How to Choose the Right Keywords for SEO and Maximise Visibility

Emma Holton | 12th December 2023 | Organic

In SEO, choosing the right keywords is one of the most important areas to get right to maximise your search visibility and ensure you’re attracting valuable organic traffic to your website every month. A well-crafted keyword strategy not only boosts your website’s visibility but also enhances its relevance to users. SEO revolves around understanding the language of search queries and strategically placing your content where your audience is looking. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of selecting keywords to target that not only drive traffic to your website but also align with the intent of your audience.

Conduct keyword research to find keywords with search traffic potential 

Keyword research serves as the cornerstone of any successful SEO strategy. Conducting keyword research involves identifying the terms or phrases your target audience is likely to use when searching for information or products/services related to your content or business. Targeting keywords only makes sense if there’s active search interest in them. Pursuing a high ranking for a keyword without any search volume won’t drive traffic to your site.

To find keywords that people are actively searching for and will drive organic traffic to your website, you will need a keyword research tool. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can unveil valuable insights into the search volume and competition of various keywords. It’s crucial to identify keywords with a balance between sufficient search traffic potential and manageable competition. Long-tail keywords or specific phrases with a lower search volume can be particularly effective, capturing an audience with a more precise intent. This initial step lays the groundwork for an effective SEO strategy.

Understand the search intent of your keywords 

Understanding the search intent behind keywords is essential for creating content that aligns with what users are looking for. Google aims to provide the most relevant results for a user’s query, so aligning your content with the search intent is crucial for ranking well. There are four primary types of search intent: 

  • Informational intent seeks answers to questions
  • Navigational intent aims to find a specific website or page
  • Commercial intent indicates an interest in buying
  • Transactional intent is pursuing a product or service to buy. 

It is important to tailor your content to match the intent behind your chosen keywords. Take the phrase “best running shoes for beginners” as an example. The user is seeking recommendations rather than intending to make an immediate purchase. Consequently, creating a blog post that provides insights into suitable running shoes for beginners would be more effective when targeting this keyword. Creating content that accurately reflects the search intent not only enhances the user experience but also increases the likelihood of your content ranking higher in the search results.

Tip: Search intent can change over time. Google may decide to serve informational results for previously transactional keywords if they think this is what their users want. Make sure to look for and identify any intent shifts.

Ensure you can rank for the keyword

While aiming for high-traffic keywords is enticing, it’s crucial to assess your website’s authority, the keyword ranking difficulty and the competition for those keywords to determine if your website is strong enough to rank. Aiming for keywords with high competition when your website is relatively new or lacks authority may see you hit a glass ceiling.

Evaluate the current competition for your chosen keywords and assess the keyword difficulty using tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs. These can provide insights into your website’s strength compared to others. Focus on keywords where you have a realistic chance of ranking (such as targeting long tail keywords or less competitive phrases) and gradually build up to more competitive terms as your website gains authority. 

Understand the SERP dynamics

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and their features are continuously evolving to provide as much value to the user as possible. SERP features such as featured snippets, knowledge graphs or people also-ask can have a significant impact on your search visibility so it is essential to leverage these features to boost your overall search performance.

What are the different SERP features?

Understanding the different SERP features is crucial for optimising your content to appear in these specialised result types. Common SERP features include:

Featured snippets: A highlighted summary of an answer to the user’s query, displayed at the top of the search results.

Local packs: Displays a map and information about local business listings relevant to the user’s search query.

People Also Ask: A set of expandable questions related to the user’s query, providing additional information.

Paid search ads: Advertisements that appear at the top of the search results, marked with an ‘Ad’ label.

Knowledge graph: Information boxes that provide quick and factual details about a topic.

Image pack: A collection of images related to the search query.

Video carousel: A list of video thumbnails related to the search query, often sourced from YouTube.

How do SERP features impact click-through rate? 

Click-through rate (CTR) is an important metric for measuring the percentage of users who click through to your website after seeing it in the search results. SERP features have a direct impact on CTR as they influence how far down the page you appear in the search results which also impacts how users interact with your listing. For example, pages that appear in featured snippets often experience a higher CTR as they appear first in the search results. On the other hand, pages located below a local pack or PPA may receive a lower CTR, as they are positioned farther down the page. The higher the number of SERP features found above the #1 organic listing, the lower your expected CTR will be for your ranking page.

Select your target keyword with the best traffic-driving potential 

Armed with insights from keyword research and a detailed understanding of search intent and SERP dynamics, the next step is to select your target keyword strategically. Focus on keywords that not only align with your content but also possess the best traffic-driving potential. This involves considering not only search volume and the competitive nature of the search results but also the relevance of the keyword to your audience. Choosing a keyword that resonates with your target audience ensures that the generated traffic is not just plentiful but also likely to convert.

Monitor keyword performance and adjust keywords when necessary

SEO is an ongoing process, and the search landscape will be continuously evolving as Google releases new algorithm updates to enhance the quality of search results. Regular monitoring of your keyword ranking and performance is crucial to ensure your website is optimised for the search results. If a keyword is not performing as expected, or if new opportunities arise, or user behaviour changes, be prepared to adjust your strategy accordingly to maximise your visibility over time.

Choosing the right keywords serves as a gateway to your target audience. Conducting thorough keyword research, understanding your user intent and learning how to leverage SERP features is crucial to not only attracting valuable traffic, but also staying resilient in the continuously evolving landscape of SEO.
Need help with your organic strategy and keyword research? Speak to our team today.

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