A successful search strategy is built on targeting the right types of keywords. When you identify your best keyword opportunities, you can drive the most traffic, qualified leads, and conversions for your brand.
When developing your SEO strategy, it’s important to understand the different types of keywords that are available. Use this in-depth guide as your go-to resource for the different types of keywords you should know for SEO and SEM:
- Targeting Keywords
- Keywords by Length
- On-site Keywords
- Google Ads Keywords
- Buyer Keywords
Targeting keywords are the phrases and terms tied to your industry, offerings, and audience. Below are the different types of keywords included in this category:
Market segment keywords
These are generic keywords associated with an industry or brand.
Example: hiking shoes
These are search phrases that identify a specific subset of customers or audiences. In these searches, customers use words or phrases to define themselves.
Example: hiking shoes for children
These are terms related to specific brand offerings. These types of keywords are phrases that directly reference a company’s products or services.
Example: adidas terrex swift
These are search phrases that include a brand’s name or other branded terms. These types of keywords may include only the brand name or the brand name along with a product type, product name, or another descriptive search phrase.
Example: adidas hiking shoes
These are types of keywords that target brand names of competing businesses, products, or services. It’s beneficial for a brand to research competitor keywords because it gives the brand an opportunity to attract a similar audience of interested, potential buyers.
Example: For Adidas, a competitor keyword would be Nike hiking shoes
These are search phrases that identify a location. Searchers who use these terms are looking for results that are near them, or in another area they are interested in.
Example: Dallas hiking shoes store
Keywords by Length
These are broad search terms that have a very high volume of search traffic. These terms are usually one or two words, and they are very competitive to rank for.
Example: hiking shoes
These fall between head keywords and long-tail keywords. These terms are usually two to three words and are slightly more descriptive than generic head keywords.
Example: cheap hiking shoes
These are the longest search terms and are very targeted to a specific topic or audience. These terms typically have low search traffic and are low-competition keywords, which makes them easier to rank for. Because they are more specific, they generally have higher conversion rates than the head and mid-tail keywords.
Example: cheap hiking shoes for new hikers
On-site content keywords refer to the types of keywords in SEO that are used to create content like a new blog post or landing page. These types of keywords are:
This is the focus keyword on a webpage. Each page should have one primary keyword assigned to it. The page should follow keyword optimization best practices to send clear signals to search engines and readers that the page is about that keyword.
Example: men’s hiking shoes
(LSI – latent semantic keywords)
Terms or phrases that are semantically related to, or variations, or synonyms of the primary keyword. They are used to support a primary keyword in a piece of content.
Example: men’s hiking shoes reviews, men’s hiking shoes sales, best men’s hiking shoes
Google Ads Keywords
These are certain types of keywords used in Google Ads to create targeted ad campaigns. While these aren’t exactly the same set of rules for organic SEO, it’s important to know these types of keywords, as Google Ads plays an important part in your organic search strategy.
Broad Match Keywords
When a term is set as a broad match keyword, it tells Google to show your ad for any search that is a variation of that keyword. The ad will show if someone searches for a similar phrase, singular or plural form, misspelling, stemming, synonyms, or another related variation of the broad match term.
Example: An ad for the broad match keyword shoes would show during searches for terms such as shoe, shoes for sale, shoe store, or buy shoes.
Phrase Match Keywords
When a term is set as a phrase match keyword, it tells Google to only show your ad if a search query includes the exact phrase. The search query may have words that come before or after the phrase, but the exact phrase must be included in the search for it to show to searchers.
Example: An ad for the phrase match keywords women’s shoes would show during searches for terms such as women’s shoe sale, womens shoe stores, and stores for women’s shoes.
Exact Match Keywords
When a term is set as an exact match keyword, it tells Google to only show your ad if the search is extremely closely related to the exact match keyword. Words that fit this criterion are misspellings, singular or plural forms, stemming, abbreviations, reordered words, paraphrases, or closely related words with the same search intent of the exact match keyword.
Example: An ad for the exact match keyword womens shoes would show for searches for terms like woman shoes, shoes women, or shoes for women.
Negative keywords are phrases or terms that you intentionally exclude from search campaigns within Google Ads. They are variations of broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords that you tell Google to stop including in your campaign. These Google Ad terms are set as negative keywords because they don’t closely relate to the ad copy, target page content, or offer associated with the ad. They may be semantically related, but they don’t connect with the ad concept.
Example: If a broad match keyword is shoe sale and the ad is only relevant to women’s shoes, negative keywords could be men’s shoes, shoes for guys, or men’s shoe sale.
These are the terms a searcher uses when they are looking to purchase a product or service. These types of keywords are categorized by where a searcher is in the purchase funnel. Each type of buyer keyword represents a different type of search intent.
These are terms users search for when they want to find general information about a topic. Searchers use informational keywords when they are in the awareness phase of the purchase funnel.
Example: what’s the best running shoe
These are terms users search for when they want to visit a website for a specific brand. Searchers often use navigational keywords when they are in the consideration phase of the purchase funnel.
Example: Nike running shoes
These are terms users search for when they are ready to make a purchase. Searchers use transactional keywords when they are in the conversion phase of the purchase funnel.
Example: best deals on Nike running shoes
Finding the Right Types of Keywords for Your Campaign
Knowing the different types of keywords helps you create a more informed and strategic marketing plan. When you know all of your options, you can find the best keywords to help you connect with your target audience, drive search traffic, and boost conversions.