15 Types of Keywords: Everything You Need to Know

by | Mar 25, 2020 | Digital Marketing

9 Min Read. |

Every second, 40,000 searches are performed on Google. Knowing what people search for is essential for any business to feature in that coveted first page of search results. These terms that bring a page to the first page are known as “keywords”, and several types of keywords do the trick.

For example, images play a key role in searches. In fact, 97% of page one results on Google have at least one image. Keywords are the most important factors that determine the ranking a page will get according to Google’s search engine algorithm. They are the first step to a successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Once a successful SEO has been implemented, your business is ready to generate organic views. Search engines undoubtedly play a key role in generating views – the statistics suggest that 39% of all eCommerce traffic is generated from searches. Thus, no business or website can ignore the importance of a well-thought-out SEO anymore.

Types of Keywords in SEO

Different keywords are marketed towards different kinds of audiences at various stages of the funnel. This ensures that a broader audience is reached and also secures a better chance of landing a client or customer. Some keywords can be directly incorporated into the content based on their intent. But other types of keywords need to be slowly inserted into a broader category, within multiple sets and subsets of keywords.

Defining your keywords by type helps identify the kind of audience you are feeding. Because different types of keywords target different communities online, it is easy to determine what type of viewers are taking more interest in your business. So here is a brief intro to the different types of keywords you may come across while designing your SEO.

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1. Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are broad phrases people commonly use in their searches. These usually consist of one or two words. Their length makes them less specific search terms. However, this type of keyword is relatively standard. For example, when we search “Cat” or “White flower”, these are considered short-tail keywords.

Individual short-tailed keywords are searched more often than any others, but usually, it is the more specific searches that generate the majority of the search volume. The top 1,000 keywords make up for less than 20% of the search traffic. However, in online advertising, short-tail keywords are bid on more aggressively than specific search terms.

2. Mid-Tail Keywords

The mid-tail keywords are a compromise and try to balance between the high-ranking short-tail keywords and the traffic-generating long-tail keywords. For example, if a short-tail keyword is “bread” and the long-tail keyword is “buy bread in Connecticut”, the mid-tail keyword will simply be “buy bread”. Usually, these keywords are aimed at those who are looking for information but aren’t quite ready to follow through with the search results.

3. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific, and thus, less common than the short or mid-tail ones. Most blogs and websites have a main topic known as the head term. Usually, this term is used to generate a specific, long-winded keyword.

As these types of keywords focus on a niche, the conversion rate is very high. Although they might get a lot less search hits, most people who are looking for such specific terms have already made up their mind about needing to make the transaction. As a result, long-tail keywords are excellent SEO tactics and when designed properly, almost guarantee an audience.

4. Long-Term Evergreen Keywords

“Evergreen” simply means something that is long-term and sustainable. Content that doesn’t become irrelevant with time is known as evergreen content. Similarly, keywords related to such content are known as evergreen keywords.

For example, an article on “10 DIY Ways To Make Your Own Soap” will not become obsolete anytime in the foreseeable future. And thus, the keyword “Make DIY Soaps” will not become obsolete either.

Evergreen content is a good strategy when it comes to content marketing. Basing the content on evergreen keywords that rank well ensures that your website remains relevant for a very long time.

5. Short-Term Fresh Keywords

Short-term fresh keywords are those that have been in the news or been hyped over social media very recently. For example, a mega release of 2019 was “Avengers: Endgame”. Writing content on the film or any content related to it would have ensured a steady flow of traffic for some time.

Such types of keywords can be used to gather an explosive amount of search conversions within a very short span, but they fall even more rapidly once the hype dies down. It is expendable content, written with an expiration date in mind.

6. Customer Defining Keywords

Every business has a target audience, and a good business always knows its customer types. Customer defining keywords are the types of keywords that define your customers or at least identify how your customers define themselves. For example, an art gallery would use terms like “artist” or “art connoisseur” as a keyword as that most aptly describes people who will be interested in their business.

SEO isn’t just about featuring in searches. It also includes defining your customers and thus targeting the right people. Only by understanding this can one build a business that answers the needs of the customers rather than trying to find a customer who may or may not need your services.

7. Geo-Targeting Keywords

As the name suggests, these are words that focus on a particular location. These types of keywords lead to results that are localized, leading to local businesses and local content.

Localized searches are gaining momentum every day, and even Google is throwing more weight at such searches. Most websites happen to have a local flavor to them. And almost all businesses are localized to an extent – geo-targeting keywords are just feeding the current need.

