Keyword List Building

Keyword lists aren’t as important to SEO as they used to be, but they are still a very important piece to your website. If you’re operating a business and managing a website, then you need to start thinking about the language you use to describe the business you conduct: 1) for your customers to understand your product or services, and 2) for search engines to understand the full reach of your business.

Google, and other search engines, do not just count the times you place a keyword on your website (those days are over). It’s much more intelligent. The release of algorithm updates over the past few years show that keywords are still important for categorizing your site, but placement is more important than volume. Keyword phrases help direct search engines by telling them specifics of what you do and offer so make sure you say it!

Keyword List Building Tools

1) Moz Pro (subscription) – Moz Pro is my favorite tool for analyzing keyword phrases. The Keyword Explorer allows you to analyze the “Potential” of a keyword by looking at the Volume, Difficulty (competition), and Opportunity (SERP noise). It displays the information is a very user friendly way. They also offer a host of other SEO tools and I highly recommend Moz.

moz keyword explorer dashboard

2) Google & Bing Keyword Planner

You need an Adwords or a Bing Ads account to use these, but they are helpful for viewing competition, search volume, and getting new ideas for keywords. You can also get an idea of what it will cost you if you want to advertise for that keyword. Keyword Planners have a lot of settings that can narrow down your search so don’t forget to use location and search match type variations.

keyword planner financial services example

3) SpyFu (subscription) – SpyFu uses your competition to generate keyword ideas and it’s a useful place to start if you’re having trouble getting started. You can run a free search and poke around, after that it’s subscription based.


4) Wux Webtools – Keyword Combination Tool – This free keyword combination tool is great. I use it mainly for PPC ad campaigns but it’s helpful generating combinations of keywords. Think of each column like a vertical or category. This is very helpful when used with Moz Pro.

wux keyword list tool

5) Google Trends

Originally part of Google Labs, Google Trends is a keyword tool that shows search volume over time. I find it particularly helpful in building keyword lists of words that are trending up, or by doing comparison searches for volume.

google trends financial services example


These keyword list building tools work best when used together. Sometimes it’s a tradeoff — volume vs. opportunity vs. trends vs. what makes the most sense for your business vs. placement on the website. Remember to always build your keyword lists with the end user in mind. You can’t game the system anymore, but you can help yourself out by positioning yourself for clearer communication by building these lists, so start thinking in language that matters for your customers.

keywords on a printing press
rocket pixelated icon image

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