how to choose keywords, wahm, mumpreneurChoosing the right keywords is critical. They are a free way to maximise your online presence and when chosen correctly will greatly improve your ranking in search results; driving traffic to your website. That spells SEO success.

This article is the first in a two part series and takes you through how to define, research and refine a keyword strategy for your business.


When your target consumer searches, they enter a word or series of words into a chosen search engine. That search engine looks for matches and returns results based on how rich pages are in those words (using a complex algorithm to determine which pages are returned and in what order).
These words are what are labelled keywords and keyword phrases. Keywords are 1 word searches and keyword phrases are multiple words searched together.

E.g. Keyword search – Holiday. Keyword phrase search – Queensland Beach Holiday

So do people use keywords or keyword phrases more? A recent study  found that 27% of people use single keyword searches, 24% use 2 word keyword phrases and 19% use 3 word keyword phrases.  How about you? I personally use a whole heap, sometimes entering my literal question, “How do I migrate a wordpress blog?”



Until your business turns into a large well known brand, there will only be a small percentage of consumers that search on your business name. This means the majority of traffic to your website will be from keyword searches. So choosing the keywords to target is the link to being found by your target consumers online.

To choose your keywords you need to put on your target consumer hat. Start thinking about all the ways your target consumer would label your product or service. Think about the solutions you provide, then as your target consumer, imagine you are searching for that solution. They may call it by name or search on their need.

E.g. If are after handmade jewellery your keywords may be Jewellery, Bracelets, Necklaces or Silver. Your keyword phrases may be “handmade jewellery”, “handcrafted jewellery”, “silver jewellery present” “unique gift idea” and so on

The first step to targeting keywords is to write down 3 or 4 keywords and 3 or 4 keyword phrases that you think your customer would use to find your business and then test them to see if they are where the search volume is. (A note here, as some of you may be thinking, “Whoa, I was told to come up with 100 to paste in!” My logic is to put a few words in and let the tool make the suggestions for you, rather than thinking up and typing in 100. The tool will show you what people actually search for versus what you assume they do)


Now that you have prepared a list of keyword and keyword phrases that you feel are most relevant to your business, you need to refine them and create a list that represents how your target customer searches align with search traffic volume.

The Google Keyword Tool is a valuable free resource that is great to use for testing. This is the landing page for the Google AdWords Keyword Tool


Go ahead and paste your list into the very top box for keyword and keyword phrases and make sure you check the “only show ideas closely related to my search terms” box otherwise you will get a huge list of keywords that may not actually apply to your business.
Now you can see your exact keywords entered in the “search terms” box and more keywords that Google suggests could also be useful are in the second box “keyword ideas”.

Interpreting the results that you get will differ based on your business e.g. searching on Silver Jewellery Present may return words such as “Silver Gift”, “Silver Cutlery” or “Silver Present Ideas”. If your business is only concerned with Jewellery you will want to make some adjustments to better interpret the results. Below calls out some further refinements you may wish to make:


Review the list of keyword or keyword phrases that have the highest search volume, then look for trends across them e.g. if the word silver comes up in multiple keyword phrases, we would identify that silver is an important keyword for us to use. Create a keyword table; enter the words that came up the most as “Use Always”, the words that came up often as “Use Often” and the words that appeared sometimes as “Use Sometimes”; keep it handy and refer to it every time you write copy for your business.

Use Always

Use Often

Use Sometimes








You can also put in your website and the tool will show you keyword suggestions based on your website content. If the keywords are aligned with what you do, fantastic - this means your website is already sending out the right message and may just need a tune up. If the keyword suggestions seem largely irrelevant, you have a big hint as to why your traffic probably isn’t what it needs to be and you’ve got some work to do.

Choosing the right keywords is the first step in setting up your business for SEO success, the follow up to this article “SEO Success Part 2: How to use Keywords for SEO”, explains how to implement your keywords on your website, using Google AdWords and on your blog to ensure your business takes full advantage of search traffic.

Mary-Anne Amies heads up Wise Up Marketing Solutions, bringing over 12 years of “big brand” marketing experience to small business owners. Mary-Anne is passionate about providing practical, affordable and easy to implement advice to help small business grow.
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