Traffic But No Sales: How To Optimize Your eCommerce Store For High-Intent Search

Doki Nguyen
Jun 14, 2024
3 min read

So, your eCommerce store is ranking well with the targeted keywords. You even go the extra mile in optimizing your blog page with many resourceful product reviews and guidelines. However, while your online store gets plenty of traffic, you're not seeing the sales you hoped for!

It seems like visitors just aren't buying from your catalog. What's the deal? Don't worry. You're not alone.

Many eCommerce merchants struggle to turn their website’s traffic into sales. One of the leading causes of the notorious “high traffic but no sales” is that your website is not optimized for traffic with high commercial intent.

🌵 You might also want to dig into the following:

Great Traffic But No Sales? Here's What You Need to Change for Shopify Stores

5 Common Product Search Mistakes And How To Fix Them

Optimizing your eCommerce store for sales through commercial and transactional searches means attracting visitors more likely to buy what you're selling.

But how can you ensure you're drawing in the right traffic? Let's dive into some tips to help you optimize your website for high-intent traffic.

Understanding commercial search intent and high search intent keywords

What is a high-intent search?

When you search for something on the wild web, there's usually a reason behind it. That's called search intent.

Search intent is the reason that motivates you to type in your search terms. When running an online store, you must understand what your customers are looking for and the reasons behind their searches (aka, their search intent) to optimize your website to speak to their needs.

Basically, there are four types of search intent, which you might already be familiar with (it’s SEO basics, after all).

4 types of search intent

From Wordstream

High-intent traffic refers to your website visitors actively searching for a product or service and are ready to convert (for example, Add to Cart, Book a Demo, or Purchase).

They're the "qualified leads" because they will likely become your customers. High-intent keywords are search queries these visitors use to search and land on your website.

High-intent traffic and commercial search intent are closely related because visitors with commercial intent are typically part of the high-intent traffic group. They have already researched and compared different options and are actively searching for the best products to fulfill their needs.

Types of high-intent keywords

Aiming for high commercial intent keywords can drive higher click-through rates and ignite conversions better on your eCommerce store. You'll need to understand what they are thoroughly.

Not all commercial search intent keywords - or commercial keywords for short - are the same. Some commercial keywords have a stronger desire to buy than others.

  • Investigative commercial intent keywords:

These are search terms in the research phase of a user’s buying journey. These keywords indicate that the user wants information about a product or service to educate them to buy later.

Users using these keywords are solution-aware and have a specific product in mind. They look for more information on the possible options to make the final decision.

Investigative commercial intent keywords
  • Transactional-like commercial intent keywords:

Technically, these commercial keywords can be transactional.

Your potential customers who use these keywords are ready to buy or make purchase decisions immediately. They're just looking for the most attractive offers that meet their expectation.

Transactional-like commercial intent keywords
  • Local commercial intent keywords:

These search terms suggest a user is looking for a product or service in a specific geographical area.

Local commercial intent keywords
  • Branded commercial intent keywords:

These keywords are also known as product or service keywords which can convert highly, although they are competitive.

Branded commercial intent keywords

Where can you analyze and find high-intent searches?

A keyword research tool can give you a list of all four types of search terms and phrases. You can specifically look for high-intent keywords with these tools:

🧠 Brainy tips:

  • Remember that your top-performing keywords might differ from those that resulted in the most conversions.
  • Your job is to determine how many high commercial intent keywords are in your top-performing keywords in general. If you don't see any high-intent keywords in this top-performing list, try using Google Ads to test with the high-intent keywords you think are suitable for your store.
  • You need more budget for high-intent keywords since they are highly convertible and competitive.
  • Spend time doing your homework: analyze the intent behind your top keywords. For example, with the same "keyword/search query format," people searching for "best cheesecakes" often look for its recipes, not buying a cheesecake. Meanwhile, people searching for "best Christmas gifts" might want one.
  • You can test your keywords by entering them directly in Google search to get the big picture of what kind of content or landing pages other eCommerce websites are optimizing with your target keywords.

How to optimize your eCommerce store for high-intent search?

It is essential to understand potential customers' goals and shopping patterns when they visit your store. This can be achieved by conducting user research and designing your website’s content to cater to those needs.

To tailor your website to customers’ specific goals, you must optimize its navigation, search functionality, and product pages to ensure they are user-friendly and intuitive.

Addressing any pain points or challenges customers may face when using your website is just as important.

Best practice #1: Make sure your website content matches commercial search intent

It’s in the textbook: to attract more qualified leads, you must understand how to provide high-quality and relevant website content that addresses your user's search intent.

Your eCommerce website has different content types. Each type is suitable for a specific search intent.

Articles and blog posts are often optimized for informational search intent. Landing, product, category, and comparison pages best represent commercial and transactional intent.

To gain traffic AND sales instead of “traffic but no sales”, you need to focus on attracting high-intent search via your landing, category, product, and comparison pages.

📝 Reminder:

Focusing on commercial intent keywords doesn't mean you should ignore informational intent keywords altogether.

These keywords can bring you customers. However, it will take a longer time and a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy.

