Mastering the Art of Keyword Classification: A Practical Guide to Selecting the Right Keywords

Mastering Keyword Types: Amplify Your Online Presence!

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In the vast digital wilderness, search engines act as the unsung gatekeepers of information, directing eager searchers towards the treasures of knowledge they seek. Within this digital ecosystem, keywords emerge as the linguistic beacons, guiding searchers towards the specific content they desire.

But understanding the intricacies of keyword types is akin to mastering a secret language, unlocking the power to capture the right audience and elevate your website to the pinnacle of search results.

This comprehensive guide will transform you into a linguistic virtuoso, deciphering the nuances of keyword types and harnessing their transformative power. We’ll embark on a captivating journey through the diverse landscape of keyword taxonomy, illuminating their unique characteristics and revealing how they can be effectively employed to optimize your content and attract a flood of targeted traffic.

Whether you’re a seasoned SEO aficionado or a curious newcomer to the digital realm, this article will equip you with the knowledge and insights to navigate the world of keyword types with grace and mastery. So, prepare to be enthralled, as we unveil the secrets behind these linguistic gems and empower you to transform your online presence into a beacon of authority.

Buckle up, dear reader, for we’re about to embark on a captivating odyssey through the fascinating world of keyword types, where linguistic sorcery meets SEO strategy to elevate your online presence to new heights.

“Understanding the different types of keywords and how to use them is crucial for SEO success.

Neil Patel

What is a Keyword in Search Engine Marketing?

A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into a search engine to find information. In the context of search marketing, keywords are the foundation of your SEO strategy. By understanding what makes a keyword valuable, you can effectively target the right audience and drive traffic to your website.

Key characteristics of a keyword in search marketing:

  • Relevance: The keyword should be closely related to the content on your website. This will help search engines understand what your website is about and rank it higher for relevant search queries.
  • Search volume: The search volume refers to the number of times a keyword is searched for each month. Higher search volume indicates that there is more interest in the topic and that your website is more likely to be seen by potential customers.
  • Competition: The competition for a keyword is the number of other websites that are trying to rank for it. High competition makes it more difficult to rank high, but it also means that there is more potential traffic if you do.
  • Keyword intent: The keyword intent is the reason why people are searching for the keyword. There are three main types of keyword intent: informational, navigational, and transactional.

By considering these factors, you can select keywords that are not only relevant to your target audience, but also have a high chance of ranking high in search results. This will help you attract more traffic to your website and increase your chances of converting visitors into customers.

Keyword Types are Categorized the Following Way:

Primary keyword types

Primary keywords are the keywords that you want to rank for the most, and they are usually the main focus of your content. They should match the topic and the purpose of your page, and they should also match the user’s search intent.

For example, if you are a travel agency, your primary keyword for your homepage might be “travel agency”, while your primary keyword for your blog post might be “how to plan a perfect vacation”.

Secondary keywords

These are the keywords that support your primary keywords, and they are usually used to enrich your content and provide more context. They should be semantically related to your primary keywords, and they should also help you rank for more variations and long-tail keywords.

For example, if you are a travel agency, your secondary keywords for your homepage might be “travel services”, “travel packages”, “travel tips”, etc., while your secondary keywords for your blog post might be “vacation checklist”, “vacation budget”, “vacation destinations”, etc.

Seed keyword types

Seed keywords are the words or phrases that you use as the starting point in your keyword research process. They are usually broad and generic, and they help you generate more specific and relevant keyword ideas. For example, if you are a travel agency, your seed keywords might be “travel”, “vacation”, “trip”, etc.

Phrase match keywords

Phrase match keywords are keywords that include quotation marks around them. This tells search engines to look for the exact phrase in the search results. For example, a phrase match keyword for “SEO for small businesses” would be “SEO for small businesses.”

Negation keyword types

These are keywords that use the “-” sign to exclude specific terms from the search results. For example, a negation keyword for “SEO services” would be “SEO services –content writing.” This would tell search engines to show results for SEO services, but not content writing services.

Symptom keyword types

Symptom keywords are keywords that are related to a problem or need. They can be useful for targeting people who are looking for solutions to their problems. For example, a symptom keyword for “SEO for small businesses” would be “SEO for small businesses struggling with organic traffic.”

Solution keywords

The solution keywords are related to a product or service that can solve a problem. They can be useful for attracting people who are looking for solutions to their problems. For example, a solution keyword for “SEO for small businesses” would be “SEO services to improve organic traffic for small businesses.”

Comparison keywords

These keywords are used to compare two or more products or services. They can be useful for businesses that want to highlight their competitive advantages. For example, a comparison keyword for “SEO services” would be “SEO services vs. content marketing.”

Short-tail keywords

These are the most generic and widely used keywords, typically consisting of one or two words. They have high search volume but also high competition. Examples of short-tail keywords include “article writing service,” “content marketing,” and “SEO services.”

