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Ecommerce Keyword Research: A Practical Guide + Tools

Last Updated on 28th Jun, 2024 | Ecommerce

a practical guide to ecommerce keyword research

How to Perform Effective Ecommerce Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of developing a successful eCommerce strategy. Choosing the right keywords can help you drive qualified traffic to your online store, boost conversions, and grow revenue. This comprehensive eCommerce keyword research guide will teach you proven techniques and strategies for researching and selecting high-value keywords tailored specifically for eCommerce websites.

The Importance of Keyword Research for Ecommerce

  • It helps you understand searcher intent and what products/information customers are looking for. This allows you to create targeted content that ranks for those searches.
  • Identify high and low competition keywords on which to focus your SEO efforts. Lower competition keywords are easier to rank for.
  • Provides search volume data so you know which keywords get the most traffic. This helps prioritize keywords that will drive the most visitors.
  • Informs your content strategy and site architecture. You can structure your site and blog around ranking for key terms.
  • Enables effective PPC and shopping ad campaigns. You can identify commercial keywords to bid on and match ad copy to search queries.

Differences Between General and Ecommerce Keyword Research

ECommerce keyword research differs from generic SEO keyword research in a few key ways:

  • More focus on commercial intent – The goal is to identify keywords showing purchase intent to drive sales, not just informational traffic.
  • Emphasis on long-tail variants – Specific product and category keywords tend to convert better than short, broad terms.
  • Analysis of competitor keywords – Look at the terms rivals are ranking for to find gaps and opportunities.
  • Use of shopping feeds – ECommerce keywords often relate directly to products, so researching your merchandise categories is important.
  • Seasonal fluctuations – Keywords shift dramatically for eCommerce around promotions, holidays, and events.

Overview of What This Guide Covers

This guide provides a deep dive into eCommerce keyword research, including:

  • Core concepts like search intent, volume, difficulty, and long-tail keywords
  • Effective keyword research strategies and techniques
  • Applying keywords to eCommerce sites for SEO and PPC
  • ECommerce-specific keyword tools and data sources
  • Key challenges and best practices

By the end, you’ll have a methodology for researching and selecting the optimal keywords to boost your eCommerce site.

The Basic Concepts of Ecommerce Keyword Research

To research keywords effectively for eCommerce, you need to grasp some core concepts:

Search Intent

The intent behind a search query determines the type of keywords you should focus on. There are four main types of intent relevant to eCommerce:

  • Informational – Early research queries to learn about products and solutions. Example: “best mirrorless camera for video”
  • Navigational – Looking for a specific brand, product, or site. Example: “”
  • Commercial – Comparison shopping queries and evaluating options. Example: “mirrorless camera reviews”
  • Transactional – Ready to purchase queries. Example: “buy nikon z6”

ECommerce sites should target primarily commercial and transactional keywords, with some informational ones. Avoid focusing too much on branded navigational terms.

Search Volume

Monthly search volume indicates how often a keyword is searched. High volume keywords get more traffic but often have more competition. Low volume ones are easier to rank for.

Use search volume data to:

  • Gauge traffic potential and revenue opportunity
  • Prioritize keywords that will drive the most visitors
  • Identify low competition “hidden gems” in the long-tail

Volume should be balanced with other factors like intent and difficulty. 100,000 monthly searches for an extremely competitive term may be less valuable than 1,000 searches for an easier commercial phrase with high conversion potential.

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty reflects how competitive it is to rank for a keyword. Factors include:

  • Number of ranking domains targeting the term
  • Authority of top ranking sites
  • Optimization strength of current top results
  • Age of domains ranking highly

This helps you assess whether a keyword is realistically achievable. Difficulty is usually highest for short, broad keywords and lower for longer, more specific long tail variants.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific, longer phrases like “buy Canon EOS 90D DSLR camera”. They have low search volumes but often convert better because they indicate strong purchase intent.