Best practice #2: Create dedicated product guides to match commercial queries

Creating dedicated product guides, categories, or comparisons is ideal for targeting high-intent searches. These types of content can increase conversions by giving your potential customers the information they need to make an informed purchase decision.

Dedicated product guides can also build trust in your brand and credibility with potential customers by providing accurate and unbiased information about the product they're looking for.

Best examples of dedicated product guides to learn from

Bellroy: Slim your wallet collection page

bellroy slim your wallet

Everyone hates a thick wallet, whether he or she is sitting on it or carrying it in a bag or purse.

Bellroy’s collection page starts with a clear headline, "Slim your wallet," to effectively communicate the purpose of the page and the pain point it addresses. Plus, it’s a score in optimizing for informational intent.

Following up is the wallet slider to visually compare the difference between Bellroy’s and other ordinary wallets.

The page also offers multiple product options, catering to different customer preferences and needs, which can increase the likelihood of a purchase. Bravo, another score for high-intent search optimization!

The page goes further, including interactive features such as the "wallet finder" tool and video tutorials that engage users while successfully providing a personalized experience.

It doesn't forget to add reviews and ratings, which can help build trust and credibility with potential customers.

This creative and highly-converting collection page solves potential customer's pain points and helps them immediately buy the wallet they need.

Chewy: Chewy Picks

chewy pet collection

Chewy - an online pet supply retailer - turns Chewy Picks into a resourceful product guide for pet owners and those who want to find gifts for pet owners.

Overall, Chewy's Gift Guide page effectively addresses the user's pain point of finding the perfect gift for their pet and pet-lover friends by offering a range of products that cater to different needs and preferences.

The store divides different product categories by pet types or product types and gets creative in separating collections into seasonal, trending monthly themes (Pride month!), purposes, and occasions.

With so much information, the page is straightforward to navigate, with a clear layout and intuitive design that makes it easy for users to find the information they need.

Not to mention all the urges to encourage users to make a purchase: Save 35% on auto-ship, New customers get $20 off, 50% off on health & wellness auto-ship, Virtual vet consult, etc.

The Gift Guide page may also easily rank for information keywords such as “gift ideas for pet lovers” or high-intent keywords where they find “perfect gift for pet lovers”.

Best practice #3: Optimize onsite search with high-intent searches

You can optimize your onsite search results by applying what you analyze in high-intent search keywords in SEO in previous practice.

With the terms your potential customers use, you can identify what products are trending and in high demand. Then, you can update your site search and catalog accordingly.

In high-intent searches, highlight brand names, sizes, materials, colors, product lines, etc., and any common product specifications in your niche.

💪 Do this

Pay attention to your store’s search data. Onsite search data is a great source to identify emerging trends and products. You can use this information to utilize merchandising tools and boost specific results on the site search bar.

This way, you can stay relevant to visitors and predict what they'll look for next.

It doesn’t stop there. You can use onsite search data to create landing pages with informational searches or create a spotlight for featured items on your homepage.

Read on:

How To Measure Product Recommendation Performance On Shopify Store?

Measure Site Search Effectiveness: How To Know Shopify Product Search Optimization Is Performing Well

Best practice #4: Personalize shopping experience to convert high-intent visitors

It’s well-known that today’s customers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be connected.

Just like when they walk into a brick-and-mortar store, they want personalization, context, relatability, and want to be engaged emotionally. With high-intent searches, you can also better personalize your onsite search experience.

High-intent keywords reveal insights into the specific products, categories, or features customers seek. Hence, they can improve your store’s shopping personalization.

One fundamental way to improve search personalization with high-intent searches is through product recommendations. By analyzing customer searches before landing on your site and their purchase history, you can create targeted product recommendations highly relevant to each customer.

🎯 Dig deeper into personalization and buyer’s search behavior analysis:

Shopify Product Recommendation Trends and Statistics in 2023 To Win More Customers

How to optimize your eCommerce store for the search-led customer journey and boost conversion rates

Best practice #5: Nudge high-intent visitors to purchase with enticing offers

When people shop with a purchase intent in mind, they often have a short product browsing time and are looking for extra incentives to make a final decision.

This is why it's important to provide a variety of appealing mini-treats to persuade them to complete their purchase. These mini-treats could include:

  • Free shipping or shipping discount
  • First-time discounts and promotions
  • Seasonal or themed-collection promotions
  • Freebies
Mavi offers

Mavi US with free shipping and payment discount offer

Let's make an example. A high-intent visitor may be looking for a new laptop and has narrowed their options to a few different models.

They may still hesitate to decide after reading product reviews and comparing prices. To persuade them to complete their purchase on your website, you could offer a free accessory, such as a laptop bag or a mouse, with the purchase of the laptop if they make the purchase within the next hour.

The key to converting high-intent visitors is to provide a seamless, personalized, and enjoyable shopping experience. Let your site search, navigation, and product page optimization do the former. Strategic promotions can nail the latter perfectly.

In closing

The devil is in the details because there’s a lot of work necessary to do when making sales from searches.

High-intent keywords are goldmines for increasing conversion rates. Optimizing your eCommerce site for high-intent keywords is necessary if your final goal is converting traffic into sales.

Doki Nguyen
Content Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
6 min read