Optimizing your pages, blog posts and products for search engines starts with choosing the keyword that you want to rank for. Needless to say that this is one of the most important parts of optimizing your store. Keyword research will help you to get to know your customers and how they search through the search engines.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We noticed a lot of webshop owners find it difficult to pick the right keyword. Let’s clear things up to make it a little easier. Here, we’ll explain how to properly research for keywords in just a few steps.
What keyword you choose depends on your site, your visitors and their online behavior. You know your site, your customers and your products. We’ll start with some information about different kinds of keywords and their search volumes.
The search demand curve
What kind of keyword did you choose? Do you need to make it more specific?
Short tail keywords are unspecific one word keywords which (mostly) have a lot of search volume. Due to the high amount of competition, it’s hard to rank for these kinds of keywords and it’s even harder to convert.
Long tail keywords, written in natural languages, can be larger in search volume than short tail keywords. This is because they’re less competitive and more relevant to your websites content. Consequently, long tail keywords have a higher conversion rate and are easier to rank for.
Say that we sell all different kinds of coffee. We could use ‘coffee’ as our keyword. This would be quite an unspecific keyword. Search results would contain a lot of different websites, such as coffee corners, coffee brands, coffee blogs and etc. The chances of ranking high with this kind of keyword is very small because all these websites are ranking for it.
To give you another example, we’ll continue the fictional coffee store story. The coffee store mostly sells their products to coffee corners. These coffee corners know a lot about our products and also know what they want to buy from us. In this case, they’ll search more specific terms. It works best when you use the coffee brand and other specifics as the keyword because the customer will directly search for the brand and/or for specific items.
We mostly recommend choosing a specific, long tail keyword for your products and more middle tail keywords for your categories. This way, you’ll reach people who know exactly what they want to buy and you’ll reach people who are still orientating themselves.
Step one: Checklist
With the given information, you should be able to pick a keyword for one of your products or pages. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be the perfect keyword immediately. During the following steps, you will probably realize there’s another keyword that fits better.
- Will the searchers find what they’re looking for when they’re searching these keywords?
- Will they be happy with the content you’ve provided?
- Will the search lead to a purchase or one of your other goals?
- Is the keyword relevant to the content of your page or product?
Step two: Get to know the competition
The internet is big. There are probably websites who (try to) rank for the same keyword that you chose. The more competition, the harder it will be to achieve a high ranking. Let’s try the big search engines like Google and Bing to see how much competition there is on the chosen keyword.
While doing this, take a note of the following:
- Are there any advertisements at the top of the search results?
Many advertisements indicate that there is a lot of competition.
- How many big brands are in the top ten?
When there are a lot of big brands ranking for your keyword, it could take years of effort to conquer a high ranking.
Step three: Google Adwords keyword planner
The Adwords keyword planner gives you suggestions for keywords. The tool also provides the expected search volume and contest of running paid campaigns for these terms. Test how good the keyword works for you and see what your potential results could be.