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A search engine uses keywords as a bridge between the search query and the relevant websites in a search engine results page (SERP). This bridge means the list of keywords you choose to target throughout your campaign can have an important bearing on the audience you eventually attract.

Making an informed decision with optimized content will give yourself the best chance of appearing in SERPs. Researching keywords and understanding the meaning behind the several keyword types will give you a solid foundation into what you should be prioritising.

In this article, we’ll outline, define and give examples of the seven main keyword groups so you can recognise how to optimize your future content.

Types of Keyword

Short-Tail (Generic)

Example: ‘Shirt’, ‘Shoes’, ‘Bike’ & ‘Car’.

Short-tail, or ‘Generic’, keywords are search phrases that contain only one or two words. The length of short-tail keywords makes them less specific than other types, and consequently, there is much more competition for them due to the ambiguity surrounding the search intent and low conversion rate.


Example: ‘Nike shoes’, ‘Toyota car’ & ‘HBO TV shows’.

Branded keywords are keywords containing a brand name in the search term. Branded keywords are more specific than short-tail keywords as the search user will have a more streamlined idea of what they’re looking for. It’s a good idea to include these types of keywords when you’re challenging niche competitors for similar products and services.

Broad Match

Example: ‘Football boots’, ‘Horror novels’ & ‘Women’s hats’.

Broad keywords are for users who have a general idea of what they’re looking for would prefer to browse a variety of options. Broad keywords are the default keyword match type on major search engines and are usually the ideal choice for marketers who are in the early stages of their campaigns, as they’ll provide a fair reflection of what is or isn’t working. Broad matches will appear with misspellings, synonyms and other related searches.

Exact Match

Example: ‘Best running shoes 2020’, ‘most fuel-efficient cars’, ‘top 10 restaurants’

Exact match keywords give you more control over who sees your content and advertisements. You may not receive as many impressions and clicks, but you’re likely to receive a much higher CTR. This is because your links and ads appear when a user’s search query matches up exactly with your keyword, meaning you’re more likely to attract your target audience.


Example: ‘Best digital marketing agency for web development in Dubai’

Long-tail keywords are search phrases with a longer word count and a must-have in your marketing campaign. There is much less competition for long-tail keywords as they have a far lower search volume compared to other types due to their highly specific nature, which often results in a much higher CTR and increased conversion potential.


Example: ‘Adidas vs. Nike running shoes’, ‘Ralph Lauren shirt discount’ & ‘PS4 game store in Dubai’.

Buyer keywords are the phrases people enter into search engines when they’re looking for something to buy. The intent behind buyer keywords signifies to the search engine that the user is actively prepared to spend money. Buyer keywords include product comparison searches, searches for products in a specific area and searches with products that include a coupon or discount option.


Example: ‘Watch movies online free’ & ‘Download free eBook’.

Tire-kicker keywords are phrases that indicate a user who is extremely unlikely to spend any money, relating to search results that have a very low chance of conversion. Words and phrases such as, ‘free’, ‘download’, ‘torrent’ and, ‘for free’ will be present to indicate a tire-kicker keyword.

Wrap Up

Keywords are a key component of content marketing and are fantastic at bringing much needed organic traffic to your website. Now that you know the fundamentals of keywords, with their different uses and purposes, you should be able to make an informed decision without overly complicated keyword research tools, or keyword stuffing.


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