What are keyword modifiers?

Haley Carroll

  | Published on  

September 29, 2023

So you want to know what keyword modifiers are. That means you’re probably looking to expand your keyword strategy-and if that’s the case, good on you!

More on how keyword modifiers can advance your keyword strategy soon, but first: what are they?

What is a keyword modifier?

To understand keyword modifiers, you need to know what a longtail keyword is first. 

Longtail keywords are search queries that are highly specific and consequently have lower search volumes than more general core keywords.

A keyword modifier is a word, group of words, or phrase that is added on to the core/main keyword in order to increase specificity and relevance. 

So think of it like an equation: core keyword + keyword modifier(s) = longtail keyword

The equation could also look like this:

keyword modifier(s) + core keyword = longtail keyword

Or this:

keyword modifier(s) + core keyword + keyword modifier(s) = longtail keyword

As you can see, keyword modifiers may be before or after the core keyword, or both. There’s no limit to how many keyword modifiers may be used to create a longtail keyword. 

Let’s look at an example. If your core keyword was “personal trainer,” here are some keyword modifiers you might add on:

  • “In Seattle”
  • “For kickboxing”
  • “Best female”

Do you see how these phrases make the original term much more specific?

Types of keyword modifiers

Since there are many different ways that you can add detail to something, there are a few different categories of keyword modifiers. 


These modifiers elaborate on the physical appearance or features of the core keyword. 


  • “Ripped light blue” jeans
  • “Leather” couch
  • “Compostable” plates
  • “Quality” kitchen table


Usage modifiers describe the purpose of the core keyword: who it’s for or what it’s for. 


  • Dresses “For toddlers”
  • Daily planners “For students”
  • Recipes “For weight loss” 


Specifying the core keyword’s whereabouts, or describing its location


  • Italian restaurant “In New York City”
  • “Beachfront” vacation rental “in North Carolina”
  • Hairdressers “Near me”


This kind of modifier gives more information about the core keyword’s physical size.


  • “Adult size” bike helmet
  • “Oversized” duffel bag
  • “Size 6” scrubs


Lastly, price modifiers give you more information about how expensive the core keyword is, or other details related to the cost. 


  • “Discount code for” kayaks
  • “Cheapest” laptop stand
  • “Best value” printer

You may use one modifier from one category, multiple modifiers from one category, or multiple modifiers from different categories to create a longtail keyword. 

Keyword modifiers by stage in customer journey

The phrases added on to core keywords can also indicate what stage a user is along their customer journey. 

They can indicate whether a user is exploring a category and their options, or on the hunt for a solution they know they want. The more specific a longtail keyword is, the closer the user probably is to making the purchase.

Let’s look at what keyword modifiers fall into each stage of the customer journey. 


As users become conscious of their need, they will have a lot of questions around it. That’s where these modifiers come in - they signal that the user wants information. 


  • “Where to”
  • “Why do”
  • “How to”


Once the user has a good idea of the solution they need, they want to assess all of the options for how to procure that solution or who can provide it. You’ll see keyword modifiers that seek more details about the different options for a single product or service. 

  • “Compared”
  • “Reviews”
  • “Services for”
  • “Best solutions for”


The last stage is when the user knows what they want, and now they need to decide where and when to buy it. Many modifiers for this stage fall into the Price/purchase category of modifiers. 

  • “Cheapest near me”
  • “Where to buy”
  • “Most affordable”
  • “Discount codes for”

How do keyword modifiers help SEO?

Now that we understand how keyword modifiers turn core keywords into longtail keywords, it’s time to talk about why they can benefit your SEO strategy. 

Rank higher on the SERP, easier

Since longtail keywords are much more specific than core keywords, there will be a lot less users searching for them. In other words, they tend to have lower search volumes. 

However, terms with lower search volumes typically have less web pages targeting them. If you have less competition and target the search term in your content, that piece will have a much better chance of ranking on the search engine results page (SERP.)

Attract more relevant audiences

If you are looking to serve particular audiences, such as students that need affordable solutions, or mothers that want to provide the highest quality to their children, using longtail keywords that these more specific groups search for can be a more effective way of reaching them.

You tailor your content to your audience type, so the logic follows that you should tailor your keyword strategy to reach these users as well. 

Find users at every stage of their journey

Now that you’ve seen what keyword modifiers look like for every stage of the customer journey, you can target longtail keywords to reach people at each point in their journey - especially the decision stage. 

This will help you get more customers into your funnel and keep them there through conversion. 

Expand your keyword strategy & hone in on your target users

Longtail keywords, with the help of keyword modifiers, are just one way of reaching your target audiences better and ranking higher on the SERP for the searches you want. 

If you want more access to SEO resources and tools, check out our blog or request a demo of our software.

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