Keyword Research: 3 Methods for E-tailers [Case Study] Title

Keyword research is vital for both organic onsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid biddable media, namely Paid Search Ads. This post will walk you through 3 Keyword Research Methods for online retailers.

Case Study: Where to Start

Let’s say you own a small business that sells coffee beans online. If you’re looking for relevant keywords for your business, you might start by brainstorming some short-tail keywords. These are broad keywords that are usually about 1 or 2 words long.

One good starting spot might be your business’s product categories and website hierarchy. For example, La Colombe Coffee Roasters might have the following list of short-tail keywords: coffee beans, dark roast, organic coffee, cold brew, and more.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters website example: One way to begin the keyword research methods is to look at the website. In this example, keywords include dark roast, organic coffee, cold brew, etc.

1. Google Search

One of the most straight forward methods of keyword research is based on something you probably do dozens of times a day: a Google Search. The first way Google searches can help you with keyword research is the Searches Related to feature located at the bottom of the page.

Searches related to "Coffee Beans," include "coffee beans online" and "best coffee bean brand" among others.

When you find other keywords that are relevant to your business, write them down and continue the process:

Searches related to "best coffee beans" include "best coffee beans reddit," "best coffee beans for espresso," and others.

Google Search can also assist in keyword research through Google Search Autocomplete. Pay attention to the keywords that appear when you start typing your short-tail keywords:

Use Google Search Autocomplete as a keyword research method. Suggestions when I started typing "coffee beans online" include "coffee beans online review" and "coffee beans online free shipping."

Here, we can see some long-tail keywords starting to appear. These are more focused keywords with three or more words that often indicate a higher commercial intent.

Some of the keywords above indicate that users are looking for more information, such as reviews or free shipping. In Google Ads, you can add this information directly to your Search Ad through a seller ratings ad extension and a callout ad extension.

2. Browsing User-Generated Content

Another method of keyword research is browsing user-generated content (UGC) related to your product. These include social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, as well as online wikis or blog content or comments.

If we search for coffee-related UGC on Reddit, the r/Coffee subreddit provides some ideas for words to use in our text ad copy.

On Reddit under the r/Coffee subreddit, you can find keywords your target market uses when discussing products related to your industry.

We can also use this research method to find LSI keywords, which are words related to your main keyword that search engines use to determine the topic of your content. Learn more about LSI keywords from Backlinko:

Graphic from Backlinko shows how LSI Keywords help Google determine the topic of your content on a webpage.
Image Credit: Backlinko.com

3. Google Ads Keyword Planner

The Google Ads Keyword Planner provides more data about keywords than the other two methods. To begin, create a Google Ads account, navigate to the Keyword Planner, and select “Discover New Keywords.” From there, you can input a list of keywords from brainstorming or other keyword research methods.

Google Ads Keyword Planner "Discover new keywords" allows you to input short-tail keywords and gives you related keyword ideas.

The Keyword Planner will then collect keyword ideas as provide you with information about search volume, competition for bidding on that keyword, and the low and high bid amounts.

Google Ads Keyword Planner provides you with keyword ideas and information on keyword volume, competition, and bid ranges. You can also download this information into an Excel Sheet.

You may wish to Download Keyword Ideas into an Excel file, which will allow you to easily remove keywords with too low of search volume, filter out irrelevant keywords, and organize keywords into manageable lists.

This video from Ryan Moran provides more information about using the Google Ads Keyword Planner:

Additional Resources

Now that you have conducted your keyword research, learn how to use your keywords in your Paid Search Ads! Other types of biddable media, including Display Ads and Video Ads, can also use keywords for content targeting. However, these Ads have largely moved to audience targeting. This blog post will provide more detail about biddable media, including Google Search Ads:

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