Pushleads | Asheville SEO Services

Keyword Research

Learn about keyword research, how it works, and the foundation that it lays for successful SEO marketing. Be visible and grow!

First let me come right out of the gate by answering the most common question that I get as an SEO specialist: 

“What is SEO and how it works?”

  • SEO: is short for “Search Engine Optimization” which simply means that you are implementing practices to climb to a higher position in the search results, to improve your “Google Ranking” for particular keywords and phrases such as “landscaper,” “artist,” “motivational speaker” or “restaurant near me” through various practices such as “Keyword Research,” building “Google Trust,” “Link Building” “WebDesign” and “Online Marketing.”

As an SEO specialist, my job is to listen to what your goals are, and then look at your website to try to determine what specifically I would type into a search engine, if I wanted to find YOU. 

Then I move into “keyword research” where I create a SEO Blueprint using SEO software and keyword research tools, to find out what other people are searching, that matches your business, products, services or content. Next I incorporate those keywords and phrases into your On Page SEO. 

Below I’ve given you the 20 Most Important SEO Terms and Definitions, with additional information, links and examples, to help you get a good grasp on how it all works.


SEO Terms and Definitions

  • Search Engine: is software that searches the internet for a particular word or phrase, when you enter it into their search bar. It then brings up the results of that search in the form of a list containing links and excerpts. Some of the most popular search engines are Google, Bing and AOL. The search engine uses algorithms to determine which links/websites to bring up in the list of results, and in what order.
  • Algorithm: I’ll give you the Dictionary.com definition- a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, however for search engines their exact set of rules, or procedure for determining what sites will appear in the results first is kept secret… and always changing.
  • SERP: “Search Engine Results Page” is the page of results displayed by search engines, when you type a word or phrase in the “search bar.”


How It All Works

  • Keyword Research: is the process by which an individual assesses what keywords or phrases best describe a website. For example; when I’m doing “keyword research” I look at a particular page and ask myself “what a person would type into a search engine when looking for that particular business or for the information that is given on a particular webpage.”


  • Google Ranking: This the the rank (number position) you or your business holds, in the search results page (aka SERP) in any given Search Engine like “Google, AOL, Yahoo, Bing, or Ask” for your business name, or a particular word or phrase, like “attorney at law,” “carpet cleaning” or “supermarket.” 


  • Google Trust: Google Trust or Google TrustRank is a term that describes a process currently used by Google and other search engines, (that was initially created by Yahoo and Stanford engineers,) to oppose the use of WEB SPAM. Essentially it assesses “trust signals” which are indicators of whether or not the links and content listed on any particular site are legitimate and valuable. There is actually a patent for this system that ranks websites, according to their level of TRUST.

