A Simple & Effective Keyword Strategy for Ecommerce Sites

When you take note of the navigation and purchase cycle of your visitors, you begin to see why this simple strategy for keyword placement works so well.




When it comes to ecommerce sites, there are plenty of keywords to choose from. Because sites typically follow a fairly set format, numerous pages are created between the home page and the order confirmation page. Those pages all need keywords and phrases if they are going to rank high in the search engines. So, how exactly do you choose the best keywords for each page? Here's an easy strategy to follow. (Please keep in mind that all keyphrases used in this article are for example only and have not been researched.)


Home Page > > > Broad Keywords


When you start out, use keywords and phrases that are descriptive of your overall site. For example, if you sold clothing for the entire family, you might opt for phrases such as "ladies clothing," "men's clothing" or "kids clothing." Those would be expressive, but could also be worked easily into the home page copy.


Think of the sales process as a funnel. It's broad at the lip and gets more narrow as you move closer to the spout. The same goes for the keyword strategy: broad keyphrases at first and more specific ones as the subject matter gets more specific.


Category Page > > > Specific Keywords


Once you move to the category pages, you'll want to select keyphrases that work well with what you're trying to describe in your copy. If your visitor clicks on the women's shoes category, she'll want to read about and see pictures of women's shoes. Perhaps you'll use phrases such as "fabric ballet flats" or "leather peep-toe pumps."


I typically create a paragraph at the top of the page, then add a descriptive sentence or two under each image. Sometimes, I'll also add a paragraph of copy at the bottom of the page. This helps guide your visitors through the sales process.


Product Descriptions > > > Long-Tail Keywords


The product description pages should incorporate long tail keywords that are laser specific. If your visitor clicked on a link for "Bermuda shorts" on the category page, you'll want to get as detailed as possible, so your customer can make the decision to buy.


For instance, a keyphrase such as "Liz Claiborne pastel plaid Bermuda shorts" would be perfect for a product description because it is… well… descriptive. Long? Yes, it is a long phrase. Most long-tail keywords will be. But the further into the sales process a customer gets, the more specific their searches will be. Chances are, someone who has decided she wants pastel plaid shorts will use a phrase like the one above instead of something like "Bermuda shorts."


Here's a plus: Because long-tail phrases are much less competitive than broader terms, you stand a better shot at getting ranked highly for them.


A Word on Linking


Here's where some copywriters get confused. When you use links in anchor text, you're giving credit to the page being linked to. For instance, if you have a category page for shorts, you would want to use the keyphrase "Bermuda shorts" in the anchor text of a link that pointed to the Bermuda shorts page. That way, the Bermuda shorts page gets credit for the link. The link would be of no (or very little) value to the general shorts page.


When you take note of the navigation and purchase cycle of your visitors, you begin to see why this simple strategy for keyword placement works so well. Using more specific terms as you write more specific copy helps usher visitors from the front door to the checkout counter with ease while also boosting your search engine rankings.