How to Find & Use Secondary Keywords to Boost Your SEO Traffic

How to Find & Use Secondary Keywords to Boost Your SEO Traffic


To decide on the perfect key phrases in your search engine marketing technique, you need to know the way Google search works. One key half is to know the distinction between main key phrases and secondary key phrases.

search engine marketing key phrases now not work the identical manner they did in earlier years. 

As an alternative of merely selecting an inventory of key phrases and making a web page or piece of content material to focus on each, at this time you want a extra refined and nuanced key phrase technique. Which should align with the realities of semantic search, person intent, and trendy search engine marketing practices. 

Let’s discover out extra.

What Are Secondary Key phrases?

In your search engine marketing technique, secondary key phrases assist and complement the first key phrase to counterpoint your content material and broaden its attain. 

They’re typically synonyms or shut variations of the goal key phrase. They usually assist your content material rank for a wider vary of key phrases and carefully associated subtopics. 

By utilizing these thematically comparable phrases, each the reader and serps get a greater understanding of what particular subject material you’re overlaying. 

As their title implies, they’re secondary to the first or goal key phrase.

Necessary: The hallmark of a secondary key phrase is when the search outcomes are practically similar to those offered for the first key phrase. 

Like this:

"SERP Analysis" reports for "vegan recipes" and "vegan meal ideas"

The hyperlinks listed on the search engine outcomes pages (SERPs) are virtually similar. Google believes each searchers are on the lookout for info on the identical subject: vegan recipes. 

It wouldn’t make sense to focus on the first key phrase and the secondary key phrase with separate pages of content material. In reality, this might result in problems with duplicate content or keyword cannibalization. Which might truly damage your web site’s rankings. 

As an alternative, you’ll need to group them in a single piece of content material.

The preferred model of the time period (the one with the best search quantity) turns into your main key phrase. 

The much less standard variations with decrease search quantity are your secondary key phrases.

From the instance above, we might group these into two kinds of key phrases:

  • Main key phrase: Vegan recipes
  • Secondary key phrase: Vegan meal concepts

Utilizing this technique, you possibly can rank properly for the first key phrase and one or a number of secondary key phrases with a single webpage or article.

Why Are Secondary Key phrases Necessary for search engine marketing?

Secondary key phrases assist your content material rank increased for a larger variety of related search queries with out the necessity to create new pages or standalone content material. 

Spelling extra natural visitors, conversions, and income for your small business.

Secondary key phrases are essential due to semantic search.

Semantic search is how Google and different serps translate what you sort within the search field into a question they’ll perceive and match.

As an illustration, somebody on the lookout for vegan recipes may sort in any of the next search queries:

Google's SERP for "vegan meal ideas" and "vegan recipes I can make for my family on a Thursday night"

Behind the scenes, the search engine takes the phrases you sort into the field and figures out which pages include related content material.

They interpret the language and search intent. Then translate it right into a extra frequent subject or phrase. 

On this case, one thing like “vegan recipes.”

That’s why Google will return very comparable search outcomes for any of those queries. Understanding that the completely different searchers share the identical intent.

Together with secondary key phrases or variations can enhance your rankings for different variations of a search question.

What in the event you goal the first key phrase and ignore secondary key phrases?

You may rank very well for “vegan recipes.” However miss out on visitors from individuals trying to find “simple vegan recipes” and different variations. 

TL;DR: You’re hurting your total potential visitors to that web page.

Ideally, secondary key phrases ought to be a part of your fundamental key phrase analysis workflow.

This may make it a lot simpler to make use of secondary key phrases naturally when creating new content material or optimizing pages in your web site. 

Let’s stroll you thru how one can embody secondary key phrases in your key phrase analysis course of.

Begin by conducting key phrase analysis such as you usually would. We’ll use Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. Right here’s how:

On the left-hand navigation below “Key phrase Analysis,” click on “Key phrase Magic Instrument.”

Kind in a subject out of your content material advertising and marketing technique. Click on “Search.”

"vegan recipes" entered into the Keyword Magic Tool search bar

The key phrase analysis instrument will return an inventory of key phrase concepts and options based mostly on the subject you offered.

