Close
Close

How to Select Good SEO Keywords

This guest post is by Jeremy Myers of TillHeComes.org.

The problem with good keywords is that they are usually not words at all. Good SEO keywords are usually phrases, that is, two or more words strung together in a saying or idea. When you enter keywords into your meta keywords section, don’t use words, use phrases.

Why? I’ll give you two reasons.

1. There are too many single keywords

While you can use single-word keywords, you will be vying for position with the millions of other websites that also use the same keyword.

Let’s say, for example, you are writing a post about how to prepare a manuscript for ebook publishing. While you could use the keyword “ebook,” you will be up against the millions of other blog posts about ebooks, even if they are about ebook readers, ebook sales, or ebook marketing.

By lengthening your keyword into a keyword phrase, such as “ebook publishing,” or maybe even “prepare manuscript for ebook publishing,” you significantly narrow the field of competitive websites, which allows your page to rise higher in Google Search results for that phrase.

Reason 2. Nobody searches for single keywords

When was the last time you searched for something on Google using only one word? That’s right: never.

If you are searching for ebook publishing tips, you don’t search for “ebook” or for “publishing.” Both are too broad. Instead, you search for the complete phrase, “ebook publishing tips.” If that is how you search for relevant sites, then that is also how you should write and prepare your own pages and posts so others can find your sites.

Boost relevance using Google Insights for Search

One helpful site I use to search for relevant keyword phrases to use in my blog posts is Google Insights for Search.

At the top of the page, you enter the single keyword or keyword phrase that you’d like to write a post about. You can choose options including a geographical area of the world you want to focus on, or which timeframe you are interested in, and then hit Search.

Google Insights

Here is a brief video from Google about what Google Insights can do.

Let’s look a little deeper into how you can use Google Insights for Search to write blog posts around a central keyword or phrase. Let us say, for example, you wanted to write a post on the “top blogs.” If you entered “top blogs” as a search term, and did not change anything else, you would discover that since 2004, the interest in searches related to “top blogs” has been steadily increasing.

This is good news! You have hit on a rising trend which might make a good blog post or, better yet, blog series.

Interest over time

But Google Insights also provides you with a list of related keywords and key phrases that people have been searching for on Google, as well as keyword trends:

Top searches

The phrase you originally searched for, “top blogs,” does not appear to be the best choice of keywords. Better and more popular phrases appear on the left, with breakout trends on the right. As indicated, the word “breakout” means that over the timespan chosen, this keyword has trended by 5000% or more.

Choose a few of the phrases or words that are most popular or are trending upward, and write your post focusing on those terms. As the picture below shows, you might be better off focusing on terms like “top blog,” “the top blogs,” “best blogs 2010,” or “best design blogs.”

However—and this is crucial—this search, while helpful, does not show recent trending. Remember, it is using the default search criteria, which go all the way back to 2004. You want more recent trends to understand current searches. So one thing you could do is adjust the timeframe filter, maybe to just the last 12 months, as shown in the picture below:

Reseraching "best blogs"

By adjusting the timeframe filter, you can get a bitter picture of what people are searching for more recently. As the following image shows, not much has changed except the top search phrase on the right. People want to know what the best blogs of 2011 were. Maybe you could write a blog post on that instead of the more generic idea of “best blogs.”

Refining the keyphrase

Let me give one final example.

Let’s say you are launching a blog about men’s health. Naturally, you want lots of visitors as soon as possible. So what sorts of posts would be best to start with? Let Google Insights for Search tell you. You would begin by leaving the keyword search field blank, and then change the filters to reflect a recent timeframe and the “Men’s Health” category.

Google Insights on "Men's health"

By doing this, you discover the most popular and upward trending search phrases on Google.

Google Insights search results

Men's Health top search results

It would appear that if you were launching a blog post on men’s health, you would be wise to do a series on vasectomies, androgen insensitivity, circumcision, and uncircumcision.

Hmm, I wonder why those search terms are popular? I’ll let you research that on your own … but not on your work computer—your boss may not understand!

Using Google Insights for Search to help select better keyword phrases will not automatically rocket your website to the top of Google Search results, but such a practice will help you write more targeted and focused articles, which over time will provide you with more readers.

Have you used Google Insights for Search yet? Share your experience in the comments below.

Jeremy Myers writes at www.tillhecomes.org. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Olga SE says:

    Thank you! I didn’t know using keyword phrases is more effective than using single words. :)

  2. Some great tips for using Google Insights, certainly a great way to get those targeted key-phrases!

  3. Thank you so much for this tips.

  4. Fernando says:

    Honestly i don’t use Google Insight that much, but other way use other keyword tools as Google External or something like that, but is so true how much change everything when you start to using targeted keywords in your post, is just amazing, because when you see how many keywords and traffic were you ignoring if you start to understand this piece of the cake ;)

  5. Backtogeek says:

    Thanks for taking time to write this, I feel rather stupid that I had not considered using key word phrases instead of single words it seems obvious now :)

    Appreciated.

  6. saadah says:

    peoples ussually find keywords more 3 phrase

  7. A great post, has made me think lots about my keywords, my blog is all about offering advice on snowboarding riding and tricks so usually I would use short keywords, but after reading this I think I’ll be more specific.

    However some of the keyword combinations I put into the Google Insights search came back with

    - “Not enough search volume to show graphs.” –

    Such is the case when writing for a small niche I guess!

