How To
7 min read

How To Do E-commerce Keyword Research in 2022

Soniya Khubchandani

July 31, 2022

According to a recent survey, 59% of shoppers use Google to research a purchase they intend to make in-store or online.

This data point holds tremendous potential if you run an e-commerce website or plan to start one.

Focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) can give your website high organic visibility and drive product sales at scale.

This in-depth guide will cover one foundational step of this powerful marketing strategy, keyword research.

We’ll answer all your burning questions about keyword research:

  • What is e-commerce keyword research?
  • Why is keyword research necessary for e-commerce websites?
  • What does a typical e-commerce keyword research process look like?
  • How to build your e-commerce website keyword list

What is e-commerce keyword research?

Example product search using keywords in Google

E-commerce keyword research covers your activities to find the most suitable keywords for your e-commerce website’s SEO strategy.

Note: This guide will focus on Google as our primary search engine. A product search engine like Amazon will require a slightly different approach to keyword research.

Why is e-commerce keyword research necessary for your online retail business?

Researching and picking the right keywords can significantly boost your e-commerce store's business in several ways. 

Increase traffic to your product listings

People type keywords into search engines to find what they're looking for. If you're selling products online, knowing those keywords is valuable to rank your product landing pages high in Google search results when people look for them.

Find new product ideas

Keyword research can also help you find new product ideas for your e-commerce business.

For example, say you are selling jewelry online. You have a store full of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, but not much else. If you do keyword research on jewelry, you might discover that people search for "yellow gold rings" and "rose gold bracelets." This could suggest an opportunity to sell other types of jewelry alongside your current offerings.

Create an SEO-friendly site structure

A well-structured e-commerce site will help search engines understand your online store and rank it appropriately, while a poorly structured site will confuse them or even hurt your rankings.

By doing effective keyword research and including that information in your site's navigation, you can help search engines find the products on your site that are most relevant to what their users are looking for.

Faceted navigation, usually seen on popular e-commerce websites, is one area where a well-documented keyword strategy comes in handy.

For example, if you sell bags online, you can define a taxonomy based on a bag's purpose and have sub-pages for "travel bags," "sports bags," "gift bags," "gym bags," and so on.

This offers searchers highly relevant results and gives you more ways to increase organic traffic.

Align with your Google Ads keyword strategy

To combine the strengths of Google Ads and Google search, you can utilize a single keyword list and target it through both channels. 

This is especially useful for new e-commerce websites, where ranking for keywords during the initial months can be challenging. Until your landing pages rank organically, you can run Google Ads on the same set of keywords.

How does a standard e-commerce keyword research process work?

Every e-commerce website's keyword research process has some core steps that can have excellent results when followed correctly. Let’s check them out.

Generate a list of keyword ideas

Any keyword research process begins with creating a comprehensive list of potential keywords. You can do this using several powerful techniques, including the 8 we cover later in this guide. 

Analyze and select keywords

In this step, you analyze every keyword on your list against several metrics and parameters so you can pick the most suitable ones.

Here are some important parameters you should review for every keyword:

  • Keyword difficulty
  • Keyword volume
  • Keyword search intent
  • Keyword relevance

There are plenty of exceptional  keyword research tools  that can help you pull this data and expedite the process, but it’s still advisable to examine each keyword manually for the best results. Trust, but verify when it comes to keyword tools.

Organize similar keywords into groups

After your thorough initial analysis, your keyword list is refined—now it’s time to organize them into groups/ topics.

This is because single keyword optimization is no longer the ideal way to approach Google SEO.

Every product or category landing page in your e-commerce website has the potential to rank for several related keywords, and the keyword grouping approach supports this very well.

For example, instead of creating two product category pages for the keywords "best travel bags" and "best bags for travelers," you can combine and target both keywords on a single page and make your content more comprehensive for Google's algorithm.

Comparing the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for two keywords can effectively decide whether they should be grouped or kept separate. As a thumb rule, if the SERPs have three or more results in common, then the keywords can be targeted on a single page.

Create, optimize, and track performance

The last step is to start constructing landing pages around your keyword groups.

Leverage the best SEO practices to optimize each page around a single keyword group. Part of that process includes keyword density, national versus local keyword research, and then sorting buying keywords and their supporting keywords for content production.

You should also regularly monitor the keyword rankings and traffic to make ongoing enhancements.

