To drive highly-relevant traffic to your online shop, you need a solid grasp of the search terms that potential visitors use. Our ecommerce SEO queen clarifies how to analyze your current keywords, accurately assess searcher intent and research ripe new opportunities.
In order to drive highly-relevant traffic to your online shop, you’ll need to identify and rank for the right search terms. Which means: ecommerce keyword research is required.
Keyword research is the process of learning what terms and language people use to search for products or services that are relevant to your business.
It’s a very important step in the content creation process, as it will help you understand how people are finding your website, and what opportunities you’re missing out on, so that you can create content which captures that share of the traffic.
Sounds good in theory, but how can you get started? Let’s start by taking stock of your current keyword performance.
Don’t miss our complete guide to ecommerce SEO for lots more on this topic.
The best way to understand your current keyword game is to analyze your real performance in the search engine results.
Sounds obvious right? Not quite. There are a number of really awesome SEO tools on the market that are positioned as tools for keyword research – but beware, the large majority of these tools used scraped data rather than real search data.
Scraped data is great for competitive research or keyword inspiration, but when it comes to analyzing your own search performance, real data will give you the most accurate and complete picture.
That is why we at Ryte always prefer to use Google Search Console – it’s free, easy to set-up, and offers data straight from the horse’s mouth. Which means that by using the API, we can turn it into actionable reports for all to use. We love it!
First things first – do you have a Google Search Console property? If not, stop everything you’re doing and register your website for the GSC… Jk, but not really.
Here’s what it looks like:
In GSC, select Performance > Search results > Queries. As an ecommerce site, you should pay particular attention to the date range, as keyword performance may be influenced by seasonality or buying trends.
Let’s start with the four search metrics – clicks, impressions, CTR, and position. These metrics can be used to determine how people are interacting with your website in the search results.
Ideally, your average position is low, meaning the pages on your website are ranking well for the associated keywords, your average CTR is high, indicating that your pages look appealing to searchers, and you see a healthy upwards growth of total clicks in the graph.
By the way, don’t worry too much about the overall numbers because your website is naturally going to rank for queries that don’t result in a click – that’s normal!
For more information on interpreting GSC data, I recommend you check out this article I wrote for the Moz blog.
Now let’s take a look at the list of keywords. The list features all the keywords that curious searchers used to find your website in the search results.
Scroll through the list – how business-relevant are these keywords for you? Is your website triggering for keywords that bring qualified traffic to your website?
For example, if you’re an online business that sells vegan leather shoes, ideally your keywords should include terms like “vegan leather boots”, “what is vegan leather” or even “best black vegan leather gladiator sandals”.
Keywords such as “vegan restaurants in Munich, Germany” or “real leather jacket” are unlikely to bring the right audience to your website.
I encourage you to create a set of your high priority keywords, based on your focus products or services, and analyze how well you perform for those keywords.
If you went ahead and created a list of your most business-relevant keywords, you may notice that your keyword list is all over the place. Since ecommerce businesses often sell a variety of products, you’ll likely have a wide range of keywords.
For this reason, analyzing your keyword performance in segments is particularly advantageous for online shops. Consider segmenting your keyword performance by product or category to dive deeper into how those particular pages or keywords are performing.
This analysis will take a bit of Excel and elbow grease if you want to accomplish it with the GSC. For an easier solution, Ryte has a handy “Keyword Segments” report that allows you to create keyword groups or segments and analyze them as a whole.
After a quick analysis of your current keyword performance, you should have a sense for your keyword landscape and begin to see areas of your website, particular pages, or topics that may need additional enrichment.
But how do you actually find new keywords to use or topics to cover? There are a number of different, fun ways to conduct keyword research!
One quick and very easy way to quickly find opportunities for keyword optimization is to optimize your “almost page 1” keywords (aka your keywords that currently rank on page 2 of search results).
In the Google Search Console’s Search Performance report create a filter for keywords in the last 12 months that have positions between 10 and 20.
Click a keyword from this list, followed by pages to see the URL that ranks for this keyword. If the keyword is thematically relevant to the page, then with just a few content optimization techniques, you should be able to improve the URLs position, pushing it to page 1.
