When you’re searching for something on Google, how often do you scroll past the first page of results?
If you’re like most people, the answer is almost never.
75% of people never make it to the second page of a Google search. So ranking on the first page of Google is important, to say the least.
But that’s not all: The position on that first page matters too. The first result that shows on a page garners the most clicks and traffic, with traffic decreasing more and more the further down a page you go.
Here’s a graph that demonstrates the importance of page positioning:
Bottom line? The higher your site is ranked in search results for certain search terms (or keywords), the more traffic you’ll get to your store. And you know what that means…more sales.
But how can you get your website to rank in the first few positions of search results? That’s where keyword research comes in.
In this blog post, you’ll find out how to do keyword research for your eCommerce store, so that you can increase your traffic—and sales.
First things first, you’ll want to brainstorm keywords that your audience might be searching for. Come up with both seed keywords and long-tail keywords.
Seed keywords are the primary or main keywords that form the foundation of your keyword research. If you sell noise-cancelling headphones, for example, then your seed keyword would just be “headphones.”
Long-tail keywords are keywords that contain three words or more. They tend to have lower competition and higher conversions than shorter, seed keywords. For instance, it would be better (and easier to rank for) “over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphones” then just “headphones.”
When brainstorming keywords, climb into your customer’s mind and think about what they would be searching for. And think about how your product is different from everything else that’s already out there.
So if you sell headphones, what can you offer that Bose and Beats don’t already? A low price point? A cool, unique feature? If it’s the former, maybe your keywords would be:
- Cheap noise-cancelling headphones
- Best noise-cancelling headphones under 100
- Best budget noise-cancelling headphones
It will probably be pretty tough to rank #1 for “best headphones,” but you might be able to pull it off for “best noise-cancelling headphones under 100.”
Once you’ve brainstormed a few seed keywords and long-tail keywords, add them to a spreadsheet.
Research Your Keywords
Now that you’ve gotten an idea of the keywords that you want to try and rank for, it’s time for the fun stuff: starting your keyword research. Here are a few tools that can help you with this:
You know when you’re searching for something on Google and then Google recommends some related searches that you might be interested in? Well, turns out those related searches are there for a reason: People are searching for those keywords.
So if we search for “best noise-cancelling headphones under 100,” Google gives us some related keywords at the bottom of the page that we might want to look for, as well:
Of course, not all of them will be relevant—but some of them might be.
Try typing in all of your brainstormed keywords into Google and see what additional, related keywords Google suggests.
According to a survey, 38% of consumers look to Amazon first when searching for a product, while just 35% go to a search engine first.
And given that most people searching on Amazon are looking to buy, it’s a great place to find high-converting keywords.
Type your keywords into Amazon’s search box and Amazon will come up with related suggestions. So if we search for “headphones,” this is what Amazon shows us:
And if we search for “noise-cancelling headphones,” this is what pops up:
Pick the most relevant keywords for your brand, and add them to your spreadsheet.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free keyword tool developed by Google. While it’s intended for Google Adwords users to find the best keywords for their pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, it’s also a useful tool for basic SEO research, as users can determine a keyword’s search volume, find related keywords, and get an idea of what people are searching for.
First, type into Keyword Planner your seed keyword, since this can give you an idea of what people are interested in and searching for. If we search for “headphones” in Keyword Planner, this is what we find:
Based on this, we know that people are interested in wireless headphones.
Now, let’s dig a bit deeper. Plug in your long-tail keywords into the search box. If we search for “Cheap noise-cancelling headphones,” then this is what we see:
The average monthly searches for this keyword are much lower. Keyword Planner tells us that the competition is also high, but remember that this is the competition for paid ads—not for organic search. So for our purposes, the competition isn’t relevant.
Your goal here is therefore just to find additional long-tail keywords that you might want to try and rank for. Put these selected keywords into your spreadsheet and mark down the search volume for each of those keywords. Next, we’ll determine the difficulty (competition) of those keywords.
In conjunction with Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends can provide useful keyword data. It tells you if searches for a keyword are increasing or decreasing and what time of year is the most popular time to search for that keyword.
So if we search for “best noise-cancelling headphones,” we see that interest peaks between November 18th and November 24th, perhaps indicating that people are more interested in noise-cancelling headphones during the gift-giving holiday season.
SEMrush is one of the best tools out there for keyword research and it’s one of our personal favorites at eScale. It’s especially useful for spying on your competitors.
