We have talked plenty about SEO for e-commerce in this blog.
We have analyzed a thousand strategies to conquer Google, but we have never talked about one very important aspect for SEO: keywords.
And that just can’t be the case, so today we are going to tackle them in detail.
What are keywords and how can you find the best ones for your shop’s texts?
This post provides you with everything you need to know in order to determine which keywords should be included in your content without becoming an SEO expert.
Is it necessary to repeat a keyword ad nauseam so that we can position it?
Do we need to use synonyms? Which free tools can we use?
Keep reading – today we’re going to shed light on all of these questions.
What are keywords?
Before we start talking about keywords in depth, there’s one concept that we want to explain first: the users’ purchase intention.
Or, as we can also say:
The information users want to find when they type things into the Google search bar.
In most cases, their intentions can be grouped into three main objectives:
- To be informed
- To make a purchase
- To surf the Internet
The fact is that if two people are looking for the same thing, it is quite probable that they do it in a different ways (they likely use different terms for their Google search).
If I want to know some NFL results, I can find the information by typing different things:
- “NFL scores”
- “NFL games”
- “National Football League”
…among other options.
That is to say, there are different ways of asking the question even when the intention is the same.
Actually, for many different keywords, such as football, Google is already able to offer the same SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Now let’s get to the definition of a keyword:
Keywords are the MOST common terms or phrases used by users to express their search intention.
Did you notice that we used capital letters for MOST?
We’ll explain why in just a second.
1. Keyword vs. query
A term that you see often and that is typically used as a synonym of keyword is query, but they are actually different concepts.
A query is any word or phrase that a person looks for, even if it is not properly spelled, while keywords are those queries that are repeated often and those that we want to use to position our shop.
Talking about SEO is almost synonymous with talking about Google, but the same idea applies to Bing or any other search engine.
2. Long tail: when the keyword is more specific
Another term than can be confusing is the long tail keyword, but it’s simpler than it may seem.
Think about any keyword that is highly searched for – “hotel Paris”, for instance.
It is a very short keyword (only two words), which receives many searches and is highly fought over (there are many websites that want to position themselves for those words).
Now add one or more word either before or after those:
- “Hotel Paris romantic”
- “Best hotel Paris Latin Quarter”
The result is a longer and more precise keyword that will probably have fewer searches than just “hotel Paris” alone.
Those longer and more specific keywords that are created by adding more information to the main keyword(s) are referred to as long tail keywords.
Replace “hotel Paris” with “football shoes” and start adding words to lengthen the main keyword.
The most important thing is that the new keywords have concrete and unique search intentions.
Here you have another example:
The person searching for “football shoes for kids” does not want to find the same information as somebody typing “Cristiano Ronaldo’s football shoes”.
You get the idea, don’t you?
Never forget that satisfying a user’s search intention is always the main goal of any text that you are trying to position.
Key concepts when talking about keywords
Beyond understanding what a keyword is, the most important thing is to know how to use them to get more traffic.
And for that, you need to understand the following concepts:
1. LSI keywords – the age of semantic keywords
Some years ago, when Google was just starting out, websites only needed to repeat a keyword over and over again to position it.
That practice, taken to the extreme by many, has become a punishable tactic and is referred to as keyword stuffing (adding the keyword in a non-natural way just to position it).
This is why we recommend monitoring the number of times that you type the keywords. We revisit this topic later in the post.
Nowadays, instead of that, Google rewards what is called text relevance. A text is more relevant when it has more semantically related words – words that normally appear together.
Let’s go back to the Paris example.
If I want to position the keyword “Paris”, we have to include words that are usually written when people talk about Paris.
- “Eiffel Tower”.
- “Notre Dame”.
- “Latin Quarter”.
- “City of Love”.
If those words are included in most of the top 10 websites, your content should also include them.
Those words are the so-called LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing). Google understands that a text talks about a topic in depth when it includes all of those words.
You shouldn’t confuse or mix long tail keywords with LSI – the former are extensions of the main keyword while the latter have no morphological relation with the main word or with each other.
- Main keyword: Paris
- Long tail: what to do in Paris with kids
- LSI: Notre Dame
Google’s objective is naturalness; when you talk about a topic in detail, some words will come up naturally.
