This is a guest post by Helga Moreno of Ahrefs – if you like the article, make sure to thank her in the comments!
I’m sure all of you know that keyword research is one of the most important SEO activities that is closely related to your WooCommerce website marketing success.
I also have no doubt that you have already studied a heap of articles that include step-by-step instructions on doing expert keyword research aimed at ranking high for thousands of targeted search terms and seriously improving your traffic from Google.
But there is a strange thing about it. Every article gives a bit different instructions. I don’t argue the competence of their authors. The reason for such kind of discrepancy is hidden in the fact that there is no universal approach to doing keyword research.
So what should be taken into account when you do keyword research?
- Your website’s authority, number of pages, quality of content, etc.
- Your goals and objectives – branding, exposure, traffic, leads, sales
- Your budget, resources, and deadlines
- Your industry and competitive landscape
I guess now you understand the reason why it was so hard to follow the steps of the guides you stumbled upon before.
We will take a different route. I mean I will give you a kind of keyword research framework that you will easily adapt to the goals of your WooCommerce install.
You’ll see that the tactics and methods described below will utterly improve your traffic coming from Google.
1. Seed keyword is a good start
I advise you to start with seed keywords as they are the foundation of any keyword research. These keywords define your niche and help you identify your competitors.
If you already have a WooCommerce website, you already have a product or business that you want to promote online. It will be easy to come up with seed keywords. All you need to do is describe your product with your own words or think how other people might search for it.
Let’s view an example. What keywords (Google searches) will you think of first if you are selling computer parts?
- Computer accessories
- Computer hardware
- Computer software
That was easy, wasn’t it?
Here’s a video on how to do keyword research the easiest way if you prefer to absorb the information in such format:
2. Time to generate keyword ideas
Do you already have your seed keywords? OK, it’s just the beginning of the keyword research process.
Next, you need to generate a huge list of relevant keyword ideas. Remember that you must deeply understand what people in your niche are searching for in Google.
How to reach this?
a. What keywords do you already rank for?
Has your website been around for some time? Well, it should already be ranking in Google for a few hundred keywords. Get to know them. This is the best way to kick your keyword research campaign.
You can use “Search Analytics” report available in Google Search Console as the source for information.
What does the Search Console show you? It displays your average position for each of the keywords you rank for and the number of clicks & impressions this brings you. Unfortunately, you don’t get the monthly search volume and are limited to 1000 keywords.
Need more data? Use your favorite paid SEO & marketing tool.
b. Get to know the keywords your competitors are ranking for
Everybody has competitors. You should take this just the way it is. By the way, you can even take advantage of the situation if you are smart enough.
No doubt that your competitors have already done all the routine keyword research work instead of you. Actually, all you need to do is pick the best keywords they rank for.
Not sure who your competitors are? It’s easy to know that. Just put your seed keywords into Google, they will rank on the front page.
Let’s take the seed keyword I’ve discovered before: “100% pure cosmetics”.
This website ranks first: https://www.100percentpure.com/.
Then I’ll put that website in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and browse the keywords that it ranks for:
Maybe you even won’t need to do other competitors’ research as the properly selected one will supply you with tons of keyword ideas that will keep your SEO team busy for months. But if you’re one of those marketers ever hungry for more, you can go to “Competing domains” report and find more sites like your competitor.
Here’s how a closed “competitive research loop” looks:
- You put your seed keyword into Google and see who ranks on top
- Plug their site into the marketing tool of your choice to see their best keywords
- Find more relevant websites via the “Competing domains” report (optional)
- Go back to either step 1 or 2
Did you get the trick? You get almost unlimited keyword ideas repeating this process over and over again.
I advise you to poke your nose into related industries. The goal is to discover great keywords that don’t necessarily closely relate to the products you are offering but can still bring targeted visitors to your website.
c. Keyword research tools are helpful
I have already said above that a good competitor research may be enough to fill in your spreadsheet with multiple relevant keyword ideas.
Though, this strategy is not really good for the niche leaders. Are you one of them? In this case, you have to look for some unique keywords that none of your competitors are targeting yet.
The best, quickest, and the easiest way to do it is by using a credible keyword research tool. There are many of them on the market:
- Please see more here: Best Free SEO Tools [The Ultimate List]
It doesn’t really matter which tool you will choose. I can’t provide you with an accurate workflow for finding cool keyword ideas. You need to enter your seed keywords and play with filters and reports until you find your gem.
Where do most of the tools pull their keyword suggestions from? Here are the most common sources:
- scraping keyword ideas directly from Google Keyword Planner
- scraping Google auto-suggest
- scraping “similar searches” in Google
These methods are good, but they rarely provide you with more than a couple hundred suggestions.
If this is not enough for you, there are advanced keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, and others. They operate their own keyword databases and will give you many more keyword ideas.
For example, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer shows 98,993 keyword ideas for “cosmetics store”:
Of course, it will be time-consuming to sift through such a huge keyword list, so there are always filtering options in place.
d. You need to study your niche
Keyword research strategies described above are very effective. They provide you with a heap of keyword ideas. But at the same time, they kind of restrict you.
