In a digital world where the first three search results receive 58% of web traffic, it’s critical that your eCommerce products ranks for one of those results. But in ultra-competitive eCommerce marketplaces where 66% of shoppers start their search on Amazon and 32% on Walmart, keywords are increasingly harder to rank for every day. How can you make sure you drive traffic to your online store?
While keyword research is vital, it’s the kind of keywords that you search for that really makes a difference. What you are looking for are opportunity keywords that create a winning edge in your product listings and ad campaigns.
The “opportunity” in opportunity keywords can be the opportunity for growth, for improvements, optimizations, profitability, and even opportunities to defend your market share and a brand’s product positioning.
On a technical level, opportunity keywords are keywords of more than 1,000 searches per month with less than 1,000 search results. Since they have a ratio of high search volume vs. search results, opportunity keywords can be far easier to rank for than other keywords in your industry – maybe even within a few hours! That means more shoppers have the potential to click on those searches and convert, giving you a direct linkage to increased revenue.
One of the biggest challenges is finding these opportunity keywords in the first place. With more than 95% of searches earning less than ten search results, you’ll need to look for keywords differently to find the relevant opportunity keywords for your store.
In this post, we’ll provide 20 ways to use specific tactics, tools, data, Generative AI, and competitive intelligence to capitalize on opportunity keywords that your competitors are missing.
Tactically Finding Opportunity Keywords
Here are a few proven tactics you can try to find opportunity keywords:
1. Explore Google Search Console
Find the keywords you rank for using the “Search Results” report in Google Search Console. Examine a list of keywords with many page views from topics that weren’t specifically targeted (e.g., “girl’s summer dresses).
You can then find what content ranked the highest for that term on your site (e.g., “Top Summer Girl’s Dresses in 2023). Using a Keyword Explorer tool, you can then discover the content that is ranking in Google for that topic (e.g., “The Best Summer Sleeveless Dresses in 2023”) and tweak your opportunity keywords (and content) accordingly.
2. Discover Recent, Relevant Keyword Trends
Find keywords trending in your geographic region according to the latest fad, trending products or product line, and seasonal demand, or discover relevant product categories using Google Trends. You can also compare searches between different trending products.
For example, here we see that searches for “lego batman” in the United States in the past year trended upwards from March while searches for “lego harry potter” trend spiked in November.
As an eCommerce manager, however, you understand that finding relevant keywords that boost your traffic doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Take the keywords you found with Google Trends and measure their potential to grow revenue with a tool like Moz’s keyword opportunity estimation tool.
3. Scan Industry-related Forums
A great way to understand shopper intent more deeply is by scouring forums like Reddit, Quora, or other social media platforms your customers use. Since Google considers most UGC low-quality, any page appearing in the top 10 search results clearly indicates that the keyword has low competition.
To check what keywords the page ranks for, paste the forum page URL in a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to determine what keywords it ranks for and their search volume. Find opportunity keywords by filtering out keywords with lower difficulty using a keyword difficulty tool.
4. Find Pages with Organic Traffic (and Few or No Backlinks)
While there is a strong correlation between pages with high search traffic and many backlinks, there are pages with traffic and no backlinks. You can find them by going to a Content Explorer tool and searching for a relevant topic, then filtering the results to those with 500 organic searches or more—and few (or no) backlinks.
5. Source from Affiliate Topics with Traffic Potential
Don’t rely only on finding affiliate keywords by including modifiers like “best,” “review,” and “top.” This tends to overlook keywords with low search volumes but high potential for that topic. For example, the search term “glittery girl’s dresses” may only get 100 searches per month, but the top-ranking pages may generate traffic.
Instead of searching manually for these topics, try putting a competing affiliate site into a tool like Site Explorer in Ahrefs, filtering it according to the Top Pages, and then including modifiers. The results will show you which affiliate keywords have the most traffic so you can capitalize on similar terms with low competition and potential for significant traffic.
