Blog
Shoppers at a flea market

To be effective in SEO, you need to know not only how to find keywords, but how to use them to drive relevant, converting traffic. There are plenty of guides out there to help you with finding keywords, so I’m not going to focus on that here. What I want to teach you today is how to best put those keywords to use for your ecommerce website.

Home Page

The home page is where the majority of your backlinks will be pointing, making it the strongest page of your website from an SEO perspective. You’ll want to use this page for the broad terms that fit almost everything on your site.

Let’s look at an example. For this we’ll look at www.modeltrainstuff.com, which sells (as you probably guessed) model trains and accessories. This is their home page’s current title tag:

ModelTrainStuff | Model Trains | Train Sets | Railroad Accessories

As you can see, they’re focusing on four keywords: their brand, “model trains,” “train sets,” and “railroad accessories.”

Including the website's brand in the title tag is good practice. A website’s home page is where users searching for brand terms should be directed. Users searching for your brand have likely been to the site before, and may be considering a purchase. By directing them to the home page, you can entice them to buy with special offers and featured products.

“Model trains” is a high-volume keyword (11k-30k according to Moz) that is just broad enough to cover nearly all of their product, making it an excellent choice for the home page. “Train sets” is a bit more specific, generally referring to packaged sets that include a locomotive, train cars, and track. This could work for the home page if their wasn’t already a landing page targeting that keyword.

Instead of having the landing page compete with the home page for the same keyword, they should probably focus on a broader keyword for the home page like “toy trains” instead. “Scale models” might also work, but that’s a stretch given that they don’t also have other popular scale models such as planes, boats, and cars.

Finally, “railroad accessories” is low volume (11-50), but by using it in their title they can also pick up on keyword variations like “model railroad accessories.”

Category Pages

Category pages serve users that have some idea of what they want, and are considering their options. Since category pages have a much more narrow focus than the home page, keywords are going to be that much more specific.

If, for instance, your store sells bicycles, category pages will target keywords like “men’s bicycles” or “children’s bicycles.” In our above example of ModelTrainStuff, they have categories such as “HO scale model trains” as well as categories for other items like “scenery supplies” which also fall under the home page’s large umbrella of “model trains.”

While category pages are probably the easiest pages on the site to set up well keyword-wise, it should be mentioned that going too-specific can be detrimental. Some ecommerce platforms and plugins have options to allow faceted navigation options for things like sizes and colors to become crawl-able, indexable pages. This can result in hundreds or even thousands of really specific categories that may not have any real value, and could be considered duplicate content. Unless there’s high-demand for those specific terms and you have several products that fit, it’s best to leave specifics to product pages.

Product Pages

Now it’s time to get really specific with your keywords. Ideal users at this stage have done their homework. They know exactly what product they want, and once they find the right retailer to get it from they’ll be pulling out their wallet.

In order to get your product page seen by this customer, there are a few basics that you’ll want to present: manufacturer or brand name, collection name (sort of a sub-brand), color and size options (if applicable), and model number.

To some extent, how detailed you will get will depend on the product and the format of the product page. Is it a generic item? Obviously you don’t have a brand name. Does it have multiple size options in a drop-down selector? Then you may be better off targeting just the brand and product name.

F40PH train meme

Take a look at this F40PH locomotive product page at ModelTrainStuff. Here’s their product name (this should really be an H1, but I digress):

Walthers Mainline HO 910-19459 EMD F40PH, Metra #128 (Sound & DCC)

Whoa! There’s a lot in there, isn’t there? Let’s break it down.

  • “Walthers” is the brand name
  • “Mainline” is the collection name
  • “HO” is size information
  • “910-19459” is the model number
  • “EDM F40PH” is the type of locomotive
  • “Metra #128” is the product color (this product is painted to look like one of Chicago’s Metra commuter train locomotives, specifically #128)
  • “Sound & DCC” are extra descriptors. As these are popular features that customers will look for, it makes sense to call them out. Other products may not have features worth calling out like this.

While I probably wouldn’t have included the locomotive number (if there are multiple numbers available, it would best work as a drop-down menu), it is worth including the other information here. Customers looking for this item may search for it a number of ways:

  • “Walthers EMD F40PH”
  • “HO Scale Metra F40PH”
  • “Walthers 910-19459”
  • and so on

Shoppers will use an incredible amount of variations when searching for a product. Including this detail allows more users to find the page they’re looking for. It’s practically impossible to get too specific with a product page.

Bonus! How-to guides and other articles

Many users will spend time researching products before they buy. Your store can help them out and foster goodwill by providing them with the information they’re looking for in helpful guides.

When you’ve found keywords for your home, category, and product pages, try throwing them in a tool like Ubersuggest. It’ll provide you with suggestions that will likely include some informational queries. Look for queries that include words like “how” or “reviews.” You might create a how-to guide or a product comparison to target those queries.

For a deeper dive, search your keywords in a forum search engine like boardreader. You’ll be able to see what the customers you are targeting say and ask about the products you’re trying to sell. Be prepared to spend some time going through forums, as these are relaxed communities where users will often get sidetracked.

That’s about all you need to know to setup an awesome keyword strategy for your ecommerce store. If you’ve done your keyword research right, and you use them as I’ve outlined above you’ll be well on your way to attracting relevant, converting traffic. As always, feel free to ask questions or provide feedback in the comments below.