SEMrush provides its users with extensive keyword overviews. Look what happens when we search for “headphones,” for example:
But that’s not all. You can also search for a domain and SEMrush will show you all of the backlinks for that website; the top organic keywords; the top organic and paid competitors; and much more. Here’s what a domain overview looks like when we search for “bose.com”:
Note that, when searching for a domain, if you leave in the “http://www” part, SEMrush will show you data for only the homepage; instead, just type in “thewebsite.com” (leaving out “http://www”) and you’ll get data for the entire website.
KWFinder is another useful SEO tool that gives you a monthly search volume estimate for a keyword, along with the difficulty of ranking for that keyword.
According to KWFinder, the keyword ranking difficulty is classified as such:
- 0-9: Effortless
- 10-19: Go For It
- 20-29: Easy
- 30-39: Still Easy
- 40-54: Possible
- 55-74: Hard
- 75-89: Very Hard
- 90-100: Don’t Do It
So if we search for “headphones,” this is what we find:
According to KWFinder, “headphones” will be hard to rank for, but “bluetooth headphones” will be possible.
After inputting your keywords into KWFinder, note down the difficulty of those keywords in your spreadsheet.
Select Your Keywords
After you’ve done your research and compiled all of your keywords, along with their search volume and ranking difficulty, it’s time to select the keywords that you’d like to rank for. Keep in mind that your keywords should fit the following criteria:
High Search Volume
First and foremost, you’ve got to make sure that people are actually searching for your keyword. Otherwise, what’s the point in trying to rank for it?
For some of your pages, you might want a higher search volume than others. For example, you might want a higher search volume for your higher-value product pages.
You’ll also want to pay attention to when people search for your keywords and make sure that the search volume for your keywords remains relatively consistent throughout the year.
If you get 10,000 monthly searches in November but then only 100 monthly searches every other month of the year, then you might want to reconsider ranking for that keyword.
Keyword & Product Fit
There’s a huge difference between unqualified traffic and qualified traffic. You might pick a keyword that ends up ranking highly and brings a great deal of traffic to your store, but if it isn’t a good fit for your product, then most people probably aren’t going to buy it.
This is an obvious example, but if you try to rank for the keyword “wireless headphones” but you don’t sell wireless headphones, then you’re going to attract the wrong people to your site.
Be intentional about your keyword choice and make sure that the keywords you choose are an accurate reflection of your products.
High Buying Intent
Your goal is to make sales, right? For that reason, you have to take into consideration buying intent when selecting your keywords.
Keywords with buying intent are keywords that people use when they are in buying mode. So someone searching for just “headphones” isn’t necessarily in buying mode. Maybe they’re just curious to learn about the origins of headphones. Maybe they want some tech help with their own headphones. Or…maybe they are looking to buy. But with such a vague keyword, we can’t classify “headphones” as a keyword with a high buying intent.
On the other hand, “cheapest over-the-ear headphones” is a keyword with a higher buying intent, since it’s more specific and indicates that the searcher is thinking about price.
One way to find keywords with higher buyer intent is to look at Google Keyword Planner and look for the keywords with higher paid competition and a higher suggested bid.
People aren’t going to waste money on a keyword that isn’t converting, so if its a competitive keyword in the paid ads world, then you know it probably has a high buyer intent too.
Lastly, you’ll want to check out the organic competition for each keyword. If you’re trying to compete against major brands, then you’ve probably got your work cut out for you.
Google your keywords and use tools like SEMrush and KWFinder to find out how difficult it will be to rank organically for your keywords. Then select the keywords that you have a shot at ranking for. The search volume might be lower, but at least you’ll have a chance at making it on the first page of search engine results.
Once you’ve narrowed down your keywords, make sure that you keep track of them in your spreadsheet.
Stick to one keyword per webpage; avoid keyword cannibalization, which is when multiple pages on your site have the same keyword. The problem with this is that Google doesn’t know which page is most relevant for that keyword, so it ends up ranking all of those pages lower.
To avoid this from happening, keep a spreadsheet of all the keywords you want to rank for and note what page the keyword will be on.
Conclusion: How to Do Keyword Research
Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of how to do keyword research for your eCommerce store. Keyword research is an essential part of growing traffic to any website, so don’t rush through this.
Finding the right keywords for your store will take a bit of due diligence, but if you do it right, it will pay off.
It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow the steps outlined above and choose your keywords intentionally and carefully, eventually, you’ll increase your store’s ranking…and sales.