Benefits of long-tail eCommerce keywords:

  • Less competitive to rank for
  • More targeted traffic
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Better ROI on PPC ads
  • Unique variations for drilling down

A balanced eCommerce keyword strategy utilizes both broad and long-tail keywords. Start with core product and category terms, then expand into targeted long-tail variants.

Strategies for Effective Ecommerce Keyword Research

Here are proven strategies to identify the best keywords to focus on:

Analyze Existing Keyword Rankings

  • Pull a ranking report for current top keywords by search volume and traffic contribution.
  • Identify strong performers to expand on and optimize further.
  • Find missed opportunities with high volume but low rank that should be improved.

Focus on High Conversion Search Intent

  • Analyze your site analytics to identify queries that lead to transactions.
  • Target more keywords aligned with those successful searches, especially low competition long-tail versions.

Perform Competitor Keyword Analysis

  • Use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Keyword Explorer to analyze keywords your competitors rank for.
  • Identify high-potential keywords you don’t currently rank for to target.
  • Research the content, backlinks, and optimization strengths of their top ranking pages.
  • Perform a comparative analysis to find specific keyword opportunities where you can outrank them.

Extract Keywords from Customer Research

  • Analyze product reviews, community forums, and brand mentions on social media.
  • Identify high frequency keywords and questions customers are using.
  • Target related long-tail keywords that incorporate these customer phrases.

Account for Seasonal Fluctuations

  • Track keyword trends over time to spot opportunities around holidays, events, and changing consumer demands.
  • Research seasonal keywords in advance and create content to rank for them.
  • Be prepared to update keyword targeting for promotions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Ecommerce Keyword Research Techniques

Now let’s drill down into some effective techniques for researching eCommerce keywords:

Leverage Google Autocomplete and Related Searches

  • Start by typing a core product or category term into Google.
  • Review the suggested autocomplete terms for initial keyword ideas based on actual searches.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the results page and browse through the related and “people also ask” sections.
  • Mine these for additional long-tail keyword opportunities and search question variations.

Analyze Amazon’s Keyword Data

  • Search for your product category on Amazon and go through the suggested searches and recent view refinements.
  • Look at the detailed keywords and long phrases people are using to find items.
  • Check the best-seller listings for keyword-rich titles and descriptions you can optimize for.
  • Read product reviews and identify high frequency keywords customers mention for follow-up research.

Use Keyword Research Tools

Specialized eCommerce marketing tools like Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, and Ahrefs provide robust eCommerce keyword data:

  • Google Keyword Planner – Provides search volume and competitor data for core product terms.
  • Ubersuggest – Helps expand seed keywords into long-tail variations.
  • Ahrefs – Reveals competitor rankings and opportunities across millions of keywords.
  • SEMrush – Tracks search volume and CPC data ideal for eCommerce PPC.

Applying Keyword Research to Ecommerce Websites

Once you’ve identified your target keywords, it’s time to apply them across your eCommerce site:

Optimize Product Pages

  • Include primary keywords and semantic variations in title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Use keywords appropriately throughout the product copy, highlights, and descriptions.
  • Incorporate long-tail versions like brand, model, and spec keywords.
  • Optimize image filenames and alt text with relevant keywords.

Enhance Category Pages

  • Research keywords for each sub-category and build out pages targeting those terms.
  • Create long category long-tail keywords like “men’s waterproof winter boots under $100”.
  • Structure the site’s information architecture based on key categories.

Drive Relevance Across Pages

  • Identify site-wide keywords that should appear on every page, like your brand name.
  • Create concise keyword-rich page titles optimized for clicks.
  • Implement schema markup to boost organic presence for product keywords.
  • Interlink related content pages to pages of relevant products and categories.

Employ Long-Tail Keywords for Conversion

  • Include long-tail keywords in page titles and headers for SEO.
  • Use long-tail keywords in ad copy for PPC and shopping campaigns.
  • Craft unique long-tail landing pages showcasing specific products.

