Keywords are the way that customers and clients find your business online, so they’re a pretty big part of ecommerce. When a potential customer types a query into a search engine like Google, results are shown based on multiple factors, but especially how well the the words on your site match up to the words that they entered into the search bar. So, if you own a Mexican restaurant, you’ll want to be visible if someone types in “best tacos near me”. Keyword research is a big part of making that happen.

To rank as a top result on a search engine, you’ll need to figure out the terms that are relevant to your brand, find out how often they are searched for, and also determine how competitive it is to rank for these keywords. This process is called keyword research, and once completed, you’ll be able to optimize your site to help customers find your business or brand.

Step One: Set Up Your Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are a vital tool in keyword research. There’s different ways that you can arrange your columns and tabs, depending on what works best for you. If you’re just getting started, one good idea is to make different tabs in your spreadsheet for each topic that is related to your business.

You’ll want to ask yourself, “What words immediately come to mind when I think of my business?” This is because if it’s the first thought to jump into your head, then it’s probably going to be an obvious search term for your potential customers as well. Feel free to spitball and throw out as many ideas as you can come up with. However, you’re going to want to keep these terms general and vague – we’ll get more specific keywords developed in the next step.

By the end of this process, you should have several different pages for distinct search queries that are related to business. So, if you own a gym, you might make one tab for terms related to “trainers” and another for those surrounding “exercise classes”.

Step Two: Generate Keywords for Each Topic Tab

Next up, you’ll want to make lists of more precise keywords in each tab of your spreadsheet. You can start by getting into your target customer’s head and trying to think of queries that they are likely to search for. So, for the “trainers” tab you might jot down “personal trainer near me” and “exercise classes” might turn into “top spin classes in [your area]”.

One great strategy to come up with useful ideas is to start typing your topic phrase into Google. Google will then provide a list below the search bar for longer terms that people often search for. “Exercise classes” might have suggestions like “exercise classes online” or “exercise classes for seniors near me” which gives you a good general idea of what people are interested in.

However, even though it is useful to try to think like your customers and brainstorm some keywords yourself, you’ll generally have to get some outside help. It’s too easy to overlook or forget something obvious if you are manually creating a list of keywords. To make sure you don’t miss anything, you’ll want to use a keyword research tool. There’s a lot of choices, including some great free ones and some excellent premium options, but whatever you decide on, it should help you build a more comprehensive list. Even better, it will tell you how popular each term is, which is something that would be harder to determine on your own.

So when you type in your broad topic term, like “exercises classes” you might find that “zumba workout” is a term that you didn’t immediately think of. You’ll also learn that this phrase gets about 33,100 searches a month and has relatively low competition – making it a great keyword to try to focus on. Plus you might discover things like when you search “trainers” in the tool, most of the results are around sneakers and tennis shoes – so this probably isn’t a great term to focus on alone. However, “personal trainers” will give you more relevant results and also introduce you to related queries like “strength trainers”.

Step Three: Look at Your Competitors

Some keywords get more attention than others. While you do want to direct your attention to keywords that are searched for more often, you don’t want to focus primarily on keywords that have lots of rival brands optimizing for them. If there’s a lot of competition for a certain query, it will be harder to make sure that you rank highly if a customer searches for that term. It’s better to put your effort into optimizing for keywords with low competition because these are more likely to offer you quick results.

You can tell if a keyword is more competitive when you use a keyword research tool. However, you’ll want to take it a step further, because they can’t tell you the whole story.

Make sure to check who your competitors are for the keywords you want to target. You can do this by searching the terms yourself in Google and noting what other businesses show up and what position they take on the results page. Tools like Google Ads Auction Insights will have you get more information on how effective your rivals’ ads are when it comes to paid search results.

When you know who you’re up against and how well they are doing for the same terms that you are attempting to optimize for, your strategy will be better informed and more likely to succeed.


If you’re new to digital marketing, then keyword research can sound intimidating. However, it’s important to develop a grasp on it, because it’s an essential part of promoting your brand or business. It’s also not as hard as it sounds! A big part of keyword research is thinking like you target audience, and there’s lots of tools out there to help you do the rest. Once you’ve

mastered this, you’ll be well on your way to ranking at the top of the Search Engine Results Page.