3 Razor Sharp keyword sources for E-Commerce websites
- May 22, 2020
- Posted by: Roman Sadowski
- Category: SEO Hacks for E-Commerce webstores
Below you will find:
- Conventional Keyword Research vs E-Commerce keyword Research
- Three Razor Sharp keywords sources including:
- Onsite Search
- Your Buyers
- Your Adwords Account
This article is written for the owner or SEO manager of an E-commerce website selling goods or services online.
My goal is to present to you 3 unconventional yet simple methods of generating relevant keywords your products and categories should be ranking for.
These methods will be in line with your business objectives and most likely improve your online visibility and your margins.
They will allow your team to focus on keywords that bring the most value to your business vs those with the most volume in Google.
Let’s dive in
As you know, there is a vast amount of content written on the subject of keyword research.
When you google “how to do keyword research” you will find dozens of high-quality articles describing the process.
If you want to read up, I would recommend starting with big brand names like
Surely time well spent.
These articles will differ in methods, tools or logic but the core idea remains the same:
- …find a list of relevant, high-quality keywords with the right intent and decent volume.
- Then go to work on your content to start ranking for them.
The problem is:
Our resources are limited, and we need to have razor-sharp focus to generate the best results.
An SEO agency would apply a blanket approach to keyword research for any client they work with.
They would look at all the keywords the site appears on and prioritise from there.
They would pick low hanging fruit to get the most traffic and rankings for the least resources spent.
This is all well and good for most businesses online however, when it comes to a pure E-Commerce webstore, things get a little different. There are other variables at play like:
- Best-selling products
- Products generating the best margins
- Release dates
- Fads etc
Overall, you don’t want to spend time and money optimising for ANY keyword, you want to optimise for keywords that matter to your business the most
So, as you can see
There is so much more to keyword research if you run sizable E-Commerce website
there is not much out there to teach you the real deal behind keyword generation for your E-Commerce business.
So, let’s get you educated!
Conventional keyword research vs E-Commerce keyword research
Conventional keyword research
Conventional keyword research for most online website like blogs, content, SAS (Software as a service) or digital products is fairly straightforward.
I would simply define it in a few bullet points:
- Decide who you are ( well… your product or service )
- Find out what your customers search for
- Find out what your competition is ranking for
- Go and get them!
There are 100s of very creative strategies to come up with the right keywords.
You need to use a few prime online tools to help you with generating data and help with your selection. The best out there include:
- Google Search Console
- Keyword Planner
- Keyword surfer (Chrome extension )
- A few others too…
If you are pro SEO and you know what you are doing, you should have no problem coming up with a bunch of good keywords for the business.
If you run a sizable E-Commerce website selling 100s or 1000s of products online, your keyword research will be a different story altogether.
You need to consider a bunch of keywords that you will always want to rank for like top-funnel head keywords. These might not convert for you as much but they play an important role for your brand visibility and recognition. When people see your brand more often online, their journey to conversion will be shorter over time.
You might need to consider keywords that are seasonal, for example, “black Friday”, “Christmas”, “Book day” “back to school” etc
You might need to consider keywords around major product releases “PS5 release date”, “pre-order“ etc
You should consider keywords that may take off like crazy or be a fad and die next month “loombands”, Fidget spinners” etc
And, as an E-commerce operation, you might have a different objective like:
- Anticipate trends and sales volumes to make buying decisions
- Get ahead of the competition in organic for product launches
- Save on PPC spending by optimising high cost keywords
- Optimise best sellers in stock vs products that don’t bring much revenue
All the above should be your objectives and it should feed into keyword research for your business.
Not only that,
As an Ecommerce business, you have different sources and tools at your disposal to generate keywords that are important to your organisation compared to other business models. E-Commerce websites enjoy more insight compared to an offline small business and present opportunities for keyword research which are not described anywhere online.
( as far as I can see, and I do read a lot! )
Below I have listed
3 Razor Sharp keyword sources for E-Commerce websites
a few sources that as an e-commerce website you might want to explore as a smart business owner or an SEO manager working for an e-commerce enterprise.
Let’s face it: People use search on e-commerce websites much more than on any other websites.
On average over 40% of traffic uses onsite search and over 70% go for a search bar on your home page.
This is a significant amount and the search terms collected in your analytics are a tremendous source of keywords your customers search for.
Mining your onsite search data in Google Analytics can prove to be an excellent source for long tail keyword and also a place to spot early signs of demand forming for a particular product.
