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Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at 7:30 am

Read Your Prospects Minds With Keywords!

By Mariel Bacci
October 31st, 2011

blue men reading each others mindsWhat is Keyword Bucketing?

Have you ever wanted to know exactly what your visitors want, and then deliver it to them using your website as the vehicle?  You can do just that with keywords!  Since you cannot build a landing page for every single keyword your prospects search with, you will have to find an alternative solution.  We would like to suggest bucketing your keywords into early, middle and late buying stages as a fix.

You need to figure out keywords based on buying stage for your different online campaigns.  Sometimes we assume we understand what that means, how to do it, and why we do it without giving the practice any real consideration.  In this post we will explore the buying stages, their purpose for different types of consumers and how you can appeal to your visitors based on their buying stage.

Continue to be aware that buying stages can occur all in one day online, over a week or a year, by leaving out a stage or two, by one person or by a group of ten people or more.  All the subtleties of your clientele base should be considered when both optimizing your landing pages and investing in PPC marketing for your online campaign.  I recently purchased a new mountain bike over a 2 month online and in store shopping process which I will use as a hypothetical example for the different buying stages.

Awareness Stage

Buying Stage:  This is the first stage in your visitors buying process.  At this point your visitor thinks they want to buy something but do not know exactly what they want or need to buy.  They’ll want to see all the different types of products available and what the pros and cons are for each type.  They are doing very basic searches about the product group and will benefit from free and welcoming information. They are not likely to buy at this stage and are just seeing what is available.  The benefit of helping a customer in this stage of the buying process is that it gives your brand credibility and starts a relationship with the customer.

Prospects ask questions like:  What kind of mountain bike will suit my needs?  Will I be able to afford a new bike?  Is there a place locally that sells used bikes?  What is the difference between a 2010 bike and a 2003 bike?  What makes one mountain bike better than the other?

Possible Keywords:  Affordable Mountain Bike, Best Mountain Bike Brands, Bike Shops San Diego, Best Woman’s Mountain Bike, First Mountain Bike Guide, Where To Buy Mountain Bikes, Types of Mountain Bikes, Best Mountain bike prices, Top Rated Mountain Bikes

Feature: How to and beginner’s guides, whitepages, brand features, language that doesn’t include jargon,  friendly navigation

Relevant Landing Pages:  Homepage, Forums, Informative Content Pages

Consideration Stage

Buying Stage:  This is the second stage of your visitors buying process.  At this point your prospects have some idea about how much they want to spend, can recognize some brands in your industry and want to fine tune their knowledge before they make a purchase.  The buyer is likely more open to purchase during this stage than the awareness stage if something catches her eye.  She wants to gather as much information as possible to be sure she is making the right choice. At this stage keywords become longer and more specific.

Prospects ask questions like:  Will an all-mountain bike be too heavy if want to go riding on the road at times?  What brand of components will last me the longest and have the best reputation?  What size of mountain bike will I need?  How much travel can I get for my money?  What brand of shocks perform the best?  Is there someplace locally I can test ride GT bikes?  Would I be happier with a 29er?

Possible Keywords:  Yeti, GT, Performance Bikes, Used Santa Cruz,  Mountain Bike Sizing For Women, How To Know If Your Bike Has Good Components, Best Downhill Mountain Bike, How to Maintain A Mountain Bike,  Full Suspension Mountain Bike That Can Also be Used On The Road, average mountain bike travel

Feature: Reviews, top sellers, product comparisons, easy navigation, Whitepages, content articles and offline locations

Relevant Landing Pages: Category Pages, Information Pages, Forums

Decision Stage

Buying Stage:  During the decision stage people have a general idea of what they are going to buy and are searching for where to buy it and how to get the most value.  The keywords people use are likely to be branded long tailed, specific and include words like ‘sale,’ or ‘buy.’  This is the stage to deliver specific product information, promotions, free shipping offers, and all of your other tactics to seal the deal.  You need to be sure your prospects feel comfortable with your brand, your prices and your customer service at this point.  They are likely going to buy and you need to give them a reason to buy from you.

