Keyword research is crucial for your eCommerce website, as it is a foundation for a successful SEO strategy, which is essential to make sales and increase the online visibility of your site. Search engine optimization allows clients to find your business and the products they need to buy online. It’s impossible to appear in relevant search queries without targeting the right keywords – the way your clients are searching for your products. 

The Importance of Keyword Research for eCommerce

As a store owner, you need to answer two primary questions about your clients: What do they need, and how do they find what they need? You already have an eCommerce website, so you already know what your clients need, but you need to figure out how they find these products with keyword research. You should begin your journey of optimization with finding the right keywords as the research will allow you to see how potential clients are searching for the services, products, or information you offer.

You are an online seller, and your store exists online. Finding the right keywords is very close to finding the right location for a store in the real world. If you had a store with a physical location, you’d choose the right spot based on what you are selling and to whom you are selling your products. Are your clients among spontaneous buyers or people who are willing to travel for miles for the products you have? If you sell donuts, many of your customers will decide to purchase one by accidentally walking by your store. If you are selling easels for painters, you shouldn’t expect people to walk by your store and suddenly develop a massive desire for painting, so they come in to buy one of your products.

Traditional commerce and eCommerce may look different from one another, but they share the same goal: selling products to those who need them. Your store doesn’t need a physical address, but you still have to determine how your clients will find you. You may think if your clients need you, they will find your eCommerce website with Google. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Although they will go to Google to find you, if you don’t perform keyword research and invest in optimization, it will be nearly impossible to appear in your clients’ search queries.

There are hundreds or even thousands of other stores selling similar products as you are, and there are thousands or even millions of ways people are going to search for your products online. If you sell easels for painting, one might start their shopping experience by typing “how to oil paint at home” and not by typing “easels for painting” in the search engine. Your potential customers may not even know that there is such an instrument for a painter, maybe because they have no experience in painting and are just developing a new hobby. The only way to discover the journey your clients are going to take to get to your site is by performing keyword research.

Keyword Research for eCommerce – How to Get Started

Create a List of Keywords You Would Use to Find Your Products

The first step you can take to find out how your clients are going to search for your eCommerce website is by simply putting yourself in their shoes and thinking of the phrases you would use if you need the products you sell. If you sell art supplies, you can create a list of possible keywords searchers will use on Google. “High-quality oil paints,” “best brush sets for beginners,” “gift sets for painters” can all be the keywords you want to target. Creating a list is a great start and is an essential step in keyword research. However, it’s very challenging to come up with all the keywords your clients are going to use, because your customers differ from one another, and so do the words they type in search engines.

Look at Your Competitors’ Keywords

A great way to get keyword ideas is by looking at your competitors. Regardless of the merchandise that you sell, there will be hundreds of others offering the same products as you do. Some of your competitors have been selling for years, so they know what keywords bring traffic to their website.

SEMrush is a keyword research tool that you can use to find your competitors’ keywords. To see what your competitors are targeting, go to SEMrush, type in the website URL, and scroll down to look at “Organic Search Positions.” We suggest you look at several websites that sell the same products as you do.

Use Amazon for Your Research

Another place for finding keywords for your site is the biggest eCommerce website in the world: Amazon. Besides being an eCommerce website, Amazon is a search engine of its own.

To get more keyword ideas, start with typing in the keyword related to your site, such as “art supplies,” and you will instantly see suggestions for it. You can find even more keyword ideas if you click on the first few products in the search and look at their descriptions.

Get Keyword Suggestions from Google Keyword Planner

Once you have a list of keywords, a great place to go to for even more ideas is Google Keyword Planner (GKP), which will show you potential audience size for a keyword and more suggestions.

Tools to Use to Select the Right Keywords for Your Site

After you have a list of potential keywords you want to target, it’s crucial to understand how much traffic each keyword can bring and how difficult it is to rank for each of those.

SEMrush Keyword Overview is a great and easy-to-use tool to see how each keyword can work for your website. Type in the keyword from your list to analyze, and choose the country from the drop-down menu. The tool will show you the volume (average monthly searches for the keyword and global volume), the total number of searches across the world, the average price for a user’s click on an ad, and the level of competition between advertisers. Keyword difficulty is another metric you can see on SEMrush Keyword Overview; the higher the number, the more difficult it is to rank for the keyword. Another great section to look at is Keyword Variations, which is any variation of your keyword or keyword phrase in any order. SEMrush will also show you questions related to the keyword you analyze. If you type “art supplies,” you will see people search for “how to organize art supplies,” “where to buy art supplies,” “how to get free art supplies from companies,” etc.

KWfinder will show you the number of monthly searches of the keyword – search volume and keyword difficulty. Below the keyword difficulty graph, you can see the web pages that rank in the query. Besides the keyword you type there, this tool will list related keywords, show search volume for each, indicate the average cost per click in Google Ads, level of competition in Google Ads, and Keyword Difficulty.

MOZ Keyword Explorer is another excellent tool for your keyword research. Similarly to SEMrush and KWfinder, MOZ indicates a range of volume for a keyword – number of searches per month, and keyword difficulty – and the competition to rank for a keyword. Other metrics you will see are CTR – the percentage of clicks in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) and Priority – which combines all other metrics. The higher number usually means a keyword brings high traffic and has a high number of CTR with lower keyword difficulty.

How to Interpret Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty to Select Right Keywords

Search Volume

The Search Volume is one of the most crucial metrics to consider when selecting keywords for your eCommerce site. The high volume for keywords means many users are searching for the keyword. You may think the higher the number, the more traffic you’ll get from a keyword. Although it sounds right, usually the higher the volume of a keyword, the higher the competition and the keyword difficulty. A keyword should bring many users to a website, but the volume isn’t the only metric to look at, and sometimes keywords with less volume combined bring more traffic to your site.

Keyword Difficulty

The keyword difficulty ranges between 0 to 100, and the lower the number of keyword difficulty, the easier it is to rank for it. It reflects the competition of websites to appear in top positions for the keyword. However, it doesn’t mean if a keyword has 0 keyword difficulty, you should target it. 0 difficulty most of the time also means 0 traffic. It’s one of the most crucial metrics to look at, but not the only one.

The problem with the metric is that each tool has its way of determining the keyword difficulty, and the number will probably differ across different tools. For instance, if you type “art supplies” in KWfinder, you will see the keyword difficulty is 56, while SEMrush indicates the difficulty with a different number (77) and MOZ Keyword Explorer with 60. KWfinder has a breakdown of difficulty levels and indicates anything between 0-14 as easy, from 15 to 29 as still easy, 30 to 49 as possible, 50-69 as hard, 70-84 as very hard, and 85 to 100 as don’t do it.

Many people ask what’s the ideal keyword difficulty, and as much as we would love to give you the answer, there is no such thing as the perfect number for it. The right keyword difficulty depends on circumstances, your site, your goals, etc. If a site is authoritative, has lots of backlinks, and already ranks well for many other keywords, the chances for ranking well for a competitive keyword are higher. For example, a higher number may scare you if you have just launched your eCommerce website, but it won’t scare Amazon as it’s already the leading website in eCommerce and ranks as number one for loads of keywords. Think of who you are competing with and what chances you have to beat the competition. Be realistic, and look at the list of SERP to see which websites are ranking for the keyword you want to target. If you are just starting, choose the keywords with less competition that bring traffic, and make your way to the most competitive keywords by optimizing your site and a successful digital marketing strategy.