Keyword Research for Ecommerce
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You’ve probably heard of SEO if you’re new to the realm of ecommerce or digital marketing in general (SEO). Search engine optimization may be a decisive element in the future of your ecommerce business in a world where the bulk of online traffic comes from a string of text entered into a search box.

Although SEO covers a wide range of strategies, its fundamental goal is to improve how well Google and other search engines comprehend your ecommerce site’s content and the products it offers. By raising the likelihood that search engines will feature your website in the search results when potential buyers are seeking the things you provide, boosts your visibility.

Keyword research is one of the basic SEO strategies. The art of SEO keyword research is to match your website’s and your marketing language to the language that your potential buyers are using to locate the things you’re offering.

The fundamentals of keyword research for ecommerce will be covered in this article. The end objective is to create a list of relevant keywords that you can use as a resource while developing and optimizing your website, writing product descriptions, and creating blog entries.

Why is keyword research for ecommerce important?

Every time someone searches, the search engine must choose a small number of pages from hundreds of thousands of potential sites to present as results. The search engine algorithms will decide which matches are the finest and most pertinent for each search. For the search engines to match and show your site in the search results for the most relevant keyword searches, it is crucial that you carefully pick your keywords.

Ranking in the top spots on the first page of a search engine results page is just as significant as being on the first page for relevant search phrases. Consider the graph below, which compares typical traffic share and search result position to see how much of a difference position can make:

keyword research graph
Photo courtesy of: Advanced Web Ranking

The graph shows us that the first three search results receive over 58% of the traffic.

Keyword research helps you:

  • Close keyword gaps in your store.
  • Understanding search demand can help you develop the best SEO strategy.
  • Make a list of words and phrases that are pertinent to your marketing goals.
  • Make high ROI keywords your top priority when investing in keywords.

In other words, the more visitors (and possible purchases) you get, the closer you are to being at the top of Google Search for relevant phrases. The difference in only a few spots might, in the long run, result in a sizable income loss depending on the search phrase and the number of queries conducted for it each month.

Keyword Research for Ecommerce: the basics

There are a few fundamental concepts you’ll encounter while conducting keyword research for your online store that is crucial to comprehend before you start.

These terms include:

Keywords

In the context of search engine optimization, a keyword is a specific word or phrase that serves as a condensed version of a page’s or website’s content. A webpage’s metadata includes keywords, which aid search engines in matching a page to the right search query.

Long-tail keywords

Simply said, long-tail keywords are those that include three or more words. Because they grab individuals later in the buying cycle and often have greater conversion rates, long-tail keywords are significant (thus why they have their terms).

A person who searches for “hair extensions” is probably just beginning their research process. A person who searches for “20-inch brown hair extensions price” is, however, much further along in the shopping process and much more likely to make a purchase. “High purchasing intent” or “high commercial intent” are the terms used to describe these keywords. A keyword is frequently given one of three search intentions by SEO:

  • Navigational: when users are trying to find a certain website.
  • Informational: when people conduct searches to learn how to accomplish something, like making a homemade recipe.
  • Transactional: when a user is looking to purchase anything.

Search volume (average monthly searches)

Average monthly searches are the most common way to estimate search volume. This represents the total monthly searches for each specific search term (keyword). The best keywords to choose are those with the most searches. You and your shop have a greater chance of generating more traffic and converting that traffic if you rank well for search phrases with bigger search volumes.

Unfortunately, no one can agree on a magic figure that perfectly encapsulates the ideal search volume. For each site, the “correct” search volume will be defined differently.

Competition

There are other factors to take into account besides search traffic. Competition is equally, if not more, significant. It serves no purpose to attempt to rank for certain keywords for which you have no prospect of success. The term “competition” describes how challenging it is to rank for a certain keyword.

Your approach will ideally contain keywords with a high search volume and low competition. To unearth these gold nuggets, though, will take some perseverance, hard effort, and perhaps a little luck.

How to research keywords for your ecommerce SEO strategy

1. Identify your keyword universe

I’ll pretend you’re working on a completely new website because there are a lot of differences between new stores and current sites that need to be avoided.

If your shop is more established, you’ll probably already have a good base of data that you may use to guide your decision regarding the course of your study. However, you’ll need to rely on competitive research for a new website.

Avoid Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other well-established, generalist ecommerce websites and instead identify the main participants in the market who aren’t enormous names. However, don’t be too dismissive; you don’t need to avoid popular informational websites like Wikipedia or Quora. These websites might be a veritable gold mine of keywords and subjects.

You can also start your search using an SEO tool like:

  • Ahrefs
  • Moz 
  • Semrush
  • Google Keyword Planner

In this lesson, Ahrefs will be used. Consider that Only Natural Pet is your major rival and that your company sells organic pet products. You may see a list of the organic keywords the brand ranks for by entering the URL of its website into the Ahrefs search field.

competitor gap ahrefs - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

To find out which websites receive the most visitors and the top keywords for each URL, you may also explore by Top Pages.

top pages - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

Open a Google Sheet and begin entering the keywords for which you wish to rank. Logging each keyword is the first step in creating your keyword universe.

