Seed keywords are short keywords consisting of one or two words. They typically lack the modifiers that create long-tail keywords. For example, ‘parenting tips’ can be considered a seed keyword, while ‘parenting tips for single mums’ would be a long-tail keyword.
Effective keyword research begins with seed words. Each seed word can turn up dozens of long tail keywords that you can rank for on Google.
In this article I’ll show you two techniques for finding seed words.
What Are Seed Words?
Seed words are primary keywords, also known as ‘head keywords’ or ‘main keywords’.
They typically consist of just one or two words.
One characteristic of seed words is that they have not been qualified by a modifier.
In the screen shot below Google Auto Suggest has added various modifiers to the seed word ‘copywriting’:
You can also think of seed keywords as ‘focus topics’ – they are the main topics within a given niche.
For example, if your niche was weight loss, your seed keywords might be ‘recipes’, ‘diets’, ‘fitness’, and ‘lifestyle’.
If you run an online business, your seed keywords will usually be your website’s products and services.
Any niche will typically have a number of seed words, depending on how broad the niche is.
Why Do You Need Seed Words?
But first of all, why do you need seed words?
There are various reasons.
One of the ways to rank higher in the search engines is to increase the topical authority of your website.
Through machine learning and latent semantic indexing, search engines are increasingly able to understand context. And that in turn helps them get an idea of what the main topics are in any given niche.
This means that search engines can measure the topical authority of a website. And when search engines perceive that your website has authority on a certain topic, any web pages you have on that topic will tend to rank higher.
A website that covers all the main topics within a niche has high topical authority. But a website that has gaps in its coverage of the niche, has lower topical authority. So your content needs to cover your niche as thoroughly as possible.
And to do that, you need to have a comprehensive list of the seed words that that belong to your niche.
Keyword grouping is the process of organizing keywords into groups of semantically-related keywords. It’s an important part of SEO because it helps you create content that is authoritative for the topic you are writing about.
But in order to do effective keyword grouping, you first need a list of seed words.
Blog Post Ideation
When you have a comprehensive list of seed words for your niche, ‘blog post ideation’ (a fancy word for coming up with ideas for your next blog post) becomes much easier.
Whenever you’re stuck for a topic for your next blog post, just take one of your seed words and type it into Google and then look at Google’s Auto Suggest variations: those are long-tail keyword phrases that make excellent topics for blog posts.
In the remainder of this article I’ll show you two techniques I use for finding seeds words in my niche.
Two Techniques for Finding Seed Keywords
Here are two techniques I have used to identify seed keywords within my niche.
#1 – Extract Seed Keywords From Headings and Subheadings
Seed keywords are very often subtopics within a topic. And that’s why this technique works so well.
In this technique, we’re going to extract the headings and subheadings of published articles that cover a topic in depth. Those headings and subheadings contain the seed words for that topic.
– Install SEO Minion Chrome Extension
The first thing to do is install a Chrome Extension called SEO Minion.
This is a free tool that helps with various SEO tasks such as On-Page SEO Analysis and checking webpages for broken links. But we’re going to be using it to extract headers and sub-headers from web pages.
With SEO Minion installed, go to Google and type in a high-level keyword that describes a topic within your niche. For this example, I’m going to use the topic ‘email marketing’.
Next, click on the first result in the SERPs. Then click on the Minion icon in your toolbar, and then click on ‘Analyze On-Page SEO’:
A new tab will open and you’ll see a list of the headings in that web page:
Click on the download button and those headings will be saved to a CSV file on your hard drive.
– Import the Data Into Google Sheets
Next, go to Google Sheets and open a new document.
Select the top-left cell in the spreadsheet:
Then go to File > Import and import the CSV you just downloaded:
On the next screen, change ‘Replace Spreadsheet’ to ‘Append to current sheet’:
Now select an empty cell beneath the imported records and repeat the steps above for the next web page in the search results.
Follow the same steps for the top 5 results in the SERPs.
– Sort the Data and Eliminate Duplicates
Next, create a new column and enter a ‘Yes’ or ‘y’ for every heading that’s relevant. Once you’ve done that, you can sort the whole table and discard the rows you don’t want.
And with that done, you can then sort the column that contains the headings. Remove any duplicate headings and then create a new column adjacent to the headings column.
Label this new column ‘topics’. Now extract the relevant keyword from the ‘headings’ column and place it in the ‘topics’ column:
You now have a comprehensive list of topics for your main keyword.
Each of those topics is a seed word you can use to generate long-tail keywords.
– Find Subtopics Within the Topics
You now need to take the process one step further and look for the subtopics within the topics you just discovered.
Take the topic ‘list building’ (one of the topics under ‘email marketing’), for example.
Go back to Google and type in ‘guide to list building’.
Then go through the same steps outlined above: click on each of the top 5 pages that rank on Google for that keyword and extract the headings and subheadings into a Google spreadsheet.
Here are the subtopics for ‘list building’ that I managed to extract using the same process outlined above:
#2 – Extract Seed Keywords From Blog Post Titles
In this technique, we’re going to extract 10 seed words from 10 blogs within your niche.
