SEO Glossary / Primary Keyword

Primary Keyword

What is a Primary Keyword?

A primary keyword, also known as a focus or main keyword, is the main term or phrase a webpage is expected to rank for in search engine results. In other words, a primary keyword is the main keyword a page is optimized for. Typically, a primary keyword has a high search volume and can potentially bring a considerable amount of organic search traffic.

Primary vs. Secondary Keywords

While a primary keyword is the main focus, secondary keywords are words and phrases that fine-tune your content, adding context, value, and depth. They are related to the search intent and support the primary keyword. Secondary keywords usually have lower search volumes but collectively contribute to driving organic traffic.

For example:

  • Primary Keyword: Affiliate Marketing
  • Secondary Keywords: Affiliate marketing for beginners, what is affiliate marketing, how to become an affiliate marketer

Why Are Primary Keywords Important?

High Search Volume

Primary keywords are important because they have the highest search volume within a given cluster of keywords. Optimizing for primary keywords helps capture the most traffic related to that topic.

Clear Signal to Search Engines

Using a primary keyword signals to search engines what the main topic of the page is, helping them understand and rank your content appropriately.

Seed for Keyword Research

Primary keywords often serve as seed keywords during the keyword research process, helping identify related keywords and topics.

How to Find Primary Keywords?

1. Reverse-Engineer Competitors' Content

Analyzing your competitors’ top-performing pages can reveal primary keywords worth targeting. Use competitor research tools like Ranktracker's Site Explorer to identify keywords where your competitors rank well.

2. Use the “Parent Topic” in Keyword Research Tools

In SEO, a “parent topic” is the overarching theme or category that a keyword falls under. Tools like Ranktracker’s Keywords Explorer can help identify the parent topic, ensuring you choose the most impactful primary keyword.

How to Target Primary Keywords?

Once you’ve identified the primary keyword, optimize your page using on-page SEO best practices:

  1. URL Optimization: Include the primary keyword in the URL (e.g.,
  2. Title Tag: Incorporate the primary keyword in the title tag.
  3. H1 Tag: Place the primary keyword at the beginning of the H1 tag.
  4. Content Introduction: Use the primary keyword in the first few sentences or the first paragraph.
  5. Subheadings and Body Text: Use secondary keywords in subheadings and body text.

Ensure your content is written naturally for human readers to maintain readability and engagement.


What are secondary keywords?

Secondary keywords are closely related terms or phrases that support the primary keyword. They include long-tail keywords, synonyms, and variations of the primary search terms.

How many primary keywords can I target with one page?

Aim to target one primary keyword per page. Use secondary keywords to cover related subtopics and enhance the depth of your content.


Primary keywords play a crucial role in SEO by driving significant organic traffic and helping search engines understand the main topic of your page. By effectively identifying and targeting primary keywords, you can optimize your content for better search engine rankings and improved user engagement.