Short-tail keywords are not enough. You need to target topics, not just keywords.

Rand Fishkin

Long-tail keywords

Keyword types

Long-tail keywords are more specific and descriptive, with multiple words that narrow down the search intent. They have lower search volume but also lower competition. Examples of long-tail keywords include “hire an expert article writer in [city],” “create engaging content for your website,” and “boost your website’s organic traffic with SEO.”

Long-tail keywords are awesome. They have less competition, higher conversion rates, and more search intent. 

Brian Dean

Long-tail keywords versus Short-tail keywords table:

FeatureLong-tail keywordsShort-tail keywords
SpecificityMore specificLess specific
Search volumeLowerHigher
Conversion rateHigherLower
SEO difficultyMore difficultLess difficult

Headline keyword types

Headline keywords are the keywords that appear in the titles or headlines of web pages. They are crucial for search engine optimization (SEO) as they provide search engines with important clues about the page’s content.

Semantic keywords

Semantic keywords are related keywords but not exact matches, they are semantically similar to the primary keyword. They can be helpful for expanding your keyword targeting and improving your website’s overall relevance to search queries.

Question-based keyword types

Question-based keywords are keywords that are phrased as questions. They indicate the user’s intent to learn or find information. By targeting question-based keywords, you can provide valuable answers that attract and engage potential customers.

Location-based keywords

Location-based keywords are keywords that include a specific location or area. They are particularly relevant for businesses targeting local customers. Examples of location-based keywords include “SEO services in [city],” “content writing services for [industry] in [location],” and “ghostwriting services near me.”

Industry-specific keyword types

Industry-specific keywords are keywords related to a particular industry or niche. They are useful for businesses that cater to specific industries and want to attract targeted traffic. Examples of industry-specific keywords include “healthcare content writing,” “finance copywriting,” and “SaaS marketing copywriting.”

Branded keyword types

Branded keywords are keywords that include a company’s name, product, or service. They are valuable for establishing brand recognition and driving traffic to a company’s website or landing pages.

Competitor keywords

Competitor keywords are keywords that your competitors are targeting in their SEO efforts. By analyzing their keyword strategy, you can identify opportunities to target relevant keywords that they may be neglecting.

Newly emerging keyword types

Newly emerging keywords are keywords that are recently gaining popularity or are trending in a particular industry. By identifying these keywords, you can get ahead of the curve and target relevant search terms before your competitors do.

Seasonal keywords

Seasonal keywords are keywords that are specific to particular seasons or holidays. They are especially important for businesses that sell seasonal products or services. Examples of seasonal keywords include “back-to-school supplies,” “Christmas gifts,” and “summer vacation destinations.”

Voice keywords

Voice keywords are used in voice searches and are more conversational, using natural language. For example, a voice keyword for “SEO services” would be “what company provides the best SEO services?”

Authority keyword types

Authority keywords establish expertise and trustworthiness. For example, an authority keyword for “content writing” would be “award-winning content writing services.”

Customer intent keywords

Customer intent keywords reveal the searcher’s intent to research, compare or buy. For example, a customer intent keyword for “social media marketing” would be “reviews of top social media marketing agencies.”

Geo-modifier keywords

Geo-modifier keywords target searches by location. For example, a geo-modifier keyword for “SEO services” would be “Portland SEO company for startups.”

Job/Role keywords

Job/role keywords target searches by occupation or title. For example, a job keyword for “marketing services” would be “CMO help with digital marketing strategy.”

Before & After keywords

Before & after keywords highlight a transformation. For example, a before & after keyword for “web design services” would be “redesign existing outdated website.”

Unbranded keyword types

Unbranded keywords objectively describe products/services without branding. For example, an unbranded keyword for software would be “user friendly project management software.”

Awareness keywords

Awareness keywords target people discovering a concept for the first time. For example, an awareness keyword for “search engine optimization” would be “what is the benefit of SEO?”

Research keywords

Research keywords indicate a user is information gathering. For example, a research keyword for “social media marketing” would be “how to master social media algorithms in 2023.”

Comparison keyword types

Comparison keywords contrast options. For example, a comparison keyword for “content creation services” would be “AI content generation compared to human writers.”

Diagnostic keywords

Diagnostic keywords pinpoint underlying issues. For example, a diagnostic keyword for websites would be “how to speed up my site’s page load time?”

Negative keywords

Negative keywords exclude unwanted results. For example, a negative keyword for “marketing services” would be “marketing services -advertising -public relations.”

Discussion keywords

Discussion keywords show active evaluation. For example, a discussion keyword for “email marketing” would be “what email marketing platform is best for retail stores?”

Assistance keywords

Assistance keywords request help. For example, an assistance keyword for digital marketing would be “need help improving our website conversion rates.”

Personalization keywords

Personalization keywords offer custom solutions. For example, a personalization keyword for design services would be “brand style guide creation for new startup.”