Here’s how it works:
– Take 10 Blogs Within Your Niche
Make a list of 10 competitor blogs within your niche
In my case this list might contain the following blogs:
- Successful Blogging
- Blog Tyrant
- Blogging Wizard
- Jeff Bullas
- Neil Patel
– Choose 10 Articles From Each Site
Then visit each blog site and look at the titles of the 10 most recent blog posts.
Most bloggers know the importance of including keywords in their blog titles so each of these 10 blog titles should contain a keyword or keyword phrase.
These are the seed keywords you’re looking for!
Extract these seed words from each of the 10 blog titles and note them down under the name of the blog.
Do this for each of the 10 blog sites that you identified for your niche.
When you’ve completed this exercise, you should have something that looks like this:
– Place the Seed Words in a Mind Map
Now go to your favourite mind map software and enter these 100 seed keywords. I use Simple Mind, which is free. You can download it from here.
When you’ve finished, your mind map will look something like this:
– Organise Your Seed Words By Topic
Now you need to sort the seed keywords into categories.
To do this, create 10 to 20 upper-level topics and start grouping your 100 focus topics under these 10 to 20 categories.
You’ll end up with something that looks like this:
This is the map of your niche territory.
– Convert Your Mind Map into a Word document
Now export your mind map as a text file and then save the text file as a Word document.
You’ll now have a document containing about 100 seed keywords divided amongst 10 to 20 upper-level categories:
You can use this document in two ways:
- Use the main categories to make sure there are no gaps in your content strategy. The topical authority of your website will depend on the degree to which you’ve covered all the main topics within your niche.
- Use the seed keywords to find long tail keywords
- SERP: Seed Keywords
- Moz: Finding Seed Keywords
Compiling a comprehensive list of seed keywords for your niche is a vital part of your content strategy.
It will give you ideas for new blog post topics and help you research new long tail keywords.
But more importantly, having a comprehensive list of seed keywords will help you improve your topical authority by ensuring that there are no gaps in your content.
More Articles About Keyword Research
- How To Use Keyword Modifiers To Rank on Google
- What Is a Focus Keyword – 7 Tips For Better SEO
- How To Find Long Tail Keywords Using Free & Paid Tools
- How To Rank for Multiple Keywords and Triple Your Traffic
- 21 Types of Keywords in SEO & How To Use Them
- What Are Stop Words In SEO – Everything You Need To Know
- High Intent Keywords – What They Are & How To Use Them
- The Keyword Golden Ratio: The Secret To Ranking on Google
- How To Use ‘People Also Ask’ (PAA) For Better SEO
- What Are LSI Keywords & How To Use Them To Rank Higher
- What Is Keyword Research – A Guide For Beginners (2022)
- What Is Keyword Grouping & How Does It Help With SEO?
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25 thoughts on “How to Find Seed Keywords for Better SEO (2 Simple Methods)”
Wow, Rob, this is a fantastic article. Thanks for taking the time to create and share it.
Ramsey over at Blog Tyrant shared it on Twitter…so glad I clicked it!
I’ve been lucky to have a great specialty niche and have built up great organic traffic the last decade for my websites (I’m a resume writer and LinkedIn profile writer). But things are constantly evolving, the algorithm and search engine gods never sleep – so nothing can be taken for granted in terms of reach, ranking and how the competition evolves.
I’m more of a pantser and on the fly creator, and that formula has worked well for me (e.g. more instinctively knowing the content and keywords to use and getting a good rank and resonance to back me up). However, your very concrete data mining, mindmapping and transformation suggestions I’d never considered before –and I’ve never seen it explained quite this clearly and appealingly before.
It seems extremely powerful!
I will be adding it to my SEO to-do list (the kind of to-do lists that all pantsers maintain 🙂 )
keep up the great work!
Hey Astrid, thanks so much for your feedback! And thanks to Ramsay for tweeting my article 🙂 I’m a bit of a mind map freak so I love mapping things out. But the main reason I wrote the post is there don’t seem to be any articles on systematically mapping out the seed words for a given niche. One thing I should point out is that in the example I’ve given, the niche is very broadly defined. For some people, each of those ‘focus topics’ would be a niche in itself (e.g. email marketing, SEO). I’m so glad the article was helpful 🙂
How mind map works it not clear to me,please write something about it . Your images are not working today. Please make them visible.
Thanks for your question.
I’m sorry you weren’t able to see the images in my article. I just checked the article and it’s working fine at this end.
I found a video on how to use the Simple Mind mind map software: How to Create Simple Mind Maps
I hope it helps.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for your reply. Your post help me very much.
Please explain what is topical relevancy. It’s not clear to me. Several times I have read the post. But this topical relevancy is not clear to me.
Topical relevancy, or topic relevance, is a metric used by search engines to measure how relevant the backlinks are that point to a given page.
The use of topical relevance by search engines makes it difficult for ‘black hat’ operators to game search engine algorithms. This is because search engine algorithms expect to find backlinks from pages that are on the same topic as the page they point to. It’s difficult for ‘black hat’ operators to achieve this.
