Not all keywords are created equal. What people type into search engines provides insight into their frame of mind at the time of search. From that, we can read into their intent.
Some keywords expose the intent to learn or get help with something. For example, “how do I fix a flat tire” or “why is the sky blue.”
Others show interest in diagnosing an issue. For example, “why is traffic to my website going down” or “migraine after drinking coffee.”
There’s another type of phrase used in search engines when someone is ready to make a purchase. An example might be, “price of XYZ headphones” or “coupon ABC”, where XYZ and ABC represent brand names. We call this last set of phrases “buyer keywords.”
What are buyer keywords?
Buyer keywords are the phrases people use in search engines when they are searching to buy a product or service. The intent behind buyer keywords shows that the searcher is actively in the buying cycle, already aware of their need and seriously considering the solution they want.
So why should you care about buyer keywords? And how do you find them?
Before we answer these questions, it helps to understand how buyer keywords fit within the whole buying process, and how people use search engines to move through that process.
The buying process for just about any product or service can be simplified into a set of stages. Here are the stages I like to consider. You may see different, yet similar purchase process stages elsewhere.
- Pain / Issue Awareness – This is where you recognize that you have a need for something. For example, you might realize that your running shoes are causing some pain in your heels.
- Research / Information-gathering – In this phase, you do some general research related to your issue and possible solutions. You may do some research to find out more about the pain in your heel from running, what kind of shoes prevent that, and what doctors are recommending. Example search phrases could be things like “shoes to prevent foot pain”, “best cushion running shoes” and things like that. You’re trying to quickly gather information about the issue and possible solutions. You will start to find some shoes that may help you with your problem. You may also find other things like inserts or other solutions. You may even have found that some shoe manufacturers have created content (blog posts, videos, etc.) that talk about the issues you’re facing. This educational content is part of a content marketing strategy on their part.
- Comparison / Narrowing – After your research in the previous phase, let’s say you’ve found a few models of shoes that seem to be focused on addressing the problem you’re facing. In the comparison phase, you’ll start to compare the quality, reviews, features and look of various brands and models of shoes that you’ve found. In this phase, you may enter things like “Nike xyz vs. ASIC abc shoes” into your favorite search engine. The goal of this phase is to find out which model has the quality and features that you appreciate the most.
- Risk-reduction / Buying – Once you know which model to shop for, you’re about ready to buy. Now you want to find a store or vendor that you can trust. You want to find a good price and also reasonable terms (such as a return policy or warranty). If you want to buy it locally, you may search for things such as “Nike xyz San Francisco” or “Running shoe store San Francisco.” If you’re price-conscious and can wait for shipping, you may enter things like “Nike xyz best price” or “Nike xyz discount.”
Which of the above are buyer keywords?
In the funnel phases above, the buyer keywords are clearly those in #4, the Risk-reduction / Buying Stage.
In addition, many of the comparison keywords from phase #3 are used at the same time as the buyer searches, so you can lump many of those in as buyer keywords as well.
So for our shoe example, the following would be considered buyer keywords—phrases used right when the searcher is ready to buy:
- “Nike xyz vs. ASIC abc” – if I find the right comparison on your site as well as pricing and a “buy” button, that may be enough for me to commit to a purchase.
- “Running shoe store San Francisco” – I’m looking for a place to buy shoes. Today!
- “Nike xyz discount” – if I find you online and you have a sale or coupon, I’m buying!
How do you find buyer keywords?
If you use keyword tools (such as those at Alexa), you can generate a list of keywords relevant to your industry, products or services. Or you can find competitor keywords. Once you have the list, you can then pick out the buyer keywords by looking at intent. Are the people using that search term looking to buy in the short term?
There’s also an easier way
There is an easier way to find buyer keywords for an industry or based on what competitors are ranking for. In our Competitor Keyword Matrix, we have a Buyer Keyword Filter that takes a large list of keywords and limits it to the keywords that have high buyer intent. You can see potential buyer keywords in the image below.
I’ll explain how to use the Buyer Keyword filter in Alexa’s toolset below.
- Log into your Alexa.com account (or sign up for a free trial of the Advanced Plan) and navigate to the Competitor Keyword Matrix.
- To get a view of the keywords across your industry, or your top competitors, input up to 10 website URLs into the tool and run an analysis. You’ll get a large list of keywords that the sites in your set are getting traffic from via the search engines. If you include your site in the analysis, you can even see which keywords are gaps for your site.
- To find the buyer keywords, click the filter icon on the top right, above the keyword results. In the filters window, you’ll see a Buyer Keywords checkbox. Click it and push “Apply.” This will filter all of the keywords down to the set of keywords that have high buyer intent.
- In the tool, you can see how your site is doing for these keywords compared to your competitors. Save the ones that you want to create website or blog content for, or that you can use in your paid search marketing. You can save the most attractive keywords to your Workspace <link to Workspace help article> for further work.
Let us know what you think about the Buyer Keywords Filter for the Competitor Keyword Matrix in the comments. Do you focus on buyer keywords for your business now?