Three Ways to Find the Right Keywords

Knowing your keywords is the core of ensuring you are visible online. Your content needs to align with the words and phrases being searched today so that people can find you and your services. It is important to find the right keywords for your marketing.

Start with Your Audience

Before you start researching for the right keywords, you need a deep understanding of your target audience. It’s never “everyone” or “all men”. Your target has more characteristics than that. Define them, list them. Understand your customer so well that you can start to visualize what they are doing at this very moment!

Now that you know your target audience, you can research the words and phrases they use when they are looking for what you offer. Here are three ways to do that research.

Use Your People

Listen to what your target audience is talking about, online and offline. What questions are they asking? What are hot topics or trends that have their attention? What words and phrases are they using?

You can gain this intel from face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and social media conversations.  Often you can glean what you need just from listening and reading. Sometimes it helps if you ask a specific question.

You want to use the words and terms they use, ask questions in the way they ask them, etc. Oftentimes, the keywords a business thinks they should rank for or talk about are not the terms their customers actually use.

Google Tools to Find the Right Keywords

Google offers many free tools to help you identify keywords. All are free.

Google TrendsGives you a to-the-minute inside look at Google’s databases of searches. You can look at Google searches by regions, categories, languages, and set the time and search properties (image, etc.). You can look at a single keyword or compare multiple terms. You can determine keywords in your industry or category.

Google Autocomplete: When you start to type in the search field at, the site offers suggested finishes. Autocomplete predictions are populated to reflect actual searches. Therefore, they are possible keywords.

Google Ads Keyword Planner: You need a Google account to use this tool. Enter a keyword and Google will populate search volume (how often it is used) and the competition for that word (how many people or businesses want to rank for that word).

Social Intel

Most social media channels have search and other tools that give you insights into conversations and posts, which provides excellent keyword insight. Pay most attention to the channels you know that your target audience uses.

Ack! Don’t Make these 5 Keyword Mistakes

Winging It

Brainstorming a list of words that you think matter isn’t going to cut it. You are then writing to an audience of one – you. You need to know what your audience wants.

Take time to dive into the language of your audience. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for? Which terms are competitive and which less so?

Casting a Wide Net

You think your business is the tops at what you do and that is great. But online you are competing with national and international brands. Your window covering business is never going to rank for the word “blinds.”  That’s too general.

Make sure you aim for realistic keywords. Some niches are very competitive. Ranking in competitive niches is hard, especially if you’re just starting your website or business. Focus on long tail keywords which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert. Think, “installing new window blinds.”

Ignoring Search Intent

You need to have a clear idea of the kind of intent that’s behind your keywords. People could be looking for information (informational intent), a specific website (navigational intent), or they might want to buy something (commercial or transactional intent).

Pick keywords with intent that matches what you offer. If your content doesn’t match  a searcher’s intent, it probably won’t make it to the results pages, no matter how great and well-optimized it is.


Your content may be most relevant to one keyword, but don’t ignore the others. Be sure to use all related terms. Whenever it makes sense, your keywords should be the vocabulary you use in your writing.

Stuck in Time

It’s easy to get comfortable with a list of keywords and forget to redo your research. Searches really do change over time. (How many searches do you think there were for COVID-19 in 2019?) You need to change as your target audience changes. New concerns and new needs are reflected in how people search and should be reflected in your marketing content.

Focus, and Succeed

Search engine marketing isn’t easy. By avoiding mistakes and keeping up with best practices, you set yourself up for success. Know your keywords and use them!

Voice Search Rises

Voice-enabled search, enabled by virtual assistants and other voice-powered technology, is growing. Content marketers need to shape their content to remain relevant to the changes this brings.

Google Home, Siri by Apple, Cortana by Microsoft, or Amazon’s Alexa all enable voice searches. In mid-2016, voice search represented 20 percent of queries on Google’s mobile app and given the popularity of voice-powered tech that number will only increase.

SEO for Voice Search

There isn’t just one approach to SEO for voice. Google Home uses Google data, Siri uses Bing data and Alexa uses Bing and Amazon data.

Keyword research is important. Know the questions people are asking/searching to find the information you have to offer and incorporate them into your keyword strategy.

Strategize for the Featured Snippet

When you type a question into Google, the first result is often a featured snippet, a short summary of the answer pulled from a third-party site. For Google-enabled voice search, the single answer provided is the featured snippet. So, being represented there is a win for both types of searches.

Target any keywords that already result in a featured snippet in your space and that you already rank for on the first page.  Make sure you present the relevant content in a list (<ul><li>) format with a H@ title.

FAQ Pages Matter

FAQ pages provide great content for voice searches because they pose and answer specific questions. A strong FAQ page that speaks to the questions you know people are asking can help your voice SEO.