8 techniques to build a keyword ideas list for e-commerce website SEO

It is time to dive deep into the different methods you can utilize to find the best SEO keywords for your e-commerce website.

Come up with some seed keywords

Seed keywords are the starting point for your keyword research. They are the first words that come to mind when you think or speak about your business or industry.

Your seed keywords will help you develop your complete keyword list in later steps.

For example, for an online bag seller, seed keywords are words or phrases like "online bags," "bags online," "best bags online," etc.

Here are a few tips for developing seed keyword ideas for your e-commerce store:

  • List the generic words you use to describe the products you sell.
  • Add use case modifiers to your products list. For example, "online bags for X."

Pro Tip: Try out this AI keyword ideas generator by describing your business in a few words.

Example of generating seed keyword ideas using Copy.ai’s Keyword Generator tool

Scrape Google's autocomplete suggestions

Example of Google autocomplete suggestions

Google autocomplete is a feature where the search engine tries to predict what a user is looking for based on previous searches and what others are searching for.

As a result, it shows a dropdown list of suggestions in real-time based on the first few words you enter.

The seed keywords that you identified in the first step can be used as inputs to trigger autocomplete suggestions.

You can write down the suitable suggestions manually or get help from keyword research scraping software for autocomplete.

Use Google's "People also ask" suggestions

“People also ask” SERP feature

"People also ask," or PAA, is a useful Google SERP feature that lists the common questions people ask around a given search.

All "People also ask" suggestions are dynamic and may change depending on time, location, device, etc.

One cool trick to maximize these suggestions is to click on the dropdown next to a question and close it—more questions will populate below it.

PAA is a gold mine of questions your target audience may have about a product. Questions are used to optimize a landing page or blog article.

Use "People also search for" suggestions

Example of a "People also search for" suggestion

The "People also ask" SERP feature can be used to expand your keyword list even further.

When a user clicks on a search result and bounces back to the search engine results page, a "People also search for" box pops up under the initial URL they had clicked.

The suggestions are Google's way of indicating related searches that can satisfy the user's search intent.

Use Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner tool in action

Google's Keyword Planner is an excellent tool for conducting keyword research for e-commerce websites. 

It's fast and gives you a lot of relevant information for free. Anyone with a Google Ads account can use the tool to generate many keyword ideas using seed keywords or a competitor page URL.

One interesting hack to get accurate keyword search volumes instead of ranges is to have at least one ad campaign running through the account.

You can easily export your saved keywords as a spreadsheet for further analysis and manipulation.

Incorporate Amazon searches

Amazon is one of the world's most popular product search engines, making it a valuable source of high-intent keyword ideas for e-commerce websites.

Performing thorough keyword research on Amazon can quickly fill up your keyword list.

Scraping autocomplete search suggestions in Amazon's web or mobile application is easy to generate product-focused search queries. The process is similar to Google's autocomplete feature.

Besides, if you have other popular e-commerce marketplace apps like Amazon in your region, you can also use them in your research.

Use a keyword research tool

Alt text - SEMrush keyword research tool in action

You can also use a keyword research tool to expedite and streamline your research process. 

The market is full of free and paid tools that can uncover valuable keyword-related data like volume, difficulty, intent, and so on.

Adding even one tool to your workflow can make your keyword research process more effective.

Check competitor keywords

Competitor keyword analysis using SEMrush

Finally, it’s time to get a little help from your competitors. Don’t worry—you don't need to ask them directly.

Just monitor their e-commerce website's ranking keywords and add relevant ones to your list. A good keyword research tool can help you with competitor analysis.

For example, as a travel bag seller, you can snoop on any competitor website's ranking keywords using a tool like SEMrush.

Wrapping up

If you currently run an e-commerce business or plan to start one in the future, the keyword research process will be critical for building a solid organic SEO strategy.

If you don’t invest in SEO for your e-commerce business, you might miss out on significant sums of money by investing in other marketing tactics that may not bring your company the results you want.

Following this in-depth e-commerce keyword research guide and focusing on your website content strategy will ensure your products rank high in Google's search results.

Never forget that your products are the pinnacle for e-commerce sites, but your blog is the cornerstone that builds a foundation of stable incoming traffic that creates interest, educates, and compels them to purchase what you sell. A great content marketing plan for your blog builds and converts the dream into reality.

If you want to boost conversions from your product landing pages, try Copy.ai's suite of AI-powered tools to write persuasive sales copy that gets noticed.

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