Perhaps one of the most important aspects of ecommerce SEO is researching and selecting keyword targets. Although this process might seem elementary, the decision of which keywords to pursue can often make or break an ecommerce SEO campaign.
Most of us who know a thing or two about SEO are familiar with Google Keyword Tool (or “GKT”) found in AdWords. This is the most popular resource to research and learn about the keywords that people are searching on Google. Initially, the Google Keyword Tool appears to be pretty easy to use (in which it is pretty simple;) however there’s a few important points that you must know to ensure your keyword research is accurate.
In this blog post, I am going to underscore some of the most basic yet immensely significant aspects involved with using the Google Keyword Tool for ecommerce SEO.
Understanding Keyword Match Types
An essential part of doing keyword research using the GKT is understanding the three primary match types. These include Broad, Exact, and Phrase match, and they can be filtered on the left-hand side of the GKT. Although these match types are designed for paid search (PPC) keyword bidding, knowing their differences is important for SEO.
In Google search, a broad keyword match can often times be extemely broad. For example, let’s say you’re doing research on terms around “marble cleaner.” Google will include related keywords like “marble polisher,” “cleaning marble,” and “diy marble countertop cleaner” as broad matches for the two-word phrase “marble cleaner.”
When it comes to ecommerce SEO, you want to know the precise search volumes for this term. For this reason, broad match can lead to misleading and inaccurate keyword research. In almost any instance of doing keyword research for ecommerce SEO, be sure to choose the [Exact] match option.
As you can see in the results shown above, the true local monthly search volume for “marble cleaner” is 590 searches per month (not 5,400 as shown under broad.) Phrase match is a bit more accurate, for this accounts for searches that do include the exact match of “marble cleaner,” however with surrounding text (such as “the best marble cleaner” or “marble cleaners for sale.”) But again, stick with exact matching when doing keyword research for ecommerce SEO.
If you’d learn more about Google’s match types, check out this great article by Search Engine Land’s Josh Dreller.
Understanding Keyword Competition
Determining how competitive a keyword is can be an intensive effort, depending on how far you want to take your research. At the very least, you’ll want to perform a search for the keyword phrase in question. By simply getting a good look at the search engine results page (or “SERP,”) you can get a fair idea of how competitive the keyword might be.
A quick indication of keyword’s competitiveness is how many websites are bidding on the keyword via paid search. Typically the more PPC ads present (along with Google shopping results,) the more competitive the keyword is. This automatically tell us that this keyword is profitable, and if people are bidding on the keyword using PPC advertising, then there’s most definitely sites optimizing for the keyword in organic search.
Take some time to observe the top search listings or the websites that are currently dominating the SERP. If there’s high authority domains across the board (such as WebMD, Amazon, .edu and .gov sites) you may want to delve deeper in your research before adding the keyword to your list. Ecommerce is becoming increasingly competitive, so it’s absolutely critical that you know who you’re up against before going further in the ecommerce SEO process.
If you want to know precisely just how authoritative competing websites are (and what it will take to outrank them,) you can do a backlink scan using software like SEO Spyglass. Because backlinks are a primary factor of authority and overall search placement, this scan can be very enlightening. The report from this 0scan will tell you the amount and quality of backlinks pointing to the competitor’s domain. This software is a bit expensive, however most ecommerce SEO service providers will have these resources available for thier clients.
Keep in mind that keyword research for ecommerce SEO is the foundation for your campaign. There’s a lot of players competing for the same search markets, so be sure to choose the right keywords before you start optimizing your online store.