Discover Opportunistic Tools of the Trade
After deciding on any of the tactics above, your eCommerce team also needs the right tools. While many tools exist to help you find relevant, high-intent keywords, your eCommerce team should focus on only a few to discover opportunity keywords:
Predict a keyword’s success on Amazon using JungleScout’s Opportunity Finder’s Niche ScoreMonitor. View keyword opportunities over time to get a holistic view of how they impact revenue. Get a historical average of units sold, seasonal trends, reviews, and supplier details to determine the most profitable product niches.
Capitalize on opportunity keywords with tools for optimizing product content and increasing visibility like Noogata’s Perfect Content. Keep track of any trends with smart predictions, and add or remove keywords to improve your content scoring in real time.
Take advantage of Semrush’s tool to understand how your keywords perform against your competitors. Take these keywords and sort them in an Excel sheet so that you have the top 10-20 ranking keywords. Combine this list with the list of keywords your site ranks for to generate an additional list of keyword opportunities.
Let Data Lead the Way
Tactics and tools are great, but how do you distinguish between “really relevant, high-intent keywords” and opportunity keywords? You need numbers that show the ability to produce tangible results, like these metrics:
9. Keyword Effectivity Index (KEI)
Evaluate the potential of keywords by taking the total number of results and dividing them by the total number of searches. High KEI scores mean a keyword offers low competition and high opportunity; low KEI scores mean high competition and low opportunity. Those high KEIs are the exact definition of an opportunity keyword!
10. Estimated First Position Value
Take the average monthly search volume of a particular keyword you want to rank in the first position on the SERPs. Multiply it by the average CTR for that position (currently 39.8%). Multiply that number by the suggested bid value for AdWords. This is the amount you’d have to pay for this keyword to drive a similar amount of traffic and rank in the same position – and a good metric for revenue potential.
11. Keyword Opposition to Benefit (KOB)
This metric evaluates keywords’ competition, value, and cost. It’s the first position value metric divided by the keyword difficulty score. Using this metric can be time-intensive, however. “You should invest between 20 and 40 hours on KOB analysis depending on your client’s business,” says Ross Hudgens, CEO of Siegmedia.
12. Match Type Ratio
Coined by AK John, this is a keyword’s broad search term volume divided by the exact search term volume. Low match type ratios often correlate with high intent since shoppers may search for the same keywords. High match type ratios correlate with low intent since there are many ways shoppers are searching for this request.
One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce teams in using any of these keyword opportunity metrics is their inability to collect data across multiple eCommerce platforms. Advanced eCommerce analytics tools like Noogata enable teams to harmonize their data, enrich it, and plug it into AI models. They can then use the results to group all relevant product search terms and more accurately gauge demand.
Finding Opportunities with Generative AI
Generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, have quickly taken the SEO world by storm. These AI tools can help your eCommerce team quickly perform preliminary research for identifying, measuring, and analyzing the right opportunity keywords.
However, your eCommerce team should be aware of the pros and cons of Generative AI in advance.
- It’s instant and automatic. eCommerce teams can use it to scale their preliminary keyword research to source opportunity keywords.
- It’s great for brainstorming. It’s almost like having a person to bounce things off of (although it’s a robot) and can help you get “unstuck” with your keyword research.
- It saves time. It gives you answers rather than a list of search results to filter through. What takes hours in Excel is completed instantly.
- SEO teams may over-rely on it. Generative AI is great for reducing cognitive load and increasing work productivity, but the competition may easily beat eCommerce teams that rely on it too heavily.
- It doesn’t have human-level capabilities (yet). “It’s dangerous to think that ChatGPT is an expert. Our brains are far more powerful,” says Andrew Holland, head of SEO at JBR digital PR agency in Manchester, England. “But if you think you can replace any profession with AI, you’d be mistaken.”
- It’s not a search engine. Search engines deliver results in real time, but ChatGPT and other AI tools are limited to the data set on which they are trained. That means the results are inaccurate sometimes since this cutoff data is in 2021 (although you can add a plugin that partially solves this).
As long as the limitations of Generative AI are respected, it does offer some unique ways to find keyword opportunities. Here’s how to do it:
13. Identify Ultra-niche Topics and Shopper Intent
Instead of manually scanning different forums for relevant keywords and trying to see if a topic or keyword is ranking, ask ChatGPT or another generative AI tool to find the most popular subreddits for children’s clothes.