From the Key phrase Magic Instrument web page, scroll via the listing of key phrases. Choose these related to your content material technique and/or your small business. 

Add them to a key phrase listing by ticking the checkbox subsequent to every chosen key phrase. Adopted by clicking “Add to key phrase listing” > “Create new empty listing.”

Selecting keywords from Keyword Magic Tool's ideas list for "vegan recipes"

Kind within the title of your listing. Click on on the inexperienced examine mark. 

Keyword list named "vegan recipes"

Repeat the method till you’ve constructed an entire listing of key phrases for the subject. 

Now, group the key phrases collectively. And uncover which key phrases are main and that are secondary.

You may do that evaluation manually:

  • Conduct a seek for every of the key phrases in your listing
  • Cross-reference the outcomes for every question with all the different outcomes
  • Evaluate the SERPs to find out which key phrases returned the identical pages/listings 
  • Group collectively every of the key phrases that return overlapping outcomes
  • Repeat this course of for each key phrase, cross-referencing the outcomes for overlap
  • Compile a ultimate listing of main key phrases together with their related secondary key phrases

Fortunately, Keyword Manager performs this evaluation with a single click on. Comply with these steps:

When you’re finished along with your analysis, click on “Add to key phrase listing” once more. Then, click on “20/2,000” subsequent to the title of the listing you created. This may open your key phrase listing inside Key phrase Supervisor. 

“20/2,000” selected next to the "vegan recipes" list

Now, all you must do is click on the button that claims “Cluster this listing.”

“Cluster this list” button highlighted in the top right corner in Keyword Manager tool

Key phrase Supervisor will then carry out an evaluation of every key phrase and cross-reference them with each other. 

When it’s completed, merely click on the “Clusters” tab.

“Clusters” tab in Keyword Manager tool

Right here you possibly can see that it has clustered the listing of key phrases. On this case, it recommends a single key phrase cluster.

  • Main key phrase: Vegan recipes
  • Secondary key phrases: Vegan recipe, greatest vegan recipes, simple vegan recipes, vegan dinner recipes, vegan recipes for dinner, simple vegan dinner recipes

When writing the article about vegan recipes, use that very same content material to additionally goal every of the secondary key phrases listed.

We’ll focus on how to incorporate secondary keywords in a later part. 

What Secondary Key phrases To Add to Current Content material

You may as well additional optimize your current content material by including secondary key phrases. 

This optimization technique might help you rank higher for a larger variety of key phrases. Producing increased search visitors and growing conversion potential consequently.

Let’s say you have already got an article about vegan recipes in your web site. However you need to increase search visitors by getting it to rank for extra key phrases. 

Bounce straight into the Keyword Overview report in your main key phrase. Right here you’ll get secondary key phrase concepts with out having to start out the key phrase analysis course of from scratch.

Click on “Key phrase Overview” from the Semrush dashboard’s navigation bar. Kind the first key phrase you’re focusing on within the textual content field and click on “Search.”

"vegan recipes" entered into the Keyword Overview search bar

You’ll see the Key phrase Overview report in your main key phrase. 

Underneath “Key phrase Clusters,” click on the “View all clusters” button.

Keyword Overview report with "Keyword Clusters" section highlighted

Semrush will now carry out the identical cluster evaluation on the key phrase concepts offered within the report back to generate a clustered listing. This may take you to the Key phrase Supervisor.

Click on the “Clusters” tab. Then scroll all the way down to see the listing of key phrase clusters. 

Discover the cluster that reveals your main key phrase. Click on on the cluster to broaden and see the secondary key phrase suggestions. 

“Clusters” tab in Keyword Manager tool

You possibly can manually copy and paste this listing of key phrases to the place you’re working. Or, click on the checkbox subsequent to the cluster title. Then click on “Export” within the higher proper nook. 

With the listing of secondary key phrases in hand, you’re able to optimize your current content material.

Find out how to Incorporate Secondary Key phrases into Your Content material

When you’ve found the best secondary key phrases, you’ll need to add them to your new or current content material.


