SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

by | Marketing


Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Keyword Research is the Foundation of Your SEO Efforts 

Businesses currently exist in an environment that is driven by two things: Visibility and internet traffic. These elements are necessary for generating leads and moving merchandise. 

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, will improve both elements. When the content on an eCommerce website is optimized, it is more likely to appear on the first page of search results for a set of search terms, which will improve visibility and traffic.

Keyword research is the X-Factor when it comes to the overall success of an eCommerce business. While keyword research requires extensive knowledge of search engines and industry tools, there are several basic concepts that every entrepreneur should understand to quickly evaluate their current situation and understand where there’s room for improvement.

Understanding User Intent

To understand keyword research, you need to understand that user intent drives Google searches. Some users will be looking for general information about a topic while others are looking for very specific information related to their keywords. 

Search engines are getting better at understanding user intent, but it’s also incumbent upon the business to test keywords and understand what delivers results. Transactional queries are important to eCommerce websites because a user might be looking for a specific item, color, brand or style. Over time, retailers can begin to understand the journey a customer takes to learn about their product and eventually make a purchase. 

Tools for eCommerce SEO Research

Of the dozens of SEO research tools that are available, there are two that stand out as being highly reputable and effective: Moz and Semrush.

These two tools are what agencies use for eCommerce keyword research to ensure that products and services appear on the first page of searches. Here are a few ways they support keyword research:

  • Conduct audits: In-depth audits take time, but these tools automate the process to help quickly identify SEO issues.
  • Identify keyword opportunities: Find high-converting opportunities or keyword variations that can be beneficial.
  • Dissect competitor SEO strategies: Use this insight to formulate your own strategy.

Although anybody can use Moz and Semrush, it does take a significant amount of time to learn the full capability of these tools which is why SEO and keyword research is typically outsourced to an agency partner.

Pro Tip: Explore your competitors top-ranking pages to discover phrases you may have overlooked. 

The Importance of Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is an important step in the process. This is where you connect a specific keyword to a specific product or category page. This step brings structure to your strategy, and if your document is organized properly, it will help you track what keywords/pages are performing optimally.

We typically evaluate and select keywords based on monthly search volume and keyword difficulty, but you might identify niche keywords or longtail keywords that provide value. Research tools can provide valuable insight, but the best way to discover what works is to test and evaluate!

Your Product and Category Pages Matter

An eCommerce site is generally only as good as its best performing product pages. Identifying what products are performing well and further optimizing these pages can yield results. 

Optimizing pages that already rank while working on new phrases/products is a balancing act that takes time. The key here is to demonstrate to search engines that you have relevant products and you’re consistently updating your website.

As you continue to work your strategy, you’ll begin to rank for more search terms. And remember that pairing an organic SEO strategy with paid advertising is an effective way to begin generating traffic while you build trust and credibility with search engines.

Getting Started with Keyword Research

Effective SEO keyword research is a process. It takes time to determine which keywords will place your products and services on the first page of any given search engine. Doing the necessary research involves an understanding of your products, buyer intent and third-party SEO tools. This combination of expertise is why many eCommerce retailers opt to partner with an agency. Make sure this partner not only has a proven track record of SEO research, but can show demonstrable results.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about keyword research? Reach out to us directly.

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