How to know which keywords to use


A keyword is your gateway to the SERP listing and ultimately organic traffic. How to know which keywords to use will not only save you time but also improves your chances to get a top spot on a SERP listing.

You have done your research, you have a good listing of keywords, but now you want to know which keyword is best to use.  This is where keyword competition analysis happens. There are probably keywords in your niche with lots of traffic with little competition, and you have probably wondered why.

Doing a little bit of Keyword competition analysis will reveal the reason why, and help us focus on keywords that will help us get more traffic. Beginner online marketers should pay close attention to keyword competition because their website most likely still have a low Page and Domain Authority. As your site grows and more traffic flows, page and domain authority will increase. Picking the right keyword is definitely a good way to start to bring more organic traffic.


Competition analysis


SERP Research


– Fist of all we need to know what is the top listing on our SERP.  In short term, SERP or Search Engine Result Page is the page displayed by a search engine in response to a query. If you want to know more about SERP, click here.




The first page of SERP (10 listing) gets the most traffic for that specific keyword. To get a spot on this page is our main goal and the ultimate goal of all online marketers. We will focus on the first-page listing because we aim to be on this page. Our analysis will start with the first page and identify if this keyword is good to use or not.


Things to prepare:




Save or copy each of the URL in a spreadsheet. Write down the first 10 listing in a row. Use Microsoft excel or google spreadsheet to track all these sites. We will also need 5 columns for track Keyword in Title, Keyword in URL, Keyword in Meta Description, PA, and Inbound links.


Keyword Analysis Spreadsheet



Keyword research tool


You will also need a keyword research tool. This will verify our current competition for the keyword, and other possible alternative keywords we could use. Most keyword research tool will include related search keyword, we can research further that keyword should we determine our keyword is not a good keyword to use.

Get a free jaaxy account if you are looking for a keyword research tool. In general, you need to know the possible keywords that you can use before you can ask how to know which keywords to use.




Page Authority  Analysis tool


We will need to analyze the Page Authority of each of the post. In theory, it will be difficult to outrank pages with Page Authority of 35 and above. Moz and Semrush will help us with this analysis, both sites are free to use, but with a limited amount of research. I highly suggest using Moz toolbar for easy analysis.



The image above is the Moz toolbar with PA and DA number. PA stands for Page Authority, and DA is for Domain Authority.


Analysis starts here


3 Red flags to watch out


 – Lots of e-commerce sites
–  several sites with high page authority
–  Ads covering above the fold  (the first part of the page, before you, scroll down)


Type in your keyword in the search engine, and look carefully at the SERP Listing. Are any of the 3 red flags showing in the SERP result? Do you see many e-commerce websites or ads before the actual listing?


Check out the Page authority of the first 5 listing and see if they are all above 35. Authority websites could be listed on this page, so make sure to check the Page authority of each listing.


Identify Weak sites


– Niche review sites
– Q&A sites
– Blogposts
– Social URL
– Forum Post


If you see this kind of result in SERP, then we may have found a good keyword to use. At this point, we will need to go to each of this web post and identify the 5 things we listed on our spreadsheet. You may need to click on each of the lists to further investigate if needed. The primary items that you will need to look for are listed below. These are the information that we need to complete our analysis.


– Identify if the keyword is in the title of the post
–  Check and Identify if the keyword is in the URL
– Analyze and Identify if the keyword is included in the meta description
– Identify the Page Authority of the post (use Moz or sem rush)
– Check the Inbound link of the site (do any of these inbound links come from an authority website like Wikipedia?)


Analyze it


Analyze the first 10 result and save your findings using the spreadsheet. After completing the spreadsheet, identify if any of these sites is weak enough for you to take over. As I have mentioned earlier, to be on the first page of SERP means that your post or page is relevant to the keyword and it is popular.

A keyword the produces a lot of blog post and niche site on the SERP is an ideal keyword to use. I suggest that aim at low traffic and low competition keyword than competing on high traffic and high competition keyword. Beginners who still are working on their Page and Domain authority should stick with low competition for now. Build your organic traffic and google will reward you with higher page rank.


Easy does it


You may end up with tons of possible keyword to use, but the next step should be how to know which keywords to use.

Keyword competition analysis will go a long way. When I started I have always aimed at high traffic keyword with less than 100 competition, but nowadays I still use the keyword with less than 20 competition for easy ranking on the first page.

If you continue to create content that targets low competition and low traffic, eventually all these small streams of organic visitor will be combined to create a sea of visitors.




As always, I wish you all success and happiness if this online journey!

5 responses to “How to know which keywords to use”

  1. Neil Brooks says:

    Hi Jonathan a very easy to read and detailed review and guide.

    The SERP guidance is super and I have just started using MozBar myself and taking more notice and time with SERP.

    I also like the idea of using a spreadsheet to keep your research tracked, as i often lose track of what I have done.



  2. Rhonda Jean says:

    This is one of the most thorough articles I have read on keyword research and use! I really appreciate you taking the time to explain some of the things that are skipped over at times. I am going to implement right away.

    Have a great day!
    Rhonda Jean

  3. Grace says:

    This was a great read and I’ve learned so much! I haven’t done analysis like this on the SERP and this will come in handle next time I do my keyword research. If the competition is very low below 20 or even below 10, do you think we still need to do this kind of analysis?

    I use low competition keyword, as low as possible, and that’s why I haven’t done analysis of the SERP. Your reply will help me decide if I need to do this for very low competition keywords too. Thanks!

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Grace,

      I will still do an analysis on those low competition keyword. It was just the other day that I found one. Total search was 4,545 with 773 traffic and 3 Competition. I thought I hit a jackpot, but competition analysis showed authority websites with 90 DA and above 50 PA. Enjoy hunting and have a great day!

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