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eCommerce Keyword Research: The 2022 Guide

A new year is here, and it’s time to take your eCommerce business to the next level. But let’s get real: you simply can’t do this without the help of keyword research on your side. The good news is, that we’re offering up the complete eCommerce keyword guide for 2022 in today’s post.

In it, we’re going to tell you things like: 

  • The basics of eCommerce keyword research
  • Search Volume and Competition
  • How content marketing helps you drive organic traffic to your site
  • How to format your eCommerce sitemap

…and so much more.

The truth is, there are thousands, if not more, of people out there who would directly benefit or enjoy whatever it is your eCommerce store offers. But without effective and strategic keyword research and content marketing, they aren’t going to find your website. 

Once you begin to tailor your keyword research to the specific problems you solve and the products you offer, you’ll begin to notice your traffic—and in turn, your business—growing right before your eyes.

The Basics of Keyword Research

Before we dig into the specifics of eCommerce keyword research, let’s start with a refresher on the basics of keyword research in general. 

Keyword research and keyword strategy, in its simplest form, is the process of finding the keywords your target audience is likely to type into search engines in search of whatever you offer. 

To begin with a really basic example: running shoes. Let’s say your eCommerce store sells running shoes. Even more specifically, these running shoes come in bigger sizes than the ones you find in most stores.

To help the people who would benefit from these runners find you, which of these two keyword options makes the most sense:

  1. Running shoes
  2. Size 15 running shoes

If you guessed option two, you’re right! The first term is simply too generic. 

Big-name brands like Nike are a lot more likely to come up when someone enters that keyword unless you have an unlimited AdWords budget to compete with them (which 99% of businesses do not!). 

But option two, on the other hand? Just imagine the delight when someone with size 15 feet goes searching for running shoes just for them and up pops a link to your store that offers that very thing!

But keyword research isn’t just about gut feelings and guessing what your customers like. It involves…drumroll please…research! Yes, keyword research, like other types of research, involves the collection and analysis of data.

Keyword research tools

To do this, there are a number of different keyword research tools out there to choose from. 

To name a few…

  • Moz Keyword Explorer 
  • Semrush
  • Wincher 
  • RankIQ
  • GetKeywords
  • KeySearch
  • Google Trends
  • Ahrefs

Along with these tools, there are also several strategies to pick from, including competitor research, blog posts, or keyword ideas. We’ll get more into the best tools and strategies later in this post. But for now, let’s talk more about eCommerce keyword research specifically. 

Keyword Research For eCommerce Stores

When it comes to keyword research for eCommerce stores, there are special considerations to keep in mind when writing for potential customers. The same goes for keyword research for any business or industry you can think of.

For eCommerce, however, here are some of those special considerations:

  • If you’re in a competitive niche, not targeting keywords that are too specific or you’ll never rank
  • Finding keywords that have sufficient volume to ensure you include keywords people actually search
  • Your domain authority, page authority, and backlinks
  • Checking in on what your competitors are doing, including the specific keywords they’re using, their page authority, domain authority, and where they’re attaining most of their backlinks from

Let’s look at each of these in greater detail next.

Keyword difficulty

You’ll also hear keyword difficulty referred to as keyword competition or SEO difficulty, but they mean the same thing: how difficult it is to rank in Google’s organic search results for that specific term/keyword.

When keywords are incredibly difficult, it means your chances of ranking before them in search engine results are incredibly tough, if not impossible. For example, your chances of organically ranking before Nike are next to none. 

But you don’t want to go for keywords that are too easy either. This could be a sign that the keyword volume is so low no one is even searching for it in the first place. And that brings us to our next point! 

Keyword volume

Here’s a handy definition from WordStream that explains what keyword volume means:

“As the term implies, keyword search volume refers to the volume (or number) of searches for a particular keyword in a given timeframe. Keyword search volume is typically averaged over a set timeframe to provide marketers with a general idea of a search term’s competitiveness and overall volume. This data is often contextualized within specific timeframes to allow SEOs and marketers to see how certain keywords drive traffic over time.”

