What's a keyword?

A keyword is a word or a group of words (a phrase) entered by an Internet user to look for information on a search engine. This means that everything a user types into a search bar, whether Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine, is called a keyword.

But why is it important to work on your key words?

Keywords allow websites and search engines to cooperate. If the keywords of your website match with the keywords used by people searching online, the search engine is more likely to bring those people to your site. Using the same words as your audience is the key to a successful SEO outcome.

So the key is to:

  1. Understand what your prospects are looking for.
  2. How they search for it.
  3. Try to position yourself on these terms!

For example, our site that offers trips to Croatia will probably be interested in the keyword "travel to Croatia", and more precisely: are prospects looking for the price argument ("cheap trip to Croatia"), are they looking for the right time to go there ("when to go to Croatia"), what is the weather like there (" Croatia weather"), we will investigate all this!

Keyword = intention

If you had to remember one piece of information, it is this: a keyword corresponds to an intention.

What do you prefer?

  • Get 10 000 visits on your site, and 300€ of online sales per month
  • or get 10 times less visits, i.e. 1 000 visits on your site, and 3000€ of monthly online turnover?

Truth is, 80% of websites are focused on their offer, i.e. on what they propose. Fatal mistake: from an SEO point of view, they completely forget about you and your ego, they only think about the demand. What are your prospects looking for? What are their intentions? What content to produce for what type of request?

There are 4 types of intentions:

Commercial keywords these are the keywords that send the Internet user looking for an immediate purchase from their Google search to the product or service you are selling.

They often contain dynamic verbs, or a price argument: buy, discount, cheap, free delivery...

Transactional keywords: they allow the user to prepare a purchase by comparing different existing offers and not to buy immediately. The prospect knows that he is going to buy, but does not yet know exactly what.

These are words like top 10... , best..., a product category: "women's shoes", a brand or a particular product...

Informational keywords: they are there to inform a web user about a product more than to sell him this product. They don't sell, but they will help the site to get a better visibility and therefore better sales.

They are often in the form of a question, for example, "Which transportation to choose for a trip to Croatia?"

Navigational keywords : Haven't you noticed our annoying habit with the internet of getting lazy? Instead of trying to remember the internet address of a website we are interested in, we often prefer to go to our favorite search engine and type in the most remarkable features of what we are looking for. Thus it is necessary that your website presents these navigational keywords from the home page as well as on the contact page so that the Internet user can find you easily.

Paid or organic keywords?

When you type a keyword in a search engine like Google, sometimes you see advertising results. These are called "paid results" as opposed to natural or "organic" results.


  • Organic result Organic search results are based on natural rankings determined by search engine algorithms, also known as "natural results". An organic result is therefore a mention of a web page in the results page of a search engine and is not obtained through the purchase of advertising space.
  • Paid result Paid results are based on advertisements in search engines. Advertisers offer ads to be displayed on certain keywords, and pay the search engine (Google in our example) when someone clicks on the ad in question.

The higher the competition for a keyword in paid search, the more its price will change accordingly. The "cost per click" can go up to more than ten euros! So we understand quite quickly the interest of being positioned "naturally" on a result :)

Google Ads search volume

Google has locked in 2016 the info on Adwords. Before we had this:


and now Google:

  • Groups similar keywords, so I no longer have perfect granularity on my exact keywords, so on the example of keywords with "stop words" or misspellings, it will often give us the same volume
  • Shows slices ofsearch volume: 1-100, 100-10000, etc..ouch, tough right?

Google Ads

You said we can't work anymore?

You are almost right!

How to do it?

Google Adwords

There is a very simple solution: give your money to Google to do paid search. Similar keywords are always grouped together from a volume point of view, but at least you'll have "somewhat" accurate search volumes, like on the screenshot above.

Let's look at the data history and be smart

Did you have the data before, or do you have tools? Top, you should be able to get an idea of the seasonality, and project some volumes from the old volumes.

But it's still handmade, I agree... And "at some point", the history will be too old, we won't be able to do it anymore. Tools like Yooda or Semrush find their solution in a mix of interpolation from historical data (which they have for a long time!) and verification on Adwords!

But, otherwise... Is it serious, doctor?


We saw why below, the range 100-10000, it's still wide to know if the keyword is searched or not :)

No, Google modifies the queries anyway!

I Googled "printing", and I'm currently at SEO Camp: here is my result page:


What a sneaky boy! It offers me two Parisian results, and then the Wikipedia page. Yes, perfectly sir, God Google allowed itself to think that if I typed "printing", in fact I was looking for "a" printing company, and therefore a local result.

Remark : Lionel Miration had done the example on Montpellier, and he had Montpellier printing shops, it works everywhere, right ?

Should I look at "printing" on all the towns in France to get the total volume?


No doctor, the idea is rather to understand that in fact, we can start to give "a little less importance" to our historical logic of the keyword, its volume, even if it meant a few years ago to optimize on words with spelling mistakes :). Those days are over!

In the same vein, you can play at optimizing on "car insurance" or "auto insurance": what do you mean we have the same results? But it's a generic expression (only 2 words!), of which 1 word is different! "I would do two pages..."


Well no, but that's a very large subject: Google understands that behind, the user intention is the same, and therefore "probably" (who knows?), it considers these identical requests... :) Not everything is about the title tag in seo !

Now you know what a keyword is and how important it is to work on them, especially when doing a keyword research, whether for paid or organic search.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

Further reading

The complete guide to Internal Meshing

The step-by-step method to build your semantic cocoons, your mesh and the optimal tree structure of your website.