Top Three Key Considerations When Evaluating Keywords for SEO

June 14, 2023
Top Three Key Considerations When Evaluating Keywords for SEO

In today's digital landscape, search engine optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in buyer behavior and online marketing strategies. SEO helps businesses reach their target audience when they are searching for information related to their products and services, ultimately driving conversions and business growth.Three of the most important considerations when evaluating keywords for SEO are: volume, competition and user intent.Before we dive into the fundamentals of keywords and SEO, let’s break down what organic traffic is and why it matters.

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic are the visitors who come to a website through unpaid, natural, or organic search engine results. It is the opposite of paid traffic, which comes from sources such as online advertisements.Organic traffic is generated when users enter relevant search queries into search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and the search engines display the website's pages as results.It tends to be highly targeted, as users are actively searching for information or solutions related to a particular topic or keyword.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a specific word or phrase people use when searching for information, products, or services on search engines like Google. They act as a bridge between what users are searching for and the content that websites provide.Keywords can be one or two words, like "coworking" or "marketing," or they can be longer phrases, such as "coworking space near me" or "digital marketing strategies for small businesses."In the context of SEO, keywords help search engines understand the information, relevance and intent of web pages. When users enter keywords into a search engine, it scans its index (database of web pages) to identify web pages that are most relevant to those keywords.

Why Are Keywords Important to SEO?

Keywords are the foundation of SEO because they help search engines understand the intent and relevance of web pages. Here are a few reasons why keywords are significant in SEO:

  • Relevance: Keywords help determine if your website is relevant to what users are searching for. This is how you can attract qualified traffic to your website and increase the chances of users finding your website when searching for specific information or solutions.
  • Search Engine Rankings: Keywords are one of the most influential rankings factors search engines consider when determining search results. By strategically incorporating relevant keywords into website content, you can improve your chances of appearing in search results when users search for those keywords.
  • User Intent: Keywords provide insights into user intent. By analyzing the keywords users are searching for, you can gain a better understanding of their needs, interests, and motivations. This helps you tailor your content to meet their needs and provide valuable information.
  • Content Optimization: Keywords help you identify relevant topics, understand popular search queries, and develop content that caters to your target audience's needs.

Types of Keywords

There are lots of types of keywords, but let’s breakdown some of the most common in the world of organic search:

  • Broad Keywords: Broad keywords are short and general terms that encompass a wide range of topics. They have a high search volume but are also highly competitive. Examples include "iPad repair," "skin care," or "healthy recipes."
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and usually consist of three or more words. They target niche audiences and have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates. Examples include "best running shoes for a marathon," "skin care for clogged pores," or "gluten-free vegan recipes for breakfast."
  • Commercial Intent Keywords: Commercial intent keywords indicate that the searcher is looking to make a purchase or engage in a transaction.
  • Informational Intent Keywords: Informational intent keywords are used when searchers are seeking specific information, answers to questions, or educational content. These keywords often start with phrases like "how to," "what is," or "benefits of." They aim to provide valuable information rather than promote products or services. Examples include "how to write a blog," "what is a keyword," or "benefits of managed IT services."
  • Branded Keywords: Branded keywords include the name of a specific brand or company. They are used when users are specifically searching for a particular brand's products, services, or information. Examples include "Lululemon leggings" or "Apple iPhone."

What are Three Key Considerations When Evaluating Keywords for SEO?

Keyword research is a fundamental part of your SEO strategy as it helps you understand what people are searching for to find information related to your business. It gives you valuable insights into the needs of your target audience that you can use to build out search-friendly website content.Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer help you gather data on search volumes, competition, related keywords, and user intent. But once you’ve gathered this information, how do you choose the best opportunities?Here are our top three considerations for SEO keywords:

  • Search Volume
  • Competition
  • User Intent

Search Volume

Search volume is the number of times a particular keyword or search query is entered into a search engine over a specific period, typically measured on a monthly basis, although it can be analyzed for different time frames.It helps you understand the popularity and demand trends for a specific keyword or topic so you direct your marketing efforts at an audience actively looking for information about your products or services.However, search volume alone is not the sole determining factor in keyword selection. Balancing search volume with competition and user intent helps you identify keywords that present a reasonable opportunity for visibility and ranking.