The reply could appear apparent. Merely incorporate every of the secondary key phrases at the least as soon as inside your textual content. 

A section of "40 Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes" article, with secondary keywords highlighted in text

Bear in mind: Secondary key phrases are often shut variations or synonyms of your goal key phrase. It ought to be fairly simple to edit situations of your main key phrase to indicate a secondary key phrase as an alternative. 

For instance:

“Take a look at these nice vegan recipes” turns into “Take a look at these nice vegan meal concepts.”

You may as well add the secondary key phrases to subheadings, picture alt text, and meta descriptions in the event that they make sense.

Maintain the reader in thoughts always with the beneath suggestions:

  • Concentrate on search intent: Keep in mind that this search is probably going half of a bigger journey for the person. Think about the question and the subject of the key phrase you’re focusing on. But additionally consider matters that shall be priceless as they discover additional.
  • Don’t over-optimize: Key phrase stuffing or spamming means overusing key phrases to attempt to enhance search engine marketing. It’s unhealthy follow that applies to each main and secondary key phrases. Don’t cram secondary key phrases into your article. Bear in mind, key phrase density just isn’t a rating issue.
  • Use key phrases naturally: Secondary key phrases ought to at all times improve the reader’s understanding. If you end up forcing the phrases right into a sentence or disrupting the content material’s studying move and comprehension, strive including them someplace else.
  • Think about context: Use secondary key phrases the place it is smart. As an illustration, it’s possible you’ll not need to use a synonym when introducing the definition of your goal time period. However you possibly can clarify that the time period in query is typically referred to in different methods. Enter secondary key phrases.
  • Bear in mind your main key phrase: Secondary key phrases are priceless, however keep on with your main key phrase in vital spots. Just like the title tag and headings, alongside frequent occurrences all through the article.

Right here’s how you should utilize the SEO Writing Assistant to replace your content material.

Click on “Content material Advertising” > “search engine marketing Writing Assistant” from the navigation. Then click on “Analyze new textual content.”

"SEO Writing Assistant" selected from the navigation

Paste your listing of main and secondary key phrases into the “Key phrases” textual content field on the best. Then click on “Get suggestions.”

"vegan recipes," "vegan meals," and "vegan dinners" entered into the "Keywords" text box in SEO Writing Assistant

The search engine marketing Writing Assistant will rating any content material you create based mostly on Readability, search engine marketing, Originality, and Tone of Voice. 

Within the right-hand sidebar, you’ll get particular options for bettering and optimizing your content material. Primarily based on the key phrases you’re focusing on. 

Right-hand sidebar in SEO Writing Assistant shows content scores and improvement recommendations

You may as well compose content material in Google Docs or Microsoft Phrase. Then paste your draft into the search engine marketing Writing Assistant when finished. 

Alternatively, install the SWA add-on to get the identical suggestions whereas writing in Google Docs. 

Subsequent, we’ll word some essential variations between key phrase phrases.

Associated key phrases, or so-called latent semantic indexing (LSI) key phrases, are not the identical as secondary key phrases. 

Whereas “LSI keywords” is a misnomer, it refers back to the idea of related keywords

Associated key phrases (or associated phrases) are phrases, phrases, and entities related along with your main key phrase or subject. However they’re not essentially shut variations or synonyms. 

As an illustration, “tofu” is expounded to “vegan recipes.” 

A lot of the content material discussing vegan recipes will reference the usage of tofu. 

"Coconut rice bowls" section of the recipe from "Feasting at home" with "vegan" and "tofu" words highlighted

So it’s positively good search engine marketing follow to make use of associated key phrases or entities in your content material.

Additional studying: What Is the Google Knowledge Graph & How Does It Work?

Utilizing associated key phrases in your content material helps sign article high quality and topical depth. Search engines like google and yahoo like Google (and customers) anticipate most moderately complete articles about vegan recipes to say the phrase “tofu” sooner or later.

However remember: Utilizing the phrase “tofu” in your vegan recipes article gained’t assist you rank for “tofu.”

