Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the largest growing digital marketing strategies in the world. As Google grows, the world changes and social media platforms rise and fall, the need for a digital presence increases, and even more so the awareness needed for these brands grows.

Search engine optimization is a very broad marketing strategy with so many moving pieces but no matter what specialists or agency you speak to, they’ll let you know that keywords and user experience are the most important things when it comes to any strategy they have.

Today, we’ll be going over the keywords so you have a grasp of what they are, how to get them, and properly use them. Let’s go!

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a word or phrase that is used to search for all types of information on the internet through search queries. The way it’s pulled up is through crawlers that are pushed from search engines like Google and Bing that decide whether or not the search query from the user relates to the content of a website. Keywords are one of the most important parts of a website when it comes to SEO and can help increase traffic to your site tremendously without paying for ads if done correctly.

The keywords you choose have a direct impact on how your content will rank on search engine results pages. It’s so important in SEO because it helps people find your site when they search on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines and that’s the exact point of search engine optimization. They even have the ability to help people find your content when they search on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

No one ever wants to rank on page 5 of Google because it’s extremely rare for anyone to even look past the first three results on Google and statistically it’s been researched that over 50% of all search results are clicked within the first 3 search results and a whopping 87% never get past the first page! So if you’re not putting in the work to make sure your company is seen first, then your competition has the edge up on you in this digital world and that can make or break any company.

What are the types of keywords?

There are 8 types of keywords. Short-tail, Long-tail, Product defining, Customer defining, Long-term evergreen, LSI, and Geo-targeting. With this plethora of keywords, it’s important to know what they are, where you’re using them, and why. Using the wrong keyword type in the perfect place can get you results that aren’t helpful for you even if there’s a huge influx in traffic. We’re going to go over the 8 types of keywords that you should know below.

Short-tail keywords: These are the most popular and are used to find information quickly. They are usually one or two words in length and are often used for a specific product or service. These are considered when creating primary keywords. They’re short and sweet and have a huge search volume, often very broad or general in definition when put into the scope of the page or blog post.

Long-tail keywords: These are more specific and less popular than short-tail keywords. They usually have three to four words in length and can be used for a variety of products or services. These are used to give you more options than repeating the same keyword in a page or blog post. They’re extremely beneficial because they can trigger search queries that the short-tail keyword may not have been able to because it was so general. These are very important for the keyword plan and should never be overlooked when it comes to your keyword strategy.

Product-Defining Keywords: These help customers find your product or service by using phrases that describe what it is they want to buy. These are especially important when working with e-commerce sites or even affiliates that are looking to bring in a target audience whose purpose is to buy the product or service.

Customer-Defining Keywords: These help customers find your company by using phrases that describe what they want to buy from you. Product-defining keywords and customer-defining keywords can be easily confused but it’s important to know the difference. Product-defining keywords are used to describe a product or service in detail, while customer-defining keywords are used to describe the customer’s needs and wants. They’re both great to use but when writing a page or blog post with a specific intent, it’s good to know the difference.

Long-term evergreen keywords: These are words that have a high search volume over a long period of time. These are good for blogs like food blogs and how-to blogs because recipes in a food blog like “garlic parmesan grilled chicken” have a specific search volume that will rarely waver upward or decrease. It doesn’t have much societal swing nor is there anything that happens in the news that could sway people to search it more or less. These are great for content you create that you want to always be a staple on search engines and can update once a year or so and keep a steady incoming traffic flow.

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords: These are words that have a similar meaning to the main keyword but with different contexts. So if we had a short-tail keyword like “phone” then we could use other words like “cell phone”, “Samsung phone”, “android phone”, etc. It may not relate directly to the subject but it stays on key with the theme and that’s the point. It can be a huge game changer for triggering more search queries and if used correctly you’ll still be targeting the same target audience.

Geo-targeting keywords: These are words that relate to a specific location or region. These are becoming bigger and bigger when it comes to local SEO. Using geo-targeted keywords along with tools like Google My Business and Bright Local can be the difference in you ranking number one for your services in your city or ranking at 12 or 13 and being overlooked for a service that you have that’s lightyears ahead of the competitors in the city.

Keyword Intentions

Don’t worry, I counted and also see that there are only 7 keyword types and that’s because the last type of keyword we want to go over has, even more, to describe in it, and didn’t want to do an injustice to it. 

So the final keyword type is intention targeting keywords. These are when you target your content based on what people want to do with it - like buy something or learn more about something. This keyword type can be so broad  that we want to go more in-depth than just buy now or learn more. Let’s talk about the different types of intentions you can use when writing blog posts or pages and how they’re seen by Google and your audience.

The different intentions that people have when they search for information can be summed up into informational intent, navigational intent, commercial intent, and transactional intent.

Informational keywords: These are words or phrases that people use to find information about a topic or subject. They may be looking for an answer to their question or they may just want to learn more about the topic. These are good for FAQ pages, instructional posts, or how-to blog posts.

Navigational keywords: These are words or phrases that people use to find their way around a website. These are used when someone is trying to find something specific whether it’s on the main navigation, footer navigation, or a specific resource or blog post you have that may be nested in through internal links and navigational keywords are perfect for that.

Commercial keywords: These are words or phrases that people use to find products and services. Whenever a user wants to buy something from you, use your services, or sign up for your services, you’ll want to use words that have a commercial intent.

Transactional keywords: These are words or phrases that people use to buy things online. Just like product-defined and customer-defined keywords, you’ll want to know the difference between commercial intent and transactional intent. Commercial intent keywords are used to bring in an audience and inform them of the product or service you want them to buy. Transactional intent keywords are used to drive traffic that’s looking to buy the product or service that’s in the search query. Using these intentions wrongly can result in the wrong traffic and having you ranked lower for keywords you should be higher up on but the intent was used wrong and therefore the audience brought in wasn’t right.


Keywords are broad and can be used in a variety of ways but what type of keyword you’re using and the intention behind them need to be optimized if you’re intending on creating the right type of traffic to your site.

If you want to learn more or find out how the keywords in your site are being used and whether or not you’re sending out the right intention, come connect with us at Ernst Media and let’s get an audit together to get you pivoted in the right direction with your target audience!