Could a text that talks about Paris avoid mentioning the Eiffel Tower? Obviously not.
2. Keyword density
If your goal is to position your website and to see long-term results, you know that writing relevant content that includes as many LSI words as possible is the way to go.
Despite that, Google is just a robot that scans and interprets what it read, so you can’t forget about the number of times you repeat the main keyword or where it’s placed in the text (URL, H1, H2, etc.).
The keyword density is the number of times that it’s repeated, in percentages.
There is no definitive rule, but, just in case, your keyword density should not exceed 1.5% (in this text, the main keyword density is 1.3%).
One common SEO practice is to look at the keyword density of the content shown in the first 3 or 4 results on Google.
That way you can check what percentage is OK for that keyword.
For some specific topics, such as recipes, Google accepts a higher density without penalizing the post.
Before creating a text, make a list of the main keyword synonyms and check to see how the first results that appear refer to them.
This will help you to avoid sounding repetitive.
In addition to text relevance and the keyword density, there is another important term: prominence.
Google not only checks how many times a keyword appears, but it also checks where in the text they are located.
If they are located in the title (H1) or in the first header, they will have more prominence/importance. The same happens when the word is placed at the beginning or at the end of the paragraph.
But don’t over use this strategy! Don’t finish every paragraph with the same keyword.
We just did it in the last paragraph. ;)
In order to check keyword density and prominence you can use a very useful Chrome extension called SEOQuake.
Tools to find keywords
Before you start creating posts for your e-commerce blog or writing your product cards, you should carry out a small keyword analysis.
This process doesn’t need to be overly detailed but you should at least determine:
- What people search for on Google.
- Which words your competitors use.
- What the average density of their content is.
- In which headings their keywords are placed.
Remember texts that are relevant for Google and useful for users.
OK, so let’s start analyzing the tools.
1. Google keyword planner
This tool is limited to those accounts that have active campaigns, so its popularity has decreased, but it’s still a great option.
- Pros: Nobody knows more about what is searched for on Google than Google itself.
- Cons: Since it’s an AdWords tool, it focuses on transactional keywords (purchase intention). This is a pro when working with online shops.
You can find it here.
2. Ubersuggest (Neil Patel)
Neil Patel is a very well known marketing specialist who acquired an extremely popular keyword research tool: Ubersuggest.
After purchasing it, he cleaned it up and now offers it for free.
- Pros: Under “keyword ideas” there are two tags: “suggestions” and “related”. The first one gives you long tail keywords and the second one shows semantically related words. It is free for now. ;)
- Cons: It focuses on the American market, so don’t trust the “success probability” percentages that it offers.
You can try it out here.
Although the free version doesn’t offer search volumes, this is still one of the most comprehensive tools out there:
- Pros: In addition to Google searches, it offers searches on YouTube, Amazon, and eBay. If you are looking for transactional keywords, this is incredibly useful to discover what people are looking for on Amazon.
- Cons: It’s quite expensive – a decent plan can cost upwards of $68 per month.
You can try it out here.
This is more than just a keyword tool – it’s a complete, low cost SEO suite and it’s becoming more and more popular as an alternative to the paid options such as Ahrefs or Semrush.
- Pros: It looks for transactional searches and website analyses to get keywords and their density. This is probably the best price-quality option.
- Cons: It’s still in a beta phase, so we’ll have to keep an eye on it. It is currently only available in Spanish.
You can try it out here.
If you are trying to get every single long tail keyword that’s been searched for on Google, this is the tool you are looking for. Its design leaves much to be desired, but it does what it’s meant to do perfectly.
- Pros: It’s free. It starts with the letter “a” and doesn’t stop until you tell it to. Keywords, keywords, and more keywords – maybe too many.
- Cons: There are no filters or control over the results, which can be a bit overwheleming.
You can try it out here.
The key to keywords…
The best content to position is the one that meets users’ needs and pleases Google at the same time.
Google always advises to aim for naturalness, but it’s also essential to take density and prominence into account.
And regarding relevance, if you have quality text that talks about a topic in depth, relevance is assured.
Go get those keywords!