Keyword research is one of the most important things you can do for your eCommerce business to take it to the next level with Google ads. Simply put, keywords are one of the building blocks of a successful PPC strategy.
And it makes sense, really.
We all know that with Google ads, we don’t have the ability to directly choose interests. All the “audience targeting” is simply in Google’s hands unless you have specifically chosen an audience within the campaign.
But what exactly does Google ads determine the audience from? And how do you do keyword research the right way?
Lets start off with the first piece of the pie: audience selection.
For Google Ads, the audience is selected solely based on the search engine optimization done within the product pages and website. Through the keywords.
As Google’s algorithm crawls the website from top to bottom, left to right, it focuses a bit better on the keywords it sees getting repeated or mentioned often. These are the exact words Google’s algorithm uses to then showcase the ads.
As a result, it becomes extremely important to ensure the proper keywords are populating the product page.
Have the right keywords and ad relevance is extremely high, causing your shopping or search ad to have a higher internal quality score. On the other hand, have the wrong keywords and you risk putting your entire eCommerce brand into unprofitability with Google ads.
So how do you find these keywords?
Let’s start off with the basics.
Basics Of Keyword Research
In the most fundamental form, how does keyword research work?
Keyword research is simply the art of finding powerful, buying intent keywords that can help your products rank for terms with both Google shopping and search ads to get more conversions.
And the way it works is extremely simple and straightforward.
At all times, Google’s algorithm is trying to identify “trigger” words like these to get a general idea of things like:
- What your eCommerce brand sells
- Who your brand’s ideal audience member is
- How serious of a brand you are
The first part of this equation is extremely simple. Google uses these keywords you insert within your product pages to match them to its humongous database of trigger words.
Once that happens, Google’s algorithm is able to figure out the second part of the equation, which taps into the ideal audience member for your niche. But things get a bit complicated for the third part of this equation.
The way that Google’s algorithm is able to understand the seriousness of your brand is through the overall interaction of your potential customers with your ads. For instance, let’s assume you’re trying to sell oranges.
Following a normal practice, you would probably incorporate the word “orange” somewhere in the title and description. But things become a bit difficult the moment you decide to insert irrelevant words into titles and descriptions.
In a situation like this, if you were to mention the word “apple” anywhere on the product page, Google’s algorithm would start to associate your orange with an apple. And this would begin the negative spiral downwards for your products.
Relevancy is the one of the main factors ads operate on with Google and they also showcase just how serious your brand is in general.
How To Do Keyword Research For Ecommerce
We’ve covered a lot when it comes to Google ads keyword research and exactly why successful eCom brands spend so much time on it.
But it’s time to understand how to do it the right way.
Step 1: Laying the foundation
Think of keywords as the end result of you pouring water into a cup.
The reality is, water only stays within the cup because of the overall foundational support the cup offers. And regardless of the shape of the cup, the water flows freely to occupy all of the possible space.
With Google ads, your main product or niche and all of the steps you take towards finding winning keywords classify as the foundations. In order to begin keyword research, you need to have a solid understanding of your product or niche.
One thing I do for all eCommerce brands I work with is answer these main questions prior to research:
- What is the main word(s) (up to 3 together) used to describe this product?
- How does the target audience search for this product?
- What are the slang words associated with this product?
These three questions are needed to not only understand the product you have at hand fully, but to also understand how your audience perceives the product. For example, let’s assume the “official” name of the product we were trying to source was “Jackie Electronic Drum Set, Roll Up Drum Practice Pad Midi Drum Kit with”.
Answering the first question, we would identify this product as an “electronic drum set” or “roll up drum set”. The main goal is to not have more than three different words together when conducting keyword research.
The more words you have jumbled up together, the harder it is for the keyword planner tool to identify the correct audience.
Answering the second question, we would understand that most audience members within this niche would search up “electronic drum set” over the other one simply because that’s what it’s called.
This second question might not always lead to the right answer but it’s crucial to have a general idea of how audience members search within this niche.
The third question doesn’t necessarily apply here as no other real slang words are used to describe this electric drum set.
We’re ready to move onto the next step.
Step 2: Keyword research
If you did the previous step correctly, you should have one word or up to three words jumbled together ready for further research. But before we can actually begin taking action on the keywords that pop up, we need to understand some general criteria.
