insights | 22.01.2024

Keyword research for beginners: how to find the right words for your eCommerce site

Article topics
  1. Brainstorm your seed keywords
  2. Use keyword tools to build your list
  3. Identify the right keywords to use
  4. Map and build keyword clusters
  5. Optimise your keywords
  6. Revisit, refine, and update
  7. Alternatively… trust an SEO expert to do the hard work for you

If you want your website to rank as high as possible in search engines like Google and Bing, it’s crucial to optimise it for the right keywords.

Keyword research is an essential part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) process. You need to understand your customers and determine which keywords they are most likely to use to find you online.

The good news is that keyword research is easier than you might think; it just requires time and planning. In this article, we’ll show you how to find the perfect keywords for your eCommerce store, as well as how to add them to your site.

1. Brainstorm your seed keywords

The first step in successful keyword research is determining a handful of ‘seed’ keywords. These are words and phrases that you use to help you find more keywords.

For example, if you own an eCommerce store that sells art, your seed keywords might include:

  • Wall art
  • Modern art
  • Paintings
  • Art prints
  • Artwork

You can get seed keywords in several ways:

  • Look at emails, social media messages, and live chat messages your customers send
  • Use Google Trends to identify trending topics and keywords
  • Review your competitor’s websites to see which keywords they target
  • Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘related searches’ section of Google

How many seed keywords should you have? You can have as many or as few as you like, but we recommend between 15 and 20 for the best results.

Add your seed keywords to a spreadsheet, and you’re ready to move to the next step.

2. Use keyword tools to build your list

Now that you have your seed keywords, it’s time to use keyword tools to expand on them. Keyword tools use historical search engine data to identify additional words and phrases you might want to rank for.

Here are some keyword tools we love at Xigen. Most of these tools are free to use or come with a free trial so you can take advantage of all the functionality they offer. Just enter your seed keywords and download the results to your computer.

3. Identify the right keywords to use

Quality is better than quantity when it comes to good keyword research. It’s now time to whittle down your list of keywords to focus on the ones that will drive traffic to your site.

Keyword tools (like the ones we looked at in the previous step) provide two key metrics: search volume and competitiveness.

Search volume shows how many people search for a specific keyword in the search engines each month. It’s essential to consider a mix of keywords with both high and low search volumes. High search volumes are great for more traffic and visibility, while low search volumes are easier to rank for and mean you can target a more niche audience.

Competitiveness shows how many of your competitors are targeting the same keyword as you. The lower the competitiveness, the easier it will be to rank highly in the search engine results. However, there will be times when you will want to target more competitive keywords, as it will lead to significant sales if you can rank on the first page.

Let’s look at the example above. ‘Wood wall art’ is an excellent keyword to aim for as the difficulty is relatively low, and the search volume is decent. Conversely, while ‘wall art’ has a high search volume, it’s a highly competitive term.

Here are two additional things to consider when identifying keywords you want to rank for.

Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are longer phrases that people search for, typically three words or more. For example, ‘contemporary wall art for living room’ instead of ‘wall art’.

The benefit of going after these keywords is that they are more targeted, and there is less competition. This means more chance of appearing on the first page of the search engine results.

Search intent

It’s important to understand not just the specific keywords potential customers use, but why they use them. This is known as search intent.

There are four different types of search intent:

  • Informational – searches made by people researching a specific topic, typically at the start of the sales funnel. For example: ‘What defines traditional art?’
  • Commercial – searches made by people who know what they want and are conducting research. For example: ‘Best wall art companies in the UK’
  • Transactional – searches made by people who are ready to buy or convert, at the end of the sales funnel. For example: ‘Buy wall art online’
  • Navigational – searches made by people looking for a specific website. For example:

It’s essential to understand what search intent each of your keywords has. Some keyword platforms (for example, Semrush) work this out for you automatically, while with others, you have to make the call yourself. By knowing the search intent of each keyword, you can create content that appeals to each potential customer, wherever they are in the sales funnel.

4. Map and build keyword clusters

At this point, you should have a decent list of high-quality keywords. The next step is to identify which pages to add them to, using clustering and mapping.

What is keyword clustering?

Keyword clustering is grouping similar keywords with a specific search intent together.

 You can do this manually or use an artificial intelligence tool like Chat GPT – give it a list of your keywords, and it will arrange them into clusters.

Aim for about five to ten words per keyword cluster. However, if you’re creating a larger piece of content like a long-form blog or a pillar page, you can get away with more keywords.

What is keyword mapping?

Keyword mapping is assigning keyword clusters to a specific page on your website.

This ensures your pages are optimised for the right keywords, and you don’t accidentally have two pages competing for the same keywords. This is known as ‘keyword cannibalisation’ and can lead to the search engines prioritising the wrong pages on your site.

To do keyword mapping, get a list of all the pages you want to optimise. The easiest way to do this is by checking your sitemap file. Then, it’s a case of identifying which keyword clusters to apply to each page.

Don’t worry if you have keywords you can’t assign to an existing page on your site. This is a fantastic opportunity to create a new web page (for example, a blog post) or a guest post for a relevant third-party website.

5. Optimise your keywords

You’ve got your keywords; now it’s time to add them to your web pages! Here’s how to optimise your pages to get the best results:

  • Use your keywords in your meta description and page title. While this won’t directly help with SEO, it will ensure that the right customers visit your page
  • Use your keywords in the URL of your page. If you do change your URL, set up a redirect to ensure you don’t lose out on any existing traffic
  • Use your keywords in your page headings and across your content
  • Add your keywords to your image file names and alt text. Remember that accessibility is still vital for alt text – visually impaired people need to understand the context

Remember that while it’s important to use your keywords across your page, it’s critical to make sure your content is easy to read and looks natural. Shoehorning your keywords in for the sake of it can make your page look spammy and detract from the user experience.

If you’re struggling to add a keyword to a page, it may be a better fit somewhere else.

There are extensions and apps you can use to optimise your pages for specific keywords. For example, Yoast and Rank Math on WordPress, and Avada and Smart SEO for Shopify.

While these tools can be a great help, it’s essential not to be overly reliant on them. Just because you get top marks doesn’t mean you’ll automatically rank on the first page of the search engine results.

6. Revisit, refine, and update

Keyword research is an ongoing process. Once you’ve done the initial work, you need to check for new keywords, monitor your existing ones, and make changes to your pages accordingly.

We recommend conducting a keyword research review at least once a year to ensure you’re ahead of emerging trends and changing audiences. You should also conduct keyword research whenever you launch a new marketing campaign or your product offering changes.

Many SEO platforms like Ahrefs, Moz, and Semrush, let you track keyword rankings. This means you can make changes if your website falls off the first page of the search engine results.

Alternatively… trust an SEO expert to do the hard work for you

Anyone can do keyword research, but finding the right words and phrases takes time. You need to identify high-traffic words that your competitors aren’t using, and that resonate with the needs of your target audience. It’s a lot to take in!

At Xigen, we specialise in SEO for eCommerce businesses. Our expert team will work with you, using state-of-the-art keyword research tools to create an SEO strategy that raises brand awareness, drives sales, and fosters customer loyalty.

Save time and money by letting Xigen do your keyword research – get in touch today and take the first step towards an optimised website.

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