21 Types of Keywords (With Context and Examples)

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When it comes to digital marketing, understanding the different types of keywords is crucial. Whether you’re currently dipping your toes in SEO or exploring the boundless potential of PPC advertising, keywords play an integral role in driving your campaign’s success. They are your guiding compass, leading your online presence into the right search engines’ view. But before we rope in our harness and delve into this vast landscape, let’s understand what exactly a keyword is. 

“A keyword in digital marketing is a word or phrase that people use when searching for something online. Marketers use these keywords to reach potential customers who might be interested in their products or services.”

Now you may be thinking, ‘aren’t all keywords the same?’ While it’s true that all keywords serve the same basic purpose, they can be classified into different types based on factors like intent, length, and how specific they are. The right type of keyword can optimize your content, enhance your online visibility, and at the same time maintain a natural, engaging reading flow for users. 

In this article, we’re going to explore the different types of keywords with examples, their significance, and exactly how to effectively leverage them. Let’s get started.

The 4 Types of Keywords based on Intent

Just as a key opens a door, in the world of digital marketing, keywords open the door to improved visibility, traffic, and rankings. However, not all keywords are alike or yield the same results. They come in different types, and each has its unique capacity to boost your online presence. So, what are the types of intent-targeting keywords, you ask? Let’s get to it. 

1) Navigational Keywords

Navigational keywords are search terms used specifically to locate a particular website or webpage. These queries often include brand names, website names, or services linked to a specific entity. Online searchers that use navigational keywords  typically already have a destination in mind and rely on search engines to guide them there. As such, navigational queries are less about discovering new information and more about reaching a known digital destination.

  • Examples:
    • Facebook login
    • OpenAI website
    • YouTube trending videos
    • Amazon customer service

2) Informational Keywords

Informational keywords represent search queries driven by a user’s desire for knowledge on a particular topic. These queries can range from broad questions to specific inquiries. The primary goal for the searcher is to understand, learn, or get an answer. They’re not necessarily looking to make a purchase or navigate to a specific site; instead, they seek information.

  • Examples:
    • How to tie a tie
    • Symptoms of the flu
    • History of the Renaissance
    • Difference between alligators and crocodiles

3) Transactional Keywords

Another type of keywords by search intent is transactional keywords. Transactional keywords indicate a searcher’s readiness or intent to make a purchase or complete a specific action, like signing up for a service. These queries often include terms that hint at the end of a buying cycle, such as “buy,” “order,” or “discount.”

  • Examples:
    • Buy iPhone 13 online
    • Order gluten-free pizza near me
    • Sign up for premium streaming service
    • Download productivity software trial

These keywords are also called low funnel keywords as they often result in a buying action.

4) Commercial Keywords

Commercial keywords fall between informational and transactional keywords. They are also known as commercial intent keywords. Such keywords suggest a searcher’s intent to research a product or service before purchasing, often signalling the consideration phase in the buying cycle. These keywords might include terms like “review,” “best,” or “comparison.”

  • Examples:
    • Best wireless headphones 2023
    • Top 10 laptops for gaming
    • Running shoes comparison
    • Affordable summer dresses reviews

Types of Keywords in SEO

SEO keywords are the cornerstone of online success. In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords act as the “connectors”, linking you, the searcher, to the most relevant web pages matching your query. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all affair; there are specific types of keywords that are used in different contexts. Let’s explore these different types.

1) Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are extended search queries, often consisting of three or more words. Long-tail keywords comprise 70% of all web searches. They are specific and detailed, hinting at a user’s particular intent or need. While these keywords might have lower overall search volumes compared to more general terms, they often signify a higher intent to take action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up, or another measurable outcome.

  • Examples:
    • Best vegan restaurants in downtown Los Angeles
    • How to train a Golden Retriever puppy not to bite
    • Affordable summer sandals for wide feet
    • Laptop suitable for graphic design under $1000

2) Niche Keywords

Niche keywords are search terms that cater specifically to a narrow segment of a market or audience. These queries are highly relevant to a specific topic, product, or service. While they might not generate vast amounts of traffic, they can capture a dedicated and highly-engaged audience. Businesses or websites operating within specialized domains often target these keywords for precise audience reach.

  • Examples:
    • Organic catnip toys for kittens
    • Handmade leather journal with lock
    • Gluten-free bakeries in Boise Idaho
    • Eco-friendly yoga mats for hot yoga

3) Primary Keywords

Primary keywords, often called “main” or “focus” keywords, are the main terms you target on a specific page or piece of content. They are central to the topic you’re discussing and are vital for search engine optimization, as they represent the primary theme or message of your content. They usually have a high search volume.

