Keywords for E-Commerce: SEO Primer

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Behind every successful E-commerce website are elements that go well beyond your product pages. It’s not just about offering products and services that people want – they must be able to find your website and discover what you’re offering first.

Keywords are like the roadmap that gets users from search query to your website. Use the right words and phrases, and you’ll appear in front of people actively searching for what you’re offering.

So how do you use keywords to your advantage? And, more importantly, how can you leverage keywords better than your competitors?

This guide covers some of the most important element of using keywords on your E-commerce website to help you turn online searches into sales.

keyword for ecommerceThe Importance of Keywords for SEO

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important you don’t underestimate the power of keywords for SEO. Users searching for “natural beauty products” versus “organic beauty products” may see two completely different sets of results, and you should do your homework to discover how to word your content for the best results.

In years prior, keywords were THE most chased after unicorn for online companies to get found in search results. Today, we know that keywords are only part of the SEO puzzle, but they’re still highly significant, especially if you’re investing in other areas of search optimization.

Keyword Terminology

The term ‘keyword’ is the broad use of the way people search for products online. True, it can be a bit misleading because keywords aren’t always just single words – they can be highly specific phrases, too. What’s more, they don’t always make grammatical or conversational sense.

Here are a few terms you should know before you start your keyword strategy:


Keywords can be viewed in two ways: first, they’re the terms that a user types into a search engine. And second, they let search engines know about the content and context of what’s on a specific web page. Search engines look for keywords on your website in order to return the most relevant results to searchers.

Longtail Keywords

Longtail keywords are simply searches that contain three or more words. These are highly critical for SEO because they account for over 70% of online searches. They also tend to produce higher conversions.

Average Search Volume

This rating shows how many searches are performed each month for a particular keyword. Keep in mind this isn’t how many different people are searching, but rather the average number of times the term has been searched for.

Competition or Difficulty

If you’re using a keyword research tool, you’ll see a ‘competition’ or ‘difficulty’ score that shows your chance of ranking for a particular keyword. The higher the score, the harder it will be for you to rank for that term. In other words, these might not be worth investing time and effort into.

Choosing Keywords for Products

Keywords for products can be used to name the product and in the product description itself.

Choosing keywords for products isn’t as self-explanatory as it sounds. You want your keywords to match how users are searching for the products you offer, and it isn’t always intuitive.

Start by creating a list of initial keywords that accurately describe your products – in many cases, the more specific the better.

For example, if you’re selling hair extensions, it might not be enough to simply include the keyword ‘hair extensions.’ Rather, you could choose to expand on this term by including length, color, or other elements. People searching for 10-inch hair extensions in the color ‘honey’ are more likely to see your product if you include these words in your product name and description.

Choosing Keywords for Other Website Elements

Your product pages aren’t the only pages that can drive organic traffic. Your home page, blog pages, About Us section, and similar pages can and should be optimized for search.

You can use your blog (yes, you should have a blog for your e-commerce website) to include demographic-related or niche-related keywords to help users find you. For instance, a bike shop might include blog articles about specific trails or cities that are best for mountain biking. A longtail keyword in this example might be “best city for mountain biking” or “best trails in [City].”

You can also create blog posts using keywords that solve your audience’s problems. For example, a skincare store might create a blog about which products are best for oily skin. Here, the longtail keyword could be ‘best products for oily skin.” (Bonus points if you link to your problem-solving products within the blog post.)

The key is knowing your audience and what they’re likely to search for. Think beyond the products you offer, and consider how their search terms can relate to what you’re selling.

Keyword Research Tools for E-Commerce

There are tons of keyword research tools (free and pay-for) available to help you build your strategy.

Google Keyword Planner and The Hoth let you find how often certain terms have been searched for on a monthly basis, the competition for those terms, and related search terms.

Moz offers a limited free keyword research tool that helps you find keywords and related terms, as well as an upgraded pay-for version that offers bigger insights and features, like the Page Optimization Score.

A lesser-known way to find longtail keywords is through Google itself. You can type a word into Google and look for the “autocomplete” options that drop down for additional inspiration. This gives you an idea of what other people have searched for, but there’s no additional data to accompany this, like search volume and competition.

Keywords, A Silent but Powerful Force for E-Commerce 2
Keep in mind that keyword popularity can shift as user preferences and interests change. The keywords that perform well today might not be as popular a year from now, so it’s important you continue to research and test variations to find the best balance.

It’s an ongoing struggle, but considering the potential ROI it can create, it’s a practice you don’t want to neglect.

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