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A lot of website owners looking to perform basic search engine optimization on their website start with creating a “Keyword List”. These keywords are then incorporated into the website’s content. But how do you create a targeted keyword list that will help you achieve your website goals?

Any proper keyword selection process should examine 4 key points; keyword relevancy, the number of searches, the amount of competition and the best overall coverage of a particular market.

1) Relevancy & Keyword Selection

Not all keyword phrases are created equal. Therefore, it is important to promote your website using the best possible keywords that are the most relevant to your website. Poor keyword choices may not bring you any traffic, or worse, may bring you scores of non-relevant traffic but no conversions.


If you are a puppy breeder located in California trying to choose the best keywords to optimize your website, your first thought may be to choose “puppy” or “puppies”. However, consider who searches for the term “puppies”. The searchers are probably not your target market or potential customers at all –  they could be children wanting to get a new family pet and are simply searching for photos, or perhaps someone just beginning to consider getting a puppy who is looking for very generic information. While the term “puppy” is relevant to your business it won’t attract the right people to your website.

2)  Number of Searches

To determine the relative value of a keyword, you must examine the number of searches performed on each term. There is no point optimizing a website for terms that no one searches on. This will bring you little to no traffic.


The term “puppies” is not fully relevant to your business and though it is very highly searched on, it won’t attract the clientele you want. Picking a highly specific (or “long tailed keyword phrase”) such as “golden retriever puppies or Labrador pure breeds in California” may be highly specific but it rarely if ever gets searched on. It is best to choose keyword terms that fall somewhere in between – ones that are relevant enough to your website but also get searched on enough to make your efforts worthwhile; for instance, “golden retriever breeder California”.

3)  Competition

Once you narrow down which keywords are being searched for, you need to look at the amount of competition each term may be facing. A term with a hundred million competing web pages or more will be much harder to attain visibility for than a term with only a hundred thousand competing pages.

Moreover, it takes a lot more time, energy and money to maintain a highly competitive term. A relevant search term that can be maintained is far more valuable than one that is lost quickly and consistently to fiercer competition.


The term “puppies” has 137 million competing pages while the term “golden retriever puppy breeders in ca” has only 2.8 million competing pages. If you were a puppy breeder in California the less competitive term would be a much better option.

4)  Market Coverage

By optimizing your website for a range of highly relevant keyword terms, you reach a variety of searchers using different terms to find your products/services.

Likewise, multi-word phrases of two, three, or four word combinations (long-tail keyword phrases) are much more specific and can attract more targeted traffic than single word generic terms.  A variety of keyword terms and the use of multiple word combinations offer greater potential for exposure and traffic.

For a free initial search engine optimization consultation that involves the discussion of the keyword selection process please:

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Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.