The Key to Keywords

August 4, 2021
Emilie Mitchell

You’re looking to buy a pair of shoes. Instead of searching around at various stores to find what you’re looking for, you decide to browse online. Where do you start? Probably by entering a few words into Google and seeing what pops up. 

Those words you enter into the search engine are called keywords.

What are keywords?

Keywords are search queries, or words and phrases that users choose to describe what they are looking for. Google, Bing, and other popular search engines use keywords to determine what content is most relevant to each search query. This determines how webpages rank in search results for specific terms and phrases.

5 Types of Keywords

There are many types of keywords, but let’s start with five common categories you need to know: short tail, long tail, geo-targeted, fresh, and evergreen. 

Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords are broad search terms that are contained in 3 words or less. For example, “Shoes” or “Running shoes” would be considered short tail keywords. Since these keywords are broad, the user is likely to be provided with a wide variety of search results.

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are more targeted search terms that contain more than 3 words. Some long tail keywords would be “Size 11 men’s shoes” or “Nike running shoes for men.” As you can see, these keywords are more specific than short tail keywords, providing the user with more specific search results. 

Geo-Targeted Keywords

Geo-targeted keywords are location-specific search terms, used to help users find results near them or another location they are interested in. An example of this would be “Shoe stores in Toledo, Ohio.”

Fresh Keywords

Fresh keywords refer to search terms that are currently trending. For example, fresh keywords at the time this blog is being written are “2021 olympics” or “Medal count for 2021 olympics.”

Evergreen Keywords

Evergreen keywords are search terms that are always relevant, no matter the year, current events, etc. Some examples of evergreen keywords include “migraine symptoms” or “Why do I have a headache” since medical issues such as headaches are consistent and never going to go away.

Keywords and SEO

Short for search engine optimization, SEO is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on increasing the quality and quantity of your website’s traffic. 

Part of the SEO process is using keywords to determine which content is most relevant to the entered search query and how different webpages should rank in searches according to each set of keywords. 

When a website is well optimized for search engines like Google, it speaks the same language as its intended users. This is done through keywords for SEO that connect relevant users to your site. To determine these keywords, you want to think from your intended users’ point-of-view and consider what terms they’re most likely to search.


Keywords are more important than you may think. They play a big part in how your website ranks in search engine optimization. Understanding keywords and utilizing them correctly benefits not only your business but also your users’ experience at the same time.

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