9 Simple Ways to Build a Strong Keyword List


Without exception, every copywriting job I’ve ever accepted where I have to provide copy for a website or landing page involved building a keyword list.

In most cases, this process begins by asking your client what words and phrases their customers would key into a search engine when looking for the product or service.

But as the marketing professional, you need to go beyond that and do your own homework. Yes, it’s tempting to go straight to the software tools designed to generate keywords, but it’s a temptation you want to avoid — at least initially. For one thing, it’s not always the easiest way to begin collecting keywords.

If you start by going directly to the software route, you’ll be missing some of the best methods for starting a comprehensive keyword list, which are found in your everyday environment.

Now let’s take a look at some of these no-cost, easy methods…

1) Think like your customer — Do the customers speak the same language as your client when it comes to the industry you’re writing about? Chances are, they don’t.

Customers generally aren’t interested in catchphrases and industry jargon. They tend to use plain language to describe what they want in any product or service.

One of the best ways to discover the terms they use when talking about the product or service is to pick up the phone and call one or two customers or prospects. Simply ask them what words they would use to find the product or service. You could also conduct a simple email survey using a service like Survey Monkey.

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.


  • very helpful article! i’m just starting out with freelance copy and really need to work on my SEO/keyword research skills. this was a great place to start!

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