Conversion keyword types

Conversion keywords indicate intent to become a customer. For example, a conversion keyword for software would be “sign up for project management software free trial.”

Segment keywords

Segment keywords target a subset. For example, a segment keyword for marketing services would be “content writing for the finance industry.”

Root keywords

The base keyword that other variations stem from. For example “content marketing” would be the root of “types of content marketing strategies”.

ALA keyword types

“A” “L” “A” – Ask, Learn, Act. Keyword targeting the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Micro conversion keywords

Keywords focused on smaller actions that lead to eventual conversion. Like “free newsletter signups”.

Big niche keywords

Keywords for sub-sections of large markets. Like “orthodontist marketing” within “dental industry marketing”.

Query deserve keyword types

Keywords highly relevant to the searcher’s intent, underserved by competition. For example “DIY real estate market analysis report guide”.

That covers a wide range of keyword types and approaches to consider when researching and expanding your strategy.

keyword types and their category tables:

Here is the full set of keyword type category tables for all the keyword types from the document:

Match Type Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Phrase match keywords“SEO for small businesses”
Negation keywords“SEO services -content writing”

Intent Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Symptom keywords“SEO for small businesses struggling with organic traffic”
Solution keywords“SEO services to improve organic traffic for small businesses”
Question-based keywords“what company provides the best SEO services?”
Conversion keywords“sign up for project management software free trial”

Comparison Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Comparison keywords“SEO services vs. content marketing”

Scope Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Short-tail keywords“article writing service”
Long-tail keywords“hire an expert article writer in [city]”
Headline keywordsHeadline keywords
Location-based keywords“SEO services in [city]”
Industry-specific keywords“healthcare content writing”
Geo-modifier keywords“Portland SEO company for startups”
Job/Role keywords“CMO help with digital marketing strategy”
Segment keywords“content writing for the finance industry”

Branding Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Branded keywords“brand name content writing services”
Competitor keywordsCompetitor keywords
Unbranded keywords“user friendly project management software”

Timeline Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Newly emerging keywords“voice search optimization”
Seasonal keywords“summer vacation destinations”

Format Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Voice keywords“what company provides the best SEO services?”
Authority keywords“award-winning content writing services”
Customer intent keywords“reviews of top social media marketing agencies”

Transformation Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Before & After keywords“redesign existing outdated website”

Research Stage Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Awareness keywords“what is the benefit of SEO?”
Research keywords“how to master social media algorithms”
Diagnostic keywords“how to speed up my site’s page load time?”
Discussion keywords“what email marketing platform is best?”
Assistance keywords“need help improving our conversion rates”

Exclusion Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Negative keywords“marketing services -advertising -public relations”

Targeting Keywords:

Keyword TypeExamples
Semantic keywordsSemantic keywords
Root keywords“content marketing”
ALA keywordsALA keywords
Micro conversion keywords“free newsletter signups”
Big niche keywords“orthodontist marketing”
Query deserve keywords“DIY real estate market analysis report guide”

The above tables cover a grouping of all the keyword types into category tables based on their characteristics, intent and purpose within search engine optimization.


Effective keyword research and categorization is crucial for companies like M&G Speed Marketing to optimize our discoverability and capture the most relevant search traffic.

By thoroughly analyzing keywords and separating them into match types, intent types, comparators, scopes, branding categories, timelines, formats, transformations, research stages, exclusions and targeting types, we at M&G Speed Marketing can help you gain keen insights on your consumer search behaviors.

Armed with comprehensive keyword category tables, our marketing team now has a strategic blueprint to inform content development, advertising copy, landing page optimization and overall SEO campaigns. We will revisit and expand upon these foundations to reach our objective of becoming the foremost marketing agency for emerging ecommerce brands in the UK.

With search engine algorithms placing greater emphasis on understanding user intent, it is vital for specialists like M&G Speed Marketing Ltd to have clear visibility on the purpose behind each keyword. By categorizing keywords effectively and mapping them to stages of the consumer journey, we can deliver content that answers our audience’s biggest questions and communicates our competitive strengths.

The category tables provide an organized reference point as our services and clientele evolve over time. As an innovative industry leader, M&G Speed Marketing will continue assessing keyword trends, expanding our taxonomy and providing customers with marketing solutions personalized to our growth goals. Our future is guided by data – and that starts with research.

Jesus Guzman

M&G Speed Marketing LTD. CEO

Jesus Guzman is the CEO and founder of M&G Speed Marketing LTD, a digital marketing agency focused on rapidly growing businesses through strategies like SEO, PPC, social media, email campaigns, and website optimization. With an MBA and over 11 years of experience, Guzman combines his marketing expertise with web design skills to create captivating online experiences. His journey as an in-house SEO expert has given him insights into effective online marketing. Guzman is passionate about helping businesses achieve impressive growth through his honed skills. He has proud case studies to share and is eager to connect to take your business to the next level.