Some of the major criteria each individual keyword must match include:
- More than 1,000 average monthly searches
- Buying intent
These criteria are what separate the good keywords from the rest. The reality is, most keyword searches would show you tens and hundreds of different keywords at any given time.
And not all of these keywords would be buying intent or ideal for your product type. It’s important to set up filters that follow these rules to ensure only high quality keywords enter through the loop.
But before setting up the filters, the first step is to actually search the keyword we came up with earlier via the keyword planner tool.
Once that’s done and all the filters are set, we now have a strong foundation to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Keyword analysis
Things become a bit more difficult in the third step of the process. This is where we need to pinpoint those keywords we actually want to use within our titles and descriptions.
And this is also where the criteria we layed out earlier comes into play.
With keywords, there’s a big difference in the types of things consumers search for with a given product. For example, with “electric drum set”, consumers were searching with buying intent words mostly.
However, in many cases, you’ll also come across keywords which are more research based. Keywords such as “how to use electric drum sets” and more.
While these keywords might seem ideal to insert within descriptions, doing so would lead into the wrong type of audience entering your funnel. This is simply because this search phrase is one a consumer uses when trying to conduct research, not to purchase.
To prevent the flow of inaccurate traffic, it becomes extremely important to identify the buying intent keywords against the research based ones.
The main goal with all these keywords is to figure out the relevancy and competitiveness of each. This can be done by searching up every keyword via a website such as isearchfrom.com.
Simply choose the target country and language and begin research. Keep in mind with searches done via isearchfrom, you are unable to click on the ads as it will take you back to the search window.
The overall strategy here is to search up all the keywords one by one until we have noted down about 10 major keywords which match our criteria. A quick recap on this criteria:
- The keyword is relevant to what we want to sell
- The keyword has competitors pricing around our selling price point
- The keyword isn’t engulfed by competitors (more than 5-7)
Only when all these three points are met do we even consider noting down the keyword. But once we have gone through the entire list of keywords and noted down what we want to use, we can move onto the next step.
Step 4: Incorporation
By this point, you should have a list of 10 to 15 different buying intent keywords which are not only relevant to what you want to sell, but also leave you with enough profits to scale long term.
This is exactly where we begin the incorporation phase.
Incorporating the keywords consists of adding them in three different sections of the product page:
- Product tags
Any proper keyword research strategy contains a strong incorporation routine. At the end of the day, the keywords will only serve your eCommerce brand profitably if they’re visible on the product page itself.
So exactly how do you do it?
Keyword incorporation with the title begins with the major keyword in mind. In this case, the major keyword is often the one you found first with the highest amount of monthly search volume.
For the sake of this example, let’s assume we’re trying to conduct keyword research for a digital sound recorder. And the list of keywords we got for this product were:
“Voice recorder, audio recorder, sound recorder, voice recorder, smart voice recorder, voice activated recorder, and digital voice recorder.”
With the title, we would begin with “voice recorder” as our base. The next step once we’ve identified the base is to move down the list of keywords and use any unused word from the next keyword.
The main goal here is to add that unused word into the main base.
Here, the next keyword on the list is “audio recorder”. We can’t use “audio” as one of the words in the title as “voice” is already included. This would be repetition of the main word.
In addition, using “recorder” would not be ideal as it’s already included within the title. As a result, we move onto the next word on the list. And we keep doing this until we reach the very end of the list and have a search engine optimized title that not only incorporates all necessary keywords for the algorithm, but is also in proper English.
A title for this product might be “Digital Smart Voice Activated Sound Recorder”.
The next step here revolves around the description.
A strategic approach for descriptions would be incorporating the keywords within each sentence at least once. This should be done only if the sentence makes sense grammatically and is in proper English.
Keep in mind that on a fundamental level, each SEO keyword should not be repeated more than three times within the description. Doing so would classify it as “keyword stuffing”, which is not something we want to happen.
The third, and most overlooked part of keyword incorporation, is the product tags section. Depending on what eCommerce platform you’re using for your brand, this might be called something else but with Shopify, it’s that little section on the right side which states “Tags”.
What I personally do is add all of the keywords – ensuring they’re separated by commas – all at once within this tags section. The good thing about this section is that anything added here won’t be directly visible on the product page.
