up the good work buddy.

  11. Rosie says:

    Nice article,
    I use Lsigraph for a long tail keyword ,do you recommend it?

  12. Aaron Curtis says:

    Ok now, this is a kind of article any reader would love and share. The way it is written, the way each example of keywords is given makes this content super informative. Thank you very much, Charlie, for the tips.

  13. Jitendra says:

    great post for bloggers..thanks for sharing

  14. Shruti says:

    Thanks a lot for this post. This post is very useful for all those like me who are just getting started as a digital marketer. Keywords and Backlinks are the two main pillars of SEO. Thanks once again!


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