The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Keyword Research

Learn how to master ecommerce keyword research with our comprehensive guide. Discover effective strategies for SEO success in online businesses.

Elie Akl

June 1, 2024

10 minute read

Hey there! If you have an online store, you know how important it is to get people to visit your website. One of the best ways to do this is by using the right keywords. In this guide, we'll talk all about ecommerce keyword research and how it can help your business succeed.

Key Takeaways

  • Ecommerce keyword research is crucial for online business success
  • Identify your target audience to select the most relevant keywords
  • Use keyword research tools to find high-converting keywords
  • Optimize for search intent and leverage long-tail keywords
  • Continuously track and adjust your keyword strategy based on performance

Understanding Ecommerce Keyword Research

First things first, let's talk about what ecommerce keyword research is and why it matters. Basically, it's the process of finding the words and phrases that people type into search engines when they're looking for products like yours. By targeting the right keywords, you can help your online store show up higher in search results and get more visitors.

Now, you might be wondering, "What is SEO for ecommerce?" SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it's a set of strategies used to improve your website's visibility in search results. While the basics of SEO apply to all websites, there are some specific things to keep in mind when optimizing an online store. For example, you'll want to focus on keywords related to your products and categories, as well as terms that show someone is ready to make a purchase.

Did you know that e-commerce sales are expected to account for 22% of all retail sales worldwide by 2023 [Statista]? With more and more people shopping online, it's never been more important to make sure your store is easy to find.

Understanding Ecommerce Keyword Research

Identifying Your Target Audience

Before you start researching keywords, it's important to know who your target audience is. Think about the kind of people who are most likely to buy your products. What are their interests? What problems are they trying to solve? Understanding your customers will help you choose keywords that match their search behavior and preferences.

One way to learn more about your audience is by looking at your social media followers and customer feedback. See what questions people are asking and what language they use to describe your products. You can also use tools like Google Analytics to get insights into your website visitors, such as their age, location, and interests.

How to Conduct Keyword Research for Your Ecommerce Site

Now that you know your target audience, it's time to start looking for keywords. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do keyword research for e-commerce:

  1. Make a list of seed keywords related to your products and industry
  2. Use keyword research tools (more on these later) to find related keywords and phrases
  3. Look at the search volume and competition level for each keyword
  4. Consider the search intent behind each keyword (is the person looking to buy, or just browsing?)
  5. Narrow down your list to the most relevant and promising keywords

When choosing keywords, it's important to think about search intent. For example, someone searching for "running shoes" might just be researching different options, while someone searching for "buy Nike Air Max" is probably ready to make a purchase. As an e-commerce site, you'll want to focus on keywords that show commercial intent.

Common Keyword Research Mistakes

To make the most of your keyword research, avoid these common mistakes:

  • Ignoring search intent: Don't just target keywords with high search volume; make sure they align with your business goals and customer needs.
  • Focusing only on short-tail keywords: While broad keywords like "shoes" might get a lot of searches, they're also very competitive. Don't forget to include longer, more specific phrases as well.
  • Not updating your keyword strategy: Customer interests and search trends can change over time, so it's important to regularly review and adjust your keyword list.

In recent news, Google announced several updates to its shopping search features [Search Engine Journal], making it even more important for e-commerce sites to optimize their keyword strategies.

Understanding Search Intent

Search intent refers to the reason behind a user's search query. There are four main types of search intent:

  1. Informational: The user is looking for information or answers to a question
  2. Navigational: The user wants to find a specific website or page
  3. Transactional: The user is ready to make a purchase or complete an action
  4. Commercial investigation: The user is researching products or services before making a decision

When choosing keywords for your e-commerce site, focus on those with transactional and commercial investigation intent. These are the people who are most likely to become customers.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Another helpful strategy is to look at the keywords your competitors are targeting. By seeing what works for them, you can identify opportunities to improve your own keyword list.

