How to build an effective keyword list

Guest post by Dimitris Zotos. Dimitris is an editor & SEO Professional at


Are you wondering what is the best way to create an effective keyword list? Following up a previous article Keyword Research: The Core of your SEO Strategy, this week we will focus on a real world example, we will discuss the actual needs and we will put the theory into practice.


The real world example

In this example we will decide which keywords we will use for the landing page of a luxury hotel suite.  Our client owns a 5 Star hotel, located on Mykonos Island and the room type of the page is a suite for honeymooners.  With that page we will try to attract high end profile visitors that match the hotel’s target audience.


Looking inside the visitor’s mind

The above short brief, along with the marketing research that we have previously conducted for the client, give some important pieces of information that help us understand the industry, the competition and the needs of the client.  The next step is to come up with a list of keywords that describes the product of our client and that includes search terms that are more likely to be used by users. Thus on this step we will pretend to be a potential client and we will start by typing queries on the major search engines in order to find some related keywords and results.


Analysing Search Engine Results

Let’s assume that the potential visitor has already decided the destination (Mykonos) and the desired type of accommodation (suite). After typing some queries in Bing, the searcher starts refining search queries for more targeted terms such as Mykonos hotel suites, honeymoon hotels etc. Using targeted keywords is important because it will drive targeted traffic to your website and it will increase your conversion rates.


So make sure you analyse Bing results for the most important and targeted keywords, check what terms your main competitors use and which keyword combinations they have in their texts. This can give you a good idea of what their SEO strategy is and on which terms you should focus. A good tool to analyse the content of those sites is the Keyword Analyzer tool that will give you a detailed report of all the main keywords of their sites.


Additionally, have in mind that there are several other great sources of information that you can check. For example if the website has already a page for honeymoon suites, you can also retrieve keywords from the Web Analytics Reports. Even better, if there is a PPC campaign targeting on honeymoon it is a great opportunity to gain useful insights from the actual searchers.


Selecting the targeted keywords

After brainstorming and gathering a large list of keywords from various sources, we need to refine it and keep the most important terms. We mainly try to keep the keywords that describe better our page and that are more likely to be used by our users. In this example we decided to use the following as our main keywords:






Note that there are lots of other single-word keywords that you can use (such as couples, romantic, luxury, destination, etc) but it’s up to you to decide on which you will focus. Your selection should be based on the project type, the competition, the website strength etc.


After selecting our main terms, we create a list of more targeted keywords. Those keywords will drive to our website more targeted traffic and usually they are easier bring higher rankings comparing to the generic terms. For example the most important keywords of our list can be:

             Mykonos Honeymoon Suites

             Hotel for honeymoon

             Honeymoon Hotels Mykonos

             Mykonos Luxury Hotel Suites


Again there are lots of alternatives that you can select. It’s up to you to decide what is more relevant to your page, which terms are likely to bring more traffic, for which terms you are more likely to rank high etc.


After refining the set of keywords, make sure to study AGAIN all the available marketing info, and, if possible, brainstorm with client representatives or a marketing department in order to be sure that your mindset is aligned to the branding and positioning lines.


Optimising the content of your page

When you want to optimise a website, focus on each page separately and do a research and brainstorm for keywords connected to the needs of a hypothetical searcher. Always have in mind that each page’s content should reflect answers to user’s needs and therefore requires a dedicated and unique approach. Don’t forget that you should focus on keywords for which you are more likely to achieve higher rankings. You can learn more on how to analyze the competition on SERPs by reading the article Improve your website traffic by analyzing the SEO of your competitors.


Last but not least after finalising the list of keywords, you need to write the texts and optimize the SEO copy of your page. You can learn more about on-page optimisation by reading the articles How to optimise page Titles and improve click through rates, 5 quick white-hat tips to boost your SEO Rankings and The 5 basic rules of SEO copywriting.

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