To rank for associated key phrases, you’ll have to create a novel web page or piece of content material focusing on that time period (and its secondary key phrases).

Secondary Key phrases vs. Lengthy-Tail Key phrases

These are additionally not the identical factor

The time period “long-tail keyword” refers to extra particular and fewer standard key phrases (with decrease search quantity). In distinction to short-tail key phrases (or “head phrases”) that typically denote broad matters with excessive search quantity.

As a result of long-tail key phrases are extra particular, customers typing in these search phrases could also be extra prone to take motion. Like finishing a type or making a purchase order. 

An infographic explaining keyword searches in Google

The “long-tail” designation has no impact on whether or not a selected key phrase is main or secondary. These are simply separate methods of categorizing and utilizing key phrases in your search engine marketing technique. 

Let’s clarify this higher with an instance. 

A key phrase like “do-it-yourself espresso filters” might be thought of long-tail. It’s extra particular and has decrease search quantity than the short-tail key phrase “espresso filters.” Proper?

However you possibly can nonetheless use “do-it-yourself espresso filters” as your main key phrase. Figuring out it as long-tail doesn’t imply it can not even be a main key phrase. These classes are neither mutually unique nor mutually inclusive.

The secondary key phrases on this case could be much more particular phrases. Like “do-it-yourself filters for percolator espresso pots.” You’ll goal this on the identical web page that talks about “do-it-yourself espresso filters.”

Examples of Secondary Key phrases in search engine marketing

Let’s take a look at some further examples of secondary key phrases utilized throughout completely different industries.

Secondary Key phrases in Ecommerce

You run an internet retailer promoting natural skincare merchandise. You’re seeking to optimize your merchandise web page for a related key phrase. You may select:

  • Main key phrase: Natural skincare merchandise
  • Secondary key phrases: Pure skincare merchandise, natural magnificence merchandise
"organic skincare products" cluster showing "natural skin care products" and "organic beauty products" secondary keywords

Secondary Key phrases for Well being Weblog

The advantages of a balanced weight-reduction plan are a scorching subject for a well being weblog. Listed below are some key phrases you possibly can goal:

  • Main key phrase: Advantages of a balanced weight-reduction plan
  • Secondary key phrases: Why is it essential to eat wholesome, advantages of a wholesome life-style, advantages of excellent vitamin
"benefits of a balanced diet" cluster showing "why is it important to eat healthy," "benefits of a healthy lifestyle," and "benefits of good nutrition" secondary keywords

Journey Web site Software of Secondary Key phrases

A particular touchdown web page on a journey web site is selling holidays in Bali. Notice the secondary key phrase examples beneath:

  • Main key phrase: Holidays in bali
  • Secondary key phrases: Journey to bali, bali trip packages
"vacations in bali" cluster showing "trip to bali" and "bali vacation packages" secondary keywords

Necessary: Not each article, web page, or subject may have related secondary key phrases. 

Within the keyword research section above, we walked you thru the method of discovering and figuring out these phrases. However in the event you don’t discover any related ones in your particular subject or web page, it’s okay to not use any. In the end, you shouldn’t pressure key phrases into your content material.

Often Requested Questions on Secondary Key phrases

How often ought to secondary key phrases seem in content material?

Embrace a secondary key phrase at the least as soon as all through your content material. However extra importantly, you need to combine them naturally with out disrupting the content material’s move.

Do secondary key phrases straight affect content material rating?

Sure. Together with secondary key phrases in your content material can enhance the rating of your content material for these particular, secondary search queries. It possible gained’t have an effect on your rating for the first key phrase.

What number of secondary key phrases must you use?

There’s no particular restrict on the variety of related secondary key phrases you should utilize in a single web page or article. However be mindful they’re solely meant to be shut variations and even synonyms of your goal key phrase.

In case you’re not sure whether or not you’ve recognized a “true” secondary key phrase, manually examine its search outcomes with these of your main key phrase. A substantial SERP overlap will affirm you’ve a legitimate secondary key phrase.

Trying to pace issues up and take the guesswork out of your analysis? Run Keyword Manager to robotically get key phrase clusters in your content material optimization technique. 


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