what is a keyword

What is a Keyword? What is Keyword SEO & Research?

Dive deep into the world of SEO keywords, exploring types, tools, and strategies to enhance your digital marketing and improve SERP rankings.

17 mins read
May 18, 2024

Quick Summary
Keywords are the foundation of SEO, helping websites rank higher on search engines and reach their target audience. This blog covers the significance of keywords in digital marketing, various types of keywords like long tail and short tail, and the importance of keyword research. It delves into tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Semrush, and provides advanced strategies for integrating different keyword types into a cohesive SEO strategy. By understanding and effectively utilizing keywords, businesses can enhance their online visibility, drive more traffic, and achieve better search engine rankings.

What is a Keyword? What is Keyword SEO & Research?

A keyword is a term or phrase that people use in search engines to find information. It connects users with the content they seek, making keywords essential in digital marketing and SEO.

Understanding keywords is crucial for anyone involved in online content creation. Keywords help search engines identify the topic of your content, boosting its visibility. Knowing SEO keywords is key to driving traffic and reaching your target audience.

Keyword SEO is not just about using keywords, it’s about using them strategically to improve your search engine rankings. By integrating the right keywords, you can steer more visitors and potential customers towards your content, giving you more control over your online presence.

This blog covers various aspects of keywords, including their types and significance. We’ll explain what is keyword research and why it’s important. Effective research helps you discover what are long tail keywords, what are keywords in digital marketing, and what is SEO keyword research. We’ll also discuss what are negative keywords and their role in PPC campaigns.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner are invaluable for keyword discovery. We’ll explain Google Keyword Planner and how it helps find seed keywords. Knowing what a keyword planner is can enhance your keyword strategy.

Different keyword types play unique roles in SEO. We’ll explore navigational keywords, what is a broad match keyword, what is a short tail keyword, what are fat head keywords, and what are chunky middle keywords. Each type influences your content strategy differently.

This blog is your one-stop shop for all things keywords, from research to implementation. Rest assured, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive understanding of keywords and their profound impact on digital marketing.

Understanding SEO Keywords

understanding seo keywords

SEO keywords are specific words or phrases that help search engines understand your content. They are the terms people enter into search engines when looking for information. Knowing what is a keyword is the first step in creating effective content.

What are SEO keywords? These are the words that relate to your content and match what users are searching for. They help increase your content’s visibility on search engines. Proper use of these keywords can significantly impact your rankings. 

Understanding what is keyword research is essential for effective SEO. Keyword research involves finding and analyzing terms that people use in search engines. This helps you understand what your audience is looking for. Effective keyword research can guide your content strategy and improve your SEO efforts​.

Different types of keywords serve different purposes. What are long tail keywords? These are specific phrases that are usually longer and more detailed. They often have lower search volume but higher intent, making them valuable for targeting niche audiences​.

What are keywords in digital marketing? These are the terms used to connect with your target audience online. They help you reach potential customers through search engines, social media, and other digital platforms. Keywords play a crucial role in content marketing, SEO, and paid advertising​.

What is SEO keyword research? It’s the process of identifying the best keywords to target for your SEO efforts. This involves analyzing search volume, competition, and relevance. Effective keyword research can help you find what are negative keywords which are terms you want to avoid in your campaigns​.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner can aid in your keyword research. What is Google Keyword Planner? It’s a tool that helps you find keywords and plan your SEO strategy. It provides data on search volume, competition, and suggested keywords​.

Understanding what are seed keywords is important in the initial stages of keyword research. These are the primary keywords that form the foundation of your SEO strategy. From there, you can expand to more specific terms like what are navigational keywords, what is a broad match keyword, what is short tail keywords, what are fat head keywords, and what are chunky middle keywords​.

Using a combination of these keywords can improve your SEO and drive more traffic to your site. By incorporating a variety of keyword types and using the right tools, you can enhance your content’s relevance and visibility, ultimately boosting your search engine rankings and attracting your target audience.

The Art of Keyword Research

the art of keyword research

Keyword research is essential for effective SEO. It involves identifying and analyzing terms people use in search engines. Understanding what is keyword research helps you create content that aligns with your audience’s needs and improves your rankings.

To start, you need to know what is a keyword. It’s a word or phrase people use to search for information online. Knowing this, let’s dive into the steps of effective keyword research.