You can then take this a step further and ask for the most popular topics discussed, followed by the most popular titles of the most popular threads in those subreddits, then generate keywords from this list.
This trick should give you a high-level group of potential opportunity keywords you can filter down more by plugging them into an SEO tool.
14. Find Specific Keywords and Modifiers
Combine your keyword with a modifier. For example, we asked for a combined list of the most popular swimwear items and vacation sites. You can combine this list with other modifiers, like names of hotels or sizes.
15. Cluster Keywords by Topic and Search Intent
After sorting keywords in different columns by topic and search intent, a generative AI tool can tell you how many posts are in each subtopic and how many fit into each level of search intent. You can then match keyword opportunities that fit your business plan (e.g., focus on online campaigns for eCommerce stores in a specific marketplace).
16. Page-level SEO Keyword Research
Discover what keywords a top page is ranking for to see if there are keywords a specific piece of content from your site has overlooked. (Note: This is tricky because you must paste both into the tool). You can later evaluate whether those keywords have traffic and revenue potential for your site.
Getting Competitive with Opportunity Keywords
While Generative AI can help your teams more quickly source opportunity keywords, competitive intelligence (CI) offers your Brand Managers, Product Marketers, and eCommerce professionals real-time visibility of the entire competitive landscape. Advanced CI tools, like Noogata, deliver this visibility by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting evolving keyword data on hundreds or thousands of competing products across multiple major eCommerce platforms.
Your team should also be aware of the many advantages CI can bring to your keyword research. These include:
- Unified Data View – CI tools collect keyword data from internal and external sources and export it into dashboards so that eCommerce teams can monitor emerging opportunity keyword possibilities for growth before their competitors do.
- Predict Future Behavior – CI tools can assess competitors’ keyword research and ad strategy and predict their future behavior so that you can fine-tune your strategy and react in near real-time.
- Scale in Real-time – Since CI tools track hundreds or thousands of product keywords in real time, it’s ideal for eCommerce shops with a rapidly expanding product line for continuous mapping and discovery of the evolving competitive landscape.
Access to this competitive data is why 76% of product marketers use CI tools today.
Here are a few methods you can apply to source opportunity keywords with the right CI:
17. Calculate the Keyword Opportunity Score
Evaluate the number of additional sessions, conversions, and revenue you’ll receive after ranking in one of the top three search results.
The basic formula is: Keyword Opportunity = Search Volume X Relevancy Score*
* Relevancy scores are based on organic search traffic results of best-selling items highly ranked for those keywords
18. Identify Long-tail Keywords
CI can tell exactly where your competitors are concentrating their efforts (i.e., organic versus paid keywords). Focus on long-tail keywords they aren’t using, especially when you’re a David competing against a Goliath. You can go much further with a small budget by focusing on long-tails.
19. Put Efforts Where Your Competitors Aren’t
CI can tell you if your competitor is winning on paid or organic and how much they spend to win. Focus your efforts on the channel and keywords they are neglecting. (You already know the budget it will take to compete).
20. Know Competitor Bids on Paid Searches
After understanding the keywords your competitors are bidding for, you can find similar keywords with traffic and revenue potential that cost less and bid on them while staying within your budget.
Is it time to rethink your eCommerce keyword process?
To find the keywords that make a real difference in your eCommerce strategy today, you need to think outside the box and use these tactics, tools, data, Generative AI, and competitive intelligence tips to get results that put you ahead of the competition.
With the CI market expected to reach $82 million by 2027, eCommerce teams increasingly rely on it as an essential component of their keyword strategy. Like all tools, however, you should carefully integrate with the right analytics and insight to boost ROI when you do take action. AI-powered competitive intelligence tools like Noogata provide the most efficient collection and analysis of data on the market today to immediately impact your growing catalog.
With Noogata and these twenty ways to uncover opportunity keywords your competitors are missing, you’ll be ready when eCommerce opportunity knocks with increased ROI and revenue.