Again, eCommerce SEO is indispensable, because as mentioned previously, its ROI can be seriously boosting your business gross margin in the long term, compared with paid ads and partnerships. However, eCommerce SEO keyword research and grouping work for formulating a proper strategy can be terrifically nightmare, and the back and forward execution and management work can take you a huge amount of manpower.
Thus in this article, I would take CBD business as an example, and share a pipeline that can be used to generate a list of valuable SEO keywords for driving traffic and sales from your eCommerce store, while the article recommends some Google Sheets functions to increase the work management efficiency.
- Identify Root Keywords from Core Product Value Proposition and Competitors
- Scrape Large Set of Keyword Suggestion Using Keyword Software
- Split Similar Semantic Keywords into a Group
- Map High Relevance Keywords to the Web Pages
- Key Take-away
Notes: Google Sheets functions recommendation can be found in this article:
Identify Root Keywords from the Product Value Proposition and Competitors
The first thing first is where to find the right and the proper keywords to start the eCommerce SEO work? The answer is both from your products and market competitors. Your product name, ingredients, model, variations, etc selling points are actually the root keywords you should collect in the 1st place. You will not challenge me that you must want to outline the product’s unique selling points in front of the search engine visitors. The key step is how to prioritize to use the different root keywords from a product USPs. In fact, this is the product value proposition and as a startup founder, you must be familiar with the order and answer this question. Or you can refer to the brand guideline, product description, packaging to find the ideas.
Inside out is away, however, more importantly, outside-in information and insight are crucial for us to finetune the eCommerce SEO strategy because at the end we have to understand what keywords customers are using to search, and how competitors use them to perform.
I recommend two ways to find the root keywords and variations via the outside-in approach.
Keyword Research Software
Google Keyword Planner is a well-known free keyword research tool, and I believe any search marketers are familiar with this Google keyword tool. You can add any favorite keywords to find keyword suggestions with est. search keyword volume, or you can add competitor website URLs to find the keywords they’re using and what queries customers use and come to their websites
Having said that, Google Keyword Planner is not that helpful in a way after you have used and requiring more deep-dive data. For example, it provides you a range instead of giving you the specific keyword search volume, and it more facilitates you to run SEM instead of really helping in SEO. In particular, if you are running a CBD online store, Google keyword planner can’t provide you any CBD keyword-related data.
I would advise you to use a paid software and recommend MOZ and SEMrush without any category limitation. Personally, I like MOZ more during the free trial window, because it can offer you all keyword queries data, instead of just a certain of top-ranking keywords like SEMrush. But in terms of the paid version, SEMrush indeed has more comprehensive features, like working both with SEM and SEO. The table above is the data from MOZ after I type in the competitor URLs and can directly understand what organic keywords are generating traffic to their specific pages, and what keywords have lighter or more fierce competition in SERP.
Apart from outside-in data insight, competitor inside-out deployment and strategy is also crucial reference before starting. For example, what keywords they’re using on the meta tags, how they name the URLs, etc. For this case, I recommend you to use scream frog.
Basically, ScreamFrog is software for you to crawl and scrape website SEO on-site structure deployed work insight. It has a free and paid version, which is limited to 500 pages. Normally it should be sufficient. If you don’t want to pay for it, you can refer to my article about SEO scraper using Python. For keywords, you can refer to their title, description, keyword meta tag by using Google Sheets split function and filter out those rows that include core terms related to your products, and see what keywords they’re using.
Scrape Large Set of Keyword Suggestion Using Keyword Software
Now you have a list of root keywords on hand after evaluating the product value proposition, reviewing competitors’ practice, and customer search queries.
Again we can type in the root keywords in MOZ or SEMRush, for the purpose of generating the root keyword variations and suggestions, which would be used on on-site and off-site optimization.
Download the keyword suggestions and consolidate them into a spreadsheet. As we would group related keywords into a block afterward. So the question is how to conveniently identify potential keywords? My recommendation would be to use the if function and split function.
First thing first, you might not use all keyword suggestions and prioritize to use keywords with high relevancy and good value for traffic. So you can create a column using if function, and select any keywords that are more than a number of monthly search volumes. For example, I mark Yes, representing keyword search volumes of more than 5000. Otherize, it would show No.
Then, you can use a split function to split out each word from each keyword. The purpose of this is to easily and conveniently group keywords into different customer funnel blocks from the same product. For example, the keyword of “CBD gummies” is absolutely different from the keyword “buy CBD gummies”.
Split Similar Semantic Keywords Into Groups
For every objective, basically SEO has three fundamental funnels, which are low, middle, and upper-funnel keywords. Each funnel has different groups to reflect the longer or closer distance between visiting and purchasing. For example, the keyword of “CBD gummies” is absolutely different from the keyword “buy CBD gummies”. They should not be grouped into the same block, because “buy CBD gummies” is reflecting the customer is ready to purchase and now she or he might be comparing the price, the brands, etc.
Naturally, these group keywords must be used on the blog, social, PR, and partnership regarding call-to-action, such as product comparison, price discounting, customer/testimonial review. Also, different product types should be separated into different blocks in the low funnel, which helps us understand which SKU has more traffic and less difficulty.
Then, comparably low funnel keyword search volume is lower than an upper-funnel, and the competitive environment is much higher because almost all sellers are optimizing these keywords. The middle or upper funnel usually reflects the customer lifestyle, work scenarios that can be associated with the products, or even can use other things with the product for resolving their pain points.
For example, the core keywords such as pain, better sleep, coffee, beer, etc are the daily products target customers would use and CBD products can be part of their user experience that can enhance the performance. So you can produce creative photos and videos to engage with the customers in social, VoD, portal display banners and educate them with the CBD products, and make your brand recall in their mind.
Last but not least, you can use vlookup function, or the index function with a match function in Google Sheets to call the keyword historical data from the keyword suggestion spreadsheet. So in the future, any new keywords added on and you can call the data automatically.
Map the High Relevant Keywords to the Web Pages
Finally, the keyword grouping is not just for reference and puts as many pieces of art to watch. Keywords need a map to the website pages, and content pieces created to engage with customers, and tell customers what’s your brand, why customers are confident to check out.
If it starts with on-site optimization, we need a spreadsheet to list out each product with SEO elements from a product page, meta tags, link building, technical work, blog, or other engaging content messages and formats.
I’m not going to dive into details in this section, and if you are interested in more details, please check out another article released previously
- Keyword research needs both an inside-out and outside-in approach
- Keyword grouping is not only for what keywords should be prioritized to use and generate content for easily being indexed and generating more organic traffic. But also, it gives us many hints from low, middle, and upper-funnel regarding content perspectives. These hints inspire us the direction of creative content and use the right format to build brand awareness and recall
- Keyword mapping is a must-have spreadsheet to manage keyword deployment work and integrate with SEM performance tracker to monitor the change and optimize in time
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