How to Build a Keyword List for SEO

by | Sep 5, 2023

We often get asked if keywords are still important for SEO. The answer is, yes. Keywords are the bedrock of SEO.

Although despite being one of the easier concepts in SEO to grasp, keyword nuances often get missed. A shift in perspective can help. Instead of viewing Google as a mighty, algorithm-driven entity, let’s think of Google as a person and Google’s primary objective is to recommend the finest restaurants, marketing firms, or furniture stores to their friends.


But how can Google do this if they don’t know what kind of food the restaurant serves? The reality is, they can’t. This is where keyword lists come in. Without them, and minus a strategy for finding and utilizing them, Google remains in the dark about the subject matter of your content and therefore is unable to suggest it to the people looking for it.

What Is a Keyword List?

A keyword list is a collection of words or phrases that people use when searching for something online. When properly researched and implemented, keywords can help your business rank higher in search engine results, making it more likely for your content to be discovered by users searching for related information.


Keywords come in two forms: short-tail and long-tail. Short-tail keywords are one or two-word search phrases that are more broad, ‘good restaurants.’ Long-tail keywords generally contain three or more words, have less search volume, are more specific and illustrate a specific search query such as, ‘the best italian restaurant near me’ or ‘highly rated Italian restaurants downtown.’

How to Create an SEO Keyword List

Creating an SEO keyword list for your business is the first step in helping Google understand what your business is all about. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to build one.

Make a List of Words or Phrases

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, and brainstorm all of the keywords or phrases that you think your potential customers might use when searching for your business online. If you have an existing website, you can also use a keyword tool to determine which keywords your website is already ranking for.


This list will be the foundation for the rest of your research.

Understand What Makes a Keyword Viable

There are three things to consider when choosing keywords for your website.

1. Intent

Search intent is the primary goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine. To verify a user’s intent for a particular keyword, perform a simple search using that keyword in a search engine. By doing so, you can gauge the kinds of results that appear and ensure they align closely with the type of content you intend to create for that keyword.

2. Volume

Search volume refers to the monthly total count of searches conducted using a specific keyword. The majority of keyword research tools provide the option to filter by country and also show the global search volume for a broader understanding. The volume of searches correlates with the keyword difficulty.

3. Difficulty

Keyword difficulty shows the perceived difficulty of ranking for that keyword based on a number of factors such as the quality of the content, backlinks, and more. Understanding keyword difficulty can help you make informed decisions in content planning and the keyword research process of your SEO efforts. It’s important to pick keywords that your website will actually be able to rank for.

Use a Keyword Research Tool

To enhance your online visibility, incorporating a keyword tool into your strategy is crucial. These tools enable you to find the keywords your business needs and they are the only way to determine whether or not they are viable. There’s a variety of choices, including both paid and free options like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Moz Keyword Explorer available.


While using your keyword research tool, you might discover that some of the initial keywords or phrases you brainstormed aren’t suitable due to intent, search volume, or competition. Fortunately, your tool will suggest related keywords that might be more effective.

Do a Competitor Analysis

You can also use a keyword tool to discover the keywords for which your competitors are ranking. This is valuable for two reasons: one, you can identify important keywords you might have missed during your research, and two, you can modify your list to target these keywords and strive to outrank your competitors in the search results.

We Build Keyword Lists That Get You Traffic

In addition to constructing data-driven keyword lists to enhance your online visibility, we offer comprehensive content strategies for their effective implementation. However, it doesn’t stop there. Keywords must be continuously monitored to ensure success. At Method and Metric, we utilize a number of tools to track the performance of your keywords and make ongoing adjustments to stay in tune with the ever-evolving landscape of search engines. Get in touch today!

As Per That Last Article…

How to Create Content That Converts and Engages

How to Create Content That Converts and Engages

You're diligently launching new online campaigns, consistently writing engaging blog posts and sending out weekly newsletters. Yet, your sales figures remain stagnant. Writing new content that...