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Keywords are the understructure of any SEO strategy. No matter how many algorithm updates there may have been in recent years, inbound marketers looking to optimise their websites organically must incorporate a keyword research framework in order to be successful. Our helpful guide will walk you through every aspect related to keyword research, so let’s get started.


What are keywords?

Keywords are words and phrases that a user will enter into search engines to find what they are looking for. There are three types of keywords described by length. These are as follows:

  • Short tail keywords
  • Mid-tail keywords
  • Long-tail keywords
Short tail keywords

Short tail keywords, also referred to as head or ‘generic’ keywords, are broad search terms that tend to consist of one to two words. Usually, they are very competitive to rank for due to their high search volume.

Example: Best dogs

Mid-tail keywords

Mid-tail keywords fall between the two extremities of short tail and long tail in order to find a happy medium and tend to consist of two to three words. These keywords are often described as the best of both worlds.

Example: Adopt a dog

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are the longest type of search terms. These are often phrases or questions your target audience is searching for, and tend to consist of three or more words. They are very specific so will often have lower search volume and competitiveness. It is also important to note that they are usually used when the user is close to a point-of-purchase.

Example: Adopt a Golden Retriever in Gloucestershire area

Maintaining a healthy balance to your search marketing ecosystem by incorporating each of the above types will enable you to target different audiences at each stage of the marketing funnel. You can reach a broader range of people and help increase your chances of securing a conversion.


Are keywords important for SEO?

SEO is complex and there are lots of elements at play. Despite this, keywords are still extremely important to any well-grounded SEO strategy. The reasons for this are:

  • Keywords give us an insight into who our target audience is, their interests, and searching habits
  • Keywords provide us with a focus for content creation
  • Keywords are essential to SEO because they are important to search engines!
  • There is a reason why algorithms are sophisticated enough for analysing keywords and their context, and that’s because the overall purpose of search engines is to provide relevant, informative answers – in this case, web pages – to users queries

SEO keywords vs Digital Advertising keywords: What’s the difference?

It’s important to note that there is a difference between the keywords you may choose for your SEO strategy as opposed to those you may choose for your Digital Advertising campaigns.

Ultimately, Digital Advertising and SEO are fundamentally different marketing approaches. With Digital Advertising, you pay for every click, so you should think carefully as you can only run ads on keywords you could afford and that have a high probability of a good return-on-ad-spend.


What is SEO keyword research?

As a fundamental SEO task, keyword research is the process of finding and analysing the search terms users enter into the search engines when looking for information, products, or services.
As you probably guessed, this task is usually done within the beginning stage of any SEO campaign. The research process is essential in determining the strategic keywords to target in your website’s content. It involves understanding your target audience and their search intent.
Keyword research should help you determine the answers to the following:

  • What are your audience searching for?
  • How high is the search volume for the search terms? And how competitive are they?
  • How are people searching for the terms? (i.e what words are they using, what questions are they asking, what device are they using, etc.)

So, how do you “do” keyword research?

As to not overcomplicate the process, let’s run through the actionable steps that you should follow when confronting your keyword research.

1. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!
2. List your keywords
3. Use search engines to your advantage
4. Don’t forget the all-important Keyword Research Tools
5. Separate your list by search intent
6. Plan your keyword strategy


In this series we’ll show you to create a comprehensive SEO strategy, tackling core ranking factors across all aspects of SEO. We’ll help you build a tailor-made strategy that’s right for your business and build the confidence you need to push your business to the next level.

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