The Beginner’s Guide to Keywords

As a beginner, you will either have a vague understanding or none at all when it comes to keywords and their connection to SEO. That is perfectly natural. Keywords are the bedrock of SEO. They define what your business is, what niche it fits in by allowing search engines to navigate and discover the appropriate URL.

Whether that be Google, Yahoo, Apple or Bing, keywords are able to unlock doors that other elements of online marketing cannot. Without providing the appropriate terms, a domain can be lost amid a wave of useless information.

The visibility will drop and it will all come down to the neglect taken towards keywords. Steps can be taken to quickly resolve this issue. Each of these words happen to carry a unique value and should be thought about in that context.

Through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) avenues such as Google Adwords, keywords are listed by monetary value based on their click-through-rate, overall traffic and relevancy. Yet the organic method also happens to heavily lean on keywords and their popularity.

Spread among the URL, titles, headings, descriptions and tags of a site, the most optimal terms will provide a stronger performance with Google. This guide will act as a starting point to learning their relevance in this field, how they can be examined, what mishaps site owners run into and the importance of research.

Types of Keywords

Keywords should help to give your site an industry-focused approach that makes the navigation more personalized. The best method to reaching this target is breaking down keywords into types.

types of keywords

The are a few different types of keywords the are important to understand.

They can be placed into the following:

Product Keywords

This informs the customer what product or service you happen to be selling. Brand names are always prominent in this field. For instance, those department stores selling sports footwear should opt for product keywords like “Rebook,” “Nike” and “Adidas.”

Geotargeted Keywords

Here is the central tool used to maximize local SEO results. From Google’s own statistics, local searches have a stronger tangible performance when it comes to physical sales. About 50% of smartphone local searches have a visit within 24 hours while 34% of desktop and tablet users do likewise.

Customer-Defining Keywords

What terms does your customer base use to describe themselves? Perhaps an alternative men’s clothing store in LA might prefer to use customer-defining keywords that fits the “hipster” market. An online dating site for over 50s would likely opt for “mature” over “aged” profiles. This comes down to audience behavior and whether or not your site caters.

Market-Defining Keywords

Marketing-defining keywords are far more broad than those that fit into the customer-defining category. They apply to terms that are applicable to an entire business or industry as a whole. They are quite generic in that respect. Rather than using brands, they will paint a broad brush.

Related Vertical Keywords

What might be a market that touches on a product you sell but happens to be just outside the niche? For example, would a coffee shop promote themselves to tea lovers? Perhaps they are if that is what they are selling. Related vertical keywords act to draw in and cross-pollinate across communities that are untapped.

Value of the Long-Tail

long tail keyword

Long-tail keywords hold a significant amount of value.

Keywords can be thought about in a very binary fashion. One right term is thought to be the difference between success and failure. The truth is somewhat different. Where the genuine results derive from with keywords are found in the long-tail.

Through what is classified as the Search Demand Curve (SDC), a majority (70%) of search terms are discovered in the detail, i.e. the long-tail keywords. This acts as one of three categories for keywords:

Head Keywords

Also known as generic keywords. This takes priority and should be formulated by whatever comes to mind initially. That then act as an overarching mechanism to include as many niches within a niche as possible.

Middle Keywords

Also known as broad keywords. Here we are digging a little bit more into the detail. This is what should come next directly after the head/ generic keywords.

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are so specific, they can often be typed into Google as a question or query. For example, someone who is on the lookout for a set of cheap binoculars in New York would do just that: “Cheap binoculars New York.” Having factors like the affordability range and geographic location is where the 70% lies.

Frequent Mistakes

keyword mistakes

Be careful not to make any of these common keyword mistakes.

Website owners fall into the habit of catering their keywords and SEO strategy towards terms they want to use. Despite the evidence pointing in a different direction, they believe they know best.

This is a major error because the central objective for keywords is to use phrases that the end user is utilizing to find your site. Nothing else really matters. You must take your ego and preconceptions out of the equation completely.

If the market is using a term that does not fit into your perception of the company brand or experience, then that is a reputation that has to be change off its own accord. Keywords should be designed to get the maximum return, even if that runs contrary to the image that was originally crafted.

For instance, a sports store owner in Sydney who emigrated from the UK might want to promote a new brand of goal posts ahead of the upcoming domestic season. Whereas their use of the word “football” is widely accepted as part of the local lexicon, Sydneysiders will have a tenancy to opt for “soccer.”

This might frustrate the owner as to the image of the sport and the products they sell, but the traffic will be heading to competitors. The other major stumbling block is the unwillingness or inability to find keywords. This is where extra assistance is required.

Find Best Keyword Matches

keyword match

There are a number of online tools that can assist with finding relevant keywords.

While some business owners will leave it up to chance or simply guess the best method of finding keywords, the smartest option is utilizing specific applications. These tools can be paid-for or used for free depending on their individual model.

The following programs will include their specialized algorithm to determine the viability of a keyword within the Google framework:

  • SEMrush
  • Backlinko
  • Keyword Tool
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest

Google’s Keyword Planner goes into great detail without the user having to be a top professional in the field. They will inform the value of your keyword down to the very specifics, including:

  • Competition
  • Bids
  • Average monthly searches
  • Relevance
  • Alternative suggestions

Keyword Research

Those applications form part of what is known as keyword research. This is a method that gives the owner the maximum amount of tools at their disposal to cash in on all possible keyword matches. It helps to break down exactly how relevant the keywords that are being used are; and which keywords need to be utilized that are currently overlooked.

Another element of keyword research involves scouting the opposition. Here a program like SpyFU is incredibly handy to use, discovering the tricks and techniques that the top ranking competitors are utilizing.

Depending on the niche, the most successful keywords can be unique to the market, but identifying the long-tail terms from major marketers enables you to understand their standing.

keyword research

Be sure to always check out what the competition are doing.


Google’s updated Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide will be a helpful tool to understanding how the algorithm thinks about keywords. There are strict regulations on techniques that stuff the terms to artificially bulk up the numbers. Avoid this at all costs.

The best place to start is to formulate a planner for yourself that makes the process simple. What are 5-6 terms that best describes your business? Have them down on paper or in an online document and see how they respond through the search engine.

This will embark you upon a journey or trial and error. There will not be a set of keywords that work perfectly on day one, nor will they ever remain the same even when a top ranking is achieved.

The relevancy of keywords are always in flux because society’s relationships to words alter over time. To keep up to date on a keywords value, ensure they have an audience and a footing in the niche. With the right keywords, you are well on your way to a successful SEO campaign.

Passionate about writing and sharing my experiences with others. I have a keen interest in marketing and the growth of digital.