Choosing the right keywords will drive quality traffic to your website. And with each visitor comes a conversion opportunity.

Very few online marketing activities are as important as conducting keyword research. As an online store owner, you want to make sure the keywords you select not only drive visitors to your store but also increase CONVERSIONS. Selecting and optimizing your site with the right keywords is extremely important when you’re running an eCommerce store. Without the optimized keywords, you may be getting traffic that’s not targeted and doesn’t improve your sales.

Our step-by-step guide will help you in your next keyword research.

Types of Keywords

Before we start with our ‘how-to’ on keyword research, however, you need to be familiar with the two types of keywords in SEO: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.

long-tail vs short-tail keyword research

The differences are as follows:


Short-tail keywords are broad terms and sometimes referred to as ‘head’ keywords. Examples include casual wear, pizza delivery, and engagement ring. Short-tail keywords have the potential to rank well as they drive a high volume of traffic to your site. However, they have some drawbacks. First, they are extremely competitive so it can be challenging to rank with them, especially if your website is new or if you have just started your search efforts. This is because so many other sites, higher power sites with large marketing budgets, are competing for the same terms. Also, because of their generic nature, they are less targeted. Conversions tend to be more challenging with short-tail keywords as the person searching with the term may or may not be looking for your specific product.


Long-tail keywords are more specific. Examples include women’s casual wear, Chicago-style pizza delivery, and blue sapphire engagement ring. Though these types of keywords occur less frequently and drive less traffic to your site, they tend to be easier to rank well with and generally convert better. In fact, according to

Nearly 60 percent of all impressions, clicks, and impressions occur with 11-20 character keywords. Including 21-25 character keywords brings us to 80 percent of call conversions. As such, 11-25 character keywords definitely comprise the “head.”

So basically, short-tail keywords may be better for attracting traffic but long-tail keywords are the choice for boosting sales.

Why Are Keywords Necessary?

Keywords are necessary for eCommerce because they are the bridge that connects us to what a person is thinking. And that’s pretty incredible! But if not researched (and researched correctly), keywords will be ineffective. For example, let’s say I’ve decided that I need a new coffee cup. My old one is stained and it’s time to up my game with a brand new one. I go to Google and type in the word “Coffee Cup” and here are the results Google gives me.

Google keyword research

Hmm, that’s not exactly what I was looking for.

Actually, you would have to scroll down to the 8th listing to see anything that resembles what I was expecting. And what do you know, it’s an Amazon listing.

keyword research results

This is why keyword research is SO important for your online store. Imagine you have a web store selling coffee cups and want everyone to know about you. What do you do? You likely put a bunch of effort into making sure your descriptions, articles, and website content is all about “Coffee Cups”. What will your result be? Not much. Why? Google seems to think that “coffee cups” has more to do with software than an actual coffee cup.

Channeling that same amount of effort into long-tail, product-specific keywords will yield MUCH better results for your business. This is especially true if your word grouping also provides a motivation to purchase or learn.

So how do we research keywords? One of the most widely respected experts on SEO is a company called MOZ. Formerly known as SEO MOZ, the experts at MOZ do a great job of helping users understand the “how and why” of keyword research. There are also many great online tools that are made to help with keywords. Here are a few of our favorites:

Online Tools for Keyword Research

Begin your research by using Google Keyword Planner to search for new keywords according to category, website or phrase. Customize your search based on average monthly searches, location or language. After doing this, you can then identify the level of competition that exists on your chosen keywords. Google Keyword Planner is a great way to stay on top of keyword trends.

When you are ready to create a list of popular keywords for your niche, take advantage of WordStream Keyword Research Tool. This free resource has a tool that will help you find long-tail keywords, instead of ignoring them like many sites do. This will allow you to find low competition but high-volume long-tail keywords before your competition does. The free version offers you multiple combinations of the word or phrase you can use for search as well as their relative frequency. Higher frequency means more popular keyword phrase. Additionally, Wordstream has more keyword research tools that you can use for basic keywords, negative keywords to avoid, keyword suggestions, keyword groups, and keyword niche categories.

If you’d like access to keyword ideas that are not found in Google’s lineup, you may want to try Ubersuggest. It is a free keyword research tool that helps when you already have an idea of the words you’d like to use in your content but have no idea which combinations to use.

Key in a phrase on Ubersuggest and it will filter common keyword combinations of that phrase. It will then provide a list of the most profitable keyword phrases that attract traffic organically. The great thing about Ubersuggest is that it has many filters. You can start with the online keyword research tool to locate keyword combinations in multiple languages. You can then proceed with the research tool that helps identify popular keywords used for different categories like news, general web surfing, and Youtube.

This is a hassle-free keyword research tool. Type the keyword that you want to search, press Submit Query and you will get results right away. When you opt for Level 2 and Level 3 searches, you get a deeper insight into the keyword you want to use. These levels will help you get a breakdown of how your chosen keyword can be formulated in multiple ways. Go to the bottom of your search page so you can download a list of all the variations of your keyword in an Excel worksheet.

Keyword Tool is a popular Google Keywords alternative. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced eCommerce manager, the community behind Keyword Tool has resources that can help. The forums, free SEO tools, and articles are geared for everything from the most basic to advanced technical issues. It also offers other features that include language-based and country-based filters. These features will assist you in focusing your keywords to the popular local jargon for your chosen niche. Keeping your keywords pointed will help you attract the right traffic to your website.

How To Use Keywords for Your Website

When you use keywords throughout your website, consider the following:

  • Your website’s headings should always be text. Search engines cannot read anything in an image, which is the reason the image tag was created.
  • Location is important. Place your selected keywords on the following page elements; headings, content, image tags and description.
  • If you’re attempting to reach a global market, use keywords that are used globally. If you stick to the US market, maximize keywords that are used domestically.
  • If your target market is local, key in the name of your town or suburb to lessen the number of competitors competing for that term. (Ex. Phoenix Dog Groomer)
  • Find a balance. Select keywords with medium to high number of searches (more than 1000 per month) that you can still remain competitive in.
  • Build content around one or two terms or concepts. Using too many keywords can be a red flag for search engines.
  • Incorporate current HTML standards. Do away with outdated HTML or add-on technologies as they affect how search engines read your site.

Doing your keyword research is important, very important. Everyday, new businesses are competing for the same terms you are. Build a systematic approach to keyword research and you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.

How do you approach keyword research? Do you have insights that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!