SEO 101: What are Keywords?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of growing any brand’s online presence and increasing sales. It’s a complex and constantly changing industry though, and because of that many businesses feel like they don’t really understand or trust it. This lack of knowledge about SEO is a big reason why so many shady SEO agencies are able to get away with black hat tactics. That’s why our SEO experts at Hilborn Digital are going to break down all the key components of SEO.


Today, let’s talk about the core of every SEO campaign- keywords.


What are Keywords?

SEO keywords are terms that brands want to rank for on search engines. Keywords are typically chosen based on relevancy, search volume, competition, traffic, and more. In an SEO campaign. Keywords will be targeted by adding them to online content to improve SERP rankings. Keywords are also often used as anchor text for external and internal linking.


Think of the last thing you searched for on Google. Maybe it was “car wash” or “Toronto balloons”. Those would be considered keywords. If a company wanted to rank for those and appear when you searched for them they would craft their SEO campaign around it.


Why are Keywords important?

Keywords are the core of every SEO campaign. Without keywords an SEO campaign doesn’t exist. SEO campaigns can have many different goals- increase rankings, increase traffic, increase sales…all of these are accomplished by picking the right keywords to target.


Think of keywords as the foundation for your SEO and digital marketing campaign. They’re so incredibly important because without them nothing else would be possible.


How to Pick the Right Keywords

Picking the right keywords is vital to any successful SEO campaign. Selecting the right ones isn’t always as easy as it seems. A keyword might be great, but if the competition is too high it might not be worth it. Or maybe you really want to rank for a keyword but it has low conversion and low search traffic. If you’re looking for good keywords you can use free online tools, Google, check your competitor’s rankings, or hire a professional SEO agency that will do it for you!


When looking for keywords look at things like:

  • Search volume
  • Relevancy
  • Conversion value
  • Competition level


Short vs Longtail Keywords

Back in the old days, businesses only targeted short-form keywords. Short-tail keywords, or just general keywords, are one to three words and are the most common types of keyword targeting. People used to mostly search just using one or two words, so it made sense for brands to target these. An example of this would be “running shoes”.


In the past ten years though, users have started to search differently. With the rise of voice search, over saturation, and faster internet speed, users now tend to search longer phrases or questions. We call these long-tail keywords. An example would be “how to cook an egg”.


By targeting both short and long-tail keywords, businesses can reach a new audience. Any good SEO agency will use a combination of both.


Types of Keywords

There is more than one type of keyword your business can target. Many brands don’t even realize there are different types out there. Here are some of the most common types of keywords:

  • Branded Keyword: Search words or phrases that include a brand name or branded terms (i.e. “Nike running shoes”)
  • Competitor Keyword: Keywords that target a competitor’s business, product, or services. Targeting these gives you a chance to attract similar buyers. (i.e. for Nike, a competitor keyword would be “Reebok running shoes”.)
  • Product Keywords: These are keywords related to a specific brand offering or product. (i.e. “Nike Jordan shoes”
  • Geo-Targeted Keywords: Searches that include a geographical location. Helps users find products, businesses, or services located near them. (i.e. “Nike store Toronto” or “Nike store near me”)
  • General Keywords: General, or market segment keywords, are just generic keywords associated with an industry or brand. These are the most commonly targeted keywords and are broadly associated with your sector. (i.e. “running shoes”)


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to start an SEO or digital marketing campaign to grow your online business keywords should be the first place you start. Keywords are vital to digital marketing, and without them, it’s nearly impossible to do it. Finding, targeting, and staying on top of the right keywords is the best way to increase sales, traffic, and reputation.


If you need more SEO tips or are looking for an experienced SEO agency to help grow your business online, contact Hilborn Digital today!