8. Intent Targeting Keywords

Keywords specifically designed to match the intent of the user when searching a particular phrase are known as intent targeting keywords. In fact, intent keywords are the most vital aspect of paid search. By leveraging data recovered from researching intent-driven marketing, advertisers increase traffic to their sites, attract better prospective clients and can generate more leads.

There are a few types of search queries – navigational, informational and transactional. Usually, the idea behind these types of keywords is to take the transactional queries and generate as many leads from them as possible.

9. Competitor Keywords

As the name suggests, competitor keywords are the keywords your competing companies use to achieve search listings. This type of keyword uncovers the words and phrases that drive traffic to your competitor’s website. This helps you understand your audience’s true interests and generate content accordingly.

There are a few tools one might use to discover such keywords. Some of these are Buzzsumo, SEM Rush, SpyFu, Ahref’s Keyword explorer, AdWords’ Action insight, etc. Whatever the tool, it is wise to remember that even your fiercest competition can be a valuable teacher, and it is best to try and learn as much as you can from them.

10. LSI Keywords

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These are conceptual terms that search engines use to understand the content of any website at a deeper level. For example, if I wrote an article about “Eggs Benedict” and failed to mention the word “food” anywhere, Google is still capable of identifying the page content as food-related.

In the earlier days, search engines used to categorize and identify pages based 100% on the keywords mentioned on the page. With the advance in language processing, that is no longer the case. Google now relies on LSI keywords to figure out the overall topic of the page and feature it, accordingly, into its results.

11.  Phrase Match Keywords

Simply put, phrase match looks for exact matches within the search parameter to trigger an ad. When you open a website after having searched for “Beauticians who do hair as well as makeup” and an ad pops up showing makeup products, it is a phrasal match that is happening in the background.

These types of keywords often contain several variations to account for misspellings, implied terms, synonyms, paraphrases, etc. Word order is, however, still important, even if words in between are omitted.

12.  Exact Match Keywords

These types of keywords are related to short-tail keywords. An exact match is often used to target advertisers whose ads open up only when a user searches for an exact phrase. Advertisers bid on these words and engines such as Google and Bing use these to target audiences with certain ads.

With exact match keywords, a business can target audiences who search for an exact term or a close variation. This increases the chances of a conversion by tenfold. Usually, these are a part of paid services such as Google AdSense.

13.  Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be termed as completely opposite of a phrase match. They prevent your ad from popping up when a particular keyword is used within the search parameters. It is also known as a “negative match”.

An example Google itself uses is when someone uses “free” as a negative keyword, then any search made using the word “free” will not show your business as a result. Even when putting your ad on a page, Google is less likely to put it on a page containing such keywords.

14.  Product Keywords

Product keywords are terms related to certain specific products and brand offerings. For example, when we search for “copier”, more often than not we are greeted with products by “Xerox”. Or if we are to search for tea, we are most likely to find the most popular brand of tea in a location on the very first page.

Very popular companies that leverage these types of keywords include sports companies with tie-ups to sportspersons and sporting events. Someone searching for Serena Williams is very likely to come across products by Nike on the very first page. This is because she is a brand ambassador of the company, and thus her name serves as a keyword in this case.

15.  Related Vertical Keywords

Vertical keywords are those that offer a more in-depth look into the content of your business. For example, say your business sells computer hardware. In that case, your horizontal keyword can be “computer hardware seller”, and your related vertical keywords can be either “RAM for sale” or “selling printers”.

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Types of Keywords in AdWords

Keyword match types determine the words that will trigger your ad. There are in fact 4 different types of match types in AdWords.

1) Broad Match
2) Broad Match Modifier
3) Phrase Match
4) Exact Match

We have already learned about phrase match and exact match. Let us take a quick look at the other two.

Broad Match

Broad match allows a business to reach the widest possible audience. When keywords are put under the broad match category, your ad appears every time a search query contains any part of your keyword. For example, if your keyword is “women’s hats” and someone searches for “hats”, “men’s hats” or “crazy hats”, it will still appear; but clearly, it won’t convert to a business transaction.

Broad Match Modifier

A broad match modifier allows the user the reach of a broad match but allows restrictions around specific queries that will trigger the ad. Using the modifier ‘+’ and by adding it in front of the keyword, for example, “+women’s hats”, one can ensure that the only searches that will trigger your ad have the complete phrase “women’s hats”.

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Keywords are the linchpin between the searches made by prospective customers and the content you provide to meet those needs. They are vital to any business or website that is looking to make connections over the world wide web. 93% of all online experiences begin with searches. 67% of all people only check the first 5 listings. Thus, as algorithms evolve, understanding the type of keywords and how they powerfully place your page on the top of a search list becomes vital. Only with the proper understanding of SEO mechanisms can one succeed in today’s world of the internet.

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