To sell products and services, you need to get in the mind of your customers. You need to outline the process, or buyer’s journey, from research through making a purchase. And when your customers are online, you need to know the buyer keywords they use during that process.
What Are Buyer Keywords?
Buyer keywords are the search terms people use when they are planning to make a purchase.
There are three types of purchasing keywords that shoppers use as they go through the buyer’s journey:
- Informational keywords that help them find general information (AKA “know” keywords)
- Navigational keywords that help them find a specific brand, product, or service (AKA “go” keywords)
- Transactional keywords that help them find the place to make a transaction or exchange (AKA “do” keywords)
As customers go through the buyer’s journey, they use these types of keywords in each phase of the process. Buyers use:
- Informational keywords in the awareness phase. They know they have a problem or need but they aren’t sure how to solve it or fill the need. They use informational keywords to find solutions and answers.
- Navigational keywords in the consideration phase. They have an idea about what they want or need and are researching to see if it is the right solution for them. They use navigational keywords to find information about specific products, services, and brands.
- Transactional keywords in the conversion phrase. They have decided on a product or service and are ready to make a purchase. They use transactional keywords to find the right place to make their purchase.
The rest of this article will explain how to do keyword research to find the right buyer keywords for your content strategy. It will also review how to integrate them into content that suits each phase of the buyer’s journey, guiding customers toward purchasing your product or service. Plus, you can download a free workbook that will walk you through choosing the best informational, navigational, and transactional buyer keywords for your strategy.
For the Awareness Phase
The buyer’s journey starts with the awareness phase. Customers are just beginning to realize they need a product or service to make their lives easier or to solve a problem.
They are ready to “know” something, so they use informational keywords that will help them learn more about a topic, problem, product, or service. (This is why informational keywords may be referred to as “know” keywords.)
To help them find what they need, customers conduct searches using industry terms and informational phrases like:
- How do/does
- How can I
- What is/are
- What are the benefits of
- Ways to
- How to
For example, a paddle board retailer may target the following buyer keywords with informational phrases + an industry term.
- How to paddle board
- Compare paddle boarding to kayaking
- What is paddle boarding
To capture the attention of potential buyers in this phrase, create content that is positioned around informational phrases and keywords related to your products, services, industry, and value propositions.
Then, deliver the content to shoppers through the mediums that are most useful in this phase. The most effective content types in the awareness phase include blog posts, infographics, videos, guides, checklists, and interactive content.
How to Optimize for Informational Keywords
To find the best information keywords to use for your awareness content, use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool.
Enter an industry term related to your products, services, or value proposition. The tool produces a report of keyword opportunities along with a:
- Relevance score so you can identify the terms most closely associated with your industry or brand.
- Popularity score so you can identify the terms most frequently used by searchers.
- Competition score so you can identify the terms you’re most likely to rank for.
With this data, you can plug your list of keywords into your informational queries to develop content ideas that will connect with buyers in the awareness phase. For example, the paddle boarding business could use this list to target the best industry terms to pair with their list of informational keyword phrases.
For the Consideration Phase
The next phase of the buyer’s journey is the consideration phase. Customers have already started to assess their options. They have gathered information and are ready to research specific products, services, or brands.
They are ready to “go” to a specific website to learn about a particular offering, so they use navigation keywords to help them get there. (This is why navigational keywords are often referred to as “go” keywords.)
Rather than type in the exact URL of a website, customers in this phase use search terms they know will lead them to the intended webpages. These search queries include a variety of brand-specific terms and navigational phrases which may include:
- [Brand name]
- [Product name]
- [Service name]
- Location of
- Near me
- Features of
- Cost of
- Hours of
- Directions to
- Free shipping
A paddle board retailer named “USA Paddle Boards” may choose to target the following keywords because they use a brand name or combine a navigational phrase + brand name.
- USA Paddle Boards
- Features of USA Paddle Board Model X
- USA Paddle boards near me
Shoppers in this phase are looking for information about a particular brand or offering, so target branded keywords that help them find your website, products, and services.
Create content that will both lead potential buyers to your page and provide the information they need about your product or service. Develop landing pages, case studies, product demo videos, product and service lists, data sheets, webinars, e-books, and whitepapers that relate to your navigational keywords.
