What are the Different Types of Keywords & How to Use Effectively

Written by Kanika Negi

Kanika Negi, a proficient SEO and digital marketing expert with over 4 years of experience | Author of insightful blog posts | Crafting digital success through strategic optimisation.

August 9, 2023

Types of Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for something on the internet. They are also the words and phrases that you want your website or blog to rank for in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Keywords are essential for SEO, as they help you understand what your target audience is looking for and how to optimize your content accordingly.

But not all keywords are created equal. There are different types of keywords that have different purposes, characteristics, and levels of competition. Knowing the types of keywords in SEO and how to use them effectively can help you create a successful SEO strategy that drives more traffic, leads, and conversions to your website or blog.

In this blog post, we will explain the different types of SEO keywords, keywords strategies, how to find them, and how to use them in your content. We will also share some tips and best practices for keyword research and optimization. Let’s get started!

What are the Types of Keywords in SEO?

There are many ways to classify keywords, but one of the most common and useful ways is based on their length and specificity. Based on this criterion, we can divide keywords into different types and categories.

Types of keywords by Length

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are also known as head keywords or generic keywords. They are usually 1-2 words long and have a broad meaning. For example, “women’s shoes”, “pizza recipes”, or “SEO services” are Short-tail keywords.

Short-tail keywords have a high search volume, meaning that they are searched by many people every month. They also have a high competition, meaning that there are many websites or blogs that are trying to rank for them. This makes them very difficult to rank for, especially for new or small websites or blogs.

Short-tail keywords are useful for creating general awareness and attracting a large audience. However, they are not very effective for generating qualified traffic or conversions, as they do not reflect the user’s intent or needs very well. For example, someone who searches for “shoes” may be looking for different types of shoes, such as sneakers, boots, sandals, etc., or may be looking for information about shoes, such as how to clean them, how to choose them, etc. Therefore, it is hard to match their expectations with a specific offer or solution.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are also known as niche keywords or specific keywords. They are usually three or more words long and have a narrow meaning. For example, “best running shoes for flat feet”, “how to make vegan pizza at home”, or “SEO tips for beginners” are long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords have a low search volume, meaning that they are searched by fewer people every month. They also have a low competition, meaning that there are fewer websites or blogs that are trying to rank for them. This makes them easier to rank for, especially for new or small websites or blogs. Conduct comprehensive keywords research to facilitate a more in-depth and precisely tailored strategic planning process.

Long-tail keywords are useful for creating targeted traffic and conversions, as they reflect the user’s intent or needs very well. For example, someone who searches for “best running shoes for flat feet” is likely to be looking for a specific product that can solve their problem. Therefore, it is easier to match their expectations with a relevant offer or solution.

Keywords By Search Intent

Keywords by search intent are the words and phrases that people use to search for something on the internet, based on their goal or purpose. For example, if someone wants to buy a new laptop, they might use keywords like “best laptop deals”, “laptop reviews”, or “how to choose a laptop”. These keywords have a different search intent than someone who wants to learn how to use a laptop, who might use keywords like “laptop basics”, “laptop tips and tricks”, or “how to fix a laptop”.

Search intent is important for SEO, to do SEO effectively, you need to understand what your target audience is looking for and how to optimize your content accordingly.

There are four main types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. Here is a brief overview of each type:

Informational: The searcher wants to find information about something. They may have a question, a problem, or a curiosity. They are looking for answers, explanations, facts, or tips. For example, “who is the president of the United States?”, “how does the blockchain work?”, or “what are the benefits of yoga?” are informational keywords.

Navigational: The searcher wants to find a specific website or page. They may know the name, the URL, or the brand of the website or page they are looking for. They are looking for directions, shortcuts, or bookmarks. For example, “Facebook login”, “Amazon prime”, or “New York Times crossword” are navigational keywords.

Commercial: The searcher wants to investigate brands, products, or services before making a purchase decision. They may have a general idea of what they want, but they need more information, comparison, or evaluation. They are looking for reviews, ratings, features, prices, or availability. For example, “best running shoes for flat feet”, “iPhone 12 vs Samsung Galaxy S21”, or “Netflix plans” are commercial keywords.

