August 27, 2021

Keywords are probably the most important and most complicated part of SEO. There’s so much to keywords that we decided to do a whole separate article about them. We’re going to go over what a keyword is, how to find good ones, and how you should use them. When used properly, keywords will get more eyes on your store and more customers buying products.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a word or phrase that someone puts into a search bar. You use keywords within your site so that you can appear on search pages about that specific topic.

Using our example from our SEO overview, let’s say someone searches for cool mugs. “Cool mugs” would be the keyword and would cause results to pop up about cool mugs.

Keywords are the #1 best way to improve your SEO.

How to Find Good SEO Keywords

woman holding a black tablet with a google search on it

Now that you know how important keywords are, you’re ready to jump right in… but you can’t.

First, you have to figure out what keywords work for you and your store. You can’t just pick whatever sounds good, research needs to be done.

Search Volume

Think about how many people are using certain keywords to look something up, that’s called search volume. The more people are using one, like “cool mugs,” the wider audience you have. If no one is using one, like “flashy black cool mugs,” then why do all the work of including it into your site?

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords tend to be vague, fewer words, and have higher competition. Because they’re vague they offer a wider audience, but more competition. Usually, big companies are the ones that rank for these kinds of keywords, so it may not be a good idea to focus on this type until you’ve developed a following.

An example of a short-tail keyword would be “cool mugs.” See how it doesn’t state what kind of mug is cool? How there’s no price indicator?

Because it’s so general, it will bring up thousands of results and it will be difficult for you to get to the top. We’re not saying you can’t do it, just maybe have short-tail keywords be a goal you work up to.

image of a google search result for cool mugs, "About 67,100,000 results (0.61 seconds) is highlighted in yellow

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords tend to be more specific phrases found in the “long tail” of a search volume graph. They don’t have a lot of competition, but they tend to not have a big audience either.

Long-tail keywords are a good place to start because building up SEO and an audience will take time. It’s good to start out with long-tail keywords to create a solid foundation to build off of. The use of these words will also increase the chance of someone actually buying from you instead of browsing.

Still using mugs as an example, “cool video game character mugs cheap,” “brightly-colored mugs for cat lovers,” and “discounted superhero mugs for kids” are all long-tail keywords. They’re specific and straight to the point and have less competition.

image of a google search for brightly-colored mugs for cat lovers, "About 13,900,000 results (0.74 seconds)" is highlighted in yellow


It’s also important to keep in mind the wider the audience, the more competition comes with it. That’s why it’s especially important to use keywords specific to your business.

Don’t be afraid to check out the competition to see what kind of content they’re making. Try to find something they’re missing that you can write yourself. While getting inspired by others is okay, do not copy them.

The more you can do that’s different from the rest, the easier it will be to stand out.


Make sure your keywords are relevant to your business. No one wants to click on a link thinking they’ll see mugs only to go to a page that’s all about math. Search engines don’t like when you trick users either. So think long and hard about what suits you before you start diving in.

Think About Who Your Audience is

If you don’t know already, knowing your audience is essential to business in general, but especially for SEO.

Ask yourself questions like

  • What products do they want?
  • How do they phrase things?
  • Are there problems I can solve for them?
  • Who else are they buying from?
  • Are there any seasonal trends I can use?

Once you have a list of keyword ideas you can use keyword tools (see below) to figure out what you should keep and what you should get rid of.

How to Use Keywords

There are many ways to use keywords including the right and wrong way. We’ll first start with the proper places to put keywords in your content.

Title Tags

The title tag isn’t your page’s title, instead, it’s what appears on the SERP. The length of a title tag is usually around 55 to 60 characters.

It’s important you use the keyword here because this is what a user will see in search results. We’ve circled the title tag in red.

image of a google search for cool mugs a link to Amazon is circled in red and Etsy's description: "Check out our cool mugs selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces for our mugs shops" is circled in yellow

Meta Descriptions

The meta description is what appears under your title tag in a SERP. Making a quick and intriguing summary of your content is what will get people to click.

We’ve circled the meta description in yellow.


Using keywords naturally within your content is key for good SEO. Search engines can tell if you’re placing them wherever.


Try to have your keyword in at least one header.

Alt Attributes

Creating an alternative description of the images you use is not only good for accessibility but good for SEO. If you’re able to fit your keyword in naturally, then do so.

You can even use a keyword to name your image as another way to get it in.

Keyword Stuffing

The worst way you can use keywords is keyword stuffing. This means shoving your keywords everywhere unnaturally. Search engines can figure out what you’re doing and will punish you for it.

It also makes for a terrible reading experience so people will leave your site immediately.

Great Tools to Use

Technology is so wonderful. People have created a variety of tools for keywords. Here are some of our favorites.

a variety of tools scattered on a wooden surface
  • WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool: That’s right, it’s free. It will help you find different keywords for your business.
  • Ubersuggest: A tool created by Neil Patel, a well-known SEO expert. It will help with not only keywords but SEO in general. There’s a free version that has limits and a paid version with no limits.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer: A free tool to research keywords.
  • Google Trends: This is a surprisingly helpful tool for keyword research. See what’s trending and if you can ride any of the waves.
  • Answer the Public: This tool can show all the different ways people in specific areas of the world phrase things. There’s a free version and a pro version.


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