Selection of Keywords, Step by Step

We will see below how to choose keywords for our website, which will be the base of our SEO strategy.



– The strategy described below can be performed manually, but this entails a considerable effort in terms of time. It is advisable to use tools that automate what will be presented in this task, as this will save us a lot of time. We have tried many tools related to this task, one of them is “Long Tail Pro“, but we will talk about it in a separate task, as we are affiliated to this tool.

– The central point of our strategy is to select multiple keywords to position. Our experience has shown that this gives better results. On one hand, we are diversifying our risk significantly, since choosing few keywords we increase the risk of the strategy being unsuccessful. Moreover, if we dedicate ourselves to use few keywords, our chances of success will be much lower, because it is more than likely those to be very competitive keywords and, therefore, it will be very difficult to position. Finally, another advantage of this method is that we will be forced to get many links to our pages, one aspect of SEO that requires a lot of dedication and effort. Our ultimate goal is to increase organic traffic as a whole, we do not really care if it comes from a particular keyword which we have chosen a priori.



For the implementation of the strategy, you should follow these steps:

1 – Determining the popularity of the keywords

2 – Determining competitiveness

3 – Ratio popularity / competitiveness

4 – Exclusion of irrelevant keywords


We will use the AdWords tool. Use the following link to access the tool:

palabras-clave-adwordsWe will use the following options:

– We will enter three or four keywords related to the topic of our website.

– Regarding the geographical region, if our website has a global reach, we will select “All locations”. If we are focused to a specific country, we will choose the country in question.

– We will pick the language of our website (if our site has more than one language, repeat this step for each of them).

– In the section “Average monthly searches”, we usually advise entering between 75 and 100 (in this way we filter words with fewer searches). This is an approximate value that varies within our niche, in very small niches this value may be smaller, and greater in larger niches.

– It is advisable to test the options “general ideas” and “ideas closely related”. The first option will give us many more results, many of which have nothing to do with our business, but occasionally we find a “pearl”.

Having configured the tool, click on the button “Get ideas” and the results will appear. If the results do not convince you, you can try with other keywords. The last step is to export the results as .csv file (Excel type). Ideally we will have a list of words from 500 to 2000 results.



In this step we will analyze the competitiveness of each of the keywords. My advice is to use the following command on Google:

Allintitle: “keyword”

This command shows all the pages that have used the keyword in question in the title of the page, and it is a good indicator of competitiveness of that keyword. The metatag “title” is, in my opinion, the most important “on-site” optimization element of a web page. So if many results appear in this search, it means that you will have a considerable challenge to position using that keyword, since many other web pages have been created thinking of that particular word.

Obviously, if we do not have an automated tool, it is a long and tedious process, hence my previous recommendation to use some software that will save us a lot of time.



Once we have the data about popularity and competitiveness, it is time to calculate variables that can be compared. It is almost always the case that the most popular keywords are the most competitive ones, and vice versa.

To find the right balance between popularity and competitiveness, use one of the following two ratios:

Ratio1 = Popularity / Competition

Ratio2 = (Popularity) ² / Competition

Take an example, if in the previous steps have seen that a keyword x has popularity 100 and competitiveness 1000, the ratios are:

Ratio1 = 100/1000 = 0,1

Ratio2 = 100 ²/1000 = 10

What is the difference between the ratios?

When squaring popularity in the ratio2 we are giving more importance to popularity. We normally work with the ratio 1, but if our website is already well positioned in the search engines, if it has “authority” and if it is older … it would be preferable to work with the ratio 2, and thus take advantage of the “strength” of our website in order to try to fight for the most competitive words, that have higher potential for traffic. In extreme cases of very “strong” sites we can even try cubing popularity. Evidently, you should choose the type of ratio and apply it equally to all your list of potential keywords.

Having done all this, we will use the options “filter” in Excel (within the data tab) to sort the keyword list from the highest to the lowest.



We are getting closer to the final selection of keywords. Well, now we have a list of keywords sorted by corresponding ratio. We proceed in this way to eliminate some of them using the following criteria:

– First we remove those keywords that are not related to the topic of our website. When generating the list of keywords, AdWords generates a lot of them (more so if you use the “related ideas” option). We must eliminate all those that have nothing to do with our website. As we discussed above, it is a rookie mistake trying to position for the words that are not related to our business, as this generates useless traffic.

– As we will later see, we use our final selection of keywords to develop the necessary content to help us position it. We will see in our list of keywords that appear in many similar variants, for instance, we can get “buy domain” “buy a domain” “buy domains”. We choose just one of the variants in our final keyword selection and dismiss very similar variants.

– Give priority to these words:

Historically they have had a high conversion rate on our website.

If we have the above data, we will prioritize those with a lower bounce rate (or with a higher average session duration).

Words that indicate a more advanced position in the buying cycle.

At this point you can make our final selection. Once you have eliminated some of the words from the list, you should select between 50 and 100 are obviously those with better ratio and those that meet the above premises.


Additional Resources

Google Trends

This tool, also provided by Google, shows the evolution of searches for certain keywords over a period of time. This allows us to see if its use is declining, or if otherwise the popularity of keyword grows. This can be useful for us to discover new trends in our market.

Seomoz toolbar

In order to complement the methodology explained in this section, we can also use the toolbar offered by Moz. Use the following link to access the tool:

This will allow us:

– To complement the analysis with additional information provided by this tool.

– In case we focus on few keywords, which is not recommended, we can refine the methodology and gain valuable data about competitiveness of the selected keywords.