Transactional: The searcher wants to complete an action or a transaction. They may have already decided what they want and how to get it. They are looking for offers, deals, discounts, coupons, or forms. For example, “buy laptop online”, “book flight to Paris”, or “sign up for free trial” are transactional keywords.

To find and use keywords by search intent for your website or blog, you can use various tools and methods such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google Search Console. 

These tools can help you discover and analyse keywords based on their search volume, competition, difficulty, clicks, CTR (click-through rate), CPC (cost per click), and other metrics. You can also use these tools to optimize your content for the types of keywords that you choose by following their suggestions, tips, and best practices.

How to Use Keywords for On-Page SEO

There are different types of keywords in SEO that you can use to optimize your content for SEO, such as primary keywords and LSI keywords. Let me explain what they are and how to use them.

Primary keywords Or Focus Keywords

Primary keywords are the main terms or phrases that you want your web page to rank for in search engine results. They are usually related to the main topic or theme of your content, and they have a high search volume and potential traffic. For example, if your web page is about how to make cold brew coffee, your primary keyword could be “cold brew coffee” or “how to make cold brew coffee”. You should use your primary keyword in important places on your web page, such as the title tag, headings, URL, meta description, image alt text, and throughout the content. However, you should avoid overusing or stuffing your primary keyword, as this can harm your SEO and user experience. You can use a tool like Keywords Explorer to find primary keywords for your content.

LSI Keywords

 LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI keywords are words or phrases that are related to your main keyword and help search engines understand the context and meaning of your content. They are not synonyms or variations of your main keyword, but rather terms that are closely tied to it. For example, if your main keyword is “cold brew coffee”, some LSI keywords could be “filter”, “temperature”, “grind”, “cold water”, and “ice”. Using LSI keywords in your content can help you rank for more long-tail keywords, avoid keyword cannibalization, and improve your content’s readability and value.

Keep on Exploring: What is Keyword Cannibalization: How to Find and Fix Cannibalization

Different Types of Keywords for Paid Search 

Paid search is a form of online advertising where you bid on keywords to show your ads on search engines like Google and Bing. You can control how closely they match the user’s search query. This is called the keyword match type, and it affects how often your ads are shown and how relevant they are to the user’s intent. There are four main types of keywords for paid search

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords are like casting a wide net. When you use this type of keyword, your ad may show up for searches that are related to your keyword, even if they are loosely related or have synonyms. This can be beneficial for reaching a broader audience, but it can also lead to irrelevant clicks.

Example: If you use the broad match keyword “running shoes,” your ad might appear for searches like “best athletic sneakers” or “jogging footwear.

Pros:

Reach a larger audience.

Discover new search terms.

Cons:

Risk of irrelevant clicks.

Potential for higher ad spend.

Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords provide more control than broad match keywords while still allowing some flexibility. Your ad will appear for searches that include your keyword phrase in the exact order you specify, but other words can be present before or after it.

Example: For the phrase match keyword “running shoes,” your ad could show searches like “discounted running shoes” or “best running shoes online.”

Pros:

More targeted than broad matches.

Less risk of irrelevant clicks.

Cons:

Still a chance of showing slightly different search intent.

Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords provide the most precise targeting. Your ad will only appear when a user’s search exactly matches your keyword. This type of keyword offers high relevancy, but it may limit your ad’s exposure compared to other match types.

Example: Using the exact match keyword “[running shoes],” your ad would only show searches like “running shoes” and not “buy running shoes” or “running sneakers.”

Pros:

Highly relevant traffic.

Better control over spending.

Cons:

Limited reach and potential missed opportunities.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are like protective shields for your ads. They allow you to exclude specific search terms that are not relevant to your offering, preventing your ads from showing to the wrong audience.

Example: If you sell new running shoes, you can add “used running shoes” as a negative keyword to avoid showing your ads to people looking for second-hand products.

Pros:

Reduce irrelevant clicks.

