Blogs by date "02/01/14"
As provider of ecommerce SEO services, how many times have you heard this:
"One keyword we would really like to rank for is 'Samsung TVs'" (or some other extremely competitive keyword.)
And you're probably thinking "Oh sure. That will only take us about 2 years to see page one of Google."
You know it, and you wish your ecommerce SEO clients did too. Short-tail ecommerce keywords are insanely competitive. So much so that, more often than not, these competitive keywords are not even worth your time and energy.
What your ecommerce SEO strategy needs is solid list of low-competitive long-tail keywords that are actually attainable and will drive your clients profitable traffic. But finding these golden long-tails is not an easy task. You need to drill, and you need to drill deep.
In this article, I will share with you a couple of my favorite resources and go-to techniques to uncovering money-in-the-bank long-tails that generate results and keep clients happy.
Have a Purposeful Direction
Before you actually start doing your long-tail keyword research, you'll need to have a clear idea of the keyword category you're going after. This is done by analyzing the site, its relevancy and authority, and its current rankings on the keyword category of interest.
As a result of this analysis, you can gain a better understanding of which keyword categories are actually attainable. It also helps to get some feedback from your client, so you keep them happy. Between the ecommerce site and the client's primary areas of interest, you can determine a purposeful direction for your research.
In our example, we know that the client is interested in ranking for "Samsung TVs," and after our analysis, we've concluded that site is relevant on (and ranking in the top 50) for "Samsung TVs" and a few related terms.
Seeing Samsung.com and few heavy hitters ranking at the top of page one, I can conclude that it's going to be near impossible to actually rank in the top 3 for "Samsung TVs." Thus, I commence my long-tail keyword research using the following resources.
Play with Google's Suggested Search (or Google "Autocomplete")
One of the best resources for long-tail keyword research is Google's suggested search or "Autocomplete" feature. Here I will start typing in my core keyword, "Samsung TVs", and see what Google offers me.
Because the client has competitive prices and sales on Samsung TVs, I am immediately drawn to the suggested search around "Samsung TVs on sale." So, I go down that road.
Simply by adding the word "on" to "Samsung TVs on" I see a few more potential options from Google's autocomplete. If it was black friday, "Samsung TVs on black friday" would make for a nice press release or article. The keyword that really jumps out is "Samsung TVs on sale this week." This is because the client does, in fact, do a rotating sale per week on a different Samsung TV. Boom.
So, I add this to my list of potential long-tails to target, and later do some competitive analysis around that term (more on this below).
Take a Look at "Searches related to..."
At the bottom of each SERP, Google shows "Searches related to (whatever keyword you searched)." Here you can play with all types of keyword variations and explore new ideas.
Click on any links to show the SERP for the given keyword. You can go down all types of roads that might be aligned with your ecommerce SEO goals.
Poke Around on Google's Keyword Planner Tool
Although many ecommerce SEO's start their keyword research using Google's Keyword Planner Tool, I typically use this tool at the end of my long-tail research. The Keyword Planner Tool will often display an abundance of very competitive keywords that I am simply not interested in. My true purpose for using the tool it see how popular my potential keywords are.
I can see that "Samsung TVs on sale this week" gets 20 searches per month (which is very approximate, and a number that I shouldn't depend on.) However, this is enough information to tell me that the keyword is legit and worth exploring further.
The Keyword Planner Tool can help come up with good ideas for ecommerce SEO; however, I think the tool has greater value for PPC advertising. Nonetheless, check it out and see if it helps aid your research.
Compile Your Findings and Review Your Competitors
Keyword research for ecommerce SEO extends far beyond finding relevant keywords with legitimate search volumes. Like any good approach to keyword research and selection, assessing the competition is important to yield a successful outcome.
After you have a list of potential long-tail keywords, you should take the time to search each phrase one by one to get a lay of the competing sites. If you're dealing with Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and other big time retailers that are dominating the top 5, you might want to scratch the keyword.
However, if there's only 1 or 2 big time retailers up top and a few other random sites that don't appear to be specifically optimized for the long-tail, then we might have a good shot.
You can take your competitor review to the next level by performing a backlink scan, analyzing domain-level metrics (indexed pages, PageRank, Alexa Rank, etc,) and assessing the extent of keyword optimization for the URL that's ranking. This might seem a bit heavy, but hey, this research is critical if you want to ensure your SEO energy is invested in the right keywords.
The Last Word
In short, ecommerce SEO is no walk in the park. Big budgets are usually involved in most ecommerce SEO campaigns. And you don't want to spend months and months trying to get in the top 5, only to learn later on that the top ranking sites are incredibly authoritative. Don't be lazy. Do your homework, and rank on, my friend.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link building and content marketing strategy.