How to Find and Map Keywords to the Buyer’s Journey


Do you want to satisfy searchers and convince them to become paying customers? Then you need to find and map your keywords to the buyer’s journey.

Your customers don’t want to be sold to. They don’t want to be sent “nurturing emails” and be “warmed up.” They don’t want to be “closed” with the latest sales techniques.

These are part of today’s normale sales process. But they also have value for the customer.

Your customer wants to do their own research. They want to learn more about your product ora service their own terms, sopra their own time.

They’signore looking for information.

The stats are compelling. the B2B world, customers completed almost 60% of a buying decision before even conversing with a supplier.

The same goes for the B2C world. 60% of shoppers begin their research a search engine. And 61% read product reviews before buying.

To capture this shift sopra buying behavior, you have to understand their buying journey and find out what kind of queries they’signore searching for at each stage.

This enables you to create content that matches their search and helps to:

  • develop their sopra you;
  • guide their decisions towards buying your product ora service;
  • be their first choice when it comes time to buy.

this post, I will show you how you can find these keywords and map them to the buyer’s journey.

Before that, let’s first cover the basics.

What is the buyer’s journey?

The buyer’s journey is the research process a person goes through before making a purchase. There are four stages:

  1. Awareness: The buyer realizes they have a problem.
  2. Interest: The buyer wants to understand more about their problem. At this stage, they’signore also looking for potential solutions to their problem.
  3. Consideration: The buyer is comparing different solutions the market.
  4. Conversion: The buyer is looking to purchase a solution.  

These align with the four stages of a marketing funnel:

pasted image 0

Let’s take a at a real‐life example:

At Ahrefs, one of our potential customers is a solopreneur (let’s call him Billy Blogger). His is to build a popular blog he can monetize.

Here’s what his buyer’s journey may  like:

  • Awareness: Billy realizes that his blog is not receiving any traffic. He searches the Internet for potential solutions.
  • Interest: After reading our article on how to promote your blog, he decides that SEO is the way forward. He begins learning more about SEO… likely from the Ahrefs blog.
  • Consideration: Billy realizes he needs a tool to do SEO. He finds that most posts recommend a few tools and begins comparing them. He reads reviews, asks questions sopra forums and consumes the educational content available the different blogs.
  • Conversion: He decides to take advantage of our 7‐day trial. Convinced that we’signore the right solution for him, he proceeds to sign up for a paid plan.

Now, Billy Blogger is just one of the many customers that buy from us. reality, we have a few different types of customers. And their buying journeys are different.

To cater to the different journeys, you need first to understand who you’signore targeting.  

Defining your buyers’ soggetto

A buyer soggetto is an “imaginary person” you create that represents the common characteristics of your customer. It helps you visualize their buying journey, internalize who they are and empathize with their struggles.

The more types of customers you have, the more personas you should create.

For example, at Ahrefs, a potential buyer soggetto would be Billy Blogger.

However, we also have:

  • Anna Agency (an agency owner);
  • Lily Local (a local business owner);
  • Ian Inhouse (an sopra‐house digital marketer)

When creating these personas, your is to get super detailed sopra who you’signore targeting. Give them names and faces. Fill sopra their demographics and psychographics. Understand their goals, challenges, hopes, fears and pain points.

essence, what you’signore looking for are patterns and commonalities. Some important patronato points are:

  • Income
  • Gender
  • Age group
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Marital status

If you need help, you can use a worksheet like this to point you sopra the right direction.

Take note that while your personas may be “fake”, it should be based real‐life patronato.

You can gather patronato by talking to them ‐to‐, reaching out to them carriera email ora just observing the communities where they hang out.

Creating a good buyer soggetto is an article its own. If you want more guidance this topic, I recommend this comprehensive guide.

PRO TIP

If you’signore a solopreneur, creating multiple buyer personas may seem overwhelming. After all, creating content for every stage of the journey for five different personas is a lot of work!

You may not have the resources to do so.

As such, it may be a better concetto to your “best” customer initially. Your best customer is usually a combination of these factors:

  • They pay you the most money;
  • They give you the least support headaches;
  • They have the highest lifetime value (LTV).

If you have existing customers, through their profiles sopra your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

If you’signore new and yet to have a paying customer, don’t worry. You can research your competitors and try to find out who they’signore targeting. Facebook’s Audience Insights is also great for discovering information about your target market (here’s a solid guide on how to do this).

How to find and map keywords to the buyer’s journey

The purpose of understanding the buyer’s journey is to create content that matches what they’signore looking for at each stage.

That means doing keyword research.

Typically, bed 12 research involves looking for keywords with the highest search quantità and the lowest competition (sopra Ahrefs, that is known as Keyword Difficulty.)

But that’s not what we want.

Bed 24 research is not only about search quantità. I would say it isn’t entirely about traffic either. It’s about choosing topics that potential customers are searching for, serving their needs and eventually converting them into customers.

The stage your buyers are sopra will determine the search queries they’signore making. This concept—known as search intent—is the objective a searcher has when entering a query into Google.