Keyword competition is how hard it is to rank on page one for a particular keyword. It indicates how many other websites are vying for top positions for the same keyword.Highly competitive keywords are often targeted by many websites with established online presence, authority, and resources. Trying to rank for these keywords can be challenging, especially for new or less authoritative websites. On the other hand, targeting low-competition keywords can provide an opportunity to rank quicker.To assess keyword competition, you can use various tools and metrics that provide insights into the level of competition for specific keywords. Here are some methods:

  • Keyword Difficulty Score: Some keyword research tools provide a keyword difficulty score or metric that estimates the level of competition for a keyword. It typically ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher competition. This score takes into account factors like the number of websites targeting the keyword, their authority, backlink profiles, and more.
  • Competitor Analysis: Analyzing your competitors' websites can give you valuable insights into the competition level. Look at the websites currently ranking well for your target keywords and analyze their domain authority, content quality, backlink profiles, and social signals. Understanding your competitors' strengths and weaknesses can help you identify opportunities to differentiate and surpass them.
  • SERP Analysis: Study the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. Look at the websites that appear on the first page of search results. Analyze their content, page optimization, user experience, and overall authority. Assessing the quality and relevance of the existing top-ranking pages can provide insights into the competition level and help you optimize your own content.

User Intent

User intent is the purpose or motivation behind a search query. Understanding user intent is crucial in keyword research because it helps you align your content with what users are seeking, improving the relevance and effectiveness of your SEO efforts.By identifying and targeting keywords that match user intent, you can attract more qualified traffic to your website. Higher engagement, increased conversions, and a better overall user experience all positively affect your rankings and website credibility. Use intent to help you create content that meets the specific needs, desires, or challenges of your target audience, establishing your website as a valuable resource.To analyze search queries and identify user intent, you can use the following approaches:

  • Analyze Keyword Modifiers: Look for specific words or phrases within search queries that indicate user intent. For example, words like "buy," "how to," "best," "reviews," or "near me" suggest different intentions such as transactional, informational, or local intent.
  • Review Search Results: Examine the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. Pay attention to the types of content and websites that appear. If the top results consist of product listings, it indicates a transactional intent. If the results show informative articles or guides, it suggests an informational intent.
  • Consider Context: Take into account the broader context of the search query. Understand the industry, topic, or product/service associated with the keywords. This can provide insights into the likely intent behind the search.

Types of Intent

Informational Intent: Informational intent keywords are used when searchers are seeking specific information or answers to their questions. Examples include "how to tie a tie," "what is global warming," or "benefits of meditation." Users with informational intent are looking for educational content, tutorials, or in-depth information on a particular topic.Navigational Intent: Navigational intent keywords are used when searchers are looking for a specific website or webpage. These keywords often include brand names or specific URLs. Examples include "Facebook login," "Nike official website," or "Amazon customer support." Users with navigational intent have a specific website or destination in mind and want to reach it directly through search.Transactional/Commercial Intent: Transactional intent keywords are used when searchers are ready to make a purchase or engage in a specific action. These keywords often include terms like "buy," "discount," or "coupon." Examples include "buy iPhone X online," "best laptop deals," or "download antivirus software." Users with transactional intent are looking for products, services, or actions they can take to fulfill a specific need or desire.

Tips for Selecting Keywords

When evaluating keywords for SEO, it's essential to strike a balance between search volume, competition, and user-intent. Here are some tips for selecting keywords with a balanced level of competition:

  • Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords, which consist of three or more words, often have lower competition compared to broad, generic keywords. Targeting long-tail keywords allows you to focus on a more specific audience and may result in higher conversion rates.
  • Specific Niches: Look for keywords that target specific niches or subtopics within your industry. These keywords often have less competition and can help you establish authority in a specific area.
  • Analyze Keyword Difficulty: Use keyword research tools that provide a keyword difficulty score to assess the competition level. Aim for keywords with a moderate difficulty score that aligns with your website's authority and resources. Avoid keywords with extremely high difficulty scores unless you have a solid SEO strategy and strong competitive advantage.
  • Consider Local SEO: If your business operates in a specific geographical location, incorporating location-specific keywords can help you target a more specific audience and reduce competition.
  • Long-Term Strategy: Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term game. While targeting highly competitive keywords may be challenging initially, focusing on building your website's authority, generating quality content, and earning backlinks can eventually improve your chances of ranking for more competitive keywords.

Build an SEO Strategy with 20North Marketing

By choosing the right keywords and strategically incorporating them into your website's content, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results and driving organic traffic to your site.Our team of digital marketing experts can help you with keyword research, website optimization, content creation, and more. Take your SEO efforts to the next level and contact 20North Marketing.