Sometimes it’s very useful to study your niche well. Applying a common sense, you can discover some incredible keywords that no one in your niche is targeting yet.
How can you start thinking unconventionally?
- Step into your potential customers’ shoes: who they are and what are their problems
- Talk to your current customers, know more about them, study the language they use in everyday life
- Actively participate in all your niche communities and social networks
Would you like an example? Supposing you are selling office utensils. Here are some of the unconventional keywords you might try to target:
- how to survive a busy office day
- how to be more efficient in the office
- what do you think about using your office utensils
- best office utensils to work with style
- reduce stress during the working day
I don’t think that people searching for these things are necessarily looking to buy office utensils, but they should be fairly easy to sell to.
3. Your list of keywords needs grouping
When you have generated plenty of promising keyword ideas and identified the very best of them it’s time to put your list into order.
a. You can group your keywords by “parent topic”
SEO professionals don’t target one keyword with one page anymore. They are facing a new challenge – should they target multiple relevant topics with one page or create a separate page for each set of keywords?
One page can range for hundreds or even thousands of relevant keywords. But when too much is really too much? How to know which keywords match your topic and which don’t?
Look at the keywords that the top-ranking pages for your target keyword already rank for.
For instance, the main keyword of this very article is “keyword research.” Would you like to know what other relevant keywords you can also rank for along with it?
Take the #1 ranking page for “keyword research,” put it into the keyword research/SEO/marketing tool you are using and sift through the keywords it ranks for.
You will find a few decent keywords in an instant.
What does this mean? You don’t need to create separate pages to target each of the found keyword. You’d better try to rank for them with a single post.
I know what you want to ask. How can I optimize my page to rank for these additional keywords? The answer is sweet. You don’t need to do this. The page that ranks #1 doesn’t have a single mention of these keywords but it still ranks for them. So yours also will.
The takeaway is – if you are going to bring some structure to your random list of keywords you need to find semantically and contextually related keywords and group them under a “parent topic”. You need to do this to target with a single page.
b. You can group your keywords by intent
When you have grouped semantically related keywords by “parent topic” and mapped them to different pages of your website, it’s time to group these “pages” by the searchers’ intent.
There is always a certain expectation behind every search query people put into Google. Your goal is to unravel that expectation and build a page that would perfectly fit it.
It may be challenging. For example, let’s take a keyword, “tattoo”. What’s the searchers’ intent behind it? It’s likely that a person either wants to see some pictures of tattoos, learn more about the process, or buy a tattoo design.
We can try to decipher the intent behind this search query by googling it and seeing what comes up first. Google is getting better in identifying the intent behind each search query. But you’d better take a look at the results yourself.
The SERP above serves all of these intents with an image strip, video strip, followed by a link to the website about tattoos, tattoo prices, tattoo designs, etc.
Once you understand the intent behind your keywords, you might want to map it to the stage of the sales cycle it represents:
- Problem aware
- Solution aware
- Product aware
- Fully aware
Please note that the points above are just one of the many ways marketers portray the so-called “Buyers’ Journey.”
I don’t know whether you want to map your keywords to any of the existing models or invent your own one. It’s up to you. For example, you can map keywords/topics to user personas.
In any case, the best recommendation here is to stick with whatever makes the most sense for you.
c. Next, you can group by business value
Actually, this grouping is similar to grouping by intent. This time you need to decide which intent drives the best ROI for your business.
If you’re looking for traffic and brand awareness, focus on keywords that will bring lots of visitors but don’t necessarily convert into leads or sales.
This strategy is good for the companies with unlimited marketing budgets. Most of the eCommerce sites simply can’t afford this and have to thoroughly pick keywords that will drive their business and not only vanity.
Most often, marketers will concentrate on keywords with commercial intent as they drive sales and grow your business.
4. Time to prioritize
I will tell you at once that prioritization is not really the final step in your keyword research process. It’s just something you naturally do moving through all the steps mentioned above.
Here is a brief list of things to note while generating keyword ideas, analyzing their metrics, and grouping them:
- What is the estimated traffic potential of this keyword or a group of keywords?
- Is the competition tough? Would it take much to rank for it?
- How many resources should you invest in building a competitive page and promoting?
- What’s the traffic ROI? Does it bring brand awareness only or actually convert into leads and sales?
Here is a tip for you: add dedicated columns in your keyword research spreadsheet to give scores to each keyword idea. Then it will be easy for you to pick your “low hanging fruit” with the best ROI based on these scores.
I want you to remember that you shouldn’t aim for the easiest to rank for keywords but opt for the ones with the best ROI.
You have just read a brief guide on keyword research. I hope it clarified the process for you and now you know how to approach to it no matter of the industry you are working at.
This article is not comprehensive, of course. So if you have your own tips and tricks that were not mentioned here, they are welcome in the comments section.
It’s cool to learn from each other!