We’ve touched a little on keywords when talking about what SEO is and how to use it to attract more customers. But keywords and their usage is one hefty topic that shouldn’t be limited to a few measly bullet points; there’s a lot that goes into keywords, finding the right ones, and how to use them to get the most out of them. Here’s our guide on how to use keywords for your online store!
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What are keywords?
At the risk of sounding like the Jerry Seinfeld of e-commerce, what’s the deal with keywords? A keyword is a word or short phrase (from 3-5 words) that is the main topic of a blog post, webpage, or website. When you Google something, that word or phrase you type into the search bar is basically a keyword!
What do they do and how can they help you?
Keywords play a big part in SEO; they help shoppers and searchers find exactly what they’re looking for, and help direct potential shoppers to your designs.
The goal with keywords? To get a high ranking in search engines; in other words, to end up on the first page of a Google search result, not the 10th. That’s why it’s best to be detailed and use what’s called “long-tail keywords” (longer and more specific keywords/phrases from 3-5 words) rather than “broad keywords” (less specific keywords with high competition). For example, a product of yours is probably not going to rank highly with the keyword “geeky t-shirt” – there’s a ton of competition there. But if your keyword for that design is “Millennium Falcon blueprint shirt”, boom! That’s a pretty specific thing to rank for.
Keywords are words or short phrases that are relevant to a web page, blog post, or website. The goal of keywords is to use them to rank a web page or site higher in search engines (ex. The first page of search results rather than the 10th) and to do this, you should be specific with your keywords. “Geeky tees” is too broad. “Millennium Falcon blueprint tee” is specific.
How do you figure out which keywords are right for you?
It’s best to be specific with keywords. So it really depends on what you’re creating a keyword for. How do you decide which keyword to use for a page? Well…
Think about your site vs. each product page
Your keywords will be different for every design you sell, and the keywords you use for your Shop as a whole will differ from keywords you use for individual products. Let’s say you sell a watercolor cactus pattern as one of your designs. The keyword for that product page might be “watercolor cactus pattern”. This keyword will be different than the keyword you use for a “travel to the Grand Canyon” design you’re selling. That keyword might be “Grand Canyon hand lettering”. And the keyword for your Shop as a whole could be “Minimal Southwest Designs.”
(Using this blog as an example, the keyword for this post is “How to Use Keywords”. For our email post, it’s “How to Build an Email List.” The keyword differs from page to page.)
Get into your Shoppers’ heads
Think about what customers might type into a search box to find your design. Using the previous hypothetical Shop as an example, try searching for “cactus design.” If the results are too broad and have way too much competition, narrow it to “watercolor cactus design”, then maybe “watercolor cactus pattern.” You don’t want to get lost in broad search terms.
Check out the competition
Check out what common words or titles competitors are using in their name, product descriptions, ‘About’ page, etc.
If you’re stuck, check out the ‘related searches’ that pop up in search engines for some ideas on how you can change up your wording!
There are a ton of resources you can use to research keywords, too. Here are a few of the most recommended resources:
- Google Keyword Planner [free!]
- Ubersuggest [free!]
- KWFinder [free version!]
- Google Trends [free!]
Where do I put keywords? (Especially in my Artist Shop)
Where do you actually add keywords for your Artist Shop?
Sure, there’s not as much content to sprinkle keywords throughout on a product page. But, you have a place to put product descriptions! Add a product description for every product that includes the keyword for the page a few times (but not too much – see below section, “when keywords go bad”! Once or twice should suffice).
Make sure the link to each design also contains the keyword for that specific design!
Image file name
This is one of those thing you never think about, but instead of labeling that image you upload “FinalDesign3.PNG” or “a;skgasgls.PNG”, title it with your target keyword.
When keywords are in headings, it signals to search engines that that phrase or word is significant. For every product page, consider including your target keyword in the design’s title. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your titles too, but it’s something to consider.
Have you created an ‘About’ page for your Shop yet? Your ‘About’ page is where you can really get creative and descriptive, but it’s also where you can provide keywords for your overall Shop. For example, artist James White mentions his Shop’s name, “Signalnoise”, in his About page, but he also has a specific description of the type of art he offers – “neon-infused art”. For anyone looking for that specific art style, Signalnoise’s Shop pops up.
This is often overlooked, but you can take advantage of keywords on your social media too!
- Bios: Use the keyword for your Shop – as well as your Shop’s title which, for Shops like I Heart Guts, tend to be good keywords too – in all of your bios on social media (in the ‘About you’ box in Pinterest, the bio on Instagram, your FB and Twitter bio, etc.)
- Facebook: for the Facebook account you have for your Shop, go into the ‘About’ tab to make sure the keyword you use for your Shop is in your Facebook page’s short description, category, and long description (Moz)
- Status updates and tweets: Include keywords in tweets and statuses about new products and promos, and make sure they’re mentioned in the first couple sentences of the post – that boosts their importance (Moz). Use the target keyword for whatever product you’re linking to!
- Photo captions: use your target keyword in any captions for photos that you add on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
Warning: when good keywords go bad!
Keywords are a very good thing. They’re kind of like sprinkles on a cupcake. But beware! They can be misused, and that can reflect badly on your site with search engines (yess, the search engines, they’re watching). Keyword stuffing is the main thing to look out for. This is where you either use keywords that aren’t actually relevant to mislead search engines and searchers, or when you overuse keywords (even if they’re relevant) in a weird way that doesn’t read naturally.
The key with keywords – don’t make them unnaturally stick out like a sore thumb that screams “I’M TRYING TO RANK FOR THIS, PLEASE FIND ME.” Incorporate your keywords in a way that flows naturally.
- “Help Customers Find You: How to Use Keywords on Your Social Networks” – Kissmetrics
- “How to Use Keywords Throughout Your Marketing Strategy” – Moz
- “Keywords 101: What Are Keywords and Why Do They Matter?” – The Blog Press
- “Back to Basics: What Are Keywords, and Why Do They Matter?” – Bruce Clay, Inc.
- “How to Use Keywords” – Bruce Clay, Inc.
- “10 Creative Ways to Discover Keywords for Your Business” – HubSpot
- “Understanding Keywords” – HubSpot Academy
- “9 Places to Insert Keywords on Your Website” – Addicott Web
- “61 Experts Reveal Best Tools for Keyword Research” – Robbie Richards
- “5 Best Keyword Research Tools for Startups” – SEMrush
- “Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO: 2017 Edition” – Shoutmeloud
- “9 Best Keyword Research Tools (Free and Premium)” – Bloggertipstricks
- “The Best Keyword Research Tools” – Wordstream
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We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please let us know in the comments! Thank you!
Illustrations done by the amazing Katie Lukes