Beyond the basics—mastering keyword excellence for ecommerce

by | Jun 22, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

The online shopping space can feel like a world of chaos, especially when you’re trying to outrank scores of other websites selling the same merchandise as you. No matter how tough it is, you’ve decided to join this race and are determined to take the lead on search platforms, because you can then make your fortune! Using the right PR strategies will not only bring you closer to your SEO goals, but also boost your revenue overtime.

Like with any other website, SEO for an ecommerce site must incorporate in-depth keyword research right from the beginning. Your efforts with SEO need to last well beyond the first few months of launching your website. In fact, you just might be hurting your rankings, because you fail to update your keywords regularly enough.

In the beginning, there was keyword research

Whether you are optimizing a regular website or an ecommerce one, keyword research is a crucial first step. PR specialists and digital marketing experts believe that this forms the foundation of almost all other SEO-related activity on your ecommerce site. It even comes into play when you’re undertaking technical SEO—suffice to say, keywords cannot be ignored in your URLs and site architecture.

Most tutorials you click on will likely be focused on finding the right informational keywords that can lead viewers to your useful ‘how-to’ article. However, the keywords of your website will mostly center around product pages. That means you cannot approach keyword research the way everyone else does. That’s why getting a PR professional goes a long way in saving you the stress of doing it all by yourself.

Beyond the basics—mastering keyword excellence for ecommerce

How to research keywords for ecommerce

Use just a few or all of them. There are a number of helpful tools you can use to effectively research keywords for your ecommerce site:

  • Wikipedia: Though Wikipedia might not spring to mind straight away, this massive online resource can be a good place to start looking for great keywords for category pages and product pages, because it organises topics by categories and products. To use it, head to the Wikipedia site and perform a search for a category or product offered on your ecommerce site.

Next, look through the article and try to find phrases or words that are related to the product you have in mind. You might also want to look for keyword ideas for category pages in the contents box.

  • Amazon (and others): While you may consider Amazon a competitor, there can be no denying that it’s the most extensive ecommerce site on the web. What does that mean? It is where you need to go for the kind of keyword research you’re looking to conduct. Finding keyword ideas via Amazon begins with visiting the site and searching for a descriptive keyword for a product that you sell.

Amazon suggests long tail keywords, which are a good strategy. Note the keywords that are suggested and do the same for other products you sell. Be sure to look out for the category suggestions that are sometimes placed above keyword suggestions. They will work nicely for your category pages.

You can look even deeper into category pages by learning from the keywords your competitors use for their category pages. You can check the main categories on Amazon by going to the homepage and hovering over the ‘Shop by Department’ link, located at the top.

You can further narrow this down by hovering over departments to see their subcategories. Alternatively, view all the departments and subcategories under ‘Full Store Directory’. When you click on a subcategory, the sidebar on the page should display relevant keywords, used to describe that category and other related ones. Meanwhile, Amazon is not the only place to look, so be sure to check other sites similar to yours.


If you would rather not search for keywords on Amazon manually, you can use Keyword Tool Dominator to scrape the site for relevant keywords. It’s faster and you’ll get more keyword suggestions. SEMrush is another brilliant tool you can use for all your keyword research—if you don’t mind spending a bit of cash.

Beyond the basics—mastering keyword excellence for ecommerce

Optimizing on-page SEO

Now that you have a good list of keywords to work with, you’ll want to focus on optimising your on-page SEO. The first port of call should be your title tags. You might already be thinking that they need to include your primary keywords (and of course, the name of your product), but did you know they also need to utilize modifiers?

Modifiers: At the launch of Umbrellar Azure Stack , Umbrellar’s regional manager Brendan Wilde stated that modifiers have a way of making your PR tasks easier. “Examples of modifiers we use when pushing a product include words and captions like ‘20% off’, ‘sale’, ‘cheap’, ‘lowest price’, ‘reviews’ and ‘offers’. These are words that a potential buyer could include in their search to specify its context”, he said. In effect, you should consider changing your title tag from ‘buttons on WTS’ to ‘20% off buttons on WTS’.

URL structure: You may not have thought of how the length and format of your URL could play a part in reducing your rankings, but it actually can. Google favours short URLs and pages whose content is in line with the category name. For instance, www.agilitypr.com/pr-news/ is likely to pop up when users search for “PR news” on the Google and other search engines.

Any subcategories are added in a similar fashion to the end of that URL and then specific product names. The key is to ensure the URL remains short and concise, meaning you’ll need to avoid stuffing irrelevant keywords.

Category and product pages: After taking your time to do all that keyword research for your category and product pages, you need to get those pages right. The first thing you should think about is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) or LSI keywords. They are not the same as your primary keywords, but are closely related. They let you take the searcher’s intent into consideration in your selection of keywords.

Another helpful tool is the LSI Graph, which allows you to come up with an index of LSI Keywords that are a close match with your primary keyword. For instance, you might want to use keywords such as ‘customizable’, ‘design your own’, ‘discounted’ or ‘kids’ if the searcher’s intent is ‘buy low cost, custom kids dresses’.

This post was aimed at uncovering some points that might not be covered in a basic ecommerce keyword tutorial—from a PR point of view. However, you can always consult a professional if you can’t handle all the SEO techniques yourself. Good luck.

James Cummings
James Cummings is an experienced digital media expert, writer and business psychologist. As an experienced senior manager, he has helped create and deliver top-level web solutions on numerous projects to some of the world’s leading brands.


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