Read our exclusive guide on primary keywords here.

  • Examples:
    • Digital marketing strategies
    • Vegan recipes
    • Yoga poses
    • Sustainable fashion

4) Secondary Keywords

Secondary Keywords

Secondary keywords support and complement the primary keyword. They are also known as generic keywords. While they are related to the main topic, they offer a broader reach and cover additional aspects or related queries. Incorporating secondary keywords can enhance content richness and improve its visibility in related searches.

  • Examples: (For the primary keyword “Digital marketing strategies”)
    • Online advertising tips
    • Social media marketing trends
    • SEO best practices 2023
    • Content marketing techniques

5) Low Competition Keywords

Low-competition keywords are search terms with a relatively low search volume and, consequently, fewer websites competing for ranking in search results. These keywords can be advantageous for newer websites or those with fewer resources, as it might be easier to achieve a higher ranking in search results by targeting them.

  • Examples:
    • Best bamboo toothbrush for kids
    • Hand-stitched boho wall hangings
    • Icelandic photography workshops
    • Specialty teas for nighttime relaxation

6) Branded Keywords

Branded keywords include the specific name of a brand or its variations. Users searching for these terms are already familiar with the brand or are looking for specific information related to it. These keywords are essential for reputation management and ensuring brand visibility in search results.

  • Examples:
    • Nike running shoes
    • Apple MacBook Pro specs
    • Starbucks seasonal drinks
    • OpenAI research papers

Read more in our special post on the topic of branded keywords and know how to utilize them in your content.

7) Market Segment Keywords

Market segment keywords target specific segments of a broader market or industry. These terms aim at narrower audiences with distinct preferences or needs within the more extensive market. By targeting these keywords, businesses can cater to the unique requirements of a particular subgroup effectively.

  • Examples:
    • Luxury electric cars for families
    • Gluten-free desserts for kids
    • Eco-friendly office supplies for businesses
    • Digital tools for freelance writers

8) Customer Defining Keywords

Customer-defining keywords specify a particular group of customers or audience. These words go beyond mere demographics, delving into the psychographics and behaviours of potential customers. A customer-defining keyword makes it clear whom the product, service, or content is intended for, helping businesses attract and cater to their target demographics directly.

  • Examples:
    • Smartwatches for senior citizens
    • College student budgeting apps
    • Maternity workout clothing
    • STEM toys for toddlers

9) Product Defining Keywords

Product Defining Keywords

Product-defining keywords or product keywords are search terms that precisely describe a product or its features. 

They can be general or specific, but they always hint at the exact nature or category of the product, making it clear what’s being offered or discussed. These keywords act as digital labels, guiding potential customers directly to the products they are searching for. By strategically incorporating these keywords into their online content, businesses ensure that their offerings are accurately represented, attracting the right audience and increasing the chances of conversions.

  • Examples:
    • Stainless steel French press
    • OLED 4K smart TV
    • Vegan leather crossbody bag
    • Water-resistant hiking boots

10) LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing)

LSI keywords are terms and phrases related to the primary keyword that you are targeting in content. In simpler terms, they are words that are contextually relevant to your content topic, helping search engines understand context and relevance. These related terms not only enhance the context but also improve your chances of ranking higher in search results. Search engines like Google use LSI keywords to understand the context of a webpage, ensuring that the content is comprehensive and relevant to the user’s search intent. Using LSI keywords can enhance content depth, improve search visibility, and cater to a more varied set of search queries related to the main topic.

  • Examples: (For the primary keyword “Digital marketing strategies”)
    • Online audience engagement
    • Conversion rate optimization
    • Multi-channel campaigns
    • PPC advertising insights

11) Evergreen Keywords

Evergreen keywords are search terms that maintain their relevance and search volume over long periods, regardless of trends or seasons. They refer to topics that consistently interest people, and therefore, content optimized for these keywords can generate traffic for years, rather than just days or months. Integrating evergreen keywords into your content strategy ensures that your articles, blog posts, or products have a consistent flow of visitors.

  • Examples:
    • How to lose weight
    • Tips for successful job interviews
    • Ways to save money
    • Basics of gardening

12) Local Keywords

Local keywords are search terms tailored to target specific geographic areas or locations. They are used primarily for Local SEO. Local keywords often combine a service, product, or topic with a city name, town, or other local descriptor. Businesses with a physical presence or those catering to particular localities often use these keywords to attract regional customers. 82% of smartphone users conduct “near me” searches. Using local keywords bridges the gap between these online searches and physical visits, helping businesses thrive within their local communities.

