How to find buyer intent keywords?

In this article we approach the buyer intention keywords and how you can identify them. Especially for e-commerce this is an interesting one, learn more about it here.

Sam van Houten
May 19, 2022
8 min read

80% of consumers start a purchase process through a search engine even if they end up buying in an actual store. The challenge for any SEO strategy is to show up in the right place at the right time at the top of the search results. If you don't, you will miss out on the opportunity for converting a potential buyer. Fortunately, you can improve your strategy by using purchase intent keywords. In this article we will tell you what buyer intent keywords are, what makes these keywords valuable and how you can find them. We'll do this through the following questions and topics.

  1. What is buying intent?
  2. How do you find out if a keyword has buyer intention?
  3. Examples of purchase oriented keywords
  4. Why are buyer intent keywords more important than high volume keywords?
  5. Where or how do you find buying intent keywords?

Let's get started!

1. What is buyer intent?

Let's start by taking a closer look at the definition of search intent and specifically buyer intention. Every search query that is entered in Google says something about the goal of the searcher, in other words the intention. We speak of a buying intention when the user has the intention to buy a product or service, make a donation or even sign up for an event. Sounds logical right? Buyer intent provides insight into the likelihood to which the user wants to transact at that time.

2. How do you find out if a keyword has buyer intention?

To distinguish buying intent from other keywords and apply them correctly for SEO, it helps to have a clear picture of the four different search intentions. Below we have listed them for you.

Informational intent: 

The intent that someone has when he or she is looking for information is called informational intent. Searches with an informational intent contain words like who, what, when, where, roadmap, idea or example.

Navigational Intent: 

With navigational intent, someone is looking for a particular website or location on the Internet. This could be a login page, contact information or phone number. Searches with navigational intent include words such as log in, contact information, chat, customer service or opening hours and a brand name.

 Commercially investigating intent: 

With a commercially investigating intent, the user is looking for a purchase that fits their needs. The advantage is that in this phase, the user has already decided to make a purchase. In this phase, a user can apply search terms that already contain a brand name or specific product name, for example. Searches with a commercial research intent include words like review, compare, experience, evaluation or vs. 

Transactional intent:

With transactional intent, the buyer is furthest along in the buying process and is ready to make a purchase. The only question that remains is where. Searches with a transactional intent include words like buy, purchase, free, order or discount code.

So there are four different search intentions to distinguish. When we talk about buying intent keywords, these are keywords that have a commercial researching or transactional intent. By the way, it is not necessarily true that a search always has only one intention. Depending on the search term, a search query can have one or more intentions.

For example, “buy Ace & Tate sunglasses”. In this case, the user already knows that he wants to buy sunglasses (transactional) but also that he or she wants to buy them specifically from Ace & Tate (navigational). Or for example “How do I buy a ticket from KLM?”. The user knows that he wants to buy a ticket (transactional), that he wants to buy it from KLM (navigational) and is looking for information by asking the how question (informational).

3. Examples of purchase-oriented keywords

We can thus distinguish two main categories in buyer intention keywords, those with a commercially investigative or transactional intent.

Buy now keywords (transactional)

This category of keywords signals that the user, as the name suggests, is ready to make a purchase. The user knows what he wants to buy and is looking for an offer that meets his expectation. This category includes keywords such as buy, discount(s), deal(s), coupon(s) and free shipping.

Product keywords (commercial research)

The second category are the valuable purchase-oriented ''product'' search terms. These search terms convert high, but the user often still has a somewhat wait-and-see attitude to actually buy the product. This category includes keywords such as brand related search terms, specific product names, product categories, affordable, best, cheapest, comparison and review.

To see in which category a keyword belongs, it’s often a good idea to check the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If you see ads, product images or Google shopping results then the intent is often transactional. If you see reviews or for example sites to compare products then the intention is commercially oriented.  

4. Why are buyer intent keywords more important than high volume keywords?

If you want to increase your conversion rate, it is more important to use buyer intent keywords instead of only focussing on high volume keywords. Since high volume keywords are much more general terms without a clear single intention and you often do not know if your content matches the intent of the user. It may bring you search traffic, but if the user is only looking for information, your content will not convert. With purchase focussed keywords, you make use of specific search terms. This way you know the user is further along in the customer journey and is googling with the intention of making a purchase.

Also, buyer intention keywords lend themselves best to use in paid search campaigns. The paid search campaigns bring you to the top of the page and you can make adjustments to optimise the cost per click. Ads such as with offers or deals are attractive to users with a high purchase intention. This way you make sure that the people who actually click are already further in the customer journey and ready to buy.

5. Where or how do you find purchase intent keywords?

There are different ways to find purchase intent keywords, below we give you some tips.

Google search results

Google search results allows you to take a peek at the competition. It's a good way to get inspiration and ideas related to your industry, product or service. Just type in a keyword on Google related to your industry. At the top of the Google search page are paid ads that generally contain keywords that score high on purchase intent. These keywords also contain examples of a direct call to action. Such as buy now, start your demo for free or receive your free gift. In the middle of the page you will find the selection ''People also ask''. This is a good place to get inspiration for informational keywords, which you can work into your blog or other content, for example.

Keyword Tools

You can also use various keyword analysis tools to find buyer intention keywords related to your industry. For example Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool, this tool helps you compile a list of purchase intent keywords. The tool shows suggested keywords and subgroups related to your topic. To search for purchase intent keywords you can specifically select search terms such as affordable, offer and discount. You can then filter by volume or number of keywords. You will gain inspiration for long-tail keywords and terms for pay per click ads.

Google Adwords keyword planner

Google Adwords Keyword Planner is also a handy tool for identifying keywords with a buying intent. This tool provides insight into how high the buying intent is for a particular search term. It also provides insight into the estimated cost per click for an ad. A keyword with a high purchase intention can have a lot of competition and therefore the cost per click, for example, is immediately much higher. These are also considerations to take into account when setting the budget for paid advertisements.


With our tool, KeyWI, you can find out what intent people have with keywords. All you need is a list of search terms and search volumes. You upload or copy-paste them into the tool and KeyWI will take over. First, KeyWI retrieves all the search results for each keyword and examines each with the logic of the search engine. When Google has the belief that a keyword’s intent is informational KeyWI will know and show it to you. For each search term, a prediction is made of which intent a searcher has. In addition, all search terms are clustered based on similarities, when search terms are similar you can use them together in the same content. In a matter of minutes you will be able to identify all buyer intention keywords grouped together by relevance. 

In conclusion, we would like to advise you not to throw keywords with low purchase intent overboard indefinitely. In the end it's about making sure your keywords align with the intent of the user. You need to be able to adjust your content to it at all times. Making it easier to attract a user with an interesting blog when the user is searching with an informational intent. You will be able lead such users to your products or service with the intention to buy. And yes, keywords with a high buyer intent will help you a lot to focus on what really matters; conversions. Yep, we can already see the dollar signs in your eyes.

Are you curious how KeyWI can help you with this? Schedule a live demo.

Sam van Houten co-founder KeyWI
Sam van Houten

Sam van Houten is Co-Founder of KeyWI, has an educational background in data science and is always eager to learn new stuff. Together with the KeyWI team he has been busy developing SEO software and understanding how to use code to automate and smarten SEO tasks.

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