Boost Your SEO: The Do’s and Don’ts of Keywords

Digital content is crucial to successful SEO.

Why?  Because search engines like web pages that are :

  • Credible (experts in their field)
  • Optimised (following SEO best practices)
  • Related (answers the question a searcher is asking)

Let’s say someone types ‘how to make my own website’ into Google.  Here are the top non-paid results:


Google has decided that these companies and more specifically, these articles, provide the most useful, relevant and reliable information based on the keyword phrase.

Do you want Google to identify your content as being the best in your niche?  Let’s see how you can use keywords as part of your SEO strategy.

Why are keywords important?

Keywords and keyword phrases are what people type into search engines.

Pro Tip: Traditional SEO methods are for text searches (like below).  If you want your digital content to be optimised for now and the future, you should also consider optimising for voice search.

There are three things to note about the search results we saw: 

  1. Google identified multiple related keyword phrases.
  2. The titles include identified keyword phrases.
  3. Parts of the meta descriptions that include keywords have been highlighted.

So, when you publish digital content:

  • DO embed related keywords into the SEO title and meta descriptions.
  • DON’T be afraid of using different variations throughout your content.

How to decide which keywords to use?

Keyword research tools display metrics to help you analyse how well keyword phrases will perform.  But before you look at these, you need to decide which phrases to analyse.

Step 1  Pretend you are the searcher

The first thing to understand is how your target users search.

Let’s stick to the earlier example of searching for ‘how to make my own website‘.  Start by making a list of different searches your audience may perform.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Guide to making a website
  • Lessons on making a website
  • Free online website making tool

If you are struggling for ideas, use Google.  Type a keyword phrase into the search box and see what alternatives show up:

Step 2  Analyse the keyword phrases

Now that you have a list of related keyword phrases, you can use keyword research tools.

Here are some of our favourites:

All of these tools display metrics for selected keyword phrases.  We have selected the main metrics to consider when choosing keyword phrases for your digital content.

Keyword Difficulty/Competition

The more competitive a keyword phrase is, the harder it is to rank for it.  Our advice is to shortlist keyword phrases that are highly relevant and low in competition.

Search Volume

If you see that the number of people who search for a keyword phrase is low, it may be tempting to scrap it.  But before you do, think again.

Keyword phrases with low search volumes are also low in competition.  That means when it is used, your content has a good chance of ranking high in search results.


Pro Tip: As backlinko points out, body and long-tail keywords have lower search volumes than head keywords.  But single words are extremely competitive and do not convert well.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

WordStream offers a detailed insight but in simple terms, CTR indicates how many people are likely to click on your link in search results, rather than see it and move on.

There are two types:

  • Paid – if you are using a service like Google Ads to appear on the first page of Google search results.
  • Organic – how your content performs naturally, without you paying to appear high in search engine results.

Ideally, you will shortlist keyword phrases that have a high CTR measure.

There are more metrics you can use to analyse keyword phrases but we have listed the main ones to consider.

 Step 3  Choose the best keyword phrases for your content

Selecting the right keyword phrases using these metrics is an art.  It is difficult to give you a definite guide on how to choose.

 Embedding keywords into content

Now that you have a list of keyword phrases to use, you should embed them into digital content wisely.

Don’t be tempted to include them as many times as possible.

This is called keyword stuffing and search engines like Google will penalise your content if you do it.

Do focus on writing high quality and relevant content.  If you do, the keywords will naturally find their place.

 In Summary

Keywords only form a part of your website’s SEO strategy but it is an important part.

Here is a quick summary of how to tackle keyword research to boost your website’s ranking:

  1. Make a list of keyword phrases that might be used to find your content.
  2. Use keyword research tools to analyse which phrases are likely to perform best.
  3. Embed the keyword phrases into the natural flow of your content.

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