By Brit Finnegan, Lead Designer and SEO Manager
The foundation of search engine optimization (SEO) is keywords. Keywords are the words that internet users–and your customers–are thinking about and typing into their search engines in order to find products, services, people, things and answers to virtually any question imaginable.
eCommerce retailers and marketers spend lots of time and resources attempting to pinpoint the right keywords and key phrases that not only best fit their products, but also best match what customers are looking for. Herein lies the art of SEO keywords for eCommerce.
While marketing professionals make entire careers of SEO and keyword optimization, we’ve compiled this brief yet informational guide of SEO keyword basics to help SMBs optimize their eCommerce websites without the need for a large budget.
What are keywords?
In our previous blog, SEO Tips and Best Practices for eCommerce, we outlined SEO basics and introduced the idea of keywords. But what exactly is a keyword?
Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and imagine that you are searching for a particular product on the internet. When you open a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo, you first think about a word or combination of words that best represents what you’re looking for. Then, you type that word or words into the search engine. Finally, you evaluate the results. Keywords are these words that you’re thinking and typing when searching the internet. They represent our questions, needs and ideas. In eCommerce, these keywords are our products and the words that buyers use to search for our products.
Keywords vs. Long Tail Keyword Phrases
A keyword is a single word like “shoes.” When combining keywords, we create what is called a keyword phrase or a “long tail” keyword in SEO terms. Imagine again that you are a buyer who is searching the internet for a product — women’s running shoes to be specific. You most likely wouldn’t simply type the keyword “shoes” into a search engine, because “shoes” will return millions if not billions of results. You’d use a long tail keyword or keyword phrase such as “running shoes,” which would knock off a few million results. As you add keywords to the long tail, such as “women’s running shoes,” to get more specific, you zero in on precisely what you’re looking for.
As an eCommerce retailer, unless you sell a specific product such as “Furbies,” which would likely take the customer directly to your website on the first result, you’ll want to focus your SEO efforts on long tail keywords. If you focus simply on “shoes,” imagine how many competitors your customers will have to sift through to get to your website.
Differentiating from competitors’ keywords
In the eCommerce world, even long tail keywords and phrases yield numerous results and can be dominated by big name competitors. Consider the search term “New Balance running shoes.” This is a long tail key phrase that yields a lot of competition. Amazon and New Balance would likely be the leaders in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
But let’s say that your eCommerce website sells a certain version of New Balance running shoes for less than competitors. What do you do? You add to the long tail get product specificity. Currently, if you Google “men’s new balance running shoes ml501” the results display 9 different vendors on the first page of the SERPs.
Now, will customers search for “ml501 new balance men’s running shoes” or “men’s new balance running shoes ml501”? That is up to you decide. Experiment with your key phrases and try variations on the naming of the product name and the product page URL to see what returns the best results for you.
Where do I put my keywords?
Your product name, product descriptions and product page URLs are good places to start when it comes to incorporating keywords into your website content.
Additionally, a blog associated with your website and social media pages provide great opportunities for utilization of your keywords and long tail key phrases. Blogs especially provide plenty of opportunity for incorporation of your SEO keywords into your blog content. Just be sure to keep in mind the all-important rule: “Content is king.” Many marketers fall into the trap of writing content for the sake of incorporating SEO keywords, or using keywords way too frequently in one piece of content, making the message appear disingenuous and forced. Your customer’s experience should be top priority, and if your SEO keywords happen to fit into that content, that’s a win-win!
For an effective SEO experience, be sure to consistently use the same keyword phrase or long tail to increase the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Additionally, if your business partners link to your content, communicate and coordinate with them so that your long tail terms are aligned.
Nomad erpCommerce is built to be very SEO friendly, meaning you can easily incorporate keywords and long tail key phrases into these critical elements of your website so that customers can find your products easier when searching the internet.
As shown in our blog, 3 Ways that Nomad Improves Your SEO, page elements and SEO tracking tools are easily configurable and customizable in Nomad — even for those who aren’t experts in the SEO or digital marketing field, including:
- SEO friendly page names. In our previous example, an SEO-friendly page name could be http://myecommercestore.com/ml501-new-balance-mens-running-shoes
- Site title
- Page title
- Headlines (H1, H2, H3)
- Meta titles and meta descriptions
- Google Analytics Tracking Code
For more information and an example of where to add your SEO keywords and phrases into critical elements of your Nomad erpCommerce site, take a look at 3 Ways that Nomad Improves Your SEO.
This “Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keywords for eCommerce” blog simply scratches the surface of utilization of keywords and long tail key phrases in your SEO strategy, but provides a good basis to begin incorporating keywords into your eCommerce website. Continue to follow our blog, and especially our SEO blog series, for more tips and best practices.
Brit Finnegan is the Lead Designer and SEO Manager at Sniperdyne.
Other blogs in the series:
To learn more about how our manufacturing and distribution customers utilize Nomad’s eCommerce and ERP integration, visit our website.