How to Optimize for Navigational Keywords
Optimizing for navigational keywords is less about finding keywords (as is typically the case with informational and transactional keywords) and more about optimizing your site.
You should identify navigational keywords that relate to your business, create pages around those buyer keywords, and then ensure that customers can find those pages.
To confirm your site is up to proper SEO standards, perform an audit to verify you’re using proper techniques and best practices through your entire web presence. Also, run optimization checks on all of your important individual pages.
To conduct those tests, Alexa has two tools to help. The SEO Audit Tool scans your entire site and produces a report that highlights errors and opportunities in more than two dozen categories as they relate to SEO, performance, security, HTML, and crawlers.
While highlighting errors on your site, the site audit report also includes step-by-step directions for resolving issues to improve your site’s SEO performance.
Alexa also has a tool that allows you to dig into the SEO performance of individual pages. The On-Page SEO Checker scans an individual webpage and produces a report on its SEO performance and suggestions for improvements.
Perform an audit on your entire site and then on each of your primary landing pages to ensure your web pages are optimized and visible so customers can find you during the consideration phase.
For the Conversion Phase
The last phase of the buyer’s journey ends with the conversion phase. This is the point at which customers are ready to take action, whether they want to buy, download, complete a transaction, or conduct an exchange with a business.
They are ready to “do” something so they use transaction keywords to help them find the website or webpage they can use to take action. (This is why transactional keywords may be referred to as “do” keywords.)
To get to pages where they can take action, searchers use buyer intent keywords that often include action phrases or sales terms paired with general product names or branded terms. Transactional buyer keywords often include phrases like:
- For sale
- Schedule appointment
- Where to buy
At this point, USA Paddle Boards would target terms that include transactional phrases + branded product and service names to connect with searchers who know the exact product or service they want. They may also target phrases that include transactional phrases + general industry terms/products/services to draw in searchers who may not know the specific brand they want.
- Buy USA Paddle Boards Model X
- Paddle board clearance
- Where to buy paddle boards
Many of these phrases are similar to keywords used in advertising. Use them to develop content that helps customers in the conversion step of their purchase process. Create content that includes sign-up pages, live demos, free consultations, and sales pages.
How to Optimize for Transactional Keywords
To find the best transactional keywords for your industry and build a buying keywords list, use Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix. Start by entering up to 10 competitors for your business.
If you don’t know your competitors, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool.
In the Audience Overlap Tool, enter your site or one of your known competitor’s sites, and select the button to “Find similar websites.” Then, select up to 10 sites from the report to use as your competitor list and click to run the Competitor Keyword Matrix.
The tool will produce a list of keywords that the competitors have in common. The terms will be ordered by the number of sites they have in common and include:
- Popularity score that indicates how frequently users search for the term
- Competition score that indicates how hard it is to rank for the term
Along with keyword data, the report also includes traffic data for each of the competitors as it relates to the keyword. A traffic score appears for each site and correlating keyword to show how much traffic the site receives from the keyword.
This information helps you identify popular, low-competition keywords and phrases that are driving traffic to your competitors. You can also dig deeper into the data to identify specific, transactional keywords.
Use the filter to select the option to “Show potential buyer keywords.” (There are also other filter options you can use to eliminate and include terms and set ranges for scores to produce a more targeted report.)
This filter narrows the results to buying keywords that have purchase intent. Phrases that appear in this report are terms someone would use when they are close to making a purchase.
With this tool, you can identify and research buyer keywords to use for your transactional phase content. The paddle board company could use this process to easily identify the best keywords to connect with their target audience near the end of their buyer’s journey.
Optimize Your Buyer Keyword Strategy Now
A strong marketing plan draws shoppers to the top of a purchase funnel and then guides them through the rest of their purchase process. When this takes place online, keywords and content are the main guides that take customers on their journey.
So use and optimize your site for the buyer keywords most likely to connect with searchers in each phase of their buyer journey. Utilize informational, navigational, and transactional keywords to inform, guide, and direct at each step.
Need help identifying the best buyer keywords for your website and unique customer journey?
Use our free cheat sheet to create a keyword strategy for informational, navigational, and transactional keywords. And sign up for your free 7-day trial of Alexa’s Advanced plan to get access to all the tools mentioned in this post: Keyword Difficulty Tool, Competitor Keyword Matrix, and more.