E-commerce is the most comprehensive guide to E-commerce SEO online. In this expert-written guide, you will learn everything you need to know about optimizing e-commerce sites, from keyword research to technical SEO to link building.
Why SEO Matters for Ecommerce Websites
Let us quickly regard some exciting stats. 44% of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search (n Channel).
37.5% of all traffic to e-commerce sites comes from search engines (SEMrush).
23.6% of e-commerce orders are directly tied to organic traffic (Business Insider).
Topic to cover
Ecommerce Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of every e-commerce SEO campaign.
Because keyword research informs every other SEO-related task, that is to do over the website. (For example, without keywords, it is impossible to optimize products and categories pages). Believe it or not, but the list of keywords influences technical SEO too. That is because the site architecture and URLs need to take keywords into account. Keyword research is a massive deal for the e-commerce site. Moreover, here is precisely how to find untapped terms that are customers search for and how to choose the best keywords for an e-commerce site.
Most keyword research tutorials focus on “informational keywords.” These are keywords that people type into search engines to discover helpful “how-to” content. (Like “How to make pour-over coffee”) While informational keywords have their place in e-commerce, the majority of the site’s keywords will be tailored around product searches. (Like “Chem ex coffee filters”) That means that you need to tackle keyword research with product-focused keywords in mind.
Here’s exactly how to do it:
Yes, Amazon is probably the biggest competitor. However, it is also the most prominent e-commerce site online, which makes Amazon a product keyword goldmine. Here is how to tap into Amazon for keyword research: First, head over to Amazon and enter a keyword that describes one of the products. When you do, Amazon will list suggestions around that keyword.
The keywords Amazon suggests tend to be very targeted (also known as long-tail keywords). Not only do long-tail keywords tend to convert better than shorter terms, but they are usually less competitive too. Rinse and repeat for the essential products on the website.
Keyword Tool Dominator
Keyword Tool Dominator is a nifty keyword tool that scrapes Amazon’s search suggestions. To use it, enter a seed keyword into the tool:
Moreover, it will spit out dozens of keyword suggestions.
Yup, this tool makes finding long-tail keywords from Amazon Suggest significantly faster. However, in the experience, it gives you more keyword ideas too. For example, when it used the keyword “organic dog food,” Amazon suggests eight keyword ideas. The tool spits out 49. To keep things organized, you can save the best keywords to a list.
Before we leave Amazon, it is time to use one more feature on the site that is a goldmine for category page keywords.
Amazon (and Competitor) Categories
As someone that’s consulted for dozens of e-commerce businesses, first-hand that lots of e-commerce site owners optimize their category pages around random keywords. Sure, they will put some thought into what their customers might use to find products in that category. However, the keywords they use tend to be, let us say, less than ideal. While category pages may not convert as well as product pages, they still generate sales. So it makes sense to spend time finding keywords for category pages.
Moreover, is the best way to do that?
Regarding the categories your competitors already use.
If you are competing against Amazon, hover over the “Departments” button at the top of the homepage. This will list out Amazon’s main categories.
These are probably too broad for the website. So click on any that makes sense so you can see that department’s subcategories:
Now we are talking. You can also hit up Amazon’s list of departments.
This will show you all of the Amazon’s departments (and subcategories) on a single page.
Now it is time to dig deep through the list and find category-focused keywords that match what the website sells.
For example, let us say the site sells healthy dog food. Let us go to the “Pet Supplies” category:
Then click on “dogs”.
Then choose “food” from the list:
These are all GREAT keywords to consider using for the dog food e-commerce category pages.
Pro Tip: If the category is unique in some way, ensure to include that unique feature in the keyword. For example, one could turn the Amazon keyword “dry dog food” into “healthy dry dog food” or “raw dry dog food”. These keywords are going to be less competitive and more targeted than the extended versions of those terms.
Amazon is an excellent resource for finding category page keywords. However, it is far from the only place anyone can find category page keywords that the customers search for every day.
So if the e-commerce site sells high-end headphones, the site would want to head to Headphone.com.
Moreover, like did with Amazon, examine the terms they optimize their category pages around. Moreover, add those keywords to list.
Wikipedia is one of the BEST places to find keyword for product and category pages. Here is why: Just like with category pages on the e-commerce competitor sites, Wikipedia organizes things by keywords and categories. In other words, they have done the hard work for you! Let us examine an example of how anyone can use Wikipedia for e-commerce keyword research.
First, enter a keyword that describes a product or category the site sells:
Then scan the Wikipedia entry for words and phrases that make sense for the products have on the website:
Assure to take a look at the contents box. These can sometimes reveal the top category page keywords.
Once exhausted Wikipedia’s keyword suggestions, it is time to move onto one of the favourite keyword research tools: SEMrush.