First, define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your SEO strategy? Are you looking to increase traffic, generate leads, or boost sales? Your goals will guide your keyword research and help you choose the right terms.

Next, understand your audience. What are their needs, interests, and pain points? Knowing this will help you predict the search terms they might use. This insight is vital in finding what SEO keywords are relevant to your business​.

Now, generate initial keyword ideas. Start with seed keywords, the basic terms related to your product or service. For instance, if you sell eco-friendly products, your seed keywords might include “eco-friendly” or “sustainable.” Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help expand these ideas. What is Google Keyword Planner? It’s a tool that provides keyword suggestions, search volume, and competition data​.

Analyze the search intent of your keywords. Are users looking for information, wanting to buy, or just browsing? This helps you tailor your content to meet their needs. For example, “benefits of eco-friendly products” indicates informational intent, while “buy eco-friendly cleaning supplies” shows transactional intent.

Explore different types of keywords. What are long tail keywords? These are specific phrases with lower search volumes but higher intent. They are valuable for targeting niche audiences. On the other hand, what is a broad match keyword? It captures a wide range of related searches, making it useful for reaching a broader audience​.

Consider what are negative keywords. These are terms you exclude from your campaigns to avoid irrelevant traffic. For instance, if you don’t sell pet products, you might exclude “pet” as a negative keyword.

Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush can also help find chunky middle keywords, which balance short-tail and long-tail keywords in terms of competition and search volume​.

Effective keyword research involves continuous analysis and updating. Review your keywords regularly to stay aligned with search trends and audience behavior. By mastering SEO keyword research, you can enhance your content strategy and drive better SEO results. 

Types of Keywords in SEO

types of keywords in seo

1. Long Tail Keywords

What are long tail keywords? These are specific phrases, usually three words or more, that target niche audiences. They often have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates. For example, “eco-friendly home cleaning products” is a long-tail keyword. Targeting these keywords can help attract users with clear intent, making them valuable for driving sales and engagement​.

2. Short Tail Keywords

What is a short tail keyword? Also known as fat head keywords, these are shorter and more general terms, typically one to two words. Examples include “shoes” or “laptops.” They have high search volumes but also high competition. Short tail keywords are essential for broad visibility but can be challenging to rank for due to their competitiveness​.

3. Navigational, Informational, and Transactional Keywords

What are navigational keywords? These are used when users want to find a specific website or page. For instance, “Facebook login” or “YouTube” are navigational keywords. They help users navigate directly to a particular site or page.

When users seek information, informational keywords are used. Phrases like “how to start a blog” or “benefits of drinking water” fall into this category. These keywords are great for driving traffic to educational content and building brand authority​.

Transactional keywords indicate a user’s intent to purchase. Examples include “buy iPhone 12” or “best laptop deals.” These keywords are crucial for e-commerce and can drive conversions by targeting users ready to make a purchase​.

4. Seed Keywords and Chunky Middle Keywords

What are seed keywords? These are the foundations of your keyword strategy. They are broad terms related to your niche that you build upon to find more specific keywords. For example, “coffee” could be a seed keyword for a site about beverages​.

What are chunky middle keywords? These fall between short-tail and long-tail keywords in terms of specificity and competition. They usually consist of two to three words and have moderate search volumes. An example is “best coffee maker.” These keywords balance between high traffic and manageable competition​.

5. Negative Keywords

What are negative keywords? These are terms you exclude from your campaigns to avoid irrelevant traffic. For example, if you sell premium software, you might exclude “free software” as a negative keyword. This helps refine your audience and improve the efficiency of your PPC campaigns​.

6. Broad Match Keywords

What is a broad match keyword? This type captures a wide range of related searches, allowing your ads to appear for variations and synonyms of your keywords. For instance, a broad match keyword “women’s hats” might trigger ads for “ladies hats” or “female caps.” This can increase visibility but may require careful monitoring to avoid irrelevant traffic​.

Understanding these types of keywords and how to use them can enhance your SEO strategy. Each type serves a unique purpose and can be integrated into your content and marketing plans to reach various segments of your audience. Whether you’re focusing on high-intent transactional keywords or informative long-tail phrases, leveraging the right mix can drive traffic, improve rankings, and increase conversions.

Leveraging Keyword Tools

Effective keyword research requires the right tools. Understanding what is a keyword is just the beginning. The right tools can enhance your SEO efforts by providing insights and data. Let’s explore some of the best tools available.

