5 Secrets to Researching SEO Keywords Like a Pro

If you know anything about SEO, you know that proper keyword research is the foundation of any successful campaign.

But unless you’re schooled in SEO theory, how are you supposed to know what keywords are best for your business?

You’re in luck, my friends – in today’s episode, I’ve got five of the biggest secrets that professionals use when conducting SEO keyword research. The good news? None of this is rocket science – but until you start applying these principles, your keyword research is nothing more than a moving target.

Have questions? Happy to help! Just leave me a comment in the box below.

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Volusion



Here’s the transcript if you’d like to read along:

Hi, everybody! My name’s Matt, and I’m the Marketing Communications Manager here at Volusion. Welcome to Two Minute Tuesdays, where we give you two minutes of ecommerce advice to bolster your online success.

No matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to, SEO is a key component of any successful online business, and the foundation of SEO is keyword research. So pay close attention, because today I’ve got five secrets to help you do keyword research like a pro.

One of the first things you’ll want to consider when looking into your keyword ideas is what’s called search intent. In other words, why is someone searching for that specific keyword? Is it informational, or is it transactional? Informational, pretty self-explanatory, means they want to look for information, and transactional means that they actually want to purchase something. So make sure that the content you’re serving up fits the informational or the transactional search intent.

Secondly, you’ll want to associate your keywords with the quality of customers. This can be best explained through an example. Let’s say that you’re selling very expensive handbags. If a keyword suggestion comes up that says “cheap handbags,” that’s not really the type of customer that you’re looking for. So you’ll want to scratch that from your list. However, something like “top quality handbag”? That’s definitely something you’d want to optimize for. So always consider the quality of your customer.

Thirdly, compare the search volume with the actual competitiveness of your web content. If you see something that has a very high search volume through your keyword research tool, but you really don’t have a chance of ranking for that based on the level and number of competitors that you have out there, it’s okay to pass and move on to something else. Basically, keep your business’ limitations in mind when putting together your game plan.

Fourthly, it’s always good to do a gut check to gauge your current performance on the keywords on your list. First off, you want to see how your pages are ranking for that specific keyword. And then, beyond that, you’ll also want to check to see how and if those keywords are converting into sales, leads and so on.

And last, and honestly in my opinion, most importantly, always make relevancy your top priority when it comes to keyword research. By relevancy, I’m really referring to two things. 1) Is the content that’s on your website relevant to the keyword that you’re targeting? 2) Is that keyword relevant to your business? Keeping those two ideas in mind will make sure that you’re on the right track when it comes to selecting your keywords and, more importantly, optimizing for them.

Keep these five top secret ideas in mind as you conduct your SEO keyword research. If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help. Just leave me a comment in the box below and I’ll get right back to you. From me to you, happy selling!


Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

6 Responses to “5 Secrets to Researching SEO Keywords Like a Pro”

  1. Roy Huggins

    Hi Matt,

    What tools do you use to evaluate competitiveness and search volume on particular words? Do you use the AdWords tool? Other tools?

    Thanks much!

    • Matt Winn

      Hey Roy, my favorite is the AdWords tool – pretty easy and it comes straight from Google, so it wins in my book. Thanks! -Matt

  2. steveplunkett

    please don’t use Gucci as a keyword unless for paid search or you actually are Gucci.. =)

    • Earl

      is there a search engine “penalty” if you do?

      • Nathan Joynt

        Hi Earl, thanks for your response. There is nothing wrong with referencing a brand name, especially if you are a reseller for that brand name and wish to rank in organic search results. However, you may find it more difficult to rank highly for brand names if there is significant organic reseller competition. In the case of Gucci, you will be competing for organic rankings with the likes of Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus and even Ebay. Hope this helps!

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