19 Types of Keywords

Updated June 24, 2022

As more consumers shop online, businesses can adapt their marketing strategies to wider markets. One way companies and marketers can improve their efforts is by using keywords to boost their search engine campaigns. If you want to increase traffic to your company's site and increase conversions and leads for your brand, it's essential to understand keywords and how to use keywords effectively. In this article, we explore different types of keywords and how you can apply them in your marketing strategy.

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What are keywords?

Keywords are phrases or words that marketers use to optimize their web content to help their websites rank high in search engine results. Marketers use specific keywords throughout their content to improve their websites' search engine ranking. These keywords often come from search engine users' most frequently searched terms.

As a marketer, you can target specific types of keywords to create successful content. You can use keywords to increase web traffic, get qualified leads and increase conversions for their brands. Using keywords can help potential customers land on a company's website while searching for a specific phrase or search term. If a marketer is developing a campaign for running shoes for instance, they can use keywords such as "running shoes" to help people locate their brand's website in search engine results.

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19 types of keywords and how to use them for marketing

Below are common types of keywords you can leverage in your own branding:

1. Market segment keywords

These keywords are generic words associated with a specific brand or industry. They target audiences searching for general information, though they can be more specific for niche marketing needs. For example, someone looking to buy shoes for running might search for the general phrase "running shoes" rather than a more specific brand.

Related: How To Choose The Best Keywords To Include On Your Marketing Resume

2. Customer-defining keywords

These keywords are intended for a specific category of customers. For example, you might consider the age of your target audience while using these keywords. You can then research their gender, occupation and place of residence in order to target a specific group for advertising. Your customer-defining keywords can address your target audience. If you deal with sportswear products, for instance, a customer-defining keyword to use could be “adult sports enthusiast.” Try to find customer-defining keywords that reflect your brand's target market demographics.

3. Product-defining keywords

These keywords describe and explain a product. Customers use product-defining keywords for particular search results, such as specific items. Your brand needs to use product-defining keywords to outline the business's exact products or services. Buyers search for product-defining keywords when they are at the initial stage of making a purchase.

The best way to use these keywords is by first analyzing your product list and then coming up with a thorough explanation of every product on your list. After that, check the descriptions of your products and select at least two relevant keywords. Use these keywords as your product-defining keywords.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Job Keywords

4. Product keywords

Product keywords are keywords that relate to specific brands' offerings. These keywords are phrases or terms that directly refer to a company's services or products. Every brand needs to identify product keywords for all its services and products to help its existing and prospective clients find its products via search. If you search for a word such as "copier," for example, you will most likely get results from a reputable brand. Whatever phrase you type, you will get results from brands that offer those products or services in the industry.

The sports industry, for another example, usually leverages product keywords since companies in this industry link to important sporting events and sportspersons. Someone searching for a prominent person is likely to come across a wide array of products from their sponsor on the first search page, making their name function as the product keyword.

5. Competitor keywords

These are the keywords that your competitor uses in their marketing strategy to get high search engine rankings. Perform keyword research to uncover the competitor keywords other businesses are using to generate traffic to their websites. Identifying the right competitor keywords helps you understand the specific keywords that are working for your competitors. It further gives you opportunities to draft new content, ultimately boosting your brand's search engine rankings.

6. Long-tail keywords

These are usually the longest search keywords, targeting a specific audience or topic. These keywords have low-competing keywords. The keywords also have limited search traffic, making it easier to rank them. Since long-tail keywords are more specific than other keywords, they may have higher conversion rates than most keywords. A good example of a long-tail keyword might be “best running shoes for injured knees.”

Related: What Are Long-Tail Keywords? Plus How To Find and Use Them

7. Short-tail keywords

These keywords are also known as generic keywords. The popular, broad search keywords lead to tons of search traffic. This type of keyword comprises less than two words. Furthermore, they rank competitively compared to most keywords. Short-tail keywords are brief and contain one or two phrases. A good example of a short-tail keyword may be “running shoes.”

