What Are SEO Keywords?

Aaron Haynes
Jul 16, 2021

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For search engines to match your website with searchers’ queries, they need to know what your website is about.

To do this, search engines focus on a website’s content and then analyze it for keywords – phrases that signal what industry the website is in and what topics it addresses.

In this article, we take a deep dive into what SEO keywords are and how to use them to optimize your search engine optimization strategies.

What are SEO keywords?

SEO keywords are words, phrases, and sentences in digital content that enable people to discover your website through search engines.

Keywords are signals. They are things that your target audience type into search engines and act like matching flags that allow search engines to associate search queries with your website.

The more robust your SEO writing and the more accurate your SEO keywords, the better chance your website has of ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs) for a particular keyword.

Why are SEO Keywords Important?

SEO keywords are important because they can help your single website stick out amongst the 1.86 billion others that are on the internet.

Choosing the right keywords according to fundamental keyword metrics is an essential step in your SEO strategy. You do this by assessing keyword data. The two most basic and meaningful metrics to consider are:

  • Keyword difficulty – how competitive it is to rank for a given keyword
  • Keyword search volume – how many monthly searches there are for a keyword

Generally, the higher the monthly search volume of a keyword, the more competitive it is.

This means a greater number of robust websites target a specific keyword phrase, meaning it will take more time and investment to get your website ranking on the first page for that specific keyword. Understanding this is important for getting your SEO keywords working for you.

For example, let’s take a look at the keyword “backlinks”.

Here are keyword ideas that people search for related to the keyword “backlinks”.

As you can see, “backlinks” is just a starting point. If we wanted to target the keyword “backlinks,” we could also write about many of these other related keywords, which might be slightly less competitive keywords.

When we run “backlinks” through a keyword assessment tool, Ahrefs, we get these results:

This means “backlinks” is an incredibly competitive and challenging keyword to rank on the first page for. Companies pay an average of $6.00 per click (CPC) to have their advertisement shown. So for a new website to display on the first page of organic searches, they’d need around 500 backlinks from different robust websites to get the necessary domain rating.

But with the proper budget, investing in targeting “backlinks” could be profitable in the long run – because over 11,000 potential customers are searching for that keyword every month in the U.S. alone.

This is why having a balanced SEO strategy of high-volume, high-competition, and low-volume low-competition SEO keywords is vital for ranking. You can use keywords to target particular search terms and search intent to attract different customer types to your website.

SEO Keywords FAQ

How do I find SEO keywords?

There are many different strategies for finding SEO keywords.

All strategies revolve around building a list of keywords that will give you the best chance of attracting increasing volumes of organic traffic from search engines.

Another way is to use a keyword research tool, such as Ahrefs, like in the example above.

Yet another way to find keywords (for free!) is to use the Google search algorithm itself. Simply type in a root keyword that you want to write a piece of content about into the Google search console, and look at the autosuggest results:

This tactic shows you relevant searches to your keyword and could give you ideas for others keywords you didn’t initially think of.

How many SEO keywords should I use?

Determining the number of SEO keywords you should target in a comprehensive SEO strategy depends entirely on the scope of your operation.

When it comes to content, each single article, post, or blog should target one root keyword or one long-tail keyword in the form of a question (like what we’ve done with this article).

The best approach is to have a content strategy with an SEO template that targets multiple different keywords with different pieces of content. Each content piece interlinks with each other, thus sending website visitors to different pages on your site.

When it comes to putting keywords into your content, it’s crucial you avoid keyword stuffing, as this makes content unenjoyable to read. Keep the percentage of keywords in your content at about 1-2% – this is enough to signal to Google and searchers what your content is about without compromising content quality.

How do you target keywords?

You target keywords by:

  • Writing detailed, valuable content around a keyword topic
  • Using keywords in the alt text of your images and image descriptions
  • Using keywords in your webpage metadata and title tags

How do I find best keywords?

The best keywords are those which have a high search volume but aren’t competitive. Unfortunately, these are pretty few and far between, but you find them with SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz.

How do I find my competitor’s keywords?

You can find your competitor’s keywords by doing a competitor analysis in SEO tools.

For example, the Site Explorer tool in Ahrefs shows you the top-ranking keywords for any website. Simply type in your competitor and take a look!

For example, Fatjoe is one of our competitors – and these are their top-performing keywords.

Do SEO keywords need to be exact?

Yes, SEO keywords need to be exact. SEO keywords can be long-tail, single words, or multiple words, but the keyword your content targets needs to be precise.

You can use relevant keywords throughout the content to avoid keyword stuffing and to make the content more readable. Still, your exact keywords need to be present at strategic locations throughout the content, in particular:

  • In your H1
  • In your URL
  • In the first paragraph of your content
  • At the end of your content

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of SEO keywords and their importance to online businesses and websites.

Getting your keyword research right at the beginning of any marketing strategy is vital to your success, which is why we at Loganix offer keyword research services from the get-go. So contact us to join the hundreds of others who we’ve helped rank on the first page for their SEO keywords.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Aaron Haynes on July 16, 2021

CEO and partner at Loganix, I believe in taking what you do best and sharing it with the world in the most transparent and powerful way possible. If I am not running the business, I am neck deep in client SEO.