Leveraging Keyword Mapping to Optimize the Buyer’s Journey

10 min
A graph showing keyword length in words vs. monthly search volume.
A graph showing keyword length in words vs. monthly search volume.

It’s become fairly common knowledge that including specific keywords in your content is beneficial for your business.

Yet many organizations are falling short because the research they do (if any) is not providing the desired results.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on keywords with the highest search volume and throwing them haphazardly onto a website or into blog pages, all in the hope they’ll help your content rate higher on Google.

It could be that you’re one of the companies who assume they know exactly who their clients are and what they want, so there’s no need to conduct any research into the best topics to write about.

Both of these are mistakes, but they are easily fixed for your benefit.

If either of these are you or you just want to engage with your customers and improve your Google ranking, then keyword mapping can help with that.

What is keyword mapping though? How do you do it correctly and how can that keyword map help optimize your customers’ journeys?

Here we’ll answer all these questions and more so you can get the most out of your keywords.

What is the keyword mapping process? 

The crucial aspects of online marketing for any company.
The crucial aspects of online marketing for any company.

To put it simply, keyword mapping is when you go through a process of assigning keywords to different areas and landing pages of your website.

It’s an essential part of any tactical SEO strategy and is also a major aspect of search engines that work to identify the relevance of your one page, or different pages, and your existing website as a whole. 

It not only helps you measure how successful your SEO campaigns are, but as we’ll see later on, it can channel buyers into your sales funnel.

The first step is to create a list of possible keywords. Identify which words you’re already ranking for, compile a list of other popular search terms, and take a look at your competitors too. You’ll also want to find out the volume and difficulty rating for all these keywords.

Next you want to pin down all your website pages. Once you have your list you need to identify which keywords are relevant to which pages of your website, and group them accordingly. Try to think about both what is relevant for Google and what also makes sense to you as a person.

When you have all this data in one place, you have your keyword mapping document. This will help you keep track of things and stay organized as you work on ranking higher on SERPs.

Now, let’s look in more detail at how you can use this process to optimize the buyer’s journey.

What is the buyer’s journey? 

The buyer's journey stages that a potential customer goes through.
The Buyer’s Journey outlined.

As the name suggests, the buyer’s journey is the path a customer takes from being unaware of your product or brand to the point where they make a decision to purchase your product or service. Depending on what you read, there are either three or four stages to this journey:

  • Unaware: At this stage, the buyer does not realize they have a need or a problem and is unaware of your organization.
  • Aware: The customer now knows they have a need or problem.
  • Consideration: At this stage, the buyer considers how to solve their problem and researches possible solutions. 
  • Decision: Once the buyer has considered the different options available, they choose the vendor they feel best meets their needs. 

At each stage of that journey starting from awareness, the prospective buyer will likely not use the same keywords when they use the google search bar. 

For example, at the awareness stage, they may realize their business needs a good UCaaS (unified communications as a service) solution that allows for high-quality video calls. The single keyword they may use at this stage could simply be “how to make video calls.” 

As they research further, they will want more details on the solutions offered in their first search. Their next search may add in certain features they want such as “screen sharing” and “HD quality.” Their final searches, which will push them to a decision, may include factors such as “price plans” or “integrations.” 

Using keyword mapping to optimize the buyer’s journey

A mockup of SEO and the things it matters to regarding digital marketing for a brand.
SEO research and keyword mapping are vital to a brand.

The early stages of the journey could be classed as information gathering. The customer is looking to find a list of options and what they offer. A keyword map used at this point may be quite general as in the example used above. 

Just as there are different stages to the buyer’s journey, so there are different types of relevant keywords you should be researching and using to group keywords. The keyword groups are:

  • Informational Keywords: These grouped keywords will often contain questions such as how, what, and other similar terms. Google will often show knowledge panels or information boxes when an informational word or phrase is used. 
  • Navigational Keywords: This keyword group may be looking for a specific brand, perhaps one they know already or one that has come up from their informational search. So, that initial “how to make video calls” search may have given them a list of video call providers to further narrow down to a specific provider. 
  • Commercial Keywords: These will come when the customer has an interest in a specific brand or product. 
  • Transactional Keywords: Every keyword in this group occur when a buyer has gathered all the information they need and is ready to make an actual purchase. These final searches could include words or phrases such as “buy” or “free trial,” and can be more specific than previous searches.

One thing you should focus on throughout the keyword research process of assigning target keywords is “search intent.” A generic keyword list of short-tail keywords, or long-tail keywords, is not going to help you and they certainly won’t aid any potential customers. 

