The Art of Keyword Categorization
Most analytics reports for ecommerce sites include general metrics such as traffic, orders and revenue to provide a bird’s eye view of traffic and associated key performance indicators. That’s great, for an executive. But what about gaining deeper insight to provide a more informing strategy for mid-level managers? Which products and their categories drive the greatest AOV and Revenue per Visit? These are some of the most important when making an informed SEO strategy for the future. The answer, of course to all of this, lies in keyword -or in most ecommerce, product-categorization.
Mapping Out Your Categories
Although most categorization are customized according to the types of products within your offering, there are 3 major overarching categories applicable for all ecommerce categorization:
Brand Breakdown & Credit
Odds are your site is already optimized to rank #1 for general branded keywords. But perhaps multiple affiliate sites or third party retailers are optimized to rank well for keywords related to your brand’s product. A great way to illustrate your SEO program is working to the fullest is to create a “Brand Secondary” category. All product based keywords associated with your brand should be placed under the “secondary” category. This will ensure you’re receiving credit for optimizing all product related keywords.
The example below illustrates the Brand vs. Brand Secondary breakdown:
A great starting point when determining unbranded ecommerce categorization is to analyze your website’s primary and sub-navigation. Let’s take a look at Zappos.com’s use of unbranded categorization within its navigation:
Here, the major product category we’re analyzing is Shoes which is highlighted in light blue portion of the navigation. The segments -or secondary categories- are “men’s” “women’s” “girls’” and “boys.”
Although your site’s main navigation and sub-navigation may help you organize your keyword clutter, there is always more than one way to customize hierarchy. It is always important to ask yourself questions like: “Is it more important to breakdown first by gender and age or instead by product type?” When in doubt, let your keyword volume and/or your paid search program dictate the primary category.
In the Zappos example, the category hierarchy can be sorted in multiple ways:
Upon analyzing the navigation on Zappos.com, the determined Product Category is Shoes and the segments are broken down by age/gender:
The Unidentified Bucket
The unidentified bucket is all of the junk we can’t clearly determine its net worth. It could have been a branded query, but it could have also been an unbranded query. Typically, major typos/misspellings, foreign characters and the famous “Keyword Unavailable” all fall into this bucket.
Using Paid Search for Categorization
Paid search tends to break down keywords in a much similar fashion through the use of Campaigns and Ad Groups. In order to maintain campaign congruency, it is ideal to align your categories with your company’s Paid Search structure (or vice versa). This provides your ecommerce search program to easily make an apples-to-apples comparison when sharing insights and strategies.
So you’ve finally found a home for all of your keywords. What next? It’s important to evaluate your keywords on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. Ask yourself the important questions to inform future keyword strategy and advertising campaigns such as:
- What product categories are driving me the greatest Average Order Value and Revenue per Visit?
- Which keywords aren’t converting in these categories and how can I get them to convert?
- Which categories encounter a seasonal trend while others remain unchanged all year?