The Definitive Guide to Choosing Keywords for Maximum ROI

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Keyword research is an essential element in developing and implementing an effective SEO campaign. Every SEO professional does, but few truly understand how to choose keywords beyond selecting keywords with low competition and high search volume. This guide will look at how to select keywords that deliver ROI – not just traffic.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Keyword research is NOT easy. Yes, there are dozens of different keyword research tools that can provide accurate and compelling data. Still, it’s how that data is used that will truly determine the efficacy of an SEO Sydney campaign. Therefore, this post is designed to go beyond the raw metrics of keyword research and address the unspoken metrics that will help you choose keywords that deliver a significant return on your investment.

To be clear, this guide has been developed for SEO professionals with an established understanding of the fundamentals of keyword research. However, if you are looking for a primary keyword selection guide, you can find such information on the SEMrush and MOZ blogs.

Before you begin keyword research, you want to start with a large data set that can be used to whittle down your keywords based on the below data.

  1. Gather Cost Per Click Data

Every SEO tool worth it’s salt will provide CPC data (cost per click) invaluable in selecting the right keywords.

CPC data is essential for one simple reason. If SEM marketing professionals are not investing money to appear for a particular keyword, it means that there is little or no commercial intent attached to it. We want to focus on keywords with CPC data to support their viability as a keyword that will generate an ROI.

Keywords with a cost per click of less than 50c are not worth tackling in your SEO campaign. Generally speaking, if the CPC is that low, no transaction or conversion is attached to the keyword.

  1. Build on Your Current Rankings

For an established business, focussing on your current rankings and building on the rankings you already have is a great way to supplement long-term goals with short-term wins. For example, moving a keyword from page 3 of Google to page 1 is much easier than driving a brand new keyword (ranking position 200+) to page one of Google.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t target high competition, high-value keywords. Instead, you should select a diverse range of keywords grouped into short, medium, and long-term keyword goals.

Here is a helpful ranking key chart that Safari SEO London developed to help choose keywords to target in the short, medium, and long term.

Position 2 – 4: Short term ranking goal

Position: 5 – 10: Medium-term ranking goal

Position: 11 – 30: Long term ranking goal

Position: 31 – 100: Reach ranking goal

  1. Focus on Intent, Not Search Volume

Perhaps SEO professionals’ biggest mistake when selecting SEO keywords is neglecting keyword intent in favor of keyword search volume. Yes, the high-volume search terms may be a good way to dramatically increase website impressions and website clicks. However, the most important thing to consider is; “Will this keyword result in a call, lead, or sale?”.

  1. Chase The Easy Wins

Yes, it is good to have long-term goals when it comes to SEO. However, don’t neglect the low-hanging fruit that is hanging right in front of your nose. One of the most common mistakes we see is agencies targeting high-volume, high-competition search terms and neglecting ones that can rank based on their existing website strength.

Short and medium keyword goals based on low-medium search volume are a highly effective way to provide leads in the short term while working away at long-term keyword goals.


Many marketers mistakenly believe that exposure is the most crucial element in delivering an effective search engine optimization campaign. However, movements prioritizing appearing in front of as many people as possible will consistently outperform SEO marketers who focus on attracting qualified visitors.

The Definitive Guide to Choosing Keywords for Maximum ROI

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