Transactional Keywords: The Conversion Side of Search Intent

Christy Walters


April 12, 2023 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

man at laptop holding credit card and typing on the keyboard to represent transactional keywords

When looking at your organic and search traffic analytics for your website and content, do you know which searchers are most likely to convert? If you don’t know what keywords to look for, you may be missing out on creating and optimizing content specifically for the audience that’s ready to buy. Today, we’re looking at transactional keywords and how being able to spot them and use them in your content can help make your pieces and pages more conversion-friendly.

What Are Transactional Keywords?

Transactional keywords, also called buyer keywords, are words that searchers use in their queries that show they’re ready to convert. For most companies, transactional keywords are those that indicate a customer is ready to buy something. But a transaction with your brand doesn’t have to be just an exchange of money. 

For example, the transactional state of a specific marketing campaign could be getting someone to sign up for your newsletter or download your eBook. In those cases, what a transactional keyword really signals is that a searcher is ready to complete the last step of their journey with you for their current funnel cycle.

Related: How To Target Search Intent in the Marketing Funnel

Where Do Transactional Keywords Fit Within Search Intent?

Search intent is the reason someone visits a search engine and conducts a query. Four primary types of search intent correspond with different segments of the marketing funnel. Transactional search intent, and therefore transactional keywords, are the last type of intent at the bottom of the funnel. They come after someone has already looked up more information on a topic, decided what they wanted to buy, and chosen the right company or provider to supply it. Knowing a searcher’s intent based on the keywords they use can help you create more targeted content to answer their questions or fulfill their needs.

Related: Search Intent: An Introduction for B2B Marketers

Types of Transactional Keywords

There are three main types of transactional keywords you may encounter while looking at your organic search terms and traffic. They include:

Highly Transactional

Highly transactional keywords are those that indicate, without a doubt, that someone is ready to buy something from or complete a conversion with your company. Most of these keywords are often action verbs or phrases that state your searcher wants to make a move or do something. Some highly transactional keywords include:

  • Buy
  • Purchase
  • Order
  • For sale
  • Reserve
  • Book
  • Apply
  • Download
  • Register
  • Schedule
  • Sign up

Related: Bottom-Funnel Marketing: What It Is and How It Works

Moderately Transactional

Moderately transactional keywords are those that may indicate that someone is ready to buy something or complete a conversion with your company. Depending on their context, moderately transactional keywords could indicate that someone is ready to make a conversion, or they may still be looking for commercial intent to compare products and services. You may not be able to tell if these keywords are transactional alone and may need additional context to determine which category the keywords fill for each specific query. Some moderately transactional keywords include:

  • Price
  • Cost
  • How much
  • Best
  • Top
  • Rare
  • Benefits
  • How to hire
  • Products
  • Devices
  • Systems
  • Services
  • Provider
  • Consultant
  • Treatment
  • Creator
  • Builder
  • Installer
  • Designer
  • Solutions

Related: Middle of the Funnel Marketing: Why Your Brand Needs It

Industry-Specific Transactional

Some transactional keywords are universal, but not all. Certain keywords that are transactional in one industry may not be transactional in another. It’s important to understand if there are any transactional keywords specific to your industry, market, or audience. You can then add them to your keyword list to use in content and optimizations when the time is right.

A tool like the transactional keyword list generator may help you find some of these specialized keywords. Simply enter the products or services you sell and the language for your keywords. The program generates a list of phrases and long-tail keywords specific to your products or services that you can use for your content.

How Long Are Transactional Keywords?

As you can tell from the lists above, transactional keywords can be as short as one word or they can be longer phrases. Most transactional keywords are phrases that include four or more words. Many transactional keywords include so many words because they’re more specific than other types of keywords. For example, someone ready to purchase a product wouldn’t type “buy shoes” into Google. Instead, they’d probably type something like “buy men’s Nike running shoes.”

