Research and Leverage High-Volume Keywords for Walmart SEO Optimization
Any good SEO strategy designed to sell more products on Walmart is rooted in mining for more high-volume keywords. This involves using the best Walmart keyword research tools and leveraging those keywords through specific, well-crafted content. Walmart SEO shares many commonalities with Amazon SEO, but they aren’t the same because the two platforms operate.
Understanding the similarities and differences is important, so you don’t waste time on activities that don’t matter. Instead, you spend time where it does matter to get the biggest possible return on your investment. First, it’s important to know how the Walmart SEO algorithm works and it’s also a good idea to use a listing optimization tool to make sure you are going in the right direction.
- How Does the Walmart SEO Algorithm Work and What Role to High Volume Keywords Play?
- How Do I Use Walmart Keyword Research Tools to Find High Volume Keywords?
- Two Fantastic Free Research Tools: Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends
- Nine Steps to Take To Leverage Your High-Volume Walmart Keywords Into More Sales
- A Few More Things That Support High Volume Walmart Keywords
- In Conclusion
How Does the Walmart SEO Algorithm Work and What Role to High Volume Keywords Play?
But, each algorithm is a little different with some nuances inherent to what the platform values most, but there are plenty of similarities.
Primarily, algorithms will surface products closest to the search it is processing. But equally as important to the success of an algorithm is that it surfaces products that convert well and match the search term. It’s pointless to surface a product to a potential customer if previous potential customers never purchased that product – or did so rarely – in prior visits.
Using high-volume keywords in your product listings is important. It gives your listings the best possible chance at landing in a user’s search, but the way these keywords weave into product descriptions and other content within a product listing are equally as important. Trying to stuff high-volume keywords into a product listing without any nuance or quality of writing is an exercise in futility.
Context matters as much as content in this instance. So, yes, it’s essential to find high-volume keywords to use. But it’s equally important how you use these keywords to take full advantage of the power of Walmart SEO.
There are a few steps to take when using keyword research tools (learn more about DataHawk’s Keyword Research Tool). to make sure you find high-volume Walmart keywords worth chasing, given where your eCommerce business is in its maturity.
How Do I Use Walmart Keyword Research Tools to Find High Volume Keywords?
You first need to research the different types of keyword categories within your product’s ecosystem.
There are six types of keyword terms that you need to research:
- Brand terms
- Product terms
- Competitor terms
- Substitute product terms
- Complementary product terms, and
- Audience terms
Brand terms are self-explanatory. These are terms associated with your brand’s name and how these terms are used in your content. When people search for your brand, specifically, on any eCommerce platform, including Walmart, they are showing intent to purchase.
Think about it. No one searches for a product with a brand name attached unless they intend to purchase that specific product brand. We don’t casually search for something with a brand name. That type of search shows intent.
So, while brand terms searches may not happen all that often, the keyword search volume may be somewhat lower; searches using brand terms will almost always convert at a higher rate than non-brand product searches.
Product terms explain who your product is for, what it does, and the problems it solves. On average, product terms may convert less than brand terms. Still, the overall keyword volume here should be much greater, especially if you offer a variety of products on Walmart to potential buyers.
There’s a big opportunity here to do some keyword gap analysis. Keyword gap analysis helps you discover terms with a high volume and relatively low competition, which your competitors should be using, but they aren’t. Keywords like this which you find during gap analysis, present a huge opportunity. You should add them to your product listings and pages as soon as possible to capitalize!
Substitute Product Terms
Substitute product terms include secondary descriptions for your product. For example, if your primary product is blue shoes, you would also want to consider bidding for ‘blue shoes’ so there’s a chance you can win the exact match and the broad match for the product.
When you’re isolating these substitute product terms, think of all of the ways that you could search for a product in a keyword research tool and research those terms for volume and competitiveness to determine if they’re worth the fight.
Complementary Product Terms
Complementary product terms are terms people would naturally search for along with their search for your product. For instance, if you were selling sunglasses as your primary product, people may also search for sunglasses cases, sunglasses cleaner, and so on.
Take the time to think about the complementary products that naturally go along with your primary product. Who knows, you might even come up with some new opportunities to package products within your Walmart store to create bundles that people are already showing you that they’re interested in by how they search!
Audience terms cover the full spectrum of words that people in your universe of potential customers are using. Unfortunately, this spectrum of terms is very broad, so any chance of conversion is relatively slim.
Audience terms are typically used to place individual advertising units on website content rather than in generalized search or prepping for pay per click. But you should still explore them because you never know when you might find a needle in the haystack!
Once you’ve worked through all of these terms, the next thing to do is develop a seed list.
