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Keyword Basics Part 4: Targeting your primary and secondary keywords

Targeting your primary and secondary keywords by Wordtracker, the leading keywords tools

Once you've started researching your keywords you’ll probably find thousands that you could use on your site. As you'll most likely not have the time to target all of them, you should have a method for choosing the best ones. Owen Powis outlines his method.


A clear, well-organized site structure helps Google find your content and makes the navigation of your site easier for your customers. We discuss site structure in more detail in Keyword Mapping But here are some quick guidelines to consider when creating new pages:

  • Organize your pages into categories.
  • Each page should be targeting one keyword. Don’t target the same keyword on different pages.

That organization is your site structure. Always get your site structure right before you start creating content.

Find your keyword target

The keyword you target on each page will determine whether that page has the potential to attract traffic. That’s why keyword research is important: pages with well chosen keywords have more potential to attract traffic to your site.

Start by mapping one target keyword to one page. (Later, we’ll break that rule by targeting secondary keywords).

Before you choose which keyword to target, identify the main theme of the page in question.

The theme is the subject of your page, so write your content to reflect it. Google likes relevant content and directs users to relevant content, so there's no point using keywords which aren't relevant to your theme.

Choosing primary and secondary keywords

Using the Keyword tool

Let's look at an example of how to find your keyword targets using the main Keyword research tool within Wordtracker's Keywords tool.

I'll pretend I own a website which sells laptops and laptop accessories, such as laptop chargers. There are lots of different types of laptop chargers, so I've created a category within my site for laptop chargers. I want to find the best keywords for that category page.

Here’s how the site structure might look with just a couple of content pages. Each page is mapped against the theme or main purpose of that page

  • Level 1 represents the site’s home page: we’re targeting laptops.
  • Level 2 represents the site’s category pages: you can see laptop chargers is the first category in the list.
  • Level 3 represents the product page or sales page for each brand of charger.

When I run a broad search on  laptop chargers I see terms such as:

laptop chargers

toshiba laptop chargers

universal laptop chargers


Which are the best keywords to target for my page?

I can see right away from the above image that laptop chargers gets the highest volume of searches and as it's the main theme of my page it would be sensible to target this as my primary keyword. The Competition figure shows that there are lots of well-optimized sites competing for traffic from this keyword

If you’re starting a new site, it’s unlikely that you’ll get much traffic from such a competitive keyword, but you should still include the keyword in your site structure. Once your site becomes more established, you could start attracting traffic from these more popular terms.

(We look at how to use Wordtracker’s volume and competition figures to choose your keyword targets in Finding Keywords so we won’t cover that in detail here.)

Looking at the results in the list, there are lots of keywords that relate to specific brands of laptops. I’ll be targeting these terms on my product pages, so they’re not suitable for a category page. On the category pages I want to target keywords that are not brand specific, ie generic keywords.

My guess is that laptop batteries and chargers and universal laptop chargers are the best choices from the remaining keywords. This gives me a total of three terms that I will target on this page.

Primary keyword

  • Laptop chargers has the highest volume (it’s searched for more frequently) and is the head keyword. This will be my primary keyword.

Secondary keywords

  • Laptop batteries and chargers and Universal laptop chargers have lower volumes (they’re searched for less often). So, these will be my secondary keywords.

So, I've found my targets in the Keyword tool, and I’ll select them as shown on the right hand side of the image below.

Let’s look at another example. I am using the Keyword tool to find the best keywords for a page about buying mountain bikes. Here are the most popular keywords (those with the highest volume) within the group.

The screenshot shows the mountain bikes keyword niche. This is also the most popular (highest volume) keyword. So, I will take mountain bikes as my primary keyword.

In most circumstances the most popular keyword should be your primary keyword as it has the most potential to attract traffic.

You definitely want to choose one primary keyword, but you might also choose two secondary keywords. As in our previous example the keywords should be a close match to the content of the page and I'll not be including brand terms, as I will use these on my product pages. Looking at the remaining keywords, buy cheap mountain bikes is relevant and popular, as is discount mountain bikes. These will be my secondary keywords.

Keyword Basics

Here are links to the other seven articles in this series:

Keyword Basics Part 1: How search engines work

Keyword Basics Part 2: Finding keywords

Keyword Basics Part 3: Understanding a keyword's structure

Keyword Basics Part 5: How to narrow down your keyword list

Keyword Basics Part 6: Keyword mapping

Keyword Basics Part 7: Using keyword modifiers

Keyword Basics Part 8: Building keyword rich inbound links

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