Too many ecommerce companies create content for the sake of creating content, mostly because their competitors do. There’s seldom a serious plan behind content publishing and hence it rarely makes any difference in terms of traffic and conversions.
This guide will help you plan content creation with purpose, i.e. publish content that will drive actual customers to your ecommerce site.
Discover New Keywords
It all starts with terms and phrases people type into the search box. Your content needs to satisfy the customers’ need for information and keyword research aims at revealing that need and showing where your competitors are lacking.
Here are a few tools and tips for keyword research:
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console’s “Search Analytics” feature (which hides behind “Search Traffic” section) is mostly useful if you are already ranking for some phrases.
Make sure you check “Position” option to see what your current rankings are for each particular keyword:
2. Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Probably the most obvious tool here is Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Type any word in its search box and the tool will suggest how you can expand it and list some related terms for you to look outside the box.
3. Serpstat Missing Keywords
One of the most useful tools to discover useful keywords to target is Serpstat missing keywords feature: It scans your competitors’ rankings and finds keywords one or more of your competitors have high rankings for while you are nowhere to be found.
Simply provide your URL, click through to “URL Analysis” and these select “Missing keywords”:
I always start keyword research with this tool.
The above three tools will help you generate lots of keyword suggestions. Don’t use all of them though. I usually select keywords by two main criteria:
- How well it aligns to my ecommerce website (Do I have products that will satisfy people searching for that keyword?)
- Competition: Is it even possible to rank in top 10 for this keyword? I mainly use two ways to quickly estimate competition:
Google Adwords Competition (or Serpstat competition rate)
Google Search. I simply type each keyword in Google and see if top SERPs is dominated by huge sites like Amazon and Wikipedia or if there are smaller guys there as well.
Organize Keywords to Create Content Plan
Exporting keyword lists from your favorite keyword tools won’t help you create a content plan for your ecommerce site. It would rather make you overwhelmed. What you need to be doing instead is to organize your keywords in groups. I start by putting my selected keywords into categories by keyword intent.
Intent is the concept representing users’ major objective when they are performing the search.
- Informational: Keywords with purely informational intent (e.g. “history of tablets”)
- Transactional: Keywords with an obvious intent to buy (e.g. “buy tablet online”)
- Commercial: Keywords that can basically be either informational or transactional. These users can be satisfied with an article that directs users to product pages (e.g. “tablet for kid” or “cheapest tablet”)
- Navigational: Keywords showing that a user is willing to find a particular website (e.g. “walmart tablet”)
Now that you have sorted out your list, you can actually put it into content plan:
- Informational queries will help you plan the creation of new content (guides, how-to articles, infographics) & optimize your existing content if you already have something published on the topic.
- Transactional and commercial queries will help you better plan content for your product descriptions and categories.
- Navigational queries will help you plan your FAQ section better (if these are about your brand) & help you in your competitor research.
For informational and commercial intent inspiration take a look at Home Depot guides and how they steer readers into buying things you’ll need for this project:
This guide is ranking for all kinds of both commercial and informational queries:
In some cases (see my red arrow in the screenshot), Home Depot result as well as the video got into Google quick answer box:
Research Upcoming Events and Holidays
This step goes beyond keyword research: It’s about creating timely content. Get ready for the upcoming holidays, far in advance, to have a clear plan in mind how you are going to reach out your potential customers on those days.
There are two type of holidays:
1. Huge national (or global) holidays that require most thorough preparation. These include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday, etc. You’ll want to start pumping out timely content at least a month prior to each huge holiday.
Think about creating product bundles to give your customers gift ideas for these holidays. Or, if you sell food, these could be holiday-related recipes involving products you have in store.
Look at Gift Ideas section at Walmart for example. They have sections after sections of various gift ideas featuring holiday gift guide underneath.
These collections of products bundled into sections of gift ideas perfectly cover “commercial intent” to satisfy and convert users who are looking for content ideas but may ultimately make a purchase too.
2. Niche-related or fun holidays or special days. Use this calendar for inspiration. You won’t need to spend too much effort on those holidays but it will be nice to publish some timely content on those days because it tends to spread very well.
Look at Coca Cola blog, for example. They celebrate each fun holiday with a cool well-branded graphic. Note that they publish timely content not just on holidays. They also celebrate Prom Day, first day of spring and more:
Content planning takes time but it is well worth it. You can discover customer acquisition channels you’d never think of, build brand loyalty and increase your conversions using the tips above!