Research is the first step in any marketing campaign, whether it’s developing PPC ads, inbound marketing campaigns with content, social content, or organic content.
Knowing your audience lets you customize the message to have more impact, but knowing how your audience is searching for products is how you can get your message in front of all those eyes. Brands commonly do a round of keyword research when launching new products, but neglect to go deeper than simple branded keywords.
In some cases, they target a group of commercial intent keywords but fail to revisit their keyword targeting and, subsequently, miss out on opportunities to gain more organic traffic.
The Problem with Branded Keywords
For eCommerce, branded keywords can be a huge source of organic traffic. If you’re only targeting branded keywords, then you run into some very real problems. Branded search terms:
Are highly competitive, making it more difficult to establish visibility among search results.
Don’t account for customer intent.
Don’t account for product or keyword variations customers may use.
For example, a customer interested in a new digital camera could search in a variety of ways:
Nikon vs Canon camera
Nikon COOLPIX P900 price
Nikon COOLPIX reviews
Red Nikon digital camera
Extending your keyword research will make it easier to optimize your product pages, landing pages, and content pieces with the most relevant search queries aligning with the intent of your audience.
Here are some tips to expand your keyword research efforts for eCommerce SEO and to find those hidden gems that drive high-converting traffic and conversions.
Pull data from site search query.
Whether customers land on your site from an organic search query or a paid ad, they may still feel the need to browse or search within your online store.
The site search option in your eCommerce store provides a wealth of information you can use for further optimization, providing insight into the long tail searches customers are using to find the perfect product or solution.
Identify trends in the queries they use to search your site and use them where they fit naturally into your product pages and campaigns.
It’s also worth noting that auditing the data in your site search can help you discover where search queries which should lead to a product are not, due to poor optimization.According to one study from the Baymard Institute, 70% of eCommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms, and 34% don’t return results for model number variations and misspellings.
Check site search for other sites and marketplaces.
Your site search isn’t the only place where you can gain insight into how customers are searching for products.
Major eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon and brand stores like Best Buy all utilize search fields designed to help customers find products quickly. You can use these search fields to research specific products.
Start typing in branded or product-specific keywords, and sites like Amazon will offer suggestions of what it thinks you’re looking for. These suggestions aren’t just the system making blind guesses. Each suggestion is based on trending or popular searches from other users.
Use this tactic across various sites that sell your product, or products similar to yours, to discover new keyword variations your customers use when researching a purchase.
Leverage promoted pins from Pinterest.
When you’re hungry for semantically relevant search phrases, think outside the box. Pinterest provides an opportunity to see what kind of phrases people use to find and discuss products. While there are plenty of image/content sharing platforms, Pinterest is very-much consumer/sales/retail-focused, making it the perfect social channel for eCommerce keyword research.
When you set up a promoted pin campaign on Pinterest, pick a pin that closely matches the head or branded product keywords. When you plug in a related term, Pinterest will fire back related terms it believes are relevant to your campaign.
As you can see, you get more than semantically relevant keywords, but a larger variety of terms that show what user interests align with your promoted pin campaign. Use those recommendations as seed words to help you brainstorm keywords that can help your products (and their variations and accessories) appear in search.
Dig into your competitors.
While you may not be able to discern the exact terms your competitors are targeting, there are ways to peek into their tactics and pull insight from their public-facing product pages, ads, and online presence.
Rather than manually pore through competitor sites reading endless streams of content, use Google’s Keyword Planner.
Aside from suggesting keywords based on your products or product categories, you can input your landing page to have the content scanned and relevant keywords suggested.
Or, plug in your competitors’ pages. Let Google take a look and suggest keyword variations based on what it finds.
Consider user intent when searching for keyword modifiers.
Every search query plugged into Google is a question. Users need answers based on their intentions.
Every search query is tied to an intention:
To satisfy a curiosity
To go somewhere
To do something
To purchase a product
To learn something
When you’re researching keywords to sell a product, you need to keep user intent in mind in order to optimize and position the right content. Avoid limiting your focus to branded keywords with direct commercial intent. You’ll miss out on opportunities stemming from other types of user intent.
For example, a customer may be gearing up to purchase a new Samsung smartphone, but they’re not ready to pull the trigger just yet because they haven’t decided where to buy it from and there are still some questions they have. They might search online with queries like:
Is the Samsung S8 water resistant (satisfy curiosity)
Samsung smartphone video streaming (do something)
How to set up Samsung S7 mobile pay (learn something)
Where to buy Samsung S8 (go somewhere/learn something)
eCommerce SEO is about more than just optimizing your product pages. With user intent in mind, you can research and uncover other content to help generate organic traffic for your online store. These variations may have less immediate commercial intent, but they draw prospective customers into your funnel and make them aware of your brand.
If their searches bring them to your optimized educational content, and you can provide them with value beyond the product itself, you’re more likely to gain favor and win the sale.
Be mindful of seasonal purchases.
When you’re analyzing keyword variations, keep in mind that search volume can change—sometimes products go in and out of season. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and other research tools, don’t just look at recent search volume. Check for trends by date and season.
A search query may not have much search volume lately, but, during holiday seasons or weeks leading up to summer months, search volume for a product may increase dramatically. Likewise, a slight variation in the search query could also shift the results.
Or the skyrocketing searching for “men’s socks” during the Christmas season.
Don’t be put off if you see a low search volume for a certain period. Look at wider historical search volume data to see if there’s more value to some of your targeted keywords.
Pull ideas from your shopping feeds.
If you’ve gotGoogle shopping feeds up and running, then you have a wealth of data at your fingertips waiting to be plucked.
Google’s Keyword Planner can help you search for new keywords based on your products. So, look to your feed to pull the top products and plug those into the keyword planner.
Not only will you get details on the search volume for those specific branded product terms, you’ll also get recommendations for related search queries. Here’s an example of the recommendations after entering “Nikon Coolpix P900.”
This is a fast, effective way to find new ways to improve visibility for your hottest-selling products.
Keyword research should be revisited regularly, not just to find new variations and monitor search volume, but to find new opportunities for creating and optimizing content that will generate more organic search traffic.
Since search engines like Google update their algorithms regularly, follow suit and use these tips to keep your targeted keywords fresh and find those high-converting, long tail keywords that will bring you more customers ready to convert.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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