Everything we do as SEOs is based on keywords. Some keywords can be targeted directly based on their intent and others can be incorporated into a broader category—targeting multiple sets and subsets of keywords.
Some keywords are gold mines and some are a waste of time and should be avoided.
Your knowledge of choosing the right keywords and knowing when and where to strategically place them depends largely on the understanding of the different types of keywords in SEO.
So today, stick around with me as I'll show you the types of keywords you can start using now to increase your site's organic traffic and also which keywords to avoid.
Types of SEO keywords to target in order of ease of intents.
There are 8 Types of Keywords—7 types you can start targeting for your website—and 1 type to avoid.
1. Short Tail Keywords:
Short tail keywords are Keywords with no specific meaning and whose intent is difficult to understand. These words are usually one word or two words. For example, keywords such as "shoes", "apple", "tennis ball".
Let's consider "apple". When a user types this type of query to search engines, it's hard to figure out what type of results the searcher wants. The query is not specific. It could mean that the searcher wants to know about apple fruit—nutrients in apple. Or an Apple iPhone.
Many people will tell you to ignore this type of Keyword. As generic and difficult as it is, it can be useful when you incorporate it into a wider subset.
This type of keyword has the highest search volume but is usually a very competitive rating. Here is Ahrefs keyword research tool of a short tail keyword example:
Looking at this screenshot, you can see apple having a volume of 5.1 million, but as the meaning of the words become clearer, the volume decreases and the difficulty (KD) reduces (e.g., Apple bees)
Often time, the best intent Google could give to a one-word query is to assume that the person doing the search wants to know the meaning of restaurants (taking restaurant as an example). "Restaurant" is broad and generic. However, when incorporated into a wider set, gives a contextual meaning and the ability for search engines to easily match the intent. So, something like "restaurants near me" is a good keyword that a restaurant owner can target.
2. Generic keywords:
Generic keywords are search queries usually less than 3 keywords. It's a form of Short tail keywords, which tends to have a wider scope of meaning and as such making it difficult to pinpoint the intents behind it.
Generic keywords are broad and usually return general search results and analysing the intents is difficult.
For example, generic keywords like;
When users typed this type of keywords, you'll want to ask yourself;
what about it?
Looking for a handbag or order for a coffee?
What kind of handbag or shoes is he or she looking for?
Maybe the searcher is just trying to get images of a handbag or a pair of shoes—it's just not clear.
Finding the intent behind these types of Keywords can amount to a waste of time.
Avoid generic keywords and even if you must use them, incorporate them within subsets of keywords:
1.No sense of direction: having words like;
"price" >> shoes price,
"Shop" >> coffee shop
Would at least show us some direction even though it's still lacking a head term.
2. No head term: head terms like;
"Buy" >> buy shoes or
"Adidas" >> Adidas shoes
...which can give us an intent about the keyword.
3. It would only yield little to no conversion.
The competition for generic keywords are great and except you're a big brand in the industry that the keyword targets, you may see no conversion for such terms.
3. Brand Keywords
Brand keywords are search terms that relate to the product or service of a particular brand or company.
Someone searching for shoes may be specifically looking for a certain brand like;
Although this term still does not provide us with direct intent. But as an SEO employed to work for Adidas, for instance, you could make some possible use cases of this keyword.
Generally, let's look at this term: "Adidas shoes"...
Is either the searcher is looking to buy (an indirect buyer keyword) or checking out the latest models, which may interest the searcher and come back to make a purchase.
Types of Keywords Based on the Match Types
Match type determines how keywords and queries are matched. This is very essential not just in SEO but in Pay Per Click (PPC).
4. Broad Match Keywords
Broad match keywords are search queries with a higher search volume and fewer competitions—they still indicate a broad intent.
Example of broad match Keywords:
As we can see, these only leave us with a rough idea and not the exact intent of the searcher.
5. Exact Match Keyword
Exact Keywords are search queries that exactly match your keyword in the content, anchor text of links or your domain name.
