How to choose keywords for SEO : using the buyers journey

Let me help you choose  the right keywords for seo and your website.

How do you choose keywords for SEO when you are just beginning a website project or you’ve never done keyword research before ?

Your Goal. What does Johnny want ?

You want prospects to call you, get in touch or buy from you but that won’t happen unless people enter keywords or search queries into the Google search box and click, preferably, your web page result.

Over 90% of web pages get no traffic from Google and the major reason for that is search potential.

If no one searches what’s written about on your web pages, then your page won’t get any traffic.

With no traffic or search demand around your services or category then a potential customer won’t be aware of you or what you do.

So choosing relevant keywords with search potential is a vital component in reaching your goal.

Create keyword list of your services or products

Write down a list of your services or products and the category of business you operate it.

  • Electrician
  • Electrical
  • Rewiring
  • Heating
  • Electrical inspection
  • Lighting

Use Google Images

Go to Google and type a product or service seed keyword : eg: electrical, lighting, rewiring and so on.

Select the images tab and write the relevant words associated with your main service or product

So you have a list like this.

Electrician

  • Construction
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Wiring

Electrical

  • Power
  • Panel
  • Circuit
  • Safety
  • Wiring
  • Circuit
  • Switch
  • House
  • Transformer
  • Construction
  • Maintenance

Rewiring

  • Home rewiring
  • Electrical
  • Boat
  • Kitchen
  • Lamp

Heating

  • Radiator
  • Plumbing
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Home
  • Air conditioning
  • cooling
  • House
  • Boiler
  • floor
  • System

Electrical inspection

  • Certificate
  • Safety
  • Home
  • Building
  • Landlord
  • Panel
  • Report

Lighting

  • Ceiling
  • Outdoor
  • Led
  • Wall
  • Interior
  • Design
  • Farmhouse
  • Backyard
  • Industrial
  • House
  • Vaulted ceiling
  • Indoor

Keyword Search and Click Volume

I’ll use Ahrefs, a paid for seo keyword research tool, to find the search and click volume but you could use the Ubersuggest or SEMRush keyword tool.

Enter your first target keyword phrase, service or product in the keyword explorer box, select your country and hit the search button.

Eg : electrician

Select Phrase Match to give you a master list of broad keywords.

Enter the words you found with Google Images into the include any box to filter your seed keyword.

Add Keywords to a Keyword List

The next step is to check the box next to the keywords with are suitable

Click Add to List

Choose new list and write a name for your list

Apply

This will create and store a list of keywords which you can review after you’ve done all your initial keyword research.

Now go to the next seed keyword from your list of services or products in the earlier first step.

I spent around 40 minutes generating a list of 114 keyword ideas; all with search volume and clicks.

But this was just a list of keywords generated from the services or products a client offers.

The buyer journey or buying process

People don’t just search to buy products or services.

The consumer buying process model has been used by marketers for decades to understand the steps consumers make before, during and after a purchasing decision.

the buyers journey infographic

It’s also a useful model to help you choose the right types of keywords or search queries to target.

how to use the buyer's journey for keyword research and content creation

Here’s another way to view each stage of the buying process by filtering seed keywords with modifier words.

Problem recognition keywords

It’s generally a problem or a need that kick starts the search journey or buying process.

Shit, “I put diesel fuel in a petrol engine”.

Or you’re going out next week and think you may need something new to wear.

These problems occur external to Google; internal to you or your circumstances.

So you have a problem and Google it.

You can find these problem queries people make.

  1. Enter seed keyword into Ahrefs keyword explorer
  2. Select phrase match
  3. Select the include box
  4. Select any word
  5. Enter how, issue, for, with, fix, improve, increase, reduce, remove, lower, grow into the box
  6. Press Apply

Now tick the box next to the relevant keyword and add to your keyword list.

And your keyword list will look something like this.

Enter the next seed keyword from your initial list and repeat the same steps.

Now you should have a much larger list keywords but we’re not finished yet.

Other Information search keywords

You should also identify informational search queries such as the product category your service or product falls into.

For example

My work involves doing keyword research, so ideally I want to be found when people search “keyword research services”

So you’d filter your seed keyword with some of these keyword modifiers at this stage.

  1. Enter seed keyword into Ahrefs keyword explorer
  2. Select phrase match
  3. Select the include box
  4. Select any word
  5. Enter Service,Advice, Advisor, Product,Custom,Bespoke,Example,Guide,Learn,Tutorial,Video,Calculator,Best,Top into the box
  6. Press Apply

Reviews, recommendations, alternatives and comparison keywords

Don’t forget to look for keywords where your prospects are reviewing or looking for alternative products and services.

