Choosing the Right Terms to Rank #1 on Google

SEO Keyword Rankings: Choosing the Right Terms to Rank #1 on Google

Chances are, you want more traffic to come to your website. After all, more traffic means you’ll boost your business revenue, right?

Not necessarily.

You see, more traffic’s all well and good, but there’s no guarantee it will lead to a revenue increase. In fact, if you draw the wrong kind of traffic, your revenue could stall since you’re not getting your content in front of the right people.

Instead, focus on getting better quality traffic. One way to do this is prioritizing ranking well for high intent keywords.

Why? Consider this: the number one Google search result for a given query has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7 percent. It gets 10 times more clicks than the page in spot number ten.

Where would you rather be if you’re trying to grow your business: spot one or ten?

I think we all know the answer.

With this in mind, here’s how keyword ranking for SEO works and how to choose the right keywords for your content.

What Is Keyword Ranking in SEO?

A “keyword” in SEO refers to a word or phrase someone enters into a search engine like Google or Bing. Ideally, the search engine will show results that match what the user is looking for. Your “keyword ranking” refers to your position in the search results for a given search query.

Here are some basics about keywords:

  • The average keyword gets roughly 989 searches per month.
  • Around 14.1 percent of keyword searches involve a question.
  • Keywords vary in length but the average is 1.9 words long.

Say you sell electric hand mixers, and you write a product category page for your products. Think about what keywords people enter into Google to find your product. For example, they might search something like “buy electric hand mixer.”

SEO Keyword Rankings - Google Search Query for Electric Hand Mixer

As I mentioned, your keyword ranking is the spot your page occupies in the list of Google search results. In this case, All Recipes ranks above Homes and Gardens, and so on.

SEO, or “search engine optimization,” means optimizing your content using the right keywords to improve your page ranking. Let’s check out why this is important.

Why Are SEO Keyword Rankings Important?

Organic searches drive traffic; in fact, recent data suggests that at least 53 percent of traffic comes from organic search queries.

If you want to capture this traffic, then you need to elevate your SEO keyword rankings.

However, as I’ve already mentioned, you’re not trying to draw just any traffic. If you want to grow your brand, you need traffic that converts.

You want that coveted number one spot for the keywords most likely to boost your business. To snag those spots, you need to be strategic about the keywords you choose and how you use them in your digital marketing campaign. Let me walk you through the process.

Data Points to Consider When Selecting SEO Keywords

Choosing the right keywords to grow your Google keyword rankings is not easy, I know. To make the process easier, here are some general data points to consider before choosing your keywords.

Search Volume

Search volume means how many times users search for a given keyword within a certain period. The search volume reveals a keyword’s popularity and competitiveness.

The higher the search volume, the greater the risk you’ll have low-quality traffic.

On the flip side, focusing only on very low-volume keywords could mean you don’t receive enough traffic to drive conversions. Keep in mind only 50 percent of Google searches result in clicks.


The cost-per-click or CPC is how much you pay when someone clicks on paid ads. You choose keywords to bid on and decide the maximum amount you’ll pay to bid for clicks. Even if you’re not using paid ads, this can highlight opportunities.

If CPC is high, that means it’s more likely to convert (since brands are willing to spend more to be shown for those terms.)

If CPC is low, it might mean organic traffic converts low or that it’s not as competitive.

Average CPC varies by industry. For example, keywords related to the travel industry have an average CPC of $1.40. Attorney and legal services keywords have an average CPC of $8.67. Check out your industry’s CPC benchmarks to help you determine what CPC rate is considered high and low for your industry.

If you do plan to invest in paid ads, keep this in mind:

  • high bids might not see a great ROI
  • low bids might not get enough exposure for your ads

SEO Difficulty

SEO difficulty scores reflect how challenging it is to rank for a certain keyword.

The lower the difficulty, the easier it is to rank for the keyword, but it could mean there’s a low search volume.

A high SEO difficulty score means there’s heavy competition for the keyword, so you might struggle to rank against large competitors. Creating higher quality content can help you outrank your competitors, however.

Paid Difficulty

Paid difficulty refers to how easy or hard it is to rank for a keyword in paid search results.

A high difficulty means you’ll pay more to rank for the keyword.

Low-difficulty keywords are easier to rank for, but they may not be worth paying for.

How to Choose Keywords That Can Get You the Top Spot in Google Keyword Rankings

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s how to proceed if you’re hunting for high-quality keywords for your digital marketing goals.

1. Research and Compile a List of Topics to Cover

First, you need content ideas, so find out what matters to your audience. Research what type of questions they’re asking and what they need help with so you can deliver the answers they need.

Check out online platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Answer the Public. Reddit, for example, has over 50 million active daily users, so it’s a good starting point for researching questions.

Look for common questions across a few platforms. Common questions suggest it’s an “in-demand” topic that your audience cares about.

Make a list of topics to cover based on your findings. Keep a note of the questions themselves, because they might make good keywords later.

2. Plug Your Target Topics Into a Tool Like Ubersuggest

Once you have some topics in mind, you need some keyword ideas. That’s where tools like Ubersuggest come in handy.

Ubersuggest shows you the most profitable keywords for your topics so you’ll know where to focus your efforts. You can see which keywords your competitors rank for, so you can learn from their strategy and outrank them.

Once you have content up and running, you can perform regular SEO audits to identify performance issues.