This type of keyword usually have a high search volume and converts well.
This type of keyword is gold for businesses looking to convert a good amount of traffic.
Examples of exact match keywords are:
- Adidas shoe price
- Gift for mother
- Samsung Galaxy specifications
- Panasonic n700 review
Here, the intent is direct, unlike broad match. We can easily tell what the searcher is looking for. The challenge here is that you'll have more competition to battle with. But this type of Keyword is one you wouldn't want to miss for anything.
But that's not all. Let's take a look at the golden Keywords opportunity you should consider especially if you're not a super big brand like Jumia, Amazon, Coca-cola, Forbes, etc.
6. Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are search queries with more than 3 keywords.
While short-tail keywords will stop at
Long-tail Keywords will provide more insight:
"Brown leather desk chair for home"
Can you spot the difference?
You can see "best desk chair for back pain" from the screenshot above. One can make a direct sense out of it and even bid to target the keyword. It has a volume of 2500 monthly searches and a difficulty level of 35/100. Below it is a "rolling desk chair" with a difficulty level of 12/100 and a monthly search volume of 2400.
I took this screenshot to show you the amount of juice you can get optimizing your website for this type of low-hanging cherries. Long-tail keywords are easy to target and fetch quick returns on investments.
Why long-tail keywords are the golden opportunity
- Long-tail Keywords have more targeted and descriptive phrases.
- Searchers of this type are more likely to convert.
- There's less competition for long-tail terms.
- Long-tail queries involve small budgets and quicker ROI.
- It makes up the majority of search traffic.
- Searchers are very specific, and intent is high
A searcher can type the above keywords in question format like this:
- "Where can I get a brown leather desk chair for a home?" as in examples in this screnshot:
- Flight from London to New York
- Where is the best place to visit in Paris?
- Shoes to make me jump better.
When starting out with SEO, your focus should be on the long-tail Keywords. Go for it and mine it!
7. Buyers Keywords
Buyers' Keywords are product-defining Keywords.
Searchers of buyer Keywords are ready to subscribe to your services or buy your products.
The intent is so clear and the chances of converting are high.
Examples of buyers' Keywords would be:
- GoDaddy domain discount.
- Buy iPhone 7x.
- Where to buy a laptop.
- Dell Inspiron N5050 replacement battery.
- Free shipping home gym equipment
More examples are in this screenshot...
Even though the volume is not as high as some other keywords, if you're a furniture maker, imagine bringing 40 per cent of 600 to your website just from a single search term. That's a lot of sales putting all measure it into place—such as to delight customers and giving them a near-perfect user experience.
8. Geo-targeting Keywords
This type of keyword focuses on location.
- Real estate agency in Lagos
- Restaurant near me
- Home delivery services
- Laptop repair near me
When a searcher enters a query like this, the local pack - for local businesses is given priority and shows results of local businesses around where the person searching is.
9. Tire Kicker Keywords
Tire Kicker keywords are used by people who are not ready to buy but looking for free things.
Tire kicker Keywords are the direct opposite of buyer Keywords - very unlikely to convert now - and even in the near future.
Few words that makeup tire kicker Keywords:
- ...for free
- Digital analytics by Avinash Kaushik free PDF.
- Free online piano lessons.
- Watch the Disney online for free.
Except you have a digital strategy to nurture this category of searchers, you should stay away from them - you might just be wasting your time and resources.
However, this brings an advantage, which is a way to grow your subscriber list really fast and hope some of them convert in the future. But, the chances are little. So, you stay clear and if you must use it, have a good plan to capture some.
Summing it up…
The context and intent behind searches are more important than the query itself.
Don't just look and choose any query.
Research the words people enter into search engines as queries—to find the Keywords that will match the products or services you are trying to sell.
Now that you can tell much about the types of Keywords, go out and be proud of what you've learnt today.
Something not clear or need help? Ask in the comment box below!