Keyword research tells us which words and phrases we should be including in our website content, because these are the search words and phrases that our potential consumers and clients are using.
But are all keywords the same? What can keywords tell us about the buying behaviour of our consumers and clients?
There are different types of keywords and each type relates to a different stage of the buying cycle.
A consumer who is at the beginning stages of the buying journey would use different search keywords to consumers who are ready to buy NOW.
Here’s a quick summary of the steps to take when mapping keywords to your content:
- Identify the buying cycle stage. Where does your content fit in the buying cycle? Are you writing for consumers at the awareness stage, or those at the purchase stage ready to buy?
- Know which keywords suit that stage. Once you know which stage of the buying cycle your reader will be at, you can write your content using the keywords that suit the specific stage. Keep reading for some examples.
- Create content for each buying stage. Make sure your website has content that covers each of the different buying stages. You want content that helps those at the awareness stage, but to really convert traffic into sales and bookings, you’ll need content and/or pages for those at the purchase stage.
How do you know which keywords relate to each stage of the buying cycle?
Think about the last online purchase you made.
What did you research before choosing the product and placing an order? What was important to you when you were shopping for this item or service?
Before making an online purchase, you may have searched for the following:
-Best make or model currently on the market
-Comparison of the different models or makes available
-A review of the product or service you’re wanting to buy
-The best price for this product or service
-You may have had a problem that you needed to find a solution for, and this was how you discovered the product.
-For expensive purchases, you may have searched for after sales support
Mapping keywords to each stage of the buying cycle
What types of keywords do consumers use if they’re in the early stages of the buying cycle?
Consumers use informational keywords in the early stages of the buying cycle.
This stage of the buying cycle relates to awareness- the consumer is gathering information to increase their awareness about what products and services are available.
Keywords at this stage of the buying cycle tend to be broad and search phrases are short. The consumer doesn’t yet know the specifics of what he/she wants.
Content aimed at these consumers should be informational and contain keywords that consumers use when searching for general information.
These consumers aren’t ready to buy now but it’s worth holding onto these consumers for when they’re ready to buy. You want to capture their details and market to them so that when they’re ready to buy, your business is first in mind. This is why building an email list becomes important.
Some examples of search phrases at this stage of the buying cycle:
-best jeans for tall people
-skinny leg jeans
Once consumers pass the initial awareness stage and have more information about the different products or services available, they will start comparing the different products and services on offer. They will research and analyse the different brands, makes or models before choosing one.
Some examples of search phrases at this stage of the buying cycle:
-Compare denim jeans
-Diesel vs True Religion jeans
-True Religion jeans
Consumers now know the differences between the products available. They have information that allows them to compare one brand with another brand. They know the features and benefits of each product and can compare them to find the one that best suits them.
Once they’ve found the product or service for them, they are at the purchase stage. This is when the customer is almost ready to buy. At this stage, depending on the product or service, the consumer may research price information. Before they commit to buying, they make look for the best deal available.
When a customer is ready to place an order, she/he may search for the best available price or any discounts available.
This type of customer has their wallet open, ready to buy, but wants to find the best possible price.
If your product or service is price-driven, using price-driven keywords will help with sales conversions.
If your product or service isn’t price-driven (i.e. Price isn’t a major influence on the buyer), price-driven keywords won’t help increase conversions.
Price driven keywords include the following:
Now that you know the different types of keywords and how they differ for each stage of the buying cycle, it’s time to understand how you can write better content to target the right consumer at the right time of the buying cycle.
Why Is Keyword Intent Important?
Knowing keyword intent is important when creating content and when working on your on-page SEO tasks. It helps you use the right keywords in your content, so that your message matches the audience you’re targeting. There’s no point writing content full of language such as “discount”, “buy”, “sale” for someone who is at the awareness stage of the buying cycle.
A customer looking to buy one of your products NOW, a customer who has their credit card in their hand, doesn’t want to be reading informational content without an appropriate call to action. Your customer is ready to act- how are you going to get them to buy now if you’re not using the right language to guide them? This consumer is at the purchase stage.
We’ve looked at the different stages of the buying cycle. Before you start creating content, it’s important to identify which stage of the buying cycle your content is targeting. Is your content suitable for people at the awareness stage? Is it targeting people who are ready to purchase?
Without knowing your audience, you won’t create a compelling message that will help solve the reader’s problem.
Branded keywords and intent
When your business is new, and your brand is unknown, you won’t have many consumers or clients searching for you using your brand name.
Once your business grows, you’ll want to rank for your branded keywords. As your business grows, some of your consumers will search for you on Google by brand name.
For example, if you’re wanting to buy a pair of shoes and you have a favourite brand, you’re going to search for the brand name rather than search for shoes and then scroll through hundreds of results until you find the brand you want.
Branded keywords have high buying intent because consumers who use branded keywords already know the business’ product or service. They’re not at the awareness stage- they’re closer to the purchase stage because they know which brand they want.
If you’re not yet sure which brand you want to buy, or you’re still choosing between several product options, or you’re not sure what product will solve your problem, you aren’t going to search using branded keywords. You’re going to use informational keywords and broader search phrases.
One final note…
Writing content that’s aimed at organic traffic requires using the right combination of keywords matched to the right stage of the buying cycle.
Remember these three steps I outlined at the start of this article:
- Identify the buying cycle stage.
- Know which keywords suit that stage.
- Create content for each buying stage.
It’s important to write for users first, search engines second. But in writing for users first, it’s important to understand the buying intent of the reader and use language that matches this intent.
This way, your content will help the reader as well as increase sales conversions. A win-win for all!