Understanding Head Terms

Understanding Head Terms

What are Head Terms?

In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), head terms, also known as focus keywords or generic keywords, are short, popular, and broad search terms that represent general topics people are searching for online. These terms typically consist of one or two words and have a high search volume, meaning a large number of people are typing them into search engines like Google every month.

For example, coffee, shoes, or digital marketing are all examples of head terms. They are broad, encompass a wide range of subtopics, and attract a significant volume of searches.

Why are Head Terms Important?

Head terms play a crucial role in your SEO strategy for several reasons:

1. Understanding User Intent:

Head terms provide valuable insights into the general topics and interests of your target audience. By analyzing the head terms relevant to your business, you can gain a better understanding of what your potential customers are searching for and tailor your content accordingly.

2. Website Structure and Navigation:

Head terms form the foundation of your website’s structure and navigation. By organizing your content around relevant head terms, you make it easier for both search engines and users to understand the main topics covered on your website. This can improve your website’s crawlability and user experience.

3. Content Creation:

Head terms serve as starting points for creating valuable and relevant content. By developing high-quality content around popular head terms, you increase the chances of attracting a larger audience and ranking higher in search results.

4. Competitive Analysis:

Analyzing the head terms your competitors are targeting can provide insights into their SEO strategies and help you identify potential content gaps or areas where you can outperform them.

How to Identify Head Terms

Identifying the right head terms for your business is essential for effective SEO. Here are some methods to help you pinpoint relevant head terms:

1. Brainstorming:

Start by brainstorming a list of general terms related to your business, products, or services. Think about what people might search for when looking for information or solutions related to your industry.

2. Keyword Research Tools:

Utilize keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to get data on search volume, competition, and related keywords. These tools can help you identify popular head terms in your niche.

3. Google Search Suggestions:

Pay attention to Google’s search suggestions as you type in relevant queries. These suggestions reflect popular searches and can provide insights into relevant head terms.

4. Competitor Analysis:

Analyze the websites and content of your competitors to identify the head terms they are targeting. Look for keywords they are using in their website copy, page titles, and meta descriptions.

Head Terms vs. Long-Tail Keywords

While head terms are important, they are not the only keywords you should focus on. It’s crucial to understand the difference between head terms and long-tail keywords:

Head Terms:

  • Short and broad
  • High search volume
  • High competition
  • General user intent

Long-Tail Keywords:

  • Longer and more specific
  • Lower search volume
  • Lower competition
  • More specific user intent

A balanced SEO strategy incorporates both head terms and long-tail keywords. While head terms attract a large audience, long-tail keywords target users who are closer to making a purchase decision.

Using Head Terms in Your Content

Once you’ve identified relevant head terms, it’s essential to use them strategically in your content:

1. Page Titles and Headings:

Include head terms in your page titles, H1, H2, and other heading tags to signal to search engines the main topics covered on each page.

2. Website Copy:

Use head terms naturally throughout your website copy, ensuring the content is relevant, informative, and engaging for your target audience.

3. Meta Descriptions:

Incorporate head terms in your meta descriptions to provide concise summaries of your pages and attract clicks from search engine results pages (SERPs).

4. Image Alt Text:

Use head terms when describing images in the alt text attribute to improve image search visibility and accessibility.

Tracking and Refining Your Strategy

SEO is an ongoing process. It’s essential to track the performance of your head terms and refine your strategy accordingly:

1. Monitor Keyword Rankings:

Use SEO tools to monitor your website’s ranking positions for target head terms. Identify any fluctuations or drops in rankings and investigate potential reasons.

2. Analyze Website Traffic:

Track organic traffic to your website and identify pages that are performing well or underperforming. Analyze user behavior metrics such as bounce rate and time on page to gauge content engagement.

3. Adapt to Algorithm Updates:

Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms. Stay informed about major algorithm changes and adjust your SEO strategy as needed to maintain or improve your rankings.


Understanding head terms is crucial for developing an effective SEO strategy. By identifying relevant head terms, you can create targeted content, improve website structure, and attract a larger audience. Remember to balance head terms with long-tail keywords and continuously track your performance to refine your approach over time. As search engines evolve and user behavior changes, staying adaptable and informed will be key to maintaining a strong online presence.

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Head Terms:

1. What is the difference between a head term and a long-tail keyword?

A head term is a short, general keyword phrase with high search volume. A long-tail keyword is a longer, more specific phrase with lower search volume.

2. How many head terms should I target on my website?

The number of head terms you should target depends on the size and scope of your website. Most websites should focus on a handful of core head terms that are most relevant to their business.

3. Can I rank for head terms if I’m a new website?

It can be challenging to rank for head terms as a new website due to high competition. It’s often easier to start by targeting long-tail keywords and gradually work your way up to more competitive head terms.

4. How often should I update my head term strategy?

You should review and update your head term strategy at least quarterly or whenever you make significant changes to your website or content.

5. What are some common mistakes to avoid when targeting head terms?

Common mistakes include keyword stuffing, creating thin or low-quality content, and neglecting other important SEO factors such as website speed and mobile-friendliness.

6. How can I track my progress for head terms?

Use SEO tools to monitor your keyword rankings, website traffic, and other relevant metrics to track your progress for target head terms.

7. Are head terms still relevant in voice search?

Yes, head terms are still relevant in voice search, but people tend to use longer, more conversational phrases when using voice search.

8. What is the relationship between head terms and search intent?

Head terms can provide insights into general user intent, but it’s important to consider the context and use other keyword research methods to understand user intent more deeply.

9. Can I use head terms in my social media strategy?

While social media platforms don’t rely on head terms in the same way as search engines, incorporating relevant keywords in your social media content can improve discoverability.

10. How can I learn more about head term research and SEO?

Numerous online resources, blogs, and courses are available to help you expand your knowledge of head term research and SEO best practices.