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How To Run Keyword Research for the DACH Market

DACH stands for Deutschland (Germany), Austria, and Confœderatio Helvetica (Switzerland) — together, these countries make up the bulk of German-speaking Europe.

It’s a lucrative market to expand into. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are some of the largest EU economies. Together, these three countries have a higher GDP than the two runners-up, France and Italy combined.

The share of online purchases in Germany is 16%, which is lower than in the US but larger than in other prominent EU economies. This makes DACH a logical starting point if you want to work in European countries.

Apart from different legislation, especially around user privacy, there’s a language barrier you have to overcome. To understand the DACH market, you’ll need to understand which keywords German speakers are using on Google. 

This guide will teach you the basics of keyword research in DACH countries.

Keyword research process

First, let’s go over the steps of the keyword research process. These steps are universal for any language or location, but you have to incorporate local specifics into the process.

Identify your target audience and their needs

If you have already started a successful e-commerce business in the US or another country and outlined your customer personas, you may have to readjust them to fit local specifics. Customers in the DACH market may value things other than the audiences you’re used to working with.

For instance, men in the DACH market tend to spend more than women. According to a 2021 DACH market research, consumers are more likely to shop online in more rural areas as access to shops isn’t always possible, but they may prefer shopping with large platforms like Amazon or Otto. Lower prices and greater flexibility are among the leading reasons for shopping online.

German-speakers are willing to wait longer for shipping, but they prefer the shipping to be free or low-cost and to shop within the country.

You’ll have to do a bit of research on your own to figure out how your ideal customers in German-speaking countries differ from the ones you’re currently working with and change the keywords you’re focusing on accordingly.

Brainstorm a list of relevant keywords

The first step towards an effective keyword research process is always brainstorming. Start with the most basic keywords for your industry and products and build your keyword list from there.

You can simplify this task by taking basic keywords from your English keyword campaign and brainstorming how you can change the list to fit the DACH market.

Use keyword research tools

Once you have an exhaustive list of German keywords that correspond to your main niches, it’s time to use a keyword research tool. A keyword research tool like SE Ranking can help you find more keywords specific to the DACH region. This tool has a large database of DACH market keywords, something not every keyword research tool can boast.

Due to language differences, not all keywords can simply be translated. Sometimes, German speakers will use completely different words to search for the same products. For instance, to search for “swimsuit with shorts,” German speakers will use both “Badeanzug mit Shorts” and “Badeanzug mit Bein,” which is literally translated as “swimsuit with legs.”

To catch keywords like these, you’ll have to use a keyword research tool that can show hundreds of keywords related to your main keyword.

Source: SE Ranking

Keyword research tools are also useful for figuring out which keywords to focus on. You can access estimates on keyword difficulty, search volume, and SERP competitors.

Source: SE Ranking

This data can help you decide on which keywords to put more effort into. It’s best to start with keywords that have a higher search volume and lower keyword difficulty.

If you’re starting an ecommerce website, you may want to look for keywords that aren’t dominated by, Otto, and other large retailers. 

Check Google Search Console data

If you already have a website and you’re doing continuous keyword research, Google Search Console can be a great source of insight into DACH keywords. Open your GSC and look for the following.

  • Keywords with a high amount of impressions but a low number of clicks. For these, you might have to work on the title, description, and attached images to improve CTR.
  • Queries that people use to find your site but that aren’t in your keyword list yet.
  • Best performing keywords that you can double down on optimizing.
  • Worst performing keywords that you may choose to stop focusing on or merge the pages with others.

This is one of the best sources of data on keyword research because it shows the real state of things on your website.

Select the most relevant keywords to target

With the information you now have, you should be able to decide which keywords to target first. Ideally, you’ll want all of your products to be in the top 10 of the DACH SERP, but that’s not always feasible due to high competition.

Start by focusing on the keywords that fit the following characteristics:

  • Commercial or transactional intent
  • Comparatively high search volume
  • Comparatively low keyword difficulty
  • There is not a lot of SERP competition from and other large platforms

Finding a lot of keywords that fit this definition perfectly may prove to be hard, but you should prioritize them based on how close they are to this perfect picture. In some cases, you’ll find that the main keyword for a page is hard to rank high for, but a supporting similar query is easier to dominate.

Build keyword clusters

The final step in the keyword research process is forming clusters of keywords. A single page can be relevant for multiple keywords at once, so you want to figure out what groups of keywords are best for each page on your website.

You can try to do this manually, but it’s best to use a specialized tool. Most tools for keyword clustering will do their job with 90%+ accuracy, and you’ll only have to review the results and make minor changes.

Tips for keyword research in the DACH market

Now, let’s take a look at how you can tailor the regular keyword research process to the DACH market.

Use German keywords and phrases correctly

The language barrier is one of the largest problems to overcome when trying to optimize for the German-speaking world. Not all keywords are directly translatable from English to German. German speakers may also use slightly different keywords to look for products.

For instance, a common German language keyword used to look for car headrests is “Kopfstütze Kissen,” or “headrest pillow.” But you will also find keywords like “Autositz Kopfstuetze,” or “car seat headrest,” “Nackenstütze,” or “neck rest,” and “Nackenkissen,” or “neck pillow.” Some ecommerce search queries in the DACH market might have a higher level of variability than in the US market, and you’ll have to research keywords thoroughly and adjust to that.

You should find keywords like that for your niche and use them in product content creation for DACH. Keep in mind that there might be regional differences in German for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so make sure you do keyword research in each country separately.

Consider anglicized spelling

Thanks to the global use of English, not all keywords in DACH markets will be in German. Sometimes, German speakers use English words to find products on Google.

For instance, the German word for “airfryer” is “Heißluft Fritteuse,” but they also might use the word “airfryer” when searching for this product.

You should find keywords like that in your niche and include them in the optimization plan.

Target long-tail keywords with low competition

If your website is a newly registered one, you won’t be able to rank high for competitive keywords where the top ten of the SERP is taken by popular German platforms. Start keyword research for DACH market with keywords that have lower competition.

One of the best ways of doing this is by focusing on highly specific long-tail keywords. You might not beat on the word “kids’ toys,” but with something like “toddler developmental toys,” it might be easier to dominate.

Optimize website content for the keywords you target

Finally, you have to optimize the product pages of your website to fit within the DACH search results pages. Look at what the highest-ranking competitors are doing with the copy accompanying product and blog pages. At first, try to follow the examples that rank well in terms of the number of keywords on the page, the word count, etc.

You can get this information by either scanning the competing pages manually or using a content research tool. Feel free to experiment with the copy to see if changing the number of keywords or word count has any positive results on the ranking. Draw your own conclusions and change the other pages accordingly.


The DACH region is a lucrative market with arguably more potential than most other language groups in Europe. But it’s a tough one to penetrate.

Whether you’re planning to expand into the German-speaking markets or you’re just opening your first ecommerce business in a DACH country, start your journey with keyword research.

When done well, you will know more about the interests and purchasing behaviors of German speakers in the EU and can start ranking in the top ten of the SERP. So do your research, start small, and work on improving both your SEO performance and general business processes, because the DACH market can be unforgiving to poor business practices.