Seed Lists and Keyword Lists
- Seed Lists
A seed list lists the initial keyword sets you want to explore further based on your research. Seed lists should primarily include your brand and product keyword terms since these will help you most with ranking on Walmart – and lead to the greatest number of conversions – but should include the others as well as much as possible.
As we’re sure you know, people have thought of every keyword under the sun when it comes to their products. Developing seed lists requires you to use creativity to put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and think like they think to find new terms they would use in search.
Doing some contextual research is a great way to build out your seed lists. For example, what do people say about your product when it’s mentioned in your niche? What types of terms do they use to describe it in blog posts or on social media? What words do people use when sending you a support request, leaving you a review, or contacting you directly via email?
There’s plenty you can discover about natural language when you do this type of research. You’ll see people who write about your products and your potential customers using words that you wouldn’t have previously imagined. And seeing this will make it much easier for you to take the next step, which is building out your keyword lists.
- Keyword Lists
Building out keyword lists is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. By the time you’re ready to sketch out keyword lists, you have a strong notion of the types of product and brand keywords people use to search for your product, what your competition is doing, what complementary and replacement terms are possible, and the language people use when talking about your product.
Listing these keywords by search volume, competition level, and even by subject is a great way to visualize the keyword ecosystem with which you have to work. Then, using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush makes it easy to evaluate the workload for the different keywords (or keyword groupings) to earn high search rankings.
Ahrefs and SEMRush help you to evaluate things like:
- Monthly global searches for your keywords
- The domain authority of the sites which rank for the keywords you want to chase
- How expensive keywords would be to bid for were you to do some cost-per-click campaigns.
- The competition level of individual keywords and how many backlinks it would take to jump the content directly ahead of you in search
Once you’ve evaluated the keywords on your lists, you can take things a step further to do more granular analysis to make sure everything you have targeted is realistic and that you’ll be able to compete quickly for those targets. To learn more about Walmart Listing Optimization, you can check out our other blog article!
With this initial list done, it’s important to take some time to refine your list before you dive in head-first.
Because there’s a limit on the number of words that you can reasonably rank for when it comes to eCommerce SEO, it’s valuable to do some refinement before you work on optimization. This is why it is important to get in the mind of your potential customer.
You now have a decent notion of what words they’d use to search for your product in the major search engines like Google. Take that one step further and put yourself in their shoes. Are there some keywords on your seed lists or preliminary lists you can reasonably eliminate? Are some of those terms more boring or less descriptive than others?
Take a little time to pare down your list and then do some deeper data analysis, including:
- Keyword categories – Focus only on the types of keywords most closely related to your product(s) and audience terms. If there is a category that’s a stretch, don’t hesitate to scratch that one off the list.
- Competitive analysis – It’s never a bad idea to take one last look at the competition as well. Ensure that your keywords have a moderate level of competition and a reasonable keyword search volume. Also, go through your lists carefully to see if there’s a hidden gem that you didn’t previously notice!
- Search Landscape – Search for the keywords you isolate through this analysis and do a few searches using them on the Walmart website. Since semantic results are a part of their search engine, you may be surprised to see some products you may not have expected. Are these products closely related to yours? Are the keywords you isolated properly descriptive, or are they a little off base?
- Semantic Groupings – Grouping keywords semantically means to group keywords that have a similar meaning or would be naturally used together in spoken or written language. If you have a strong idea of how your customers talk – and the words they use when searching. Go ahead and kick out the semantic keywords with low search volumes, as they likely won’t be worth your effort!
Image Courtesy: Wondershare
When most people think about high-volume keyword research, the first tools that come to mind are Ahrefs and SEMRush. That’s understandable. Both tools are very powerful and can help you perform the type of in-depth keyword research that keeps you ahead of the curve in planning content and outlining your product pages.
Both tools can also be very expensive! Many of the most powerful features of tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush exist behind expensive subscription paywalls. If you’re looking to stay on a budget with keyword research – or are digging into it in earnest for the first time – two free tools are very powerful and too often overlooked: Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.
Two Fantastic Free Research Tools: Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends
Using Google Keyword Planner to Find High Volume Walmart Keywords
To use Google Keyword Planner (GKP), you first need to sign up for a Google Ads account. The more seasoned Walmart sellers of you reading this already have Google Ads accounts, as you’ve likely experimented there at one time or another. If not, sign up for one to get access to Google Keyword Planner.
Keyword Planner lives under the “Planning” section of the Tools header within Google Ads.
Within GKP, there are two primary tools available, Keyword Discovery and Keyword Search Volume & Forecasts.
