How to Choose Keywords for SEO: Types of keywords

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Keywords. They kick-start the whole search process and help lead potential visitors to your site. Choose the right keywords and you gain more relevant traffic. Focus on the wrong keywords and you may still end up getting additional traffic, just not the right kind of visitors. The right kind of visitors? They are those who find your site’s content or business relevant to their needs. When there is a match between their needs and your business, you get a higher chance of converting them to becoming your next customer. Follow us on our 3-part series as we guide you through the process of choosing the right keywords, starting today with the 3 types of keywords you need to know!

Types of keywords

In order to choose the right keywords, let’s first understand the 3 main types of keywords used in SEO : Broad-match, Long-tail and Branded.

Broad-match keywords:

Short generic keywords (usually 1-3 words) that convey your product or service. Due to their high search volume, these keywords are usually highly sought after by businesses. However, due to their vague nature, broad-match keywords typically have low conversion potential. Let’s take a look at an example to further illustrate this!

For example, the keyword “healthy snacks” can carry different meanings depending on the search intent of the user. Is the user looking to purchase healthy snacks or perhaps searching for information regarding healthy snacks? (Figure 1) With broad-match keywords, there is insufficient information to determine the exact search intent, making it difficult to find users whose needs match your business. Nonetheless, broad-match keywords are still useful because they act as the core keyword which branches out to long-tail keywords.

Figure 1: Long-tail keywords that branch out from the broad-match “healthy snacks”

Long-tail keywords:

Longer keywords (3 or more words) that describe your product or service more specifically. Long-tail keywords usually have moderate search volume and competition (Figure 2) but possess higher conversion potential due to their specificity. For example, the keyword “buy healthy snacks online” conveys a clear intent to purchase healthy snacks from an online platform.

Figure 2: Search volume and competition level of some long-tail keywords

To better understand long-tail keywords, they can be further classified into two other categories – Associated and Related.

Associated long-tails : Keywords which contain the key terms in your broad-match keyword. Going back to the broad-match “healthy snacks”, any long-tail keywords that include “healthy snacks” are considered associated long-tails.

Examples of associated long-tails:

  • buy healthy snacks online
  • healthy snacks singapore
  • healthy nut snacks
  • healthy snacks wholesale

Associated long-tails are valuable as they not only capture the users who include your broad-match in their search but more importantly users whose search intent and needs match your business’s offerings.

Related long-tails : Keywords which do not contain your broad-match but is related to either the broad-match,associated long-tails or your business in general. Referring back to the previous example, any keywords related to “healthy snacks”, “healthy nut snacks”, “healthy snacks wholesale” and other associated long-tails will be categorized as related long-tails.

Examples of related long-tails:

  • low calorie snacks
  • snacks supplier singapore
  • where to buy cheap nuts in singapore
  • buy wholesale nuts

Even though related long-tails do not contain your broad-match, they are just as valuable. They help target the users whose search intent and needs match your business’s offerings, but may be overlooked due to their choice to use search terms that does not contain your broad-match.

Branded keywords:

Keywords which include your brand name and brand URL. These keywords are especially important if your brand is well-known in the industry and users directly associate your brand with their needs. For example, in terms of nuts, some of the more well-known brands in the Singapore industry are Camel and Tong Garden. Thus, users may search using branded keywords such as “tong garden nuts” or “camel nuts”.

Moving Forward

Now that you understand the types of keywords used in SEO, you are one step nearer to choosing the right keywords. Although the naming of the categories may differ across the industry, the basic meaning of the categories are similar. To effectively capture the right kind of visitors, the keywords chosen should be a combination of all three types. Depending on your targeted audience, the proportion of the three types may vary.

We’re done for now! The next article in the series will introduce the 3 steps you should take to choose the right keywords, so stay tuned! OR. If you can’t wait and would like to know how a digital marketing agency can help you choose the right keywords, reach out to us here!

Joey Wang

Joey Wang

Joey is captain of Appiloque's spaceship. He spends his time charting the company's future and spearheading innovation projects that make business sense. Occasionally, he gets mistaken for a computer since he doesn't need a calculator and overheats when running too many processes.

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