Choosing the Right SEO Keywords: A Non-Robot Perspective

Robot for Choosing SEO Keywords PostThis is part of The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization series, written for humans, not robots. Today, we’re talking about choosing the right SEO keywords.

Before you start writing, you need to decide which keywords you want to focus on. These are the terms people would search to find your page.

SEO is about having a laser focus, so choosing your terms before writing is essential. Here are a few tips for choosing the right keywords:

Don’t be too broad or too specific

It’s important that the term you choose is broad enough that a lot of people will search for it, but narrow enough that you have a decent chance of getting a high search rank for it.

For example, the term “Internet” is way too general. However, “Ways to Succeed in Launching a Business on the Internet” is a pretty good one. Likewise, so is the term “Africa” (sites like Wikipedia will often dominate these spots). Though, “Best safari tours in Kenya” is a much better term to focus on.

Focus on what you’re already writing about

SEO favors the “drip method” of content creation, which means that it takes time and frequency to make it to the top of a search query (according to Seth Godin, this is “the secret of the web“).

If you’re trying to get a high ranking on a keyword and you only intend to write about it once, you’re most likely going to fail. So pick something you write about often.

Look at your categories, article titles, and other content on your site. Are there common keywords that you’re already writing on? Consider expanding on them in some way.

“But I write about everything…” No, you don’t.

Do you write about early 20th century jazz music? Do you write about the mating habits of frogs? You don’t write about everything.

Your writing has a focus. There are topics that you just naturally gravitate towards. Focus on what you’re already writing about.

Do keyword research

Research? What?! That sounds like robot talk to me. Please understand that I’m using this term very loosely. If you just winced at the term “research” just try this: Use Google suggest, also called auto-complete.

Google suggestWhen you start typing a word into Google and it fills in the rest of the search for you, this is Google Suggest at work.

Before you finish, you’ll see phrases that pop up as most relevant (and the occasional, ridiculous results). Start here before getting into more advanced forms of keyword research.

Once you get more comfortable, check out other Google tools, like the Adwords Keyword Estimator or Google Insight for Search.

Write, already!

I am prone to buyer’s remorse. This affects every decision that I make, including how I blog. Once I choose a keyword to focus on, I think of 100 other terms I could have chosen. I start second-guessing myself.

Why? Mostly, because I’m scared; I’m avoiding the hardest part of writingdoing it.

Don’t spend a ton of time on this stuff. Do a little research, think through the terms that you’ll focus on, and then get to it. Don’t let this turn into Resistance for you.

No more procrastination. It’s time to write that post.

For more on keywords and writing SEO content for humans, read: 5 SEO tips for bloggers that won’t make people gouge their eyes out.

Once you’ve chosen the right keywords, then it’s time to start writing.

What questions do you have about choosing the right keywords? Do you have any best practices to share?

For more SEO tips, read this: The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

*Photo credit: Kevin (KB35 on Flickr)

66 thoughts on “Choosing the Right SEO Keywords: A Non-Robot Perspective

    1. We’ll talk about that tomorrow, Jonathan. Basic answer is: make sure that you include them in the title, URL, content, description, and keyword tags of the post. I’ll unpack what that means soon.

  1. Some great tips here. Having to do quite a bit of SEO research at the moment, both work and writing, so this is a good source to have.

    I have so much to learn 🙂

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  2. I do not agree that you should chose the keywords first and then write the article (Which is the impression that I get from this). For me, I write the content for the users, then apply SEO otherwise you spend a lot of time trying to find specific content and keywords that you lose the will to live, let alone write an article.

  3. Thanks! This will be very helpful for my new blog, NerdBomber ( I don’t necessarily agree that you should base topics off of keywords, but once you have a topic, altering titles/etc to match synomyms that are heavily Googled can be very beneficial. I’ve been trying to generate more traffic, and for other bloggers out there, I might also suggest submitting your blog address to StumbleUpon. I did that and I’ve already gotten several more followers. Granted, that depends on how many people are interested in your topics, but that’s where smart keywords comes into play as well. There’s also promotion sites like CoPromote, but that’s really only useful if you want to senselessly spam your own followers on social media sites. Happy blogging all!

  4. Thank you very much! When I decided to launch my , I was at the starting point. I just decided to launch it after a big motivation push. I did not know what to write and I just took the plunge! started off with the topic I could authoritatively write on! my profession!. That motivation and now your post confirms what I did was right and I shall just continue to write!

  5. Is the focus on using the keywords in the title only or also repeatedly throughout the article?

  6. SEO writing kills, but this witty post makes it seem a lot easier for us humans. Thanks Jeff 🙂

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