Keyword Research – How to Pick Good Keywords

You have great products to sell. Products that you’re positive that your customers will love. You’ve chosen your shopping cart platform and are ready to get started. All you need now is visitors.

If you build it, they will come, right?

Well, you’ll need to market and promote your store first. When it comes to selling online, one of the key things that you’ll need for ecommerce success is visitor traffic. Sure, you could get traffic by placing ads and paying for it, but there are also lots of ways to get visitor traffic for free. That’s what today’s InstanteStore marketing tip is all about: good keyword research.

So how do you go about researching keywords anyway?

Your first step is to determine the most suitable keywords for your store and your products. You want to pick keywords that are suitable for your target market. Choose good keywords that fit what you’re selling. How do you go about this? Start by listing down the main products your store is selling, as well as words that describe your store and your target customer base. Once you have a list, you’ll need to refine it by doing some keyword research.

Keyword research involves 2 main things:

  1. determining which keywords people frequently search for (popular keywords); as well as
  2. determining which of these keywords are worth targeting (competitive keywords).

In order to determine popular keywords, you can make use of keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Tool or Wordtracker. You can use these tools to get estimates of how many people are searching for your shortlisted keywords. The tools will also suggest related keywords that you may be able to consider using as alternatives to your shortlisted keywords. Proper keyword research will give you a good idea of how popular keywords are. If you have a keyword that you thought would be good, but it comes back with zero searches a day, now you’ll know that you can discard that keyword and try others instead.

Popularity isn’t everything, though. There’s no point targeting all the most popular keywords if everyone else is also targeting those keywords, especially if you’re just starting up. This is where determining the competitiveness of keywords comes in. Researching this is fairly straightforward. The simplest method is to do just do a search on the keyword of your choice in several popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) and see how many results there are. If your keyword search returns a few million results, chances are the websites in those results already have that keyword cornered. You can also make use of tools like Google Toolbar’s PageRank display and SEO for Firefox to see how sites rank in different search engines to see popular your competition is. The point here is to avoid targeting overly-competitive keywords in the early going. Build your store up first before targeting these popular keywords.

So after doing all this research, how do you pick your keywords? If the keyword you’ve picked is too competitive, try to be more specific. For instance, target “front-loading washing machine” instead of “washing machine”. The important thing is to find a balance between popularity and competitiveness (Of course, if the keyword you’ve picked happens to¬† popular and uncompetitive, start targeting it quickly before anyone else does!).

You should aim to narrow your shortlist down to 1 primary keyword, and 2-3 secondary keywords. Each and every one of your pages should have its own set of keywords. Don’t just pick keywords for your front page and re-use them on every single page. Choose specific keywords that fit each category, product, and information page accordingly. This way your site will pick up traffic from a large range of different keywords instead of just a few.

This article is only a basic introduction to keyword research, but if you research your keywords well, the benefits of choosing the right keywords should result in a significant boost to your store’s visitor traffic.

If you use good keywords, they will come.

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