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Ensure Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy is a Success By Choosing the Right Long-Tails

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.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout 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.

PPC vs. SEO: Which is Better for Ecommerce Internet Marketing?

The competition in ecommerce search marketing increases with each year. Nearly every corner of online business contains a blend of players with both advertising skills and deep pockets. Below is one example of the dense variety of retailers all trying to increase their visibility on the web.

So a sports retailer sells gear and memorabilia in all the major sports (basketball, baseball, football, hockey, golf, etc.) over the web. How do you market the products and compete with all the other big boys? Any query for every type of sports gear is filled with big-budget national retailers that dominate both paid and organic listings.

PPC advertising is one way to attain high search engine exposure. However, at nearly $1 per click for an exact phrase match like [mens baseball cleats], it’s easy to see how the expenses can add up in PPC advertising. The other main option is to target search engine optimization. The goal with SEO is to earn a top spot on the keyword phrase.

The chances of reaching a top spot are hard to predict because of the amount of strong competition. Not to mention SEO takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. In the end, what should a retailer decide when exploring the possibilities of ecommerce Internet marketing? Is SEO or PPC the answer?

Long-tail Insights Are the Key

Search engine users are more precise with their keyword phrases than ever these days. The habit of Internet consumers is to search a long-tail keyword phrase reflecting the particular product they’re seeking. Simply put, the phrase will include three or more words specifying a product, such as “louisville slugger genesis” or “louisville slugger genesis baseball bag.”

Knowing the tendencies of long-tail search is critical for ecommerce SEO as well as PPC, particularly with limited budgets and close competition. Google’s Instant feature is an ideal tool to increase your scope on these trends with relation to your ecommerce website’s keyword-targeted-phrases. From the results given by Google Instant, it seems like “louisville slugger genesis wheeled bag” is a long-tail keyword worth targeting.

We can create highly-targeted ads specifically for this equipment bag as a means of ecommerce PPC. By doing so, our ad has a chance to stand out from the rest. The headline of “Louisville Slugger Genesis Wheeled Bag” may pertain to searches more than the average “Louisville Slugger Genesis.” For retailers with a limited advertising budget, testing ecommerce PPC waters with long-tail keyword targeting is a smart move. Bid on keywords using only [exact phrase match] to start.

You can also use modified broad match to capture anything relevant that included any of your specified terms. Bidding on a keyword phrase using the modified broad match might look similar to this +Louisville +Slugger +Genesis. This bidding strategy will only trigger your ads when each of those three words are used in a query.

Using Ecommerce PPC to Test SEO Keywords

Search engine optimization is a lengthy endeavor, so it’s important that the chosen keyword targets produce sales. It’s great if we can accomplish a top keyword ranking, but the real goal is conversions. Without the conversions, the SEO campaign’s a bust.

One of the most effective strategies in ecommerce Internet marketing is to use PPC to test the sales of a variety of potential keywords before optimizing for them with SEO. For huge online retailers with endless products, PPC can be one of the best testing procedures for search engine optimization. Typically if a keyword produces sales in PPC advertising, then it will most likely convert organic SEO traffic. The point here is to highlight the keywords that produce the most sales via PPC and decide which of those keywords should be used for ecommerce SEO.

If a keyword is new and unfamiliar, test it for a while with PPC until the statistics are relevant enough to evaluate its sales and SEO potential. Part of the keyword selection process is taking into consideration how competitive each keyword is and whether or not achieving a top ranking is possible. The organic listings for some keywords are too competitive for ecommerce SEO, no matter how successful a keyword converts from PPC.

Localize Your Campaigns

Some retailers have a local market focus allowing them to set-up ecommerce PPC campaigns targeting specific geographic areas.

This enables marketers to write targeted ads with locally-centered content, like “Product of the Napa Valley” or “Found only in…” These ads will stand out from generic keyword phrasing cluttering up the SERPs. A lot of times, users are searching for products locally. Their queries might include a geo-modifier, such as “sporting goods in Kalamazoo.”

If you own an ecommerce site, but also have a physical location of business, you definitely want to consider developing a local SEO strategy. The process of geo-optimizing your website is simple. Make sure to mention the city or region your store is located in throughout the content of your site. You can include your store address in the footer for starters.

Also include your geographic target in your URLS, Page Titles and Meta Descriptions of your optimized pages will help your website significantly for geographic matching in local searches.

The idea to localize your ecommerce Internet marketing campaign may seem strange when you’re also trying to sell products on a national level. But if you’re also looking for foot traffic then the decision to locally optimize is a no-brainer.

Socialize the Marketing Campaign

Social media plays a part in pretty much every Internet marketing campaign. When it comes to ecommerce Pay Per Click advertising and organic SEO, social media is the ribbon complementing the gift.

Social media is budget-friendly, extremely interactive and always has the potential to go viral for your ecommerce brand. Think about the viewpoint of your target market. Are they using social media platforms? Which ones?

Facebook and Google + are the most frequented due to their popularity. But a social media campaign goes further than just identifying. Building a following and interacting with your followers in specific ways is how you solidify your campaign.

Social media, if done correctly, can really complement all SEO and PPC efforts. The goal is to build a brand while consistently bringing in traffic to your website. Social media platforms may contribute a little to the SEO effort, but for the most part, social media should be approached with an inbound marketing strategy.

How can you lure a potential customer to your ecommerce site?

The End Result

The most successful search marketing campaigns use a mixture of search engine optimization, pay per click advertising and social media marketing. Email marketing can be important too, but that could be covered in a whole other blog post. Study your target market’s interests and slowly assemble your campaign in a way which will relate to them best. Patience is critical as you make your way into PPC and SEO. Internet marketing for an ecommerce brand is relentless. Know your strategies are effective before pouring too much time and money into a campaign.

This article was contributed by Kyle Blasco

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