All SEO comes down to keywords.
That applies no matter what industry, including eCommerce.
But there are some easy pitfalls when searching for eCommerce keywords. Today, I’ll break down some of the best practices every store owner should know about alongside common mistakes to avoid.
eCommerce keyword best practices
There are a lot of basics that apply to keyword research for any type of content. These include using a good research tool (I like Ahrefs), finding relevant phrases that speak to the right customer persona, and more.
But today, I’m going to focus on eCommerce. And when it comes to selling online, there are two strategies that are more important than others.
#1—Look at clicks per search
A surprising number of keywords today lead to almost zero traffic. As tempting as these keywords might be, you should almost always avoid them. And the clicks per search (CPS) metric helps you do that.
You can think of it as a multiplier of volume. So a CPS of 0.50 means half the searches end in clicks, while 1.20 means the searchers click 1.2 links per search. I’d avoid anything under 0.50 unless there’s a lot of volume.
#2—Prioritize cost per click
Cost per click (CPC) is a handy metric in keyword tools that shows how much you would pay per click to run a paid ad for this keyword.
The impact for eCommerce stores is obvious—the higher the amount, the better. If companies are willing to spend $3.00 per click for a keyword, that means it’s worth something.
eCommerce keyword mistakes to avoid
Now let’s look at some common mistakes.
While they might sound obvious, I’ve seen too many store owners fall into these traps—so don’t dismiss them.
#1—Targeting the wrong type of content
The first mistake is writing the wrong type of content for a keyword.
A keyword like “retro watches” might look like the perfect candidate for a blog post. You could explain the historical styles of watches, how to buy them, how much to pay, and more.
But you’ll probably never rank because every top result is a category page. If you want to get in Google’s top ten for this keyword, you should promote a retro watch product category page.
#2—Ignoring keyword context
A keyword you think is the perfect opportunity for your product might actually reference something else.
That perfect keyword with huge search volume is a book title—that’s why so many people search for it. The surprisingly popular industry phrase also happens to be the name of an anime character—and that’s what all the results are for.
Those are both real examples that cropped up as potential keywords for client accounts. Always check the context before you start writing!
#3—Underestimating keyword difficulty
Most SEO newcomers underestimate keyword difficulty.
The reality is that you should almost always work your way up in keyword difficulty. Start with super-easy keywords, then move to harder ones.
The scale is different across platforms, but a good example is Ahrefs’ 0–100 scale. A beginning site should aim for a keyword in the 0–20 range first. Going for keywords at a 45 difficulty will only leave you frustrated.
The last mistake is thinking that because a keyword is relatively easy, you’ll be able to beat big competitors. You probably won’t.
Most keyword difficulty scores come from backlinks to the individual pages. But the company URL holds huge weight that doesn’t make it to this score.
For example, a small electronics eCommerce store might see a niche keyword with a difficulty score of 5. Sounds easy, right? But if the top 10 search results are companies like Apple, Dell, and Samsung, you’ll probably never rank—no matter how hard you try. Your backlinks won’t match the domain authority of these massive sites.
eCommerce keyword templates
With the best practices and mistakes out of the way, let’s look at eCommerce keyword templates.
These are based on the research I’ve done over the years, which is well over 10,000 keywords, by my estimate. These are basic frameworks you can use to find keywords that match the above guidelines.
You’ll notice some include the plural and singular versions of keywords. That’s because these are often separate—”fluffy teddy bear” might not be the same as “fluffy teddy bears,” so be sure to look up both.
You’ll replace the terms with what applies to you. For example:
- best [PRODUCT] [YEAR] → best gaming chair 2021
- [PRODUCT] for [CUSTOMER] → watches for men
- what [CATEGORY] to buy → what headphones to buy
- is [COMPETITOR PRODUCT] real → is Alibaba jewelry real
eCommerce product page keywords
Product pages are where people make purchases. You’ll include this keyword in optimized SEO descriptions.
- best [PRODUCT] [YEAR]
- [PRODUCT] sizes
- [PRODUCT] options
eCommerce category page keywords
Category pages can be some of the best-converting parts of your site, and Google loves to rank them for keywords like this.
- [PRODUCT] size [X]
- [COLOR] [PRODUCT]
- [MATERIAL] [PRODUCT]
- [PRODUCT] for [CUSTOMER]
- [PRODUCT] gift
- [ADJECTIVE] [PRODUCTS]
- types of [CATEGORY]
- [CATEGORY] [YEAR]
Category review keywords
Category reviews are one of the top-performing content types for eCommerce stores. You’ll break down the products across an entire category.
- [CATEGORY] explained
- [CATEGORY] review
- [CATEGORY] reviews
- what [CATEGORY] to buy
- [PRODUCT] vs. [PRODUCT]
- [PRODUCT] or [PRODUCT]
- types of [CATEGORY]
- whats better [PRODUCT] or [PRODUCT]
- difference between [PRODUCT] and [PRODUCT]
Competitor comparison keywords
In this type of content, you’ll compare a competitor’s product to your own.
- [COMPETITOR] review
- [COMPETITOR] reviews
- [COMPETITOR] alternative
- alternative to [COMPETITOR]
- [COMPETITOR PRODUCT]
- [PRODUCT] from [COMPETITOR]
- [COMPETITOR PRODUCT] review
- [COMPETITOR PRODUCT] reviews
- [COMPETITOR] vs. [YOUR BRAND]
- is [COMPETITOR] legit
- is [COMPETITOR] good
- is [COMPETITOR] a good brand
- is [COMPETITOR PRODUCT] real
- does [COMPETITOR PRODUCT] work
- what is [COMPETITOR PRODUCT]
- why is [COMPETITOR] so expensive
How to find the perfect eCommerce keywords
Keyword research is often more art than science.
Once you have a list of keywords, “scientific” guidelines like the best practices and mistakes listed above are a huge help in narrowing the list down to your best options.
And the templates I’ve provided are a great starting place for specific types of content.
But often, the best keywords don’t come from a template. I’ve learned that finding unique opportunities takes a creative approach, a good feel for customer needs, and a sense of what works in the space.
If you’d like to move toward those kinds of opportunities—ones your competitors haven’t found yet, and might never think of—let us know.
Your hidden gem might be in the next 10,000 keywords we find.