How to Start Building a Dynamite Keyword List: A Beginner Guide

Thinking of building a keyword list? Our recommendation – do it! Without a quality keyword list, your campaign might be doomed from the start. You may as well be taking a stab in the dark with what works and what doesn’t, which only wastes your time and efforts.

If you can understand what makes a good keyword list and how to create one, you can increase your chances of obtaining traffic and converting it into leads and customers.

Ready to get started? We’re here to show you how to optimize and advertise using popular keywords and phrases that are a good fit for your website and brand.

In this article we’ll cover:

Why Should You Create a Keyword List?

There are many reasons to build a list of keywords for your digital content. One of the primary reasons includes the fact that building a keyword seed list will ensure that you are able to find niches and keywords that are not commonly used by others.

Unfortunately, if you just go ahead and implement the most commonly used keywords in your industry you will find that there is a ton of competition, making it harder to rank for these keywords. By discovering and using niche keywords you can actually rank higher in the SERPs and gain more traffic, and that’s where the beauty of a quality keyword list comes into effect. 

In addition to helping you discover niche keywords, developing a keyword list has the following advantages:

  •   Helps to guide you in creating an editorial calendar and with the direction of your content
  •   Establishes a timeline for content creation e.g. how much time you’ll need to spend on one topic
  •   Helps you discover new, related keyword groups that you may not have thought of and, in turn, new ideas for content

Now that you know why it’s important to create a list of keywords you’re probably wondering the biggest question of all – how? 

How to Create a Keyword List in 5 Easy Steps

keyword list novice guide

Not sure how to go about creating a list of keywords? These steps will help you get started with creating a dynamite keyword list!

1.  Brainstorm terms relevant to your business

Start by sitting down and creating a list of the keywords you see as being associated with your business. Write down everything! The more the merrier when it comes to brainstorming. At a later time these terms can be refined but, for now, just add as many as you can think of!

This will form the basis for your keyword list so be sure to exhaust yourself with any and all potential ideas for keywords that have to do with your industry, your business and its unique value proposition.

2. Research terms that are commonly used by your target audience

In order to complete this step, it’s important that you understand who your target audience is – their likes, dislikes, needs and pain points. With this information in mind, do some research into what types of terms and phrases they are using to find content and keywords related to your business.

Keyword research is a crucial component of building an effective keyword list. Read our complete beginner’s guide to Keyword Research for the full ins-and-outs of this pivotal SEO process.

3. Take a look at other sites

Examine top ranked sites and competitors’ sites to discover which keywords they are focusing on. You’ll need some relevant keywords to start but once you have a few you can search them in Google to come across the most competitive sites. 

From there, take a look at the meta data on each of their pages (i.e. title and description tags) to get ideas for relevant keywords you can use! Do the same for competitors’ sites to add even more to your list!

4. Find the most searched for keywords
keyword list best practices
Google's Keyword Planner is a free resource that'll help with generating ideas for a great keyword list. (

For this step you’ll need some awesome tools to help you discover new and related keywords!

Here are some of the best tools to use to discover new and related keywords:

  • Google’s Keyword Planner – search specific keywords to find new ones or use the “website content” option to find keywords based on your site’s content
  • Ahrefs – discover new keywords, traffic estimates and how difficult a keyword will be to rank for
  • SEMrush – examine related keywords and their traffic levels
  • Google Search Console – discover which queries drive the most clicks to your website, page rankings for specific queries and more
  •  Google search bar – begin typing in a keyword to see what pops up in the autofill feature! This can help you discover new longtail keywords and phrases to use

In order to find the most searched for keywords for your keyword list, you need to know how to analyze them. To understand what search intent, keyword type and keyword lengths all mean, check out our tutorial on how to properly perform keyword analysis.

5. Filter your keyword list

Now, with your long list of potential keywords, you’ll need to sort and filter through them to find the most useful and worthwhile. Compare traffic potentials, competition/difficulty to rank for and how relevant each is to your business. From there, select the best options then further organize them into groups of related terms (so you can build your content groupings based on that).

Not too sure what makes a good keyword? Here are some tips on what to look for.

What to Look for in a Keyword For Your Keyword List

keyword list beginners guide

While you don’t want to choose keywords that have too little traffic, high volume keywords aren’t always the best either! Some keywords may have large monthly search volumes, but the opportunity is actually low because the competition level is so high. What you need is something in the middle. Look for lower-volume terms, as they can pose as opportunities to rank quickly and start earning traffic.

Here’s some opportunities to watch for:

High-opportunity keywords

  •   Long-tail or body keywords
  •   Informational, commercial, or transactional intent
  •   Low competition
  •   Medium to high search volume

Medium-opportunity keywords

  •   Body keywords
  •   Informational or commercial intent
  •   Medium competition
  •   Low to medium search volume

Low-opportunity keywords

  •   Head keywords
  •   Informational or navigational intent
  •   High competition
  •   Medium search volume

Keyword List Research Report

Once your keyword research process is complete and you’ve decided on the keywords that’ll be the most beneficial to focus on, you should collate a detailed report based on your findings. Include an executive summary of the findings. 

Include recommendations for keyword phrases to optimize your site and content for, any supporting data and analysis and your suggestions for the next steps.

As an example, your keyword report may include the following: 

  • Executive summary 
  • Key takeaways and recommendations for next steps
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • What, where and why the keywords in your list are effective
  • Your complete keyword list, sorted by topic/category

Key Takeaways on Creating a Keyword List

Creating a keyword list is a must in order to find relevant keywords that will actually bring traffic to your site.

Create an effective keyword list by:

  •   Brainstorming keywords based on your knowledge
  •   Researching the terms commonly used by your target audience
  •   Examining related sites
  •   Using keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMrush
  •   Sorting through your list to find the most valuable keywords

Your best bet for a valuable keyword – longtail keywords with low competition and medium to high search volume.

There you have it – now you’re ready to start creating amazing content and ads based on your keyword list research!

Written By Vincent Lee

The Managing Editor at Advesa, Vincent is a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, a lover of cats, and a purveyor of fine roasted matcha teas. When not writing, he enjoys exercising and biking around his beautiful hometown of Vancouver. He is also a strong supporter of the oxford comma.