To give you an example, you can imagine the keyword volume, or monthly searches for “Super Bowl” goes up a lot in February each year. At the same time, you’ll notice this keyword’s difficulty rises along with it. 

But the sooner you can start including relevant keywords in your content, the stronger you can build your page and domain authority, and we’ll talk about those next. 

Domain authority

Every domain has an authority ranking and different ranking tools use varying algorithms to measure it.

Moz is the leader in all-things domain authority (DA) and here’s how they define it:

“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). DA scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater likelihood of ranking.

Domain Authority is based on data from our Link Explorer web index and uses dozens of factors in its calculations. The actual Domain Authority calculation itself uses a machine learning model to predictively find a “best fit” algorithm that most closely correlates our link data with rankings across thousands of actual search results that we use as standards to scale against.”

To give you an idea of the domain authority Moz gives to some websites you’ve likely used or at least heard of…

  • Google.com: 100
  • YouTube: 100
  • Nike: 91
  • NYTimes.com: 95
  • CNN: 95

Page authority

It’s similar to DA, but page authority tells you how likely a single page is to rank in SERPs, rather than the website as a whole. 

Finally, we need to talk about backlinks before we explore keyword research even further. Backlinks are part of link building, which is a critical component of your overall content marketing strategy.

Backlinks refer to links to your website on other websites. 

Let’s say your eCommerce store sells birdhouses. If a website that ranks different birdhouses links to your website, this is considered a backlink. The more of these you can get (and from high-quality sources) the better your ranking and domain authority will be. In fact, link building is the most effective way to get high rankings for your website.

There are many reasons for this. But one of the biggest ones has nothing at all to do with how often content gets published or what keywords were used in order to craft it – it comes down simply to using links that point back towards your site! 

At Blue Water Marketing, we use a number of white hat link-building strategies to help you get backlinks for your site.

  • Citation Links: These are directory listings that benefit your business and are a less expensive alternative to publisher links.
  • Publisher Links: Our team has relationships with hundreds of publishers to get you quality links on sites like Forbes, Inc Magazine, and Harvard.
  • Broken Link Building: We have a defined process of identifying content in your industry to locate broken links to naturally increase links to your site.
  • Pricing Options: Our link-building services can be one-off requests or yearly campaigns which will provide you with a strategy and roadmap for your links.

Now that you know more about the basics of keyword research, content marketing, SEO, and link building, let’s look at a real-life example of these strategies in action.

Keyword Research in Action: Real-Life Example

The Client

Neuvana is a company that strives to continually improve people’s lives through neuroscience. Their products provide increased overall wellness – calmness, balance, and rejuvenation. Their vagus nerve stimulating headphones is nothing short of revolutionary, and they’re working hard to help more people reap their benefits.

Blue Water Marketing is proud to help them with the content marketing and SEO aspects of these efforts. Next, we’re going to tell you how our strategy resulted in not only an 826% increase in overall keywords but also a 300% increase in their organic search traffic. 

The challenge

Neuvana had launched its latest product, XEN in November with a massive media plan set forth. The marketing wasn’t necessarily working together, however. There were many different branches working separately, instead of together.

So, we were onboarded to maximize spending and bring all parts together in a cohesive plan that includes:

  • SEO: determining valuable niche keywords that would drive traffic & increase Domain Authority.
  • Facebook Ads: Researching and executing new advertising campaigns to drive qualified traffic and purchases with Facebook and Instagram Ads. 
  • Content Marketing: Establishing quality content that speaks to people searching for various topics relating to the problem and solution that Xen provides to their customers.

Our approach

Now, as for our approach to this challenge?

We implemented a comprehensive plan that covered all of their bases to ensure nothing was missed.

The Blue Water Marketing team received all of the data from each marketing campaign. With this data, the team reviewed and audited the spending and cost-per-result for each campaign to determine the gaps and successes to determine a roadmap to move forward.

The data in these reports told us a number of things. Namely, there were many missing keyword opportunities.

