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Gearing Long Tail Search Terms Toward Purchase Intent

One of the most important considerations for choosing key terms is knowing the search patterns of the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you have an ecommerce site, you are looking for buyers—which generally means a key term with a very specific product/service description—including the model number.

On the other hand, if you are selling expensive or complex products, you are targeting shoppers and that is an entirely different keyword strategy. Below are some general pointers for choosing search terms based on purchase intent:

  • Researchers/Browsers; Short, one-two word phrases. Not a lot of purchase value, but there is value in terms of thought-leadership.

  • Shoppers: Two and three-word phrases that contain comparison words such as best, cheap, review. This is the target for companies that sell expensive and/or complex products and services.

  • Buyers: Phrases with four or more words or phrases that refer to specific products, SKUs, or model numbers. This is the target for ecommerce sites.

  • Navigational: Specific URLs, companies, or brand names. This requires little or no search term strategy.

A navigational search term by itself (with no modifiers) is a waste of a term. In general you will want to avoid research terms also, but that is not always the case. They are an excellent tool for pure branding purposes.

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