Dynamically Update Keywords

  • Refresh your keyword research monthly to respond to trends.
  • Change on-page optimization and paid keywords to reflect new data.
  • Create pages and blog content optimized for seasonal keywords.

Common Ecommerce Keyword Research Challenges

ECommerce keyword research comes with some unique challenges:

Identifying High Conversion Keywords

It can be difficult to directly connect keywords to sales data and determine which are driving transactions. Focus on aligning keywords to successful searches in analytics and proven buyer keywords from tools.

Balancing Relevance with Search Volume

Shoot for a balance of keywords people are actually searching for and keywords very tightly related to your products. Some high-volume generics may not convert well.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Interests

E-commerce keyword demand is highly fluid, influenced by new products, promotions, and external factors. Conduct ongoing research to quickly react to emerging eCommerce trends.

Incorporating Keywords Naturally

Don’t over-optimize! Page content should be written for users first while seamlessly integrating keywords. Blatant repetition will only hurt conversions.

Local vs Global Keywords

For eCommerce brands expanding into other countries and languages, new localization keyword research is required for each distinct market.

Avoiding Cannibalization

With large eCommerce sites, you want to minimize targeting the same keywords across multiple competing product pages to avoid dividing rankings.

Essential Tools for Ecommerce Keyword Research

Free Keyword Research Tools

Several free tools can help you get started with keyword research. Google Keyword Planner, for instance, provides valuable insights into search volumes and keyword trends. Other free tools like Ubersuggest and AnswerThePublic can also offer useful keyword suggestions and ideas based on real user queries.

Paid Keyword Research Tools

While free tools are great for beginners, paid tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz offer more comprehensive data and advanced features. These tools provide in-depth analysis of keyword difficulty, competitor keywords, and backlink opportunities, helping you create a more effective and competitive keyword strategy.

Tracking and Measuring Success

Setting Up Analytics for Keyword Tracking

To measure the success of your keyword strategy, set up analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools can track keyword performance, providing insights into which keywords are driving traffic and conversions. Regularly reviewing this data will help you refine your strategy and make data driven decisions.

Monitoring Keyword Performance

Monitoring your keyword performance involves monitoring key metrics such as search rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you track these metrics and identify trends over time. Consistent monitoring allows you to spot and address any issues quickly.

Adjusting Strategy Based on Data

Keyword research is not a one-time task; it requires ongoing adjustments based on performance data. If certain keywords are underperforming, consider tweaking your content or trying new keywords. Stay flexible and be willing to adapt your strategy as needed to achieve the best results.

Final Thoughts

ECommerce keyword research is challenging but also provides huge opportunities to tap into qualified organic and paid traffic. By following an ongoing, data-driven process, you can identify high-potential keywords to test and refine repeatedly.

With the right keywords driving traffic to your online store, you can boost awareness, increase conversion rates, and ultimately drive more revenue through SEO and PPC.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main benefits of keyword research for eCommerce sites?

The main benefits are identifying high commercial intent keywords to boost qualified organic and paid traffic, understanding customer search behavior, informing content strategy, and discovering untapped long-tail opportunities.

Should I focus on high or low competition keywords?

A balanced approach is best. Target some higher competition head keywords for traffic volume as well as longer tail variants with lower competition for conversion optimization.

How often should I update my eCommerce keyword research?

You should aim to refresh your core keyword research at least once quarterly. Additionally, monitor tools for new trends and search volumes to adapt to emerging opportunities.

What tools are best for eCommerce keyword research?

Top tools include Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Soovle, Amazon’s search suggestions, and Moz Keyword Explorer. Each provides unique data to give a complete competitive picture.

What is the best way to incorporate keywords into product descriptions?

Seamlessly blend keywords into natural-sounding product copy to avoid awkward repetition. Use important keywords in titles, highlights, photo names, and once or twice in the description.

How do I research keywords for an eCommerce site in multiple countries?

You’ll need to perform localized keyword research tailored to the language, search behavior, and buying intent for each target country. Translations and regional tools like Google Trends are key.