How to Build a Keyword Strategy [Free Template]

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Building a key phrase technique is the method of deciding what key phrases to focus on and prioritize in natural search.

There are some ways to do it, however all strategies just about boil all the way down to discovering key phrases that: 

  1. Potential clients are trying to find.
  2. Have worth for your online business.
  3. Are inside your wheelhouse to rank for.
The best keywords have traffic, business, and ranking potential

Let’s undergo how to do that in 4 easy steps.

1. Find key phrases with site visitors potential

There’s no level in focusing on key phrases that no person sorts into Google as a result of they received’t ship you site visitors even in case you rank #1. So step one is to seek out key phrases that potential clients are trying to find.

Let’s take a look at a few methods to do this.

A. See which of your rivals’ pages get essentially the most site visitors

If your competitor will get loads of natural site visitors to a web page, the key phrase they’re focusing on will need to have site visitors potential. And as a result of they’re a competitor, such key phrases are most likely ones your clients are trying to find too.

Here’s learn how to discover which of your rivals’ pages get essentially the most search site visitors: 

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter a competitor’s area
  3. Go to the Top pages report

For instance, if you’re searching for key phrases for a web-based pc elements retailer, it’s possible you’ll enter In the report, you’ll see its high pages by estimated natural site visitors and the key phrase sending essentially the most site visitors to every web page.

Top pages by estimated organic search traffic for, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer


If you see loads of model mentions within the “Top keyword” column, filter out key phrases containing these phrases. 

Excluding branded keyword in the Organic keywords report in Site Explorer

Make a word of any that your clients might also be trying to find. 

Here are a couple of for our hypothetical pc elements retailer:

Examples of keywords with traffic potential

Note that we didn’t spotlight “gaming desk” or “gaming pc” as a result of our retailer sells pc elements, not equipment or ready-built computer systems. There’s no level in focusing on these key phrases, because the individuals trying to find them aren’t our clients.

B. Use a key phrase analysis instrument

Keyword analysis instruments are large key phrase databases that you would be able to search and filter. 

Here’s learn how to use our key phrase instrument to seek out key phrases with site visitors potential:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a couple of broad key phrases associated to your web site (these are generally known as your “seeds”)
  3. Go to the Matching phrases report
  4. Filter for key phrases with Traffic Potential (TP)

For instance, for a pc elements retailer, you’ll be able to enter seed key phrases like computer, pc, computer systems, motherboard, motherboards, amd, and intel. Then you’ll filter the Matching phrases report for key phrases with Traffic Potential.

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer


Traffic Potential is the estimated month-to-month natural search site visitors to the top-ranking web page for a key phrase. It tends to be a extra dependable estimate of a key phrase’s true site visitors potential than search quantity as a result of pages are likely to rank for a lot of key phrases, not only one. Learn extra right here. 

Now it’s only a case of eyeballing the report for key phrases potential clients are trying to find.

Examples of keywords customers of a computer parts store would be searching for

2. Check their worth for your online business

Each key phrase your potential clients are trying to find has some worth for your online business. But some have extra worth than others.

Take these three key phrases, for instance:

  • graphics card” – Searchers are purchasing round. They’re nowhere close to able to purchase. 
  • b550 vs x570 motherboard” Searchers have carried out some purchasing round and narrowed down their choices. They’re virtually able to purchase. 
  • amd ryzen 5 3600” – Searchers have determined what they need. They’re able to purchase. 

Given that a few of these searchers are nearer to purchasing a pc half than others, some key phrases arguably have extra “business potential” for a pc elements retailer. These are those you must prioritize in your key phrase technique.

Here’s a fast cheat sheet for scoring the “business potential” of key phrases:

How to score a keyword's business potential


This relies on the scoring system we got here up with when assessing key phrases for our weblog. Read extra about this in our information to key phrase analysis.

Just take into account that the best way you rating a key phrase might differ from how another person scores it. It depends upon how helpful it’s for your enterprise. For instance, in case you don’t promote the “amd ryzen 5 3600,” that key phrase has a “business potential” rating of 0 for you—not 3.

3. Check rating issue

Keywords differ in rating issue for numerous causes. This doesn’t imply you must keep away from these which can be tougher to rank for than others, nevertheless it’s essential to take rating issue under consideration when constructing your key phrase technique.

Here are 4 issues we suggest you take a look at to evaluate rating issue:


Backlinks are certainly one of Google’s high rating elements. The extra high-quality backlinks the present top-ranking pages have, the tougher it’ll be to compete with them. 