For the sake of discussion, we’ll assume you’ve already done a lot of the keyword research and listing we mentioned above and are coming to Google to double-check your work and make sure volume numbers match up with the other tools you’re using. Or, in some cases, to get an initial idea of volume to double-check on paid tools later on.
Keyword Planner Search Volume & Forecasts
Keyword Search Volume & Forecasts is especially valuable if you want to search for a large list of keywords at the same time to pull back forecasted search volumes. Enter your list and click on Get Started to pull back the numbers.
Google will provide you with an estimation of how many impressions and clicks you would receive for the keywords you enter. It also pulls back estimates of how expensive clicks are for these keywords if you do CPC campaigns. This estimation is a nice snapshot to help double-check your work against the data you receive from paid tools.
The initial list of keywords you receive from this search is raw data. However, Google offers a few filters to help you hone in based on the data you need. For example, you can filter down the raw data by Locations, Language, Search Networks, and Date Range.
Beyond these initial filters, you can also make some determinations on exact match versus broad match by filtering everything down further for the keyword results you receive to exactly match the term you’re interested in, or to be more general and not an exact match.
Play around with these filters to see if the keywords are more popular in some places than others. Then, find out if your efforts would best be spent on specific search engines to drive traffic to Walmart. And also, if any of the keywords were related to a product trend that’s no longer relevant, and therefore won’t be worth your time! Did we mention you should be using a keyword research tool? 😉
Using Google Trends to Uncover Creative High Volume Keywords
There’s an assumption most people make when checking out a keyword in Trends. The assumption is that the curve directly represents the keyword search volume for that term over time. And it should reasonably align with the results they would get from pulling back the same data in Google Keyword Planner.
Google Trends shows the relative popularity of a keyword search query, not the exact number of people searching for a term over a specific period. Therefore, trends should be used to see what product terms are relatively popular during particular times in the year or to catch a hot product when it’s on the upswing and ride the wave as it goes viral.
The most effective use of Google Trends is to nail down when to chase seasonal trends. There is a sea of products that start to take off every year around the same time. The most obvious rising tides tend to happen around the holiday season, but others are tied to the beginning of summer and other holidays as well.
If your products are seasonal, using Google Trends is a great idea to help you understand timing and when you should not only list more of your product for sale on Walmart but double down on all of your content efforts to drive traffic to that product’s page.
It’s especially valuable to push content related to your Walmart products on social channels or blogs just before the beginning of an interest “surge.” For example, let’s say you specialize in holiday products, and St. Patrick’s Day Gear is a big seller for you every year.
Instead of waiting until March 17th to publish your St. Patrick’s Day Buying Guide (obviously full of products you’re selling on Walmart), you should post it on the day which Google Trends suggests the “search surge” happens each year so you can capitalize on it!
And last but not least, get an idea of what keywords people are using in Google, generally, to find your competitors. There may be some complementary keywords that you can add to your Walmart listings to make sure your profits surface instead of your competitors (or at least give them a better run for their money when those searches take place).
All of your keyword search efforts don’t have to be 100% focused on Walmart’s native tools or using expensive paid tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush. Instead, get creative and use the tools Google provides to make it easier for you to build productive product pages. But also look outside the box and find other tools that experienced and successful Walmart sellers use to make their product pages “pop” and win more sales.
All of this creative keyword research is purely theoretical, and honestly, a waste of time if you don’t take the proper steps to leverage Walmart’s SEO preferences.
Let’s take a look at the ten steps you need to take to become friendly with Walmart’s SEO structure and ensure your products appear in searches when they should.
Nine Steps to Take To Leverage Your High-Volume Walmart Keywords Into More Sales
There are endless steps you can take to refine your Walmart SEO by leveraging your high-volume keywords through design, placement, timing, and more.
But, for now, let’s take a look at the ten best practices which are agreed upon by seemingly everyone who writes on Walmart SEO:
- Make your product headlines unique to Walmart.
- Thoroughly research keywords you use in product descriptions.
- High-quality images make all the difference for your listings.
- Make your key features section impactful, but get to the point.
- Be fair in your pricing and tweak it often.
- Always offer free 2-day shipping.
- Keep your product stock replenished
- Make third-party, rich content a priority.
- Lean in on customer service
Make Your Product Headlines Unique to Walmart
You’ll almost always see more search traffic when you ensure that Walmart’s product descriptions are different from your product descriptions on other platforms.
Here’s a good formula to keep in mind when developing your product descriptions:
Brand + Size Specifications (if those matter) + Unique Feature + Item Name + Style (if that matters) + Number of Items in the Pack
An example using that formula:
- GoodSound Wireless Chrome Over the Ear Headphones – 1 ct.
