I used to throw keywords into my content as an afterthought.
My priority was just getting content out. I thought I would naturally start to rank on Google as my sites grew. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Now I realise I was missing out on tons of traffic and customers.
When I started tuning my keywords, I was able to spot untapped niches, and rank higher for them.
For example, Bitcatcha now ranks on the first page of Google for the phrase ‘server speed checker’.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to find ecommerce keywords that rank in Google and actively generate sales.
(Plus, in a bonus section at the end, I’ll also show you exactly where to put those keywords on your website).
Here’s the thing about Google traffic:
It’s incredibly targeted. And therefore lucrative.
If someone searches for the phrase ‘cheap ski equipment’, you know they’re actively looking to buy. They might even have their credit card in their hand as they type.
These type of searches are a hot lead for any ecommerce seller. They’re more likely to buy something than a lead from social media because they are actively hunting out a product.
And you want to be the first site they see.
Want a little more background on search engine optimization? Read our recent SEO guide for ecommerce owners.
Now that we know why keywords are so important, let’s dive into the good stuff.
Notice how I said “and generate sales”?
That’s the super important factor here. It’s relatively easy to rank for some keywords (especially if you target the obscure ones). However, we want to rank for keywords that actually generate money.
There’s a sweet spot for choosing ecommerce keywords. You don’t want to choose something too broad (like ‘t-shirts’) because you’ll get crushed by the competition.
But you don’t want to choose something too niche (like ‘green polo neck t-shirts with white stripes’) because there simply aren’t enough people searching for it.
Here’s how the keywords generally break down:
a. ‘Head’ keywords: These are the very general and broad keywords, like our ‘t-shirts’ example. They’re useful because they help Google identify what you’re selling. But you’re never going to rank for this keyword.
This keyword is dominated by Asos, River Island, Boohoo.com. Huge retailers with a team of SEO experts at their disposal. These keywords are also less likely to convert, because they’re so general. These are browsers, not buyers.
We’re going to have to go deeper if we want ranking keywords that convert.
b. ‘Body’ keywords: Body keywords are usually a phrase that’s a little more targeted. For instance, ‘plus size t-shirts’. The competition here is still quite tight, but it’s more targeted and it converts better.
c. Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are even more specific. For example, ‘plus size vintage t-shirts’. Now that’s a highly-targeted keyword. Whoever is searching that term really knows what they want. So they’re much more likely to convert. Plus, there’s less competition.
Focus on ‘body’ and ‘long-tail’ keywords. These are perfect combination of traffic, realistic ranking potential, and conversion power.
Chances are, you can come up with a few easy keywords off the top of your head. If you’re selling ski equipment, you might come up with:
Skis, buy skis, ski prices, ski poles, ski gloves, ski boots etc…
That’s a good start. But, let’s hunt out some more targeted keywords.
Google Keyword Planner is most people’s first stop for keywords. And there are lots of ideas to be found here.
Login or create a Google AdWords account. Head to tools > keyword planner. Then enter one of your keywords into this box:
It will now show you exactly what keywords people are searching on Google for. The first thing you’ll see is ‘ad group ideas’. It’s a treasure trove of keyword ideas.
From this search alone, we can add tons of keyword ideas to our list:
Ski sale, ski clothing, snowboards, kids ski clothes, skiing boots, skis and snowboards.
Next, click over to the ‘keyword ideas’.
Here are a few more keywords we hadn’t picked up:
Ski gear, skis for sale, ski helmets, ski shop.
What are all those numbers and suggested bids? We’ll come back to that shortly. For now, we’re just collecting keywords.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a good place to start. But there is just one problem: it’s showing all this same information to your competitors too.
So, you’ve got to get a little creative to find a keyword niche that your competitors aren’t targeting. Amazon and Wikipedia are great for this. (I learnt this trick from Brian Dean at Backlinko.)
Let’s start with Amazon. First up, type one of your keywords into the search bar:
Bang, four more great keywords:
Skis with bindings, skis for men, skis for women, skis 160cm.
Now, use Amazon’s categories:
That’s a bunch more keywords:
Downhill skis, goggles, Telemark skiing, cross-country skis, ski bags, boys’ ski suits, winter sports.
Next, head to Google and start typing in your keywords:
More easy keywords…
And then swing down to the bottom of the page for related searches:
Finally, make your way to Wikipedia to pick up some more long-tail keywords. Search for some of your main keywords, and take a look at the contents box:
And the external links section:
Some additional long-tail keywords here include:
Night skiing, indoor skiing, piste, skins, wax, asymmetrical skis, single long skis, alpine, nordic, combined, downhill, half-pipe, slopestyle, etc…
Now that you’re armed with a bucket-load of new keywords, we need to know whether anyone is actually searching for them. After all, we want keywords that people are looking for!
Remember all the numbers and figures in your Keyword Planner? It’s time to head back over and make some sense of them.