2. Find niche keywords to win

To compete with the 800-pound gorillas in ecommerce these days, especially if you’re just getting started, you need to start with a hyper-niche—a niche inside a niche, and sometimes even a place within that niche (it’s niches all the way down).

To emphasize the necessity of specialization, let’s walk through the complete keyword research process from beginning to end using a real-world example. Examining something physical will help you grasp and apply the principles we’ll discuss.

Continuing with the pet supplies example from before, let’s see how we can determine the best keywords to rank your shop for.

Going to Google and starting with some simple searches using common sense is our first step. Right now, all we want to do is wait to see what Google’s auto-suggest returns. I started this search by entering “dog food” to get things started.

dog food search - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

There is greater competition than ever for many business phrases. Chewy was at the top of the list at the time this was written, followed by Petco, Amazon, and then Chewy. With Keywords Everywhere, you can see search volume and CPC directly in Chrome and Firefox.

keywords everywhere

Let’s now see how all of the Google-suggested keywords appear. Ahrefs is a keyword research tool that we may utilize to do this. Let’s begin by inputting “dog food” as our primary keyword and exploring the suggested keyword ideas.

ahrefs keyword search - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

We can notice right away that these searches frequently use the phrases “supply” (containers) and “kind of food” (raw, fresh, handmade) to describe what they are seeking. However, not all of these words will be pertinent. To eliminate modifiers, we’ll want to scan the terms for them and use the “Exclude” keywords function.

For instance, I’ve seen that some searches include brand modifiers like Purina and Royal Canin. To further improve the outcomes, we want to add as many of those to our list of negative terms as we can. If you don’t use every trademark term, that’s okay. As you can see, we have 60 of the leading brands in the market. The objective is to reduce your list to a more manageable size.

keyword exclusion

Now that we have 342,384 distinct keywords, you should arrange them by monthly search volume to get an idea of how popular they are.

keyword list

Let’s take a closer look at what each of these columns signifies in terms of the metrics they are displaying before moving on.

  • Keyword: the actual phrase that is being typed into Google.
  • Keyword difficulty (KD): a rating out of 100 based on how challenging it is to appear in the top 10 organic search results for a certain keyword
  • Volume: average monthly searches for a term across the most recent 12 months of data that are currently available (specifically targeting users in the US).
  • Global volume (GV): Global search volume displays the average number of times per month that the target term is searched across all of the nations in the Ahrefs database.
  • Traffic potential (TP): This displays the total amount of organic traffic that the page with the top position for your chosen keyword receives across all of the keywords for which it is ranked.
  • Cost per click (CPC): the typical cost per click that marketers incur when their ads appear in paid search results for a term.
  • Clicks per search (CPS): the proportion of clicks to total keyword searches It displays the typical number of clicks per search result for the target term in a certain nation.
  • Parent topic: decides if you can rank for your goal keyword even if your page is aimed at a more broad topic.
  • Snippet Features (SF): the proportion of enhanced results—as opposed to organic results—that appear on a search engine results page.
  • Updated: When Ahrefs last inspected a keyword’s search engine results.

It’s crucial to understand that the keywords you find based on your initial run and early efforts at filtering are simply the tips of the iceberg when looking at keyword data as part of your broader research process. You may find new keywords by doing research that is similar to a contextual inquiry to understand how your consumers think.

Any of these phrases that receive more than, say, 100 searches per month are likely to have a large number of associated terms. Let’s have a look at some of the related terms that surface for a couple of the terms in my current list, for instance.

💡 Note: With a filter set to only display keywords that receive more than 100 searches each month on Google.com alone, I’m utilizing the same list of negative keywords.

Ahmed Samir founder of as-educate

Topic: best dog food

best dog foods

Topic: dog food container

dog food container

Topic: raw dog food

raw dog food - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

Topic: natural dog food

natural dog food - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

When determining your content map and the optimum keyword prioritization, you should always extract the data and make guesses.

Looking back at the phrases produced using the four aforementioned keywords as seed terms:

  1. Best dog food” comes back with relevant suggestions including 29,494 other terms.
  2. Dog food container” comes back with relevant suggestions including 2,164 other terms.
  3. Raw dog food comes back with 10,567 other keywords.
  4. Natural dog food includes 9,182 additional terms and makes a strong case for creating a content page targeting these keywords.

3. Create a research process

To create big lists of useful words to deal with, repeat the preceding procedure 10 to 15 times. Even simpler, you can handle the majority of these actions directly in Ahrefs.

Here is my list, which includes words from all stages of the purchasing process, such as keywords related to particular pet foods, container sizes, calculators, and top-of-the-funnel words like “How to” and others.

related keyword list - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

What should you do now that you have a good list of keywords to target? It’s time to classify these into topics.

