SEO Basics [Lesson 4]: Keywords Are the Key

Keywords are the Terms For Search

A this point, you’ve spent time identifying your ideal customer.  You have developed a clear picture of this person and you are now ready to start optimizing your website.  You gotta have the right keywords.

What are Keywords?

Search engines crawl the internet cataloging every page on the web.  Each word on that page becomes a searchable term and is therefore a keyword.

Keywords are single words, short phrases or long sentences that we use to find content on the internet.

When you visit a search engine and type in the search box “Web Designer,” you expect the search engine to deliver the most relevant content based on your terms.  The search engines look through its database for the term “Web Designer” and find the pages that contain that term.  These pages are then ranked in order of relevancy and delivered are search results.

Choosing the right keyword makes the difference between being in the first position of page one or being in the ninth position on page one hundred.

Minimum Requirements

The keywords that you choose for you site, page or post must meet certain minimum requirements.  Not all keywords are created equal, some get no search traffic while others get millions of searches per day.

Making sure you have the essentials covered will help as you optimize your site.


Search engines are trying to deliver the most relevant web pages based on your search term.  It is believed that Google has over 200 different values or terms it uses to determine relevancy and no-one know exactly what all of them are.  This is Google’s trade secret (if people knew, they could game the system and the search engine would no longer be of any value).

In order for your site or page to be listed on the first page, your keyword needs to meet search engines criteria of relevancy.  This is done my making sure you have done the following minimum:

  • Use the keyword in the Title
  • Use the keyword in the Description
  • Use the keyword in the body of the content
  • Use the keyword in anchor links for internal navigation

Each of these will be discussed in detail during this course.  But it is important to highlight that you need to have a focused page or post centered around a specific keyword or keyword phrase if you want to be successful.

Good Traffic

You also will need to evaluate whether the keyword has an acceptable amount of traffic.

It has been reported that the number one position in Google will receive about 46% of all clicks for the search.  This means that for every 100 searches, the number one position could earn as many as 46 clicks.

Making sure you have an acceptable amount of search traffic for the term is important.  If the term does not get enough traffic, it’s not worth your time optimizing for the term.  After all, ranking number one for a term with 10 searches per month is hardly worth the effort.

If, however, the search term has excessive amounts search volume, this term may be too competitive and should be avoided.  The same problem holds true as above.  Spending the time to optimize for a term that you cannot rank for is not worth the effort either.

Generally, we recommend that you should focus on terms that have an appropriate number of searches as you begin.  This limits the amount of competition and offers keywords that you can compete for.  The goal is to start optimizing and ranking for low competitive terms and build to more competitive terms as your site earns authority.

Commercial Intent

If you are developing a website for your business, then you need to exchange services or goods for MONEY.

The objective with you keyword research is to make sure your keywords have some level of commercial intent.

When potential customers click your link in search results, are they looking to spend money or just read an interesting article?

If you are trying to optimize your site to help increase your business, then a measure of Commercial Intent is important.  Evaluating keywords without this metric is not good for business.  The value of interest here is the Adwords Pay Per Click.

This number is a real dollar value.  It is the average amount of money that website owners are paying just to receive a click to their website.  Internet marketers are keen on the cost to gain a new client.  They will test and test and test to determine how many clicks generates a sale.  Based on that number they know how much value a single click is to their business.

If you are wanting to rank for a keyword that is relevant to growing your business, look at the Average Pay Per Click to get an idea as to the commercial intent of the term.  High dollar PPC indicates a higher commercial value than lower dollar PPC.


What are the important keyword terms you need or want to rank for?  Determining what keywords are valuable for your business is critical in optimizing your site for search.

Are they relevant?  When potential customers search and find your site, is the search term and the landing page communicating the same message and idea?

Is the there Good Traffic?  Are you going to be able to get an acceptable amount of traffic if you rank in the number one position for the term.  If not, it’s not worth wasting your time.

Is there commercial intent?  Do people using your keywords have any intentions on spending money, giving you an email address, or following your social network?  If there is no commercial value, you need not waste your time.

Next Step

Spend ten minutes brainstorming for potential keywords.  It is important to remember that brainstorming is about generating ideas and not evaluating them.  Think about your business and try to identify as many ways people might search to find you.  Generate a list.

Our next lesson will be about evaluating the quality of the term based upon relevancy, traffic and commercial intent.



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This lesson is one in an e-course on the Basics of SEO.  It covers the cornerstones of basic SEO.