SEO Glossary / Secondary Keywords

Secondary Keywords

What are Secondary Keywords?

Secondary keywords are any keywords closely related to the primary search term that you’re targeting with your page. These can include synonyms, subtopics, and long-tail keyword variations.

Including these related keywords in the subheaders and body text of your page helps cover every major facet of a topic and aids Google in understanding what your page is about.

Why are Secondary Keywords Important?

Considering secondary keywords allows content creators to cover the topic thoroughly, thereby meeting readers’ expectations.

When your page is published and indexed, these secondary keywords increase the chances of ranking for hundreds or even thousands of different keywords, not just the primary one.

Studies have shown that the average number of keywords for a top page on Google is around 1,000.

In SEO, focusing on a primary search term alone is like having just one reel in the water. Adding secondary keywords is like having dozens of reels in the water, increasing the likelihood of catching something. Sometimes, a secondary keyword might even turn out to be more valuable for ranking.

How to Find Secondary Keywords

There are several effective methods for finding secondary keywords to target for a given topic. Let’s look at three useful techniques using "coffee cup" as our primary search term.

1. Run Your Topic Through Content Optimization Tools

Using a content optimization tool can help identify secondary keywords related to your primary search term. Popular tools include Surfer, Clearscope, MarketMuse, and Page Optimizer Pro.

These tools often suggest how many times a secondary keyword should appear on your page. While it's helpful, it's best to use these suggestions as a guide and write naturally.

2. Check the Organic Keywords of the Top-Ranking Pages

Another method is to analyze the top-ranking pages for your chosen topic and see what other terms they rank for.

For example, searching for “coffee cup” on Google and using Ranktracker SEO Toolbar will show you important SEO metrics under the search results. Look for pages with the maximum number of organic keywords.

By clicking on the number of organic keywords, you can view the Organic Keywords report in Site Explorer. This report shows all keywords the page is ranking for, including secondary keywords such as:

  • crate and barrel coffee mugs
  • unique coffee mugs
  • cool mugs
  • rounded mugs
  • fancy mug

This approach can reveal valuable secondary keywords you might not have considered.

3. Use Keywords Explorer

Keywords Explorer is another effective tool for finding secondary keywords. Enter your primary search term and check the “Keywords Ideas” section for a variety of suggestions:

  • Matching terms: Keywords containing your seed keyword, including questions.
  • Related terms: Similar ranking keywords and frequently used keywords.
  • Search suggestions: Keywords from autocomplete.

For example, the “Matching terms” mode shows 46k suggestions for the term “coffee mugs.”

Select the best secondary keywords from these suggestions and incorporate them into your content strategically.

By following these methods, you can effectively find and utilize secondary keywords to enhance your content and improve your SEO performance.