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Understanding Buyer Intent Keywords

By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your site for purchase-ready buyers.

We all know that strategic keyword targeting is central to successful SEO and paid search campaigns.

The more your site appears in search results for relevant queries, the more visitors it will attract.

But keyword optimization is about more than just driving more traffic to your site. It also plays a crucial role in maximizing your website conversions.

When you target buyer intent keywords as part of a holistic keyword strategy, you can build a site that generates sales just as well as it generates traffic and leads.

In this article, we’ll dive into different types of buyer intent keywords and offer tips on identifying terms that bring more conversions and sales to your business.

But first, let’s define our terms.

What Are Buyer Intent Keywords?

Buyer intent keywords are the search terms people use when considering buying something.

These terms express varying levels of purchasing intent depending on where the search user currently sits along the buyer’s journey.

Buyer's journeyImage created by author, June 2023

For example, suppose your business sells weed whackers. A potential customer might search the following terms along the path to conversion:

  • Awareness stage (problem-aware): “how to landscape a front yard.”
  • Consideration stage (solution-aware): “best weed whackers 2023.”
  • Decision stage (ready to buy): “buy Black & Decker electric weed whacker online.”

As you can see, prospects closer to a sale will use keywords with higher purchasing intent.

Now let’s briefly address why buyer intent keywords should be a focal point of your keyword strategy.

Benefits Of Targeting Buyer Intent Keywords

The obvious benefit of ranking well for buyer intent keywords is that it places you in front of prospects who are considering making a purchase.

This drives more conversion-ready visitors to your site, which, in turn, increases your bottom line.

But a prominent placement in Google’s results doesn’t just boost your site’s visibility; it also boosts its perceived credibility. Search users naturally assume that high-ranking sites are more trustworthy, making them more willing to reach for their bank cards.

Targeting buyer intent keywords tailored to your niche also helps drive more qualified visitors to your site. While high traffic volume is never a bad thing for a business website, traffic quality has a bigger impact on sales.

Instead of wasting resources attracting visitors with no genuine interest in your business, you can improve your SEO ROI by catering to those actively seeking the kind of products and services you offer.

Simply put, the better your site ranks for relevant buyer intent keywords, the more your site will attract and convert new, qualified customers.

However, it’s important to appreciate that optimizing for buyer intent keywords doesn’t mean you should exclusively target users closest to making a purchase.

The goal should be to cater to potential buyers at each stage of awareness in order to nudge them toward conversion.

Types Of Buyer Intent Keywords

We’ve already mentioned how buyer keywords express different degrees of purchasing intent depending on where someone is on the buyer’s journey.

Prospects at different stages of awareness tend to have similar goals, problems, and informational needs.

We can therefore group buyer intent keywords into three categories, each reflecting a different stage of the buyer’s journey.

Awareness-Stage Keywords

Users searching these terms are looking to better understand a problem they’re facing or a goal they want to achieve. Here’s where they discover that businesses like yours can offer the solution they need.

Awareness-stage keywords tend to be informational queries containing phrases like:

  • “How to.”
  • And “what is.”

Consideration-Stage Keywords

Once prospects learn about the available solutions to their problem, they move onto the consideration stage, where they start weighing up different buying options.

Often, prospects will seek resources like product comparison lists, in-depth reviews, testimonials, case studies, and anything else that helps narrow down the best option for their needs.

Consideration-stage queries often contain words like:

  • “[Product name] reviews.”
  • “Best [product].”
  • And “[brand name] vs. [competitor].”

Decision-Stage Keywords

Finally, prospects reach a point where they’re ready to take action.

They’ve homed in on the specific solution they want to buy and, at most, just need an extra nudge to get them over the line.

As you’d expect, decision-stage keywords express high levels of purchase intent.

For B2C audiences, these tend to include terms like:

  • “Buy now.”
  • “Discount.”
  • “Delivery times.”

For B2B customers (for whom the buying process usually takes longer), decision-stage keywords may include phrases like:

  • “Demo.”
  • “Terms and conditions.”
  • Or “payment plan.”

Identifying Buyer Intent In Your Target Audience

Now let’s look at how to find suitable buyer intent keywords for your business.

Once you know what keywords people use when they’re looking to buy something in your niche, you can incorporate these terms into your SEO content strategy and paid ad campaigns.

Remember, this exercise aims to address search users who are on the path to making a purchase decision.