There are a few ways to research competitor keywords:

  • Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see what keywords a specific URL ranks for
  • Look at the meta titles and descriptions on your competitors' product and category pages
  • Search for your target keywords and see what sites come up in the results

As you analyze your competitors, look for gaps in their keyword strategy that you could fill, or niche areas where you could establish yourself as an authority.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Utilizing Keyword Research Tools

While you can do keyword research manually, tools can help speed up the process and provide valuable data. Here are a few popular options:

  • Google Keyword Planner: A free tool that shows search volume and competition level for keywords, as well as suggestions for related terms.
  • SEMrush: A paid tool that offers keyword data, competitor analysis, and site audit features.
  • Ahrefs: Another paid tool with a large database of keywords and backlinks, as well as content exploration features.

To use these tools, start by entering a seed keyword related to your product or industry. The tool will then generate a list of related keywords and data on their search volume, competition level, and other metrics. Use this information to identify the most promising keywords for your site.

For example, let's say you sell organic dog treats. You might start by searching for "dog treats" in a keyword tool. The results show that this keyword has a high search volume but also high competition. However, you also see related terms like "organic dog treats" and "healthy dog treats" with lower competition but still decent search volume. These could be good keywords to target.

Leveraging Long-Tail Keywords

In addition to broad keywords, don't forget to include long-tail keywords in your strategy. These are longer, more specific phrases that often have lower search volume but higher conversion rates.

For example, "shoes" is a broad keyword, while "women's size 8 black leather pumps" is a long-tail keyword. While fewer people might search for the latter, those who do are more likely to make a purchase.

Keyword research tools can help you find long-tail keyword ideas. Look for phrases that include modifiers like size, color, material, or brand name. You can also use Answer the Public to see questions and phrases related to your seed keywords.

Special Considerations for Different Ecommerce Platforms

While the general principles of keyword research apply to all e-commerce sites, there are some specific considerations for different platforms. For example, if you have a Shopify store, you might be wondering "How to do keyword research for Shopify store?"

One key difference with Shopify is that you don't have as much control over your site structure and URLs as you would with a platform like WordPress or Magento. However, you can still optimize your page titles, meta descriptions, and product descriptions for your target keywords.

Shopify also offers some built-in SEO features, like automatically generating sitemap.xml files and customizable image alt text. Be sure to take advantage of these when optimizing your store.

Another type of e-commerce business that requires a slightly different approach to keyword research is dropshipping. If you're wondering "How to do keyword research for dropshipping," keep reading!

Dropshipping Keyword Strategy

Dropshipping businesses often have a wider product range than traditional e-commerce stores, as they don't need to hold inventory themselves. This means that keyword research for dropshipping may involve casting a wider net and targeting a variety of different niches.

When doing keyword research for dropshipping, it's important to look at data from your suppliers to see what products are popular and in demand. You can also use tools like Google Trends to see what product categories and search terms are trending upwards.

As you choose keywords for your dropshipping store, consider the specific characteristics of the products you're selling. Are there certain sizes, colors, or styles that are particularly popular? Be sure to include these modifiers in your keyword list.

It's also a good idea to look for keyword opportunities related to the benefits or uses of your products, rather than just the products themselves. For example, instead of just targeting "yoga mats," you could also target keywords like "eco-friendly yoga mats" or "best yoga mats for hot yoga."

Keyword Research for Shopify SEO

If you have a Shopify store, there are a few specific tools and strategies you can use to optimize your keyword research.

First, be sure to install the SEO Checker & SEO Doctor app from the Shopify App Store. This tool will scan your store and provide recommendations for improving your SEO, including suggestions for keywords to target.

You can also use Shopify's built-in analytics to see which search terms are driving traffic to your store. Go to Analytics > Reports > Acquisition > Search engine and look at the "Search keywords" report to see what terms people are using to find your site.

