The Beginners Guide to Keyword Research for E-commerce

In today’s digital age, small businesses and online stores are hugely reliant on how they appear when someone plugs their name into Google. Once upon a time, the yellow pages were the place to find a plumber, tailor, or clown who does birthdays.

In fact, the alphabetical nature of the phone book is why you still see businesses with names like A-1 Locksmith; their name made them one of the first entries in their given section. That front-and-center display is exactly what you want if you want to play the game of e-commerce. Who wouldn’t want their business to be one of the first to appear when someone looked up “best wedding cake” on Google? The way to accomplish this is by applying keywords to your online presence, and here are a few steps to help you do so.

Make a List You’ll eventually have to bid on the search terms that you want to deliver people to your site. So your first step will be coming up with a list of potential keywords to bid on. To come up with this list, ask yourself what you’d plug into a search engine if you were looking for your business online.

Keep in mind that the more general keywords related to your industry will be tougher to apply. If you sell custom aprons in Nebraska, bidding on the word “apron” probably isn’t going to do you much good. Instead, come up with terms that are even more specific to you. “Nebraska aprons,” “Midwest aprons,” or “homemade aprons” are smarter terms.

Set Up a Google AdWords Account

Your Google AdWords account is going to be your most powerful weapon in terms of creating keywords to drive people to your site. By creating a Google AdWords account, you’re granted automatic access to the Google Keyword Planner Tool. As the name implies, this tool is going to be helpful.
The tool will allow you to plug in the keywords you came up with on your list to see the average monthly searches and gauge their popularity. It will also give you keyword suggestions. So if you entered “homemade aprons,” it may suggest “best homemade aprons” or “homemade aprons for sale.”

You’ll then bid on the keywords you think are most representative of your business. When you start out, it’s a good idea to work with less than ten. However, always keep a list on hand of other keywords in case you want to swap any out or add to your list as you learn more about the process.

Watch and Learn

Coming up with the right keywords might take some time, so be prepared to tweak your strategy over time. Regularly search your own keywords, as well as suggested or unused keywords, to see what other results come up. Then ask yourself, Is this the right place for my business?
Note that any number of factors can change your ranking online, so don’t be completely shocked if you jump or drop in search results. Just watch closely to ensure you business is always where you want it to be when people search for it online.

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