Keywords are the backbone of any SEO campaign. Choosing the right or wrong keywords to target can make or break a websites SEO strategy. This post will outline how we go about finding the best keywords to target in Google.

Site owners new to the world of internet marketing and Google will usually want to go after keyword phrases that have the most volume. This make sense, we want to be getting the most exposure and these are the keywords people are typing into google most often. So why not optimise our site for those phrases?

Most often the phrases with the highest search volume also are the hardest to rank. Every other website owner has the same plan in mind, to go after the big search terms. This means competition for the 1stand even the 2nd page can be extremely high (unless you are in a very niche market). If we have little to no chance of ranking our website on the 1st or 2nd page we are getting very little exposure if any at all. Think of how many times you have gone past page 2-3 in google?

So what if we went in the opposite direction? We just target keywords that have very little to no competition. We are able to rank on the first page this time without much effort but these phrases usually have little to no search volume at all. So again we are not getting much traffic to our site.

The key here is to strike a balance and find keywords somewhere in between the high volume and competitive and the low volume low competition.

As an example let’s pretend we have a website about cars and we want to find the right keyword to optimise the site around.


UK Search volume: 290,888

Competition: 75%

Car Parts

UK Search volume: 9,814

Competition: 52%

Car Parts London

UK Search volume: 145

Competition: 35%

Vauxhall car parts

UK Search volume: 497

Competition: 32%

(According to Moz Keyword Difficulty tool)

“Cars” would be the highest searched for keyword but we would stand almost no chance of ever making it to the first page of google and maybe not even the 4th or 5th page. Websites after page 2 receive less than 1% of clicks, page 3 can be as little as 0.3% of clicks.

“Car parts” Is a little bit more of a realistic phrase to rank for but competition here is still very high and will be tough to rank without a large budget and/or a lot of time.

“Car parts London” is not a bad choice but the search volume is quite low.

“Vauxhall car parts” seems like a good trade-off between search volume and competition levels.

This is a simplified example of what we are looking for. There are many other factors involved when assessing the competition. For example on paper the keyword “Vauxhall car parts” looks quite promising but when you actually search for this the number 1 spot is taken by the official Vauxhall site. So it will be next to impossible to out rank but still very possible to gain a page 1 ranking.

A pattern you will often see is the more you “Niche down” the lower the competition levels. This also has the added benefit of being very specific to the searcher. So someone who types in “Vauxhall car parts” will most likely convert very well when they are shown a page full of Vauxhall car part products. Whereas someone searching for “cars” is really nonspecific, we don’t know if they are searching to buy a new car, looking for car posters or just want the latest car news.

In a nutshell we want to find the highest specific search volume phrases with the lowest competition.