It’s important to make the Product Name relevant also. If you know through research and talking to customers that specific identifiers (color, shape, weight, dimensions, etc.) matter to them, it’s important to add those identifiers in your product headlines.
Make sure when you do, however, they aren’t in the same format as the title structure on your other platforms!
Thoroughly Research Keywords You Use in Product Descriptions
The most important thing here to think about is making the algorithm’s job easy. You should add as many relevant keywords as possible for the algorithm to monitor within your product description while still ensuring that the product description makes sense. It’s easy to go overboard and “stuff” your product description with too many keywords to the point it becomes nonsensical.
Be careful to protect that balance so your writing doesn’t come off as robotic.
A great way to find more keywords to add to your product descriptions is to search them natively on Walmart. Type in your primary keyword and see what keywords the predictive search algorithm sends to you. It’s reasonable to assume Walmart has patterned this predictive search feature against what Google offers, so it’s fair to be confident the keywords you’re given are worth using.
Also, pay close attention to the “Related Keywords” that surface when you do these native searches on Walmart.com. They might signal a handful of good keywords to use as long as they make sense for the nature of your product and how you typically position it otherwise.
Good Images Make All the Difference for Your Listings
Think about how visual you are as a consumer. What stands out to you when you’re searching for a product to buy – whether in person or shopping online? The clarity in what you’re seeing. Poor quality photos cause potential buyers to quickly move on to the next listing if they aren’t seeing and feeling clear about what they want to buy.
If there’s one area where you want to spend money developing your product listings, it’s photography. Be willing to spend money to get professional photographs done of your products. These should be crystal clear and give a good idea of shape, size, color, and utility – as well as any other distinguishing characteristics that make your product different from the competition.
Better yet, take things to the next level and get some professional rich content or video created by professionals that will help you show off your product in a way that no one else is. Learn more about optimizing your product listing and images in this article!
List out 6-10 bullet points that describe your product and influence your potential customer to buy. Make sure each includes your most impactful keywords, but most importantly, be influential and persuasive. Think about how you can tell a quick story with these bullet points that would take people off the fence and entice them to buy while also appeasing the algorithm to place your products in the right positions in search.
Do a few drafts and share them with friends or other influential people you trust in your niche. Gauge their reactions. Ask them if the language or bullet points listed would encourage them to purchase if they were hesitating.
Then make the tweaks necessary to drive things home!
Pricing for your products directly affects how Walmart ranks your products in the algorithm and places them in search against your competition. Therefore you must be fair in your pricing and take diligent care to make sure you are neither under-pricing nor over-pricing your products concerning the competition.
Also, make sure your customers are getting the best possible prices for your product – while still protecting your margins, obviously – when you compare the average pricing for the product on Walmart.com and the other platforms (where you may or may not be selling).
This process can be exhausting, but it can make a huge difference in the ability to leverage your high-volume Walmart keywords consistently. Learn more about competitive pricing strategies in our blog article.
Beyond that, rumor has it that during the most recent changes to Walmart’s search algorithm, sellers who consistently offer faster shipping will get preference. That’s reasonable. Walmart wouldn’t have invested in the project if they didn’t plan to reward people for using it to make the investment worthwhile.
The number one goal for shipping is to make things as consistent and fast as possible within your overall workflows. If 2-Day shipping fits into that picture as a Walmart seller – and it absolutely should – you must lean in on it!
Keep Your Stock Replenished to Rank Higher
There’s a scenario here that should make you cringe. Someone finds your product through a search on Walmart.com. Your product description has them hooked. You did a great job with the key features and wrote compelling copy, which leads the potential customer to add the product to their cart to check out. But, as they click, they get that fateful message, “This item is currently out of stock.”
This scenario – and the damage it causes not only to your brand’s reputation but your bottom line – is avoidable, but it takes some planning and consideration.
Make sure your best-sellers are always fully stocked, so there’s no chance someone ready to buy can’t. If you don’t, there’s a substantial risk Walmart will punish the search position of your product, and the algorithm will hamper your ability to earn more casual purchases in the future.
Make Third-Party Rich Content a Priority for Your Product Listings
If you’ve read the 4,400 or so words preceding what you’re reading right now – and bless you for reading this far – you’re probably sick of reading words on a page and would like to see something else to keep you engaged.
The engagement pieces we use to keep people locked in and continuing to read are called “rich content.”
Rich content can include:
- Visual Comparisons
The idea of rich content pieces is to provide a visual element to the description you’re building around products or your brand. If you have the time and technical know-how to create these in-house, it’s a great idea.
