How to Map Keywords to Each Stage of the Buying Cycle

Keyword map by esquetee

In case you hadn't noticed, content is a big deal. Your visitors love it, and so does Google. But you cant just be creating random content with no target audience in mind. In order to attract the right visitors to your site, you need create the right content that speaks directly to your visitors at whatever stage of the buying cycle they might be in.

Someone who has already identified that they need or want your service has already done their research, and will gravitate to content at the latter stages of their buying journey to self-confirm that they're making the right decision. Whereas someone who's just become aware of your product doesn't even know how it could help them or enhance their life.

Additionally, visitors at different stages of the buying cycle will use different keywords and phrases to find your services. Therefore, having the right keywords mapped to each stage will help to guide your content creation strategy and attract the right audience segment.

Before diving into keywords mapping, lets quickly review each stage of the buying cycle.

So, what is a buying cycle? Its a conceptual framework of the stages a buyer goes through to make a purchase decision.

In the initial Awareness stage: people have realized and expressed symptoms to a potential problem or opportunity but probably haven't given it a name yet. They know something is wrong but don't know what it is.

In the middle, the Consideration stage: the buyers have conducted research and have metaphorically diagnosed their problem. They can now give it a name or have defined what it is. They've also become aware of possible solutions.

Finally, at the Decision stage: they have narrowed possible solutions and defined a strategy, method or approach to solve their problem. At this point they are probably considering a few different options.

So, what keywords belong at each stage of the cycle?


When developing website content for the first stage of the cycle it needs to have a mass appeal to your target audience. The content is typically general purpose information and tries to provide an answer to your website visitors questions.

If you sell Pay-Per-Click Management services to small and mid-size businesses, visitors at this stage might be interested in How to advertise on Google?, Difference between Google and Bing Ads, or How much does it cost to advertise online?. If you noticed, these queries are very general. Simply put, a searcher has a problem and is looking online for a solution. In this first stage, you'll also find that users will rarely use industry standard terms, but much more general terms instead.

When mapping keywords to this stage of the cycle, create pages that answer common questions users may have, in relation to the services you sell " without a sales pitch. Many search queries will begin with How to, When is, What is, Best way to, The difference between just to name a few.

Essentially, at this stage you're trying to provide value well before your website visitor needs your services.


The content and keywords here should be aimed at prospects coming in from the Top of the Funnel content you created and from external sources who've identified their need and are looking for a solution. The content is targeted, in-depth and offered as a premium download. Usually delivered in forms of eBooks, checklists, white papers, case studies and webinars.

The audience at this stage is looking for a specific solution and is beginning the vendor evaluation phase. To attract potential buyers in this stage, focus your keyword research and strategy on the value of your solution. Again, going back to our earlier example, if you sell PPC services, you may want to use keywords and phrases such as Benefits of PPC for a Small Business, PPC ROI, PPC Products and Features, Certified PPC Experts and the like.

The goal of the Consideration stage is to build trust and convince your prospects that your business provides the right solutions for their needs.


This is the last step a potential buyer will take to become a customer. Whether you attracted them with your remarkable top of the funnel content or convinced them to consider your services through a stellar webinar - they're ready for your free consultations, trials or demos.

Your prospects will be more receptive to your bottom of the funnel messaging and content if you've successfully built trust and established yourself as an authority in the earlier stages. Keywords and content here have a direct commercial intent and very often involves a salesperson. Keywords here should be oriented towards terms such as buy, order, free demo, 20 minute consultation, quote, complimentary audit and the like. The goal of this stage is to use content, messaging and compelling offers to acquire new customers.


Overall, mapping the right keywords to the right stage of the buying cycle will not only guide your content creation strategy, but will also help attract visitors who may be at any stage of their buying journey. They must be able to find you, quickly assess if you're an expert and determine if you're trustworthy. Finally, they will evaluate the content they have engaged with, and consider booking a free consultation or accepting a free trial offer.

About the Author: Andrei Petrik

As a Marketing Manager, Andrei is responsible for all marketing efforts at Search Engine People. He always has his eye out for new technologies, trends, and better ways to do digital marketing. Connect with Andrei on Twitter or Google+.

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