I was in a bakery last weekend. Placed on the shelf above the birthday cakes, they had confetti, candles, and snow sprays. It seems obvious that anyone buying a birthday cake is also likely to buy confetti and candles, yet many online marketers ignore such simple cross-selling opportunities. Maybe it's because Google doesn't always consider cakes and confetti "related search terms," which is incredible considering the algorithmic power of Google!
So how can we find out what people searching for our products are also searching for?
Why Related Searches Are Important
Related searches should be at the top of every marketer's agenda right now, for two reasons.
1. They are one of the most efficient ways to achieve higher SERP rankings and drive more targeted traffic, and
2. They can help you increase your average revenue per visitor by cross-selling products that your customers are likely to also buy when they're purchasing a particular product
The changes that Google has made to their algorithms have underlined the importance of long-tail keywords for any website that wants to enjoy top organic rankings. Related searches are the best and perhaps the only way to find long tail keywords that you want to target. Let me explain.
Google increased the character limits for its mobile SERP page titles from 55 to 78 characters. The same goes for AdWords, where advertisers can now use more characters in headlines and descriptions.
Voice searches are one of the factors that may have prompted this change. Voice queries now account for 20% of all searches on Google and are increasing with each passing day. These natural language queries are longer and more heterogeneous than typed queries, and you can track them down by paying attention to the related searches.
It's simple, then. You need more and better keywords for optimization, and related searches are where you find those keywords. As a result, you can squeeze in more of the long-tail keywords into your page titles and improve your SEO ranking. This is vital for blogs which rely on long-tail titles, as well as for eCommerce stores.
Also, long-tail keywords express the user's intentions more explicitly. They can help you develop better landing pages and achieve more conversions.
Then there are the related searches that help you cross-sell products and earn more revenue from each visitor to your online store.
The Two Types Of Related Searches
People can look for the same product using many different search terms. For example, a person looking for birthday cakes may search for birthday cakes for boys, birthday cakes with pictures, or minions birthday cakes. These are related searches because they are related to the same product. The other type of related searches, which this article is primarily about, are searches for other products that your customers are likely to buy when they're purchasing the primary product.
Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research says that product recommendations like upsells and cross-sells are responsible for an average of 10–30% of all ecommerce revenues.
Almost every eCommerce store displays related products on their product or checkout pages. However, most of them rely on cross-selling tools that eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify offer, instead of doing their own research. As a result, the related products that are shown may not be the products that customers want.
Websites like Shopify, Amazon and other big retailers use historical data to feature products in the "Frequently Bought Together" and "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" sections. But eCommerce startups and standalone web stores often tend to ignore the cross-selling aspect of their online business. Getting this bit right can mean a huge uplift in both conversion rates and in basket value.
If you can find out the products that your buyers also search for when they're buying your product, you can add them to your web store and earn some easy revenues increases. However, almost all of the available keyword research tools would only tell you the search queries that have your target keyword in them. For example, if you are looking for searches related to "birthday cakes in London" you'll get suggestions like these:
As you can see, confetti, candles and balloons are not related searches as far as Google is concerned. However, these are items anyone buying a birthday cake is likely to also buy.
How can we find related searches that do not contain your target keyword?
The answer lies in your customers' minds. The customer research should take into account the related products. Questionnaires, focus groups and other research methods should ask the respondents which particular products they think of buying together with your product. The research will reveal many related products, some of which you haven’t thought of before. With the customer research data to guide you, you can use the following tools to refine your understanding of related searches, discover the right long-tail keywords, and learn about products that can get you some easy revenues.
The first and one of the most effective tools is Google Trends. You can use it to find the interest in a particular keyword in a particular region over the past hour, 4 hours, day, week, month, quarter, year, five years, since 2004, or in any selected timeframe. Let's see what suggestions we get when we explore the query "birthday cakes".
- Go to Google Trends and select the region where you're doing business.
- Choose the timeframe, category, and type of searches you're interested in. Let's say we want to see the web search trends over the past five years in Food & Drink category.
- Google Trends shows you the interest in your target search term over the last five years in the form of a graph.
The bottom of the page displays Related Topics and Related Queries. Under the Related Topics, you can see that the people who searched for birthday cakes also searched for Minions – Film, Monster High – Brand and Avengers – Comics. These three topics have a "Breakout" label beside them, which means that the search volume for these queries has increased by more than 5000%. The rest of the related topics have the exact percentage showing the increase in popularity of these topics.
Under the Related Queries, you can see the long-tail keywords containing your target keyword "birthday cakes" or just "cakes". Once again, the Breakout label is there. Hence, "Minecraft birthday cakes" and "minion birthday cakes" have seen a growth of over 5000%, making them more lucrative for you to target.
