Focusing On Less Competitive Terms To Boost E-commerce Sales And Visibility

E-commerce businesses are, sometimes unwittingly, involved in a gold rush that has the popularity of the Californian and the value of the Australian.

The difference in these wealth wars is it isn’t a battle over scintillating metals, but rather actionable keywords that promise to improve visibility and, ultimately, sales.

The Internet has left a permanent, colossal bootprint on the shopping world. Smartphones and mobile shopping have only pressed that boot further into the earth. A whopping 96% of US consumers shop online, but this is not new information. It’s why you started your e-commerce business in the first place.

What may be new information, however, is that almost 70% of e-commerce traffic comes from search and the strategic use of keyword terms. It’s a split between 43% organic search and 26% Google AdWords.

If you want people to walk through the doors of your digital storefront, optimizing for search is nearly as necessary a component as the products you sell.

The primary issue facing businesses is: “How do I rank for the most popular e-commerce search terms when there’s Titans that have been ruling these keyword-thrones for years?”

The honest answer is you can’t.

Keeping the goldmine analogy going, you can’t dig in the veins that are overrun with other websites; you have to find untouched ground to strike SEO gold.

Let’s look at the critical signs that signal profitable ground to bury your pickaxe into and hit a wealth of e-commerce keywords that can improve store visibility and boost sales.

High Search Volume

The premier quality of any search term you’re looking to rank for is its search volume. In other words, how many people are actively searching that keyword or phrase.

If people aren’t searching in high numbers for your active keywords, then you can’t hope to generate lots of conversions and potential sales opportunities.

Unfortunately for emerging e-commerce businesses, the pools of popular keywords are already at capacity. You can’t hope to rank well for “men’s clothing” because there are 10+ major retailers (titans) that have already capitalized on that ground, stores like Macy’s, Kohls, Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie, Nordstrom, Amazon and JC Penny.

When it comes to search volume, wording can be everything. Consider the following information pulled from Google Trends:

There’s a big difference, concerning popularity and interest, between the phrases “men’s clothing” and “men’s casual wear.” A small name change can really make a difference and further exemplifies why keyword research is so important for online stores.

Low Competition

Search volume is only one axis in the equation; you also need to consider the competition. Again, the best, highest ranking keywords are popular ground that is dominated by large companies with long-flourished reputations and authority on the Internet and with search engines. These big companies have the best real estate when it comes to keyword terms.

As a budding e-commerce business, your focus can’t solely be on the most popular keywords. Instead, you have to look for unpopulated terrain to begin your prospecting. Low competition keywords are the pathway towards e-commerce success for these smaller entities.

The most fertile ground is where low competition and high volume intersect. These gaps in the search market present enormous opportunities for smaller businesses to raise their rankings, gain more visibility and maximize their number of chances to close sales.

Finding the right, low competition keywords, however, is not an easy task. And, as more and more e-commerce businesses push for search optimization and ranking for voluminous terms, these low competition, high traffic terms are becoming a scarcity.

Keyword research tools, like AuthorityLabs and SEMrush, can help a small business find these winning opportunities and re-adjust strategies as time goes on and trends shift.

Niche

Aside from keyword research tools, businesses can also unlock a lot of low competition ground and search ranking power from targeting niche terms for their industry.

While these terms can often lack volume, they are still essential terms because they help Google, Bing and other search engines gain an understanding of what your e-commerce store is really about and who it best serves.

Niche terms are especially important if your business offers a product/service that the competition doesn’t. You want to highlight and call attention to the unique value proposition offered, even if there isn’t a lot of search power.

For example, if you’re selling handmade products, you should incorporate terms and phrases that call attention to this, even though they have a lot less volume than simpler keyword terms.

Not only do these terms help search engines understand your business, but they also have a high propensity for gaining popularity.

Consider the interest trends regarding the term “gluten free.” Today, it is such a buzzword with powerful search influence that it can be hard to remember times back in the mid-2000s when it was a much smaller blip on the radar.

E-commerce businesses see significant successes with niche terms when they can build interest around them and grow the popularity for these keywords, especially through social media channels and ad campaigns.

Or, pay attention to trending words and capitalize on them before the competition makes the same discovery.

Answer A Question

The other secret to finding valuable SEO e-commerce terms is paying attention to how people search. Today, for example, many searches are done in the format of a question. That’s because more people are using voice search and virtual personal assistants like Alexa or Siri.

Thus, there’s significant search power in long-tail keyword phrases crafted to echo the most popular customer questions (and answer them). These phrases not only have the potential to improve your e-commerce SEO, but they also educate and assist your customers and create a convenient, helpful way to promote the right products to your site visitors.

Many e-commerce companies are realizing the power of blogging and crafting very detailed product descriptions that answer popular customer questions and educate them on how to use the product(s) correctly. It expands the customer experience significantly.

This level of educational content is becoming more critical for e-commerce businesses because of how much research today’s consumers perform before making a purchase.

Roughly four out of every five consumers perform some level of online research before pressing that buy button.

Because there’s no physical staff to help a customer in an online environment, you have to make an extra effort to make sure that all of their concerns and questions are addressed on the page.

Otherwise, they could look elsewhere for answers to their queries, which might mean stumbling upon your competitor’s site and products instead.

Conclusion

Finding success from e-commerce SEO isn’t solely about finding what people are searching, but also how they are searching. Search behaviors are always changing, new terms start to trend and gain popularity, new customer questions arise, new channels, devices and so on.

The faster you can identify, adapt and optimize for the latest gold-laden SEO ground, the larger your search visibility and sales will grow over time.

The challenge is having the right tools to keep an active pulse on the keywords relevant to your e-commerce business because if you aren’t actively monitoring your keywords and looking for new areas of potential SEO gain, then you’re opening up doors of opportunities for your competitors to slip in and strike gold where you should have.

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

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