The Good News Is, Shopify SEO Isn’t Much Different From Regular SEO…
Do you ever wonder how some fashion labels can develop such gorgeous websites, and still…crickets? It’s probably due to poor search engine optimization. Search engine optimization or SEO is the art of creating a site that’s easy for Google to find. You’ll need several marketing components for a successful e-commerce business, but SEO plays a HUGE role in that success! Studies show that the first 10 results on the first page of Google receive 92% of ALL search traffic. If you want a profitable fashion business, then you want to be in those first 10 results! Improving your ranking increases your website traffic, bringing you more potential customers! Good SEO is comprised of several different strategies and it can get pretty technical. While Google’s search algorithms are elusive, these Shopify SEO strategies will get you off to a strong start!
Shopify SEO vs Regular SEO?
Shopify SEO is not much different from standard SEO– the same core rules apply. This article will provide you with a universal SEO strategy, but just like any platform there are a few helpful SEO plug-ins that are only available with Shopify. You can see a list of those tools here!
We listed this part first because it’s the most important component! SEO is a search engine marketing strategy, meaning its success is measured by the QUALITY of search traffic it brings to your website. Keyword search should only target those who have a RELEVANT interest in your product. The key to online sales is helping “high-intent” searchers find what they’re looking for and providing them with it! Google will love you for this and recognize your site as a valuable resource.
Gather a List of Market-Relevant Keywords
Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes and brainstorm from their world. Draft a list of keywords/key-phrases that would lead them to your website. As a startup, it’s best to start this strategy as niche and specific as possible.
As you brainstorm keywords, you want to be mindful of user intent. There are two ways to categorize keywords.
- Short-tail vs Long-tail and
- Navigational, Informational, and Transactional
Just think about it— when you type a short, generic key-phrase like “tank tops” in Google, your intent to purchase is probably very low. But as you specify your search with descriptive, specific words like “cropped black rib tank top” you probably have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for meaning you’re probably closer to purchasing this item–at least on a psychological level! Note that the lower intent keyword was shorter or “short-tail” while the higher intent phrase was inherently longer or “long-tail.”
When building an e-commerce site, you want a mixture of both short and long-tail, but as a start-up you definitely want to focus your limited time and resources towards long-tail keywords. The longer and more descriptive the search, the more likely that searcher will be willing to buy or at least learn more about you!
Just as your site needs a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords, it will also need a mix of informational, navigational, and transactional keywords.
- Informational Keywords: “what is a tank top” “benefits of a sweat-proof tank top” “10 ways to style a tank top” “how to mend a knitted tank top”
- Navigational Keywords: “ASOS nautical tank top” “Zara black tank tops” “black tank top near me”
- Transactional Keywords: “where to purchase a black rib tank top” “black rib tank top on sale” “store that sells eco-friendly black tank tops”
As you compile your list, use Google Keyword Planner to find even more ideas for long-tail keywords. Keyword Planner shows you the average monthly search volume for a given keyword, and its competition column helps you assess how easy or difficult it would be to rank for a specific keyword.
**Targeting keywords with a high search volume and a low competition rate is a good rule of thumb when starting out.
Use the Keywords to Map Out Your Content
While you want to be sure to focus on transactional keywords for your product pages, navigational and informational keywords are also needed for a solid SEO foundation. Informational keywords describe the content on your site and they’re great for blog content ideas, while navigational keywords direct people to specific pages on your site.
If you’ve already launched your Shopify site, then you’ll want to take a look at each webpage and make sure its optimized with the most relevant keywords.
If you haven’t launched yet, then even better! The best way to build a website is to build your semantic core first anyway. Semantic core is essentially the core set of keywords you’ll use to describe the content of a website. After establishing the core, simply base your page content around the keywords you’ve targeted. Of course this list is always expanding as you add new products and publish more blog posts, but creating a strong foundation is key!
There’s a small part of your search ranking that you can control during the content creation phase. This is known as on-page SEO. On Page SEO strategies include:
Content, Content, Content!
- Produce High-Quality Content– Google (and other major search engines) are in the business of providing users with high-quality, relevant content. When developing each site page, pair content ideas with the relevant keywords that your audience is actually searching for. Keep in mind that Google likes pages with at least 250 words of text and at least 500 for blog posts! When it comes to product pages, be sure to write clear, original descriptions that anticipate the concerns of your buyers. The more informative, yet concise the better. See our recent article on writing sales-worthy product descriptions! Speaking of product pages…
- Add Shopify SEO-Friendly Review Sections– Did you know that the words written in your customer reviews can actually help you rank for those long tail keywords?! By installing Shopify’s Product Review app, you can add SEO-friendly review scores to you product pages and boost their ranking in search results.
- Utilize Internal Links– Internal links are linked words that send users to another page within your website. You can use these links to guide readers to other relevant pages within your site. These are also great for boosting your page view numbers and click-through rates!
Optimizing Each Page Component w/ Focus Keywords
As we stated previously, Google’s primary goal is to meet users’ search needs. Including your focus keyword in each section will help ensure that your page content matches your headlines and descriptions.
- Page Titles (H1 Headers)– Think of your page title as the salesman of your site page– page title is just a fancy way of saying headline. Since your page title is the headline that people will see on their search results; you’ll want to make sure that this text is clear, yet compelling enough to click. Including your focus keyword in your headline is crucial as Google needs to compare your headline text with your page text to ensure that everything is consistent. Click-bait-y headlines are the first way to be penalized by Google so have some integrity in this. And try to keep your page titles straightforward and concise, otherwise your headlines can get shortened. This is also why it’s better to place keywords towards the beginning of your headline. Page titles are automatically coded as H1 headers, so make sure your other page headers are either H2,H4 or H5 so Google won’t confuse your page title with a lesser important header!
- Meta Description– The meta description is the first few lines of preview text that appear under a headline on a search results page. You want this copy to be strong and catchy, yet concise. And it’s best to keep them short–between 150-155 characters long.
- ALT Tags– Did you know that Google Images now accounts for 23% of all web searches? Label all images and graphics accurately and descriptively so they can rank in Google Images. Include your focus keywords where you can, but don’t overdo it.
- Slug/URL– Be sure to include your keyword in your page URL (aka slug). Shopify automatically generates URLs from the page title; but if you shorten it, keep the focus keyword in tact.
Optimize the User Experience
Another more technical, yet extremely relevant SEO strategy is great user experience. Make sure your site is:
- Mobile-Friendly– The number of people shopping via mobile is steadily growing so you want to make sure the mobile site is smooth and easy to use.
- Fast!– Did you know that speed is a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches? PageSpeed Insights is a great tool that allows you to check page speed, and even provides a list of tweaks you can do to improve your site’s performance.
** And whenever a product is discontinued or a page is deleted, redirect the URL to an active page to avoid “dead links.”
Utilize Google Search Console
Last but not least, utilize Google Search Console. Search console provides all of the tools and reports that help you measure and address issues that hinder you Shopify SEO, and ultimately help your site shine in Google search results! Simply upload your sitemap to Google Search Console and grant Google permission to crawl your site and check for errors. Sitemaps are automatically generated with Shopify sites and they provide search engines with an organized index of your site pages.
We hope these Shopify SEO tips was helpful to you! If you still have questions, comment below. We want to hear from you!
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