What is a "good" keyword, and how to find one

So, what makes a keyword - a good keyword?

A good keyword has 3 things going for it:

  1. Relevant to your business - You could attract the right audience.
  2. High search volume - Many people are googling it.
  3. Low keyword difficulty - The competition for the keyword is low,
    or you can beat the other contestants.

Let's dive into each one of these points.

Relevant to your business

This one sounds straightforward. If you're selling running shoes, there's no point in trying to rank for "cupcake receipt".

However, other keywords might attract the right people who eventually buy something from you. Keywords like "running gear" or "shoes for running" might be just as good.

When searching for keywords, don't narrow your search only to keywords you might be googling. Think about other keywords your customers might be searching for.

Another tip is to search for keywords a beginner/less educated potential customer would search for.

For example, if you're selling an SEO guide, it would be tempting to use the word "SEO" (a professional term) in your keywords, but a beginner might be searching for "how to appear on Google".

High search volume

Again, sounds straightforward. However, the right way to think about search volume is to change our perspective from a high search volume to a realistic one.

Sure, the keyword "running shoes" has an average monthly search volume of a whooping 201,000 searches (as of the time of this writing), but we cannot possibly expect to make it to the first page of Google for that keyword (more on why later).

So, realistically, we'll have to settle for less popular keywords.

While they yield fewer monthly searches, we shouldn't pass on them just because they are not the most popular ones.

Low keyword difficulty

This is the trickiest part. Keyword difficulty is the metric that represents how easy it would be to rank high organically (i.e., not by paying for ads) for a specific keyword.

Tools like SEO Stuff offer this metric when you use them to search for keywords, but you can also use your common sense (for free!).

Let's google "running shoes" and check the results. The first page is filled with companies such as Nike, Adidas, Amazon, and Runners World - all huge companies with deep pockets.

Our common sense would tell us there is no way we can compete with these companies. It's a lost cause. (we'll talk more about WHY it's a lost cause a bit later - bear with me here)

For reference, SEO Stuff shows a keyword difficulty of 100 out of 100 for the keyword "running shoes" - it translates to "avoid like fire".

What can we do? We search for less competitive keywords or at least keywords we can win by beating the existing competition.

By now, you probably want to know a few things:

  • How do we "beat the competition"?
  • What makes keyword competition hard or easy?
  • Why Nike will most likely beat us?
  • What is the meaning of life?

These are all great questions. Let's answer most of them!