How to find & use buyer intent keywords to boost B2B SEO

Rob White avatar
Rob White

Apr 12, 2022

Buyer intent keywords help your commercial web pages appear in front of your ideal buyer at the right time. When a buyer is ready to commit to a sale, these critical keywords make it easy for them to find the right page and complete their journey.

What are buyer intent keywords?

Buyer intent keywords are keywords related to search queries that indicate an intent to buy. Sounds simple, right?

But in B2B SEO, they’re more than “buy now” transactional keywords.

Think about how you procure a product or service in your business – sometimes, you want to buy a thing (a work management tool, for example), so you search precisely for a special brand. But you might look for a specific feature or module. You might want to review pricing tiers or see a demo before committing in full.

All these scenarios express an intent to buy.

Are buyer intent keywords commercial keywords?

Buyer intent keywords include commercial keywords. They also include some informational keywords, as we'll see.

Due to the buyer's journey stage of buyer intent searchers, organic traffic from these types of keywords has a far higher chance of converting at the MQL stage.

Types of buyer intent keywords

There are two types of buyer intent keywords:

  1. Buy-now
  2. Product

Buy-now keywords include terms like “buy”, “discount”, or “deal” in the B2C space. In B2B, we consider “demo”, “service”, or “vendor” as buy-now keywords. But generally, we don’t see many buy-now keywords used in B2B because the buyer experience is much longer.

In B2B, product keywords include terms like:

  • Brand names (Blend Marketing, HubSpot)
  • Specific products/services (inbound marketing, website design agency)
  • Pricing (Blend Marketing pricing, Office 365 pricing tiers)
  • Review (Mail Chimp review, Salesforce vs. Zendesk)
  • Software/platform (project management software, content marketing platform

Read our step-by-step guide to B2B SEO here and master search engine  optimisation for your business today.

High buyer intent vs. low buyer intent

Buyer intent is a spectrum that ranges from high intent (people who are ready to buy your product right now) to low intent (people who are interested but aren't ready to commit just yet).

High buyer intent keywords are, ironically, keywords that relate to the lower end of the marketing funnel. “Blend Marketing pricing” is a good example.

Low buyer intent might be an informational query like “HubSpot vs Marketo”. We can assume someone wants to buy a marketing CRM at some point but is still in the consideration stage.

Where to find buyer intent keywords

It’s all about the suffixes!

– Sacha Gauthier, Senior Strategist

When we look at keyword research, we see buyer intent in the suffixes – the last word in the query that denotes a specific action or offering. It turns general queries into specific ones with intent behind them. For example:

  • Inbound marketing. A generalised keyword that demonstrates no intent.
  • Inbound marketing software. A productised keyword with some buyer intent.
  • HubSpot Marketing Hub. A specific branded search with high buyer intent.

Look through your keyword research for short-tail keywords with suffixes that suggest a product, service, or sale enquiry. These are your buyer intent keywords. These may vary, depending on your offering and the mechanics of your sales pipeline.

How to use buyer intent keywords in content

The trick to buyer intent keywords (and SEO in general) is about knowing what someone wants when they type their query in. If they're looking to buy, make sure they land on a page that makes buying your product or service as easy as possible.

Buyer intent keywords act as the tip of the pyramid in your SEO strategy. Your most commercially important pages should target them. These include:

  • Your homepage
  • Product pages
  • Pricing pages
  • Demo pages

Resist the urge to target these pages with informational keywords. They might appear easier to rank for or have higher volume, but they’re less likely to give the visitor what they want — which means they'll search elsewhere.

Targeting a product page with “performance management” doesn’t help the user as well as a piece of pillar content that explains what performance management is. Meanwhile “performance management software” is a keyword that works much better on a product page.

How important is keyword volume when targeting buyer intent keywords?

Keyword volume shouldn’t lead the conversation. Even if the search volume is meagre, your key pages should still target them if it’s highly relevant.

Why? Because visitor quality is better than quantity.

If your commercial terms have a volume of 10 a month, but accurately reflect who you are and what you do, every visitor gets what they’re looking for and will be more likely to convert.

Buyer intent is one aspect of a wider SEO strategy

Keywords with high buyer intent help you maximise the chance of success when a buyer decides to make a purchase. But don’t leave your strategy there.

It’s important to carefully target relevant long- and short-tail keywords across your website so each stage of your marketing funnel is well-served with relevant, high-quality content.

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