The first step is to download this free tool:


After that, we will go to Google and type the keyword that we want to analyze. Two examples, the first one a competitive term: “social media marketing”.


We can see that the final row indicates values ​​”Page Authority” and “Domain Authority” (values ​​from 0 to 100) and it appears below the results. As we can see in this case, the first two results show very high figures. This indicates that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve those positions.

On the contrary if we perform the search for the word “social media marketing iowa”.

palabra-clave-competida-menos-competidaWe see that the results are significantly lower.

Obviously, we should look for keywords suggestions, and analyze the results of the top 10, as in this way we will have a good estimate about our competitors and the degree of difficulty to position for the keywords we have chosen.

Selection of keywords is a process that requires your attention, as this will become the foundation of your strategy, regardless if you want to improve ranking through organic reach, or your want to promote your website through paid search engine ads. In both of these cases, you need to use the right keywords, those that will ensure that your website appears in the search results that are related to those keywords.

In this sense, we want to share an amazing guide with lots of useful tips on how to approach keyword selection: 12 Tips for Keyword Selection to Guide Your Content Marketing SEO. This guide is focused on explaining the keyword selection process in order to optimize your website content, and thus improve your SEO strategy. But the keyword selection process is similar even if you want to use paid reach to promote your website. The following tips are highlighted inside this guide:

1. Keyword research
2. Choose relevant keywords
3. Compare keywords from organic and paid search
4. Learn more about your current ranking
5. Analyze keywords density
6. Analyze initial keyword data
7. Analyze traffic for similar keywords
8. Track the performance of keywords
9. Existence of calls to action on the page
10. Work on internal cross-linking
11. Adjust keyword selection with plans
12. Keyword in the domain name

Going through these steps, ensures that the keywords you choose to use are truly relevant and worthy of your efforts. As a result, you online campaign using these keywords will be more successful.

Additional information on how to create the best keyword list can be found in the instructions provided by Google: The tips and examples featured in this tutorial are divided into several groups. If you are a beginner, and you do not have sufficient experience as a webmaster, follow the basic tips for choosing and organizing a keyword list. Focusing on the basic tasks of keyword selection will allow you to create a keyword list, even if you do not have enough experience with search engine optimization, and what this entails. On the other hand, instructions on types of keywords, click through rate and generating reports are available for intermediate and advanced webmasters. The advanced data are perfect for detailed analysis, which is extremely helpful for experienced webmaster who want to develop a strategy based on the understanding of the keyword data analysis.

When it comes to choosing the keywords in AdWords, there is a helpful video available on Google’s YouTube channel. While general keywords can generate traffic, they can still be of little value it those do not result in conversion, which is why you need to go through the following tasks in order to adapt your keyword list and choose only those keywords that provide best results.

1. Think like a customer – This will help you come up with specific keywords that are closely related to your business. Think about what a customer would look for when searching for your business.

2. Organize by theme – Different ad themes and campaign help you reach the right audience and organize your online promotion.

3. Be specific – Avoid general keywords to avoid irrelevant keyword matches.

4. Use negative keywords – Avoid showing your ads to the people who are not interested in becoming your customers by using negative keyword list.

5. Use the Keyword Planner – This tool will help you come up with new keyword ideas, as well as to get estimates on particular keywords and traffic volume.

5 tips for choosing the right keywords in AdWords

The following video shows you how to use Google Keyword Planner to analyze the data related to keywords you want to use on your website, and how to get keyword ideas to add to your keyword list. This will help you improve your keywords list by removing the keywords that are too general, too competitive and in general difficult to position. Additionally, you will enhance your list, using the list of ideas that are related to the keywords and phrases you already use on your website.

Google Adwords and Keyword Planner Tutorial – A beginner’s guide to targeting keywords 2015

If you want to focus on keyword discovery and analysis, as well as on which strategies to employ, depending on whether you want to work on SEO or PPC, use this presentation to guide you through:

Keywords, Keywords, Everywhere! Discovery, Analysis, and Strategies in Keyword Research

The goal of this presentation is to show you different keyword strategies and approaches that should be used in different types of campaigns. The presentation also shows factors that need to be considered in each strategy, as this will affect the success of your approach to using keywords.

Besides Google’s Keyword Planner, Bing also offers a free keyword tool: Bing Keyword Research. The process of exploring keyword ideas is similar like with using Google’s tool, but using another tool might help you redefine your keyword list, by adding new keyword ideas or perhaps removing the keywords that are not worth the effort, because they are too competitive or have fewer searches. Bing also provides a mini guide on how to conduct keyword research, and why this part of SEO is important part of optimization in general:

Following the additional resources we mentioned above will help you focus your efforts of those keywords that pay off, as this will more likely result in a successful online campaign. You should approach this task as the starting point in your goal to promote your website, through both organic and paid reach. Having created the list of relevant keywords, you should apply those into your online promotion. However, since the situation on the internet changes daily, you should regularly monitor the performance of the keywords and your website, in order to make necessary adjustments. This is why keyword selection is not a task you do once and the results are final. Make sure you repeat the process regularly in order be able to adapt to the changes on the internet.


1 Comment

  • Joey Leffel

    Reply Reply September 22, 2015

    I’m having a problem accessing any type of toolbar in keyword planner. Adwords automatically has you start a campaign with no tool bar across the top.

    How would you access keyword planner? Have you heard of this problem before?
    I checked online in other forums and other people are having the same result as I am.

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