Prospects ask questions like:  Where can I find the specific bike I want at the lowest price?  Can I lease a bike somewhere locally or rent to own?  Where are the used bike shops around here and do they carry the quality of bike I’m looking for?  Am I going to have to assemble my own bike when it comes in the mail? Am I positive that I want to buy the GT Carbon Force instead of the Canondale Jekyll?  What bike company is most reliable and ships the fastest?  Who has the best return policy incase something happens with my bike?

Possible Keywords:  Buy GT Carbon Force, XS full suspension mountain bike on sale, Used Santa Cruz Heckler, , Specialized Enduro in San Diego, Mountain bikes sold at Absolute Bikes, 2011 Salsa Fargo components, Technical Specifications of Yeti 575

Feature: Sales, Free Shipping, Reassurances, shipping times, refund policy’s, payment types and detailed product descriptions

Relevant Landing Pages: Reviews, Comparison Pages, Category Pages, Product Pages

Now that you know a thing or two about what stage of the buying process your prospects are at when they land on your site, you can optimize their experience by delivering landing pages that will be useful to them.  Assisting your customers in the buying process on your site needs to have the same elements that a properly run retail store has.  Someone to hold their hand at the early stages, help them decide in the middle, and direct them to the right place at the end.

How do you organize your landing pages based on keywords?  Do you tailor your PPC ads to the buying stage offered by the keywords your prospects are searching for?  Do you need help getting your visitors to the right buying stage on your site?  If you need help reading your prospects minds and delivering on their needs, we are here to help you!

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Comments (42)

  1. Very informative post Mariel. I check the logs at my site on a regular basis and I am sometimes amazed at the keyword phrases people use to arrive there. Some are complete sentences.

  2. Thank you for explaining buying stages so clearly.

  3. Keyword searches are something I check religiously and I am often amazed by how people search for flowers. Any help is conversion is greatly appreciated as that is always the goal.

  4. I never considered the concept of multiple landing pages using the keyword “bucketing” idea. Thanks!

  5. Timely post…enabling chat software allows you to be online when users frequent your site. You can see what keywords they used to locate your site…all good info.

  6. Informative, this gives me clear methods to better target and provide the needs of my customers better. I’ll be using your Stage keyword brainstorm.

    Thanks Mariel

  7. I agree. buying keywords are what differ the freebie seekers and buyers and we can “filter” our prospects :)

  8. That is a very interesting article. Choosing the right keywords is definitely a tricky task and it is very surprising to see how people are reaching your site through which keywords. The techniques discussed in this article are very useful.

  9. Keywords are that secret little magical communication method. If you know how to group and leverage them you can really win at the SEO process.

  10. I have heard of this, but not quite broken down the way you did in your blog. Thanks for more detailed information of the process.

  11. This is a very fascinating article. Wouldn’t it be great if we could read each other mind with keywords? Hope it will have passwords too. lol

  12. This will definitely help me reduce the number of pages on my and sites and help in keeping pages up to date.

  13. Keyword selection, in my opinion, is the most important part of any campaign. If it isn’t right then the whole campaign isn’t right. I’m still learning but at least I have a better idea of “buying” keywords after reading this article. Another step upwards!

  14. Thanks for explaining buyer stage keywords. You have given me a few new ideas to implement.

  15. I totally agree. When you use PPC it’s really important to know the words the real buyers use.

    I’ve recently started to broaden this to the content of my articles etc as well. I want the buyers to know they’ve landed on the right page, so I make sure the ‘buying keywords’ are in the first thing they see, the headline.

  16. Thanks for explainng this stage concept for keyword search. For my tour website I had found people searching b tying in their complete requirement as search terms. But I did not knew how to make use of these in my analysis. Thank you for sharing the same.

  17. Keyword research is the Big small thing everyone misses.

  18. It’s pretty tough when keyword words that is used for our industry is used by all the competitors. Even trying to use long tail keywords hasn’t been successful since real people don’t really use long keywords.