Not only that,
Site search is the first place you will spot rising trends. As other search volume tools like Google Keyword Planner can give you only a 12-month average search volume, it will not be able to show you fads or sharp growing trends such as these examples:
To see that before anyone else you will need to go to your Site Search Report
Here is how I use the Site Search report for keyword research:
I assume you have your site and Google Analytics set to collect search term stats, if not this is what you do
1. Define your search url pattern.
To do that, simply search for anything on your site, let’s take Walmart.com and search for “test”
The search url pattern is …/search/?query=test
2. Insert into the backend of GA
You will need to simply take “query” and insert it into the backend of GA. To find it go to:
Admin -> View Settings ->
Enable “site search” and enter “query” into Query parameter section as per below screenshot.
On different platforms, the query search string might be different but, in most case, it will come as
“text”, ”q”, “query” or something similar
3. Collect the stats
After a minimum of 24hrs, your search terms report will be ready for you in your Google Analytics.
You will find it under Behaviour -> Site Search -> Search Terms
If your site enjoys decent traffic, the Site Search report will provide you with more than enough useful keywords which your customers are searching for.
From here you should:
- Narrow down the concepts you are interested in
- Export data to an excel spreadsheet
- Import into to Ahrefs Rank Tracker and check search volume and rankings in google
- Optimise for higher positions
Ahrefs will give you Google’s search volume and your current positions. You should prioritise keywords on the bottom of the 1st page or 2nd page that have high search volumes.
The final file after exporting back from Ahrefs Rank Tracker would look like this:
( with Barbie as a sample concept )
You can mine endless amounts of useful keywords from your Site Search for any concept you provide products for.
Simply narrow down your search using the filter in the Site Search -> Search Terms Report
This is the big one.
To whomever does your buying – be it a whole buying department if your organisation is being enough or you yourself if you are a one-man show – you should pay close attention to what your buyers have to say about products, ranges, new launches, demand, stock availability etc.
Most often, the buying team is way ahead of everyone else in terms of products, demand, priorities.
They know what products or ranges are making the best margins, sell well, those that are scheduled to hit the market on certain dates etc. They also know which products or ranges do not sell well and are likely to be soon discontinued.
you should involve your buying team in your keyword research and keyword tracking
in fact your keyword research should be driven by buyers’ input.
I would advise you to establish a monthly “keyword review” schedule where the SEO team shares the currently tracked keywords and let buying department provide a feedback on:
- Those that should be added
- Those that have been discontinued
- Those that should be prioritised
- Those that are scheduled to go live
If done regularly it will allow the business to:
- Keep focus on optimising keywords which matter to the business
- It will keep the SEO report fresh and relevant
- It will allow you to maximise ROI from the organic channel
Here is a sample email you could use to send to your buying team
In the attachment would be a list of all keywords you currently track, optimise, and report on for the whole business. My personal tip on this one:
CHASE, CHASE, CHASE!
Your AdWords Account keyword data
Organic traffic is the life blood of every profitable online business. You cannot sustain profitability and protect your margin if ALL your sales come from paid channels over a long period of time. Ad spend will eventually eat into your profits, hinder your growth and possibly kill your online venture.
But, at the same time, every retail operation needs to diversify their online channels and the paid ads should be part of a large digital mix.
It would not be wise to forgo revenue opportunities that may come from a lean paid strategy.
As you have an Adwords Account and you have been running ads for a while, you will have a tremendous amount of keywords information in your Adwords account. The SEO team should actively work with the Paid search team to share keyword stats on a regular basis.
The objective would be to optimise the most expensive keywords to get closer to the top of the page. Once accomplished, the paid search team might remove ads for these keywords – saving the ad spend and improving performance.
There are a number of KPIs you could use:
- Total Cost per keyword
- Total cost of sales per keyword
Your PPC keyword report would look like this:
I like to look at the Total Cost of sales metric as this is a better performance metric to keep in mind vs total spend, which could be huge but efficient.
Once you have such list from the paid search team,
- drop it into Ahrefs rank tracker
- see where you rank for these keywords
- export and clean up the data
- sort by the position and volume.
Chose those which rank between 4-10 and start with the highest volume keywords for optimisation.
Now you have a nice list of keywords which your business spends the most money to run ads on. Your job is to push them up to top 3 on the page. This exercise will have huge benefits for the company if done on a regular basis.
So, there you go. I hope that the above opens some opportunities for you and your business to narrow down the team’s efforts and focus on these keywords which bring the most money to the business, vs those which have the most volume in Google.
All resources are limited and time moves only in one direction. Make sure you use it wisely and you get ahead of your competitors in Google.