Each day, Google processes over 8.5 billion searches and more than 90% of those searching are likely to click on the first set of results.
The scale of these numbers highlights the incredible importance of Google’s organic search functionality and its rankings on ecommerce businesses, with success often dependent on how high a website or piece of content performs.
For ecommerce companies, keyword research is an essential component of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. It is the art of understanding what terms your potential customers are searching for to find the products you’re selling and how you can better optimize your ecommerce website to help them find it.
By understanding how to perform keyword research, which keywords to target and how to use Google’s algorithms to your advantage, your online business can significantly increase its rankings — leading to greater visibility and increased conversion rates.
Ecommerce Keyword Research Essentials to Understand
Before undertaking an ecommerce keyword research project, it is important to know the basic terms surrounding the topic, including:
Search intent is a term used to describe a user's primary goal or commercial intent when typing a query into a search engine — it is why someone conducts a specific search.
Are they looking for a specific ecommerce site or product? Are they looking for an answer to a question? Are you searching for thought leadership on a certain topic? What is the main keyword they’re using?
Understanding what users are searching for and why is critical in attracting customers to your website and converting them.
Search volume refers to the average monthly searches for a particular keyword search word or phrase. Prioritizing keywords with high monthly search volumes is invaluable, as it allows you to focus on successful keywords.
Additionally, it can indicate the competition level for a keyword, which can give you an insight into what’s working for other companies, what is successful and where you can find an edge.
Keyword difficulty (KD) is an SEO metric that evaluates how difficult it is to rank on the first page for a specific term, presented with a score between 0 and 100.
The higher the keyword difficulty score, the more difficult it will be to compete with existing search results.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that contain three or more words in their search query.
While they generally have less search volume than short-term keywords, the traffic they bring is more likely to convert because of how far along customers typically are in the buying journey.
Product page keywords vs. blog keywords.
Ecommerce keyword research and ecommerce SEO are typically funneled into two specific types of pages: product pages and blogs.
Product pages — sometimes referred to as landing pages — are generally lighter on content but can acquire a significant amount of links. They present page authority and are where people generally find information about products, from product descriptions to individual category pages.
Blog posts are less likely to rank for competitive keyword terms than a webpage or homepage and tend to acquire fewer links. However, the primary benefit of blog pages is the saturation and usage of keywords — instead of having an individual page devoted to a single keyword, you can use broader topics to drive high search volume and promote multiple search terms.
How to Do Keyword Research
Once you understand the basics, it’s time to figure out how to actually perform keyword research. When beginning the process, consider the following tactics:
Take stock of the keywords in your niche.
Before undertaking any SEO keyword research project, you must understand what keywords are relevant to your niche, where you’re currently ranking and what you can do to improve your numbers.
By establishing benchmarks around your current rankings, you can dictate what content needs to be created and what needs to be updated.
Highlight the primary keywords you want to rank for.
Once you have a broader understanding of your current rankings and keyword ideas, you must decide the right keywords you wish to target.
To accomplish this for your ecommerce store, you can use research tools to determine metrics like search volume, relevance and intent, as well as potential keyword difficulty. You can also use the search bar of marketplaces and social media platforms like Amazon and Facebook to see what autocompletes and find related keywords to your products.
By identifying target keywords and relevant search terms that are present within your niche, you can create a plan for creating product pages and content centered around them.
Find out what competitors are ranking for.
Make sure to research how your competition is ranking for any relevant keywords. This will help you determine how competitive certain keywords are and how far you are from usurping the lead spots.
During the competitor research process, consider looking at:
Specific keywords: What keywords are they targeting, and how are those rankings?
Backlinks: How many backlinks are they using, and where on their website?
Topics: What topics are they pursuing that are relevant to their keywords, and how well do those topics perform? Determine if there are any missing gaps you can provide.
Proven Keyword Research Strategies
When performing keyword research for your online store, there are several strategies you can use to effectively enhance your efforts, including understanding the following:
Keyword golden ratio.
The keyword golden ratio (KGR) is a metrics-driven way to determine and find underutilized keywords on the internet. It is calculated by looking at the number of Google results with a keyword phrase in the title, dividing by the monthly search volume.
By using the KGR to find underserved keywords and create content around them, you can increase your rankings rapidly and efficiently.
Content gap analysis.
A content gap analysis is a process of evaluating existing content on a topic or keyword and uncovering gaps to improve upon. In essence, it will compare your current content offerings with your audience's desired content.
By analyzing your content gaps, you can see where easy wins and opportunities may be found to better guide potential customers to the point of purchase.
The “No Strategy” strategy.
While it may sound strange, sometimes the best strategy is no strategy at all.
What does this mean exactly?
Sometimes the best keyword research strategy relies on your expertise and what you see in the market. Is there a specific search term that is hot at the moment or a growing trend that is increasingly popular within your niche?
It is easy to get caught up in metrics and transactional numbers while forgetting to see what is in front of you. In your conversations and interactions within your industry, find out what people are saying and noticing.
Keyword Research Tools
There are many ecommerce keyword research tools available on the market that can help serve your business. Some of the more effective SEO tools include:
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset equipped to help ecommerce businesses with specialized features, from keyword filtering to site auditing.
Its Site Explorer tool is especially useful for ecommerce companies, as it allows users to analyze organic traffic and backlinks on a website.
Helium 10 provides a software suite with various capabilities, including product research and listing optimizations.
For ecommerce businesses, their most critical attribute includes their extensive keyword research tool, which allows users to implement features such as multiple keyword search options and backend keywords.
Google Search Console.
Google Search Console is an online service offered by Google to allow users and businesses to improve their performance on Google’s search engine.
Through a comprehensive set of tools and reports, GSC allows its users to measure and fix performance issues, optimize content marketing, review search engine results pages (SERPS) and understand how Google searchers view your website.
Google Keyword Planner.
Google Keyword Planner is a free online service provided by Google that gives users the ability to research and track keywords for ecommerce SEO strategy campaigns.
This keyword tool was designed to help marketers and businesses discover new keywords related to their companies and see estimates of the searches they receive as well as the cost to target them.
Keywords Everywhere is a paid chrome extension dedicated to keyword research. It measures analytics such as search volume, cost per click (CPC), competition and trend data.
With multiple built-in tools, it can help you increase your keyword awareness in no time.
Semrush is an online SaaS platform used for keyword research and online ranking data.
With tools like their Keyword Overview, users can type in different keywords to gain a complete picture of everything they need to know, from monthly search volume and keyword trends to metrics such as pay-per-click (PPC).
The Final Word
Keyword research is an integral part of ecommerce success. It is a system that rewards effort, dedication and an analytical mind.
Ecommerce keyword research is also a process where the importance of quality content over quantity cannot be overstated. By inundating your content and website with keywords, you can drive an audience to your website, but it may not be the one you’re looking for.
By building a keyword strategy around specific keywords and digital marketing goals, businesses can find users receptive to your product and keep them coming back for more.