Beginner’s Guide: What are SEO keywords and how to do Keyword research?

Keyword Research

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, plays a huge role in the visibility of web pages and content to the search engines. It is the main source of driving traffic to your blog and website. But, how do search engines find your blog? How do search engines know that the user will find the answer to their queries in your blog post?

This is where keywords comes in! User communicates to search engine and search engine communicates with your blog content through SEO Keywords.

In this article, we will understand what are SEO keywords? what are the types of keywords? How to research and add keywords in your web pages and blog posts.

Let’s dive in!

What is SEO keyword?

Keywords for SEO, or SEO keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for a particular topic or thing on internet. There are no strict rules on how people will ask a query from search engine. It can vary from person to person.

In essence, SEO keywords grasp the essence of your blog post. Often, it is a title or a few words from the title. Imaging yourself as the end user and ask yourself, what questions are answered with this content? how will people ask query about it? What would be the search terms?

Remember, that keyword is not a single word only. It can be a phrase, a question, or a term.

For example, look at the image below to get an idea of how different people search for movies.

Keyword Example
Keyword Example

Keywords are interesting. As soon as you type something, the search engine quickly searches for the matches and tries to suggest what you are looking for. For example, if you simple write ‘how to handle’, the search engine will display the most common keywords or phrases used by the people, recently.

How to Keyword

What are the types of Keywords?

Although, we have a clear understanding of SEO keywords. Surprisingly, there is no agreement on the types of keywords. Some experts have classified it on the basis of length, others have classified it on the basis of intent.

Length Based Keywords

This classification is based on the number of words in the keyword.

Short Tail Keywords

As the name implies, ‘Short Tail’ keywords are short. These consist of 1-3 words only. These indicate a broader topic and can be used in the titles of the article. These are also known as ‘Head Term’.

Short tail keyword can be considered as the first thought that comes to mind when someones starts a search about any thing. It is a stage where the person does not know what exactly he is looking for.

The examples of short tail keywords are:

  • hair styles
  • home decoration
  • camera equipment

Generally, short tail keywords are competitive and have high search volumes. However, it does not mean that you should stuff short tail keywords to attract more traffic to your blog.

The reason is simple. You want to give your readers the information and solutions they need, not just have them visit your site for the sake of it. It’s possible that using general keywords and avoiding any specific topics would not answer their query. As a response, they may be less inclined to visit your page again.

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords consist of 4 to 8 words. Unlike short tail keywords, long tail keywords refer to a specific area or sub domain of the topic. The search volume is low so you might attract less traffic. Nevertheless, the traffic is more likely to convert into regular visitors.

There is less competition for long tail keywords. Hence, there are more chances for a higher ranking of your webpage. Long tail keywords move the user up in the customer journey. Sometimes, they include questions and aim at providing information to the users.

  • summer hair styles for short hair
  • trendy hair styles for boys
  • easy hair styles for long hair
  • DIY home decoration ideas
  • affordable home decoration ideas
  • trendy home decoration ideas
  • professional camera equipment price
  • best professional camera equipment
  • things to know before buying camera equipment

Intent Based Keywords

This classification is based on the stages in user’s buying journey. It is the key to understanding what people are looking for. Build a SEO strategy around intent and help them in their journey.

Informational Keyword

Based on data, it is safe to suggest that informational keywords attract most traffic. People are looking for information on a variety of topics. Usually, these include ‘what is’, ‘why’, ‘how to’ words. It is interesting how someone initiates the search on informational keywords.

  • You are talking to a friend and a ‘topic’ comes up in the conversation.
  • You are watching a movie and you hear a ‘word’.
  • You are assigned a task and you want to figure out ‘how to do’.
  • You have a situation and you want to know ‘how to handle’.

Notice the intent of user here. Mostly, people are not willing to spend money to look up for the information at this stage. All they need is basic knowledge and general information.

Some users already know what they are looking for. This brings us to the next category of ‘Navigational Keyword’.

People use navigational keywords to find a brand, company, store, orgnaization or website etc. Usually, the aim is to land at the official page of the brand. ‘Navigational search’ is the chance for brand owners to provide people all the information they are looking for and convert the traffic into sales .

