Search engines rely on keywords to define and categorize the millions of websites online. Without them, it would be hard to determine what a website is about and direct search queries to the right content. As defined by Moz, keywords are ideas and topics that explain what your content is about.
Keywords also help rank websites online. Search engines like Google use keywords and a website’s user experience to determine which sites should rank for different searches. This process is key because it helps Google provide a good user experience by ensuring every search will be matched with the right result.
For instance, if a user searches for “dresses,” Google wants to make sure that user lands on a site related to dresses, so he or she could have a positive searching experience. Otherwise, the system wouldn’t work and people would stop using it.
So, no matter how pretty your website looks or how many product images you have, if you don’t have relevant keywords, you won’t be able to get high rankings in search results. Here, you’ll discover how to find the right keywords for your eCommerce store and learn how to implement them on your site. Let’s get started!
What Keywords Should I Rank For?
The answer may seem easy: “keywords related to my product” — right? Well, it gets a bit more tricky than that. First, you have to see what the exact terms people are looking for. This process will enable you to find if your product is on demand — determined by search volume — and help you discover other relevant keywords that may not be on your radar.
Once you’ve found your primary keywords, evaluate related ones and sort them based on competition, search volume, and user intent. Let’s go through the process step-by-step below:
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The Ecommerce Keyword Research Process
1. Use Google Keyword Planner to Create a Keyword Report
Start by using Google’s Keyword Planner and entering your main target keyword. For example, let’s say we have an eCommerce store selling dresses targeting “United States.” So, you would enter the keyword “dresses,” as you see below, and make sure the targeting is set to “United States.”
You’ll see the results popping up to the right side of the platform:
There are two tabs: group ideas and keyword ideas. The “group ideas” tab groups related keywords together to show different sets of target keyword ideas. The “keyword ideas” tab provides all keywords without taking into consideration how they can be related within a group.
As expected, a lot of people are looking for the term “dresses,” but that doesn’t mean that all of those users are looking to buy a dress. Alternatively, they may be looking to buy a dress but might be in the very initial purchasing stages when they are still evaluating different stores. Thus, it’s recommended to look for more targeted keywords that may have a higher purchasing intent level.
For instance, we can see below, there are different searches related to “dresses,” such as cocktail or formal dresses. That is a more specific search with potentially a higher level of intent.
2. Download the Keyword Report and Analyze the Data
Download your report by clicking on the “download” button located on the right side of the platform. I like to save it to my Google Drive, but you can download it as a regular Excel file.
Saving it in my drive allows me to easily share the document and collaborate with my team. Just check the “Save to Google Drive” option. Once opened in Drive, your document will look something like this:
Then I like to remove the unnecessary columns and filter the results based on search volume. The idea is to get relevant keyword ideas with the right balance between search volume, competition, and intent.
For instance, in this keyword research, I found a good opportunity to target keywords related to “plus size dresses,” which is one of the types of dresses my store offers. This keyword is repeated in different instances, focusing on different dresses such as “plus size formal dresses” or “plus size fashion dresses.”
Taking those keywords and other ones that I found relevant to the store, I can then create content around them and optimize my store to rank for them.
Bonus: If your Keywords have No Search Volume …
If you find out that there are no searches related to your product, you may need to adopt a more educational path that will allow you to bring awareness of your product to the public. This is the case of innovative products, where people are not aware that those products exist. In that scenario, run a keyword research for related searches and create content about those terms.
For instance, if you’re launching a new self-stirring mug, you can create an article about coffee mugs and how your product is revolutionizing that industry. People are already looking for coffee mugs, so, by targeting this keyword correctly, you can benefit from this traffic and encourage people to shop.
3. Keep Researching Using Other Sources
Google Keyword Planner is great, but it doesn’t hurt to compare your findings with other tools. You may be able to find new keyword opportunities. Another main source you should consider as an eCommerce store is Amazon. It is one of the primary platforms used for product research, so it is a great source for keyword ideas.
One of the Amazon-related tools I use is Keywordtool.io You’ll need to upgrade to get numbers, but at least with the free version you can see keyword ideas:
How to Use Your Target Keywords on Your Website
Now that you have a clear understanding of what keywords you should focus on, it’s time to use them strategically to rank accordingly. There are multiple ways to incorporate those keywords:
1. Product Descriptions and Titles
Strategically use your target keywords in product descriptions and titles. Be careful not to sound like a robot. Sometimes people use too much keyword stuffing, which can make the content seem robotic and unappealing. Have a balance between keyword density and still being informative.
2. Menu Categories
Considering that “plus size” dresses was one of my main target keywords, I can opt for creating a whole new category for that type of dresses, and even feature it in my main menu. Coincidentally, this is what Forever21 has done in their eCommerce store:
They could have located “plus size” under the Women category, but they made that move strategically.
3. Link URLs
Your URLs should have the main keyword you’re trying to target. If I’m visiting the plus size main page, it makes sense for the URL to have the keyword plus size, as you can see below:
To reinforce this strategy, Forever21 also includes that keyword in the lower pages related to plus size clothing. This, in combination with the product description and title, helps Google define that the page is targeting “plus size.” It’s also helpful to reassure users where they are on the page.
Another way you can implement your target keywords is in blogs. Content helps a lot with SEO and repeat purchases, and it encourages new visitors to convert. When creating your content calendar, take into consideration your target keyword and density. Create a piece of content that is related to your keyword and which mentions it throughout the piece multiple times.
For instance, if you own this dress store focusing on plus sizes, you can create an article about “the most flattering ways to wear plus size clothing.” It’s a relevant topic for your particular audience, and it includes your target keyword right in the title.
While this guide should provide you with a good understanding of how to complete keyword research for your SEO efforts, keep in mind that this should be an ongoing process. It’s going to take time to implement these changes and for Google to realize you’ve made them. Also, SEO is a forever changing industry — people change the way they search, and engines change the way they rank. You need to make sure you keep going over your keyword research every so often.
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