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Keyword Research for Ecommerce: A Comprehensive Guide

By Pritesh B

Posted | 15 min read

Ecommerce keyword research


Effective keyword research in ecommerce involves finding high-traffic, low-competition keywords that accurately represent your business and its products.

This allows you to focus your marketing efforts on the most relevant and lucrative search terms, helping you to attract more qualified leads and drive conversions.

In this comprehensive guide on ecommerce seo keyword research, you will learn several key steps, including defining your business objectives, analyzing your competitors, understanding your audience, and brainstorming potential keywords.

This guide also covers various tools and techniques that can help your ecommerce website in identifying high-volume, finding right keyword tool and relevant keywords for your business.

So, let’s get to the topic!

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Understanding Keyword Types

In the realm of seo for ecommerce understanding keyword types is pivotal.

Primary keywords are the main terms that broadly define your content and are directly related to your products.

These are often more competitive and have high search volumes.

On the other hand, long-tail keywords are more specific, often phrase-like, and although they have lower search volumes, they can attract highly targeted and conversion-ready traffic.

Here are 4 types of keywords that will give you a rough idea on how and which keyword type you should use.

A. Short-tail keywords

Short tail keywords are typically one to three words long and are general in nature.

For example, "shoes," "clothing," or "phones" are all considered short-tail keywords.

While short-tail keywords may seem like an obvious choice for your e-commerce store, they can also be highly competitive and challenging to rank for in search engines.

This is because they are often searched for by a large number of people, making them a desirable target for businesses of all kinds.

If you are just starting with seo for your online store, then you should steer away from short-tail keywords in the initial days. Focus more on long-tail keywords.

B. Long-tail keywords

Long tail keywords are longer and more specific phrases that people use when searching for something on an ecommerce site.

For ecommerce businesses, long-tail keywords are particularly important because they help to target customers who are closer to making a purchase.

For example, a person who searches for "shoes" is likely just starting their search, while a person who searches for "women's Nike running shoes size 8" is much closer to making a purchase.

C. Branded keywords

Another set of keywords are branded keywords.

Branded keywords are a crucial component of any keyword research strategy.

These contain your company name or competitor's name, product names, or any other brand-related term.

Such terms are often used by customers who are already familiar with your brand and are searching for specific products or services that you offer.

Branded keywords can provide numerous benefits for your ecommerce store.

For starters, they can help increase brand visibility and awareness, particularly for customers who are already interested in your products.

Additionally, branded keywords often have high search intent, meaning that the people who search for them are more likely to convert into customers.

ecommerce seo with an example of intent based keyword search

D. Transactional keywords

These are the keywords that potential customers use when they are ready to make a purchase.

For example, "buy," "order," "discount," and "coupon" are all examples of transactional keywords.

Using transactional keywords in your e-commerce strategy can help you reach customers who are ready to make a purchase.

By optimizing your website and product pages with these keywords, you can improve your chances of appearing at the top of search engine results pages when someone is searching for a product to buy.


Importance of User Intent

Identifying user intent can help you create content and optimize your website for keywords that are more likely to drive conversions.

But what really is user intent and how does it help with keyword research and for you to choose your keywords. 

User intent refers to the reason behind a user's search query.

  • Are they looking to make a purchase?
  • Are they seeking information?
  • Are they looking for reviews or comparisons of products?

Understanding the intent behind a keyword can help you tailor your content to meet the user's needs and improve the likelihood that they will convert.

For example, if someone types in "running shoes", it could mean they are looking to buy a new pair of running shoes, but it could also mean they are researching running shoes or looking for reviews.

Aligning your ecommerce products with user intent is essential for driving relevant traffic to your website and ultimately converting that traffic into sales.

By understanding the intent behind the keywords your target audience is using, you can create product listings and ad copy that directly address their needs.

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Keyword Research Tools

In order to succeed at the SEO game, any business will need a decent keyword research tool to begin with.

These invaluable resources, which we will explore further, are designed to identify keyword opportunities and help you understand the search habits of your target audience, ultimately driving more traffic to your online store.

Let's take a look at some of the most popular keyword research tools out there-

1. Google Keyword Planner

This free tool from Google which is also one of the favorite keyword research tool, can help ecommerce businesses find the most relevant and effective keywords for their products and services.

It provides you with ideas so you can expand your keyword list with organic search.

One of the key features of this google search console tool is that it can show you the estimated search volume, competition level, and suggested bid for each keyword.

This can give you a clear understanding of the popularity and competitiveness of each keyword, helping you to make informed decisions on which keywords to target in your campaigns.

The best part is, this tool is free and THE most accurate tool out there when it comes to keyword research. Although there are some vital limitations to this tool.

