Reaching your SEO (search engine optimization) goals can seem daunting — an uphill climb. A crucial aspect of the process is determining the keywords that will help your business be more visible and using the keywords effectively. The job doesn’t have to be arduous; there are several steps to take that you can learn relatively easily. Here’s how to get started.

Study Your Competitors

Your competitors are employing an SEO strategy. They’ve done their homework; your assignment is to trace their path. Besides taking a look at their website, consider using a research tool like SpyFu to get an inside look at how they’re doing things. All you have to do is enter their domain name, and a report will come up that gives you valuable information — each keyword they’re ranking for, and other important metrics. A few of the keywords will apply to your business, too.

Identify Topics

Using the same phrases and words as your target audience is key to attracting quality traffic. To do this, determine the types of topics they search for that are related to your product/service. A great way to research is to use the “related searches” feature that’s located at the bottom of a search engine’s results. Search for one of your target keywords, or a phrase you think your audience might use. On the result page, scroll down and take a look at related searches. You’ll find a rich resource for keywords.

Mix it Up

Creating keywords of varied specificity and length is an effective SEO strategy. A “long-tail” keyword is a lengthy-phrase that also has a specific intent. A “short-tail” keyword is more general, broad, and brief. Your long-tail keywords will have a lower search volume but will help you improve your rankings more easily. It all has to do with specific intent relating to higher conversion. Short-tail keywords are the opposite — you’ll rank lower in results for those, but the search volume is higher.


In the process of developing your keyword list, prioritization is critical. In addition to considering competition level and search volume, the potential that your keywords have for meeting specific needs should be a clear focus. The more distinct a keyword, the more sure you can be that searchers will be looking for your specific content and that connections will translate into sales.

Keyword research is exacting and rewarding. Try these steps to streamline your inquiry.