How Do I Know What SEO Keywords to Use?

Updated: February 13, 2023
How Do I Know What SEO Keywords to Use?
Keyword Research Graphic

Trying to hack your own SEO? Fantastic–whether you have a budget of one million dollars or zero dollars, every online business and brand can (and should!) reap the benefits of optimising for search engines like Google. If you have the means to outsource your digital marketing work, you can work with SEO agencies like Edge Marketing to devise and refine an SEO strategy that brings in new leads, significant traffic, and gets potential clients buying online.

Feeling like your business isn’t quite ready to outsource all of your marketing work? No problem. Our team of marketing experts knows that with a bit of guidance, every small business owner and solo-preneur can learn the basics of Google Ads, website optimisation, and the importance of keyword research.

Read on to learn more about the importance of detailing an SEO strategy, how to go about it, how search engines and SEO keywords relate, and how (and where!) you should kick start your keyword research online.

Why You Should Prioritise Search Engine Optimisation

If you’re trying to find additional ways to attract new leads online, you’re in luck. Search engine optimisation simply refers to the practice of ‘optimising’ your website, social media profiles, and digital marketing collateral to be ‘found by’, understood, and recommended by search engines. Because Google is in the business of understanding digital content and trying to match relevant keywords and search engine results with interested users, the better Google can understand your business, products, and services and more likely it is to recommend you to relevant leads.

From listing your website on search engine results pages to showing video and display ads online, small business owners and marketers can regularly ‘optimise’ their digital content to follow Google best practices and key SEO tactics to improve their chances of being shown to interested users online. The caveat? Well, there isn’t really a caveat–with the exception that you have to put in the work to get organised and set for SEO and then commit some regular time to reviewing and refining your strategy over time. More on this below.

In summary, if you want to attract new users, relevant customers, or build your brand awareness, SEO offers you an almost automated way for Google to present your business to new traffic without you having to put in additional time each day. Once you have detailed and set up an SEO strategy, you can let real-time users and search engines do the work while you reap the benefits of increased website traffic, more leads, and better insight into your customers and target market.

If that sounds good, read on to learn more about the place for keywords in a basic SEO strategy and how you can use popular keyword research strategies to get started.

How SEO Keywords and Search Engines Work Together Online

Keywords and Search Engines

One of the cornerstones that helps Google and other search engines understand your brand, business, and website online is keywords. Keywords are targeted short and long tailed terms that are ‘most likely’ to be searched, used, or interesting to your ideal target audience that will connect your business with these people online.

Among some of the most common areas where ‘SEO keywords’ can be easily included to help Google understand and contextualise your business there is:

  1. On-page Keywords

On-page SEO keywords can be included in website page copy, blogs, product descriptions, and page headlines.

  1. Off-page Keywords

Off-page SEO keywords are included in the information ‘about’ your business that lets both Google and users know what your website and individual website pages are about. These copy snippets can include Meta Description, Meta title, and alt-image text that helps describe graphic images to Google for both context and as an accessibility feature for users who may be visually impaired.

  1. Social Media

Popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook may not include ‘on or off-page’ SEO keywords so to speak, but most regular users are familiar with using key terms as ‘hashtags’ to help users identify what their profile, content, or businesses are about. Additional high traffic points such as Bios and About summaries can also help search engines and users better understand the brand.

  1. Google Ads

From video ads to paid ad placement, Google Ads is an advertising medium that marketers can use to pay for highly targeted ad placement online. As a Google marketing tool, naturally there are multiple touch points where advertisers can include SEO keywords that contextualise both their ad and offer. More on this below.

By now, you can likely see how creating a list of highly relevant SEO keywords that encapsulate your products and business will help Google connect your brand with potentially interested users in a meaningful way. With so much of this keyword selection influencing who, how, and where Google serves your business to potentially relevant customers, we appreciate deciding who terms make this list can seem overwhelming.

Fear not! Like so many features common to the digital marketing industry, there are popular and easy ways you can take the guesswork out of creating an effective SEO keyword list. Read on to learn more about some of our favourite SEO keyword research platforms and how you can use them to get started today.