In fact, the only way to ensure that the backlinks pointing to your page are topically relevant is if you are a genuine authority on that topic and people who also write on that topic are linking to your content.
To clarify an important distinction: topical relevance refers to the relevance of backlinks whereas topical authority refers to the relevance of content itself.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for your reply. Your reply finally open my eyes. Excellent contribution.
Hello sir ! I am a new blogger but I have face many problems. I have a mobile and creat blog. it’s a very easy but no view in my site .How we can find the best way of keyword research?
Your site and every articles is veryusefull .
Thanks for your question.
The best way to do keyword research is to find long tail keywords (keywords containing 3 or more words) with low competition. You need a keyword research tool that shows you (a) the Google Page #1 search results for that keyword and (b) the key metrics for each of the ranked pages. If there is a page in those results that has a domain authority (DA) close to your DA, then you have a good chance of ranking on Page #1 for that keyword.
You may find these articles of mine useful:
Using the KWFinder Tool To Get On Page #1
How To Do Keyword Research with SEMrush – 2 Simple Techniques
I hope this helps,
Hello, I am a new user to your blog and I really find this article very helpful and Informative . Thank you for sharing such a wonderful Information.
Your site seems really helpful and supportive for digital marketers.
Hi Priyanka, thanks for your feedback. I’m glad the article was helpful. All the best, Rob.
Hey Rob! thanks for sharing this highly useful blog post. I followed every step of it and ended up with more seedwords than i bargained for 🙂
Except the mindmap software part. I skipped that for now -didn’t have the software. I’ve found a free and opensource mindmap software called freemap. i’ll try it out.
I’ll arrange the keywords under my categories. Then use answerthepublic or soovle to get nice logtail keywords for each.
Thanks for the tips.
I’m so glad to hear that you used the technique and it worked for you. Awesome!
By the way, the mind map software I mentioned in the article has a free version (fully functional).
Answer The Public and Soovle are both great sources for LTKs.
All the best 🙂
fantastic job answering each and every comment patiently. Not many do this.
Quick question for you.
Apart from blogs, whatever you have indicated holds true for websites too correct? I am reworking my website with extremely limited Digital marketing knowledge.
Hoping you put me on the right track.
Thanks for your feedback and your question.
In general, that’s correct. Product pages can rank well for very specific product-related keywords (e.g. ‘excel training in Goa’ or ‘Canon EOS 200D Single Kit with EF-S’). Blog posts are good for targeting more general keywords. I see that you have a blog attached to your website, which is great. So you would be able to rank for both product pages and blog posts.
I hope this answers your question.
First, thanks for your helpful article. Especially for a newbie like me.
I have a question, please reply to help me understand better
I searched for the seed keyword in the first 10 topics of Successful Blogging blog but why not find the same 10 keywords like below in your article?
1. Blog Design Tips
3.Blog Traffic From Instagram
4. Branding Your Blog
5. Finding the Right Domain
6. Email Marketing
7. Blog Post Ideas
8. Writing Blog Posts
9. Promoting Your Blog Post
10. List Building
If possible please carefully analyze the process of finding these 10 keywords.
I have read many posts on your blog.
Really helpful, thank you for such quality posts
I have a question for you
I am newbie, I look forward to setting up a website.
So, what articles do I need to read first? Please list the articles I need to learn to be able to create my website right from the first steps.
Thanks for your question.
These are the articles I recommend you read if you are starting out:
For setting up your blog:
How To Find a Blogging Niche in 2019 – The Beginner’s Guide
The Best Blog Names Use These 19 Tried and Tested Formulas
How to Install WordPress on Blue Host in 7 Easy Steps
Blog Tutorial; How To Setup Your Own Blog and Start Blogging
For blogging strategy in your first year:
How Blogging Works – the Complete Beginner’s Guide
Blogging 101 – 17 Tips For First Year Bloggers
19 Experts Reveal Their Top Tips For First Year Bloggers
How To Write Your First Blog Post – The Complete Guide
How To Find Seed Keywords In Your Niche & Increase Topical Authority
How To Succeed In Your First Year of Blogging
Hope this helps 🙂
Thanks for your question.
I extracted those 10 seed words from blog post titles on successfulblogging.com.
The process I used was to simply find 10 blog post titles on that website. I then identified the keyword in each title. Those keywords are the ‘seed words’ that I use to find long tail keywords.
I’ve made a video about seed words that you may find helpful: https://vimeo.com/343404466/f75780c0cc
Hope this answers your question.
Thank you so much for your answer.
It was really helpful to me
Hopefully, in the process of building a blog, I will get help from you.
You’re most welcome, Jonhny. All the best with your blog! – Rob
I have another question about your blog.
Currently, what theme does your blog use?
What plugins are you using for this blog?
I am building a website in the field of baby,
So which theme should I use accordingly?
Sure, no problems. I use Magazine Pro (by Studio Press) on the Genesis Framework. The plugins I use are shown in this screenshot:
Thank you for the very detailed reply.
Thanks and Best Regards,
Comments are closed.