For example, there is no way to understand the keyword difficulty. Google Keyword planner will tell you about the volume and CPC only.

This makes it difficult to make an informed decision before creating content based on limited information given by the tool.

Limited information also makes it difficult to create content clusters based on primary keywords.

Its free foreverProvides with elementary information
Highly accurate dataAnother tools are needed to create content clusters or silos
Ability to search keywords based on intent, brand, etc.Cannot find top pages for competition
Integrated directly with Google ad campaign managerCannot be used as a backlink finder tool like others
Google keyword planner

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs provides comprehensive insights into keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) data.

It allows you to analyze the search volume, difficulty, and competition of a keyword, as well as providing insights into the top-ranking pages for that keyword.

You can also explore related keywords and phrases to find additional opportunities for your business.

One unique feature of Ahrefs is its ability to track your competitors' keywords, giving you insight into their strategies and potentially uncovering new keyword opportunities for your business.

It also provides a content explorer tool that allows you to search for popular content related to your keywords.

1. Comprehensive data: Provides extensive data on keywords, backlinks, and competitor analysis.1. Learning Curve: It can be complex for beginners to navigate and understand the plethora of data.
2. Accurate and real-time updates: Known for the accuracy of its data and real-time updates.2. Price: It's a bit pricier compared to some other tools, which might not be ideal for small businesses or individual users.
3. Content Explorer: Ahrefs has a feature called Content Explorer, which allows users to find the most popular content for any topic.3. Overwhelming Data: The amount of data Ahrefs provides can be overwhelming, especially if you're unsure what to focus on.
4. SERP analysis: Ahrefs provides a detailed SERP analysis, making it easier to understand the competition.4. Limited seats: The base plan only includes one seat, and additional seats are relatively expensive.
Ahrefs keyword research tool

3. SEMrush

SEMrush is a another SEO tool that offers solutions for SEO, PPC, content, social media, and competitive research.

It is an all-in-one suite that's particularly useful for analyzing competitor's strategies and discovering marketing insights.

The tool also offers a competitor analysis feature, allowing you to analyze your competitors' keyword strategy and identify areas where you can improve your SEO. You can also track your rankings over time to see the impact of your SEO efforts.

Ahrefs and SEMRush are almost identical when it comes to keyword research. Most ecommerce marketers find a very little difference in the offerings provided by these tools.

It all comes down to personal preference.

1. All-in-one Suite: SEMrush is a comprehensive tool that offers SEO, PPC, social media, and competitive research solutions.1. Interface Complexity: SEMrush's interface can be complex and overwhelming for beginners.
2. Competitor Analysis: SEMrush shines in competitive analysis, providing detailed information about competitors' strategies.2. Limited Results: On lower-tier plans, the number of results per report is limited.
3. Keyword Magic Tool: SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool offers extensive keyword research capabilities.3. Backlink Analysis: While SEMrush has backlink analysis, it is not as comprehensive as some other tools like Ahrefs.
4. Traffic Analytics: SEMrush provides insights into your competitors' website traffic, such as visitor behavior and traffic sources.4. Pricey: SEMrush can be expensive for small businesses, with prices starting higher than some comparable tools.
Semrush keyword planner

4. Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz offers a user-friendly interface, making it easy to use for beginners and experts alike.

One of the unique features of Moz Keyword Explorer is its ability to analyze the search intent behind the keywords.

It helps identify the types of content and pages that people are searching for, which is crucial for creating relevant and engaging content for your e-commerce site.

Moz Keyword Explorer also provides data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and organic click-through rates, just like the other tools that we've discussed.

This data allows you to identify high-value, low-competition keywords that can help drive traffic to your site and increase sales.

1. Keyword Difficulty Score: Moz provides accurate keyword difficulty scores which help in deciding the right keywords.1. Limited Keyword Suggestions: Compared to other tools, Moz offers fewer keyword suggestions.
2. User-Friendly Interface: Moz has a very clean and intuitive interface, making it easy for beginners to understand.2. Slower Updates: The frequency of data updates in Moz is not as high as other tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
3. MozBar: Moz's SEO toolbar extension provides easy access to advanced metrics and Moz’s proprietary Page and Domain Authority metrics.3. Cost: Moz is more expensive compared to other tools, which may not fit into everyone's budget.
4. Excellent Customer Support: Moz offers great customer support with a vast range of learning resources.4. Backlink Analysis: While Moz offers backlink analysis, it may not be as in-depth as tools like Ahrefs.
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There are many other tools that can help you identify keywords that will drive traffic and sales to your ecommerce store.

One popular option is, which provides keyword suggestions for a variety of platforms including Google, YouTube, Bing, and Amazon. Another tool is

Ubersuggest, which not only provides keyword suggestions but also helps you analyze your competitors' SEO strategy.