Search Result Ranking Based on Trust

More SEO Terms and Definitions

  • On Page SEO: are the things you implement on each of the webpages of your website to improve your Google Ranking, such as incorporating keywords and phrases into the meta titles, meta descriptions and content of your website, without KEYWORD STUFFING. The use of legitimate internal and external links, original high quality content with good “readability” and improving the internal linking structure are all examples of on page SEO that will lead to improving your Google Ranking.
  • Hyperlink: also simply referred to as “links” is basically a URL embedded into a word, phrase, image or document that leads to another webpage. They are most commonly highlighted in BLUE, but don’t have to be. Hyperlinks can be either Internal Links (linking to another page on the same website and improving your Internal Linking Structure) or External Links (linking to a webpage on a different website.)
  • Internal Linking Structure: an internal link connects a word, phrase, picture or document through a hyperlink to a different page, on the same website. This structure helps a user navigate through the website.
  • Functionality:  a websites functionality is determined by the difficulty or ease that a person has in navigating through the various pages of that website, and finding the information that they wish to obtain. 
  • KeyWord Stuffing: is the practice of using keywords in an overzealous manner in order to gain an unfair advantage in search results, and traffic people to a website without really offering content that applies to those keywords. The process of implementing keywords really is an art, and proper use of keywords is greatly beneficial to getting hits on your site, however keyword stuffing is counterproductive, and can actually hurt your ranking. 
  • Off Page SEO: also called “off site SEO” are the practices that you implement outside of your own website to help your Google Ranking on any given search engine result page (aka SERPS) such as Backlinks, Social Media Marketing, Guest Blogging, & Brand OR Services Mentions.
  • Backlinks: also called “inbound links” are links that are posted on a website other than your own, or on a social media platform that link back to your website, like when someone is mentioning you, your product, or your business and wishes to direct people to you from their website or social media profile. It is one of the things that greatly improves the value of your website, and your Google Ranking. 
  • Link Building: also referred to as a “Link Building Campaign” is in essence a big part of online marketing. It’s setting goals and having a strategy, then implementing practices that get external links (aka clicks/hits) back to your website, by marketing your “assets” such as content, data, products, people, or services. This is done in many ways, such as posting an excerpt of a blog post, or an offer of some kind on social media. When a person clicks the link and goes to your site, that is an external link. It’s also accomplished when another website mentions your product, content or services, and has a link on their website or social media, that directs people to your website. Connecting with “Online Influencers” to get “Mentions” is very effective for Link Building. 
  • Black Hat SEO: Black Hat SEO is a term used to describe SEO practices that are considered unethical or shady. These practices may help you gain initially, but can eventually cause a lot of harm, or even get your website completely banned from all search engines. 
  • White Hat SEO: in contrast to Black Hat SEO, White Hat SEO is used to describe practices that conform to all the reputable practices of SEO that you are encouraged to use by Google. In order to stay informed, I recommend reading SEO blogs, including the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. 
  • Meta Titles: also referred to as Title Tag is simply the title of that webpage, found on the top, in the browsers title bar in the form of HTML. From a user standpoint, it is simply a name tag for the page. 
  • Meta Description: is a short description of a webpage in a snippet of about 155 characters, that is used by search engines. It summarizes the content of the page, and is sometimes shown in search results, when the searched for word or phrase is included in the meta description. 

What’s Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.

feedback from our keyword research blog postA few weeks ago, when we wrote a blog post about the importance of keyword research, it generated some interesting feedback. One surprising email came from Helen Stark, Marketing manager at Ahrefs. For those of you who don’t know, Ahrefs has one of best suites of SEO tools that help us Advanced SEO Specialist serve our clients. At PushLeads, we frequently use Ahrefs to do some amazing SEO Antics such as doing as comparing competitors with their Domain Comparison tool, finding excellent Search Phrases to rank for with their Keyword Research tool, and finding Content ideas with the Content Explorer.

Great stuff! So, Helen emails us, thanking us for the blog post. “Liked your approach to sorting keywords into groups,” was her fabulous compliment. We thoroughly enjoyed such attention!
“Flattery will get you everywhere” is the quote we had in mind.

Ahrefs Keyword Research Guide

our keyword research blog post generates feedbackHelen continues, explaining they’ve put together a “one size fits all” keyword research guide. The guide covers:

  • Step by Step: A step-by-step process of keyword research, from collecting seed keywords to grouping & prioritizing
  • Videos: 2 videos on competitive keyword research and some creative ways of getting high-potential keyword ideas
  • Recommendations: discover important keyword metrics to look at (keyword difficulty, clicks, traffic potential, etc).

We’ve read the guide a few times ourselves and are quite impressed! Like we recommend, they suggest starting out with strong seed keywords, finding out what you already ranking for, and really understanding keyword metrics. However, be warned, this keyword research guide isn’t for the faint of heart. For one thing, it’s some 4,500 words long and references quite a few advanced SEO tactics and strategies.

Want to Learn More?

So if you want to learn more about how this works you can call me directly at 828-348-7686, or go to pushleads.com where you can do an SEO audit, and we’ll find out how strong your website is for a particular search phrase.

I’m Jeremy Ashburn with Push Leads, thanks.

What’s Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.

Keyword Research Matters

Why Keyword Research is Important for SEOAs a SEO Specialist, one of the things that I’m always talking about with my clients is the importance of proper keyword research. If you haven’t heard of the term, just think of keywords as search phrases in Google. To Google and other search engines, keywords are really the foundation of a website. Search Engines view keywords as the basic building blocks that sites a built upon. And, picking the right keywords actually matter. While doing SEO work, I’ve actually discovered that the eventual failure or success of a website depends on how well one picks and uses keywords.

