Do this when your web designer asks you for keywords

Have you been asked for a list of keywords for your website? Instead of brain-dumping a long list of random, unrelated words, take these 3 considerations into account and then follow this simple 4-step process to get a list that makes sense.


  • Jargon
  • Intent
  • something

The process:

  • Review your personas
  • Actually search for it
  • Look at the auto complete suggestions
  • Look at the related searches


If your web designer ever asks you to send a list of keywords, you might be tempted to send them a list that looks a bit like this. This is an example from quite a few years ago. Now we were working with an IT firm at the time, and I’ve dug into the archives here a bit because I’m not picking on anybody who’s done this to me recently.

This happens all the time. Most of these are not good key word choices, so why are they not good choices? And what can we do to fix it? That’s what I’m going to talk about today.

So there are three key things that we need to look at when figuring out what are good keywords versus bad keywords and the first one is the language itself.

Is there any jargon in there? If you look at any of these terms, is this actually what your prospective customers call what you do, or is that more of an industry/insider term? So the second one is intent, you know, if somebody types that term into google, are they actually looking for somebody like you? Or is the word that you’ve got listed there only really sort of tangentially, loosely related to you? Or is it just an attribute of one of the products or services you sell?

So think about, if you type if somebody types that into google, are they actually looking for what you do? And the third one is then we need some matching content on your website. If we don’t have a page on your website about that search term, how is google going to know to rank you for it? So if you think about it, if you frame it like that, if we had a page on your website about that keyword, would that make sense in the context of everything else that you’re doing?

So there are three things we need to take into account three. I can count. How do we actually make a list of good keywords? So there’s four quick and easy things that we can do to make that happen. The first one is to go back and look at your personas.

Now, if you’ve had personas developed for your business, fictitious characters that represent your ideal customers just go back and re-familiarise yourself with those so you can help – so you can help get into their head their mindset a little bit. And if you don’t have any personas, you might just have to run through the exercise mentally quickly. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer.

What are they actually trying to achieve? You know what’s on their mind? The second one is to actually open up google and type your idea into google itself. I find that the process of typing it into google rather than just brainstorming into a list helps you think about, why am I typing this keyword into google?

What am I actually looking for here? So in this example, let’s grab “systems integration”. I’m just gonna copy that and paste it into there. Now before I hit enter – and this leads on to the third part – google has this auto suggest feature here, and you’ve probably seen this before. But before you press enter on your keyword, just see what it suggests.

Are any of their suggestions actually more appropriate or applicable to your ideal customer searching? Looking for somebody like you? So in this example, I’m not going to choose any of those for now. I’m just gonna press enter now when you see a bunch of results here, this is what google thinks people are looking for when they type this keyword in. So if what shows up here, competitors or alternatives or even, you know, other related businesses that might be in a different location.

You’re probably on the right track. But if you get a bunch of results that aren’t really the same thing as what you’re doing, then we probably need to think about different keywords and the way that we can do that. If you head to the fourth suggestion down the bottom, we’ve got related searches and this is some other variations that might be more applicable to you.

Iterating through that process a couple of times, what you’re looking for is is to arrive at a page that has the kind of results. When you look at that and go, I want to I want to be a match for that. I want my business on that page there. If your page is filled with stuff that’s only like, vaguely tangentially related, then probably that’s not a good fit. If we think about your ideal customers intent when they’re searching and what google is likely to surface in terms of a match.

Now, one final thought is that most smes, most small to medium enterprises, don’t have a huge long list of relevant keywords for their business. If you think about if you use the 80 20 rule in terms of keywords, it’s probably almost more like 90 10. You know, 10% of the keywords that you might come up with are probably going to generate 90%

Of the relevant traffic. You don’t really want to spend time ranking for traffic that’s not relevant. It’s a bit of a waste of time. But if you focus on the handful of keywords that are likely to generate relevant traffic for you, they’re the ones to focus on.

So by the time you’ve been through this process, you’re probably going to have a relatively short list of keywords that your ideal customer is likely to use. Where their intent means they’re looking for a business like yours. And if you put some content about that search query on your website, it would make sense in the context of everything you’re doing.

So there’s some quick tips on how to generate a list of of good, relevant keywords to pass onto your web designer or your SEO company or whoever is looking after this for you. Have at it. See you next time.

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