In the ever-evolving world of ecommerce, standing out in the crowded digital marketplace is crucial. But where do you begin? By mastering keyword research for your ecommerce website, that’s where! This guide dives deep into the art and science of keyword research, ensuring your products don’t just exist online, but thrive.
Why keyword research is so essential
Keyword research is not just a one-and-done task – it’s the backbone of your SEO strategy. When it comes to SEO for ecommerce, performing thorough keyword research will help you understand the language your target customers use when searching for products like yours. Here’s why it’s indispensable for any e-commerce business:
1. Understanding your audience
Keyword research offers a window into your customers’ minds. It reveals what they are searching for, their needs, and their language, allowing you to tailor your content and offerings more effectively. It also helps you understand how different customers might search for the same product in varied ways, enabling you to cater to a broader audience.
2. Driving targeted traffic
It’s not just about driving any traffic, but the right traffic. Proper keyword research ensures that the visitors to your site are those interested in your products, increasing the likelihood of conversion. By targeting specific keywords, you’re more likely to rank higher in search results for those terms, leading to more visibility and click-throughs.
3. Competitive analysis
By understanding the keywords your competitors are targeting, you can identify gaps in their strategies and capitalise on them. Keeping track of the keywords trending in your industry can help you stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing market dynamics.
4. Content optimisation
Keyword research informs your content strategy, ensuring that you create content that your audience is actively searching for. Using the right keywords in your content improves its relevance and authority, which is crucial for better rankings on search engines.
5. Better conversion rates
By understanding and aligning with the intent behind searches (informational, transactional, etc.), you can tailor your website and content to meet those specific needs. When users find exactly what they’re looking for on your site, it improves user experience, which is a key factor in conversion optimization.
6. Long-term strategic advantage
Keyword trends can provide insights into shifting consumer behaviours and preferences, enabling you to plan and adapt for the future. Consistently appearing for relevant searches helps in building brand awareness and credibility over time.
For businesses using paid search advertising, keyword research ensures you are investing in keywords most likely to bring returns, optimising your ad spend. Effective keyword targeting can reduce reliance on paid advertising, as improved organic search rankings can drive traffic without ongoing costs.
How to perform keyword research
So, where should you begin? While the keyword research process will vary depending on the tools being used, the following steps should help you:
1. Identify core topics
Start by taking a deep dive into your products or services. What are the overarching themes or categories they belong to? This isn’t just about what you sell, but about understanding how your customers might describe or search for these items. Consider the language they use, their needs, and even their problems that your product solves. This initial step is about creating a broad framework that will guide your more detailed research.
2. Utilise keyword research tools
The digital landscape offers a plethora of tools, each providing unique insights into the world of keywords. From Google Keyword Planner’s data-rich interface to Ahrefs’ competitive analysis capabilities, these tools are your gateway to understanding not just what people are searching for, but how these searches change over time, how often they’re searched, and how your competitors might be leveraging them.
3. Analyse search volume and competition
This step is a delicate balancing act. High search volume keywords are like bustling marketplaces – lots of potential customers but also lots of competition. On the other hand, low competition keywords might be like niche boutiques – less traffic but potentially more relevant and easier to rank for. This phase is about finding the sweet spot between visibility and attainability.
4. Embrace long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are the hidden gems of keyword research. They are longer, more specific phrases that might not pull in massive traffic volumes, but they can attract highly targeted visitors. These keywords are particularly valuable in the context of voice search and natural language queries, as they mirror the way real people talk and search.
5. Understand keyword intent
Peeling back the layers of keyword research reveals the intent behind searches. Is the searcher:
- Looking to buy (transactional)
- Seeking information (informational)
- Trying to find a specific website (navigational)?
Aligning your content with these intents ensures that your site provides the answers, products, or services searchers are looking for, thus enhancing user experience and potential conversions.
6. Prioritise your keywords
With a universe of keywords at your fingertips, the real skill lies in selecting the ones that are most likely to bring value to your business. This involves considering a mix of factors – from how relevant they are to your offerings, to how difficult it might be to rank for them. This is a strategic exercise in selection, focusing your efforts where they can yield the best results.
7. Keyword mapping
Finally, allocate these carefully selected keywords to different pages of your site. Each page should have a focused set of keywords, ensuring that the content is relevant and targeted. This not only helps search engines understand and rank your pages better but also ensures that visitors landing on these pages find exactly what they were searching for.
Integrating valuable keywords into your website
Once you’ve completed the keyword research, it’s time to start implementing it. This step is all about embedding these keywords seamlessly into various elements of your website to enhance its relevance and visibility on search engines while ensuring a pleasant user experience. Here’s a detailed look at how to do this effectively:
Strategic placement in key website elements
Product titles and descriptions
This is perhaps the most straightforward, yet crucial, area for keyword integration. Use targeted keywords in your product titles and descriptions, ensuring they are natural and informative. This not only helps in search engine rankings but also aids customers in understanding the relevance of the product to their search.
