The customer is the first thing to consider when designing an online store. Who are your customers and what issue are they looking to resolve? Keyword research is a cost-effective method for gathering data about your customers and the competition situation on Google.
The purpose of this kind of research is to find the terms that your customers use in a Google search when they are looking for what they want. When we know the vocabulary the customers use, the structure and contents of the online store can be optimised to correspond to these queries – and thus make your store visible at the exact moment the customer is ready to buy.
This is what distinguishes search engine marketing from other marketing channels – instead of annoying people with ads, you are discoverable and available to provide answers when a potential customer is actually looking for them. This makes traffic from search engines to online stores highly valuable.
Following the Path to Purchasing
Customers rarely end up buying a product based on their first search. Before a purchase, the customer travels down the path to purchasing:
- First, the customer searches for information and makes comparisons.
- Next, the customer considers the options, checks reviews made by other customers and reads about their experiences of the product.
- Finally, the customer finds a retailer that seems reliable.
If you are discoverable during each phase of the purchase process, you can influence the customer's decision at each one. This puts you in a strong position when the customer is ready to buy.
Of course, Google is not the only channel to use for searching for information, but think about what you would do when considering a new purchase. Do you first ask questions from the seller, discuss the product with a neighbor, or search on Google? Today, Google plays a significant role in influencing purchasing decisions.
What is the Purpose of a Search?
The search terms used on Google can be divided into three categories based on the intended purpose of the search:
The person is looking for a place to buy a product or service or to carry out some other procedure. These terms are especially valuable and, in the case of online stores, the most important ones. Generally speaking, if the search terms include words such as price, sale, discount or buy, the person doing the search is very close to opening their wallet. This is the traffic you are particularly interested in for your online store.
The person is looking for information without clear intent. Informative searches rarely lead directly to purchasing decisions. Before buying, people look for information about the product, so visibility in information search queries makes it possible to influence purchase decisions at an early stage.
The person is using a search engine to find a particular place, for example, a website.
Not All Search Terms Are Created Equal
Keywords are also usually divided into Head terms and Long Tail keywords based on their length.
The head term keywords are short search phrases of one or two words. Head terms are used widely as searches. It is, however, difficult to decipher the needs of the searcher from a search phrase that may only contain a single word.
Listed below are a few examples of Head terms:
The Long Tail keywords are, as the name suggests, longer search queries. They contain more than one word. Singular Long Tail keyword formations are used to make fewer searches, but they often provide an easier way to rise up within Google search results.
Long Tail keyword searches are also used when the searcher has a more defined idea of what they are looking for. Thus, the intent behind the search is also easier to deduce and the searcher's need Is easier to respond to. The searcher is therefore closer to conversion. Traffic to a website from Long Tail searches is usually more valuable than from Head term searches.
Some examples of Long Tail keywords:
- white bar countertop price
- start Investing in property
- adidas trainers men online
How is Keyword Research Conducted?
There is no single correct way to conduct keyword research. Roughly speaking, the process starts with gathering a large quantity of different search terms by yourself and using various tools. From this collection of terms, you choose the most important ones and discard the unnecessary ones. Finally, you devise a plan on how to use the search terms in the content of your online store.
The following procedure will assist you in collecting search terms:
- Identify the themes that are related to the products available in your online store. If you sell furniture, the appropriate theme words include decoration, home, comfort, etc.
- List the search terms that are closely related to your products and brands.
- Examine the way your competitors have named their product groups and products. What are the subjects your competitors use to create content?
- Use tools such as keywordtool.io to expand your list.
- See the complementing search terms Google suggests when you begin entering your keyword in the search bar.
- Also see the searches related to the subject that Google lists at the bottom of the search results page.
- Use the Google Keyword Planner to discover appropriate keywords and check their search volume.
Choosing the Target Keywords
When conducting keyword research, gathering hundreds of search terms is often easy. Next, you should be able to decide which search terms are the most relevant for your online store’s visibility. Use the following factors to find the most valuable search terms:
How closely does the search term relate to the products available in your online store and the customer's path to purchasing? If you are selling car parts, it would of course be pointless to attempt to be discoverable with the search term "furniture online".
Similarly, if you specialize on selling parts for a certain make of car, it is reasonable to focus on being discoverable with searches related to the make in question. The idea is to find your own niche and focus on it.
Organic Keyword Competition
How hard is it to create visibility through search terms? With some keywords, it may easily take months to rise higher in the search results, while others may provide results in mere days or weeks.
Usually, various SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools perform calculations to provide an estimate of the organic competition for the keyword. You can also assess the competitive situation for a keyword by entering the term in Google and looking at the results. Do the first results include large websites that have clearly optimized their content for the search in question? In this case, it does not make sense to attempt to compete with the larger operators, at least for smaller online stores.
Keyword Search Volume
How many searches are made on average per month? For your target keywords, choose words that have the largest search volume possible. In some cases, you should also take note of the seasonal nature of searches. The average search volume of some keywords may be quite high, but they could only be used during certain times of the year.
How likely is the person making the search to make a purchase? If the search terms include words like "price", "sale" or "discount" the searcher is usually quite close to a purchase decision.
With AdWords marketing, high level of competition and an elevated Cost-Per-Click often point towards a keyword with a high conversion rate. This can be used as an indicator when choosing your keywords. This information is accessible through Google's Keyword Planner.
A User-Friendly Online Retailer
When you know what your customers are searching for, you can optimize your online store for user-friendliness. You can invest in products that have been shown to interest your customers the most. You can create the kind of content for your store that your customers are looking for before making the actual purchase. Simply put, keyword research is the basis for effective search engine marketing!
If you need help with keyword research or any other element of operating an online store, don't hesitate to contact us!