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25 March 20246 min.
Max Cyrek
Max Cyrek

Keywords – what they mean and how to choose them in SEO

Keywords – what they mean and how to choose them in SEO

Every day, billions of people search for information and products online, and search engines are the tool of choice for this purpose. Users query the search engine database with a huge number of queries every day – whether at work or looking for inspiration for dinner or a weekend getaway for two.

A large proportion of these searches are repeated, taking the form of keywords – phrases commonly used to search for information, products or services, which we need to include in our strategy if we want to reach a wide audience with our offer. They are signals for Google’s search engine to verify what the content is about and its subject area. When content in the form of an article or video is ‘identified’ by the algorithm through the key phrases it contains, it is also positioned in the search engine.

A sound analysis and selection of keywords is a step that, if omitted or not performed correctly, can ruin any digital campaign. This applies to all activities falling under the scope of SEM: both the positioning process and activities in paid advertising channels (such as Google Ads).

What are the different types of keywords?

Before we move on to specific methods of selecting keywords for SEO, it is worth looking at what types of phrases we have to choose from in general:

General keywords

These are very general queries that usually consist of one or two words. They are used by those whose expectations are usually not specific. Typing the keyword “shoes” into Google, for example, yields very general and often unsatisfactory results. Given that there are shops offering many types of shoes among them – the competitiveness associated with these phrases is enormous.

At the planning stage, you should not focus too much attention on these types of keywords. You can include them in the plan once you have gained visibility for more specific phrases.

Long tail keywords

These are queries consisting of a larger number of words, which means that they are usually already quite specific. These are the ones we should pay most attention to when first selecting keywords. Why? Because users typing e.g. “red stiletto boots” into a search engine are already looking for a very specific group of products and there is a good chance that they will convert.

It is also worth checking the various combinations of long tail keywords that potential customers may use. For example, they may also type in ‘red stiletto boots’ or ‘red heeled boots’ – in such a situation, it is worth considering the variant of the phrase that is most popular – has the highest volume of searches.

Due to the smaller number of search results than in the case of general phrases, achieving a satisfactory positioning effect is much easier and will be achieved in a much shorter time. At the same time, traffic from long tail phrases, due to their more precise match to user intent, usually converts better, hence the conclusion that SEO strategies based on long tail positioning bring the best business results.

Query keywords

These are phrases used by people early in the sales funnel who are looking for advice or opinions on a particular topic. They are used extensively in the strategy of those shops and sites that have an expert blog. A user typing in search queries related to shoes may be interested (currently or in the future) in buying them.

Branded phrases

These keywords are associated with a specific company or product name. They are searched for by people who do not know a specific URL or are looking for a shop that sells a range of a particular brand. Branded queries are not only about our own brand, but also about the brands of the products on offer. When selling products from well-known companies, it is therefore worthwhile to also gain traffic for queries related to the manufacturer’s brand.

Branded phrases may also be long tail phrases, questions or be local in nature, e.g. “cheap iphone repair Warsaw”

Regional keywords

These types of phrases are the best solution for websites offering their services and products only in a given area. If you run a stationary shoe shop in Poznań, it is worth trying to get visibility for phrases such as “shoe shop poznań”. Similarly, if we offer, for example, an upholstery washing service in Wrocław, we want people to come to our website by typing in keywords such as “upholstery washing in Wrocław”. Fighting for a high position for general queries such as “upholstery” or “laundry” makes no sense here.

Google is constantly increasing the influence of geolocalisation on search results. Note, for example, that a high position in the search results for the query “upholstery washing wrocław” often enables a user located in Wrocław to appear for the general query “upholstery washing”.

Pay attention to whether phrases describing the products and services you offer, when typed into Google, generate location-dependent results. This is important information at the stage of planning your SEO strategy.

Selecting keywords? Focus on search intent!

When choosing keywords, it is always important to consider how our products or services are searched for by customers. It is we – the entrepreneurs – who have to adapt the website to the needs of our customers. Unfortunately, they will not change their search habits for us.

To find out, we only need to consider what need our product fulfils and what our potential customers care about most. You can consult existing customers and friends on this topic. It is also a good idea to simply put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Just take a moment and think about what we ourselves would type in when looking for our product or service.

If you are looking for running shoes in your favourite colour – would you type ‘shoes’ or ‘black running shoes’ into Google?

Competitor keyword analysis

Having already had an initial outline of a list of keywords for SEO (describing our offer), it is worth checking our competitors in the battle for high positions in Google results.

Do you sell the previously mentioned running shoes? Type “running shoes” into Google and create a list of competing online shops. Keyword analysis based on such a list is a great resource.

Why actually rely on what your competitors have already done? Sites ranking high usually have very well-chosen keywords. If we can take advantage of someone else’s well-executed work – why not do so? Of course, it’s not just about imitating the competition, as copying is unlikely to allow us to overtake them, and we should ultimately aim to be “two steps ahead”.

How do you ensure this? If you are planning to implement a product in the future that you know will also be on offer in other shops, then look for keywords and plan your strategy now. This can get you high rankings even before your competitors do.

Tools useful for analysing your competitors’ keywords

How do we investigate which keywords our competitors’ pages are optimised for?

To do this, we will need several paid tools that SEO specialists use when analysing keywords. Here are some of the most commonly used:

Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a keyword analysis and data collection tool that can be accessed by anyone with a Google account.

Access to the tool itself is free, but in order to check the exact number of searches for specific keywords we need an active (i.e. one in which we spend budgets) campaign in Google Ads.

However, if we are already active in the PPC field, the Planer is not only an excellent source of knowledge about the potential of particular keywords, but also “can” suggest new ones, also potentially related to our business.


This Polish tool is an ideal source of information on keywords that bring traffic to our competitors (and not only!). We find out, above all, what their potential is, but also what their seasonality and degree of difficulty is. Especially noteworthy here is the huge database of keywords in Polish – if your company operates only on the domestic market, Senuto will be a great choice of tool useful in selecting phrases for positioning.

It is worth mentioning that Senuto is not only a keyword search tool. When analysing any page, you can also check the status of its visibility for particular phrases in the top3, top10 and top50 over time.


Another Polish tool that is used (among other things!) to analyse the keywords of competitor websites. It has similar functions to the previously discussed Senuto, but it is best to use both and compare the information they have in their databases.

This is because the tools present slightly different data. So there is a chance that by using both, you will get more useful data than if you only analyse one.


This tool is well known, especially to specialists involved in the positioning of foreign websites. It provides broader possibilities of analysing competition in search results other than Polish. For example, we can check the most frequently searched phrases in markets such as DE, UK or USA.


Ahrefs is the tool most commonly used for link profile analysis, but it also has a keyword analysis function: “Organic keywords”. Due to its rather high subscription cost – it is more often used by SEO agencies than by website owners themselves.

SEO Surfer

Allows a clear SEO analysis of the articles posted on the website. We can also use the editor, which will match numerous keywords that semantically match the phrase we have entered. The editor will also determine the optimal article length and even the number of paragraphs and subheadings. Additional features include a SERP analyser and NLP sentiment analysis.


This platform does not offer much in the way of SEO analysis, but is very powerful in terms of suggesting keyword-questions and Long Tail phrases. The results presented by AnswerThePublic are presented in the form of clear trees and branching.


The competitor keyword analysis described above is absolutely essential among the activities to be performed not only when planning an SEM strategy, but also when periodically analysing a website’s visibility.

The right choice of keywords alone at the beginning of SEO activities will not give us success. The competition is not sleeping: they are constantly improving their methods of operation and developing the base of keywords for which they are positioning.

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