According to Moz, one of the most reliable SEO authorities out there, on-page SEO is:
The practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers both to the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized.
And smart keyword research is by far the easiest way to start experiencing the benefits of eCommerce SEO. Language is the currency of Google, and you need to choose the right language for your SEO content for eCommerce.
eCommerce Keyword Research
Keywords are the most fundamental part of eCommerce SEO. And the keywords you target have a ripple effect throughout your entire SEO campaign.
Keyword Volume & Keyword Difficulty
There are two components you must consider when choosing keywords: volume and difficulty.
Using SEMrush (the tool we’ll be using throughout this guide), let’s look at the keyword seafood.
People search for “seafood” 450,000 times per month. That’s the search volume for “seafood”.
Volume in SEO is always communicated as a monthly number.
A 450k volume is huge. But not so fast. Here’s what the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) looks like for seafood. Before any organic results, there’s a knowledge panel, ads, local results, and a “people also ask” section.
Then, below all that, is the first organic result. A little website you may have heard of called Wikipedia.
And finally, at number 6 in the organic results, we find an eCommerce website. Omaha Steaks.
Omaha Steaks has been targeting the word seafood for years. And they can’t even crack the top 5 for the term.
Think you’ll rank high enough for a broad keyword like seafood to drive any meaningful traffic to your seafood eCommerce website?
Not without a lot of hard work. Less work, of course, if you get an eCommerce platform or online marketplace that takes care of eCommerce SEO out of the box. Or a digital menu that helps with restaurant SEO.
This is an example of a high-volume keyword with high keyword difficulty. The rewards are big, but the task is hard. And if you’re a relatively new or small business, it’s an absolute waste of time and money pursuing keywords that the industry giants are dominating.
That’s why you need to find keywords with decent volume and low difficulty. These are typically longer keywords that address more specific topics. They’re called long-tail keywords.
Let’s take the long-tail keyword buy seafood online, which has a monthly volume of 1,300.
Here’s what the SERP looks like:
That’s a little better. It’s less cluttered. The sites ranking high aren’t as hard to get ahead of as Wikipedia.
This, then, is the dance between keyword volume and difficulty. Your goal as an eCommerce website is to find a balance between them, based on what is realistically possible.
Building Your Keyword Universe
Your keyword universe is the total number of keywords, terms, and phrases that drive organic search traffic to your website.
So how do you uncover keyword opportunities? Here are three ways.
Google will actually tell you, for free, what people are searching for with their autocomplete and “searches related to” feature.
Just type in “buy seafood” in the search bar and Google autocomplete will suggest popular searches that use those words:
Additionally, if we search for buy seafood online, we’ll see this at the bottom of the SERP:
This is Google telling us exactly what people are searching for. It doesn’t give us monthly volume, but it’s one of the most invaluable things, even if you use the best eCommerce platform for SEO. Even professional SEOs rely on Google in this way.
Ubersuggest is a free keyword research tool that will give you keyword volume. But you get a limited amount of free searches per day.
Just plug your keyword into Ubersuggest and voila:
You’ll get monthly volume along with a list of related keywords and their volume.
SEMrush is another SEO tool with robust keyword research functionality, but it’s not free. If you’ve got the money and are committed to sustained SEO investment, it’s worth it.
Like Ubersuggest, you can just plug your keyword into the SEMrush search bar.
You’ll get volume, related keywords, along with keyword difficulty and lots of great sorting and filtering features.
But here’s the great thing about SEMrush: you can uncover your competitors’ keywords, too.
The #1 organic search result for buy seafood online is Fulton Fish Market.
By putting their website into SEMrush’s Organic Research tool, we’ll get all of the keywords their website ranks for:
In the bottom left, you’ll see “Top Organic Keywords.” Those are all the keywords that your competitor is targeting.
Want to work to take their place on the SERP? Target the keywords they target, and do it better than them.
Using some combination of these free and paid keyword research tools, put together an exhaustive list of keywords to target. For your homepage, your category pages, and your product pages.
With your keyword universe in hand, it’s time to figure out which keywords are truly worth pursuing.
Your goal is to take your keyword universe and prioritize the keywords with the best balance between ranking difficulty and search volume to maximize the chance of your business showing up on the first page of search results.
Here’s how to give yourself the best chance:
Google each term and gauge how targeted the results are for it.
Here’s the SERP for the keyword monkfish buy online, which would very likely be a keyword that one of your product pages would target:
A lot of those results have the word “fresh” in them. It’s fair to say that a monkfish product page optimized around “buy monkfish online” and “fresh” would do well.
You’ve got your keywords. Now let’s look at where they’ll live: your product and category pages.
Next section: SEO for eCommerce Product Pages
BlueCart is a member of the SEMrush affiliate program and makes commission through advertising and linking to SEMrush.com.