From the above research, it is evident that your customers are more interested in birthday cakes themed after popular animation films like Minions or video games like Minecraft. Moreover, some of your customers may be interested in buying branded merchandise, toys, or comics when they're buying birthday cakes.
You can also use Google Trends to compare two search terms. For example, you can compare birthday cakes with wedding cakes and see which one you should focus on. In this case, birthday cakes appear to be a better flagship product for a bakery, compared to wedding cakes.
You should undertake further research using the Keyword Planner tool on the related searches you find through Google Trends. This will help you determine the right keywords to target based on their search volumes and competition.
It's an excellent tool for discovering long-tail keyword related to your core product, but it might not be that effective for finding out related searches that do not contain your focus keyword. Still, sometimes it can give you great cross-selling ideas that you can further refine through Google's Keyword Planner.
For example, if you are selling smartphones, you can find keyword suggestions like smartphone armband, smartphone bike mount, smartphone car mount, smartphone door lock, smartphone finder, etc.
Click on any of the keywords that sound interesting. A drop-down box will give you the options to look up the related search term on Google search or Google Trends or to expand the keyword.
The idea is to do more in-depth research on each of the search term you shortlist. See the SERPs for those terms. Find out how they have been performing on Google Trends. Pick up a few more keywords related to your related search terms, and repeat the process. At the end, you will be left with some great keyword ideas for cross-selling different products as well as for optimizing your ecommerce website for traffic and conversions.
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer 2.0
Ahrefs recently released their Keyword Explorer 2.0, which boasts more than 3.1 billion keywords and related search terms. Its working is similar to Uber Suggest or Google's Keyword Planner, but it comes with some additional bells and whistles, metrics that make it more powerful and accurate compared to other keyword research tools.
For instance, the "Clicks" metric lets you find out if people are actually clicking on a particular related search term. Hence you can find search terms that are not only popular, but also have a higher traffic potential.
In the above screenshot, the search term "chauffeur" has a much higher search volume, but less than one in four persons searching with this term are clicking on any of the results. The reason may be that many individuals are just checking the spellings of the word chauffeur by typing it into Google. On the other hand, "wow chauffeur" actually refers to the Chauffeur character in World of Warcraft (wow). If you look at the SERP for this term, you'll notice that none of the results gives a good answer, which means the user has to click on a result to find more information about "wow chauffeur".
Ahref will also tell you the number of clicks per search (CPS). The higher the CPS, the more traffic a particular keyword is likely to drive.
The Ahref tool also shows you the trends and actual search volumes for each of the related search terms you research. It tells you the number of organic and paid clicks separately, so you can decide which particular keywords you should use for your organic SEO or AdWords. For example, in the following screenshot, you can see that most of the people searching for "iPhone 7 cases" are clicking on the paid results (currently the top four results on Google's SERPs). By comparison, the term "best iPhone 7 cases" is generating a higher CPS and more organic clicks.
Answer The Public
Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Uber Suggest, and Ahref Keyword Explorer are great tools, but they are not very accurate at suggesting related search terms that do not include your main keywords. You just have to rely on your customer research data and common sense to glean out related products that you can cross-sell with each other. Answer the Public is a fantastic free tool that allows you to generate related keyword ideas that you can further research with the above-mentioned tools.
The data is based on Google searches and autosuggest feature. To generate ideas, simply go to Answer the Public and enter your main keyword, say "birthday cakes." Select your country and click GET QUESTIONS. The tool offers 127 Questions, 116 Propositions and 386 Alphabetical ideas pertaining to birthday cakes. The Questions tell you what your customers want to know about your product, so you can use them to enrich your product pages, write blog posts and do content marketing.
The Propositions are where you'll find most of your related search ideas. For instance, under the "with" proposition, you can see birthday cakes with crowns, birthday cakes with lots of candles, birthday cakes with roses, birthday cakes with candles, and birthday cakes with flowers. These are valuable ideas that you can use for bundling together or cross-selling these products with your cakes.
Let's try one more time using the keyword iPhone 7, a popular search term these days, and see if we can find some interesting related product ideas. Once again, the "with" proposition reveals that people also search for Apple watch, ear buds, air pods, and beats when they are searching for iPhone 7.
Answer the Public can be your first step to finding related searches for the purpose of cross-selling, SEO and conversion optimization. Feed the related product ideas that you gather here into Uber Suggest, Ahref and Google Trends to find out the search volumes, related keywords, clicks per search, and other key metrics. You will discover many additional related search terms in the process.
Keep refining your list of target keywords by researching related searches. Extract the long tail keywords from related search terms and use them in your page titles and content to drive better quality traffic that converts more often. And use the related search data to sell and cross-sell related products and increase your online revenues.