Incorporate keywords into your page URLs. A URL with relevant keywords can provide a clear indication of the page content, both to search engines and users. Keep URLs concise and avoid overstuffing them with keywords.
Headings and subheadings
Use keywords in your headings and subheadings (H1, H2, etc.) throughout your site. This not only helps in organising your content effectively but also plays a role in how search engines understand and rank your page content.
While meta descriptions don’t directly influence rankings, they are crucial for click-through rates. Incorporating keywords here can make your search result more relevant to users, encouraging them to click on your link.
Alt text for images
Keywords in the alt text of images contribute to SEO and accessibility. They help search engines understand what the image is about and serve as a description if the image fails to load.
Creating keyword-rich, valuable content
Blog posts and articles
Create informative and engaging content that targets your keywords, particularly those with informational intent. This not only helps in ranking for these keywords but also positions your site as a knowledgeable authority in your industry.
Many customers have common questions. Use this section to incorporate keywords naturally, addressing these queries. This can also be a great way to capture long-tail keyword traffic.
Product guides and tutorials
Crafting guides and tutorials that incorporate your keywords can be extremely beneficial. They provide value to your customers while also allowing you to rank for relevant search terms.
Enhancing user experience with keywords
Navigation and category pages
Keywords should guide the creation of your site’s navigation and category pages. This not only aids SEO but also improves user experience by making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
Use keywords as anchor texts for internal links. This helps in spreading link equity throughout your site and also aids in user navigation.
Monitoring and refining keyword integration
Regular review and update
The digital landscape is dynamic, so regularly review and update your keyword usage. This ensures that your content stays relevant and competitive.
Analytics and user feedback
Use tools like Google Analytics and pay attention to user feedback. Analysing how users interact with your content can provide insights into how effectively your keywords are performing and where adjustments might be needed.
Monitoring and adapting
Continuous monitoring and adapting are essential to stay ahead in the game. Here’s how you can effectively monitor your keyword performance and adapt your strategy to maintain and improve your search rankings.
A snippet from our keyword research bank.
Monitoring your keyword performance
Track search engine rankings
Regularly check where your pages rank for your targeted keywords. Tools like Google Search Console or SERP (Search Engine Results Page) tracking tools can provide this data. Pay attention to any fluctuations in rankings, as they can indicate changes in search engine algorithms or emerging competition.
Analyse traffic trends
Use analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor the organic traffic coming to your site. Look at metrics like page views, time on site, and bounce rate for pages targeted with your keywords. A decline in traffic or engagement might signal that your keywords or content need updating.
Evaluate conversion rates
It’s not just about driving traffic, but converting that traffic into sales. Analyse how well your targeted keywords are contributing to your conversion goals. Are certain keywords bringing in visitors who are more likely to make a purchase or engage with your content?
Assess user engagement
Tools like heat maps and session recordings can provide insights into how users interact with your site. Are they finding what they’re looking for? How are they navigating from your keyword-rich content to other parts of your site?
Keep an eye on your competitors. Are there new players in the market? What keywords are they targeting? Understanding your competition’s strategy can provide valuable insights and help you identify new keyword opportunities.
Adapting your keyword strategy
Respond to keyword performance
If certain keywords are underperforming, assess why. It could be due to high competition, changes in search trends, or misalignment with user intent. Adapt your strategy by either improving your content for these keywords or focusing on more effective alternatives.
Stay updated with market trends
Consumer behaviour and market trends can shift rapidly. Keep your finger on the pulse of these changes and adjust your keywords accordingly. Tools like Google Trends can be invaluable for this purpose.
Refine content for better engagement
Based on user engagement data, refine your content to better align with what your audience is seeking. This might involve updating outdated information, adding new sections to existing content, or improving the overall readability and value of your pages.
Test new keywords
Don’t hesitate to experiment with new keywords, especially if they align with emerging trends or untapped market segments. Testing and analysing the performance of these new keywords can reveal valuable opportunities.
Optimise for voice search and mobile
With the increasing use of mobile devices and voice search, ensure that your keyword strategy includes conversational phrases and long-tail keywords that are more likely to be used in voice queries.
Leverage user feedback
Listen to your customers. Reviews, surveys, and direct feedback can provide insights into how your audience talks about your products or services, leading to new keyword opportunities.
Level up your keyword research!
Effective keyword research for ecommerce isn’t just about understanding SEO; it’s about understanding your customers and how they search for your products. By diligently following these steps and continuously adapting to trends, you’ll not only increase your visibility on search engines but also significantly enhance your chances of attracting and converting your target audience.