For those looking for a more niche approach, there are tools like AnswerThePublic, which provides keyword suggestions based on common questions people ask about a particular topic.

Soovle provides suggestions from multiple search engines and social media platforms in one place.


Conducting Keyword Research

To generate keyword ideas, start by brainstorming words and phrases related to your products and industry.

You can then enter these terms into a keyword research tool to generate a list of related keywords and their search volume.

Using keyword research tools discussed above, you refine your list of keywords by providing data on their search volume, competition level, and potential traffic.

This exercise will help you to prioritize which keywords to target and optimize your content accordingly.

Keyword research example

Analyzing competitors

Analyzing competitors is more like competitor research, this can provide valuable insights into the types of keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your target audience.

Start by identifying your top competitors and analyzing their website content, blog posts, and product descriptions.

Look for the keywords they are using and try to identify any patterns or themes.

You can also use keyword research tools to identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for and the search volume associated with those keywords.

Once you have identified the keywords your competitors are using, evaluate their effectiveness.

Are they driving significant traffic and conversions? If so, consider integrating those keywords into your own content and SEO strategy.

Let's say if you search for "best leather shoes for men" in Google, go through each link that shows up and try to find what pages these competition pages are ranking in Ahrefs.

Let's say Ahrefs tells you that your competition also ranks for "best sandals for men in Canada".

This insight can be actually helpful for you to create new content or if you already ship to Canada, then just create a content page which ranks for the newly discovered competition keyword.

This excercise will easily help you identify what is missing from your content strategy.

Leveraging Google autocomplete and related searches

One way to generate a large number of relevant keywords is to leverage Google autocomplete and related searches.

Google autocomplete suggests search queries based on what other users have searched for in the past.

Related searches, on the other hand, show up at the bottom of the search results page and are searches that are related to the original search query.

To use these tools effectively, start by typing your main keyword into the Google search bar.

Google will then find related keywords that are frequently searched by other users.

You can use these suggestions to generate more keyword ideas.

Additionally, you can scroll down to the bottom of the search results page to find related searches.

These related searches can provide additional ideas for keywords.

Google autocomplete showing additional keywords for seo

Keyword Metrics Basics

Understanding the landscape of your keyword strategy requires a deep dive into keyword metrics.

A keyword with a high search volume means a lot of people are typing that phrase into their search engine.

But if it also has a high keyword difficulty score, you're up against strong competition.

On the contrary, a lower CPC indicates that you won't be fighting as many businesses in the paid advertising space.

Evaluate these metrics to pinpoint the most valuable keywords for your ecommerce site, those that offer high traffic potential with competition you can handle.

Let's take a quick look at these metrics -

i. Search volume

Search volume refers to the number of times a keyword is searched for in a search engine within a specific time frame, typically a month.

Using keywords with high monthly search volume and keyword placement can really make a difference.

The higher the search volume, the more popular a keyword is among users, and the greater the potential for your e-commerce site to receive traffic and sales from it.

However, it's important to note that high search volume keywords also tend to have high competition, meaning it may be harder to rank for them in search engine results pages.

ii. Keyword difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a metric that measures how challenging it would be to rank for a specific keyword on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword difficulty is determined by analyzing the competition for a particular keyword, such as the number of backlinks, domain authority, page authority, and other factors.

High competition and a large number of authoritative websites competing for a specific keyword result in higher keyword difficulty score.

iii. Cost-per-click (CPC)

CPC refers to the amount that advertisers are willing to pay each time a user clicks on an ad triggered by a specific keyword.

This metric is used to gauge the competitiveness of a keyword and can help you determine whether it's worth targeting in your advertising campaigns.

CPC varies depending on the given keyword and the industry you are targeting. Some keywords may have a low CPC, meaning that advertisers are not willing to pay much for them.

Others may have a high CPC, indicating that advertisers are competing fiercely to bid on them.

iv. Relevance to your ecommerce store

While a keyword may have high search volume and low difficulty, it may not be relevant to your store and therefore not result in conversions.

Relevance is important because it ensures that your content and ads are reaching the right audience, and that those who click on them are more likely to convert into customers.

This means taking into account the intent behind the keyword and ensuring that it aligns with the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell vegan beauty products, targeting keywords related to non-vegan products may not be relevant and could result in wasted ad spend.

Instead, focus on keywords related to vegan beauty products and the benefits they provide.


Organizing and Prioritizing Keywords

Remember, keyword research is an ecommerce seo strategy that doesn’t end as soon as you do particular keyword search and find the right keywords.

You also need to organise your keywords, which can lead to improved rankings for your target keywords and a better user experience for your visitors.

