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SEO Basics: How to do Keyword Research Best Practices

11 min read

Do you have an amazing website that you wish more people would see? If you want customers to find your site, you have to know how they are searching for products and services similar to your own. That’s where keyword research comes in.

Keyword research is the process of identifying words or phrases that are frequently used by customers in their Google search terms. Once you have those SEO keywords, you can fill your website with them to appear more frequently in search engine results and drive more traffic to your page.

There’s no need to jump over to Google and type how to do keyword research because we’ve already compiled the best tips and tricks for you! In this article, we will teach you the basics of how to search for keywords and how to find the best keywords for SEO.

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Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is a vital part of building or bettering any website. The internet is a vast space filled with millions upon millions of web pages, each of which is vying for our attention. Search engines like Google make the chaos manageable and act as digital tour guides.

Tour guides, though, only point out the most interesting and worthwhile attractions. Keyword research helps you understand which features (SEO keywords) you can add to your website to make it stand out to the digital tour guides that bring valuable tourists to your pages.

This keyword research is a two-way street, as it can also help you determine which tourists you’re most interested in attracting. For example, in a hypothetical search for wall posters, let’s say that people thirty and younger tend to use the term “cheap poster” while those over thirty use the term “wall art.”

Someone who hopes to sell posters to college students would likely decide to emphasize the term “cheap poster” when writing content for their site. In short, depending on the type of product or service you sell and the demographic you hope to attract, you may choose to utilize different SEO keywords.

Keyword research and SEO keyword analysis can unlock a wealth of information to give you a competitive edge in generating more digital traffic. Keep reading to find out how to find the best keywords for SEO.

Getting Started with Keyword Research

Below, we’ve laid out a few simple steps that will help you complete your keyword research, find Google search terms common in your market, and perform basic SEO keyword analysis.

Brainstorm

For our keyword research, we’re going to start with something analog. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and jot down a few words that come to mind when thinking about your product or service.

Do you sell jewelry? Keywords might include: necklace, engagement ring, DIY jewelry, custom jewelry, etc.

Don’t spend all day coming up with these words, as this is just the starting point for your SEO keyword research.

Initial search

For this next step, you’re going to take on the role of the customer. One at a time, type the list of keywords you brainstormed in as Google search terms. Take note of the types of sites that appear as the top results.

In this stage, you’re trying to identify which SEO keywords produce results that include sites similar to your own. Essentially, you’re using SEO keywords to find your competitors. However, competitors come in all shapes and sizes.

If a keyword search is bringing back results full of links to Amazon and other big-name brands, that SEO keyword should probably be scratched off of your list. For now, you want to find keywords that lead to competitors similar in size and scope to your business or website. Making these judgment calls is part of good SEO keyword analysis.

If none of the keywords you brainstormed help you find websites like your own, it’s time to find a few new SEO keywords. Google can help with this. As you type in your Google search terms, pay attention to the suggested search terms that appear under your query.

Follow those terms (and the suggestions that appear at the bottom of the results page) until you find sites similar to your own.

Analyse the competition

After you’ve used SEO keywords to locate your competitors, it’s time to analyse the traffic coming to their websites. Services like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer will analyse traffic to a website whose link you upload. You can find out which pages on their site generate the most traffic from search engines and which SEO keywords are helping them appear high in the list of search results.

Sites like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, and Monitor Backlinks also offer similar services with both paid and free plans.

From there, it’s up to you to utilize the information you’ve gleaned. Fill your website with SEO keywords that have driven traffic for your competitors and try to find Google search terms that they might not be capitalizing on.

Keep researching

Once you’ve performed SEO keyword analysis on your competition, there are still plenty of other ways to find SEO keywords that will drive traffic to your site. If you don’t want to follow the paths laid by your competitors, feel free to start with this step.

When it comes to how to do keyword research, one of the most helpful (and free!) tools is Google’s Keyword Planner. While this is primarily a tool for advertisers deciding where to place ads, it can also be used for keyword research.

The Keyword Planner will take your Google search terms and tell you how many people search for those specific keywords, as well as a list of related terms and their search numbers. With just one quick search, you can build out your list of potential SEO keywords even further.

Consider a paid service

You don’t have to purchase anything to conduct SEO keyword research, but it can help expedite the process. Websites like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, and others can analyze your competitors, help you explore SEO keywords, scan your site for SEO issues, and track how your web pages rank in search engine results.

These services offer free and paid plans, depending on the scope of services you need, so you don’t have to commit unless you’re sure you can benefit from the product.

Keyword Research Best Practices

Consider search intent

After identifying a number of SEO keywords related to your product or service, it’s also important to consider the intent of the customer who input those specific Google search terms. There are four commonly referred to types of search intent:

  1. Informational Intent. The person who types a Google search term with an informational intent want to find the answer to a question or learn more about a particular topic.
  2. Navigational Intent. This intent describes someone who utilizes a search engine to reach a particular website. If someone searches for YouTube, they’re more likely trying to access the site than they are learning more about its history.
  3. Transactional Intent. These searchers are people who want to buy something at the moment of their search. They know what they want to buy and are using a search engine to reach a product page.
  4. Commercial Intent. This intent, like the transactional intent, involves an individual who wants to purchase something. However, in this case, the person is searching with the intent to learn more about which product would be best to buy in the future. Rather than being ready to purchase immediately, they are doing research to find the best product for a later buy.

The intent of the searcher alters the types of Google search terms they use. A search with an informational intent might include the words “how to” or “why.” Someone with a transactional intent might use the word “buy” or “deal” in their search.

Consider which intent your website can most easily satisfy. On your product pages, utilize SEO keywords that will help draw in searchers with a transactional intent. If your website includes a blog, you can incorporate SEO keywords related to informational searches.

Don’t overlook long-tail keywords

When beginning your keyword research, you may focus primarily on what are known as “head” terms. These terms—like “engagement rings” for a jewelry search—are searched by millions of people everyday and have results pages dominated by large businesses.

For websites with lower traffic, you may want to consider SEO keywords that are longer and satisfy a more specific search. The long-tail SEO keyword alternative to “engagement rings” would be something like “sustainably made customizable engagement rings.”

To generate your long-tail keywords, consider what your website has to offer on a deeper and more specific level than those keywords you initially brainstormed.

Use Google Trends

SEO keywords, like everything on the internet, change rapidly. Use sites like Google Trends to find out if a Google search term seems likely to go out of style, or if a particular SEO keyword that isn’t generating much traffic might be the next hot search.

Do you want to learn more about SEO for online stores?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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