  • Examples:
    • Italian restaurants in San Diego
    • Best gyms in Brooklyn
    • Dog groomers in Austin, Texas
    • Miami beachfront hotels

Types of Keywords in Google Ads

Keywords in Google Ads

When it comes to Google Ad campaigns, understanding the various types of keywords for paid search ads is crucial. Google Ads keywords are the types of keywords every marketer should know. 

Each type serves a distinct purpose yet all play vital roles in pushing traffic towards your site, product, or service. Let’s delve into this key aspect of the digital marketing world and explore these different types of keywords.

1) Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords in Google Ads allow your ad to show when user searches for your exact keyword phrase, or close variations of it, in the order you’ve defined. The search can include additional words before or after the phrase, but the words within the quotation marks must appear in that specific order.

  • Examples:
    • If your keyword is “leather shoes,” your ad might show for:
      • Buy leather shoes online
      • Black leather shoes for men
      • Comfortable leather shoes

2) Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords give Google Ads the most flexibility to display your ad to a wide audience. When using broad match, your ad can appear for searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations of your keyword.

  • Examples:
    • If your keyword is leather shoes:
      • Your ad might show for:
        • Leather footwear
        • Lether shooz
        • Boots made of leather

3) Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords ensure your ad will only display when someone searches for your exact keyword, or very close variants of it, without any additional words. These keywords are wrapped in square brackets.

  • Examples:
    • If your keyword is [leather shoes]:
      • Your ad might show for:
        • Leather shoes
        • Leather shoe
      • But not for:
        • Buy leather shoes
        • Leather footwear

4) Negative Keywords

Negative keywords in Google Ads allow advertisers to exclude certain words or phrases from triggering their ads. By using negative keywords, advertisers can prevent their ads from showing up for irrelevant or unrelated searches, thus saving on costs and ensuring more targeted ad placements.

  • Examples:
    • If you’re selling new books, your negative keyword might be “used” or “secondhand.”
    • A luxury brand might use “cheap” as a negative keyword.
    • A vegetarian restaurant might use “steak” or “chicken” as negative keywords

Keyword Strategy and Implementation

Understanding the types of keywords is just the beginning; the real power lies in how businesses strategically implement them. Why, you may ask? All types of SEO keywords help in fine-tuning your SEO approach and pinpointing your target market more effectively by leveraging search intent. More than just a hodgepodge of popular search terms, a thoughtful keyword strategy provides structure to your content, guiding users directly to your product or services. 

Let me repeat, it’s not just about keyword stuffing your content with a haphazard collection of trending search terms. Your keyword strategy should align with your business goals, customer behaviour, and industry trends. By strategically incorporating keywords to target into website content, blog posts, product descriptions, and advertising campaigns, businesses can attract the right audience.

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Creating a Keyword Strategy

Effective keyword strategy ensures that when potential customers search online, businesses are not just found but are found by the right people – those most likely to engage, convert, and become loyal customers. As already said above keywords are phrases that people use to get answers from search engines. The right keywords are the ones that drive business success online. It serves as your compass, guiding you towards content that actually resonates with your target audience. But how do you create a keyword strategy? 

  1. Understand your niche: Start by knowing your audience and what they typically search for. What questions are they asking? Which topics are they interested in? An understanding of your niche lays a solid foundation for your keyword strategy.
  2. Brainstorm keywords: Based on your understanding of the niche, create a list of potential keywords. These could be single words or phrases relevant to your products or services. For example, if you’re in the adventure gear business, your list might include ‘hiking boots’, ‘camping tents’, etc.
  3. Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush can help refine your keyword list by showing you how often people search for those keywords, how competitive they are on search engine results pages, and suggesting other related keywords.
  4. Analyze your competitors: 85% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. They may land on competitor websites if you have missed the keywords your competitors are ranking for. Target competitor keywords strategically to capture potential customers who are considering alternatives.
    Analyze your competitors
  5. Prioritize your keywords: Rank your keywords based on how closely they match your offerings, the amount of search traffic they could bring, and how competitive they are. Start with those that deliver the right type of traffic with the least competition.

The goal of your keyword strategy should be to identify keywords that boast a good balance of search volume and relevance, yet have low competition. You want to be able to connect with your audience through search engines, using terms they understand and seek.

