Ecommerce SEO: Keyword Research

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As with any form of SEO, keyword research is the basis and foundation for all other optimizations you will leverage – if you’re not targeting the right keywords, it really doesn’t matter how well optimized your site is since you won’t attract the right customers. Scale is the one point that separates ecommerce keyword research from keyword research in the general sense.

Related: learn how to master keyword research

While you can perform keyword research for every single product and category page on your site, if you have a large number of pages on your website, this is not going to be an effective use of time. Rather, you should perform keyword research for a subset of your pages to determine a template keyword phrase that you can apply across all similar pages (product, category, review, etc).

Keyword Templates

For products, this template will typically be something along the lines of [brand] [product name] [product type], such as Arcteryx Beta AR Jacket. For categories, the typical keyword phrase mirrors the categories and faceted navigation – such as [modifier] [category] example: (shell jackets), or [modifier 1] [modifier 2] [category] (black shell jackets).

Many less authoritative, and newer, ecommerce sites will find they are not competitive enough rank for simply a product name or category. These sites will have to find keyword modifiers to include along with the product or category name. Modifiers might include words like “deals” or “on sale” (Arcteryx Beta AR Jacket on Sale).

Category KW Template With Modifier

While these modified product name keyword phrases will have much smaller search volumes, they are easily attainable, yielding more traffic than ranking poorly for high volume terms. To determine the competitiveness of the phrase, the Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool is a great starting place. However you should also manually review the SERPs in your ecommerce keyword research process to better understand your competition and whether you will be able to rank.

Developing a keyword phrase template for product and category pages is efficient, but since you are not individually reviewing each keyword phrase you will miss out on some opportunities. To minimize the missed opportunities stemming from using keyword phrase templates, you’ll want to manually research and create keyword phrases for your most important product and category pages.

This list of important pages should be a combination of high revenue, high margin, and high demand (search volume) pages.

The top pages typically represent 5% – 15% of the entire product/category matrix.

Action Items:

  • Develop a keyword phrase template for product pages
  • Develop a keyword phrase template for category pages
  • Develop a keyword phrase template for review pages
  • Generate a list of your most important pages
  • Identify keyword phrases for top pages

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