If your eCommerce keyword research isn’t being done right, then there is a huge chance your organic and paid traffic is suffering. Think of keywords as a homing beacon or bread crumbs, pulling potential shoppers to your store. Lay down the wrong crumbs, and you risk bringing in the wrong searchers and crushing your ROAS.
Keyword research involves finding the words and phrases potential shoppers are using to search search engines and social platforms for topics related to the niche you’re selling in. Not only is identifying these keywords vital for organic traffic, but they can be used to take your PPC campaigns and content marketing to expert-level.
The thing that really separates successful online stores from newbies is those online store marketers who go beyond the basic, product-based keywords to implement a comprehensive, creative keyword research strategy and implementation – for every aspect of your business including SEO, PPC, and content marketing.
In this full eCommerce keyword research guide, we answer these critical questions:
- How to do eCommerce research the right way
- Where to find effective eCommerce keywords
- How to choose the right eCommerce keywords for your goals
- The top eCommerce keyword hacks every seller needs to know
Understanding Keyword Difficulty
Before we get to the “how,” it’s essential to understand a little bit about what you will be looking for. Keyword difficulty terminology is an important decider of how competitive, expensive, or effective a keyword is going to be.
If you choose a highly competitive keyword or phrase, you’re going to have trouble getting onto the first couple of search pages when it comes to organic traffic. For PPC, this could mean they are too costly for you to compete – unless, of course, you are getting the clicks to back up the spend. But more on that later.
So how do you assess a keyword’s difficulty before you pick it?
Generally speaking, long-tail keywords will have less competition while single words will be highly competitive. Here’s a good comparison of competition vs. conversion based on keyword difficulty from Backlinko.
Generally speaking, the lower the competition the higher the conversion rate opportunities. But it’s important to point out, here, that other factors such as relevancy will play a part in the effectiveness of your chosen keywords – but more on that later. For now, here is an explanation of the types of keywords and their difficulty:
- ‘Head terms’ are single-word keywords. Although they offer the most considerable search volume potential, they also come with the most competition and tend to be the most difficult to keep relevant, resulting in low conversion potential.
- Two- or three-word phrases, ‘body keywords’ will offer good search volume but less competition and increased relevancy, leading to higher conversion chances.
- Lastly, long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that, although offering the lowest search volume, also likely have the least amount of competition and highest relevance potential.
A good eCommerce keyword strategy will focus on and test various keyword types for overall store SEO, specific product description SEO, content marketing, and Google campaigns.
How to Find eCommerce Keywords
Now that you know the types of keywords you should be researching, it’s time to look at how to do eCommerce keyword research like a pro. Yes, keyword research tools are essential to your search, but so are these eCommerce keyword research hacks.
Some of these will be basic while others will require much more leg-work; what’s important is varying your research so that you can think outside the box, continually find new phrases and terms, and optimize your keyword strategy.
Let’s dig in.
1. Use Successful Shopping Products to Kick Off Your Research
It’s easy to get distracted by your store’s best-sellers on your hunt for keywords. They’ve proved to be converters, and who wouldn’t want more traffic to those? But sometimes, your overall best-sellers and those performing well in PPC campaigns differ.
The highest-performing products from Shopping campaigns themselves are an excellent place to start when doing eCommerce keyword research. By inserting Shopping products with the highest impressions into your keyword research tool, you can find related keyword opportunities.
But that’s not the only place to check with regard to Shopping campaigns on your search for the best eCommerce keywords for your brand.
2. Mine Your Shopping Search Query Reports for Keyword Winners
Where better to look for new phrases and negative keyword ideas than in your search terms report? In fact, focusing specifically on your Shopping campaign search queries offers a treasure trove of new keyword opportunities you can test. As you know, your Shopping campaigns are deployed based on your product feeds, not campaign keywords. But that doesn’t mean Google isn’t tracking the queries that lead to impressions and clicks – queries that you may not be using yet in your other campaigns, SEO keyword strategies, and content marketing.
