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