There are 10 types of seo keywords you need to learn about or include in your keyword research before creating content.
When most businesses start a website they concentrate on the service or product keywords.
These are typically the hardest keywords to rank and earn traffic from.
That’s because Google favours more mature web pages and those with more page and link authority.
Many established websites and businesses don’t understand the consumer buying process and omit to target people in the evaluation of alternatives stage.
Table of Contents
Problem search keywords
Let’s start with problem keywords.
These keywords are typically classified as top of the funnel keyword.
These are made by people searching for an answer to their question.
Use Ahrefs or Ubersuggest and enter a seed keyword into the tool.
Now filter by “how”
You’ll find thousands of “how” keywords
Throughout this page I’ll use “website” as my seed keyword to show you examples of these keywords.
Searching an “issue” would suggest a problem.
In this example, there are 1389 keywords; certainly less than “how” keywords.
Using “for” to filter your seed keyword is a good tactic for finding out what your target audience is searching for.
A woman may search “jeans for ladies” or “jeans for ladies size 10”.
Likewise in this example you can see people searching for specific types of websites just for them.
“With” keywords are being searched by people looking for combinations of products, services or ideas.
Good examples are recipes, clothing combinations and even cars.
In the example below, some people are very specific about their website and with keyword query.
As you can see a “fix” keyword suggests the searcher has a problem.
An “improve” keyword would suggest the searcher has a problem with their current situation.
Perhaps they are more positive in outlook than those searching to fix a problem.
In the screenshot below, just look at the different aspects of a website they’d like to improve.
An “increase” keyword is made by someone who is looking for a better result than they currently have.
In other words, they have a problem.
A ‘reduce” keywords is another problem search query made by someone with a problem looking for a better future result.
Whilst there’s not many reduce keywords in this example, consider how many people will search to reduce their weight, waist, credit card balance and so one.
A remove keyword is a more dramatic keyword than reduce.
Someone wants something gone forever which is definitely a problem query.
Just look at the examples below.
Removing a website or page from Google may not seem a big issue to you but something bad mentioned about you could cost you millions in revenue each year.
Not many relevant lower keywords regarding websites but think of the people searching to lower their weight, golf handicap, expenses, mortgage, credit card bills and so on.
A grow keyword implies the searcher wants to improve their current situation; grow website traffic, grow business and so on.
Long tail keywords most likely found here
It’s more than likely you will find long tail keywords in the problem stage of the buying process.
In the example below there are 4.4 million phrase match keywords for the term “website”
Over 50% of those keywords contain 5 or more words and over 7% contain 10 or more words.
Top of the funnel keywords
All of the above problem recognition keywords and long tail keywords are most likely top of the funnel keywords.
That’s people who are just in the first stage of the buying process.
Many of those who search may even have their problem solved at the top of the funnel and will never make it down to purchase.
And you have to be fine with that outcome.
It’s a funnel after all; some prospects you win some leave completely.
Informational keywords are made when people have previously recognised that they have a problem to solve.
So they begin their journey in finding out possible solutions.
These possible solutions may come from products, brands, people or other resources they’ve been made aware of.
I’ve categorised informational keywords as those in the top of the funnel.
Every marketer or SEO expert is going to have a different perspective on this but don’t get too hung up this is simply a model for describing how people search and buy.
I’m not well known so not many people search my brand name but those who do search know a lot about what I do and offer.
Take a company like Shopify; there’s over 382,000 keywords about them.
Someone looking to sell online may completely skip the problem stage about “how to sell online” and google “shopify themes”
Or they may have heard other people talking about the brand and search the keyword “what is shopify”
Let’s say you’ve started a business and you need to get a hold on income and expenses.
You might google something like “accounting software” or you’re looking to store customer data and google “crm software”.
You know the type of product you need but you’re not sure which brand or specific product you actually need.
Say you’re looking for a tax accountant in Glasgow ; that’s a service and location keyword search.
People find my website by searching “keyword research services”
They’ve no knowledge of any brand specialising or providing this service, they just know they need this service and probably can’t or won’t do this work themselves.
When someone is searching for the “best” they are looking for recommended products, services or solutions that other people have experienced or used.
In other words, they are looking to shorten the decision making cycle and let someone else make up their mind.
For example, look at these best Shopify keywords.
The prospect wants someone else’s recommendations about the best themes used to build their online store.
The prospect does not want to go and trial or demo every single theme before choosing which one to buy or use.
Top in a keyword suggests the user wants to find the leading or most popular products or services used.
A “top” keyword search is very similar to a “best” keyword; not always but in most cases.
Let’s say you’re thinking of starting an online business you might search “example shop” or “shopify example” if you know a brand name associated with the business you’re starting.
Or you’re looking to do some financial or accounting work, you might search “example profit and loss statement” or “example tax return”
Example keywords are made when people are searching to see how a particular product, service or task could be started or undertaken.
It’s not difficult to figure out what “learn” keywords are.
The searcher knows about a product, service or brand and is investigating what they need to learn before considering investing any further time or money.
Tutorial keywords are similar to learning keywords although these searches could be made by both prospective and existing users of the product, service or brand.
Learn, tutorial and video are all closely related informational searches as shown below with the Shopify example.
Evaluation of alternative keywords
If a person follows the buying process sequentially, they will have recognised they have a problem and then discovered information about brands, products or services that may offer a solution.
After these stages they may have gathered a few choices and now begin comparing and evaluating which product, service or brand is the best choice to solve their problem.
The buying process can be fast or very slow; it depends on the circumstances, person or product.
Middle of the funnel keywords
I tend to categorise keywords and search queries at this stage being in the middle of the funnel.
On one hand you know the problem and possible solutions and on the other hands you have not decided to buy yet.
There are over 1500 Shopify “review” keywords.
The prospect could be separately reviewing 2 different products with 2 different keyword searches.
So they’ll search “shopify review” and then do another search “woocommerce review”
So I’d still classify a “review” keyword as someone evaluating alternatives.
With a “versus” keyword prospects are definitely comparing the features and benefits of 2 or more products, services or brands.
And as you can see below, these are high volume searches comparing not one but many alternatives.
As you can see “compare” or “comparison” keyword searches are more geared towards prospects comparing prices of alternatives.
An “alternative” keyword is made by a prospect seeking an alternative brand, product or service.
More than likely it’s made by someone with existing knowledge of, or even a customer of a particular product or service.
The “alternative” keyword search could be someone dissatisfied with this particular product.
Purchase decision or buyer intent keyword
And so this brings up to the final stage in the buying process; the purchase decision process.
This is where the prospect will tend to include buyer intent keywords in their query.
This is the stage just before purchasing.
If you recall in this an earlier keyword chapter that 46% of all searches have local intent.
In other words people are searching online and buying off line.
Hence a keyword that includes “nearest” is a purchase decision keyword as prospects look for stores where to make a purchase.
- Nearest BMW dealer
- Nearest Apple store
- Etc etc
Other purchase intent keywords
These keywords are all very similar in intent.
The prospect is looking for an incentive or final push before they finally make the purchase.
There’s a 5th stage in the buying process model called post-purchase; but since I don’t deal with many mature, established businesses I’ll omit these keywords.