SEO Keywords Best Practices: Choosing The Right Number Of Keywords

September 24, 2014

Basecamp banner

In this SEO Basecamp post we answer the question.

How many keywords should I focus on in my SEO campaign?

Base Camp Training How many Keywords Should I Focus On With SEO

Being ranked for a variety of keywords will be appealing to business owners. I’m sure many would like to think that no matter what term a potential customer is using in their search, their business will appear in the search results for that term and they will be found. However, as is often true, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality when it comes to returning on investment for SEO.

This is because of the way search engine users use their results. Research completed by suggests that as much as 50% of traffic goes to the top entry in the results, over 20% look at least one site in the top 4, but less than 10% of users go beyond the first page and first 10 results.

Average click through rate for top 10 positions in Google search results, according to Moz.

Average click through rate for top 10 positions in Google search results, according to Moz.

In other words, ranking highly (i.e the top 5) for one keyphrase will pay more than ranking several times on the second or third page.

Ranking for some keyphrases is harder than others, due to the amount and strength of competing websites, so a company that attempts ranking in lots of key phrases will be spreading their resources thinly.

A quality Search Engine Optimisation provider conducting SEO keywords best practices will begin by conducting in-depth keyword research to determine the highest value keywords for a campaign. This involves assessing potential keyword phrases for the four attributes of a valuable keyword; low competition, high traffic, high commercial value and high relevance.

Once high-value keywords have been identified, a quality SEO company will continue with just a limited set of high-value phrases, and focuses on getting top rankings before moving onto another set. This means a faster return on investment in the short-term, and in the long term, the client will rank in high positions for many more phrases, helping them build a dominance of their market.

When an SEO provider chooses to optimise for a limited number of phrases, a sign of quality is that they will use variations of the keyphrase in their content. Google’s semantic search technology is smart enough to recognise keyword variations, and may rank the target website for other related keywords even if they have not been implicitly targeted on the website.

Using keyword variations is essential for fluid, natural sounding content and to ensure a website remains on the theme and well written.

Keywords for SEO

The right approach to keyword targeting

The correct approach is to target a small number of keyword themes, each containing several keywords grouped around a closely related topic. This will ensure your site remains easy to understand, well-written and gives your website the highest chances of ranking for your most relevant business terms. For example;-

If you are a creative agency offering 2 main services of advertising and branding then your keyword themes might look as follows;


  • Branding company
  • Branding agency
  • Brand agencies
  • Best branding company

etc., etc.


  • Ad agency
  • Ad agencies
  • Creative ad agency
  • Advertising company

etc., etc.

So that the search engines can easily understand what you do, and therefore what to rank you for, you should focus on a narrow set of keywords with the aim of owning those terms in the minds of consumers and search engines.


When it comes to keyword targeting if you cast your net too wide you risk spreading your SEO resources thin and becoming a mish-mash of topics that make the search engines job of understanding your website (and what to rank you far) difficult.

Best results will come when you focus on a limited number of keyword themes containing a keyword that are related closely.

We offer SEO packages targeting 2, 3, 5 and 10 keyword themes. Check out our SEO packages here.

Join 16,343+ subscribers and get access to proven SEO tips.

Includes exclusive strategies not found on the blog.
James Reynolds

About the author: James Reynolds is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines.

How to Find Any Email Address: The Complete List of Tactics (2017 Edition)

34 Experts Share Their No.1 (Actionable) Local SEO Tip

16 SEO Experiments That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO (Forever)