For more information on how to pick and harvest low hanging fruit, check out this helpful article.
You probably think a lot about your target audience. But do you know what burning questions they have in order to make their purchase?
Knowing and answering these makes for fantastic content pieces, and this is a tactic I am constantly carrying out.
Look in forums like Reddit or Quora (see above) to find out what your target audience is itching to know. Searches here suggest that there could be a lack of existing resources online.
You can also look at the product reviews by customers on competitors’ pages, and of course, Amazon. You can get important information on user behavior from questions and customer reviews, as well as chatting with your support and sales colleagues to uncover what FAQs they’re often asked.
Often these questions are a hidden treasure that you can use to generate traffic!
Depending on the type of question or problem, your content strategy should address these issues encountered and answer them, either briefly on an optimized FAQ page, or in the form of a detailed blog post.
If you already have a question in mind, you can use Google’s auto-suggest function to find out if it is already in the index. For this, just type in the question and suggestions will appear automatically.
Chances are, your target group is not exclusively interested in just one topic, so start writing about related topics.
For example, if you’re in the ecological textile industry, you can blog about the environment and sustainability, if you offer fitness supplies, you can write about sports nutrition.
Tools like Wordassociations.net or Ryte’s nifty Content Success report will help you find related search terms, word associations, and correlating trends in the search requests.
As always, the better you know your target group, the better you can provide them with relevant content. This not only expands your keyword reach, but also proves to search engines what an authority you are on the primary subject.
Free keyword research tools are a great way to discover new keywords to include on your page or topics to cover on your website.
Here are my favorite free keyword research tools:
Once you’ve gathered your keyword ideas list, let’s turn that into a prioritized action plan so that you can work through each topic methodically.
In order to assess the keywords, we need to understand what the searcher is looking for when they enter them into Google (or DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yandex, and so on!).
Understanding their aim is called “Searcher Intent Analysis” and is an incredibly important step that lets us know what kind of content to create that will best satisfy their intent.
There are three main user intents: Transactional (I wish to buy something), Navigational (I wish to visit a specific brand or service), and Informational (I want to learn something).
Your online shop should aim to rank well for your main product’s transactional terms, for example “buy 3d printer”. Usually, the content Google wants to rank for these pages are optimized category or product pages that provide the possibility to carry out a buy-action.
However, informational terms are also important for your eCommerce website too! Someone looking for “are 3d printers easy to use?” or “best 3d printers for beginners” are in the consideration funnel phases, and therefore some informational content will be best for the job.
I like to call these specific kinds of informational intent terms transactional-research, as a searcher has a product in mind, they just need some convincing before carrying out a purchase.
If you can be ready and ranking for those terms, you will win their visit and hopefully their transaction further down the line.
My process of search intent analysis is rather simple, although you can create automated programs to do this for you.
I like to filter my keywords down (in a tool like Google Sheets or Excel), if they contain a certain tell-tale keyword modifier.
To find informational keywords, I filter by question, proposition, and comparison type terms. For example, the keyword might contain terms like “why”, “what”, “how”, “does”, “can I”, “can you”, “should”, “when”, “similar”, “compare”, “alternative”, “best”, “top”, and so on.
Of course, this won’t capture everything, but it gives you a pretty fantastic starting point. Give it a try with your ranking keywords. Maybe there are some surprising results!
Tip: With our “Keyword Segments” report under Search Engine Optimization, you can cluster keywords (and pages!) based on the types of keywords they rank for, or any other criteria you have in mind. We also have Segment Recipes in place if you need quick inspiration of what to set up!
So there you have it – everything you need to know about ecommerce keyword research. Hopefully by the end of this article, you have a thorough understanding of how to analyze your current keywords, using Google Search Console, assess searcher intent, and find new keywords that are highly relevant to your business.
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Published on 02/15/2022 by Izzi Smith.
Izzi is Product Marketing Team Lead at Ryte, as well as a passionate WUX advocate that loves to support everyone in creating better websites for their visitors. Izzi regularly presents at Ryte’s webinars and industry conferences, where she enjoys sharing her expertise and memes. When she's not optimizing, you can find Izzi at one of Munich's beer gardens or playing video games.
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