How to make a shortlist

You can easily end up with hundreds even thousands of keywords when you do keyword research for your website. How do you decide which ones to use for your site?

I will not go into the technical aspects of keyword research too much. I am going to try and explain the principles to you in what I hope is an easy to understand way.

After you have done your research and have that super-duper long list in front of you, you need some sort of method to decide which ones will make it to the final shortlist, right?

The norm is to calculate what SEO nerds call a”Keyword Efficiency Index”, or KEI. Key phrases with a high “KEI” will generally be presented as the ones you should pick for your shortlist. KEI is a number based on the total number of searches for a word in a given month (^2) divided by the total pages that you are competing with on the web for that word. In non-techie terms that means that you could find that for the words “where to buy spices” there are 1900 people searching for that term per month but that there are 13,200,000 other pages with those words on it. The KEI for that keyphrase is therefore so low that you would ignore that phrase and hunt for another one with a higher efficiency.

I have found that KEI not good enough. I also calculate what David Viney has introduced as a “Keyword Opportunity Index”, or KOI. This is a number based on total monthly searches again, but this time focuses not on all pages on the web, but just the ones that are trying to rank for that keyword, your direct competition therefore. Its a game changer. Back to my non-techie explanation. The key phrase “where to buy spices” seemingly had enormous competition, but upon closer inspection we find that only 728 pages are actually trying to rank for that keyword. 728!! That’s a hell of a lot better than 13,200,00. Therefore the Opportunity Index is very high and shows you it will prove relatively easy to rank for that key phrase.Shortlisting keywords with a high KOI is therefore a much better methodology than only using KEI.


If you had only used KEI to shortlist your keywords you would have never found this opportunity. It’s hard enough to rank these days so best to aim for something you have an “opportunity” of ranking for.