Keyword Selection Made Easy: A Simple SEO Beginner’s Guide (+ Freebie)


In order for search engines like Google and Pinterest to send good-quality traffic to your website, we need to tell them over and over the kind of content that can be found there. Your keyword strategy plays an integral part in your overall SEO success because the words used in your content will allow the right people to search for and find your content.

In order to maintain an SEO strategy, it’s important that you continue to use your focus keywords on new blog posts and Pinterest pins. Whenever you are creating a new piece of content for your blog or Pinterest, ask yourself this question: “What might someone search for that would make this piece of content a perfect match?”. Consider not just your service (e.g. photography), but the kinds of things people might ask you (e.g. “what should I wear on a rainy day photoshoot?”).

SEO is always a long game, but when played well, it will eventually pay off! To help you on your SEO way, we’ve put together a crash course on the most important SEO terms and metrics. This guide will cover the essentials you need to know to make informed decisions as you manage your website and blog.

Prefer a printable version?

Download the Keyword Selection Guide.

Focus Keywords

A focus keyword is simply a keyword or phrase that you choose to optimize your website or webpage for, in order to improve its visibility in search engine rankings.

When you’re creating content for your website, it’s a good idea to pick a focus keyword that’s relevant to your audience and the content you’re creating. You can use this keyword in various elements of your content, like the title, meta description, headers, and body text, to let search engines know what your content is about.

For example, if you’re a small business selling natural skincare products, you might choose “organic skincare” or “natural skincare products” as your focus keyword. Then you can use this keyword throughout your website and content to help you rank higher in search engine results.

Choosing a focus keyword is an important part of your SEO strategy because it can help you attract more visitors to your site and connect with your target audience.

Don’t overthink it. You likely already know your focus keyword for any piece of content off the top of your head. Just pick a keyword that feels most relevant and natural and use it throughout your content to help boost your visibility in search engine rankings.

Long-Tail vs. Short-Tail Keywords 

Long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords are types of keywords used in SEO to help websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here’s the difference between the two.

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are general keywords that consist of one or two words, such as “shoes” or “coffee shop.” These keywords typically have a high search volume, but they are also highly competitive, which makes it difficult for websites to rank for them.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer and more specific phrases that consist of three or more words, such as “affordable running shoes for women” or “best coffee shops in downtown Seattle.” These keywords have a lower search volume, but they are also less competitive, which makes it easier for websites to rank for them.

The main difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords is their specificity and competition. Short-tail keywords are general and highly competitive, while long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive.

Choosing the right type of keywords for your website depends on your business goals and target audience. Short-tail keywords can help you reach a wider audience, but they can be difficult to rank for. Long-tail keywords can help you target a specific audience, but they may not generate as much traffic as short-tail keywords. A good SEO strategy will typically include a mix of both short-tail and long-tail keywords.

Where To Use SEO Keywords

SEO keywords can be used to optimize a website or blog post in various elements to help improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here are some key areas where SEO keywords can be used.

  1. Title Tag: The title tag is the clickable headline that appears in search engine results. The title tag is important because it helps both users and search engines understand what the page is about. It is often the first thing that people see when they find your website in search engine results, and it can help them decide whether to click through to your site or not.
  2. Meta Description: The meta description is the brief summary that appears below the title tag in search engine results. 
  3. Header Tags: Header tags are labelled as H1, H2, H3, and so on, with H1 being the main heading of the page and subsequent headers indicating subheadings of decreasing importance. Search engines use header tags to understand the content and structure of a web page, and they can impact search engine rankings.
  4. Body Text: Using your focus keyword naturally throughout the body of your content can help search engines understand what your content is about and improve its relevance.
  5. Image Alt Tags: An alt tag is like a little caption or description that explains what an image is showing, for those who are visually impaired. Using focus keywords in your image alt tags provides additional information about the content of a page, which can help search engines understand and rank the page better.
  6. Blog Post Excerpt: Similar to the meta description, a blog post excerpt briefly captures a summary of the content and is thus a perfect spot for ensuring your keywords show up.
  7. Tasty Pins: If you use this WordPress plugin on your blog, be sure to look for opportunities for your keywords to show up so that the content may perform at its best on Pinterest.