Sure, targeting high-volume keywords is essential for attracting more visitors to your site, but targeting terms with different levels of purchase intent will improve your ability to convert those visitors into paying customers.

With that in mind, here are some things to think about when building a list of suitable buyer intent keywords.

Consider The Needs Of Your Ideal Customers

Start by fleshing out the different pain points your product or service can solve for potential customers. After all, search users use Google to find content and offers that help them realize their goals.

Ask yourself: What challenges do your target customers face? What motivates them? And what objections do they express when considering a purchase?

Once you’ve mapped out the various problems your business can solve for customers, both practical and emotional, you’ll have a provisional set of topics upon which to build your list of target keywords.

Research Your Existing Customer Base

The next step is to understand which search queries are already bringing visitors to your site and resulting in conversions. This will help you work out the types of buyer intent you’re already addressing well and which ones you’re underserving.

If you find certain keywords drive a disproportionate amount of sales on your site, you might decide to upgrade your content further to truly capitalize on the conversion potential.

Likewise, knowing which keywords aren’t performing well will reveal opportunities for improvement.

You can find out which keywords drive the most site traffic and conversions by checking out your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts.

These tools tell you how users currently interact with your site and reveal which queries drive the most clicks and how frequently users convert once they’ve landed on different pages.

Also, if you’re running any paid search campaigns, it’s worth digging into your Google Ads account for more insight into the types of queries that perform best.

Analyze Search Engine Behavior And User Queries

Another way to discover buyer intent keywords is to investigate what queries people search for within your niche.

While there are several keyword research tools that can help with this process (more on that later), you can start to build a good picture of the search demand in your space by manually Googling around relevant topics.

As you enter a query into the search bar, pay attention to Google’s auto-suggested keywords and take note of the “related searches” section at the bottom of each results page.

This is also a good exercise for testing your assumptions about the level of buyer intent behind different keywords. You might expect a certain query to yield high-intent results, but in reality, the search engine results page (SERP) is populated with low-intent results (or vice versa).

You may also discover that some queries produce a mishmash of results that cater to multiple intent categories. In these situations, it’s probably best to prioritize keywords with more clear-cut buyer intentions.

Utilize A Variety Of Sources For Insight Into Buyer Intent

Finally, when looking for keywords and topics relevant to your target customers, don’t forget to tap into several different sources for inspiration.

Chances are your sales and customer service teams are sitting on a treasure trove of customer insights for you to incorporate into your keyword strategy.

You can also learn more about your target audience’s pain points and motivations in the comments of relevant YouTube videos, Amazon reviews, social media posts, Quora discussions, and so on.

Remember, the goal is to understand what issues customers face at different levels of the buyer’s journey, so you can produce content and optimize your site for their search needs.

Finding And Optimizing Buyer Intent Keywords

Now let’s consider a couple of ways to help you identify and prioritize the right buyer intent keywords to target.

Selecting The Right Tools To Research And Evaluate Buyers’ Needs

As we’ve mentioned, manually examining the search results for relevant queries is valuable, but it’s not an efficient way to build a comprehensive list of target keywords.

Instead, it’s worth investing in a subscription to a premium research tool such as Ahrefs or Semrush.

Tools like these provide extensive keyword suggestions, search volumes, and ranking difficulty data that you can use to pinpoint terms with high potential.

Moreover, these tools let you analyze what queries drive the most traffic to your competitors’ sites so you can emulate the tactics that work for them.

Various Types Of Keywords To Consider For Optimization

Finally, if you run a brick-and-mortar business, it’s definitely worth incorporating local keywords into your content marketing strategy.

Local keywords with high purchasing intent include terms like “[product/ service] near me,” “[type of retailer] open now,” and “[business type] in [location].”

Check out the guide to GMB optimization to learn more about increasing your site’s visibility for local searches.

Final Thoughts

Targeting buyer intent keywords is one of the most effective ways to reach a wider pool of potential customers, improve your website’s conversion rates, and boost your business revenue.

By following the tips outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your site for purchase-ready buyers.

But remember, as with all aspects of SEO, sustainable results depend on strategic planning, careful implementation, and constant course correction.

More resources: 

Featured Image: Inthon Maitrisamphan/Shutterstock

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Adam Heitzman Managing Partner at HigherVisibility

Adam Heitzman is a co-founder and managing partner at HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm. Having been a marketing executive ...

Understanding Buyer Intent Keywords

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