Keyword research tools

If you’re new to the world of digital marketing, you might be wondering, “What are some of the tools I can use to find keywords?” Truth be told, there are many that you can utilize. Certain tools offer unique features that can effectively aid in your keyword research. Here are some of our top picks: 

  • Google Keyword Planner: This is a free tool provided by Google itself. It gives you keyword ideas and traffic estimates to help you build a Search Network campaign. A go-to choice for beginners.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer: Offering both free and paid services, Moz Keyword Explorer provides quality keyword suggestions, SERP analysis, and performance metrics. It’s comprehensive yet user-friendly.
  • SEMrush: SEMrush is a favorite among marketers. It’s truly versatile with features for keyword research, tracking keyword strategy used by your competition, running an SEO audit of your blog, looking for backlinking opportunities, and much more.
  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer: Ahrefs features a robust keyword research tool that offers extensive details on keywords including keyword difficulty, search volume, keyword intent and more. It also gives a glimpse into what your competition is doing.
  • UberSuggest: UberSuggest is a powerful SEO and digital marketing tool that generates keyword ideas based on a seed keyword. It provides comprehensive data, including search volume, cost per click (CPC), keyword match types and competitive level for each keyword suggestion.

Each of the above-mentioned tools has its own strengths and can help you achieve specific goals in your keyword research process. The tool you choose depends on your specific needs and budget.

No matter what tool you choose, remember that it’s all about understanding your audience’s needs and figuring out what terms they are using in their online searches. These tools provide you a means to do just that.

Keyword Optimization Techniques for Higher Rankings on Search Engines

Keywords optimization techniques

You know your best keywords. Now what?

Keyword optimization is a significant aspect of SEO strategy that can boost your website’s visibility, traffic, and ranking. Here are some practical techniques on how to optimize keywords effectively: 

  1. Keyword Placement: Ensure your keywords are placed in strategic areas like the title, header tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and content body.
  2. Keyword Density: It refers to how often a keyword appears on a page. Aim for a balance as stuffing your content with the same keyword repeatedly can be counterproductive.
  3. Use of Long-tail and mid-tail keywords: These are phrases that consist of upto three to five words. They are more specific, less competitive, and can better match user intent.
  4. Use of LSI Keywords: These are semantically related keywords that help search engines understand the context of your content. Including them can improve your search visibility.
  5. Use of Synonyms and Variations: Don’t hesitate to use synonyms and variations of your main keywords. This adds diversity to your content and caters to different search queries.

Remember, keyword optimization is not just about quantity but also quality. Strive for relevancy and value in your content, and the results will follow.

Measuring Keyword Performance

Ever wondered how effective your chosen keywords are? Just like other aspects of digital marketing, measuring keyword performance is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of your SEO strategy – it tells you how well your content aligns with what users are seeking. Let’s delve into how you can weigh up your keyword performance.  

  • Keyword Ranking

You can use SEO tools to track the ranking of your keywords. The goal is to have your site appear on the first page of search results when a particular keyword is used. Tools like Google Search Console provide data on where your site stands for specific keywords. If you’re consistently ranking high, that’s an indication of effective keyword performance. 

  • Conversion Rate

While site traffic is important, the conversion rate is even more relevant when it comes to measuring keyword performance. A high conversion rate indicates that the traffic generated from your keywords is turning into leads or sales. You want your keywords to not only attract visitors but encourage them to engage with your business in a meaningful way.  

  • Website Traffic

Another key metric of keyword performance is website traffic. Measure the number of visitors, their behavior, and the pages they engage with after entering through specific keywords. This data provides invaluable insights into your keywords’ effectiveness.

  • Bounce Rate and Dwell time

It’s important to keep an eye on the bounce rate to ensure visitors aren’t just clicking and immediately leaving. Low bounce rates and longer dwell times indicate that visitors find your content relevant and engaging, often tied to well-performing keywords.

In the world of digital marketing, measuring your keyword performance is crucial. Regularly review and adjust your keyword strategy based on these performance metrics.


In conclusion, understanding the different types of keywords – short-tail, long-tail, LSI, and Geo-targeting – is an indispensable part of a successful SEO strategy. Each type plays a unique role in optimizing your content, driving traffic to your website, and boosting your online visibility. 

Don’t overlook the power of keywords in digital marketing. Strategically choosing the relevant keywords can lead you directly to your target audience, ensuring your content resonates and engages.

Remember to balance using more general short-tail keywords with specific long-tail keywords for maximum reach. Incorporate LSI keywords to help search engines understand the context of your content better and use geo-targeting keywords when localizing your SEO efforts.

Mastering these types of keywords for SEO doesn’t just help you rank higher on search engines. It’s a key step towards creating content that truly speaks to your audience’s intentions and interests. And isn’t that what we’re all aiming for in the world of digital marketing?

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Ajay Deep
Ajay Deep

Hi, I'm Ajay Deep, founder and CEO of Authority Ventures. I work as a strategy consultant - passionately aiding businesses in optimizing their digital presence. Apart from working with clients, I also work on some niche websites - which are my own experimental projects. One of my website recently got acquired by a Fortune500 company (for a whooping 6-digit figure). Click below to know more about me and my work.

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