Enhance overall campaign performance.

Cons:

Overuse of negative keywords may limit the reach of your ads.

How to Find Keywords for Your Website or Blog?

Finding the right types of keywords for your website or blog is an important step in creating an effective SEO strategy. There are many tools and methods that you can use to find the types of keywords that are relevant to your niche, audience, and goals. Here are some of the most popular and useful ones:

•  Google Keyword Planner: This is a free tool from Google that allows you to find keywords based on your product or service, your website or blog, or your industry or category. It also shows you the monthly search volume, competition, and suggested bid for each keyword. You can use this tool to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website or blog.

•  Google Trends: This is another free tool from Google that allows you to find keywords based on their popularity, seasonality, and geographic distribution. It also shows you the related queries and topics for each keyword. You can use this tool to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website or blog, as well as to identify emerging trends and opportunities in your niche.

 Google Search Console: This is a free tool from Google that allows you to find keywords based on the actual performance of your website or blog in the SERPs. It shows you the queries that people use to find your website or blog, as well as the impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and average position for each query. You can use this tool to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website or blog, as well as to optimize your existing content and improve your ranking.

•  SEMRush: This is a paid tool that allows you to find keywords based on your competitors’ websites or blogs. It shows you the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, as well as their traffic, position, difficulty, and cost per click (CPC) for each keyword. You can use this tool to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website or blog, as well as to spy on your competitors’ strategies and identify gaps and opportunities in your niche.

  Ahrefs: This is another paid tool that allows you to find keywords based on your niche or topic. It shows you the keywords that are relevant to your niche or topic, as well as their search volume, difficulty, clicks, CTR, and CPC for each keyword. You can use this tool to find both short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website or blog, as well as to analyze the SERPs and understand the user intent and behavior behind each keyword.

Also Read: Top 10 Free Keyword Research Tools

How to Use the Types of Keywords in Your Content?

Finding the types of keywords for your website or blog is only half the battle. The other half is using them effectively in your content to rank higher in the SERPs and drive more traffic, leads, and conversions to your website or blog. Here are some tips and best practices for using the types of keywords in your content:

Use a mix of short-tail, medium-tail, and long-tail keywords: Depending on your goals and audience, you may want to use different types of keywords in different parts of your content. For example, you may want to use short-tail keywords in your title and headings to attract a large audience and create general awareness. You may want to use medium-tail keywords in your subheadings and paragraphs to target a specific interest or desire and create both awareness and conversions. You may want to use long-tail keywords in your bullet points and call-to-actions (CTAs) to target a specific intent or need and create conversions.

Use primary and secondary keywords: Depending on the length and complexity of your content, you may want to use one primary keyword and several secondary keywords in your content. For example, if you are writing a blog post about “best running shoes for flat feet”, you may want to use this phrase as your primary keyword and use other related phrases such as “how to choose running shoes for flat feet”, “benefits of running shoes for flat feet”, “reviews of running shoes for flat feet”, etc., as your secondary keywords. This way, you can optimize your content for multiple variations of the same keyword and increase your chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.

Use natural language and variations: When using keywords in your content, you should avoid keyword stuffing or over-optimization, which can harm your ranking and user experience. Instead, you should use natural language and variations of the same keyword throughout your content. For example, instead of repeating “best running shoes for flat feet” several times in your content, you can use synonyms or modifiers such as “top running shoes for flat feet”, “ideal running shoes for flat feet”, “best sneakers for flat feet”, etc., in different places in your content. This way, you can make your content more readable and engaging for both humans and search engines.

Conclusion

Keywords are the foundation of SEO, as they help you understand what your target audience is looking for and how to optimize your content accordingly. However, not all keywords are created equal. There are different types of keywords that have different purposes, characteristics, and levels of competition. Knowing the types of keywords and how to use them effectively can help you create a successful SEO strategy that drives more traffic, leads, and conversions to your website or blog.

In this blog post, we have explained the different types of keywords in SEO. We hope that this blog post has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or comments about this topic or WebZodiac, please feel free to leave Comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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