With over 50,000 users, Ubersuggest is super easy to use. Say you want to write about inbound marketing. Type the phrase into Ubersuggest and click Search:

Ubersuggest for Improving SEO Keyword Rankings

From the main screen, you can then see how popular this keyword is and view some related keywords. You can also check out the “Content Ideas” section to help you craft an article based on popular competitors’ content:

SEO Keyword Rankings - Find Content Ideas With Ubersuggest

3. Drill Down Into the Data to Find the Best Keywords for Your Topics

Now you have keyword ideas and maybe even some content inspiration. How do you find the right keywords for your topics?

Again, Ubersuggest can help. The “Keyword Overview” section reveals your chosen keyword’s CPC, search volume, and difficulty score:

SEO Keyword Rankings - Find Best Keywords for Your Topics With Ubersuggest

You can add this keyword to your research list by clicking “Add to List” and choosing “Add to Keyword List.” Then, scroll down to “Keyword Ideas” to view related keywords:

How to Choose Keywords That Can Get You the Top Spot in Google Keyword Rankings - Use Ubersuggest

There are no “right” keywords to choose from; however, you might opt for a mixture of keyword types like questions, comparisons, and short phrases to boost variety and, in turn, your chances of ranking #1 for a keyword.

Add a variety of keywords to your list and compare the data, and once you’re happy with your keywords, you can get started on your content!

Bonus Keyword Ranking SEO Tips and Best Practices

If you want to maximize your shot at a #1 ranking, here are five practical tips for boosting your Google keyword rankings.

1. Optimize for Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are answer boxes that appear at the top of a “SERP” or search engine results page. Here’s an example:

SEO Keyword Rankings.- Optimize for Featured Snippets

According to research by SEMRush and Brado, at least 19 percent of SERPs have a featured snippet and they take the #1 spot almost 100 percent of the time. This means, as featured snippets become more popular, they’re transforming SERPs…and you should know how to make them work for you.

From a keyword ranking SEO perspective, featured snippets are more common for question-based keywords (like the example above). Choose a long-tail or question-based keyword to write an authoritative answer for and you’ll boost your chances of featuring. Tools like Ubersuggest can help you select the right keyword.

2. Use the Primary Keyword Strategically

To get the most from your main or “primary” keyword, use it strategically around your website.

Always use the primary keyword in your page title to help Google understand what your page is about. You should also try to include your primary keyword and some keyword variations in subheadings as well.

It’s also best practices to try and use the primary keyword in the first paragraph of the page.

Finally, don’t overuse any keyword; otherwise, it could be considered keyword stuffing which can damage your Google SEO rankings.

3. Optimize Meta Descriptions

A meta description summarizes a page’s content. When optimized, it explains what your page is about which, in turn, could help generate better-targeted traffic.

For example, Google “Neil Patel.” My homepage appears. The meta description tells people about me, so they know what to expect when they visit my website:

SEO Keyword Rankings - Optimize Meta Descriptions

Here’s how to optimize your own meta descriptions:

  • use your primary keyword in the meta
  • include a CTA when you’re trying to sell the contents of the linked page (e.g., it’s for a training course)
  • keep meta descriptions under 160 characters

4. Streamline Your Page Speed

For the best conversion rates, your page should load within zero to four seconds, according to Portent’s research. They discovered that, from the five-second mark, conversion rates drop by up to 4.42 percent per second, and 78 percent of websites (i.e., your competitors) now have a load time of five seconds or less.

A slow loading time could increase your bounce rate which may damage your SEO, so streamline page performance where possible.

You can use page speed testing tools, like PageSpeed Insights, to analyze current page speeds. Just input your URL and click “Analyze” to get started:

SEO Keyword Rankings- Streamline Your Page Speed

Then, make adjustments, such as compressing images, deleting unnecessary plugins, and caching pages to reduce load time. Check your page speeds again and compare the results.

5. Use Anchor Text With Keywords

Anchor text is clickable text that takes a reader from one page to another. It should provide some context for what the linked page is about.

Google recommends using no more than a few words for anchor text. As for what text to use, according to research by The HOTH, around 50 percent of your inner page anchor text should contain keyword variations.

Try to use different keyword variations for anchor text within your inner pages to avoid keyword stuffing and don’t compromise readability by forcing your keywords to match exactly. Keep any URL anchors short and concise.

Frequently Asked Questions About SEO Keyword Rankings

What is the difference between paid and organic SEO keyword rankings?

Organic searches mean using SEO effectively to improve your Google keyword ranking and search page position. Paid searches mean choosing keywords you pay display ads for.

How do I check my SEO keyword ranking?

You can use various SEO tools to check your keyword ranking such as Google Search Console, or you could easily track your rankings through your Ubersuggest dashboard.

What are the top Google keyword ranking factors for SEO keywords?

The main Google keyword ranking factors include search intent, search volume, quality of the content, number of backlinks, domain authority, and page loading speed.

What tools should I use to find SEO keywords for my website?

There are many tools you can use, including Ubersuggest, Google Trends, and Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. You might find it helpful to try a few tools for the most comprehensive analysis.

What is a good SEO keyword difficulty score

Start with keywords with relatively low SEO difficulty scores, but don’t want to ignore more competitive keywords completely.

Conclusion: SEO Keyword Rankings

If you want to rank number one in a Google search, your keyword ranking for SEO matters. Otherwise, while you might gain traffic, you won’t draw the visitors most likely to convert to paying customers.

No one wants to lose revenue just because they choose the wrong keywords or their content is stuck on page three. Give the SEO keyword tools I’ve suggested a try and if you need any extra help, don’t hesitate to check out my consulting services.

Did these keyword ranking SEO tips help you? Let me know!

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