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Yes, a small niche can be tough. Were you using a short date range also? Expand it all the way out to 2004, and it might show you some good trends which can help you time certain posts.

  8. Really wish I was better at this sort of stuff and had the time to implement it. What I find is because our blog has been around for a while and gets tons of links really random words rank and get lots of traffic. I do see it as a bit of a dying art though. There is no doubt that Google is still one of the biggest traffic drivers but as social signals get integrated deeper in to search SEO will loose some relevance

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Possibly. Or maybe Google and other Search Engines will adjust to keep up. In the meantime, use good SEO practices and also focus on social connections. We’ll see how it all come out in the wash.

  9. trailsnet says:

    Thanks for the insight on Google Insights. It will be helpful for future blog topics.

  10. Jeremy,
    That has to be the most helpful meaningful blog I’ve ever read on SEO keywords. A BIG thank you.
    Riley

  11. Suzanne says:

    This post helps to lay out a better strategy for what I’d like to write about. I think it’s helpful to step into the shoes of your target market and image what keywords they would be likely to use to find what you’re writing about.
    Suzanne

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Yes! Understanding what your customer searches for and how they search for it will help you connect with them. That’s a great way of describing it.

  12. 3 word phrases preferably in different permutations and combinations are the best option.

  13. Ibn Omar says:

    nicely explained and badly true as many people are still fighting with single keywords.

  14. Chris says:

    I am just starting out with blogging and was wondering what SEO meant and how to use these words. This was a helpful post to give me some more ideas. Also, the comments were helpful. Thanks for interacting with all of us.

    Also, I checked out your blog post about your increase in traffic as a result of using Google Insights. Wow! I barely get ten visits a day. I cannot imagine getting hundreds or even thousands!

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Glad I could be of help, Chris. Don’t worry about ten visits a day. Follow the advice here on ProBlogger, and the traffic will come.

  15. Jeremy,

    This post has rekindled some priorities not only for my own business blog but, very importantly, as vital advice to pass along to my clients. It’s been so easy to rattle off 1 and 2-worders and stick them into my SEO plugin-of-choice without giving enough thought to the research you’ve illuminated here.

    Invaluable information – no wonder you’re a guest blogger here! Enjoy your stuff on http://www.tillhecomes.org, too.

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Thanks Scott. I don’t run a business blog, but SEO keyphrases would help generate site traffic there too. Thanks for checking out my site.

  16. Mano says:

    Keywords are definitely important. The thought is expressed well. And it can surely help people especially those who are starting out in internet marketing.

  17. Phil says:

    What can you say about Market Samurai? Everybody’s seems to like it. Is it really worth it?

  18. Koowie says:

    Great pointers. We definitely need to update our keywords. It is good to change it once a often too to see what works and what doesn’t.

  19. ScorpionGod says:

    Thanks dude I didn’t know about google insights before.. I never heard about that. But after reading this article you made introduce me to google insights. thank you very much..

  20. Usman says:

    Although not perfect but Keyword Winner does a good job in suggesting a keyword and on the backend it uses Google Insights.

  21. I have been so frustrated with keyword research. My niche doesn’t exist yet: “parents of adults with autism” and related searches fall flat. So, I keep on plodding along, but keep thinking I must be missing something because parents of adults are desperate for information about adults with autism. It is near crises stage and growing.
    All I can figure is I am missing the “obvious” or just plain off target. Any ideas greatly appreciated.

    ps. There is plenty of stuff on children.

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      “Parents of adults with autism” is super specific. So it’s your child that has autism, and he/she is now grown up?

      There are breakout searches on “autistic children” and some trending on “autistic adults.” Try those.

      You sometimes have to try different variations of what you are looking for.

  22. This looks like a cool tool, but Google Insights keeps coming up in French or some other language on my computer and I haven’t been able to find a way to get English. Can you help with that?

    • Jeremy Myers says:

      Weird.

      I can get results in French by selecting “Locations” in the “Compare by” column, and then select “France” in the Locations column. Have you tried doing that, but in reverse? Click the “locations” button, and then choose “United States” or even “Worldwide”?

  23. Hi Jeremy,

    i believe keyword phrases generates quality traffic for website, when some one searching for keyword phrase in search engine it means that person is looking for things which he need. Here we have great opportunity to gain business.
    I am using google insights but never tried so deeply

    Thanks for sharing interesting information
    John

  24. Brandy says:

    Great tips!

  25. This post is factually incorrect.

    It says:
    “Reason 2. Nobody searches for single keywords

    When was the last time you searched for something on Google using only one word? That’s right: never.
    If you are searching for ebook publishing tips, you don’t search for “ebook” or for “publishing.” Both are too broad. Instead, you search for the complete phrase, “ebook publishing tips.”

    Except that the Google Keyword Tool shows the following (I used exact match):

    ebook: Searched 673,000 times per month
    publishing: Searched 18,100 times per month
    ebook publishing tips: Searched ZERO times per month!

    I agree with the conclusion–don’t optimize for single keywords–but the example is not only incorrect, but misleading.

    -Erica

  26. Maria says:

    It’s a great tool! I never knew about it before. But when you use it to discover things like “trends and awareness of something new” please keep in mind that people in different countries speak (and google) in different languages:)

  27. Thanks for this informative post. I had wrongly assumed single keywords would be more pertinent

  28. Navin says:

    This is what i was thinking about.
    you clear my trouble about keywords and tags,
    Nice post,thank you for sharing.