By far, some of the best website traffic comes from search engines. They cost less to acquire than other channels and are just as profitable. However, this means understanding how to do keyword research for ecommerce stores.
Oftentimes, our clients understand the theoretical value of search engine optimization (SEO) but lack the action steps necessary to ensure potential customers can find their store by using search engines.
Thankfully, it’s easy to get Google, Bing, and the others on your side if you know how to do keyword research. The process isn’t difficult. But you will need to test and measure, just like with any other marketing tactic.
In the last article, we covered several basic eccommerce SEO tips. What you’re about to learn is how to correctly do keyword research for ecommerce stores.
You can apply what you’ll learn from this article regardless of your starting point and ecommerce platform. So whether you’re just starting your or hoping to improve your store’s performance, I have some solid advice to help you grow your store’s revenue.
What Is Keyword Research?
There are a few ways to describe what is keyword research and why we do it. One of the best explanations is from Hubspot:
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines with the goal of using that data for a specific purpose, often for search engine optimization or general marketing. Keyword research can uncover queries to target, the popularity of these queries, their ranking difficulty, and more.
Let’s dive a little deeper into their definition and see how it applies to us as ecommerce marketers.
Words and phrases
To effectively target our ideal customers, we need to know what words and phrases they type into the search engines to find a solution to their issues.
For most of us, it’ll be clear what problem our product solves and the basic search terms users will use.
However, we might not have clarity over every step of the buying process until we research what competitors are doing and by talking to clients.
Anyone who has dabbled in SEO will have used a keyword research tool, such as SEMRush or Rank Tracker. These SEO tools estimate how many people are searching a keyword term per month and how competitive the landscape is for that term.
You might want to target a keyword with an estimated search volume of 1,000,000 searchers per month. But it’s likely you’ll be competing against well-established brands with significant resources. So it will be a challenge to appear at the top of the search results.
Our main reason for doing keyword research is to inform our content plan. Without knowing what terms users are searching for and then arranging them into a logical sequence to cover, you end up producing content that doesn’t drive revenue (or traffic or keyword rankings).
Winning at ecommerce SEO
It doesn’t matter how SEO-friendly WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, etc claim to be, keyword research is essential for you to build a winning SEO strategy.
Effective keyword research involves talking to customers coupled with your industry knowledge and insights. Together these allow you to build up a holistic picture of the common words and phrases they use.
The more you understand your customer, the better you can craft messaging that resonates with them. That’s why keyword research for ecommerce stores is so important.
Is Keyword Research Different For Ecommerce Stores?
I wouldn’t say the overarching process is different. But I would say it’s more complex than trying to find keywords for a blog. The reason is simple. We have far more moving parts in an ecommerce store compared to a blog.
With a blog, you’re aiming to target keywords that you can easily write about and will rank on the first page of the search results within a few weeks. It’s therefore, quite simple to use a keyword research tool to spit out hundreds of ideas. From there, you can start writing posts.
An ecommerce store has several types of pages. These include general pages (home, about, contact), transactional pages (cart, checkout, check delivery status), product categories, and product pages. Some stores even have a blog.
So while we’ll use a similar process to find keywords to assign each page, we’re working with far more pages.
Do We Need Multiple Keyword Buckets?
Ideally, you want to break your ecommerce store into different buckets as this makes keyword research easier. You’ll want a bucket for:
- General pages
- Transactional pages
- Product category pages
- Branded category pages
- Product pages
- Blog posts
- Blog category.
By having defined buckets, you can focus your keyword research efforts on a specific task. You might only have a handful of SKUs (stock keeping units) now but in a year’s time, you might have hundreds. So having structure is critical to you scaling your business.
Does Every Page Need A Keyword?
In short no. You don’t need a keyword for every page. Nor should the search engines be able to index every page. But that’s a different topic we’ll cover in a later article.
As transactional pages (cart, checkout) are there to facilitate the buying process, they don’t need a keyword. No one will Google the keyword “store cart page” unless they are looking for inspiration!
Part of building a keyword plan is understanding which pages need a keyword and those that don’t. So you’ll need to ask yourself when you create pages, do they deserve a keyword or not? If they do, what bucket do they fit into, and what kind of keyword is needed?
What Keyword Data Do We Need To collect?
If you’re just getting started, the most confusing aspect of keyword research is knowing what data you need. Within a second of looking at any keyword research tool, you’ll see they show a ton of data. It can be confusing!
Even a basic Keyword tool like Ubersuggest shows you search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, cost per click, and the change in search volume over the last 12 months. Not to mention the sections on keyword suggestions and content ideas.
That’s a lot of data. No wonder some of us feel confused looking at these tools.
There’s some good news.
You only need two numbers. The search volume and keyword difficulty score. You can largely ignore all the other data.
This figure shows an estimate of how many people search for that term each month. Typically, it ranges from 0 to 1,000,000.