For a tough concept of what number of backlinks you’ll have to crack the highest 10, verify the Keyword Difficulty (KD) rating in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. This relies on the variety of hyperlinks to the top-ranking pages.

Example of a keyword with medium keyword difficulty in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

For a extra thorough evaluation, scroll to the SERP overview and verify the “Domains” column to see the variety of linking web sites to every web page. 

Linking domains to the top-ranking pages for "micro atx case"

Just take into account that these numbers solely let you know the amount of hyperlinks to every web page. To perceive hyperlink high quality, you’ll should evaluate every web page’s backlink profile. You can get to this by clicking on the quantity within the “Backlinks” column. 

Backlinks report for one of the top-ranking pages for "micro atx case," via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Learn extra: How to Do a Basic Backlink Audit


Many SEOs imagine that in style web sites have a neater time rating on Google. For that motive, most take a web site authority metric like Domain Rating (DR) under consideration when assessing a key phrase’s rating issue. 

Google representatives have stated many times that Google doesn’t consider a web site’s authority. But there are a few methods the so-called authority of a web site might not directly contribute to rankings.

  1. Internal hyperlinks – High-DR websites are likely to have extra high-authority pages, and inside hyperlinks from these pages might assist different pages to rank increased.
  2. Familiar manufacturers – Searchers probably need to see family names for some queries. If that’s not you, you might have a tougher time rating. 

If you’re within the camp that thinks Google takes web site authority under consideration or simply need to err on the protected aspect, verify the top-ranking pages’ DR scores in Keywords Explorer. If they’re all a lot increased than your web site’s DR, it’s possible you’ll need to prioritize different key phrases.

Domain Rating (DR) of the top-ranking sites for "3090 graphics card"


To discover your web site’s DR rating, enter your area into Site Explorer.

Domain Rating (DR) in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Search intent

People are searching for one thing particular once they search. This is named their search intent. As Google needs to provide searchers what they need, you’ll wrestle to rank for key phrases except you’ll be able to create content material that aligns with intent. 

For instance, individuals trying to find “backlink checker” are clearly searching for a free instrument. We know this as a result of all the top-ranking outcomes are free instruments.

People searching for "backlink checker" are looking for a free tool

To stand just about any probability of rating for this key phrase, you’ll have to create a free instrument. Unless you’ve gotten a backlink database like ours, that shall be virtually unattainable. 

For that motive, we suggest analyzing the top-ranking outcomes for the three Cs of search intent to determine a key phrase’s rating issue for you.

  1. Content kind – Are they weblog posts, touchdown pages, product pages, or one thing else?
  2. Content format – Are they listicles, how-tos, recipes, instruments, or one thing else?
  3. Content angle – Is there a dominant promoting level, like how straightforward it is?

Learn extra: What Is Search Intent? A Complete Guide for Beginners


If the top-ranking pages on your key phrase are top quality, it’ll take extra effort and time to compete. 

For instance, the oldsters rating #1 for “best air purifier” examined 47 air purifiers over eight years to make their advice. It’s going to price an terrible lot of time, effort, and cash to compete on content material high quality.

It would be hard to compete with the top-ranking page for "best air purifier" on content

Compare this to the highest outcomes for a lot of different queries that haven’t any background info on how suggestions have been chosen. It’ll probably be a lot simpler to beat these on content material high quality than the previous. 

Based in your evaluation of the 4 attributes above, you may give key phrases a “ranking potential” rating like so:

How to score a keyword's ranking potential

Creating a key phrase technique from this course of means combining all the pieces into one doc. You can use our free template for this. It’s a easy spreadsheet with the next knowledge factors and conditional formatting:

  • Keyword
  • Traffic Potential (TP)
  • Business Potential (BP)
  • Ranking Potential (RP)
Example keyword strategy

This technique doc permits you to see essentially the most promising key phrases at a look.

For instance, if we assess a couple of key phrases for our hypothetical pc elements retailer, the key phrase “amd ryzen 5 3600” has excessive TP, BP, and RP. So the row is all inexperienced.

Example of a good keyword to prioritize

On the opposite hand, “how to install ram on pc” has excessive TP however low BP and RP. So the row is usually crimson. 

Example of a not-so-good keyword

Your key phrase technique from right here is straightforward: prioritize focusing on key phrases with essentially the most site visitors, enterprise, and rating potential. 

Keep studying

If you need to study extra about discovering, prioritizing, and rating for key phrases, learn these:

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