Without keyword research, you can’t do effectivesearch engine optimization.
However, eCommerce SEO is very different than other forms, meaning that keyword research for eCommerce companies is very different, too.
Fortunately, learning how to find the best possible keywords for your eCommerce website – and understanding how to use them – is fairly simple.
At IWD, we do this all the time for our SEO clients.
And while our approach differs from the run-of-the-mill version most agencies use, it’s proven to be incredibly reliable for consistent results – specifically, a lot more traffic for our clients.
How to Do Keyword Research for Your eCommerce Website
We recently covered the top SEO trends of 2023, but the following is a best practice that will ALWAYS prove effective - no matter the year.
So, while it's worth taking a look at those trends and all of our other favorite SEO tips for your eCommerce site, this step-by-step keyword research guide is absolutely essential to your success.
1. Let Your Competitors Help
The first thing we always do is look at what’s working best for our clients’ competitors.
After all, these companies have gone to a lot of trouble to figure out what their market uses as keywords when they’re ready to buy.
The process might’ve taken them years.
It could’ve cost them a fortune.
We don’t believe in taking this trial-and-error approach with our clients’ websites, which is why we analyze what keywords are working best for their highest-ranking competitors.
But how do you do this?
2. Use Keyword Research Tools
There’s no way to conduct keyword research without investing in SEO software.
While there are a number ofgreat SEO platforms, you really only need three to do the kind of keyword research we’re covering in this post.
- Ahrefs– This our preferred keyword research tool, but it also comes loaded with a bunch of other great SEO features, too (e.g., backlink analysis, side audit, rank tracker, etc.).
- Semrush – We also use Semrush to assist with keyword research and other SEO-related activities.
- Google Search Console– While Ahrefs is incredible for viewing your competition’s keyword, Google Search Console (GSC) is the platform for seeing how people are finding your website.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics (GA) isn’t as effective for showing you what your keywords are, but if you use GSC to see what is bringing people to each page on your site, you can then use GA to view important metrics like:
- Bounce Rate
- Pages Per Session
- Average Session Duration
- Conversion Rate
These are all vital for understanding just how valuable certain keywords are to your eCommerce company. SEO isn’t all about traffic. Those visitors only matter if they become customers.
Like I said, there are countless other keyword research tools out there, too. While adding another one to your arsenal could certainly give you a competitive edge, the three I just mentioned are plenty to get you impressive results ASAP.
3. Get Clear About Searcher Intent
Keyword research tools will show you what people search for when they’re in the market for what you sell.
HOWEVER, what they can’t do is tell you what kind of page you need to create in order to matchsearcher intent when they enter these queries into a search engine.
This is absolutely essential to attracting traffic to your eCommerce website.
For one thing, Google has gotten much better at understanding WHY people are choosing certain search queries. Months after theHummingbird algorithm update of 2014, Google began showing it was prioritizing an emphasis on the reason behind searches.
Among other things, this means Google can “understand” the relationship between different words (e.g., synonyms), which is why you may notice that some pages in your market rank for keywords even though they may hardly seem to include them.
To better understand this concept, let’s look at the two main types of pages on an eCommerce site.
Category and Subcategory Pages
The first category are the pages where you actually sell products on your eCommerce website. You may often hear SEOs refer to these as your “money pages.”
And while some of your blogs may generate revenue for your business, this phrase usually refers to:
- Category Pages
- Subcategory Pages
- Product Pages
Those first two are pages that list multiple products.
For example, a category page might be “Athleticwear” and a subcategory under that might be “Running Shorts.”
A product page would be one that actually sells a pair of those shorts.
So, when looking for keywords that are relevant to these pages, you want to only focus on the ones that people use when they’re looking to buy.
Once again, using software to spy on your competition is a huge help here.
You can also use this software to find theterms that have high CPCs – meaning companies are willing to pay a lot for them to place their paid ads.
Companies are willing to pay for these words because they know they target shoppers who are likely to spend money in the very near future.
These valuable keywords are the ones you want for you category, subcategory, and product pages.
Then there arekeywords for your blog posts.
Sometimes, certain queries will return money pages and blogs in search engines.
For example, if you search for “microwave”, you’ll see that the top half of Google is for money pages, but when you scroll down, you’ll see blog posts, too.
However, for the most part, you want to focus your blog posts solely on keywords that return blog posts to searchers.
If you enter a term into Google and you see nothing but money pages coming back, that term isn’t a good fit for your blog posts.
CPC doesn’t matter as much here.
People asking “What” your product does, “How” it works, or “Why” they need it generally aren’t close to converting anytime soon – hence the low CPC.
And while 56% of consumers claim they havemade a purchase based on a company’s blog, these posts also have serious SEO value. You can use them tointerlink to your eCommerce site’s product page, helping your money pages rank better for traffic from people who actually want to spend money.
4. Refining Your Keywords Over Time
Okay, so by now, you should know what it takes to use keyword research software to analyze your eCommerce company’s keywords.
But you probably remember that we also brought up two other important platforms:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
While GA is the one that reports how valuable your traffic is, GSC is the one that will actually show you:
- Total Clicks –How many times do people see one of your pages and click
- Total Impressions –How often do people see one of your pages – regardless of whether or not they click on it
- Average CTR –What percentage of the time do users “clickthrough” when they see your pages
- Average Position –What’s the average rank you have for a given keyword
For the sake of continuously improving your rankings for relevant, high-traffic keywords, you need to return to Google Search Console regularly to see where other opportunities lie.
Refining Your Keywords with Google Search Console
Even with the help of keyword tools like Ahrefs to analyze your competitors’ best keywords, GSC will probably show you other opportunities you’ll want to pursue.
Some of these might be keywords you could add to your various pages to help them rank better.
Others will be related keywords that probably need their own pages to get results. For example, if your product page is getting impressions for a topic like, “How much does [your product] cost?” You should consider creating a blog post that will be able to get you some actual clicks.
Filter Your Google Search Console Data by Country
If yours is like a lot of eCommerce companies, you might not ship to every country on the planet.
In that case, when you’re checking your traffic and keywords in Google Search Console, be sure to set your “Country” filter to “United States” (or wherever you sell).
While you can take steps toblock traffic from other countries, that’s a subject for another article. As far as keyword research goes, just use the filters in GSC to make sure you’re not making decisions based on traffic that you can’t really convert.
Chances are that your rankings will look a lot better when you limit your Search Console’s “queries” report to only those coming from countries you actually sell to.
Need Help with Your Keyword Research for Your eCommerce Website?
Although the above approach might require a little tweaking to get the best possible results in your industry, you’ll learn how to do this with experience.
The good news is that if you simply follow the keyword research steps we just followed for your eCommerce website, you can still see results right away.
We know because it’s the exact approach we take with our clients.
So, if you have any questions or want any help, you cancontact us to speak with the very SEO experts who do keyword research like this all the time.