This guide to keywords and SEO is for beginners, and I want to explain a little about:

  • the different types of keywords and which ones you need to focus on in your online business, and …
  • a brief overview of what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is

The short video below (about two and a half minutes) provides a great introductory guide to keywords and their use in SEO:

What Are Keywords And How Are They Used?

Keywords are the search terms that you and I would enter into a search engine such as Google, or Bing in order to find relevant answers, information, products, services, videos and images that we are looking for.

Ideally of course when people enter search terms related to the marketing niche that you are operating in you would want your website, and your associated products and services to show up in the search results.

And…… you would want your website to be listed fairly high in the list of results that Google or Bing produce after your keyword is typed in.

You can see then that keywords have a very specific role to play in online marketing.

Keywords tell a search engine like Google exactly what you are looking for. The search engine then does a search of its database and then tries to deliver you links to the most relevant and useful web pages.

By placing keywords strategically on your web pages and posts you make it easier for search engines to know what your pages are about. This is the process of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.

Guide To Keywords And SEO -Different Types Of Keywords

beginners guide to keywords and seo

There are three main types of keywords. All three types are important, but you should focus more of your efforts on two of them.

The three main types of keywords are:

  • Primary or Main keyword
  • Secondary
  • Long Tail

Primary (Main) keywords

These are terms or words that most people think of as an initial search term a person first carries out online research on a particular topic.

They tend to be very broad, general terms and usually consist of one or two words. Examples of primary keywords would be:

  • Fitness
  • Exercise
  • Workout

These broad types of keywords get tons of searches per month, and have the potential to make you a lot of money in the very unlikely event that you manage to rank for one of them.

Yes, it is important to know what the primary keywords are in your niche.

However your chances of ranking for them without enormous effort are practically nil because they are so highly competitive.

They also don’t tend to convert very well, because they aren’t very specific.

Secondary keywords

These are keywords, as you would suspect that are associated with the main keyword. For example:

  • Fitness – fitness routines, fitness websites, fitness for men, fitness for women, cardio fitness etc
  • Exercise – exercise at home, exercise gyms near me, exercise equipment etc
  • Workout – extreme workouts, workout equipment, gym workout for women, workout classes etc

Long Tail keywords

These are three and four keyword phrases that very specific to the product or service that a potential customer is looking to buy.

Let’s expand on the search terms used above and look at some long tail search terms:

  • Fitness – fitness routines for men over 50, fitness routines for diabetics
  • Exercise – exercise gyms near (name of place), second hand exercise equipment
  • Workout – indoor workout routines, wall climbing workout classes

Long tail keywords are an essential element to getting your web pages ranked highly in search results.


Because long tail keyword searches are so very specific there will be much less content available on the web that relates to the specific words and phrases used in the key word search.

For example….if you did a search for the term “fitness” you’ll discover there are more than 3 million web pages which are optimised with this term.

Those 3 million websites are your competition if you wanted your website to get ranked highly with a search engine….so your chances of getting listed in the first 10 websites listed in search results is going to be zero!

Now… optimising your page with a long tailed key word based on fitness but with a much more specific search such as “fitness programs for people aged over 70”.

In comparison to 3 million websites optimised for the search term “fitness”, this longer tailed search term returns a list of only 350 thousand websites. Much less competition wouldn’t you agree?

And the results are much more relevant for the person searching for the information…..which is what the search engines want to deliver for their users.

Confused? Take a look at this article explains very clearly just why long tailed keywords are so important in SEO strategy.

Guide To Keywords and SEO – Tips For Optimising Your Web Page

So, here’s the way it works.

You’re going to set up a web page, or write a blog. First of all you need to know what the main keyword, and secondary keywords are going to be for that page or article.

You will also want to investigate some long tailed keywords that you can weave into the text on your page. Check out this article which explains how you come up with a list of potential long tailed keywords by using Google.

Keyword Optimisation Checklist

The next step in optimising your web page or article is knowing how to optimise your whole web page or article to give it the best chance of ranking well in the search engines.

Here’s a very useful checklist on keyword optimisation for SEO prepared by Alexa that you can use to get started with this.

Keywords And SEO For Beginners – Other Helpful Resources

Here are some links to websites with great information:

Keyword And SEO Tools

Yoast – this is a WordPress plug that literally takes the guess work out of SEO

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome browser plug in for doing keyword research. Simply enter a search term in Google and in addition to Google results you also get a list of related keywords listed on the side of the search results page. See below:

long tail keywords

Google Ads Keyword Planner – you’ll need to open an account to get access to this tool.

Also, why not check out my recent article on digital marketing trends for 2019. It has several references to keyword search and SEO.

Beginners Guide To Keywords And SEO – Summary

Understanding keywords and their relationship to SEO is very important if you are to take the necessary steps to have your web pages and blog articles ranking well in search results.

All the jargon and knowing where and how to place your keywords can be off putting when you first get started on this.

But with practice the whole process does get easier, and there are also some helpful tools you can use which I’ve described above.

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