8. Mid-tail keywords

These keywords fall between short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. Although mid-tail keywords have a relatively more minor traffic volume, they have higher conversion rates and little competition than other keywords.

9. Intent targeting keywords

These keywords match the intention of the user while they are searching for a particular phrase. These keywords are an essential part of paid search. Marketers can use it to conduct intent-driven marketing. Intent targeting keywords help marketers drive more traffic to their websites, generate more leads, and attract better prospective customers.

10. LSI keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are conceptual phrases that search engines use to understand a website's content. For instance, you could write an article about "The Benefits of Eating Eggs." From the topic, you are writing for an audience that wants to know more about the specific benefits of eating eggs. However, you might forget to mention the phrase " food" somewhere in your article. Many search engines will still be able to identify and rank your article as a food-related article.

11. Phrase match keywords

These keywords look for precise matches within a search engine's search parameter to start an ad. For example, you may search for a site with content such as "dentists who install dental crowns." Some ads might pop up showing you dental products. These ads are a result of a phrasal match which usually happens in the background. Phrase match usually contains multiple variations to help account for synonyms, misspellings, paraphrases, and implied terms.

Related: How To Use Resume Keywords To Get an Interview (Includes Tips and Examples)

12. Exact match keywords

Exact match keywords are most similar to short-tail keywords. Marketers usually use these keywords to target advertisers whose adverts open up when an internet user searches for a specific phrase on a search engine. Advertisers typically bid on these keywords, and search engines use them to target specific audiences with particular ads. Your brand can use these keywords to target people who search for particular terms. Ultimately, these keywords can increase your chances of getting conversion. Exact match keywords form part of some paid search services.

13. Negative keywords

These keywords are the opposite of exact match keywords. They prevent ads from popping up once the user searches for a particular term, usually referred to as negative matches. Some search engines consider words like “free” as negative keywords. This means if a user performs a search using this negative word, they might not see certain business results.

14. Related vertical keywords

These keywords usually offer a more detailed perspective into your business' content. Let's say you have a firm that specializes in selling computer hardware, for example. "Computer hardware dealer" could be a horizontal keyword in this context. The related vertical keywords, in this case, might be something like "selling printers" or "RAM for sale."

15. Locational keywords

These keywords cover anything that relates to a specific location. Locational keywords are instrumental for locational-based businesses. They might be something like "towing services North Carolina." Locational keywords can include words or phrases that aim to show ads that have businesses near the person who is searching. In this case, the locational keyword might be something such as "towing firm near me."

16. Long-term evergreen keyword

These are keywords that remain relevant indefinitely. While search volume might fluctuate, it won't affect these keywords. Long-term evergreen keywords remain relevant months and even years after publishing because people will search for content related to these keywords for a long time. Long-term evergreen keywords require updating very rarely, perhaps annually.

17. Informational keywords

Informational keywords are keywords that clients use while searching for general information about a particular topic, product, or service. Buyers usually use these keywords in the awareness stage of the buying process. Buyers are aware they want a specific product or to solve a particular problem. Thus they need relevant information before they make a purchasing decision. One excellent example of informational keywords might be "what are the best fishing rods?"

18. Navigational keywords

These keywords are also referred to as "go" keywords. People use these keywords when they want to navigate to a specific brand's website. People using these keywords already know why they need to buy a product and where they will get those products. Thus, they use specific buying keywords to find the right place to buy what they want. For example, a user might enter the navigational keywords “[brand] running shoes,” using the specific name of the brand of shoe they want to buy.

In this case, the person searching for these keywords wants running shoes, and they have decided to get them from a particular company. They are using navigational keywords to navigate to a site that will help them find exactly what they need.

19. Transactional keywords

Transactional keywords are also referred to as "do" keywords. These are the keywords buyers use when they have already decided to purchase a particular product or service. Buyers use transactional keywords at the conversation stage of the purchasing process. For example, a user might search "buy running shoes online" when they are ready to make a purchase.

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