The SEO Collective

Types of Keywords for SEO | Unpacking Searcher Intent

types of keywords for seo

Discover the most important types of keywords for SEO. Understanding user intent behind keywords can help you select the best phrases to target in order to reach your customers.

When it comes to SEO, keywords are one of the most important factors when figuring out your website priorities.

With SEO keywords comes a lot of jargon. Seed, niche, and long-tail are just a few. To help you understand the different types of keywords, I’ve created this cheat sheet.

Types of SEO Keywords

There are a couple of different types of keywords for SEO. To make things a little easier, I’ll unpack all the different types of SEO keywords below.

seo keyword types

Seed Keywords

Your seed keyword is your starting point. This keyword will likely have a high search volume but will be really difficult to compete for. The intent isn’t as clear with this keyword.  An example of this is the keyword “shoes.”

The user could be looking at buying shoes, cleaning shoes, images of shoes, or just researching the different types of shoes. It’s vague and thus hard to optimize your page for.

Use your seed keywords as your starting point for your keyword research. From here, you’ll be able to find your primary, secondary, and other related keywords.

Primary Keyword

The primary keyword is also known as the target keyword or main keyword. This keyword or phrase will be the main topic of your site page. This is the keyword you will optimize the page for (and the one you’ll like get the most clicks and impressions for in Google Search Console).

For example, if you’re selling ladies shoes, your keyword will likely be “ladies shoes” or “ladies shoes for sale”.

You’ll usually include your primary keyword in the title, URL, meta description, and throughout your page.

Secondary Keyword

Secondary keywords are ones that are related to the primary keyword. Great subtopics and perfect to introduce in your subheadings (you can learn more about SEO for blog posts with my SEO cheat sheet). These can help guide what you should include on your page.

An example of a secondary keyword is “black ladies shoes” or “high heel shoes.”

long tail keywords

Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Keywords

The longer the keyword, the more specific it is, and the lower the competition and searches per month. While the search volume isn’t as high for these keywords, they are easier to rank for and have a much clearer and more specific searcher intent. Typically, long-tail keywords are more than three words long.

Topical, long-tail keywords can be amazing for increasing site traffic.

For example, “ladies shoes” is a short-tail keyword, but “black high-heeled ladies shoes” is a long-tail keyword. As you can see, the long-tail keyword is much more specific, and you have a much better idea of what the searcher is looking for.

Branded vs Non-Branded Keywords

The easiest way to tell the difference between a branded and non-branded keyword is whether the keyword has the brand name or product name. Unbranded keywords don’t include the product or brand name.

Branded Keywords include phrases like “Nike shoes,” “Nike Air shoes,” “Air Jordans,” “Air Force,” or “Air Max.” Unbranded keywords are “High top shoes,” “Sneakers,” or “Basketball sneakers.”

Users could be looking for information about a product, reviews, or articles about the subject. The intent could also be transactional or navigational.

What is Searcher Intent?

seo searcher intent

Understanding keyword intent can help meet user needs and increase your conversion rate. SEO keyword intent refers to the underlying purpose or motivation behind a specific search query entered into a search engine.

In summary, searcher intent reflects what a user is looking to accomplish through their search.

There are typically four main types of keyword intent which I’ll cover below.

Informational Keywords

The searcher intent behind information keywords is a user looking for information. The goal behind this search is to know. ‘For example, “What are shoes made of?” or “How to clean white shoes”.

These searches can take the form of directed (a specific question) or undirected (broad knowledge).

Informational Keywords Examples:

  • How
  • What
  • Why
  • Who
  • Where
  • Guide
  • Tutorial
  • Ideas
  • Resource
  • Tips
  • Learn
  • Examples

Commercial Keywords

A commercial keyword usually shows up when a user wants to buy a product, but they need more information before they make their decision.

An example of this type of keyword is “Nike Air Shoes Review”

Commercial keywords examples:

  • Best
  • Review
  • Top
  • Size
  • Color
  • Comparison

Navigational Keywords

When a searcher uses navigational keywords, they are looking for a specific website. Their goal is to end up on the website that they are looking for. For example, “Nike website”.

This keyword can also be used by people looking for things like “facebook login,” “Nike Instagram,” or “Amazon”.

Navigational keywords examples:

  • Brand names
  • Service names
  • Product names

Transactional Keywords

With transactional keywords, the searcher wants to buy a specific product or service. These keywords typically indicate buyer intent and are the most likely to lead to a conversion event. The purpose behind this search is usually to obtain something.

An example of this type of SEO keyword is “Buy Shoes.”

Transactional Keywords Examples:

  • Buy
  • Coupon
  • For Sale
  • On Sale
  • Order
  • Purchase
  • Cheap
  • Price
  • Pricing
  • Download

Final Thoughts on Searcher Intent, SEO, and Keywords

user intent seo

In tEO, grasping the nuances of keyword types is like holding the keys to unlocking digital success.

Each keyword type – informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional – is a strategic tool that guides your content to the right audience at the right moment.

By aligning your approach with user intent, you elevate your website’s visibility, engagement, and conversion potential.

If you’re struggling to navigate this complex landscape, enlisting the expertise of an SEO specialist can be a game-changer. As an experienced professional, I can help decode keyword intent, refine strategies, and steer your online presence toward triumph. If you need help with your keywords, please reach out to me.

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