Ultimate Guide To Choosing & Optimizing Keywords For E-commerce
There are nearly 100 billion organic searches per month on Google alone, according to Hubspot. Search engines link searchers with relevant pages based almost entirely on keywords.
Keywords are the foundation of e-commerce site’s optimization. Optimizing for key words or phrases allows you to target relevant searchers and push your site to the top of search results.
You can’t get sales unless people first see your site. Sales conversion starts with impressions, visibility, and clicks. Visibility is only possible through search engine optimization with strong keywords and phrases.
In this article, we’ll discuss keyword optimization for general e-commerce. These tactics work for your e-commerce site as well as on Amazon and other marketplace platforms.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the relevant terms that pair your customers’ search queries with your brand’s website. They demonstrate the relevance of your content to both the customer and Google’s algorithm.
For example, you own a dog grooming business. Someone types “dog grooming” into Google. If your homepage is optimized for the keyword “dog grooming,” your page could show up in their search results.
Keywords are the foundation of the link between searcher and content.
How do you choose keywords?
You need to target the right keywords. If you don’t select the most relevant keywords for your e-commerce business, you’ll optimize to the wrong audience. This is not only a waste of optimization, but it can actually hurt your site in the long run.
If you optimize for the wrong keywords, irrelevant searchers will see your site. These people either don’t click on your site or they’ll come to your site and quickly click away. This high bounce rate tells the search algorithm that your site isn’t relevant or quality content.
So how do you find the right keywords that will be both relevant and optimizable?
Start by brainstorming a list of phrases associated with your business. Your keywords should be related to your product, industry, or brand.
For example, if you are a dog grooming company, you might instantly think of the phrases: dog grooming, grooming, and pet cleaning. You might also think of phrases directly related to your specific brand, like “luxury” or “van grooming.”
These keywords are relevant, but they might not be optimizable. You don’t want to optimize for keywords that are too broad or competitive.
If the words are too broad, you’ll have a high bounce rate and low conversion. For example, the keyword “grooming” could relate to dogs or people. You might get a number of searchers looking for personal care human grooming, but your doggie site isn’t relevant to that.
Similarly, if the words are too competitive, you won’t get the chance to optimize. You want to avoid fierce competition in the search results game. Sites that already have a stronghold on keywords are hard to beat.
Nevertheless, brainstorming a list of all keywords is a great starting point to find long-tail keywords.
2. Find related long-tail keywords.
Use your ideas from your brainstorm to search for long-tail keywords and possibilities.
Long-tail keywords are more direct, specific, and targeted. Most search queries are not basic but detailed and long-form. In fact, WordStream found that 50% of search queries are four words or longer. If you are able to include all of the words in the entire search, you’re more likely to optimize on search results.
We recommend using an online keyword tool to find long-tail queries. The two most popular are Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Tool.
Type in a keyword to view the competitiveness, search volume, and related keywords. These tools will also give you ideas for similar keywords and groups.
For example, when you search “dog grooming,” you see the average monthly searchers are between 100K and 1M with low competition. This means you could try to optimize for dog grooming and see some success because search volume is high with low competition. However, “dog wash” wouldn’t be the right optimization move because it has 10K-100K searches with high competition.
Look for high volume and low competition.
Then, create a list of long-tail keywords for which you can try to optimize. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pick a different keyword for each page of your site, so you’ll want to come up with a list of multiple keywords.
3. Consider your competitors.
Look at your competition to see the keywords for which they are optimizing. You can use the Moz toolbar to see if a competitor has higher Domain Authority (DA) or Page Authorities (PA). It will also show which keywords they are targeting. If they have high DA and PA’s, they might already have a hold on those keywords.
If you are up against a major competitor, you don’t want to enter an optimization war with them. Instead, focus on more specific, long-tail keywords that attract your targeted audience.
Consider your brand differentiator and choose keywords appropriately.
So you’ve chosen keywords for which you can optimize by brainstorming, searching for specific phrases, and avoiding search engine competition.
Now how do you optimize for keywords on your e-commerce site?
How do you optimize keywords?
1. Choose one or two keywords per page.
Don’t try to optimize for too many keywords on the same page. This will minimize the effectiveness of your target keyword.
Also, don’t optimize every page on your site with the same keyword. This is called “keyword cannibalization,” and it actually causes you to compete against yourself.
Each web page—even on the same website— is ranked differently. If you optimize three of your pages for the same keyword, you’re actually increasing the competition against yourself. This can damage your ability to rank on search engines. Don’t even write a blog post optimizing for the same keyword as another page on your site.
Each page should optimize for another relevant keyword. This gives you a lot of room to test out and optimize for a greater breadth of keywords.
2. Optimize all over the page.
You want to include your target keyword at least once in the following areas of your web page:
- Page title
- Paragraph copy
- Product descriptions
- Image file names & alt tags
- Meta title
- Meta description
Your URL is especially important. Search engines likely rank URL keywords the most. For example, if you write a blog about “dog grooming products,” you want the URL to include the phrase “dog grooming products.” The URL of that blog post could look like: < http://www.yourbusiness.com/dog-grooming-products >
You should also include a blog on your site. Each blog should have a specific keyword. This allows you to widen your keyword reach without overwhelming the search engine’s algorithm.
BONUS: On Amazon, you want to include your keyword in at least:
- Product Title
- 1 bullet point
- Product description
- Backend search terms (don’t duplicate front end keywords)
3. Don't keyword stuff.
We’ve hinted at it up until this point, but this is a critical part of optimization today. Don’t stuff your page with keywords.
Search engines used to look at the density of keywords on a page. The typical rule used to be a 1-4% density of your keyword in order to be optimized.
But consider this. A 500-word article at 4% keyword density would mean you are using that keyword 20 times in the blog. This sounds forced and unnatural, especially if you’re optimizing for a long-tail keyword or phrase.
Search engine algorithms are becoming increasingly smart. They’re starting to think more and more like people as opposed to machines. Thus, if you stuff a keyword on your site, you’ll actually be penalized for “manipulating” the system.
Instead, focus on writing for your human audience. Quality content will be rewarded.
This is especially important as search engine algorithms are constantly changing. It’s impossible to keep up with all the rules of optimization. So follow the main optimization rule:
Provide quality, relevant content that connects with your audience.
4. Track your optimization.
After optimizing a page for a specific keyword, you’ll want to track how that keyword is impacting your search results. Follow your page analytics for 30 days. You should watch for an increase in click-through and a decrease in bounce rate.
If your page isn’t increasing search results or improving metrics, you may need to consider changing your keyword to something more specific or re-optimizing your page.
Contact Seller’s Choice for a current analysis of your optimization and a projected growth summary.
Keywords are the basis to strong optimization for your e-commerce site. Targeting the right keyword per page can help gain visibility, impressions, and clicks for your website. This visibility attracts customers and sales that can further boost your business.