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What are the Types of Keywords in SEO

Jan 25, 2023 |   What are the types of keywords in SEO

What is the end goal for your content?

It’s always increasing traffic and funneling leads. With keywords as its backbone, search engine optimization(SEO) gives your content the turbocharge it needs to perform. 

Without the right keywords, there is no such thing as SEO” ~ BRIAN DEAN

The right keywords can push your page to the top SERP, while the wrong keywords can push you into its dark, undiscovered depths. 

With each Google update, keywords are ramified into different categories. In the beginning, there were 4, now, there are 19+, & marketers are coining new types of keywords as we speak.

For optimum usage, you need to know the different types of keywords in SEO. In these 11 minutes, we’ll dive deep into each category.

Let’s start.

What are keywords?

Before we jump to the core of the blog, here is an overview of what a keyword is.

When creating content, it is essential to identify the most relevant keywords that accurately describe your content’s main points and incorporate them throughout your webpage’s text, images, and other elements.

In range, keywords refer to the main ideas and topics that make up the subject matter. In the context of search engine optimization (SEO), these keywords are the words and phrases that users type into search engines to find information.

Why are keywords important?

Keywords connect users with the information they are searching for and the website’s content. It’s essential to select keywords that align with the website’s subject matter and the target audience’s search queries to increase organic traffic to a website.

For example, suppose you own a coffee shop. In that case, it’s important to choose keywords such as “specialty coffee” to attract the correct audience interested in specialty coffee rather than those looking for a place to buy tea.

Keywords also reflect the needs and preferences of the target audience. It’s essential to understand the language and type of content the audience wants to create content that ranks organically and attracts visitors to a website. This will help ensure that the content is relevant, valuable, and meets the users’ needs.

How to use keywords properly?

It’s not enough to stuff many keywords on your page and call it a day. Creating great content is all about providing value to your customer and not just trying to trick Google.

There are a few basic rules you should follow when using keywords. Each page of your site should have unique keywords in the places that search engines and people look. This includes the title tag and the main content, but be careful not to use clickbait-y titles that don’t match the content on the page.

Another thing you can do is include your primary keyword in the URL, H1 tag, meta description, and alt tags for images. This gives search engines a better idea of what your page is all about.

It will not make you an instant SEO specialist, but taking these basic steps is an essential part of the process. If you don’t do them, you’ll have a more challenging time ranking in other ways.

What are the types of SEO keywords

Do you know how many types of keywords there are in SEO? Well, SEO experts break down keywords into five categories, they consider these as the main components. These are further divided into subsections.

  • Keywords by length
    • Short-tail keywords
    • Mid-tail keywords
    • Long-tail keywords 
  • Keywords by intent
    • Informational keywords 
    • Navigational keywords
    • Transactional keywords 
    • commercial keywords
  • Keywords by target
    • Market segment keywords
    • Customer defining Keywords
    • Product defining keywords
    • Branded keywords Keywords
  • On-site keywords
    • Primary Keywords
    • LSI Keywords
  • Google Ads keywords
    • Broad match keywords
    • Phrase match
    • Exact match
    • Negative keywords
  • Special case Keywords
    • Pay-per-click keywords
    • Trending Keywords

By Length

Types of keywords by length 

The length of a keyword can help you determine the search volume, potential traffic, and conversions. 

1. Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are one or two words in length. They are the most general keywords and tend to have the highest search volume and the most competition. 

Example – “phones” or “smartphones.”

However, since they are so broad, they can be more difficult to target for conversions. This is because the search intent of a user who types in a short-tail keyword can be vague, making it harder to understand what type of information or products they are looking for.

2. Mid-tail keywords

Medium-tail keywords are phrases that are three or four words in length. They have moderate search volume and average competition. These types of keywords are more specific than short-tail keywords and are easier to target for conversions. 

Example – “top phones under $100” or “best small phones under $100.”

The user search intent is easier to establish and understand, making it easier to provide relevant and valuable information or products. 

3. Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are the most specific type of keywords; they are five words or longer. They have the lowest search volume and the least competition. But, since they are so specific, they can be great for targeting conversions. 

Example – “ best phones under $100 Snapdragon processor.”

These types of keywords have very specific user search intent. Therefore, it is easier to understand what the user is looking for, making it easier to provide them with relevant and valuable information or products.

