What types of keywords exist in SEO [Examples]

types of keywords in seo

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When you start researching SEO, one of the terms you will inevitably meet is keywords. Everyone in SEO is all about keywords – their own, competition, short, long, simple to rank for, demanding. 

Do you have a rough idea of what keywords are all about but have never understood the subject entirely? In that case, you’re in the right place.

Below, we’ll explain what keywords are, why they’re important and how many types of keywords in SEO there are. Let’s dive in!

What are SEO keywords?

When people search for something on the Internet, whether it’s a product, a service, or an abstract concept, they enter keywords into a search engine. Google and other search engines use keywords to understand a site’s content and, therefore, to sort and rank it in the SERPs.

Choosing the right keywords is crucial because it is the factor that decides whether your customers will find you. Therefore, you should get familiar with your customers’ searching habits: what are they looking for, and how do they do it? 

Let’s say you are a dentist, and the service you promote this season is dental implants. You want your website to be optimized for the words dental implants because that’s the word your customers are most likely to search for. You want to be among the first search results they click on (you probably know the anecdote – you can hide a dead body on the second page of Google, no one is looking there, and no one will ever find it).

Suppose you have chosen the SEO keyword correctly and written quality and relevant content; over time, Google will recognize your efforts and reward you with a good ranking.

So, keywords and search query is the same? 

Not quite.

How do keywords differ from the search query?

A search query is a phrase a person enters into a search engine to get the desired results. That phrase contains keywords. They may (but don’t have to) be an exact match.

Let’s stick to the example we gave above: dental implants. “Dental implants” is the keyword. “What are dental implants” or “The price of dental implants” is a search query. 

Why are keywords important for SEO?

We can think of keywords as a link in the chain that connects a broad audience of Internet browsing audiences with you, who have content of interest to them. The choice of keywords depends on whether you will be found or missed. 

Since your goal is to drive as much organic traffic to your website as possible, you should choose your keywords wisely after extensive research into customer behavior and competition.

Here are some of the top reasons why keywords are so important to SEO:

  • Careful keyword selection shows that you understand your target audience and allows you to create content that will be useful and valuable to them.
  • Quality content that contains keywords keeps the audience on the site and increases conversions.
  • Strategically chosen keywords allow you to rank ahead of the competition and attract more organic traffic to your site.
  • They help you position yourself as an expert in your industry, which entails more backlinks, increases domain authority, and brings numerous other benefits.

Now that you know how important keywords are for SEO, you might think all that’s left is to choose them and start your online journey. Well, no. Not all keywords are the same – there are many types of keywords in SEO. Let’s get to know them.

Types of keywords in SEO

We can categorize keywords based on length, purpose, customer intent, industry – and several other ways. But let’s see what that categorization looks like:

Keywords according to length

According to length, the types of keywords in SEO are short, mid, and long tail keywords.

Short tail keywords

Short tail, head, broad, seed, or generic keywords – are all synonyms that denote the same term. They generally contain one to two, sometimes three words and are quite general – covering a broad topic. They have a very high search volume (attract many visitors) and are difficult to rank for.

Short tail keywords attract large amounts of traffic, but this does not necessarily mean that they are higher quality than medium and long tail keywords. Precisely because they are too general, they can bring a high bounce rate and lower conversion rates.

New sites with low domain authority are not recommended to target short-tail keywords precisely because there is a lot of competition, and ranking can take a long time and be demanding.

Example: dental implants

Medium tail keywords

Medium or mid-tail keywords, also known as “chunky,” usually contain two to three words. 

They are more descriptive than broad keywords. Their competitiveness is moderate, the search volume is slightly lower, and the chances of ranking are more likely.

Example: best dental implants

Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords usually consist of four or more words. They are less popular than the previous two types, so they have a lower search volume and are much easier to rank for.

Long-tail keywords are descriptive, provide more detail to searchers, and directly indicate the customer’s search intent. Although they won’t drive a flood of traffic to your site, they are more likely to attract higher quality traffic that leads to more conversions.

