SEO is rewarding, and it can be extremely profitable.  But it takes time. Before you pour a ton of time and effort into building rankings for a keyword, you need to know that it’s worth your time.

Some keywords get a lot of searches, but the traffic doesn’t convert.  The visitor is either not ready to buy, or they don’t want to buy.  The most extreme example is someone looking for advice on how to steal something – these people are unlikely to ever buy your product.

The first step to identifying which keywords are worth focusing on is understanding the “keyword intent.”  Of course, we’re actually talking about the intent of the person doing the search.

When people go to a website and do a search, the do it with a purpose.  Sometimes the purpose is simply to escape boredom.  But most of the time, there’s a definite purpose.  We refer to this purpose as “intent”.

After reading this short article, you’ll be able to read the keyword intent AT A GLANCE.  This is an amazing skill, but it’s also extremely simple.  It can prevent you from wasting a ton of time, and it can help you to spot amazing keywords that you would have ignored.  So, if you don’t like wasting time or throwing away diamonds, this information is definitely for you.

There are billions of different keywords that people use on Google and the other search engines.  And every day, millions of people type in brand new searches that have never been seen before.  Taken together, these keywords present an amazingly diverse array of terms.  And yet they all fit into one of five categories.

Here they are:

1: Junk Keywords

These keywords are a complete waste of time and energy.  The people who search for these terms are unlikely to ever buy your products and services.  And in some cases, they’re a distinct waste of time.  The people who type these keywords are the type of people you would throw out of a shop.  Let us give you some examples so you know what we mean:

* how to download (your valuable product) for free

* how to buy (product) with fake credit card

Some of these searchers are clearly on another planet:

* free marijuana coupon

* buy illegal gun free

Clearly, you don’t want these people stinking up your website.

You’ve seen some examples of the creepier side of junk keywords, but some fairly innocent searches fit into this category too.  Look at these examples:

* free webcomic

* weather forecast for today

* funny cat picture

None of these searches are criminal.  But do you think these people are likely to buy a product from your site?

Now it is true that great sales copy can get some sales from any kind of traffic.  If you drive millions of visitors to your site for these keywords, you might make one or two sales.  You’ll probably spend more on web hosting, content creation, and content promotion.

So avoid junk keywords!

2: Informational Keywords

People use these keywords when they want to learn something.  If that sounds like a very broad category to you, then you’re right.  In fact, most of the billions of web searches made on Google every day are informational keywords.

Sometimes the search is just to satisfy the searcher’s curiosity.  Sometimes people are trying to improve their skills and knowledge to advance their careers.  And then there are people who are looking for a solution to a pressing problem.

All of these people have something in common.  They aren’t ready to buy a product just yet.  But they could be customers further down the line.

Let’s take an extreme example.  Super yachts are about the most expensive single item an individual can buy, beating castles and private islands.  True, battleships and aircraft carriers are more expensive, but you can’t buy those unless you’re a general or a head of state.  So for ordinary run-of-the-mill billionaires, the super yacht is the limit.

Every single super yacht purchase ever made started with a spark of curiosity.  Maybe some billionaire to be wondered what it would be like to own a boat.  Or maybe some playboy heir wondered how he could burn through his inheritance as fast as possible.  In both cases, you can imagine it took a long time for that seed of an idea to germinate and turn into a full blown 8-figure purchase.

It could have taken 30 years or more for that idea to turn to action.  After all, it’s not an impulse purchase.  In today’s online world, they would probably do a little “research” (fantasizing) before going for a stroll to the dealer with a truck full of money.

Now imagine if your site ranked for a keyword like this.  How would you turn a daydreaming billionaire into a €10 million dollar commission check?  Not by trying to get a sale on the spot.  No, you’d have to get them onto an email list and then slowly feed their curiosity until they were ready to buy (through you).

You wouldn’t make sales every day.  In fact, you might have to settle for one €10 million dollar check every two years.  Could you live with that?