When optimizing your Shopify product pages, be sure to include your target keywords in the following places:

  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Product description
  • Image alt text
  • URL (if possible)

However, avoid overusing keywords or stuffing them into places where they don't sound natural, as this can actually hurt your SEO. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, informative product descriptions that naturally incorporate your keywords.

Optimizing for Mobile Search

Another important factor to consider in your keyword research is mobile optimization. With more and more people shopping on their smartphones, it's crucial that your e-commerce site is easy to use and navigate on mobile devices.

When choosing keywords, think about how they might be typed or phrased differently on mobile. For example, someone searching on their phone might use shorter, more concise phrases or rely more on voice search.

You can use the Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google to see how well your site performs on mobile devices and get suggestions for improvement. You should also make sure your site loads quickly and has a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes.

By optimizing for mobile search, you can improve your chances of ranking well for mobile-specific keywords and phrases. This is especially important for local searches, as many people use their phones to find businesses and products nearby.

Optimizing for Mobile Search

Implementing Your Ecommerce Keyword Research

Once you've identified your target keywords, it's time to start incorporating them into your e-commerce site. Here are a few key places to focus on:

  • Product titles and descriptions: Use your keywords naturally in your product titles and descriptions, highlighting the key features and benefits of each item.
  • Category and landing pages: Create optimized category and landing pages for your main keyword themes, with informative content and clear calls-to-action.
  • Blog posts and guides: Use your keywords to inspire content ideas for your blog or resource center, providing helpful information and establishing your expertise.
  • Meta tags and alt text: Include your keywords in your meta titles, descriptions, and image alt text to help search engines understand and index your pages.

Remember, the goal is not to stuff your pages with keywords, but rather to use them strategically and naturally to create a better user experience. Focus on providing value and answering your customers' questions, and the SEO benefits will follow.

Keyword Optimization Techniques

In addition to placing your keywords in strategic locations, there are a few other techniques you can use to optimize your pages:

  • Use variations and synonyms: Don't just repeat the same keyword over and over; use variations and synonyms to make your content more natural and engaging.
  • Optimize for featured snippets: Format your content with clear headings, bullet points, and concise answers to common questions to increase your chances of being featured in Google's "position zero" results.
  • Use schema markup: Implement schema markup on your product pages to provide search engines with more context and information about your offerings.
  • Build internal links: Link strategically between your product, category, and content pages using optimized anchor text to boost your site's authority and relevance.

By using these techniques in combination with your keyword research, you can create a comprehensive and effective SEO strategy for your e-commerce site.

Tracking and Adjusting Your Strategy

Keyword research is not a one-time task, but rather an ongoing process of testing, measuring, and refining. As you implement your keyword strategy, be sure to track your rankings and traffic to see what's working and what's not.

Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your site's performance and identify areas for improvement. Look at metrics like:

  • Organic traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page
  • Conversion rate

If you're not seeing the results you want, don't be afraid to adjust your strategy. Try targeting different keywords, optimizing your content, or building more high-quality backlinks. The key is to stay agile and adaptable, always looking for ways to improve your SEO and drive more qualified traffic to your site.

Evaluating Keyword Performance

In addition to tracking your overall site performance, it's important to evaluate the specific keywords you're targeting. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see where you rank for each keyword and how much traffic and revenue it's generating.

If a keyword is underperforming, consider whether it's truly relevant to your business and audience. You may need to adjust your targeting or optimize your page content to better match the search intent.

On the other hand, if a keyword is driving a lot of traffic and sales, look for opportunities to double down on that success. Can you create more content around that keyword theme, or optimize your product pages even further to improve your rankings and conversion rates?

By regularly evaluating your keyword performance and making data-driven decisions, you can continuously improve your e-commerce SEO and drive more revenue for your business.

Ready to take your e-commerce keyword research to the next level? Check out our other resources and guides at to learn more about SEO, content marketing, and online sales strategies. With the right approach and tools, you can unlock the full potential of your online store and achieve e-commerce success.

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