Example: best affordable dental implants near me

Keywords according to searcher’s intent

Searcher’s intent keywords indicate that the customer is ready to make a purchase but may want to get informed and research the offer first. Keywords defined by the buyer intent can be informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.

Informational keywords

Informational keywords indicate the buyer’s intention to be informed – to find general information or get a specific answer to a question. These keywords often have a high search volume but do not bring conversions because people leave the site when they find the desired information.

Informational keywords often contain terms such as “how,” “when,” “where,” and the like.

Although they bring significantly fewer conversions than commercial and transactional keywords, informational ones can also be useful. Content built around them educates your audience – so it’s useful and valuable, which positions you as an expert in your niche and is important for overall SEO.

Example: How long do dental implants last for?

Navigational keywords

Navigational keywords indicate that the searcher is trying to find a specific website. He enters the name of the site or brand in the search engine to reach the desired web address.

The searcher already knows the brand or company and wants to know their range, address, working hours, or similar information. These keywords are a good source of organic traffic, especially if the brand is already established and popular.

Example: Straumann dental implants

Commercial keywords

Commercial keywords indicate that the searcher is interested in a specific product or service. He tries to find out more before making a final purchase decision, compares two or more products, reads the benefits, or looks for discounts.

To rank for commercial keywords, create content that includes comparisons (one vs. another), lists, and testimonials.

Commercial keywords indicate that a searcher is close to making a purchase decision, and articles that contain them will only push them over the edge and get them to click “buy.” They have great potential to increase the conversion rate, so you should not ignore them.

Example: Dental implants vs. dentures

Transactional keywords

Transactional keywords are more buyers than searchers,  as they indicate that the searcher is ready to finalize the purchase process and become a buyer.

Preferably on shoppable pages or on ads to encourage the ultimate action.

These keywords often contain words like “buy,” “buy now,” subscribe,” or “for sale”. 

Example: Buy dental implants online

Keywords according to industry and business

Another categorization of keywords is narrowly divided and targets your products, customers, competition, or geolocation.

Market segment keywords

Market segment keywords refer to a broad product category. They’re similar to short-tail keywords – even though they have an extensive reach, they can be hard to rank for because the competition is high, and everyone in your niche is using them.

Example: Dental implants (both product and category)

Customer-defining keywords

Customer defining keywords are descriptive – they talk about how the client perceives himself. They may contain gender or age characteristics – for example, “for women,” “for men,” for adults,” and the like.

Using customer-defining keywords is a sign that you know your audience and what they are looking for, allowing you to create content that will enable them to find what they need.

Example: Dental implants for seniors

Product-defining keywords

Product-defining keywords refer to the specific features of a product or service that customers want. Product-defining keywords can include brand, size, color, purpose – any product characteristic. With the help of these keywords, customers will find the desired product sooner rather than wandering around the internet, which means increased traffic and conversions.

Example: Dental implant with bone graft

Competitor keywords

Competitor keywords are used by your competition, who have the same goal as you – organic traffic and a high conversion rate. With the help of a keyword research tool, you will be able to research your competition and try to create more valuable content that revolves around the exact keywords. 

Competitor keyword research can give you better insight into what your audience is searching for, especially if your competitors rank better than you. That way, you can adjust your SEO strategy to bring more success.

Example: For dental implants, competitor keywords could be any synonyms – dentures, artificial teeth, bridge, choppers, etc.

Geo-targeting keywords

Geo-targeted keywords focus on a location – they contain a geographical reference – the name of a country, province, city, or even a region. Geo-targeted keywords are essential for geofencing marketing and local businesses that want to reach users in their immediate vicinity.

Example: Dental implants in Los Angeles

How to get the perfect keyword strategy?

Now that you know how important keywords are to a successful business and how many options are available, it’s time to devote to keyword research and find all the potential that can accelerate your way to the top of the SERP.

Considering that keyword research and selection is a demanding task, you might need help – contact us, as one of the leading SEO agencies, to create a personalized strategy that will sweep away all your competitors!


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