You’re the best person to build supplements to your product listings etc., that match your brand’s visual identity. If you don’t, that’s fine. There are plenty of talented third-party firms and agencies out there which can help you build rich content.
Make sure the work they do fits the bill, however. The last thing you want to do with rich content – especially if you’re paying for it – is confusing potential customers when they’re becoming educated about a product you offer.
Lean In On Your Customer Service
And what typically becomes an afterthought? Customer service.
Treating your customers with kindness, respect, and a service-first attitude has a massive effect on your search rankings. How? Online reviews. The better you treat your customers, the more incentivized they are to take the time to leave you a good review on Walmart or on other online resources where your brand is listed and where potential customers could be doing research.
Walmart is unique in that customers can offer two different types of reviews: retailer reviews and product reviews. Retailer reviews are more about the customer’s impression of your brand, including your level of communication, product packaging, how delivery went, how you dealt with any slip-ups along the way, etc.)
Product reviews are about product functionality, quality, and how well the customer’s product matched the product description, which led them to buy.
The better your reviews, the more likely Walmart will recommend your brand and products in the search algorithm. You must lean in on customer service and prioritize it!
There are a few simple things you can do to take control over customer service and make a good first impression that builds a good lasting impression:
- Quickly return emails, phone calls, texts, etc. Whatever channels you have set up for communication, make sure you’re responsive and friendly. There’s nothing worse than waiting for a response from a brand when you have a pressing question or concern.
- Upon purchase, provide tracking information and keep your customers updated where the product is en route. This legwork can become a bit of a slog, but it’s worth it to be proactive rather than reactive here. Providing tracking information – and being transparent if there are issues in the shipping process – is the best way to build trust with one-off customers and lead them down the path toward repeat purchases.
- Most importantly: Thank your customers for their business! In general, as business owners, we don’t say thanks enough to those who are essential to us keeping the lights on, and that includes our customers! So make it a part of your workflow to reach out to customers with a personalized message thanking them for your business. Few brands do this, and doing so will help you separate from the competition.
A Few More Things That Support High Volume Walmart Keywords
There are a few more things about keyword rankings that support high-volume Walmart keywords to make them even more impactful:
- Proper Leveraging of Artificial Intelligence Tools (Such as DataHawk’s keyword tracking tool)
- Active Backlinking Practices, and
- Knowing When to Make Micro-Pivots
Proper Leveraging of Artificial Intelligence Tools
There are so many good Artificial Intelligence-driven tools out there now to help Walmart sellers optimize their workflows that it’s hard to know which one to choose. Of course, we’re a little biased here at DataHawk and think our AI-driven tools are as good as any on the market and give sellers a wealth of data to use in making decisions, but we’re certainly not the only player on the market.
Take some time to research AI tools out there and see which one makes the most sense for you, given your current goals, budget, and preferred way of working. Working with a tool that provides complementary information to help you make better decisions is a great ally when you’re struggling with what to do next!
Active Backlinking Practices
Many eCommerce sellers – including Walmart sellers – see backlinking as a purely passive process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The common mindset is that it’s great to get the occasional link back to your product listings if a product is added on a “best of” or “holiday gift ideas” list and linked back to you. But that this is the only way to get links. It isn’t!
When you shift your backlinking practices from passive to active, a new world of possibilities opens up. For example, instead of waiting to land on lists, reach out to people who have written lists and explain why your product should be on the list rather than a competitor’s. Or use a link checker to find broken links on someone’s high-ranking list and offer your product as an alternative, so they link to active products with responsive sellers.
Also, if you have a separate website for your brand, ensure that the brand website is linking to your product listings on Walmart as often as possible and vice versa. This practice is a great way to pass SEO value back and forth, giving each of your keywords a better chance to rank not only within Walmart search but externally as well.
Knowing When to Make Micro Pivots
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This axiom holds in trying to sell on Walmart. If your products just aren’t selling, and you’ve tried everything we’ve outlined in this article to properly position your high volume keywords, and drive awareness to your brand, sometimes the best thing you can do is make a micro pivot.
A micro pivot allows you to try something new that’s closely related to your current product and still within your niche, but enough of a separation that it’s an experiment. To identify a product for a micro pivot, find something related to your current product mix that wouldn’t require a full strategy overhaul.
Try listing that product for a while and running some campaigns around it. Then, if people are biting, give it a bigger presence on your website, or feature the product listings. You have less invested when you do a small pivot like this; therefore, you have less to lose. And if it goes well, you may have found a new opportunity that will allow you to make a full pivot later!
But, when you dedicate time and effort to the process and maintain an experimental mindset, you’ll find keywords that are diamonds in the rough and help you to stand apart from the competition!