To get started, you can use a spreadsheet or a keyword research tool to organize your keywords into groups based on common themes or product categories.

For example, if you sell clothing, you could group keywords by types of clothing (shirts, pants, dresses, etc.) or by target audience (men's clothing, women's clothing, kids' clothing, etc.).

Once you have your keywords grouped, you can begin to create content that targets each group of keywords.

This might include product pages, category pages, blog posts, or other types of content that help to showcase your products or services in a way that is relevant and engaging to your audience.

This technique of organizing content is often known as keyword clustering or content silos.

Content silos make it very easy for search engines to understand if a website has covered a certain topic in depth.

Building content silos also helps in establishing a topical authority on a certain topic, which significantly helps in boosting rankings.

Certain tools like Answerthepublic can help you come up with topical clusters for your seed keywords.

Besides, this, there are also open source libraries on Github which can help you with this without having any technical expertise.

Content cluster example

Implementing Keywords in Your Ecommerce Store

All of the above keyword research would go to waste if we don't actually put it to use.

Optimizing your product titles and descriptions will not only inform potential customers about your products but also help search engines understand what your products are about.

This involves using informative broad keyword terms and keyword phrase. 

To optimize your product titles and descriptions, you need to focus on using relevant keywords.

Use the keyword research you conducted to identify the most important and relevant keywords for each product and further incorporate them in the titles and descriptions.

Your product titles should be clear, concise, and descriptive.

Make sure to include the product name, brand name, and any important features.

Your product descriptions should provide more detailed information about the product, including its benefits and how it can be used.

Internal linking and website navigation

Site navigation refers to the menus and links that help users move around your website.

By including keywords in your navigation labels, you can make it easier for users to find what they're looking for and for search engines to understand the structure of your site.

For example, if you sell clothing and have a navigation category for "dresses," you could use the keyword "women's dresses" in the label to make it more specific and keyword-rich.

Another way to utilize keywords is through internal linking.

Internal linking refers to the links that connect your website pages to each other.

By using descriptive anchor text with relevant keywords, you can help search engines understand the relationships between your pages and give them a better understanding of the content on your website.

For example, if you have a blog post about "summer fashion trends," you could link to a product page for "summer dresses" using the anchor text "summer dresses" to make it clear what the page is about.


Tracking and Analyzing Keyword Performance

Keeping a keen eye on where your keywords rank in search engine results is an essential part of your ecommerce SEO strategy.

Regular checks provide you with valuable data on your visibility and enable you to spot trends, understand your competition, and ultimately drive your store's performance.

Next, your organic traffic — visitors that land on your site as a result of unpaid search results — and their subsequent actions can reveal a lot about the efficacy of your keywords.

Evaluating how these visitors interact with your site, which products they view, and what they purchase, helps ascertain the true value of your chosen keywords.

Data is your guide in the world of SEO.

As you gather performance metrics from your keyword rankings and organic traffic, you must be prepared to adjust your keyword strategy.

This might involve focusing on new keywords, optimizing your content around high-performing ones, or even reevaluating and discarding keywords that aren't delivering results.

Your ability to adapt will ensure your store stays competitive in a constantly evolving ecommerce landscape.


In this comprehensive guide, we have covered a wide range of topics related to e-commerce keyword research, from the different types of keywords to the various keyword research tools available.

By now, you should have a solid understanding of the importance of keyword research in driving traffic and sales to your online store, as well as the various strategies and tools available to conduct effective keyword research.

But don't stop there - the real value of this guide comes from applying what you've learned to your own e-commerce SEO strategy.

If you are already implementing a solid keyword strategy, then having a checklist for seo audit of ecommerce websites might come in handy at this time.

Take some time to review your existing keyword strategy, and consider how you can incorporate the insights and best practices from this guide to improve your rankings, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately drive more sales.

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What is keyword research for ecommerce?

Keyword research for ecommerce is the process of finding and evaluating the most relevant and profitable search terms that potential customers use when looking for products or services in your ecommerce store or website. This helps you understand what keywords to target and optimize for in your ecommerce SEO strategy.

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How do I perform keyword research for ecommerce?

You can perform keyword research for ecommerce using a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools allow you to input a keyword related to your ecommerce business and generate a list of related keywords with their search volume, competition level, and other important metrics.

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Why is keyword research important for ecommerce SEO?

Keyword research is important for ecommerce SEO because it helps you identify the right keywords to target and optimize your ecommerce site pages or product pages. This increases your chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search queries, driving organic traffic, and increasing conversions and sales.

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Pritesh B
Pritesh B

Ecommerce advocate and Co-founder at Storeplum. I like to write about current trends in ecommerce, best practices and innovative ways on improving online store conversions.

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