  • Only Branded Keywords
  • The content being posted wasn’t ranking
  • A lack of consistency

Next, for their keyword research, we established a number of niche topics and keywords that would generate qualified traffic for the foreseeable future based on keywords and search trends that would rank on Google.

The result

  • 826% Increase In Organic Keywords Found On Google
  • 300% Increase In Organic Traffic

Pretty cool, right? Now—can you just imagine what results like that would do for your own eCommerce business? The good news is, you don’t need to imagine. Because now, we’re going to dive deeper into the content marketing strategies to drive organic traffic to your site. 

Implementing Content Marketing To Drive Organic Traffic

If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t panic. Content marketing always takes work, but it does get easier and more natural over time. Once you start finding topics relative to the product or product category on your site, you’ll start to notice a significant increase in traffic. 

First, you’ll want to find out where you’re ranking begins. This includes your site as a whole (DA) as well as individual pages (PA). From there, you can make informed decisions about which parts of your site need the most work, what’s already working, and other areas you can improve. 

If you’ve already implemented keyword research strategies for your site, make sure you’re using a ranking tracker to find out where you stand. There are plenty of different ways to do this, including Ahref’s Rank Tracker tool and connecting your site to Google Search Console

Next, it’s time to start spying on the competition! You can utilize SEMRush’s keyword tool to do so, along with tracking your own progress at the same time.

Powerful data to improve your SERP results

With this tool, you’ll find out things about your site as well as your competitors’ sites, including:

  • Organic search volume
  • Organic traffic over time
  • Paid search volume
  • Number of backlinks
  • Referring domains and IP addresses
  • Traffic by geographic channels
  • Explain how finding topics relative to the product or product category can result in a significant amount of traffic
  • Find topics related to the “top x accessories” or something similar to rank on google, and introduce the product.

This tool also gives you one of the most useful pieces of information when it comes to implementing content marketing and eCommerce keyword research to drive organic traffic: related keywords. They offer up related keywords as well as phrase match keywords which are variations of the keywords users input into the search bar. 

So, if you sell red running shoes, it might tell you that users looking for your content also type in “red runners” to find what they’re looking for. This kind of information is incredibly powerful when it comes to keyword research.

SEMrush is a helpful tool for getting the job done, but there are several different options to explore until you find the right platform for you. 

Keyword intent

We can’t talk about keyword research without talking about keyword intent. 

The Search Engine Journal illustrates the basics of keyword intent here:

“High intent keywords are those that have high commercial intent, which signifies a strong likelihood for the searcher to take an action, whether to inquire, purchase, or simply gather information, which may later lead to a sale.

One way to identify keyword intent in terms of eCommerce is by looking at the cost per click (CPC) on your favorite keyword research tool (a metric that references paid search ads). More specific keywords tend to cost more but are an indicator of high search intent.

Many SEOs identify three kinds of search intent (navigational, informational, and transactional) but based on findings shared on Think with Google, there are really four:”

Google search intent

Why does this matter? Well, the keywords users search to find your content tell you a lot about their intent. Someone searching “puzzles” might be less likely to buy today than someone searching “buy puzzles online,” for example.

Often, the intent comes down to the length of the keyword. When keywords are longer (long-tail keywords) and more specific, this often signifies a user’s intent to purchase. 

Understanding long-tail keywords

We have a whole post that tells you everything you need to know about using long-tail keywords for your eCommerce site to rank on Google right here.

In it, we explain what they are:

“Long-tail keywords are more specific and sometimes less common than other keywords. Long-tail keywords are “unpopular” (low Volume) and are highly-focused search queries that tend to convert exceptionally well. They focus more on a niche and targeted phrase.”

We also explain why they’re so beneficial:

“When it comes to ranking, it is much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords. Since fewer websites compete for high ranking, you are more than likely able to rank at the top in the search engine result pages (SERP) of Google. The longer and more specific the search terms are, the easier it will be to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche. Focusing on a group of long-tail keywords will result in a significant amount of increased traffic altogether.