Understanding the Four Basic SEO Metrics

1. Keyword Ranking

Keyword ranking is a metric used in SEO to track the position of a website’s content on search engine results pages (SERPs) for a specific keyword or phrase. In other words, it measures where a website’s content ranks when someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase on a search engine like Google.

For example, if a photography business has optimised its content for the keyword “wedding photographer nyc”, keyword ranking would tell them where their website appears on the search results page when someone searches for “wedding photographer nyc”.

Keyword ranking is important for SEO because the higher a website’s content ranks on the search results page, the more likely it is that people will click on it and visit the website. Keyword ranking can also be used to track the effectiveness of SEO efforts over time. By monitoring changes in keyword ranking, website owners can determine if their optimization strategies are working or if they need to adjust their approach.

2. Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric used in SEO to measure how difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword or phrase on search engines like Google. In other words, keyword difficulty estimates how much effort and resources it would take for a website to rank on the first page of search results for a given keyword.

This metric takes into account various factors such as the number of websites already ranking for that keyword, the quality and relevance of their content, and the overall competitiveness of the search landscape.

For example, if a business wants to rank for the keyword “best coffee shops in New York City”, it would need to consider the number of other websites already ranking for that keyword, the quality and relevance of their content, and the authority of their website compared to their competitors.

Keyword difficulty scores are usually displayed as a percentage or on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher difficulty. Keyword difficulty is an important metric for SEO because it helps businesses identify which keywords they should focus on optimizing their content for and which ones might require more resources or a different approach.

3. Search Volume

Search volume refers to the number of times people search for a specific keyword or phrase in search engines like Google. In the context of SEO metrics, search volume is used to measure the popularity and demand of a particular keyword or phrase. This information can help website owners and marketers identify keywords that are relevant to their business and potentially attract more traffic to their site.

For example, if a business sells shoes online, they may want to know how many people search for phrases like “buy shoes online” or “affordable shoes” in order to optimize their website content and advertising campaigns for those keywords.

Search volume can be used to compare the popularity of different keywords and to identify trends in search behaviour over time. It can also be analysed based on location. Global Volume, on the other hand, refers to the monthly average search volume of a keyword worldwide.

4. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that indicates the percentage of users who click on your website’s link after seeing it in search engine results pages. A higher CTR indicates that more users are clicking on your website’s link, which can lead to increased traffic and higher rankings.

For example, if a website’s content appears as a search result for a specific keyword, the CTR would measure how many people clicked on that link compared to how many people saw the link in the search results.

CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on a link by the number of times the link was displayed (impressions). The resulting percentage reflects the effectiveness of a website’s content in attracting clicks from search engine users.

A high CTR indicates that a website’s content is relevant and engaging to its target audience, while a low CTR could indicate that the content is not compelling enough or that it’s not appearing high enough in the search results.

Quick Tips for Selecting Keywords

  1. Wherever possible, choose keywords of high volume (lots of searches per month) and low competition (easier to rank higher)
  2. Focus on creating content that tailors towards relevant keywords of less difficulty. This is essential low-hanging fruit in your field!
  3. Try to select keywords that have a difficulty of less than 10 KD
  4. Don’t ignore keywords that have a search volume of more than 50 monthly searches per month. This means there is an audience in that space looking for relevant content. Serve something juicy to them on a silver platter and you’ll have them knocking on your door in no time.
  5. Experiment with mixing keywords together. Combine your services, your location, your aesthetic, frequently asked questions, and other popular search terms to create a strong long-tail keyword.

Play the Long Game

It is important to note that, as with many things in business, it can take some time for hard work to pay off and it won’t happen overnight. Don’t expect a few pins or blog posts with your keywords to immediately show up on Google or Pinterest. It’s about showing up consistently with good-quality content that people find helpful. SEO is always a long game, but when played well, it will eventually pay off!