  19. Keywords are that secret little magical communication method.

  20. Timely, relevant and informative post. In the advent of SEO what you have explained makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Keywords is one of the most important part of promoting a website. It will increase visitors in a website and this visitors become customers, etc.

  22. Great advice. We tend to think of these things from a purely optimization type mindset, but you really do need to understand how people think to give them what they want.

  23. Great post! I might add that you can use this same thought process when using google adwords. Micro targeting your campaigns can put you in a much better position to reap the benefits of buying customers

  24. This is a great way to target adwords campaigns, I agree. Though in our case, we do want to inform the buyer and brand our product line for sale through distribution channels, we also want to sell product direct. And to target the buyers is ultimately what any retail sales oriented business wants.

  25. I have tried to use the same approach of getting into the consumers mind when I targeted the term “water softener prices” for my website. Not only did the sales start coming in because I targeted a specific need for the consumer, but I ranked in position one on Google within about a month.

  26. I agree that buying keywords make much of an impact. when i starting to rank for my buying keywords, my CTR improved dramatically.

  27. Good advice Mariel,
    In today’s world it is so hard to create a nice site with rich SEO, I think Long tail keywords are probably the way to go for new businesses like mine.
    Thanks again for this awesome post.

  28. I have been taught there are 4 parts of the buying process that every buyer must go through, no matter what the purchase. They are:

    1. Qualification
    2. Rapport
    3. Education/Information
    4. Close

  29. I agree with you we cant create a landing page for every keyword, well described article on product page.

  30. decision stage is where most of the transactions slide away. Thanks for posting this article

  31. I agree that long tail keywords are the way to go. Especially for a new site.

  32. I am a bit confused relating to your keyword selection of the Awareness stage section, to-wit:
    Aren’t the best keywords those suggested by the drop-down intelligent window? In another word, wouldn’t the best keywords be those suggested, let’s say by Google, as you start typing in the search box?

  33. Really fascinating post on keywords. I like how you break it down into awareness, consideration, and decision. I understand keywords much better now.

  34. I do not think that what you are saying is the case in conversion optimization. While there are applications and engines that can help you think of good keywords, the best thing you can do is work with the keywords that are already bring prospects to your site and optimize their experience. Once you start bidding on other keywords, long tailed and specific ones are best, as they bring more qualified traffic to your site.

  35. [...] mismo tema y para que veáis el valor y el poder del análisis de las palabras clave, un artículo “Read Your Prospects Minds With Keywords!” de Mariel Bacci. Este artículo propone una solución para agrupar las landing pages a la hora de [...]

  36. This was very informative. Key Phrases are definitely the key to good SEO; I own, a fashion site that sells discount designer fashion for women such as shoes, designer dresses and handbags and for months I had issues with the setup because I didn’t understand the context of SEO and how it relates to my customers wants and needs. I then tried keywords, but that didn’t work either; it was not till I realize that an individual doesnt just type “shoes” into a search engine, instead the type a phrase such as “red shoes for women” or “classy sandal” — this worked magic!

  37. Keywords are the lifeblood of any online business. The more long tail the keyword the better chance you will have of getting more targetted traffic to your website and typically they are easier to rank for.

  38. Good article, but this concept doesn’t seem so attractive to me. You’re almost sure to miss some important keywords. Don’t focus on them, don’t lose your time!

  39. I was newbie in SEO and thanks a lot for sharing this nice and clear details about Keyword into 3 section: awareness, consideration and decision.

  40. As I’m relatively new to affiliate marketing, this article covers new and significant information for me. Though I knew the imortance of keyword research, I wasn’t aware of the different buying stages: awareness stage, consideration stage, decision stage. Examples of possible keywords (especially the long-tail keywords) make this article a source of practical information. Thanks.

  41. Your site is great! I am in the process of optimizing etc a site that has been virtually ignored for 7 years, and your site and information has really made a differnce in my approach! Thanks

  42. Very interesting. Since a site can’t be perfectly optimized for all these groups, I wonder who it should be most optimized for. One one hand, I would say the decision stage. However, without the other stages an individual can never get to the decision stage.

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

More articles from Mariel Bacci

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