How to Find Keywords and Search Phrases

The foundation of your search engine optimization efforts are the keywords and search terms you optimize your site for. A website copywriter who supports clients’ search marketing efforts through writing for search engines usually target 1-3 main keyword phrases. Some may include up to 7 secondary keyword phrases per web page. Here are three steps to help you come up with a solid list of phrases that ensure your search engine traffic is targeted.

1. Write an initial list of keywords

Come up with words and phrases you would like your company’s services to be found under. Check out the terms your competitors are using in their site copy and keywords meta tags. Also, look at your server lots to see which phrases are drawing your current visitors.

2. Add modifiers

Add geographical keywords, including city, state, zip code, if this is relevant to your services. Include adjectives that accurately describe your services, such as affordable. Find other describing words. This may include who your customers are, which industries you are targeting, etc. (e.g., construction accounting for subcontractors). Try to make your keyword phrases more specific. For example, you're more likely to rank high for the above keyword phrase than the more competitive single keyword 'accounting'.

Research has shown that the conversion rate for 3 or 4 word phrases is higher, as people who search using more targeted phrases are further ahead in the buying cycle. Those who search using simple one or two word phrases are usually just researching the product category (which is also a key time to attract site visitors if you offer information-rich content).

3. Analyze the keywords

After you come up with a list, find out how often those terms are entered in the search engines. Overture and Google both have free tools that will tell you how often a keyword is searched on. Overture's is available without an account. Google's needs an account, but account creation is free. offers ancillary services that suggest potential keywords you may have missed. They offer one-day use and short and long-term pricing solutions.


SEO Advantage®, Inc. is a professional search engine optimization firm providing search engine optimization and online marketing services for enterprises, small businesses, and nonprofits.

SEO-Max™ represents SEO Advantage®’s leading-edge technology in SEO and SEM. SEO-Max™ clients enjoy excellent ROI, backed by exceptional customer service and a unique guarantee tailored to your goals.

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