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How Many Keywords Should You Target for SEO

Keywords are one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy. They communicate with search engines about the content of your website while speaking the same language as your prospective clients.

Rilind Elezaj


How Many Keywords Should You Target for SEO

Keywords are one of the most important parts of any SEO strategy. They communicate with search engines about the content of your website while speaking the same language as your prospective clients. In that matter, succeeding online begins with choosing the right keywords for your site.


But how many keywords should you target for SEO?


It wouldn’t be an SEO article if we didn’t say it depends. Keep reading to learn more.

Targeted Keywords

The primary keyword, also known as the target keyword, is the main topic of a page. It’s also the single keyword you should optimize a page for.


Secondary keywords include synonyms, subtopics, and long-tail keyword variations. However, secondary keywords are best used for SEO as relevant subtopics.


Let’s say for example you run an E-Commerce store that sells a variety of running shoes. The shoes are clearly the focus of the page, but how do you know what to call them?


You can figure it out by doing some keyword research. This will give you an idea of how popular phrases like “running shoes,” “athletic shoes,” and “jogging shoes” are.


For the purposes of this example, assume you choose “running shoes.”


After you’ve decided on a keyword, consider all the variations of that subject that you use.


Men’s running shoes, women’s running shoes, long distance running shoes, brand name running shoes, discount running shoes, and other items could be available in this case.


It’s also possible to have all those items on a single page that lists products. In that case, “running shoes” would be the best fit for everything, and you can include links to more specific pages afterwards.

One Clearly Defined Topic

Any page needs to have one clearly defined topic. It’s best to approach this from the standpoint of the user experience.


Because people look for specific things online, forcing them to look for those things on pages about multiple things, or worse—everything, is not a good idea.


As a result, a single page tackling multiple subjects will be useless.


And, because Google exists to help people find specific things, it will most likely show a page with a specific focus, i.e., the most relevant one, rather than a page that tries to rank for multiple topics at the same time.

Close Variations and Synonyms

Have you ever noticed what happens when you type an incorrect word into Google?


Google will correct you like a grammar teacher because you were probably thinking of something else when you typed that search term.


But what about synonyms and close variations?


The same thing. Google will rank your page for keywords with the same meaning and intent without you having to intentionally target every single variation. It understands that people look for the same thing in different ways.

If You Optimize for One Keyword, You Can Rank for Hundreds

A single page can rank for hundreds of keywords and thousands of queries. The number of keywords that a page can rank for depends on how well you’ve optimized it for SEO and the total number of searches that are related to the subject.


The average number one ranking page will also rank in the top ten for nearly 1,000 additional relevant keywords.


This does not only apply to high-volume keywords. Even for less popular keywords, the pattern is consistent.


This happens because a single page can rank for multiple long-tail keywords as well as other keywords that are closely related to the main topic. This type of thing happens naturally when a page has got high-quality content focusing only on one specific topic.


The best part is that each keyword brings traffic on its own. While targeting a single primary keyword is the best tactic, incorporating multiple secondary keywords will get the best results.

Why You Need Secondary Keywords

To cover a topic in full, you need relevant subtopics. Secondary keywords are one of the most effective ways to find relevant subtopics.


Assume Google is a huge bookstore, and you walk in looking for the best beginner’s guide to gardening. You’d appreciate it if the bookstore assistant showed you a guide that explained everything in layman’s terms that everyone else seemed to be happy with. Why would you even consider looking at other guides?


That’s how Google works. The system understands what the searcher is looking for and tries to offer the most useful result while keeping the other options in the back.

How to Find Keywords

To identify the main topic of your content:


  • Use a keyword research tool: Using a keyword research tool is one of the best ways to find a good keyword to target. One that not only generates keyword suggestions but also provides actionable SEO metrics. 


  • Find common topics in any niche: Use a content gap analysis tool to identify topics that are frequently covered in a niche. It’s a useful technique if you’re entering a niche you’re unfamiliar with. 


  • Analyze your competitors’ keywords: This method will reveal the keywords that your competitor ranks for. You can then choose keywords that would be a good fit for your website. 


To find relevant subtopics for your content, do the following:


  • Identify secondary keywords from top-ranking pages: You’ll have a good idea of the subtopics to include in your content once you discover secondary keywords of top-ranking content.  Google tries to avoid ranking content that offers nothing new. So when you create your own content try to add something original or update it with new information. 


  • Find missing keywords: This method should be used to add to your current content. It enables you to discover subtopics that you may be missing by uncovering relevant keywords for which you do not rank. 

How to Optimize Content for Keywords

If you want to target a keyword effectively for SEO, you need to know how to use both your primary and secondary keywords within your content.


The most important thing to remember is that your primary keyword should determine search intent, which is a fundamental aspect of search engine optimization. 


To figure out search intent, enter your primary keyword into Google, examine the top-ranking pages, and identify popular formats including video, article, landing page, and product page. 


Popular content formats including reviews, comparisons, listicles, how-to guides, and opinion-based articles. 


And the relevant content angles for top-ranking pages’ unique selling point. For example, “best,” “free,” “in 5 minutes,” “for 2023,” and so on.


You need to thoroughly cover your chosen topic. Keep your primary keyword as the topic, and your subtopics can be based on relevant secondary keywords. 


Keyword research, however, will not uncover all relevant subtopics. Look at the structure of top-ranking pages to get an idea of what searchers might be looking for. 


Don’t try to “force in” synonyms or keywords that are closely related. Google will not rank your content higher simply because you used more words to describe the same thing than other pages. 


You don’t have to try to mention your keywords as many times as possible or aim for a keyword density or statistical importance score. 


Keyword stuffing is the practice of using too many of the same keywords on a page in order to manipulate a site’s rankings. When you stuff too many keywords into a post, it becomes far too unnatural to be readable. 


And finally:

  • Include your target keyword in the title – Title tags help Google figure out what the content is about. 
  • Align the title with the H1 tag – The easiest thing to do in this case is to make the H1 and title tags exactly the same. 
  • Use secondary keywords in the H2-H6 headings if they are relevant to the main body of the text. This may help Google to figure out the topic of your page. 
  • Use the primary keyword in the URL – This is not essential, but it is the simplest way to help Google and search engines understand the context of the page. 

Final Thoughts

It is important that you maximize your SEO as this will help you to attract more customers and prospective clients. This is due to the fact that the higher your website ranks on Google, the more visitors and traffic you will receive, which will result in more business deals.


As a result, optimizing your content with relevant keywords is the best way to make sure that your website gets a flood of relevant traffic.

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