You may already know what keywords are but do you know how to choose the best keywords for your site and your SEO campaign? The dilemma for webmasters is that keywords with the highest search volume usually have much lower conversions or conversions of lower quality.

One useful way to think about keywords is to break them down into different categories. The most general keywords are usually called ‘umbrella’ keywords and the most specific are called ‘long tail’. Long tail keywords have the least search volume because they are longer phrases. But because they are more specific they convert well. In between these two you have branded keywords. They have a middling search volume but don’t convert as well as long tail keywords.

Each type of keyword can be further subdivided into commercial and informational.

Keyword Category
Gas Cookers Commercial Umbrella
Gas Cooker Problems Informational Umbrella
Smeg Gas Cookers Commercial Branded
Smeg Gas Cooker Comparisons Informational Branded
6 Ring Smeg Gas Cooker Commercial Long Tail
Should I buy a Smeg Gas Cooker? Informational Long Tail


The thinking behind the classification is that people searching on the internet use different words depending on how close they are to a buying decision. The more specific the search the closer the searcher is to making a decision. But at all levels of search from broad to narrow people may be seeking further information or details of a product category through to details of a specific model.

If your site only has generic umbrella terms it is likely that you will struggle to get found.  Likewise if your site only has long tail keywords it may not provide the more general information that your buyers require. It makes sense then to structure a website using words from all categories. This will please your visitors and the search engines. The hierarchy of keywords you use should be reflected in the structure of your website.

Many inexperienced web site owners assume they know what keywords are the best for their site. Whether you use tools or not, speaking to customers and researching competitors will help you to determine whether you’re on the right lines. For many small businesses commercially available tools don’t yield productive results.

If you need help deciding the right keywords, my one off Internet marketing consultancy is just what you need.