That's right, nine! As search has evolved so has keyword use. Below, we have outlined the different types of keywords along with their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Short-Tail Keywords
3 words or less, also sometimes referred to as a head keyword, these are highly searched, broad match terms that do not give much insight into user intent, resulting in lower conversion rates. In the early days of content marketing, loading up an article with as many of these short tail terms as possible was how you could rank higher in the SERPS. Now, with user intent, voice search functionality and Google penalties, these words have limited viability within a content marketing strategy.
What makes them great: High search volumes, usually a searcher’s first attempt at information gathering.
Disadvantages: Highly competitive, very broad, no insight into user intent.
2. Short-Term Fresh Keyword aka Buzz Terms
Also known as trending terms or buzz words, these are keywords that capitalise on a trending topic. For example, “The Ashes, 2019”.
Due to their specific nature, these terms tend to be keywords with a very high conversion rate and short shelf life. These terms are best used when you’d like to draw a fresh audience to your copy and perhaps expose your brand to new customers.
What makes them great: Very high conversion rates, can draw in new audiences, increase brand exposure.
Disadvantages: Success is short-lived as they are trend-based.
3. Long-Tail Keywords
These are phrases of 3 or more words, also sometimes referred to as key terms. In general, long-tail keywords are much less competitive, have lower search volumes and user intent is generally clear.
Example: “12 pack Coke Zero”. This shows the user is looking for a specific brand and amount, telling the search engines they are ready to make a purchase. As user intent is so clear here (and in general with long tail keywords) they tend to convert at a much higher rate and are excellent to use in blog pieces, site content and copy pertaining to product.
What makes them great: Not competitive, high conversion rates.
Disadvantages: Lower search volumes and deciphering intent of your visitors may require testing a larger amount of potential terms.
4. Long-Term Evergreen Keywords
Generally focused around educational, informative style content (how-to articles, FAQ pages, etc) these terms are consistently relevant. They answer user intent, aren’t competitive, but are highly contextual and will continuously succeed if they are housed in a piece that is relevant and gives value to the end user.
What makes them great: Not competitive, answer user intent.
Disadvantages: If your content is about an event or within a certain time frame, these terms are not for you.
5. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords
These keywords are theme based. Once you have your root term chosen, for example, apple, the LSI term list you can build out around this word to create a theme (in this case, apple recipes) might look something like the below:
Once you have a root term and correlating theme, you can use these to build out theme-based search queries. This is a great way to come up with some creative content. We have found a pretty handy tool for creating LSI keywords here. You can also look at Google search suggestions or the keyword planning tool to create an LSI list. It is important to remember that LSI keywords are great for adding context, but never over-stuff your content, you can be penalised.
What makes them great: Low competition, highly relevant to intent, lower search volumes, great for content ideation.
Disadvantages: Can take some practice. We recommend thinking of your personas, jotting a few notes and building themes based on their potential activities as a starting point.
6. Geotargeted Keywords
For a few years now, Google has been pushing the importance of local keywords, especially for small businesses. Geotargeted terms are specific to an area and contain information about a country, city or even a specific neighbourhood. These terms are the easiest way to reach your most relevant local customers (the ones within arms reach). Your site can be optimised for these terms by having a location listing, but we also recommend using geotargeted terms in other areas of your content strategy as well.
What makes them great: High relevancy, high conversion rates, low search volumes, and very low competition.
Disadvantages: Won’t work for audiences outside your immediate area.
7. Product Defining Keywords
These terms can help capture potential customers by using verbiage that helps to define what your product means in the market.
How is this done? Take your product list and create alternate descriptions for each item that use additional adjectives to describe their purpose. Choose 3-5 that you find to be the most relevant and these are the terms you can place into copy across your site, social, and in paid campaigns. For example, take the term ‘boots’ and your list might look something like this:
Wet weather boots
Boots for cold weather
What makes them great: High relevancy, low search volumes, and low competition.
Disadvantages: Might require a bit of trial and error to discover user intent around your products.
8. Customer Defining Keywords
This one takes a bit of creativity. Drawing from your product/service lines, you will need to build personas around your audiences and come up with keywords that target individual persona pain points. The result will be a list of highly specific, convertible terms that answer search queries.
What makes them great: High relevancy, low search volumes, heavily targeted.
Disadvantages: Might require a fair bit of testing as you build out your personas.
9. Intent Based Keywords
All search queries fall into just 3 categories; informational, transactional, commercial. Keywords can be built to answer user intent around each of these categories, examples below:
Informational keywords: Terms that focus on the benefits or the specifics of a product or service.
Example: Waterproof boots
Commercial keywords: Product specific information that aims to push the user further down the conversion funnel by providing the consumer with all the facts they will need to make a purchase.
Example: 100% ethically sourced rubber boots
Transactional keywords: This is for consumers in the final stage of the sales funnel and at the point where they are often comparing products on multiple sites. Using terms such as “free shipping” or “no fuss return policy” around these terms can help consumers make their purchase.
Example: Free returns on all waterproof boots!
What makes them great: Highly user relevant at each stage.
Disadvantages: A fair amount of testing is required for each stage, knowing the various journeys your customers can take down your sales funnel is key.
Keywords, when used strategically, can elevate your position in both organic and paid search. Using terms creatively throughout your marketing plan can also give you insight into audience behaviour, market trends or be used for topic generation that align with your content pillars. As always, test, test, and test some more when trialling any new strategy.
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