The topic of keyword research is over saturated with guides and tutorials that will gladly teach you HOW you can search for keywords (and this is not another one). You will learn about dozens (if not hundreds) of tools that will help you find THOUSANDS of “low-hanging” fruits.
They will provide you with detailed instructions on how to use each of those tools. If you would like to learn how to do keyword research – don’t worry. Read a few of those articles and you will become an expert of using all kinds of keyword research tools.
I have personally read every single keyword research guide from all biggest SEO-blogs like:
These blogs provide great value, but there is one thing that has always bothered me. While they put a lot of focus on answering HOW you do keyword research, there is little to (often) no answers WHAT you are supposed to be looking for. This topic is often limited by such vague terms as:
- buyer intent keywords
- informational keywords
- local keywords
This terms do provide some sort of “blur” image of keywords and their types, but in my opinion that’s just not enough to help a beginner understand how to do keyword research for their website.
Your keyword research should be based on the buying cycle
See, when psychologists and marketers partied together, they came up with this concept they called “buying cycle”.
It doesn’t look like a cycle to me, but anyway, it’s a bunch of stages that a person goes through before he or she makes a purchase.
It has a different number of the stages depending on how deep you want to dig in, but essentially it can be narrowed down to something like this:
Each of these stages has a different intent and different types of keywords behind it.
Billy will not buy the chair because he doesn’t know anything about them or in the fancy marketers’ language “Billy is too early in his buying cycle”.
In the same way, if Billy is ready to buy – he doesn’t want to see your “best” or “how to” articles because he already knows that, he just wants the big, red “Buy now” button.
How do you know WHAT keywords to look for?
As we just learned, different buying cycles have different intent and different types of keywords.
A single page should have a single intent.
- Awareness stage
Since the searchers in the “awareness” are looking for a solution to their problem, they will be using these types of keywords:
- How to
- Best way to
- Ways to
- I need to
- Tips to/for
These types are usually (but not always) the least competitive and are great for blog posts.
Whether you work on client’s local website, your own affiliate website or e-com – it never hurts to have a blog with useful and interesting articles.
- Consideration stage
As mentioned earlier, in consideration stage the person already knows the problem and the solution to it. He or she is doing the research in order to buy the product or service that will fit his or her needs best. At this stage common types of keywords are:
- Top 10
- Specific brand name (“Nike” or “Toshiba”)
- Specific product (“Macbook Pro” or “Samsung Galaxy”)
- Product category (“Wordpress hosting” or “tennis shoes”)
- Product x vs product y (gibson les paul vs epiphone les paul)
- Product under/for something/someone (best gopro for drones/under 500/for beginners)
These types of keywords are most common for affiliate or e-com websites.
- Purchase stage
Purchase stage is when the person is ready to buy right now. Here are the keywords people commonly use at this stage:
This stage is the most lucrative (and most competitive) since the people using these are literally ready to make a purchase. These types of keywords are usually targeted by e-com sites.
To sum up
When doing keyword research for a page, first ask yourself who this page is for – people in “awareness”, “consideration” or “purchase” stage?
Usually it’s pretty obvious, but I have personally come across a decent amount of big websites that don’t understand their target audiences, trying to educate people in “purchase” stage or pushing their “Sign up now” or “Buy now” buttons to someone who’s just looking for information.