1. Paid Tools for Comprehensive Analysis

ToolFeaturesUse CasePricing
AhrefsKeyword difficulty scores, search volume, SERP overview, Clicks Per Search, Click Distribution, data from multiple platforms (Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon)Comprehensive analysis, competitive researchStarts at $99/month
SEMrushKeyword variations, related keywords, Keyword Magic Tool, keyword rankings tracking, site auditing, competitor analysisExtensive keyword research, deep keyword analysis, trackingPro: $119.95/month, Guru: $229.95/month, Business: $449.95/month
Surfer SEOAI-driven content creation, keyword clustering, content editing, SERP analysis, real-time optimizationAI integration for content creation and optimizationEssential AI: $125.10/month, Advanced AI: $251.10/month, Max AI: $449.10/month
Screaming FrogTechnical SEO auditing, identifies broken links, redirect chains, page title errors, meta description errors, XML sitemaps, Google Analytics integrationTechnical SEO audits for small and large sitesFree (up to 500 URLs), Paid: $259/year
seoClarityContent creation and optimization, Content Fusion, seoClarity Intelligent Assistant (Sia), AI-driven content generationComprehensive SEO solution with advanced AI featuresEssentials: Custom, Core: starts at $3,000/month, Professional: starts at $4,500/month, Agency: Custom

2. Free and Low-Cost Tools for Freelancers and Small Businesses

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that provides valuable data. It helps users find keywords and plan their SEO strategy. It offers insights into search volume, competition, and keyword suggestions. 

Though it’s part of Google Ads, Google Keyword Planner can be used for free to enhance your SEO efforts. It is reliable because the data comes directly from Google, making it an excellent starting point for keyword research.

Keyword Tool uses Google Autocomplete to generate a large number of keyword suggestions. It’s free for up to 750+ keywords and offers detailed insights like search volume and competition. 

This tool is perfect for those looking for long-tail keywords and can be a great addition to your SEO toolkit. It also supports multiple languages and regions, which is useful for global SEO strategies.

Ubersuggest, created by Neil Patel, is another free tool. It provides keyword discovery, search volume data, and SEO difficulty ratings. It’s perfect for those new to what is keyword SEO and looking to explore what are keywords in digital marketing without investing in paid tools. 

Ubersuggest also includes content ideas, showing related articles with data on estimated visits and social shares, which can help in content planning.

3. Choosing the Right Tool

ToolFeaturesUse CasePricing
Google Keyword PlannerProvides insights into search volume, competition, and keyword suggestions. Free to use as part of Google Ads.Keyword research and planning, reliable data directly from Google.Free
UbersuggestKeyword discovery, search volume data, SEO difficulty ratings, content ideas with data on estimated visits and social shares.Exploring SEO keywords, content planning for beginners, keyword tracking.Free version; paid plans start at $12/month
MangoolsIncludes keyword research tool, SERP checker, link miner, and site profiler. Easy to use and affordable.Ideal for small businesses without in-house technical SEO expertise.Basic plan starts at $29.90/month
SEO PowerSuiteComprehensive toolkit for rank tracking, keyword research, on-page SEO audits, backlink research, and link building.Provides actionable SEO insights, competitor analysis, SEO auditing.Free version; paid plans start at $299/year
Keyword ToolUses Google Autocomplete to generate keyword suggestions, supports multiple languages and regions.Generating long-tail keywords, global SEO strategies.Free for up to 750 keyword suggestions

4. Integrating Tools into Keyword Strategy

Integrating these tools into your keyword strategy is crucial. Start by using Google Keyword Planner to identify broad seed keywords. Then, use Ahrefs or SEMrush to drill down into more specific keywords, including chunky middle keywords and fat head keywords. These tools help in finding navigational keywords, broad match keywords, and negative keywords for a well-rounded strategy.

By leveraging these tools, you can gather comprehensive data and insights. This helps you craft a targeted and effective keyword strategy, enhance your SEO efforts, and drive more organic traffic to your site. Whether you’re using free tools or investing in paid options, the right tools can make a significant difference in your SEO success.

Integrating Different Types of Keywords and Advanced Techniques: Real-Life Case Studies

1. Integrating Different Types of Keywords into a Cohesive Strategy

Handle the Heat

Handle the Heat, a baking blog, achieved remarkable growth by leveraging a mix of keyword types. The blog used long tail keywords like “best chocolate chip cookie recipe” to target niche, high-intent searches, attracting readers interested in specific baking techniques. 

