A keyword is a term or phrase that best describes the entire or at least part of the content on your web page. It’s the term you enter into Google and other search engines to find websites about the subject matter you are interested in. Search engines go through websites and compile all those that contain the keywords then present them to users. In this context, a keyword is a reference point a search engine like Google uses to find the information you want.

A keyword is like a set of specifications you give to a store clerk. The clerk then searches the store for items that exactly or closely match your specs.

Other interesting terms…

Read More about a Keyword

A keyword can refer to different things, depending on the context.

What Are the Uses of a Keyword?

A keyword is generally used in information retrieval, online searches, and programming.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): In the context of SEO, a keyword is a specific word or phrase that describes the content of a web page. Search engines use keywords to match users’ search queries with relevant content. Website owners and content creators often optimize their content for specific keywords to improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
  • Programming: In computer programming, a keyword is a reserved word that has a special meaning within a programming language. These words are typically predefined and cannot be used as variable names or identifiers. Examples include “if,” “else,” “while,” and “for” in languages like Python, Java, and C++.
  • Database querying: In the context of databases, a keyword can refer to a reserved word or special symbol that has a specific meaning in a database query language. For example, in Structured Query Language (SQL), keywords like “SELECT,” “FROM,” “WHERE,” and “JOIN” are used to construct queries for retrieving or manipulating data in a database.
  • General language use: In a more general linguistic context, a keyword is simply a word that is important or essential to the meaning of a text or conversation. In this sense, keywords help identify the main topics or themes in a given piece of content.
Different Uses of Keywords

Different Uses of Keywords

The keyword definition can vary based on the domain where it is used, but it generally refers to a significant word or phrase that serves a specific purpose within that context.

What Are the Types of Keywords?

Keywords can be categorized into different types based on their characteristics and uses. Here are some of their common types.

  • Short-tail keywords: Also known as “head keywords,” these are brief and general terms often consisting of 1–2 words. Examples include “shoes,” “laptops,” and “travel.”
  • Long-tail keywords: These refer to longer and more specific phrases, usually three words or more. Examples include “best running shoes for beginners,” “affordable gaming laptops,” and “budget-friendly travel destinations.”
  • Branded keywords: These include the name of a specific brand or company. Examples include “Nike shoes,” “Apple laptops,” and “Marriott hotels.”
  • Generic keywords: These are broad and nonspecific terms. Examples include “electronics,” “clothing,” and “hotels.”
  • Product-defining keywords: These specify a particular product or service. Examples include “smartphones,” “winter jackets,” and “luxury resorts.”
  • Location-based keywords: These include geographic locations and are often used in local searches. Examples include “restaurants in New York,” “dentists near me,” and “hotels in Paris.”
  • Action keywords: These express user intent to perform an action. Examples include “buy,” “download,” and “subscribe.”
  • Informational keywords: These indicate a user’s intent to gather information. Examples include “how to tie a tie,” “benefits of yoga,” and “history of the Internet.”
  • Navigational keywords: These indicate a user’s intent to navigate to a specific website or page. Examples include “Facebook login,” “YouTube homepage,” and “CNN website.”
  • Commercial intent keywords: These suggest a user is interested in making a purchase but may still be researching. Examples include “best laptop deals” and “compare smartphone prices.”
  • Negative keywords: These are used in online advertising to exclude certain terms from triggering an ad. An example would be if an online store sells new laptops, it may use “used” as a negative keyword to avoid irrelevant clicks.
  • Seasonal keywords: These are related to specific seasons, holidays, or events. Examples include “summer fashion trends,” “Christmas gift ideas,” and “back-to-school supplies.”

Understanding the different types of keywords and incorporating a variety of them in content, SEO strategies, and advertising campaigns can help cater to a diverse range of user intents and improve overall visibility and relevance.

Key Takeaways