Now let’s look at a real world example where an informational search quickly turned into a purchase.  One day, I heard a weird sound coming from the wheels of my car.  When I got home, I did a quick Google search and found out that there was something wrong with my brakes.  The next day, we took the car to the mechanic, who told me that I was lucky to be alive.  He told me that if the car had been going at the right speed, the brake would have jammed and the car would have swerved out of control.

I paid to get it fixed immediately.  In this case, the switch from informational searching to purchase took less than 10 hours.

3: Commercial Comparison Keywords

After learning that you need to buy a product or service, it’s natural to search around to find the best option.  In the example above, if I had intended to fix the car myself, I might have searched for aftermarket parts.

Here’s another example.  If I wanted to buy a new laptop, I would start by reviewing the latest specs and educate myself on what features were important in 2016.  This would be an “informational search”.  After I had learned what I needed to know, I’d start looking for which laptops have the features I’m looking for.

At this point, I don’t know which brand or model to buy.  So I’m looking for information that will help me to compare my options.  These types of keywords are comparison keywords.  Here are some examples:

* best laptop 2016

* latest touch screen laptops

* 6th gen i7 laptops

In other words, I’m trying to learn what I want to buy.

Customers who search for comparison keywords are one step closer to making a purchase.  It is possible to get a sale from comparison search traffic, but there are a few hurdles you need to clear to make the sale.

4: Product Keywords

After comparing several different options, a potential customer will usually want to gather a little more information before committing to a purchase.  Let’s look at the laptop example again.  After reading multiple comparisons, I may like the look of the Asus Zenbook UX305.

But before I rush off to buy one, I want to check some reviews first.  At this stage, I may type searches like this:

* Asus Zenbook UX305 review

* Asus Zenbook UX305 issues

* Asus Zenbook UX305 performance

* Asus Zenbook UX305 benchmarks

I would look at several pages to reassure myself that this was a sound purchase.  Really, I would have already decided to buy it.  At this stage, I just need to convince myself that I’m making a good decision.

At this point, an outstanding review could push me to buy immediately.  The little voice at the back of my mind is telling me to look a little more, or sleep on it before making a decision.  But sometimes I’m a compulsive buyer.

If I read and liked your review, you would probably get the affiliate commission when I click on your link.

Product search terms usually contain the exact brand name or exact specification for the item the person wants to buy.  They often include words that help the searcher to fill in the blanks.  The searcher is actually working to close the deal and convince herself to buy the item.

5: “Buy Now” Keywords

These keywords are the ones that a prospect types just before they make a purchase.  At this point, the searcher knows that she wants to buy something.  She may even have her credit card in her hand!

But even at this stage, the voice of reason is still putting up a fight.  It knows that they’re going to buy the item now, but it’s trying to convince them to look around for a good deal.

So we see searches like this:

* buy Asus Zenbook UX305

* Asus Zenbook UX305 deals

* Asus Zenbook UX305 discount

* Asus Zenbook UX305 free shipping

The searcher is going to make a purchase soon.  And it’s unlikely that they are going to spend very long comparing the different options.  So if your page is near the top of the results, and you can point them towards a good offer, you’ll probably close the deal.

How to Use this Information

Looking at all these categories of keywords, the “Buy Now” group gets the highest conversions.  But it also has fairly low search volume.  If you focused your efforts on these keywords, you would get a great conversion rate.  But the sales would tend to drip in over time.  This is because you aren’t getting much traffic from the “Buy Now” searches.

You can’t afford to miss out on the high volume traffic from the other keyword categories.  In fact, the only keywords you should avoid are the “junk” phrases.

As we promised, this information is simple but extremely powerful.  You have just learned how to look beyond the words and into the head of your prospects.

Using these categories can help you to prioritize your time and increase your profits.  If you focused your initial efforts on traffic that is closer to buying, you would get better conversions and faster income.

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