Using the 3 phases of the buying cycle to produce targeted keyphrases

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Content themes are already on your editorial calendar. The target audience has already been defined. Ideas for landing page copy and social media are brewing. Now it’s time to do the keyphrase research that’s so important to SEO success.

Narrowly focusing any SEO effort is the key to reaping huge rewards. In this case, make SEO more effective by selecting targeted keyphrases based on consumers’ buying cycle.

By choosing targeted keyphrases, marketers have less competition for search traffic. That means web pages stand a better chance of nabbing that top spot on SERPs.

3 phases of the buying cycle: awareness, research, and purchase

Use them as a guiding light when choosing the keyphrases you want to use for each webpage.


In the awareness phase, prospects have an inkling that there’s a solution out there somewhere to help solve their problem or fulfill their needs. In this phase, searches are broad. Prospects usually only use general words that describe a whole market in search engines.

Using web marketing in a simple example, let’s say a small business owner wants to find more ways to get the word out about her new product line. She enters the word “marketing” into Google to learn more about what she can do.

She’s AWARE of what she needs to do, but needs help finding out how to do. Google will help by showing content optimized with “marketing” that also provides quality general knowledge about this topic.


In the research phase, prospects are a bit more knowledgeable. At this point, they can dig deeper because they know where to start looking. Some even know exactly what to start looking for.

Moving along in the example, the small business owner has determined from her “marketing” search that she wants to focus on marketing her new product line on the Internet. The keyphrase at this stage in the cycle is “Internet marketing.”

She’s no longer just looking for guidance. She’s RESEARCHING information to find out exactly what she needs to do to achieve a goal. Web pages with quality content optimized for “Internet marketing,” have the odds working in their favor.


In the purchase phase, prospects are topic experts. They know exactly what they want. Now they just need the best provider. Here is where sales copy starts flowing heavily, and every page needs its own set of targeted keyphrases.

Alas, let’s say our example searcher decides that content marketing on the Internet is most suitable for her business right now. The only problem is she doesn’t have the time. But through research, she found out that a “content marketing agency” could take care of that for her.

New keyphrase for a new phase.

Now she’s ready to PURCHASE the services of a content marketing agency. Agencies with service pages, landing pages and blog posts optimized with “content marketing agency” will be more visible to a prospect who is ready to become a customer.

Targeted Keyphrases Increase ROI

Gauge the phase in the buying cycle for which your content is most suited. Doing so enhances the outcome of keyphrase research so that you start seeing increased traffic, more qualified leads and higher conversion.

Furthermore, analytics tracking can determine what content is working the hardest. Watch for patterns of optimized content performing best in one of the buying cycle phases. Then focus on creating high quality content for that phase… fine-tuning content marketing efforts for the highest ROI.

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