Another benefit of focusing on long-tail keywords is that, although these keywords are used less in search, the visitor that finds your website is in the conversion part of the funnel. They are using more specific terms which means they are more likely to buy your service or product.”

Put Your Keyword Research to Work: Formatting Your eCommerce Sitemap

You’ve learned a lot today. You know what long-tail keywords are, how to find keywords for your site, how to find out where your competitors stand, the basics of keyword research, and much more. 

But now, it’s time for the fun part: putting your keyword research to work for you.

To do this, you’ll implement content marketing strategies into your eCommerce sitemap. This is where things like how you name your product pages, your internal linking strategy, and your anchor text come into play. Essentially, your sitemap organizes your site, helps customers find what they’re looking for, and helps search engines deliver relevant results. 

Problems with ineffective sitemaps

You can imagine the damage an ineffective or incomplete sitemap can do to your SERP performance. But here are some specific examples of what it can mean for your eCommerce site: 

  • Your new pages will take a long time to be discovered
  • Image search results might not include your product images
  • The updates you make to your site might not pay off for a long time because search engines don’t have the data they need
  • If your sitemap isn’t complete, Google and other search engines won’t know a lot about your site, meaning its authority and relevance won’t be high, and neither will its position on SERPs.

Now, let’s talk more about some of the specific components of your sitemap to give you an idea of where and how to implement your eCommerce keyword research. 

Implementing Your Keyword Research for eCommerce on Your Website

Content pillars 

These are high-level informative pieces that tell users more about specific pages on your website. For example, an eCommerce business that sells couches could have content pillars for all of the different kinds of couches, including love seats, sectionals, and recliner sofas. These content pillars are a great place to insert long-tail keywords and informative content.

Not only do they help users by offering up useful information, but they also signal to search engines that this is an authoritative and useful site, helping it rank higher.

Internal linking

Implementing strategic internal linking on your eCommerce site is another critical element in your overall content marketing strategy.

Let’s go back to the couch example. And let’s say we’re writing a content pillar for the love seat category. In this content pillar, you could include a sentence discussing what makes love seats different from sectional sofas. Then, you’ll link the “sectional sofas” text to another page on your site where users can browse sectional sofas.

Because you’re taking them to another site on your page rather than an external website, this is known as an internal link. These are also useful to your users, as well as providing important information to search engines about the content on your site. 

Anchor text

This brings us to our next topic: anchor text. What is it, you might ask? 

We love this definition from SEMrush: “An anchor is a text you click to move from one internet destination to another; it literally anchors two different locations on the internet together.”

When it comes to eCommerce keyword research, however, it’s useful to use your keywords as anchor text. For example, remember how you linked “sectional sofas?” If that’s one of your keywords, you’ve just created an effective internal link with one of the keywords you want to rank for—great job!

Categorizing your products

Finally, it’s also important to utilize your keywords when you’re categorizing products on your eCommerce site.

Let’s say your website sells shoes for different types of sports. You’ve done keyword research and found many of your competitor’s users are searching for “women’s tennis shoes.” 

So, you could then create (or rename an existing category): Women’s Tennis Shoes. This signals to Google exactly what that page and category is all about, meaning it will show up higher in SERPs, getting you more traffic in the process!

Expert eCommerce Keyword Research

Time for a deep breath! We’ve covered a lot in today’s post. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help. With Blue Water Marketing‘s expert eCommerce keyword research strategies, you can rest assured all of these steps (and more) are taken care of for you. 

Our team provides eCommerce SEO services that deliver for our clients. We also understand that online stores require specific strategies. That’s why, within our growth plan, we work to optimize all of your categories, subcategories, and product pages with valuable keywords that are relevant to where shoppers are in your conversion funnel.

Then, all you have to do is sit back and watch your eCommerce business grow right before your eyes. Ready to find out more about what we can do for you? Click here to book your free discovery call.

Did you learn a lot about eCommerce keyword research in this post?

Here are three more posts that explore other eCommerce topics:

Chris Marrano

Chris Marrano

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