Keyword research for eCommerce can be a challenging and daunting affair. With hundreds of pages to potentially go through, where should eCommerce SEOs start, and to what extent should they pursue keyword research? Thankfully, Alec Bertram had all the answers at April 2016’s BrightonSEO. His talk,“eCommerce Keyword Research, Completing Large-Scale Analysis in a Small-Scale World”, was predominantly focused on conversion-focused keywords, i.e. those with purchase intent, and gave insight into how to conduct extensive keyword research with a unique approach.

Back to basics

Alec started his talk by covering the basics; why do we conduct keyword research and how? For many eCommerce SEOs, keyword research is our bread and butter but it’s useful to be reminded of this discipline from time to time.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of understanding what your customers are searching for online. It’s the process of knowing the breadth and depth of the words, phrases, and topics your customers use to find products and services similar to yours. Undertaking proper keyword research allows you to inform your site structure, content strategy and link building strategy.

How do we conduct keyword research?

For many SEOs, keyword research often starts with entering “seed” keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner, but can extend to use the likes of Ubersuggest and SEMrush, amongst others.

 

Conducting thorough keyword research

Alec then proceeded to share his method of conducting eCommerce keyword research; a process that looks to unlock the real potential of Keyword Planner in addition to unlocking the real volume of search out there.

Collate

The first step in the process is typical to that of keyword research, i.e. enter a seed keyword into Keyword Planner to access Google’s first 800 related ideas. You then proceed to put each of those 800 keywords into keyword planner separately, revealing a further 640,000 keywords (800 x 800).

Categorise

The next step is to break down and categorise your keyword list by attribution groups. In eCommerce, an attribution is a variable used to describe your product, e.g. colour, size, material, occasion, style etc. Realising the themes of 640,000 keywords is obviously a resource-heavy affair so this task is best left to automation. It was at this juncture that Alec introduced the audience to his agency’s bespoke tool, Keyword Intelligence, where one aspect of it allows you collate and realise keyword attributes.

Merge

Once your keyword list has been categorised into attributes, it’s then a case of merging these to create longer-tailed keywords, with multiple attribute variations, e.g. black leather shoes size 11. Although mergewords is seemingly the industry standard tool in combining keywords, it’s process and output is very much linear. Allotment Digital’s Keyword Intelligence tool is arguably a better alternative as it enables the user to retrieve every possible keyword combination and word order.

Once these new, reordered keywords have been retrieved, add them to your working attribution lists

This part of Alec’s talk was particularly insightful as it outlined the importance of keyword ordering. Ignoring keyword ordering can result in you ignoring a significant percentage of available search volume.

 

Retrieving search volume

What should be left now is a massively extensive list of keywords, some with keyword search volume and some without. To retrieve search volume data in bulk, consider these four tools:

  1. Adwords API
    Although this is the most convenient solution, it’s difficult to retrieve Google’s AdWord API with solely the intent to use it for keyword research.
  2. Bing Ad Insight API
    Bing’s API is an available option, although due to it’s search engine market share, a significantly smaller search volume is outputted.
  3. GrepWords 
    Grepword’s has a keyword data for approximately 15 million keywords. Although this sounds plenty, depending on the extent of your keyword research, this may only be skimming the surface.
  4. Bulk Search Volume Tool
    Allotment Digital’s Bulk Search Volume Tool allows you to download search data for one million keywords at a time.

Personally, I’m excited to use Alec’s keyword research method for my eCommerce clients. It’s exhaustive, thorough, and exactly what keyword research needs to be for an industry whose sites are so typically large.

You can read Alec’s original presentation on eCommerce keyword research here.

 

Petar Jovetic

Head of SEO

Petar is the Head of SEO at Impression and specialises in content, technical SEO and digital strategy. He's guaranteed to be the only guitar-wielding, digital marketing-talking, Montenegrin you know.

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