They combined these with broader keywords such as “cookie recipes” to reach a wider audience. By addressing both detailed and general search intents, Handle the Heat enhanced its visibility and engagement​.

The Independent Pharmacy

The Independent Pharmacy integrated various keyword types to optimize its landing pages. Navigational keywords like “online pharmacy UK” guided users directly to the site, while informational keywords, such as “how to get a prescription online,” helped attract users looking for medical advice. 

Transactional keywords like “buy antibiotics online” targeted ready-to-purchase users. This comprehensive approach ensured they captured traffic from all stages of the buyer’s journey, resulting in a significant increase in keyword rankings and monthly visits​​.

2. Advanced Techniques in Using Keyword Data to Drive Content Creation


DesktopReady faced a traffic slump after launching a new website. To address issues affecting their SERP appeal, they conducted a technical SEO audit and optimized old content with new targeted keywords. They also created fresh content aimed at specific search intents. 

This involved using high-value keywords with solid search volume and low competition, identified using tools like Ahrefs. The strategy included optimizing their social media profiles to complement web content, leading to a 409% increase in users and a substantial jump in SERP rankings​​.


Honda tackled competition from its dealership partners by refining its keyword strategy. They performed detailed audience research to align their SEO content with the unique selling points of their cars, linking these to the customers’ needs. 

This approach involved targeting both broad and specific keywords to decrease cost per conversion and increase traffic and dealer inquiries. By understanding and implementing keywords that matched the search intent of its target audience, Honda improved its visibility and engagement​.

These case studies highlight the importance of a cohesive keyword strategy that integrates various types of keywords and utilizes advanced techniques in keyword data analysis. By understanding and targeting different search intents, optimizing content, and continually refining strategies with data-driven insights, businesses can significantly enhance their SEO performance and achieve sustainable growth.

conclusion for what are keywords

Using the right keywords is essential for successful SEO. What is a keyword? It’s a term or phrase that users type into search engines to find information. Understanding what SEO keywords are and how to use them effectively can significantly improve your website’s visibility and ranking.

What is keyword SEO? It involves optimizing your content with targeted keywords to enhance your search engine rankings. Effective keyword research is the foundation of this process. 

Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you discover seed keywords and analyze their performance. This helps you identify high-value keywords and craft a strategy that includes long-tail keywords, short-tail keywords, and chunky middle keywords.

Using a variety of keywords, including navigational, informational, and transactional keywords, can help you reach different segments of your audience. Additionally, incorporating negative keywords ensures your ads reach the right people, improving campaign efficiency.

Advanced tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can provide deeper insights into what is SEO keyword research and help you stay ahead of your competitors. By integrating these strategies and tools, you can create a robust keyword plan that drives traffic, improves rankings, and boosts conversions. Investing time in learning and implementing sophisticated keyword strategies will yield long-term benefits for your SEO efforts.

faqs for what are keywords

What are the most common mistakes in keyword research?

Common mistakes include ignoring long tail keywords, neglecting negative keywords, and not utilizing tools like Google Keyword Planner for comprehensive analysis. Focusing solely on high-volume keywords without considering competition and search intent can also hinder your strategy​.

How often should I review and update my keyword strategy?

Review and update your keyword strategy regularly every few months. SEO trends and user behavior evolve, so keeping your keywords relevant is crucial. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help monitor performance and discover new opportunities​.

Are long-tail keywords always better than short-tail keywords?

Due to their specific search intent, long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates. They complement short-tail keywords by targeting niche audiences, providing a balanced approach to your overall SEO strategy​.

How do negative keywords optimize PPC campaigns?

Negative keywords help exclude irrelevant searches, ensuring your ads reach the right audience. This improves your campaign’s efficiency by reducing wasted spend and enhancing click-through rates. Identifying these keywords is essential for effective PPC management​.

Can I use Google Keyword Planner for free?

Yes, Google Keyword Planner is free to use. Although it’s part of Google Ads, you don’t need to run active campaigns to access its features. This tool is excellent for finding seed keywords and planning your SEO strategy​.

By addressing these common questions, you can better understand keyword SEO, how to conduct SEO keyword research effectively, and how to integrate these strategies into your overall digital marketing plan. This knowledge is crucial for enhancing your site’s visibility and driving more targeted traffic.

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