Types of keywords in SEO
Updated: 29 / 01 / 2022

Types of keywords in SEO

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Gerard Osan
SEO expert
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Keyword choice is fundamental to any SEO strategy.

Keywords are one of the main axes of SEO. Although we have experienced countless changes in Google's algorithm, changing the rules of the positioning game with new criteria, the search for keywords is still, today, a fundamental part of any SEO project.

As in many other disciplines, categorising and segmenting certain concepts allows us to better understand and work on them. The search engine optimisation sector is no exception: keyword classifications under different criteria allow us to select them and incorporate them into our organic positioning strategy under a more orderly scheme.

There are several categorisations of words in SEO and in this article we are going to detail the most common ones and those that will provide you with the most value if you want to work on the positioning of a website.

Keywords by search intention

One of the best known and most useful ranking criteria is the division of keywords according to the user's intention when searching. For example, the term "buy canon eos 1300d camera" has a commercial connotation attached to it, while the word "what is a reflex camera" is informative.

According to this classification, keywords are divided into:

  • Navigational: when a user enters, for example, the word "nike" in Google because they want to access the brand's website. Basically, instead of entering the URL in the browser, we use the search engine to avoid having to type it in. In terms of SEO, we just have to make sure that our brand is the first result when entering its name.
  • Informational: searches in which a user requires information on a topic, without, in a direct way, having a commercial intention. Examples of this type of keyword would be "what is photosynthesis" or "why does it rain so much in London". We can work on the positioning of these terms, but they will not add much value directly to our business. Obviously, if we work with a media or content portal, these searches will be part of our SEO strategy.
  • Commercial or transactional: when a user performs a search with one of these terms, it indicates that they want to buy a product, acquire a service or a similar action. For example, "buy electric scooter barcelona" or "seo positioning agency". They will be the basis of many SEO approaches and, consequently, the most competitive.
  • Commercial research: a combination of the above (informational and commercial/transactional). These are keywords that a user enters to get information before making a purchase or transaction. "Best sports watch 2018", "comparative mobile tariffs" or "intel i9 features" are queries that we make in the pre-purchase stage, when we are deciding what to buy or even whether to buy it or not. Very interesting in terms of organic positioning.

And how can we know the intention behind a keyword? The most common methods are experience and Google testing. The latter technique simply consists of entering the keyword into the search engine and analysing the type of results it returns. Based on these results, we will be able to determine what kind of intention Google considers to be behind a keyword.

Keep in mind that, even following this classification, the keywords will be subordinated to the use given to them by the user. In other words, the search intention is associated with a person, who transmits a concern, question or need through a keyword.

Keywords according to keyword length

Although counting the number of words in a search query may seem a somewhat arbitrary criterion, it is often indicative of the degree of accuracy of the information required by the user. From this perspective, we organise keywords into:

  • Short tail: generic terms such as "car" or "apple" that do little to determine a user's information needs. They are usually made up of a single word and have high monthly search volumes.
  • Broad match / Medium tail: more specific searches, sometimes linked to specific products, services or brands. For example, "audi a3 car" or "Golden apple". They form the backbone of many SEO strategies, usually consist of 2-3 words and the number of searches per month is relevant.
  • Long tail: very specific keywords, made up of several words, such as "how to find a puncture in a swimming pool". Each of these queries has a low volume of searches, but we can group them by similarity and give them an outlet within our SEO project through blog articles or FAQ sections, for example.

Other criteria for defining keyword types

There are other criteria under which we can classify keywords within the field of SEO, although some have been born in other online marketing disciplines. Some of the most common are:

  • Branded / Non-branded: we divide the keywords according to whether the user uses our brand for their query ("custom programming la teva web") or if they don't know it ("custom programming barcelona"). Useful to know if our SEO efforts are bringing results beyond the users who already know us.
  • Local: a small division that allows us to discriminate those queries that have a local reach and adjust our positioning strategy accordingly.
  • Matching: Linked to Google Ads advertising campaigns, this classification divides keywords according to the type of match used (broad, modified broad, phrase, exact, negative), a parameter specific to the Google Ads platform.

We could go even deeper into the different types of keywords in SEO under a multitude of criteria, but these are the most common ones. If you want more information about keywords or need help with your SEO strategy, do not hesitate to contact our SEO agency in Barcelona.

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About the author
Gerard Osan — SEO expert
Within online marketing I have focused my professional career on technical SEO and web analytics. I also spend some time programming, looking for web development to bring optimized resources to marketing.

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