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Keyboard Shortcuts for Easier SEO

Note: A version of this article originally appeared on Search Engine Watch where Ben Goodsell is a regular contributor. SEO analysis can get overwhelming, but knowing and using keyboard shortcuts can help create a real-time connection between your brain and the computer, making it easier to remember random, ADHD induced, yet relevant thoughts. It's easy to think of keyboard shortcuts as having two different categories. System shortcuts exist as part of the operating system and are native to the computer. Program shortcuts are specific to a particular program or application.

System Shortcuts

Editing and Navigating Text

System shortcuts are basic and typically incredibly useful. The well-known keyboard shortcuts copy and paste are excellent examples. Below is Microsoft or Windows specific.
  • ctrl and c – Copy
  • ctrl and x – Cut
  • ctrl and v – Paste
  • ctrl and z – Undo
  • ctrl and shift and z (or ctrl and y)– Redo
  • ctrl and b – Bold
  • ctrl and u – Underline
  • ctrl and i – Italic
These same shortcuts apply to Mac, but using the Apple modifier key command instead of the Windows specific ctrl.
  • command and c – Copy
  • command and x - Cut
  • command and v – Paste
  • command and z - Undo
  • command and shift and z – Redo
  • command and b – Bold
  • command and u – Underline
  • command and i – Italic
Shortcuts that allow the ability to navigate around and highlight text quickly make the lists above especially handy. Most text editing programs like Word will default to these system shortcuts, it can change depending on the program. Add shift to these and it will highlight as you go.
  • left, right, up, down - will move the cursor one character to the left, a character to the right, one line up, or a line down
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and left, right - will skip words
  • ctrl (Windows) and up, down - will move cursor to the beginning or end of a paragraph
  • home (Windows) - will move cursor to the beginning of a line
  • end (Windows) - will move cursor to the end of a line
  • command (Mac) and up, down, left, right - will move cursor to the top or the end of a page or left or right of a line

Navigating Programs and Windows

Additionally, these are some general keyboard shortcuts that allow you to manipulate and navigate program windows.
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and n - will open a new window
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and w - will close a window
  • alt or windows button (Windows) and tab - allow for quick transitions between programs
  • command (Mac) and tab - allow for quick transitions between programs
  • command (Mac) and ~ (above tab) - will shuffle through windows of the same program
These are just a sample of must-knows for efficiency and there are most likely several ways to accomplish the same tasks. Once these become habitual, understanding and utilizing program specific shortcuts on top of basic system shortcuts is definitely frosting on the cake.

Program Shortcuts


Applications, programs, and even websites will often create a unique set of keyboard shortcuts. For example Twitter has created a set of shortcuts to make using the site easy and more efficient for advanced users.


Another great example is Gmail, where you can enable shortcuts (settings -> general -> enable shortcuts) and then use a keyboard shortcut to see a list of keyboard shortcuts! Shift and / or ? will procure the following within Gmail.


Many-an-hour is spent within Excel as an SEO, in my experience. In a great post by Distilled on Excel for SEO, they give some great shortcuts for Windows users. Each has a Mac equivalent.

Chrome and Firefox

All of this is just grazing the surface of the keyboard shortcut iceberg, but while we’re at it, these are some key Chrome and Firefox browser shortcuts to have under the old belt.
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and L - will place the cursor in the address bar
    • Tip for Chrome users: Once the URL in the address bar is highlighted, command (Mac) or alt (Windows) and enter will open it in a new tab.
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and n - will open a new window
  • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and t - will open a new tab
    • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and tab - will navigate to the tab on the right
    • ctrl (Windows) or command (Mac) and shift and tab - will navigate to the tab on the left

Program Launchers

Using what could be considered program launchers is a great way to save the time of finding and opening programs using the mouse.
  • windows button and typing the name of a program and enter - will launch programs and more for Windows Vista and 7 users
  • command and space bar (Mac) - will launch Spotlight and allow you to launch programs and more


Hopefully these tips will help save you hours (over a long period)...of time! Becoming efficient with keyboard shortcuts can help you navigate the computer in such a way that it does not compete with the speed of SEO thought. Perhaps the greatest aspect of using the modern computer is how quickly thoughts and ideas directly translate into results.
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