The strategies outlined so far should have helped to get a hefty list of keyword ideas. However, SEMRush is a little different. SEMrush does not generate new keyword ideas based on seed keywords. Instead, it shows you keywords that competition already ranks. Let us take an examine how you can use this tool to find keywords for the e-commerce site. First, enter a competitor into SEMrush’s search field:
Then click “organic research” in the sidebar:
The keyword will show all of the keywords that the competitor ranks for:
If you want to squeeze every keyword out of SEMrush, check out the “competitors” report:
SEMrush will show you sites that are similar to the one you are looking at.
Repeat this process with the competitors you just found.
Google Keyword Planner
Last but not least, let us have the good ol’ Google Keyword Planner. Even though the GKP is a halfway decent keyword tool, it is not perfect at generating unique keyword ideas. For example, if you enter a category page keyword like “organic dog food” into the GKP, it spits out super-close variations of that term:
That said, if you do some digging, you can find some gems that are not straight-up variations of the keyword you just typed in.
Because the Google Keyword Planner does not generate numerous unique keywords, it can be recommended using it to check search volume and commercial intent. Which leads us to our next step:
How to Choose Keywords for Ecommerce Product and Category Pages
Now that you have a list of potential keywords in-hand, you are probably wondering: Which keywords should to choose? The answer? Use this 4-step checklist to identify the best keywords for the e-commerce site.
#1 Search Volume
This is (by far) the most important thing when evaluating a search term. After all: If no one searches for that keyword, it does not matter how well it converts or how competitive Google’s first page happens to be. That said, there is no way for a to give you specific search volume recommendations. In some industries, 100 searches per month is A LOT. In others, 10k monthly searches is nothing. Over time, anyone will get an idea of what a “high volume” and “low volume” keyword is for the industry. How to Choose Keywords for E-commerce Product and Category Pages?
Pro Tip: Some keywords have HUGE seasonal variations. You are going to get more searches for “ugly Christmas sweaters” in December than in June. However, there are lots of non-seasonal keywords that have peaks and valleys throughout the year. For example, the keyword “organic dog food brands” gets 4x more searches in April than December.
Why? Who knows. However, it is an important thing to note, as these fluctuations can directly impact the bottom line. To quickly see how the search volume changes throughout the year, type the keyword into KWFinder. Moreover, it will show a nifty chart with a month-to-month search volume information.
#2 Keyword-Product Fit
This is a big one. Let us say you find a keyword that gets tons of searches. Must it be a winner right? Well not really. That is because the keyword may not be a perfect fit well with what the site sells. If the keyword you pick is even a bit of a stretch compared to what you have for sale on the e-commerce site, people that search for that term are not going to convert. So before you move onto the next two stages in this process, double-check that the keyword considered fits to a site like a glove. For example, let us say the site sells Japanese green tea bags. Moreover, you come across a keyword like “match green tea powder”.
Even though you do not sell green tea powder (only tea bags), this might be able to create a category page around this term and convert those searchers to what a site sells. However, it is tricky to pull off. That is why it is recommended stretching into other product categories AFTER you exhaust keywords that your target customers search for.
Now that has got a list of keywords that people search for (and fit well with the site’s products) it is time to see if these searchers are ready to whip out their credit card and make a purchase.
#3: Commercial Intent
Ranking #1 for a high-volume keyword? Awesome. Ranking #1 for a high-volume keyword that tire-kickers searches? Less awesome. So before deciding on a keyword, take a second to see if people using that keyword are ballers or broke browsers. Fortunately, this is super-easy to do using the Google Keyword Planner.
First, check out the keyword’s “Competition” rating.
“Competition” reflects how many people bid on that keyword in Google Advertisements. In general, if many people are bidding on a keyword, there is money to be made. That is why, when it comes to e-commerce SEO, recommended sticking with “medium” and “high” competition keywords.
Website also want to take a examine “Top of Page Bid”.
Top of Page Bid is how much people tend to spend on a single click on Google Ads. Moreover, when it comes to sizing up commercial intent, the higher the suggested bid, the better.
Keywords with high suggested bids are also more competitive to rank for in Google search. However, we will cover that in the next section.
For now, check out the Top of Page Bid for the keywords on the list.
Moreover, note how certain words and phrases that suggest “I am ready to buy!” impact the estimated bid.
As you can see in this example, the keyword “Japanese green tea” has a suggested bid of $2.20.
That is because many people searching for that keyword probably are not ready to make a purchase. They might be looking up the definition. Alternatively, they might be curious about the health benefits of green tea.
On the other hand, a similar keyword like “buy green tea online” has a suggested bid that is 2.4x higher.
Finally, it is time to see how hard it will be to crack Google’s first page. Here is how:
SEMrush’s “Keyword Difficulty”
This metric gives an idea of how competitive a given keyword is to rank. One can find a keyword’s difficulty in SEMrush by entering a keyword into the search field.