In some cases, the purpose of navigational search is to find the location and contact details of the said organization.

Some examples of navigational keywords are:

  • Smart bear official
  • Walmart in Florida
  • Where is Gloria Jeans coffee located near me?

Commercial Keyword

Commercial keywords are used at the stage where user is convinced that he needs an item, yet he is looking for the specific model and brand. For example, you may know that you need a new laptop but you are comparing the different available options.

The posts which use commercial keywords help people educate about overall pros and cons of a specific service or product. These articles aim at helping people to make an informed purchase decision that meets their needs.

Some examples of commercial keywords are:

  • Best salons in my area
  • Macbook pro vs Macbook air
  • Best project management tools
  • Practice Maths apps for 4 year olds
  • Reviews of Galaxy Z Fold4.

The modifiers may includes coupons, deals, free shipping, sale, and discounts.

Transactional Keyword

This is the last stage in user’s buying journey. The user has all the information and he has made up his mind to actually make the purchase.

The transactional keywords are highly targeted and lead users to optimized purchase pages. The users are able to add items to the cart and make a purchase within seconds.

Some examples are:

  • Buy a sandwich maker near me.
  • Food delivery in my area.
  • Kids electric car for sale.

How to build an SEO strategy based on Keywords?

Now that you have understood the different types of the SEO keywords and the right context to use them, you must be eager to write your next blog post.

Considering the fact that you’re aware that keywords drive readers to your content, you could feel tempted to overuse them. Yet, it’s essential to control your impulse and not act on it.

Keyword stuffing is the practise of using too many keywords. The most recent SEO algorithms penalise pages for keyword stuffing. Additionally, your readers may perceive recurrence in your articles and find them less useful. Therefore, it’s possible that they won’t return often.

On the other hand, you may completely ignore the keywords and create content for readers. In this case, your content is adequate but how will people find it?

The trick is finding the optimal balance between your audience and the search engines. To ensure that the material is optimised for search engines, you must employ the proper keywords in the right proportions. Simultaneously, make sure that the content provides value to the user and answers their queries.

How to research keywords for SEO?

You can find keyword suggestions and ranking prospects by using the following keyword research tools.

Google’s Autocomplete Tool

Google Autocomplete Tool is a good place to start if you’re just starting to explore. Go to Google and type in the keyword. Observe the suggestions the autocomplete tool is trying to generate. These recommendations are based on information gathered from people all over the world and then ranked by popularity.

As a result, these recommendations provide a reasonable indication of what people are searching for these days on the particular topic.

Google Autocomplete Tool
Google Autocomplete Tool

MOZ Keyword Explorer

MOZ keyword explorer is a popular tool. It comes with a browser extension too. You can sign up for free account and get limited research queries per month. 

Go to the MOZ keyword explorer. Enter the keyword and hit ‘Search keywords now’.

MOZ keyword explorer
MOZ keyword explorer

The search results will bring detailed analysis on the keyword. It will tell you the difficulty levels, volume, and expected click through rates. For more effective international SEO strategies, it facilitates to perform competitive keyword analysis and provides insights about keyword rankings by country.

MOZ search results return long tail keywords and questions. It can help you modify the content to answer the specific questions. Hence, you have the opportunity to turn your visitors in to regular audience.

Answer the Public Keyword Research Tool

AnswerThePublic is a keyword research tool that helps you find the right keywords, questions, prepositions and related searches. It gives detailed, visualized breakdown and enables you to perform in-depth analysis of keywords.  It allows 3 free searches per day. You need to sign up and subscribe for enjoying all features of AnswerThePublic tool.

Answer The Public Keyword Research Tool
Answer The Public Keyword Research Tool


In a nutshell, keywords are the means by which readers find your posts. Your blog’s pages, content, posts, and articles all need to be optimised for search engines. SEO keywords can be categorized according to their length and purpose.

You may write effectively by striking the proper balance with the help of a good understanding of SEO keywords. Any keyword research tool will work to help you find the most popular terms. Leverage your skills and the tools at your disposal to create content that is useful to readers and easily found by search engines.


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