What are Seed Keywords?

The foundation of good, solid keyword research can be found in seed keywords.

Done well, it can help you find the correct mixture of short and long-tail keywords that form the basis of an SEO strategy.

Here, we’ll cover all the important areas surrounding seed keywords from what they are to how to find them (and the right ones), and how to generate long tail terms from it.

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What are Seed Keywords?

Seed keywords are the terms and phrases that can be used as the initial starting point for wider keyword research.

Often, they are short terms that immediately spring to mind when you think about your business and the industry in which you operate. They’ll usually be terms that are one or two words long and very high in search volume and keyword difficulty.

You’re not necessarily looking to rank for these seed terms, usually, because the intent behind them isn’t purchase or inquiry-led, they are just the spark for your keyword research.

Words like ‘marketing’, ‘coffee’, and ‘technology’ are all examples of seed keywords.

As you can see, they give you a rough idea of what your content will cover.

Why are they important?

While they’re not the be-all and end-all, seed keywords are significant first steps in understanding the topics your website will be covering with content.

Nail seed keywords and you can be assured that you’re going to be writing about content that is:

  • Relevant to your industry, meaning you can write about it from a position of authority
  • Going to attract people with purchasing intent

It is an efficient method too. By using just a few seed keywords you can find hundreds if not thousands of topics that are relevant to your industry and that can be written about.

Four ways to find seed phrases

Right, so we know what they are, but how do we find them?

Thankfully, there are loads of ways to find the right terms in ways that suit you, no matter how much organic SEO knowledge you possess.

1. Take from what you know: Brainstorm industry topics

The first and easiest way to find those all-important seed keywords is to brainstorm. You know your business and the industry in which it operates better than most.

Think about the products, services, and topics that you bring up in conversations when chatting with colleagues and other people in the industry. Chances are, all these will be seed keywords.

If you sell bikes, for instance, chances are ‘mountain bikes’ and ‘road bikes’ will be key terms.

There are loads of SEO tools available to you (some of which are free) that you can use to expand on those terms to find the more niche, high-purchase intent keywords you want to rank for.

2. Look at the search engine results page

Another quick, free way to find keywords is to look at the search engine results page.

Think of a product or service you sell, type it into Google Search and check out the title tags and meta descriptions of those that rank for it. Scroll to the bottom of the SERP to find the ‘People also search’ box which will usually have a dozen or so related terms.

For longer tail keywords and greater insights into the questions people are asking, look for the People Also Ask (PAA) section of the SERP. This is a rich area of information as it helps you to better understand the questions and problems those searching for topics you want to rank for, are having.

3. View forums, community hubs, and online chatter

Forums such as Reddit, Quora, and other community platforms are the online equivalent of having your ear to the ground.

Few places describe your industry’s topics of conversation better than forums.

Let’s say you sell garden sheds, heading to Reddit and typing in ‘garden sheds’ will provide you with a massive list of industry sub-topics that can form your content marketing strategy as well as target keywords.

Terms from these platforms can then be examined through keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and Google Search Console to see if they are worth targeting with more expansive content.

4. Visit competitor websites for inspiration

You know who your competitors are so why not head to their sites and see what content they’re writing about? From blogs to service pages, if they’re writing about it, chances are you should be writing about it too.

This method is very potent for eCommerce businesses that have several product pages. These top-level pages can be used as the seed keyword which will allow you to write various pieces of content around it.

Selecting the right seed terms

All these methods are effective, whether they are used together or just on their own.

Some keyword lists may come more naturally to you than others and it’s important to trust your gut, as well as looking at the data, when it comes to selecting the terms to target.

After finding the seed terms, evaluate all the phrases that have come from there based on:

  • Intent
  • Search volume
  • Seasonality
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Length of phrase

And, before you know it, you’ll have a fantastic range of terms to target with experienced, authoritative content.

How to generate long tail keywords from seed keywords

To become an authority on a topic writing content about it is still one of the most effective ways to rank well for a term.

By creating long-form content that covers all the nuances and sub-topics of one bigger topic, Google will begin to see you as a site, therefore brand, that knows what they’re talking about and can thus offer a better, more trusted service than a competitor who hasn’t gone to the efforts you have to educate customers.

You should see your seed keyword(s) as the main topic and from that are the long tail keywords that you can write about in depth. This creates what’s called a ‘content cluster’ and is an increasingly effective method of displaying authority online.

For example, let’s say you sell coffee. Your typical seed key terms will be ‘coffee’, ‘coffee grounds’, and ‘coffee machine’. From this will be dozens of sub-topics that you can write about, such as:

  • What is the best coffee machine for my house?
  • How is coffee turned into coffee grounds?
  • What are coffee grounds?
  • How much is a coffee machine?

This process of topic clustering applies to virtually every industry and is a process that can be started by discovering those keywords.

Plant the seed and watch your content grow

If you’re struggling to find terms to target then discovering those seed keywords is a great first step.

For more on search engine optimisation and keywords, and their benefit to your business, contact us today or check out the additional resources below.

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