Keyword Research in 3 Easy Steps

EW.comKeyword-Research-in-3-Easy-Steps_570x300Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps Google and other search engines direct users to your site based on the keywords they use in their searches. Ideally, your site would be one of the first hits – and it’s possible to make that happen with SEO.

SEO depends largely on keyword research – and as a site owner, this falls to you. The exercise of building a robust list of keywords that customers could potentially use to search for your products comes in handy in the long run, as you write product descriptions, and create social media and blog posts. The better you understand keyword research, the higher your chances are to attract your shoppers! Here are 3 steps to follow to simplify keyword research.

Step 1: Start thinking … and writing! Spend some time thinking of an initial list of search terms that you think apply to your ecommerce site. Don’t edit yourself at this point – just write! Be sure to include at least two words in each keyword string, and strive for longer keywords too. Build a strong list of contenders, and enlist friends and family to help to widen your search. Ask them to Google your types of products and see if your store comes up; if you sell cat toys, for example, they might try “handcrafted cat toys,” “homemade toys kittens,” and “catnip mouse toys handmade.”

Step 2: Google can help! Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, “a workshop for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones,” lets you do a search to figure out the number of searches for your list of keywords, and what your competition is like using those terms. (You’ll need a free Google Adwords account to do this.) It is helpful because the related terms are an easy way to expand your brainstorming to other keywords that might bring traffic more directly to your site. For the cat toy example, the Keyword Planner may take your “cat toy” term and come up with interesting alternatives, like “artisan cat toys,” “organic catnip toys,” and “playing with cats.” Perhaps these are terms you hadn’t considered at first but relate directly to your products. Refining your search may show you that there are applicable keyword terms that don’t yield high searches. Optimizing these keywords may put your store as a top hit for those terms!

Step 3: Edit your list down and choose the strongest contenders. Your initial brainstorming and keyword search has given you a good start. Now take a really close look and decide which ones stand up to the tests of description and competition. Try zeroing in on a smaller number of keywords, but keep a separate list of broader terms to consider for the future. This might mean that “handcrafted cat toys” isn’t as strong as you’d thought, but “organic handmade cat toys” could be.

The Bottom Line
Keyword research is like being your very own marketing department. A little time spent on these measures can yield big results if they bring in more customers! Remember, though, that it takes time both to implement keywords and for Google to start recognizing them. Be sure to update your keywords regularly and watch for any downturn in traffic.

Keep a close eye on changing search engine algorithms, as well as adjustments to your own product line, which may require a second look at your keyword list. A strong ecommerce site mandates keeping up with technology … so it can keep up with you!