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Searching for Keywords? Use These SEO Writing Terms

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Any wordsmith needs a basic understanding of SEO writing, whether you’re just dipping your toe into the online writing world or you’re already a seasoned web content writer. SEO writing is the process of writing and formatting a page for the web in order to return strong results in web searches. 

Searching for keywords is central to the whole SEO caboodle. Just think about your own online sleuthing.

  • You pop a phrase into the search bar.
  • Results appear on your screen.
  • You skim them and then click on one or two of the top links posted there. If you’re digging deeply into a topic, you click through to Page 2 even Page 3 of the results. Usually, no further.

It’s those search terms – keywords entered in the search bar – that lead readers to your pages. What keywords are best for you to use? As a web content writer, you want to know. When you find and use keywords that users are searching for – especially the ones that are in high demand but found in low volume on the internet – then your pages will return higher on search results pages. More readers will begin flocking to your pages. 

Searching for keywords? These SEO writing terms will help #WritingTips #WebContentWriting #SEO

Start with learning SEO writing search terms

Searching for keywords and then using them is a big key in becoming visible online and building a readership. But for many of us, the phrases “SEO writing” and “keyword search,” make our eyes glaze over.

SEO seems complicated. All that technical gibberish is confusing. Keyword research tools give you tables of data that are labeled with acronyms that don’t make any sense – yet.

Good news: this simple list of terms can give you a foundation in understanding keywords so you can move forward. The terms are in alphabetical order. Jump to the ones you need most and then bookmark this page as a useful resource as you wade into understanding SEO writing and keywords.

Searching for keywords? Understand these SEO writing terms

Competition (CMP)

Competition is a measure that tells you how hard it is to rank for a particular keyword. It’s presented on a scale of 1 to 100 (42, for example) or as a decimal (.42). The higher the CMP number for a keyword, the harder it is for a keyword to hit Page 1 because there’s plenty of established sites using it well. A lower number means you have a better chance to rank for that keyword if you follow best practices for using it in your SEO writing.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

CPC is short for “cost per click.” It’s the amount that an advertiser will pay each time a user clicks on an ad on social media or a website. The higher the CPC, the more valuable the keyword … because it costs more for the advertiser to use.

Domain authority (DA)

DA is short for “domain authority” – also known as DR or “domain rating.” Domain authority is a score based on a 100-point scale. The higher the DA rating, the higher the site ranks on search engines.  Wikipedia, for instance, has earned authority as a go-to source for quick information. It has a DA score of 98. 


A keyword is a term or phrase that define a piece of content, used in both online writing and offline writing. Users enter keywords into a browser bar when they’re conducting a search query.  (How keywords work.) 

Keyword search tool

A keyword search tool is an online instrument that helps you find keywords to use when writing your content. Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere are no-cost or low cost keyword search tools that are easy to learn to use.

Paid Difficulty (PD)

A keyword’s Paid Difficulty (PD) rating reports how hard it is for the keyword to rank in paid search results – as in, when you create ads for social media or a website.

The higher the PD number assigned to a keyword, the more you'll need to pay to make your ad using that keyword and making visible to potential users. And the more you’ll pay per click (CPC). But a lower PD number for your keyword? You can get yourself a deal.

Check out Lee Ann Fox's SEO for Bloggers course to learn the fundamentals about SEO.

Seed keyword

A seed keyword is a 1- or 2-word phrase that is the baseline for your niche or search – even for your entire blog or website. For instance, a seed keyword for my Word Wise website is “writing tips.” A seed keyword gives you a starting point that allows you to find related keywords to use on additional pages on your blog or website. 

SEO Difficulty (SD)

A term’s SEO Difficulty rating (SD) reports how hard or how easy it is to rank on search results for the keyword, based on SEO writing and rating factors. SD is typically measured on a scale of 1 to 100. The lower the number, the easier it is to rank – provided you write a quality page and place the keyword in the appropriate places. 


SERP is an acronym for “search engine results page,” a web page that appears in your browser after you conduct a search query. A SERP gives you a listing of pages on the web that are most relevant, in descending order, for the keyword term you typed into your search engine.


How many pages provide quality content using a specific keyword? Low supply means fewer. That could indicate an opportunity for you to provide a quality page for that keyword, if there is sufficient search volume. A high supply number means that lots and lots of pages provide good content for that search term. Competition may be stiffer.


Volume indicates the number of users who enter a search query for a particular keyword. A large volume keyword search indicates high demand. More users are searching for that keyword online. A lower volume keyword search indicates low demand. That keyword is not sought out as much as others. Keyword search tools indicate the time frame in which they measure volume – say, the average number of users who search for a keyword over the course of a month. 

What other SEO writing terms are a challenge for you? Share them in the Comments below.

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