Load up the Keyword Planner, and start throwing in some of your favourite keywords you’ve collected so far:
The number we’re looking at here is the ‘avg. monthly searches’. As you can can see, the keyword ‘ski’ gets – by far – the most monthly searches.
But it will be nearly impossible to rank for this enormous search term.
Here’s the other end of the spectrum:
Almost no-one is searching for ‘asymmetrical skis’, so we can throw that one out.
You can start eliminating any keywords that have too many, or too few monthly searches. Remember, we’re looking for that sweet spot.
Search volume is one thing. But we’re looking to target keywords that attract buyers, not browsers. Will your keywords actually produce sales?
Here’s where we start looking at the other figures on the table. Let’s take one of the keywords we uncovered, ‘ski bindings’:
It’s got the perfect amount of monthly searches. Enough to send traffic, but not too much that you’ll get outranked by the big guns.
But pay attention to the ‘competition’ and ‘suggested bid’ column. ‘Competition’ means how much advertisers are fighting to use this keyword for adverts.
Pro tip: you can generally trust advertisers because they pour thousands of dollars into research. If the competition is high, it’s because this keyword converts.
The suggested bid is also important. The higher the bid, the more likely it is to convert. Remember, advertisers will only pay £1 per click if they think they’re going to get a sale. So this is a pretty reliable measure.
Compare that to a more general keyword, like ski. Despite the high volume of searchers, there is low competition and a low suggested bid:
Because ‘ski bindings’ is much, much more specific. Anyone searching for that word is actively looking to buy. Someone searching for ‘ski’ isn’t necessarily a buyer.
Once you’ve eyed up a few keywords with good volume and commercial intent, search the keyword in Google.
(Make sure you have Mozbar installed so you can see the page authority, domain authority, and backlink count to each website. These are all indicators of how well each site is optimized for search engines – the higher, the better. Need more help understanding this? Click here.)
Here are the top three results for ‘ski bindings’:
Notice how the third result has a page authority of just 1/100! Better yet, there are 0 backlinks to this page. This is a poorly optimized page for SEO, yet it’s the third result.
With a well-written article or product page about ski bindings, you could generate a few links back, and easily bump it off the rankings.
And yes, I’ve just revealed a sizeable untapped niche. Consider it my gift to anyone in the adventure sports sector!
Use Google’s Keyword planner, Wikipedia, and Amazon to create your own list of e commerce keywords for your site.
Then, use the Keyword Planner and Google to highlight the perfect combination of search volume and buyer intent.
Congratulations, you’ve got a highly converting keyword!
Finding those high-converting keywords is one thing. Injecting them into your site is another. Here are the best techniques, specifically for ecommerce sites.
This is the most important place for your keywords. The title of any page is the first place Google looks. See how Asos use a body keyword on this page. ‘Men’s Plimsolls’ is the simple and SEO-specific title tag:
You’ll also notice they also use a related long-tail keyword, ‘slip-on plimsoll’ in the description.
When you use keywords in your title tags, try to place the keyword at the start of the title. Google tends to give a greater weight when you do this.
So many online retailers cut-and-paste their product descriptions from the manufacturer. This is a big mistake. If you do this, you are duplicating content (which Google hates) and you’re not identifying your own keywords.
Take the time to craft a unique and detailed product description for each and every product you sell. Use your main keyword a number of times, especially at the top of the description. Litter the rest of the description with related long-tail keywords.
Google also prefers long content, so don’t be afraid to write long product descriptions filled with useful keywords. Check out Amazon’s product description for the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s enormous, using the keyword ‘Kindle Paperwhite’ a ton of times without looking spammy.
It goes on for another six sections too…
Google scans your category titles for keywords. So make sure you’re using strong, converting body keywords in your category titles.
Content is the perfect way to inject more keywords onto your website. It’s also another chance to use an optimised title tag which we know Google loves.
One simple idea is featuring reviews and top-tens on your website. This piece of content below helps one e commerce seller rank for the phrase ‘best snowboards’:
Even though the content doesn’t sell anything directly, it draws in the target audience and dominates another related keyword on Google.
Because Google is a giant machine, it can’t look at a picture and instantly understand what it is. (They’re good, but they’re not that good… yet).
If your ecommerce site is full of pictures of shoes, Google doesn’t know it’s a shoe until you tell it. You do this with the image filename and ‘alt tags’.
Use them to describe your photo in plain English. Drop in your keyword, but focus on making sure Google understands what the picture is.
Let’s say you sell shoes on your website:
The best title tag for this product would be: “Converse All Star black high top trainers”. Be as specific as possible, and consider how people search for these products.
Do this for every single product on your site.
Don’t forget to simplify your URLs with clear, keyword-optimized phrases.
The trick is finding lucrative and untapped keywords first and then creating content to capitalize on it.
Try using these techniques to tighten up your SEO, and let me know how you get on.