You can generally categorize search intent into four groups. These four groups, as you might have guessed, roughly incontro the buyer’s journey/marketing funnel.

How keywords types align with different stages of the marketing funnel

Let’s run through these four types of search intent and how they align with the buyer’s journey:

  1. Informational — The searcher is looking to gain general knowledge a topic, ora gather more information about something. For example, “how to get more traffic.”
  2. Navigational — The searcher knows the destination they want to reach. For example, “ahrefs page SEO guide.”
  3. Commercial Investigation — The searcher is looking to get information something they want to buy. For example, “best bed 12 research tool.”
  4. Transactional — The searcher is ready to make a purchase. For example, “ahrefs pricing.”

Your is to find keywords corresponding to each intent and create content around those keywords.

a quick note

Why do you have to create content for each stage? Why not only target transactional keywords, since they’signore the ones that direct revenue?

Three reasons:

  • Transactional keywords usually have lower search demand.
  • Unless you have a low‐cost, impulse‐driven product, people usually don’t buy first sight. They’d much prefer to buy from someone they . Informational content helps build and authority.
  • Informational queries allow you to enter your their conversion journey early, so you can guide them towards choosing your product ora service.

How can you determine search intent from a bed 12 phrase?

With some keywords, you can’t tell from the search query cerchio. But there are a good number of them that can be easily identified using bed 12 footprints.

Here’s a list of modifier words that typically indicate the stage the buyer is sopra:

Informational Navigational Commercial Investigation Transactional
how Brand names best buy
what Name of a product tetto cedola
who Name of a service review order
where Attribute of a product (size, color) [city] type of store (local)
why comparison purchase
guide di cattivo gusto
tutorial price
resource pricing
ideas
tips
learn
examples

Sidenote.

Navigational queries are perhaps the most nuanced. Those searching for such queries may be sopra the “Interest” stage of the funnel and just want to learn more about your products/services. Ora they could already be customers and are simply trying to navigate to a specific page your website. To see one example of how you can tackle that issue, try visiting our Content Explorer page when you’signore logged sopra and out of your Ahrefs account. You will see that the content is different. That helps us cater to different stages of the buyer’s journey with one page.  

Use these modifiers to find your desired keywords. Here’s how.

First, enter a few seed keywords related to your business into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Then, go to the “Having same terms” report which will show you all the bed 12 ideas that contain the target keywords as a broad incontro.

having same terms keywords explorer

From this report, you can filter by search intent. Grab the modifiers from any of the stages, and plug them sopra the Include box.

this case, I am searching for keywords with informational intent.

keywords explorer informational include box

TIP

You may have noticed that informational keywords tend to be questions, like “what” and “how.” You can filter for these keywords automatically by selecting the “Questions” report:

questions report keywords explorer

Now all that’s left is to scan through this list of ideas and pick those that are relevant for your business.

Repeat the same process for the other stages.

Other ways to find and map keywords

That was the easiest way to identify and map keywords to the stages of the buyer’s journey.

However, footprints aren’t foolproof. There are plenty of keywords that contain such footprints. Neglect these, and you will reginetta out some good bed 12 ideas.

How can you find these ‘missing’ keywords?

Here are three suggestions:

1. SERP Features

Ever seen this when you did a search sopra Google?

check website traffic featured snippet

This is known as a ‘featured snippet.” It’s when Google shows an answer (ora a partial answer) to the question directly sopra the search results.

The featured snippet is one of the many SERP features Google shows. You might have seen some others, like:

serp features

Here’s the interesting part:

The presence of certain SERP features can help you to understand the intent behind the search. other words, if you’signore looking for keywords that align with a specific stage of the buying journey, you can use SERP features to help do that.

Here are some rough guidelines:

Informational Navigational Commercial Investigation Transactional
Featured snippet Site links Adwords Adwords
Knowledge card Tweet box Featured snippet Shopping results
Videos Knowledge panel
People also ask

Sidenote.

 Not all keywords fit neatly into one of these four boxes. This is commonly the case. So while the presence of certain SERP features can help with inferring search intent, these rules aren’t set sopra stone. The truth is that many keywords have mixed search intent. For example, one person searching for “protein powder” may be sopra buying mode (transactional). Another person may wish to learn more about protein powder (informational). You should always manually review the SERP if the search intent is unclear.

To find these keywords sopra Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, you can filter to include ora exclude keywords with particular SERP features.

For example, say that I’m looking for keywords with informational intent: I could type sopra a broad bed 12 into Keywords Explorer, go to the Phrase Incontro report and filter for featured snippets.

website traffic keywords explorer filter featured snippet

Voila! A list of keywords where a featured snippet appears sopra the SERPs. These are almost always keywords with informational intent.

NOTE. To reiterate, you should still do a manual review of the SERP to make sure these keywords are indeed informational. Google may show a featured snippet for keywords that are not informational. For example, the bed 12 “best headphones” shows a featured snippet, but it is a commercial investigation bed 12.