It’ll simply act as a reference when customers search any of these keywords directly on your website. However, Google’s algorithm will also crawl through the tags section and identify all the major words used here.
Some of these incorporation phases might not seem completely relevant to Google ads but they’re the ones that provide the biggest impact on ads.
Step 6: Long Term Analysis & Optimization
By this point, all of the keyword research and incorporation should be done. But this is exactly where the real journey begins.
All of the keywords inserted within the product pages will eventually start ranking for both shopping and search ads. As results come in, however, it’s necessary to analyze them and further optimize them.
Normally, I prefer to begin my optimization and analysis phase after a full 30 days have passed because depending on budget, there might just not be enough relevant data. Once that time period has passed, I often begin analyzing from the “Search Terms” report within a campaign.
If a Performance Max campaign was used, this information will not be available so instead, clicking the “Insights” tab from the left hand menu can showcase the information we’re looking for in terms of keywords.
Once this information is visible, it’s a matter of excluding the keywords which didn’t get any kind of positive results after $15 – $20 spent and replacing them with something that did within the titles and descriptions. I prefer to only wait until $15 to $20 has been spent because each keyword will end up ranking for many more.
It’s simply not realistic to spend until it reaches the profit margin of that individual product per keyword.
In terms of the optimization, there are really only two things you should be doing. The first is to remove all those keywords which crossed the spend threshold above without sales and the second is to replace those keywords within titles and descriptions with new ones.
For the second step, you can replace those “bad” keywords with ones that got sales or redo keyword research and find new ones to insert.
Keep in mind, optimizing for the sake of optimizing is not a real strategy. Normally, I only optimize products that are on the verge of doing well but need just a little bit of a boost to perform better.
This also means letting the products bringing in results run without interference.
Keyword Research Resources
By this time, you should be a full on expert when it comes to doing proper keyword research for your eCommerce brand and aligning it for success with Google ads. However, keep in mind that this process is only as difficult as you make it.
Here are some key resources that you can devour and use to make this process easier:
Above strategy in video format: Complete Google Ads Keyword Research Tutorial For Shopify (Ecommerce)
Keyword Research Tools:
Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool: https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/
Neil Patel’s Keyword Research Tool: https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
Keywords Everywhere: https://keywordseverywhere.com
Optimizing Product Feed With Keywords You Found: How To 10X Sales With Google Shopping Ads Feed Optimization
Improving Google Ads Rank With Them: How To Improve Google Ads Rank & Crush Competitors [Ecommerce]
Bringing It All Together
Keyword research is one of the most important parts of a successful Google ads strategy. This means the process should not be overlooked or minimized.
Over the past 4 years that I’ve been running Google ads, I’ve seen multiple eCom brands win due to amazing keyword research and I’ve also seen many get destroyed due to lack of it. It’s absolutely crucial that you find a middle ground for it.
But to recap, keyword research starts with an idea in mind. You cannot just open the Google ads keyword planner tool and begin researching random words. You need to have the major word(s) in mind that your customers use to search for the products you sell.
Once you do, the next step is to begin research. And for majority of products, finding keywords won’t be an issue.
The real issue will be ensuring these keywords are ideal to get used within product pages. To determine the validity of these keywords, I prefer to follow this criteria:
- 1,000 or more average monthly searches PER keyword
- 30,000 or more average monthly searches in total
- Buying intent words
- Words relevant to what you want to sell
As long as you follow this criteria, your keyword research process will almost always lead to winning keywords. But finding and implementing them is only part of the process.
You need to understand that for your eCommerce brand to achieve the greatest level of success with these keywords, optimization must be done on an ongoing basis. Simply implementing the keywords isn’t enough.
And for this part of the process, it’s as simple as inserting new words and getting rid of old ones which failed to provide results.
The main thing you should always focus on is keeping things simple.
After all, a simple and direct keyword research strategy is what will end up taking your eCommerce business to the next level.
While the keyword research process might seem complicated, it’s important to understand that this is only part of the whole. There are many things that come together to create that perfect approach towards Google ads.
And it might be extremely difficult for you to juggle all these pieces together and take care of your ads at the same time.
So if you’re doing $30,000 or more per month in revenue and want to scale further with Google ads, schedule a call with me. Let’s potentially work together to take your eCom brand to the next level.