Learning to Use the Top Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Research Tools

One thing the digital marketing community does well is take guesswork out of what otherwise could be total (creative) shots in the dark. By leveraging the reams of data popular CRM, analytics, and keyword research tools have to offer, even first time SEO-ers can gain insight into what SEO keywords are most likely to be used by, and attract the attention of, their ideal target market.

Among our favourite beginner keyword research tools, we recommend:

  1. Google Keyword Planner

A fantastic (and free!) Google tool, this planning and keyword research tool can help you find the search volume, ranking difficult, approx. PPC (pay per click) cost, and organise potential keywords as you go. Stuck for ideas? You can discover new related keywords as they relate to your web page, industry, topics of interest, and crack open existing SEO keywords that may be too costly, have limited monthly search volume, or be hard to rank for.

Have a competitor in mind who has mastered their SEO and keyword ideas? You can enter an URL in Google’s Keyword Planner and get a detailed overview of which SEO keywords they are using, their search engine rankings, and how they’re drawing in (likeminded) traffic. While we don’t recommend trying to directly compete with highly ranked competitors, it can help you brainstorm and ideate what terms their customers search for, their regular monthly search volume, and consider how to drive much wanted traffic the other way.

  1. HubSpot

While the HubSpot Content and Keyword Planner is a little pricier than Google’s free version, this is a fantastic solution for large-scale enterprises or businesses that have a top-tier marketing budget and want to get the best use of it online.

For businesses that include content marketing as a key component of their overall marketing strategy, the HubSpot content and keyword planning tool included in the Marketing Hub package is an all-in-one solution that can help you plan, organise, research, publish, and track the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. While it may be out of budget for first time marketers and some small businesses, we highly recommend this inclusive keyword research tool if and when it makes sense for your business.

  1. SEMRush

A mid-tier priced platform that houses some of the world’s most all-inclusive data, SEMRush is a fantastic digital marketing platform that offers a great keyword research tool, keyword tracking (up to 500 per day!), detailed SEO analysis for your business, clients, or competitors, and PPC tools when you’re ready to dive into paid keyword ranking and advertising.

If you’re just starting out with SEO, we highly recommend getting to know the ropes with Google’s free Keyword Planner. Easily integrated and used alongside Google Analytics, you can get detailed information about your online users, ideal traffic, and best keyword options using these complementary tools.

Better yet, most website hosts integrate with the above or offer their own SEO data about website visitors. To take advantage of each, we recommend researching and planning your first SEO strategy components with Google’s Keyword Planner, testing out select terms or messaging on your website, and completing an audit or review after a dedicated period of time. Fortunately, your website analytics can support post-SEO publication review so you can see how online traffic is engaged with your site.

The Difference Between Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords

Before we go–there is definitely one important thing worth mentioning relating to your keyword strategy and SEO keyword list. Keyword research and the best keywords you choose should include both short tail keywords and long tail keywords. In summary:

  • Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords are traditionally considered any keyword research terms that are between 1-2 (maximum 3) words. It’s expected that users are more likely to search in short term keywords so search results and opportunities to gain more traffic are usually higher in time.

  • Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are any keyword research terms that best define your business, brand, or user’s search intent in 3 or more words. Long tail keywords offer more defined opportunities to grab user’s attention or connect with their interests. While longer keywords receive less overall search volume, they often show higher click-through-rates and conversion because of this specificity to a user’s search intent.

In short–there is no one best keyword length to use. Both short tail keywords and long tail keywords offer pros and cons and the most common strategy is to choose keywords that mix both higher search volume and click throughs.

By undertaking in-depth keyword research using the best keywords that show promising search volume and promising opportunities for search engine rankings, your first SEO attempts can be well researched-guesses that are further refined through real-data and feedback over time.

Mastering Keywords for SEO with the Edge Marketing Team

The Edge Marketing team are some of Australia’s best when it comes to all things to do with SEO, Google Ads campaigns, digital marketing, and content development. Committed to arming our community of online readers with the best in Google practices, search engine optimisation, and leading digital marketing trends, we publish weekly blog posts and articles that guide even first-time entrepreneurs through hacking their marketing alone. 

If this sounds helpful to you, follow our blog. We’re making it easier than ever for every brand, business, and solo-preneur to level up and anchor their presence online.

Sean -

SEO Director

1300 558 659 -

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