How to find a keyword by length

How to find a keyword by length

Using the auto-complete feature on Google is an excellent way to find both long and short keywords. 

Most tools can filter by a minimum or maximum number of words. But, using a reputed keyword research tool is faster to find specific keywords of different lengths. The People Also Ask, and Related searches sections in search results can also be helpful.

By intent

When it comes to SEO and creating content, it’s crucial to consider what people are searching for. One way to do that is by using an intent-based strategy. This means understanding the different types of keywords and what people try to do when using them.

Types of keywords by intent

1. Informational keywords

These are keywords that people use when they’re just looking for information. You can usually tell these keywords by the “question words” they contain, like “what” or “how.”

Example – “ National tech day.”

Google also often shows knowledge panels or infoboxes for these types of searches. These keywords bring in only a few conversions but can help build brand awareness and become an authority in your niche.

2. Navigational Keywords

Next, we’ve got navigational keywords. These are keywords that people use when they’re looking for a specific company or brand. 

Example– “Apple phones” 

These keywords can be a good source of organic traffic if your brand is well-known.

3. Commercial keywords

Then we have commercial keywords. These keywords reveal a searcher’s interest in a specific product or service. 

Example – “Baskin’s tastiest ice cream.”

These keywords can be valuable for reaching an audience that might convert into customers later.

4. Transactional keywords

Finally, we’ve got transactional keywords. These keywords reveal a searcher’s intent to buy or take another action. 

Example – “ buy bitcoin online.”

These keywords can be precious for PPC and SEO strategies because they’re most likely to be used by people ready to purchase.

How to find keywords by Intent

How to find keywords by intent

Tools like Answer the Public and Semrush can be helpful if you’re looking for keywords with specific intent. They can generate questions like who, what, when, why, where, and how and allow you to filter keyword lists by intent.

Even if you don’t have access to these tools, you can use modifiers to generate similar keyword options.

By Target

These are SEO types of keywords focused on the industry, offerings, and audience. 

Types of keywords by target

1. Market Segment Keywords

Market segment keywords are generic keywords associated with an industry or brand. They are terms that a target audience uses to search for general information within a specific field. These keywords are broad and not specific to any particular brand or product. 

Example – “ Big phones.” 

These types of keywords help identify the broadest possible audience within a vertical.

2. Customer-defining Keywords

Customer-defining keywords are search phrases that identify a specific subset of customers or audiences. These keywords help narrow the audience and target a specific group of customers with particular needs or preferences. In these searches, customers use words or phrases to define themselves.

Example – “Shirts for men.”

3. Product defining Keywords

Product keywords are terms related to specific brand offerings. These keywords are phrases that directly reference a company’s products or services. Brands should have a keyword strategy for each product and service so customers and prospects can find their offerings through search. 

Example – “ Allen Solly formal shirts”

4. Branded Keywords

These are search phrases that include a brand’s name or other branded terms. These keywords may consist of only the brand name or name along with a product type, product name, or another descriptive search phrase. 

Example – “ Allen Solly shirts.”

These keywords are helpful for brands to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their website.

5. Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are keywords that target brand names of competing businesses, products, or services. It can be beneficial for a brand to research competitor keywords because it allows for attracting a similar audience of interested potential buyers. 

Example – “ Peter England shirts” (a competitor for Allen Solly).

6. Geo-targeted Keywords

Geo-targeted keywords are search phrases that identify a location. Searchers who use these terms are looking for results near them, or in another area, they are interested in.

Example –  “Ohio Surf shops”

These keywords are helpful for local businesses to drive traffic to their physical locations and for companies that offer specific products or services in certain regions.

How to find keywords by target

how to find target keywords

You can find keywords targeting a specific market, location, customer, or brand. For example, you could type a market-specific keyword like “web design” into a tool and then use filters to find customer-defining keywords.

On-page Keywords

These keywords are the ones we focus on to drive traffic.

Types of on-page keywords

1. Primary Keywords

These are the main terms you want to target on a webpage. Each page of your content should have one primary keyword assigned to it. Using keyword optimization best practices, you’ll signal to search engines and readers that the page is about that keyword.

This will help improve your search traffic and rank for that content and keyword. For example, if you’re creating a page about women’s running shoes, your primary keyword would be “women’s running shoes.”

