How Do You Do Keyword Research for E-Commerce?

By Cesar Beltran

The online world is a level playing field. Small retailers and luxury retailers alike must compete for attention. Small brands have unique opportunities because everyone exists on a screen. 

You can succeed online, but only if you have two things: 

  1. A great BigCommerce or Shopify ecommerce website 
  2. A solid marketing plan 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing is most successful when you do keyword research. 

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research means knowing how your customers search for items online. Paying for a broad keyword like “bags” won’t work. There are too many competitors and the cost can become very high. 

Broad keywords are also not likely to bring in sales. Broad keywords often begin the buying process, not end it. That is where long-tail keywords come into play. 

Long tail keywords mean longer, more specific searches. Instead of “bags,” the user might search for “red leather tote bags” or “straw bags for the beach.” At this point, they are more likely to buy from the top result. 

Why is Keyword Research Important for your Ecommerce Website

Keyword research isn’t just important for PPC marketing, either. Keyword research can help you rank better on search engine pages. This is done by optimizing your pages. 

The process of this optimization is known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization

With keyword research you can learn: 

  • What users are searching for 
  • What language your customers use 
  • Search volume 

Your goal once you have completed your keyword research will be to: 

  • Optimize your site for those keywords 
  • Pay for those keywords 

You have to pay for keywords with PPC marketing. The most popular option is with Google. You pay to put your website at the top of specific search results. 

If you choose the wrong keyword, then your search won’t be relevant. 

What happens then is that users will click on your site, and then click away. You pay for each click. It doesn’t matter if you made a sale or not. 

What Do You Need to Know Before You Start Keyword Research? 

Keyword research is a very important step. You need to conduct quality research so that your SEO and PPC marketing efforts pay off. Poor keyword research will result in a loss for your company in one way or another. 

Before you start your keyword research, you do need to know a few things. 

You need to know how users shop. You need to know what language they use. You need to know how to beat your competitors. 

You can buy your way into the top place of Google. So too can your competitors. Only with effective keyword research can you be the best choice. 

Understand The Buying Stages 

Understanding the buying stages is the first step to understanding keyword research. You can use a tool like SEMrush and invest in the keywords with the highest volume of traffic. This, however, means you will be paying for the first step in the buying process. 

1.General Inquiry 

General inquiry is the first step in the buying process. It is generally the most generic search term that is used to learn more about the topic. Users need to conduct keyword research as much as marketers do.  

Often a customer has a specific item in mind. They may not, however, know what words to use. That is why they start with a general inquiry to learn more about what they want to buy. 

2. Research 

Once they have searched their general inquiry they will want informative articles. They won’t go immediately to product pages. Instead they will go for sites that offer guides, how-to advice, and even quizzes. 

3. Long-Tail Keyword Search 

This research will give them a better understanding of what they are searching for. For example, if they are looking for a specific type of bag, they will need to know its name. Once they know its name they will then start their buying search. 

4. Comparison 

Buying online means you can compare multiple items at once. This is why checkout baskets are often filled with unpurchased items. It is also why you should get your Shopify developer to add a wish list to your website. 

By giving your customer the ability to compare items, you increase the chance of them buying something. You want them to compare your own items, however. You never want them to cross-compare from competitor 

5. Purchase

Once they are happy that the item they have selected is perfect, they will buy. Make sure that the checkout process is flawless. If there is an issue, you won’t make that sale. 

The reason why you need to know the buying stages is because keywords are important for different reasons. If you have a blog you will want to rank well on general inquiry keywords. This way you can build a relationship with the user before they decide to buy. 

Knowing the buying stages can also help you decide which long-tail keywords will bring in the most sales. As long-tail keywords also tend to be cheaper, it’s a win-win for you. 

The Keyword Research Process 

The keyword research process is as follows: 

Step 1: Amazon

Amazon is a great place to start your keyword research. It is free and you can see what competitors are doing to bring in the sales. 

Start first with the general keyword that suits your brand or product. You will then want to make note of the suggestions that Amazon suggests. 

Step 2: Google 

You will want to use the same strategy on Google. Make note of what Google suggests as related keyword terms. You can then use these terms on the website you have had Shopify experts design. 

This will make your website more relevant and optimize is for search engines. 

Step 3: Use Keyword Tools

There are a variety of keyword tools. The pro tools do cost money but this money is well worth it. With this tool, you will be able to see the search volume for any given keyword. 

Step 4: Use Google Keywords 

Though you will not get the specific volume, you can get a keyword search range if you use Google’s PPC tools. 

Step 5: Use Competitor’s Keywords 

Another great way to conduct keyword research is to see what your competitors are doing. This can help you think outside of the box. It can also help you get a leg up on your competition. 

Do note, that the competitors you search for here should be direct competitors. Don’t use sites like Amazon, as they are too big. 


Once you have their keywords or domain name, go back to your keyword tool. You can then use Domain Analytics and their Organic Search Feature. This will let you see the search volume your direct competitor is getting. 

If the keywords work, use them. 

Use Google Analytics 

You will want to use Google Analytics to check how your keywords are doing. If you have a lot of users who only visit your home page, then something is wrong. Go back and do your keyword research again and try to make it more clear this time. 

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Thank you again for following our Shopify Insider Blog @ Blackbelt Commerce. We can also help you with many other services.

We have many other valuable posts that are informative.  Here are our top recommendations; What To Bear In Mind When Blogging From Your eCommerce Site and Tips For Boosting Your eCommerce Business Sales and Growth | Actionable List.

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