What Are Keywords? Keywords Explained with Examples

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. Having the right keyword strategy can not only drive high traffic to your website, it can also set you up for long-term success. But what are keywords? How to use them correctly? And how should you select keywords?

What Are Keywords?

A keyword is a word or a phrase that a user types in a search engine to find an answer to a query. Keywords can also be defined as search terms or phrases used to find specific information on a search engine.

Why Are Keywords Important?

Search engine is a railway while keywords are bullet trains that carry the visitors to your website. Without keywords, audiences cannot reach your site organically or through ad campaigns.

You want to be on top when people look for information. Keywords when properly implemented is one of the most potent digital marketing strategies that give the desired long-term results. It’s free and your business can thrive with it, without spending on adword campaigns and affiliate marketing.

Keywords helps you create useful content and offer new saleable products for the target audience. You might discover the customers arriving on your bakery websites are looking for “whole wheat bread” which you currently don’t have. It’s a new product to offer and a new content to create.  

It improves users’ experience by offering the right content for their queries.  Imagine how bad it is when your audience arrives at your candy shop but they’re looking for organic bread. Optimizing your keywords and contents will attract candy shoppers, who will feel delighted upon seeing your beautiful candy creations.

What Are the Types of Keywords?

Keywords have three types according to length. The short-tail, mid-tail and long-tail. The use of long-tail is common because they’re easier to rank with, and most customers describe exactly what they want in a search box using word series.

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords  are one-word search terms that give broad results.  Ranking for it generates a lot of traffic, but it’s futile if you’re on the 20th page of the search results. Few people are clicking up to that extent because rephrasing the search term is faster.

Mid-tail keywords

Mid-tail keywords have 2-4 word length, it balances between the short and long-tail. It’s more specific, moderately competitive, and easier to rank with.  Changing “avocado” to “avocado salad recipes” will weed out unwanted competition such as “avocado health benefits.” Experiment with mid-tails if your page has gained enough authority.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords have more than 4 words, more specific, and commonly searched. Gets less traffic but has a higher conversion value. People use long-tails to look for information, “Is Honda Civic a reliable car?” If you sell cars, you’ll rank at the first page for having a closely related article.

How to Select a Keyword

Think what your customers want and craft your keywords around it.

Target one main keyword and derive 2-5 related keywords. Search for long-tails with clear intent and low competition, with the aid of research tools like Google Search Console. You probably have the high performing keywords that you can optimize.

Go study your competitors. Take advantage of keywords that drive them traffic but not fully optimized for their pages.

Then finally, analyze the results and revise for improvement.

1. Search volume           

It’s the number of times a keyword is queried on Google or other search engines. High volume keywords are attractive. For example, the single word “keyboard” has 368k monthly searches. While “mechanical keyboard”, which is now getting popular, has an average monthly search of 110k, according to NeilPatel.

2. Competition

Competition has two metrics.  Keyword difficulty is how hard to rank organically, while competitive density shows the advertisement rivalry at the top of results page. Don’t target competitive keywords because authoritative websites hold the top.  You’ve got a better chance with “blue switch mechanical keyboard”, rather than “keyboard” alone.

3. Price (cost per click)

Adwords campaign comes with a price, the cost per click or CPC. “Gaming mouse” has a CPC of 0.83USD, while “Logitech G502” has only 0.35USD. It’s cost effective to focus on a brand because that’s what every site visitor is looking for. Then offer options once you’ve captured their attention.

4. Word count

Even if you can rank for a single competitive keyword, that’s not your main goal. Use long keywords because it offers specific meaning that’s easier to polish. Optimize your page for “5.1 home theatre system” if you’re offering such. Using “speaker” might attract wrong visitors which will give a high bounce rate.     

5. Intent

Every search term has intent. Transactional if wanting to buy or subscribe. Informational if searching for data. And navigational, for people who want to browse for websites or person (e.g., YouTube, US President, etc.). Your goal should be to effectively target transactional keywords since they are driven by purchase intent. With proper copywriting, you can use search intent to drive buying decisions.

How to Use Keywords on Your Page

Select keywords that accurately represent your content. Similarly, write your content according to chosen keywords. Talking about “coconut vodka” as an introductory phrase for “Mango Wine Making” article is misleading in readers’ eyes, and search engines will mark it as ambiguous.

Use your main keyword within the first paragraph. Then vary it throughout the content.  Use the latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords for consecutive usages. Find LSI by entering the main keyword in a search box, then you’ll see at the bottom of the search results, “Searches related to the main keyword.”

Add the keywords in a couple of subheadings and meta descriptions. Use it in the title page in such a way that motivates searchers to click.  For example, “Best Gaming Laptops of the Year” will entice searchers. The title makes them curious which is the next best laptop to get.

Use keywords carefully. Target 2-3 per page. More than four is too much. Likewise, Yoast recommends 1-2% keyword density, which you can implement easily using their plugin on WordPress sites. Too much use is keywords stuffing that annoys readers, which Google algorithm will record as bad reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

High quality and relevant keywords get the right customers at the right place and the right time.

1. How does a keyword work?

When a user enters words in a search box, the search engine matches it against the massive collection of contents. Your website having a quality article with matching keywords will go up to the top.

2. How do I find the best keywords?

In your website, the best keywords that give traffic are in Google Webmaster and Analytics. In addition, ask customers directly with a survey and sniff competitor’s websites.  Then analyze results and rephrase as needed.

3. What is an example of a keyword?

A keyword is anything that a user types in a search box or a phrase that you optimize your page for.  If you’re selling inverter refrigerators, then your keywords could be “the best energy-saving inverter refrigerator.”   

4. What are SEO keywords?

SEO keywords are optimized so search engines prioritize your site. I recommend 5 words long-tail keywords. Then work your way to quality content with a low bounce rate and supported by backlinks.

5. How are keywords used?

Balance the keywords throughout the article with a density of 1-2%. Use it in page title, first paragraph, couple of subheadings, and meta descriptions. In addition, make your content easy to read.


What are keywords? They’re the terms the users are looking for. The words you predict, direct the audience to your page organically or through adword campaigns. Prefer long-tail keywords due to low competition score, high conversion rate, and low CPC for ad campaigns. Use about 1-2% and scatter it throughout the page. To use keywords correctly, start using them now. Study the results and improve as needed. 

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