4. Build a topic map

A topic map is a spreadsheet where you may compile lists of related keywords into a single, overarching subject.

For example, some of the topic maps from my data set are:

Topic: “Best dog food”

KeywordVolume
Best dog food for puppies7,600
Best dog food for pitbulls4,400
Best dog food for picky eaters2,000
How to choose the best dog food50

Topic: “dog food container”

KeywordVolume
Dog food container 50lbs2,500
Dog food metal container1,500
Ceramic dog food container500
Dog food container with wheels400
How to keep ants out of dog food container40

In each of the aforementioned cases, I’m making broad attempts to categorize the terms on my list into subjects. But our investigation is not through yet. Next, it’s critical to assess if these categories make sense in light of the content type.

Google has often demonstrated that it favors ranking particular types of material for particular queries. You must create the kind of content that Google indicates to see if you want to rank for a specific phrase or combination of words.

The most common types of content are:

  • Informational pages (think Wikipedia)
  • Product catalog pages (Category, Sub-Category, Product Detail)
  • Blog posts
  • Video
  • Reviews
  • Visual/infographics
  • Audio/podcasts

5. Map the different content types

It’s beneficial to intentionally plan the kinds of content you must produce to effectively target your keywords. The easiest approach to achieve this is via some good ol’ Google searching. Use the exported keyword lists from Ahrefs as a starting point for your spreadsheet.

Within that sheet, you can create a new tab with the following columns:

  • Keyword
  • Topic
  • Volume
  • Difficulty
  • Content type

The two highlighted rows from above must be manually inserted. This will indeed be a little tiresome, but it will be worthwhile! Here is an illustration of how to map the various content kinds for my dog food container example.

SERP page - Keyword Research for Ecommerce

This one is a great example of a mixed search engine results page.

Investing in a product category page’s ranking with content and links seems to be the quickest way to get up this SERP. A list-format article is the second easiest. However, you’ll need to get a few thousand reviews if you’re selling directly on Amazon.

We can notice right away that the results lean more heavily toward pages with strong commercial intent. Before the text advertising, there is a carousel of product listing ads (PLAs) at the very top of the page, after which we are welcomed by several product category pages.

It’s time to make a strategy for how to build up this material now that you’ve gone through your priority phrases and planned out all the different content kinds. Making a careful “content map” is a wise first move. This document explains your demands (your ideal keywords), your strategy (what content needs to be created), and your organizational framework (a roadmap for content production).

6. Develop a content calendar

You are aware of the kinds of content you need to produce and have mapped your priority keyword list across your website.

Now is the time to create a schedule so you can get this content online and begin to rank for your goal keywords. It’s beneficial to generate extra sheets in my overall keyword file and arrange them per funnel step to do this (based on search intent).

content map - Keyword Research for Ecommerce
View the full image

You’ll also want to bring together all of the other components of this process:

  • Topic focus
  • Content type
  • Test Title 1
  • Test Title 2
  • Test Title 3
  • Target keyword
  • Additional keywords
  • Target length
  • URL

Here’s an active example, including all of the parameters above.

content calendar
View the full image

Then, build a sheet specifically for the schedule with the following columns:

  • Draft completed by date [ACTUAL]
  • Publish date [ACTUAL]
  • Draft needed by date [ESTIMATED]
  • Expected to publish date [ESTIMATED]
  • Author
  • Status [Not started, Assigned, In progress, Pending, Published]
  • Blog post type [If post, Category of Post]
  • Post topic and description
  • Example site
  • Recommended URL
  • Recommended title
  • Recommended H1
  • Recommended meta description
  • Target keywords
  • Notes

Then, you can import your tools for managing and creating content into this spreadsheet and filter each of these columns to gain insight into your ecommerce SEO efforts from a content and keyword standpoint.

Your keyword research process determines your progress

Your attempts at search engine optimization will only ever be as successful as your methodology. The majority of ecommerce store owners don’t have a process in place and are unsure of how to develop one, especially when they’re just getting started and pressed for time.

Perhaps you used to be that, but you now have a strategy. Please review our SEO checklist to help you enhance your entire SEO marketing strategy.

Keyword Research for Ecommerce FAQ

How do you do keyword research for ecommerce?

1. Identify your keyword universe.
2. Find niche keywords to win.
3. Create a keyword research process.
4. Build a topic map.
5. Map the different content types.
6. Develop a content calendar.

What are keywords in ecommerce?

A keyword is a subject or notion that describes the subject matter of your webpage. To locate certain internet information, people enter keywords into search engines.

Why is keyword research so important for ecommerce content?

When conducting keyword research for your online business, you may better understand search demand and develop a highly effective SEO plan. It teaches you which keyphrases to target for both organic and pay-per-click (PPC) search results, and it helps Google understand what your store is all about.

What is SEO in ecommerce?

Ecommerce SEO entails making your online store search engine friendly. The objective is to rank your landing pages highly in search, depending on what visitors are looking for, whether they be product pages, homepages, blog posts, or category pages.

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