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How to Choose the Best Keywords for SEO

Updated on February 5, 2017

How to Choose the Best Keywords for SEO

The best keywords for SEO are not necessarily the first ones that come to your mind. Instead, the best keywords are the ones that people are actually searching for.

Whether you are putting together a hub, or a blog entry, or an article, if you would like to reap the benefit of search engine traffic (Google, Yahoo, Bing, or even Facebook now), you will want to at least give some consideration to keyword research.

Search Engine Keywords

Keyword research doesn't have to be hard or take a long time. Once you start doing it, it can become a regular part of the finishing process for you.

First, begin with your desired topic. Determine a general phrase (2 to 4 words) you think people might use to find information about it.

Next, you will want to figure out if anyone is even searching for that phrase, and if so, how often. For this, you need a search engine tool. Google has a great one, and there is also a free tool you can use called Market Samurai (it also comes in a paid version, which I use).

See resources below for links to both of those. I will be happy to write hubs on either of those tools if anyone requests!

What to look for

To determine if anyone is searching for your desired phrase, head to your chosen tool and enter the phrase. What you are looking for here is the number of searches per day for that phrase, as well as for related phrases, in case there is something better.

Minimum Number of Searches to Consider

In my opinion, you should discard anything less than 100 searches per day. That is simply not a lot of searches globally, and if you are hoping for a decent amount of search engine traffic, you are going to need more searches than that.

Watch Out for the Competition

You also want to be careful about competition, because if it is too high, your site will not compete well (at least, not for awhile). I suggest finding something with no more than 200,000 competing pages and 15,000 pages that have your keyword phrase in the title. If you want to have an even better chance of getting visibility for your keywords, make those parameters even tighter.

  • To find how many pages are competing, go to google, put in your keyword phrase, and when you hit search, note the number directly under the search box. It will say something like 'About XXX results' where XXX represents the number.
  • To find how many pages that are competing with your title phrase, type allintitle:your keyword phrase in to the google search box, replacing 'your keyword phrase with the real thing. Example: allintitle:best keywords for SEO.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

  • Choosing words with little to no searches
  • Choosing a keyword phrase that is too short (like 1 word) or way too long (5 words)
  • Neglecting common sense; go with your gut on your base phrase, but be willing to toss it if another phrase that's similar gets more searches
  • Ignoring the data. The tools exist to help you, so avoid the common thinking along the lines, "this must be wrong" because it is probably not.


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    • profile image

      Steven Kenneth 

      4 months ago

      "This is the first time I'm hearing about Market Samurai. Is it any good ?

      And I've never noticed the number under all these days *facepalm. And didn't know about allintitle too. You've taught me something today and I'm very grateful. Thanks again T."

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I realized this blog is years old but its so relevant even today that I was able to use the information effectively for my website and it has worked gr8!

    • dobo700 profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Great tips, always check the amount of trafic for each keyword. This is the golden rule.

    • profile image

      Cervical relief 

      7 years ago

      Great information- I appreciate you sharing it with us.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So you can type in the name of the company on Google search engine and search for it.

    • What's News profile image

      What's News 

      8 years ago

      Looking for search volume and comparing it to pages listed on the search engines is a good way to get started writing a hub or creating a website.

    • profile image

      Prince Zermic 

      8 years ago

      I believe that the first tip in having the ideal keyword set is to make sure that it is succinct; short yet the basic ideas were included. This contributes to the proper exposure of your content. Next is the relevance of the keywords to the nature of your business because obviously, it will lead to your site.

    • profile image

      Business Process Outsourcing Services 

      8 years ago

      So far, I managed to go though only some of posts you discuss here, but I find them very interesting and informative. Just want say thank you for the information you have shared. Regards.

    • profile image

      amit verma 

      8 years ago

      very nice article, keyword plays a major role in increasing SERP of web site

    • Gymfroggy profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      A great and accurate Hub about SEO techniques. Keep them coming and welcome to HubPages!

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Palen 

      9 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thank you for linking to me! This is a great hub... short and sweet.


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