Content Marketing Search Marketing

January 23, 2015 at 2:03 am

Choosing the Right Focus Keywords

Search engine optimization (SEO) is processual. Nevertheless, SEO consulting services usually start with a keyword research. Keyword research is the practice of finding and determining search terms that users are actually searching on search engines. Contents containing the right focus keywords can increase a website’s searchability and thereby findability. What is the right focus keyword and how to find them? Yoast – the famous WordPress SEO plugin – offers some answers.


1) Choose focus keywords used in actual searches

Keywords will give you lots of ideas on what to write about. Content strategies nowadays are geared towards using long-tail keywords since they are more targeted. Your first stop should be Google Suggest. You might have already used it before but didn’t realize so.


Google Suggest

Search appearing below your searched terms are words that actual users typed in the search bar. It’s okay if you don’t want to use them as your focus keywords. However, these suggestions will give you an overall picture of the search behaviors of the users you are aiming to target. The changing search behaviors, however, is one reason why suggestions often change.

Aside from Google Suggest, you can also use Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Yoast Suggests or other keyword research tool such as Just type in terms that you would like to optimize your contents for in the field provided. Hit enter. The tool will yield hundreds of keyword suggestions organized from A to Z and 1 to 10.


Keyword Tool

2) Learn about search volumes

After finding your long-tail keywords, you are now ready to determine their search volumes. This is the tricky part since you can only perform this if you have an active Google AdWords account and bid for a particular keyword; trickier if you don’t have one.

Good thing there is Google Trends. When I searched for digital marketing in the field provided above, I was able to determine the search volume of the keyword over time. You can hover over each point to determine the exact search volume. Also, there are related searches at the bottom (Top and Rising) which I can also add to my long-tail keywords list.


Google Trends – Interest Over Time


Google Trends – Regional Interest


Google Trends – Related Searches

Another great feature of Google Trends is the possibility of comparing search terms. Just click the +Add term and it will instantly create the graph. I entered the word SEO for comparable search volume. As such, this feature will allow you to decide which keyword to target by comparing each, giving you insights which are the right focus keywords for your website.


Google Trends – Compare Search Terms

3) Search your chosen focus keywords on Google

Now that you know whether people are actually searching for those terms, your next goal should be learning whether your ideas surrounding those focus keywords will fit  the desire and resonate with the expectations of your target market. Googling your keywords is the necessary next step, and do this for all your shortlisted focus keywords.

Examine the results page. Will your desired content (slant of content, more specifically) fit with what Google is already showing? How about your website? Will it fit as well? Who are you competing with? How can you make your content stand out among the competition?

This is not to encourage you  to copy what is already written. Instead, look for knowledge gaps. Think of yourself as the user. What information will be useful for you? What would you want to read about digital marketing, for instance. How can you make your topics more original and interesting than what is already written about it? Will your audience click the share button after reading your post?


Obviously, choosing the best focus keywords is a labor of love. Not immediate, not instant. While it may not be an exact science, there are processes and tools that can make the entire process easier. Regardless though, it is a must to choose focus keywords with relatively high search volume and will fit the needs of your target audience.


Source: Search Engine Journal

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