Choosing the right keywords exercise

What are keywords?

Keywords (also known as search terms) are the words and phrases that people type into a search engine to describe what they are looking for.

Understanding what keywords are used by the people you want to attract to your website is absolutely fundamental to search engine optimisation. It is also vital in understanding how to make your web pages more interesting and compelling because if you use the same language as your visitors you will be able to establish a relationship with them more easily.

It is important to remember that the majority of searches are now for 2 or 3 keyword phrases or longer. This is because, as we all know, you have to be more and more specific about what you look for in order to get results that reflect what you want.

So searchers may add new keywords to their search to get what they want by, for instance;

  •  Product characteristic (e.g. red diesel ford fiesta)
  •  Question format (e.g. how do I clean tar off vinyl)
  •  Location (e.g. online marketing workshop Coventry)

Different perspectives

One of the other important aspects of search is that people will use very different words and phrases to you to describe your product or service than you expect. Our experience of working with clients and running workshops is that you would be amazed by how differently other people will search for your product or service. Usually the reason is that like it or not you will have slipped into using the jargon of your industry. It doesn’t matter whether you run a B & B or make widgets you will have a specific perception of what you do and how it is described.

So we strongly advise trying to find ways to “step into your customer shoes” and if you can get your clients’ perspective direct by ringing them up or conducting customer surveys.

Keyword Exercise

In recent workshops we have run a short exercise involving groups of 4-5 delegates, which you can recreate quite simply with friends or family (but feel free to get potential or existing customers to participate too). You could even try this at your next breakfast networking event.

All you need to do is spend a minute (max) describing your main product or service to the others.

Have a couple of minutes thinking time

Get everybody to write down words or phrases they would use to search for the product or services.


  • Location
  • Benefits
  • Outcomes
  • Product type
  • Brand name
  • Similar words
  • Time of year
  • Special occasions
  • Competition etc.

Then get people to talk about the words and phrases that they chose and why. At our workshops delegates have been able to define entirely new offers based on what they have heard. At the very least you will have the ammunition to think about optimising your websites much more effectively.

Try the exercise out. We look forward to hearing about your results.

Gareth Edwards – e-marketing specialist