You can find search terms for Shopping campaigns by browsing to the Shopping campaign and clicking on ‘Keywords’ tab and then on the ‘Search terms’ sub-tab
3. Uncover Keyword Treasures in Your Dynamic Search Ad Queries
Another eCommerce Google campaign type analytic that is packed full of keyword inspiration is your Dynamic Search ads. Because eCommerce DSAs are automatically targeted to search queries based on content with Google’s own web-crawling tech, there are a lot of analytics with these campaigns you can leverage in terms of keyword research. One of the most significant advantages of implementing DSAs is that they will enable you to fill in gaps you may have missed with your keyword coverage, opening your eyes to ample keyword opportunities you can then use for other PPC campaigns and traffic strategies.
So, how can you do just that?
By accessing the list of search queries your Dynamic campaigns match to. From your search queries report, click ‘Dynamic ad targets,’ then the ‘Search terms’ tab, and finally select the ‘Search term and landing page’ drop-down menu in the top right corner of the table.
4. Go Back to eCommerce Research Basics on Bing, YouTube, and Google Search Suggestions
Don’t forget the very basics of eCommerce keyword research: suggestion functions. Suggestion functions on Google, YouTube, and Bing may be simple, but they also point to popular topics being searched. Topics you can then use to fine-tune keyword brainstorming for campaigns or niche-specific content marketing to bring more traffic to your store.
As a bonus, you can also use suggestion features to help brainstorm new popular products for your niche.
5. Use Google’s “Searches Related To” Feature
Don’t forget to also look at related searching while you are using Google Search for keyword research. Using the above Google search example, here are the associated searches Google gives us at the bottom of the first SERP:
This and the Suggest feature are like getting a cheat-sheet from Google itself – pointing to popular searches in their engine. The trick with the latter is clicking on those ‘related to’ results and scrolling down again – and so on.
Now let’s move away from Google and venture into keyword research tactics on other powerful platforms that you may not be familiar with.
6. Harness the Power of Pinterest
Using Pinterest as an eCommerce keyword research tool is not a new strategy. In fact, Search Engine Land first wrote about using Pinterest as a data source here in 2015. However, it’s still relatively under-used. There are several ways you can hack Pinterest to get keyword ideas; let’s look at each.
- Hacking your Promoted pins data analytics for keyword ideas
- Exploring Pinterest’s guided search tabs
- Using Pinterest’s platform search suggestion function
These tools will help you brainstorm what your specific niche audience is interested in and how they are searching for it.
7. Dig into Wikipedia’s Table of Contents
Another platform worth exploring on your hunt for new keywords is Wikipedia. This may seem like a strange one but bear with us here because it’s packed with opportunities. Let’s run with the niche example, ‘running clothing,’ we’ve been working with in this post.
Once you have searched your niche topic, you will be taken to the broad topic. There, the content itself will offer keyword suggestions, and the content section will point to subtopics.
For a topic as broad as the example we are using, these options may seem too broad and will take a little more digging. For instance, you could scroll the contents to find something related to clothing, which in this case could be chafing.
This, in turn, can point to possible long-tail keywords or topics you can investigate and then put into Google.
8. Research Keywords on Reddit
Another platform worth exploring when researching keywords is Reddit. This forum is packed full of user insights, search potential, and niche topics related to your brand.
There are two ways you can tap into the power of Reddit. One is searching the platform to see what terms your potential shoppers may be using. The other is accessing niche-related subreddits (forums) to get an inside look into the discussions your potential customers are having, passions they are sharing, and questions they are asking.
You will also want to pay attention to discussions getting a lot of upvotes and engagement. These topics can then be used in your keyword tools to find long- and short-tail keywords with search volume potential with less competition.
Top eCommerce Keyword Research Tools
Next, let’s look at leading keyword tools. There are a variety of keyword research tools out there, some free and some paid. No matter which you choose, we suggest having at least two tools in your eCommerce keyword research arsenal. Let’s look at a few of them.
1. Google Keyword Planner
Google’s free tool, Chrome extension (From $49.20 per month for theTweet