So, what’s the right way to do keyword research? Simply follow these Five steps and you’ll have success:

How to Do Keyword Research

Step #1: Make a List

The best way to do this is to brainstorm potential ideas in a Word document. Simply open a new document and start typing out a general list of words or phrases that are important. As you start doing this, don’t be too choosy or selective. Let whatever idea you have flow out of you and write out any idea or topic that comes to mind. In the future, we’ll trim down the list into something that makes total sense.

Step #2: Come up With Topic Ideas

Now that we have a good list going, next we need to expand these keyword ideas into overall topics. At the bottom of your document, make a topics heading and look at your keyword list above to come up with overall topic ideas.

  • For Companies who Sell Services: If you own a service company, one of the best ways to come up with topic ideas is to write out the services that you business offers. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business and also do tile cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and window washing, you’ll want to write out each of these as topic ideas.
  • For Companies who Sell Products: If your business sells products, think of the overall niches that your audience has. For example, if your business sells health products, write out overall ideas that match your niche.

Step #3: Use a Keyword Research Tool

Now that we have a list of topics, next we need to use a Keyword Research Tool to get specific keywords from our ideas. While there are a variety of tools that do the job, we’ve found that these tools do the best job:

  • Moz Keyword Explorer: this tool works great for finding a variety of keywords in a variety of different industries.
  • Google Adwords Keyword Planner: this tool helps you find keyword ideas as well as finding local traffic for specific searches.

Step #4: Make a List

As you find keywords, it’s important to start organizing your keywords into 3 different lists:
  • Primary Keywords: these are keywords that you absolutely would like to rank in Google.
  • Secondary Keywords: these are searches that you’ve like to rank in Google but aren’t as critical as Primary Keywords.
  • Tertiary Keywords: keywords that you’ve like to rank for but it’s not as totally critical that you do.

Step #5: Narrow Down Your List

Without a doubt, it’s easy to find keywords but harder to decide if they are the right keywords. At this point, one of the best things to do is open up Google and search for keywords individually.  Look at the results closely, if the results include products or services that you’re offering, then you’re on track. Ideally, you want to choose buying keywords, keywords that describe exactly what the client does. By the time you are done with this step, you’ll have narrowed down your list with the best keywords at the top that describe exactly what your business does.

Here’s what we’ve learned about choosing keywords:

  • Singular vs Plural – if you choose keywords that are plural, they will rank for both singular and plural instances. For example, the keyword “Plumbing Company” will rank for both “Plumbing Company” and “Plumbing Companies.”
  • Closely Related Keywords – Keywords that are very similar to each other will both rank if you’re targeting one of these keywords. Example, if you choose to rank for “Plumbing Dallas TX” it will rank for both “Plumbing Companies in Dallas TX” and “Plumbers in Dallas TX.”
  • Choose The Best Keywords – If you’re not sure if the keyword is a good one or not, just search for in Google. If you see informational searches in the top half of the First page, you’re seeing an informational search, not a search containing buying keywords.

Step #6: Create a Plan for Targeting Keywords

Now that we have three lists, the next thing we need to do is decide which keywords that you’d like to focus on for the homepage and inner pages on your site.

  • Homepage: It’s a good idea to choose about Ten to Twenty keywords for use on the homepage.
  • Inner Pages: it’s best to focus on One to Three keywords for inner pages.

Step #7: Implement Your Plan

Woman working with laptop at coffee shop

Implementing the plan involves writing content for your homepage and inner pages that contain the keywords that you are targeting. For simplicity, focus on the homepage first then inner pages.

  • Headers: When writing content, it’s always best to use article headers that use the Primary Keywords within the content header. For example, if you’re keyword is “Plumbing Company” that a great headline would be “Why We’re an Expert Plumbing Company.” The article needs multiple headers seperating between every paragraph.
  • Keywords: As you write out the article, you’ll want to sprinkle keywords throughout it that occur naturally in the content and don’t appear to be forced or over used. The rule of thumb here is to use the Primary keywords more, Secondary keywords less, and Tertiary Keywords at least once each in the article. If you can’t find a way to grammatically place a keyword into a header or the article, don’t do it.


If you’ve done everything correctly, then you’ll end up with an awesome content on your homepage and inner pages that establish your brand, explain your products or services, and also start ranking in Google. If there’s anything that we can do at Pushleads to help, be sure to call us at 828-328-4777. Have fun!

What’s Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.