By being able to predict both their search intent and the keywords they are most likely to use, your relevant content and content strategy can help drive them to the bottom of your sales funnel and to convert. 

Many of the decisions you will make will be based on the type of marketing strategy you utilize. A B2C content strategy is going to be very different to an account based marketing strategy and, in many cases, the related keywords used in B2B will be more precise than those for a B2C company. 

So, you now know what you need to do, but how do you do it? Let’s look at creating a keyword map.

Mapping keywords to each stage

Any keyword research should not focus on those used most often but rather on ones that focus intent. Someone may be looking for some basic information at first, such as how to get customers for their ecommerce site. Think about each of the three main stages the buyer will face and research for each of them:

  • Awareness: Focus on what your product does or what problems it may solve. Optimize your relevant content and mapped keywords to answer the questions they are likely to ask. Think about what words and phrases they might use to gather information. You should also think about what the buyer’s attitude is or will be toward solutions. 
  • Consideration: Now that your buyer has more clearly defined needs, your task is to enable them to trust your brand and product(s). You want to demonstrate why you’re their best option. Look at what your organization is known for and how users feel about your products. 
  • Decision: The buyer is now ready to make a purchase, so you should be considering what will push them into making their choice and put you both on the same page. What do they need? A free trial? Special offers? High levels of customer support? Anticipating the questions they will ask can lead to your goal of a conversion. 

Keyword Research and how to choose keywords for the keyword map

Your keyword research should not be a major issue as long as you understand the search intent at each stage. 


Searches at this point are likely to be broader in nature, so the keyword strategy you choose should reflect that. You’re not trying to achieve a sale at this stage – you’re trying to establish your brand as an authority in your particular field and reach your target audience. 

If we look at our earlier example of a potential UCaaS customer, some queries could be:


  • Best video calls platform
  • How to make high quality video calls
  • Video calls reviews
  • What are the best video call platforms?
  • Guide to high quality video calls
  • Benefits of a video call platform
  • Video call basics
  • Using a video call platform

There are tools available that can help with this research, but also look at what’s working for the highest-ranked competitors in your field. 


The person searching is now beginning to refine their search results and ask more specific questions. You also need to remember that you’re not the only game in town and that they may be looking at your competitors too. This can be a good stage to think about positive reviews or comparisons. 

Search queries may look like this:


  • Compare Dialpad video calls
  • Dialpad reviews
  • Alternatives to Dialpad
  • Top 10 video call platforms
  • Dialpad comparison
  • Good value video call platform
  • Most popular video call platforms


The buyer has, almost, made their final decision. They’ve made comparisons, looked at reviews, and are almost convinced that you’re the right choice. At this stage, you want to include some motivational keywords to help them cross the line.

These could include words or phrases such as:


  • Free trial
  • Discount
  • Free shipping
  • Special offer
  • Promotion
  • Package
  • What’s included
  • Purchase
  • Download

Using your keywords

For your keyword mapping to be successful you need to consider all stages of the buyer’s journey and create content that is aligned with each. 

For example, you could create a “how-to” guide for the awareness stage of the journey or write a blog post listing the top 10 video call platforms for those in the consideration stage. 

Don’t forget to take a look at your existing content. Allocate keywords to your current web pages and blog posts to really optimize the buyer’s journey.

If you’re producing content for other websites, think carefully about which stage in the buyer’s journey you want to target and make sure you include the relevant keywords.

Your keyword mapping will help you stay organized and make sure your content continues to drive customers into your sales funnel. But don’t forget to keep reviewing your keyword mapping document and make changes as necessary.

The takeaway

A keyword map that shows which terms are driving SEO for the brand.
An SEO keyword mapping outcome shown visually.

Gone are the days of proper keyword research being a simple and uncomplicated process. That doesn’t mean it has to be hard work though, it just means you need to put a little more thought into the mapping process. 

Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey, and their search intent in each of those stages means you can easily map keywords to the stages they belong in.

Your ultimate goal is, of course, converting a potential customer to an onboarded customer. Mapping a certain keyword at the various stages helps guide the customer from that initial awareness stage to the final purchasing decision. Making that buyer’s journey as simple and painless as possible can reap dividends when it comes to sales. 

What’s approach does your business take to perform keyword mapping? Let us know!

Nick Brown
Nick Brown
Nick Brown is the founder & CEO of accelerate, a SaaS Marketing and SEO agency. Nick has launched several successful online businesses, writes for Forbes, published a book and has grown accelerate from a UK based agency to a company that now operates across US, APAC and EMEA.