Search engine SEO keywords are key phrases (Long and Short) that online users use to conduct searches on the search engine. The foundation of every SEO campaign begins with keyword research.
These keywords are used by your target customers to search for information on how to solve their problems.
SEOs select keywords and use them to support their content creation.
When you align your content with keywords that your target customers are searching for, you will have a higher chance of becoming visible in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Also, the use of keywords helps the search engine to understand what your website is all about, and the industry you serve.
It also improves your chances of becoming visible to your target customers.
The importance of keywords in SEO campaigns is numerous, let’s get started with the types of keywords.
Types of SEO Keywords
1. Short-Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are keywords that are not more than 3 words.
They typically contain 1-3 words and cover a broad topic. E.g What is SEO? These keywords generally have a high search volume than the long tail keywords.
When you use these keywords you will attract a high volume of target customers to your website.
Although short-tail keywords receive a high volume of traffic, the traffic they receive does not translate to more sales as the keyword is a generic one that does not serve the right user intent for your business.
The effective way of using short-tail keywords is by mixing them with long-tail keywords with user intent.
Short-tail keywords will increase your website traffic and visibility on the search engine.
Short-tail keywords are also competitive keywords because they are targeted by multiple companies in the same industry.
This makes it difficult to rank if your website is a new one or if your website has a low domain authority.
2. Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keywords with a lower search volume than short-tail keywords.
They contain 3 or more words, they are user-intent keywords that are more specific than short-tail keywords and usually have a higher conversion value.
Long tail keywords gradually generate traffic to your website, and they can help your website to get noticed by new target audiences that are ready to become a paying customer.
Although, the traffic long-tail keywords generate is less, they attract higher quality traffic because they are more likely to answer user intent and they are easier to rank for than short-tail keywords.
Another importance of long tail keywords is that these keywords are used less, and online users that found your website using them are likely to convert into paying customers.
Example of Using Long-Tail Keywords in Your Website
Let’s say I want to buy a new HP laptop for myself, I start my search with a short tail keyword (HP Laptops).
After I am done with my research, I come to realize that I want an HP laptop that has good battery life.
My search continues, but this time around I will use a long tail keyword (HP Laptops with good battery life), or if I want to add my location to it and make it a local search, I could search for terms like (HP Laptops with good battery life in Lagos).
The use of these keywords will present me with the exact laptops I am looking for in the exact location.
The chances of me buying a laptop have been increased by my specific search.
What is the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords?
To summarize and make you understand better, the key difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords is that short-tail keywords have a high volume of monthly searches, and are more generic whereas, long-tail keywords have a low volume of monthly searches and are more specific.
High search volume
Low search volume
Generic search term
User-intent search term
Highly search engine competition
Low search engine competition
Not more than 3 words
3 words and more
Low conversion rate
High conversion rate
Importance of SEO Keywords
1. SEO Keywords Help Your Website Rankings
Google rank websites based on their relevance to online users' search query.
Since search queries contain keywords used by online users, search engines naturally look for websites that use the same keywords on their web pages.
Your website Keywords are what tell the search engine about the industry you serve and your relevance.
The more often your industry keywords are used in the search engine, the more often your website will become visible to your target customers, and the more organic traffic and conversions you will get.
Higher search engine rankings are also a result of the use of keywords.
When you make use of the appropriate keywords around your web content, your website search engine ranking will likely increase.
Incorporating keywords in your blog post URL, meta description, and title tags and also selectively using them in the anchor text of both internal and external links send a positive ranking signal to the search engine.
This helps the search engine to understand what your web page is all about and how to present it to online users when the need arises.
2. SEO Keywords Help Your Marketing Strategy
Search engine organic rankings and visibility of any website are the value of its keywords, the value of the keywords you use will determine how visible your website will be on the SERPs.
Also, keywords are helpful in establishing your business's overall marketing strategy.
For your SEO and PPC campaign to be a success, you will need to make use of keywords.
When you understand the popularity and competitiveness of your target keywords, you will be able to shape your website content around what your target customers are looking for online.
This will be a game changer for your business as it will increase your organic traffic and conversions.
For example, if your website traffic is coming from a keyword with no more than 1000 monthly searches, and you add another page with keywords of more than 5000 searches a month.
As time goes by, you will see an increase in your website traffic and conversions.
If you have 50 blog posts on your website with more than 5000 monthly searches, you will surely experience how SEO keywords strategy can help you improve your lead generation and website revenue.
3. Keywords Increase Your Organic Conversions
The relevant use of transactional keywords will increase your visibility to online users that are ready to make a purchase, this will increase your conversions.
By using the appropriate user intent keywords, your web content will be incorporated with the exact key phrases online users are using to look for products or services that you offer.
When you conduct keyword research using Keyword research tools, you will get detailed insights into how your target customers are searching for your business and if they are using words that are new or words you never heard of.
If you discover your target customers are using new words to describe your products or services, you will need to incorporate those words into your web content.
To be successful with your keyword strategy, you need to create content that resonates with your target customers.
Your content must also be easier for them to understand.
You need to make sure you don’t use industry terminologies that only you can understand and if you use one, it will be better if you explain it to them in the same post.
SEO Keyword Tools You Can Use For Your Keyword Research.
When it comes to keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is one of the best tools that are available.
It is a free SEO tool from Google with no daily, weekly, or monthly limits and it also does not have any expensive upgrades.
This keyword planner has two main essential features that make it a top pick for many SEOs even though it is free. These two features are
Its “keyword ideas” feature is similar to many popular keyword research tools available in the market.
To conduct keyword research, all you have to do is input your seed term, and it generates other keyword ideas with details on their monthly search volume, difficulty, PPC impression share, change over time, and PPC bid ranges.
You can segment your keyword list by branded or non-branded keywords and many more.
Google keyword planner also has a forecast feature that makes it easier for you to plan ahead of your PPC campaign if you are using Google ads.
SEMrush is the choice of many marketers because it is the most advanced keyword research tool in the market.
It shares a ton of keyword data and provides a detailed analysis of its keywords.
These analyses include keyword intent, global volume, selected country volume, keyword difficulty, trend, keyword variation, SERP Analysis, and many more.
SEMrush is an SEO toolkit that offers you a broad range of keyword research tools, these research tools are what really set SEMrush apart from other keyword research tools.
SEMrush keyword research tools include standard keyword overview, keyword manager, keyword magic tool, position tracking, organic traffic insights, and competitive keyword gap analysis.
When you connect SEMrush organic traffic insights with your website Google search console account, you will uncover keywords that are not provided in any keyword research tools.
Should I be using long-tail or short-tail keywords?
Your business industry and the percentage of online users your business can provide solutions to should be in consideration if you are yet to decide on the key phrases you want to use for your website.
However, if you are confused and don’t know how to start, you can schedule a meeting with an SEO professional.
I will help you to navigate the ever-changing search landscape and come up with user intent keywords that your website can rank for, excluding irrelevant keywords.