We call these “long tail keywords.” But they don’t get their name from the length of the phrase. Instead, long-tail keywords are those with low search volume and high search intent, in this case, high transactional search intent. Most transactional keywords are long-tail because they’re highly specific. The searchers know exactly what they want and are ready to convert. They search for more specific terms than they would with other search intents because they’re looking for a more narrow and more defined list of results.

Related: What Makes a Good Keyword?: 7 Tips To Find the Right Ones

What Tools Can You Use To Find Transactional Keywords?

Most of your SEO and keyword research tools provide ways to learn which keywords you’re researching or which ones people use to find your content are transactional. Programs like SEMRush and Ahrefs both include indicators for the search intent of each keyword. 

If you don’t use a specific keyword research tool, you can use free tools like Google Keyword PlannerSearch Console, and Analytics to look for a list of the most searched terms for your company. Then you can compare those terms to the suggestions in the types of transactional keywords listed above to find ones that fit this area of search intent.

What Can You Use Transactional Keywords For?

There are plenty of ways you can use transactional keywords in your content marketing strategies to better reach searchers with this intent. Some of the ways you can use transactional keywords include:

Targeting Paid Ads

Transactional keywords can help you better target your audience with paid search ads. When you know exactly what your audience is searching for online, you can get more specific with your targeted keywords. For example, you might be wasting money advertising for the term “content software.” It could be either an informational, commercial, or transactional term. 

But if you know your transactional keywords, and find that more people who search for “buy content software” convert on their searches, you could put more money into advertising for that term and ditch the generic one. When you target paid ads for your best chances of conversion, you can use your budget resources more wisely.

Related: What Is Paid Traffic and How Can You Attract It?

Optimizing Product and Service Pages

If you’re looking to get more conversions from organic search, you can use your transactional keywords to optimize your product and service pages. When working with web pages, it’s important to think like your searchers and like a search engine. When thinking like a searcher, you have to consider what it is they want to know about your product. Things like price, features, and service options are typically the most important pieces to add to a product or service page. But these tend to attract commercial search intent.

This is why you also have to think like a search engine. If people are looking for those types of features, what’s going to push them to move to the next step? What words will they use in search when they’re ready to move into that stage? The answer is, of course, transactional keywords. Adding calls to action that use the right transactional keywords can help your product and service pages appear in organic searches for these queries.

Perfecting Content Articles for SEO

Because transactional doesn’t always mean purchasing, you may have other content assets that you want to use to target leads and clients who are ready to convert. Similar to how you would incorporate transactional keywords into the copy on your product and service pages, you can also add them to any content pieces relevant to conversions.

These may include blog posts that promote your podcast, infographics that explain the steps for joining your membership club, or landing pages for downloadable content. The more keywords you can add organically and logically to your content, the better chance you have of your information appearing for the right search queries.

Identifying Search Competitors

How often do you Google your own search keywords? We’re not talking about looking up your branded keywords or checking your content’s search engine positioning. How often have you searched your top keywords just to see what else is out there? Running a simple search or using your keyword research tools for your top transactional keywords can help you identify your top search competitors.

Which companies appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs)? what companies run ads that show up for these keywords? The more you dig into your transactional keywords the more you can learn about your competitors. When you understand how they’re reaching your shared target audience, you can then develop strategies to make your content marketing and organic search better.

Free Tool: Collect Your SEO and Content Analysis Report

Encouraging Clicks in Emails

Though adding transactional keywords to your emails might not help with SEO, they can help influence your audience to engage with your content. Creating transactional-keyword-rich calls to action in your emails can encourage your audience to click more of your links and travel from their inbox to your website. Increasing your click-through rate helps with your content engagement. The more engaged your audience is, the better chance you have of them completing a conversion, such as making a purchase or downloading an asset, like an eBook.

Use All Types of Intent Keywords for Your Content Marketing

While it’s tempting to focus only on transactional keywords for content marketing because they’re the ones most likely to lead to conversions, they’re not the only keywords in the SEO sea. Creating content for informational, navigational, and commercial keywords helps you draw in leads and audience members from every stage of the marketing funnel. By capturing leads at all stages, you can guide and nurture them to the transactional phase through content, not just through organic search.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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