2. LSI Keywords

LSI keywords (latent semantic keywords) are terms or phrases that are semantically related to a primary keyword or variations or synonyms. They’re used to support the primary keyword in a piece of content. Each webpage should have one primary keyword and 3-4 related keywords that give additional context to the page. 

This helps search engines understand and better rank the page. You can find related keywords using Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix or Difficulty Tool. 

For example, if the primary keyword is “women’s running shoes,” then related keywords could be “women’s running shoes reviews,” “women’s running shoes sales,” and “best women’s running shoes.”

How to find on-page keywords

How to find on-page keywords

Another way to find keywords is by their role. You can start using a tool like Google Trends to see interest in a topic and compare interest in different potential focus keywords. 

Once you’ve found a good one, you can check its keyword difficulty rating and see if there are sites you could outrank on the first page. If so, it may be a good focus keyword. But, if the keyword is too competitive, it may be better to look for an alternative.

Google Ads Keywords

These are the keywords for Google Adwords and are an important part of a digital marketing arsenal. It’s essential to use all of these keywords in your campaigns to ensure your ads reach the right audience.

Types of Google Ads keywords

1. Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords are search terms that you want to target, and when you set a term as a broad match keyword, it tells Google to show your ad for any similar search. So, if you’re selling shoes, an ad with the broad match keyword “phones” would show up for searches like “phone,” “phones for sale,” “phone store,” or “buy phones.”

2. Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords are specific phrases you want to target, and when you set a term as a phrase match keyword, it tells Google only to show your ad if the search includes that exact phrase. 

So, if you’re selling women’s shoes, an ad with the phrase match keyword “small phones” would show up for searches like “small phone sale,” “small phone stores,” and “stores for phones”

3. Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords are particular keywords you want to target, and when you set a term as the same match keyword, it tells Google only to show your ad if the search is closely related to that keyword. 

So, if you’re still selling women’s shoes, an ad with the exact match keyword “small phones” would show up for searches like “small phones” or “phones small.”

4. Negative Keywords

They are phrases or terms you don’t want to appear in your ad campaigns. So, if you’re selling small phones and don’t want big phones popping up in your ads, you would set negative keywords like “big phones” or  “big phones sales.”

Special Case Keywords

There are a few more keywords that are relevant for SEO or SEM. Several special types of keywords can be used in online advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the visibility and reach of a website. These unique keywords include Pay-Per-Click (PPC) keywords, trending keywords, and naked URL keywords.

Each of these keywords serves a unique purpose and can be used in different ways to improve the visibility and reach of a website. 


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) keywords are a great way to quickly get your website in front of the right audience. When you bid on a PPC keyword, it allows you to rank your website above the organic search results, which can help you get more attention from your target audience without relying on organic SEO strategies to rank higher.

But it does come at a cost, as you’ll pay for each click on your ad. Get the most out of your PPC campaign with proper research to find keywords that will get you in front of the right audience. 

Also, it would be best if you had a clear understanding of your target audience, what they are looking for, and their intent behind the search so that you can craft your ad copy and landing page accordingly. 

Trending Keywords

Trending keywords are terms that suddenly become more popular among users. This can happen for various reasons, such as a news story or a particular topic becoming popular. These keywords can be an excellent opportunity to get more traffic to your website, but they can also be challenging to predict and target. 

For example, you may see a spike in searches for “Steelers vs. Chiefs” during a big football game, “National Park Day” during a holiday, “Johnny Depp trial” during a high-profile trial, “Summer heat wave” during a heat wave, or “Black Friday deals” during the holiday shopping season. 

To capitalize on these trending keywords, staying on top of current events and identifying relevant keywords that align with your business is important. Additionally, it’s important to optimize your website and create content relevant to the trending keywords so that your website can be found by people searching for that topic.

Sum IT Up

You just saw all the types of keywords in SEO with examples. There are 20 keywords you use to improve your content strategy and build your voice on SERP. Just remember not to stuff your content with keywords (Google really hates that).

But is there a one-stop shop to find them?….

To find the focus keywords and relevant types of keywords in SEO, you can seek the help of tools. SuiteJar is one such tool that can help you gather all your keywords and SEO resources in a snap. 

Now that you know all about those keywords and the best tool to find them, it’s time to start. Happy Marketing!