Why Keywords? in SEO

It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting your own business or work on agency’s clients; you have just one goal – to reach new customers online.

And you need keywords for that.

Finding new and relevant keywords means:

  • More organic traffic. Your potential customers use keywords to find what you sell. By knowing what phrases they use, you can optimise your site to show in their search results.
  • Better market understanding. Customers use different keywords depending on:
    • Their buying intent.
    • Their knowledge of a product or a service.
    • Their level of interest.

Understanding what phrases they might use will help you determine:

  • What they think about what you sell,
  • Why they might want to buy and,
  • What problems you’re solving for them.

You can create a more customer focused website:

  • Deliver content that meets their expectations.
  • Use phrases your audience use.
  • Organise the site to make it easier to find related information.

In short, keywords are crucial not only to attract new traffic but also to understand and deliver to your potential customers’ expectations.

Various Types of Keywords

You probably noticed that you use different search phrases depending on what you’re looking for.

Some are short, containing one or two words. Others much longer and describe what you need in detail. Some include a product name while others pose a question and so on.

What they all have in common however is that they play a part in a customer’s journey.

Let’s look at what those different keyword types are and how customers use them.

Head, Body and Long Tail Keywords

The basic way to categorise keywords is by their length as head, body and long tail.

A head term typically contains a single word describing in very generic terms a product or service, i.e.: “SEO”, “apple”, “bicycle” or “swimming”.

These terms make it difficult to discern what the searcher is looking for (i.e. “book” might relate to any type of book, a Kindle book reader, bookstore and many other things). In spite of often receiving large traffic, they offer very little opportunity for conversion.

Body terms extend the head term with additional information, i.e. “SEO company” or “Bicycle parts”. They can still be quite generic though.

Long tail terms on the other hand are longer than 3 words and describe the searcher’s intent in detail, i.e. “SEO Company in London” or “best bookstore in Seattle”. Customers often use these when they are ready to buy.

This brings us to another way to categorize keywords – by the user’s buying intent

Commercial, Informational, Transactional and Navigational Keywords

Customers use different keywords depending on what stage of the buying cycle they are. Typically this process includes 5 steps:

  1. Need Recognition – a customer realizes that he or she might have a problem or a need.
  2. Information/Solution Search – once they realise what the problem is, they begin to gather information about possible solutions.
  3. Evaluation – At this stage customers compare different options available to them.
  4. Purchase Decision. This is when a person makes the decision to buy a particular item or service.
  5. Post-Purchase Evaluation (often also referred to as buyer’s remorse) – the last stage occurs after a customer has purchased an item. He or she begins to wonder if they made the right choice. That’s often the moment when they decide to return the item.

Based on this behaviour, we recognise 4 additional keywords types:


These keywords typically cover a very broad topic. Searchers use them to find information and answers to their most common questions. You can recognise them by including such words and phrases as “how to”, “where”, “how”.


These keywords relate to searches aimed to find information about a particular brand or company. Customers use them to find business location or contact details, for instance. Often these keywords include just a brand or company’s name.


Commercial keywords often help customers find and compare solutions before making a purchase. They might include words like “best”, “compare”, “order” and brand or product name (i.e. “best Nike men’s shoes”, “compare kindle covers”, “best tablet for Christmas gift”).


Lastly, customers use transactional keywords to find products they want to buy. These keywords often include terms like “buy” or “for sale”, “for rent” etc. and often describe the need behind the product (“buy Kindle Fire cover”).


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