You might see keyword difficulty labeled as various things, but they mean the same thing. Usually, it is a number between 0 and 100. This figure shows how difficult it will be to rank at the top spot for that keyword.
Every tool uses a unique methodology to calculate this figure, so like with the search volume number, you can take it with a pinch of salt. But this figure does act as a good benchmark.
Time for examples!
Here are a few examples so you understand what you’re looking for. You can play around with Ubersuggest or use Rank Tracker by SEO Powersuite (the software we use in-house and from where I pulled the data below) as both offer a free tier.
#1 The keyword “reddit” gets 1,006,890 searches per month and has a difficulty score of 56.
It has an impressive search volume but will be very hard to rank for.
#2 The keyword “ralph lauren” gets 773,180 monthly searches and has a difficulty score of 53.
Also has an impressive search volume but will be very hard to rank for.
#3 The keyword “bentley continental gt for sale” gets 5,430 searches per month and has a difficulty score of 44.
Trying to rank for this long tail keyword would be tricky but not impossible. It has a healthy search volume and is quite competitive.
#4 The keyword “how to make ice cream” gets 16,980 monthly searches and has a difficulty score of 49.
It has a good amount of search volume but will take a bit of effort to rank for. Like the example above, it’s not impossible. Just try not to feel hungry when writing about the topic!
#5 The keyword “Why do people live in monaco” gets 10 monthly searches and has a difficulty score of 31.
Thankfully, this is an easy long tail keyword to rank for! Only a few people search for it every month, but it has fairly low difficulty.
To make your life easier when doing keyword research for your ecommerce business, I’ve divided them into a few buckets. Let’s have a look at each and what kinds of keywords you should look for.
You should pay particular attention to branded keywords as they can drive a ton of traffic you can capture and convert later. So what do I mean by branded terms?
Anything with a recognizable name is a branded term. It could be your company name, Ralph Lauren, Ford, etc. These terms are easy to find keyword data for as they usually are popular.
With this data, you can build pages that target each keyword phrase.
Similar to branded terms, category terms are buckets your products fit in. If you sell Jewelry, you’d need to find keywords and data for rings, watches, earrings, and more.
Of course, you want to go a level or two deeper (e.g. men’s watches, thumb rings, etc.) and use these keywords to create highly focused landing pages.
Finding keywords for product descriptions can be tricky as the difference between multiple products can be subtle. For example, you could sell a watch with several color options for the strap. You might find keyword data for the watch but none for the watch plus different strap colors.
So you might want to group similar products together as one page and use options buttons to allow the customer to select different SKUs.
For ecommerce stores, it’s best to keep blogs around evergreen topics and avoid trying to target trends, as you’re not a media publisher and don’t have their resources.
If you’re stuck finding keywords for blogs, consider writing “how-to” articles and use long tail keywords. You could write how to clean your product, 5 unique uses for product, when to know your product needs changing, etc.
Where to Start With Ecommerce Keyword Research
If you’re new to keyword research, start by experimenting with a keyword tool. Over time, you’ll get used to seeing trending and get better at interpreting the data. You sadly won’t be an ecommerce SEO genius overnight!
When you feel comfortable, pick a keyword bucket (from above), and then plan out what keywords you think you need. Any tool will suggest a ton of ideas, so it becomes your job to sort through them, find the keywords you can rank for, and then delete the rest.
The biggest mistake I see people make with keyword research is not tracking their progress. You can try and target any keyword. But without regularly seeing when you rank for it, you won’t know if you’re aiming at one that’s too competitive or not.
Another big mistake I see is people being stubborn. They aren’t willing to try a different keyword after a few months, even though their page isn’t ranking at all. Don’t be that person. Be willing to try several keywords until you find one that you can rank for in the top 3!
That’s How To Do Keyword Research For Ecommerce Stores
When marketing your ecommerce store, SEO is a fantastic channel to explore. At the heart of good SEO is keyword research. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento, you still need keywords.
A keyword is a word or phrase someone types into a search engine to find a solution to their issue. They could be looking for a local business, a product to buy, something funny, or an instructional article.
By understanding what words and phrases your target client uses, you can create pages that use these terms. The goal of these pages is to rank in the top 3 spots of the search results.
For every keyword, you need some search volume and a low difficulty score. Otherwise, it will be tricky for you to rank your website and you’ll end up talking to no one and making zero sales.
Once you understand the basics of keywords, it’s worth dividing the pages in your store into buckets. Doing so makes it easier to do keyword research and see where you need to create pages or reoptimize existing ones.
When doing keyword research for ecommerce stores, remember to track your keywords and adjust your tactics every month for pages you can’t seem to get ranking. The goal is to show up in the top 3 spots for every keyword you target.
The next step is to organize our keyword using a Keyword Map, which is what we’ll cover in the next article.
Last month Izabela saw her search traffic from Google increase by 400% using 3 SEO tips we taught her.
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