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How to use keyword modifiers: to rank, convert and boost sales

Keyword modifiers improve your rankings and help you reach more relevant buyers. That means greater visibility, higher click-through rate and more conversions. Here's everything you need to know about keyword modifiers and how to use them.

Illustration of someone looking at a laptop, surrounded by colourful tropic leaves, with the words 'How to use Keyword Modifiers'

What is a keyword modifier?

A keyword modifier is a word - or group of words - that you add to your core keyword to make it more specific and targeted. By doing that, you increase your chances of ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs), attracting more relevant prospects, and making more sales.

They fall into different categories, such as adjectives, geographical and price-based keyword modifiers. Some even map onto the buyers' journey and you target bottom-of-funnel, purchase-ready prospects.

Why use a keyword modifier?

There are three main reasons to use keyword modifiers in your keywords.

Increase the likelihood of ranking in SERPs

Ranking in the SERPs is tough. You have to aim for the front page because - according to Backlinko's analysis of 5 million Google searches - only 0.78% of visitors click on a page 2 search result. Using keyword modifiers makes you more likely to hit one of those all-important top spots.

Reach a more relevant audience

Keyword modifiers help you reach a more relevant audience. And that increases your likelihood that someone will click through to your website. Imagine someone is looking for a tartan dog blanket for a medium-sized pooch. If you target the keywords 'mid-size tartan dog blanket', you're more likely to get a click-through than you would for a page targeting the more general keyword, 'dog blanket'.

Target purchase-ready prospects

Keyword modifiers also give you a clue about how close your prospects are to buying. By using keyword modifiers that indicate 'buying intent', you're likely to attract people in the decision stage of the buyers' journey. That means they're more likely to convert and make a purchase.


How keyword modifiers help you rank in SERPs

By adding additional words to the keywords you're targeting, they become long-tail keywords. And long-tail keywords tend to be easier to rank for.

Here's an example from my article explaining content marketing and the customer journey. It explores the searches performed by Nihal as he gets kitted out for his first camping trip.

At the time of writing, this was the search volume (SV) and keyword difficulty (KD) for the following keywords:

  • Sleeping bags - 329,000 SV / 48 KD

  • Best budget sleeping bags for backpacking - 1800 SV / 28 KD

You'll see that the search volume for the keyword 'sleeping bag' is much higher than the volume for the more specific long-tail keyword. But unless you have amazing domain authority, you're very unlikely to rank on the first page of Google for a keyword with a difficulty of 48.

However, a keyword difficulty of 28? That's doable. Not only that, but people searching for 'best budget sleeping bags for backpacking' are ready to buy. It's like they're waving a flag saying 'Hey. I'm here. Sell to me.' And they're looking for EXACTLY what you're selling.

So - even though you might reach a smaller audience with a long-tail keyword and keyword modifiers - they're super interested and ready to buy. And isn't that who you want to reach?!


Types of keyword modifier

There are lots of different types of keyword modifiers. They'll differ depending on what you sell and who you're targeting. But here's a few to get you thinking.

Adjective keyword modifiers

These are words that describe something. They help to narrow down a search to deliver more specific results. They might relate to features such as colour, style, size and quality.

  • Blue tops

  • Best mountain bikes

  • Sturdy office chairs

  • Skinny jeans

Usage keyword modifiers

These specify who will be the user of the product or service being researched. For example:

  • Blue tops for kids

  • Best holidays for families

  • SEO for beginners

  • Sleeping bags for tall people

Geographical keyword modifiers

The keyword modifiers are used to find products or services in specific places. Like:

  • Hairdressers near me

  • Copywriters in Newcastle

  • Rural holiday homes

  • City breaks near the sea

Size modifiers

These modifiers help users find the right product based on size. Whether that's their size or the size of the item.

  • Petite wedding dresses

  • Plus-size trousers

  • 8-yard skip

  • 10-gallon planters

Price/purchase modifiers

Everyone wants a bargain - especially when they're shopping online. Price modifiers appeal to purchase-ready savvy shoppers.

  • Cheapest wellington boots

  • Best-value cooking stoves

  • Lowest price UPVC doors

  • Discount code for Xbrand pushchairs

See a list of more keyword modifiers by type at the end of this article.


Using keyword modifiers to create long-tail keywords

Now you know some of the different types of keyword modifiers, let's put them together to create some rank-improving, SEO-friendly long-tail keywords.

  • Cute blue tops for teenage girls

  • Cheapest office chairs for everyday use

  • Mens' hairdressers near me

  • Best dog groomers in Swansea

  • Plus-size floral maxi dresses

If you have access to a keyword research tool, try typing those in and checking out the search volume and keyword difficulty.

You should find they're easier to rank for than more general keywords like 'blue tops', 'office chairs' and 'dog groomers'.


Keyword modifiers for different stages of the buyers' journey

Keyword modifiers are also valuable because they indicate:

  • where someone is in the buyers' journey

  • the strength of their buying intent

Generally speaking, the more keyword modifiers in a search term:

  • the further through the buyers' journey they are

  • the closer they are to making a purchase

Assuming you create content for the four different stages of the buyers' journey, you can use this knowledge to choose the most appropriate keyword modifiers.

Awareness stage keyword modifiers

At awareness stage, your prospect doesn't really know what they need. They're not searching specifically for your product or service. They just know they have a problem. Keyword modifiers at this stage are often phrased as questions and include keyword modifiers like:

  • How to

  • Where to

  • What is

  • Why do

  • Examples

Consideration stage keyword modifiers

At consideration stage, you often see keyword modifiers related to finding, assessing and comparing specific products or services.

  • Provider

  • Solution

  • Software

  • Services

  • Best

  • Compare

  • Pros and cons

  • Versus

  • Reviews

Decision stage keyword modifiers

In the decision stage - also known as the 'conversion' stage - you get keyword modifiers about making a purchase. Often these related to price, availability, or location.

  • Offers

  • Discounts

  • Deals

  • Near me

  • Best price

  • Stockists

  • Where to buy

  • Promo code

  • Ratings

  • Reviews


50+ keyword modifiers for inspiration

Adjective keyword modifiers

  • Best

  • Top

  • Rated

  • Fastest

  • Quality

  • Popular

  • Reliable

  • Child-friendly

  • Wheelchair friendly

  • Accessible

  • Recycled / recyclable

  • Eco-friendly

  • Weatherproof

  • Lightweight

  • Cute

  • Fashionable

  • On-trend

  • Colours - blue, red, green etc

Usage keyword modifiers

  • For him

  • For her

  • For men

  • For women

  • Unisex

  • For kids

  • For teens

  • For adults

  • For older people

  • Ages eg for age 6+

  • For beginners

  • For experts

  • For [specific event or season eg Christmas]

  • For left-handed people

  • For creative types

  • For working parents

Geographical keyword modifiers

  • Near me

  • Near here

  • By the coast

  • In the country

  • In [specific place name]

  • Within [distance] of [specific place name]

Size modifiers

  • Extra-small

  • Small

  • Medium

  • Large

  • Extra large

  • Petite

  • Plus-size

  • Big-and-tall

  • Specific measurements - eg 6x6 fence panels

Price/purchase modifiers

  • Cheap

  • Bargain

  • Best value

  • Best price

  • Promo code

  • Offers

  • Discounts

  • Deals

  • Under £XX

  • Stockists

  • Where to buy

  • Ratings

  • Reviews

  • Compare


I hope this article has given you a strong understanding of what a keyword modifier is and why SEO-savvy businesses use them. There's more on my site about keyword research, long-tail keywords, and the buyers' journey, so take a look if you want to learn more.


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