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According to Hubspot research, organic search is 94% of all web traffic. That first position has nearly a 35% click-through rate. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your store earned that first spot? Don’t fantasize. It’s likely not going to happen. Wondering why? While many companies have discovered the value of SEO in terms of getting them to slot number one on Google’s rankings, many of those in the retail sector simply have not. SEO should be the easiest of all tasks for e-commerce merchants, but the reality is that most shops are thrown together without any SEO effort. Instead, merchants rely on social media and paid ads. Those are great techniques, but the reality is that they require consistent effort. They also require quite a bit of cash. While SEO certainly isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition, it doesn’t require the level of ongoing effort paid advertising does, and it has the highest ROI of any e-commerce marketing method out there.

Want to slide into that number 1 spot?

Start with Better Keyword Research

Don’t be tempted to skip this step. It takes some time and effort, but the reality is that if you mess up on step one, you’re either not going to end up in spot number one because the keywords you chose are way too difficult to rank for or you’ll end up with keywords that don’t generate traffic, and that means you might be in slot number one in searches that no one ever queries. You don’t want either of those things to happen. Instead, you want real results right now.

How Do You Get Started?

To select the right keywords, you want to look at how many people search for a given keyword. You also want to factor in just how tough it might be to rank for that keyword. More than that, though, you want to think about how far along a potential customer might be in their purchasing decisions. It’s called buyer intent, and it changes the way people search for products. Imagine someone types in “Best Cell Phone for Teens.” They’re just doing some research on that topic. If, however, they type in a specific cell phone model, they’re ready to buy. See why this matters to your keyword selection? It means you can better capture those individuals who are ready to make a purchase.

The Make It Happen Steps

One way to make it happen is to take a closer look at your competitors -even your big competitors. Take Amazon, for example. Amazon offers all kinds of keywords perfect for those buyers who are ready to make a purchase, and they’re free to view. Just begin typing in a keyword you’d like to rank for. For example, maybe you sell highchairs for babies. Just start typing the word, and Amazon’s search engine will autofill many different suggestions that are perfect keyword ideas for you. Naturally, Amazon isn’t your only competitor, though. Type your keyword into Google, and at the top of those paid search engine rankings, you’re going to see lots of other e-commerce shops who want to rank for the same keyword. Choose a competitor, then take a closer look at their categories and product pages to see where they’re placing those keywords and how they’re referring to their products.

It’s important to note in all of this competitor research that the last thing you want to do is use the same keywords your competitor is using. They may already outrank your store, but that doesn’t mean they’ve chosen the right keywords. After all, keyword placement is important in SEO, but it’s not the only factor. Many other factors matter as well, and they’re all part of the process of enhancing your store to better optimize it.

The second way to enhance your keyword research is to use one of the many free tools out there. Maybe the most obvious of these is the keyword planner inside Google AdWords. For many marketing professionals, this is the place to turn. Because you’re pulling data directly from Google, which is probably the target of this entire SEO process anyway, you’re optimizing based on their own information. Ready to get started there? Just log in, enter your keyword into their search box, and you’ll get other keyword options, the average number of monthly searches around each of those options, how stiff the competition is for those keywords, and (if you want to use AdWords instead of optimization), a suggested bid. It’s important to note that AdWords doesn’t perform any magic tricks. It just gives you fast access to data you might want to use to make decisions.

Keyword In is another good option. If you’re looking for some longer keywords, this is the perfect way to figure out what you want. You plug in a long tail keyword or keywords, and from there, the tool offers you a very long list of possible keywords, which you can then combine to better meet your needs. It’s simple, it just takes a couple of minutes, and while you may not get a list of a hundred perfect keywords, you’re likely to at least generate a few that will work for your website.

Soovle is one other option you may want to try. Just as Amazon’s autocomplete is a good way to generate some keywords, Soovle creates a list of autocomplete suggestions from a number of sources, not just Amazon. You’ll get keywords from Amazon, Google, Bing, and even YouTube to help generate a list of keywords that make sense for you. You’ll want to experiment with a number of different keywords here for best results.

Do It Now!

Many people skip keyword research as an unnecessary step in eCommerce SEO. The reality, though, is you’re never going to end up in that number one spot if you don’t have the right keywords on your side initially, so make those selections, then begin implementing them into your website.

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