How To Find Popular Search Terms To Improve SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 26, 2014

One of the most important features of a website is the keywords associated with it. Keywords are simply the word or phrase you want your website to rank well for. If your website is about iPads, that’s the keyword you want to rank for, rather than just tablets, which is too generic. Keywords mean the difference between having generic visitors to your site and having the right visitors, who will take action. When people search for items or phrases online, that information is captured, and webmasters have access to that information via the various keyword research tools available.

Keywords vs Long Tail Keywords
Two to four-word keyword phrases are known as long tail keywords, and they should be as specific as possible. iPads is better than just tablets, but even better would be long-tail keywords like best iPad apps, average iPad prices or iPad benefits. The more specific a person is in their search, the more likely they are to take action when they find a site that answers their detailed query.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner
Google AdWords is an advertising tool that matches keywords with paid advertisements. A webmaster can pay to rank well for certain words or phrases. But you can use the Google AdWords Planner even if you don’t want to purchase an ad. You can use the tool just for keyword research, and you can get started by signing up for an AdWords account at

Brainstorm Keywords
Before beginning your keywords research, think about your business and list all the keywords and phrases that could be associated with it. You don’t want your keywords to be to broad or too specific. If the keyword is too broad, there will be too much competition. If it’s too specific, no one is likely to search for that combination of words. Once you have your list, narrow it down and determine which words you want to rank well for. You can then begin to determine which of the keywords on your list rank well in the search engines.

How Keyword Research Works
In your Google AdWords account, navigate to the Tools and Analysis tab and choose the Keyword Planner and input your search terms. Google will suggest better search terms based on the words provided. The tool will tell you how competitive the keyword is. If a keyword ranks high for competition, it could be more difficult to rank well for it because others are trying to rank well for it too. The tool will also tell you how often the keyword or phrase has been searched for in the last month, which is important information for your website. Now that you know which keywords you want, it’s time to determine the best way to use them. You can incorporate them into headlines, blog posts, advertisements and anywhere else on your website where you want targeted traffic.

Other Tools
Google AdWords isn’t the only keyword research tool, but it’s popular because it’s free and because Google is the largest search engine. The Bing Ads Intelligence tool is also a free resource. Other tools include paid options such as Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker and the Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis Tool.

If you own a website, keyword research is the best thing you can do to generate more traffic. Whether you want people to buy a particular item, comment on a blog post or visit your local business, ranking well for the right keyword is the best way to accomplish your goal. It’s a search engine’s job to give people the content they’re searching for. It’s your job to make sure Google knows the content people are searching for can be found on your website.