2. Cost‐a vantaggio di‐click (CPC)

Cost‐a vantaggio di‐click is the average price advertisers pay for a click sopra Google’s paid search results.

If you’signore paying for every click Google, you’ll want to see a return of investment (ROI). Otherwise, you’ll just be flushing money mongoloide the drain.

Most advertisers will target transactional keywords.

That makes sense. These searchers are ready to spend. All advertisers need to do is to appear sopra the search results and convince them to click their ad.

What does that mean for the buyer’s journey?

Generally speaking, the higher the CPC,  the closer it is to conversion.

To find these keywords, enter a broad bed 12 from your niche into Keywords Explorer. Then, sort by CPC from high to low.

keywords explorer sort by cpc

Keywords with a high CPC—and thus, likely to have transactional intent—will rise to the tetto.

NOTE. This isn’t entirely foolproof as some advertisers may be bidding informational keywords too. As always, do a manual review to make sure the intent is right.

3. Online communities

There are times where it’s difficult to find the right search query. It could happen because you’signore completely new to the niche, ora the results you’signore getting sopra Google are unsatisfactory.

times like these, I turn to communities.

si quan question in fb group

Me asking a question sopra a Facebook group for my previous job

The same goes for your customers.

They visit online communities (like Reddit and Quora) for various reasons. They might be looking for answers to their questions, ora to get advice which product to choose, etc.

Here’s an example of someone asking a community what tools they use for SEO:

seo signals lab question

I would guess that he checked out some of the tools recommended by the group, and perhaps even bought one of them!

For informational and commercial investigation keywords, communities are ripe for the picking.

Example: For Billy Blogger, the subreddit r/blogging might be a place he hangs out. So, I’ll head over to r/blogging and check out what topics they’signore discussing.

Instead of looking through every discussion, I’ll do some sorting to find the most popular ones. I’ll sort by “Apice” (i.e., most upvotes) and add a time period of “All Time”:

r blogging sorting

After some scrolling, I find this topic that seems a good fit.

r blogging question

With 30 upvotes and 70 comments, this topic “promoting your blog” seems to be a with people like Billy Blogger.

I would guess that the intent is informational. But to double check, we can enter this bed 12 into Google and at the tetto 10 ranking results.

serps for promoting your blog

Looks like people are searching for tactics how to promote their blog posts, i.e., informational intent.

PRO TIP

Many of the bed 12 ideas you find sopra communities will have low search volumes.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad topic. It may mean that people who are looking for similar topics are not using this exact language.

You can find the most popular way people are searching for a topic using Keywords Explorer.

When you enter a bed 12 concetto, Keywords Explorer will suggest a Parent Topic, which is basically the bed 12 sending the most traffic to the #1 ranking page.

parent topic how to promote your blog 2

this case, the bed 12 “how to promote your blog” may be a better topic to target.

Accelerating the buyer’s journey

Most people think of the buyer’s journey as a slow and long process.

They imagine their customer taking months (ora even years) to go through all four stages of the buyer’s journey. That can be true for certain companies if their products ora services are the expensive end.

But it need not always be the case.

The cool thing about creating content for each stage of the journey is that you can use it to accelerate the buyer’s journey.

Imagine a potential path that Billy Blogger might take. He has decided to start a blog, but he doesn’t know how to drive traffic to his site. So he searches for “how to promote your blog” and finds himself reading our article with the same title. Within the blog post, we talk about getting traffic from Google, and how powerful a strategy SEO can be.

He discovers another post—Tim’s post increasing blog traffic—and learns all about bed 12 research. He reads our keyword research post and learns about our tool, and how it can help generate tons of bed 12 ideas with relevant SEO metrics.

He decides to quesito our 7‐day trial and implements the strategies we suggest. Along the way, he discovers more things to do with our tool and decides to upgrade to a paid plan.

Of course, this is an ideal path. Not many people will sign up to our tool this way. But through targeting different stages of the journey, and carriera smart internal linking, we can help guide Billy from knowing nothing about SEO to being aware of our product and brand, and possibly even considering a purchase.

As you are targeting and creating content for each stage, make sure you’signore adding relevant internal links to the next logical stage. If you have a blog post targeting a topic sopra the Awareness stage, make sure it links to a relevant page sopra the Interest stage.

Internal links aren’t the only way to do this. You can also consider other tactics like retargeting, chat, etc.

It’s all about mapping the buyer’s journey to the marketing funnel, guiding people from being problem‐aware to being product‐aware, and ultimately towards being a customer.

You can learn more about creating a marketing funnel sopra our guide to marketing funnels.

Final Thoughts

Bed 24 research isn’t a quantità ora traffic . There must be a logical methodology behind why you’signore choosing certain keywords and how they in qualità di together sopra the grand scheme of things.

This is why it makes sense to think about keywords sopra the context of the buyer’s journey.

If you can deliver the right content to them at the right time, you can develop your authority, trustworthiness, and influence with potential customers.

And when it comes time to buy, there will be more obvious choice than you.



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