People don’t just search to compare specific products, services and companies, they will also compare different categories.

For example

  • Should I invest in PPC or SEO?
  • Should I choose stocks or shares ?
  • White bread or brown bread
  • PC or Mac
  • Glasses or contact lenses

Filter your seed keywords with some of these keyword modifiers at this stage.

  1. Enter seed keyword into Ahrefs keyword explorer
  2. Select phrase match
  3. Select the include box
  4. Select any word
  5. Enter Review, Comparison, vs, Versus, Alternative into the box
  6. Press Apply

Purchase decision keywords

Once prospects have gone through the first 3 stages of the buying process they’ll come to the point where they are almost ready to purchase.

They will use certain keywords in their query that signals their commercial intentions.

Filter your seed keywords with some of these commercial intent keyword modifiers at this stage.

  1. Enter seed keyword into Ahrefs keyword explorer
  2. Select phrase match
  3. Select the include box
  4. Select any word
  5. Enter Buy, discount, nearest, me, offer, cheap, price, deal, cost, hire into the box
  6. Press Apply

And we are still not done.

Next can find keywords that drive traffic to your competitors website.

Competitor keywords

Now you want to identify keywords that your competitors rank for in the top 10 results.

Using the content gap tool, enter some known competitors and Ahrefs will show you their keywords.

You can see from the list below I’ve found another 173 keywords.

I then filter these keywords to show those with low seo difficulty, highest volume keywords and those I think the target audience will search for.

  • Copy these keywords to a text file
  • Now go back to your keyword list
  • Select Add Keywords from the top left hand menu to add them to your keyword list

Prune list, remove duplicates

Now you’ve got a long list of keywords and their supporting keyword metrics.

  1. Keyword = the keyword or search query
  2. KD = Keyword Difficulty
  3. Volume = Search Volume
  4. Clicks = clicks to the top pages for this keyword
  5. CPC = cost per click
  6. CPS = clicks per search
  7. RR = return rate
  8. SF = number of SERP features
  9. Parent Topic 
  10. SERP = where we can see the top page results, traffic to these pages and links to their pages and other clickstream data.

I would remove any keywords that mean the same.

Click the keyword column to sort alphabetically.

Then I would remove keywords that don’t closely match the parent topic.

Then sort by clicking the parent topic column to remove any duplicates or keywords that have the same parent topic.

Export your keyword list into Google Sheets

Now export your keyword list.

And import into Google Sheets.

Assign a buyer stage to each keyword

Tidy up the spreadsheet so it only displays the following columns

  • Keyword
  • Difficulty
  • Volume
  • Parent Keyword

Then add to new column headers

  • Select User Intent
  • Add to Website Plan

Now follow these steps to enhance your spreadsheet and keyword list.

  1. Select the cell below “select user intent”
  2. Select Data from the menu
  3. Select Data Validation
  4. From the Criteria option, choose List of Items
  5. Copy and paste the following into the box : How to article,List article,Guide, Service Category Page,Service page,E-commerce category page,E-commerce product page,Review Article,Comparison or Alternative Article,Mixed
  6. Press Save.

Now select the tiny arrow in the Select User Intent cell and you’ll see a drop down list.

This will enable you to determine what kind of page is required to rank for the main keyword.

Google each keyword, look at the types of pages that are ranking in Google eg: a service page or a how to article and then select the appropriate option for each keyword.

Choose which pages you want featured on your website

But first …

  1. Select the cell below Add to Website Plan”
  2. Select Data from the menu
  3. Select Data Validation
  4. From the Criteria option, choose List of Items
  5. Type the following into the box : Yes,No
  6. Press Save.

This is what you’ll see when you select the arrow in that cell.

Now select each both cells underneath Select User Intent and Add to Website Plan and copy and paste or drag to bottom of your keyword list.

Now you, your client or your need need to choose which keywords you intend to have on your website.

You select Yes or No from the Add to Website Plan cell for each keyword or you can send a link to the spreadsheet to ask the client to choose.

Write Page Title and Content Outline

Now you can write a page title and content outline for each page in order to brief your content writer so you can provide the best results on your new pages to match the user queries.

Yes, this is hard work

As someone who specialises in search engine optimisation it still took me nearly 6 hours just to do the initial keyword research and write these instructions.

I’ve not yet involved the client to help me to choose which keywords are suitable, nor have I created a content outline or written the copy.

This is the work you need to do if you want ranked and traffic from Google’s search results.