Even if you’re new to Shopify, chances are you’ve heard the term SEO throw around. If you’re not familiar with it, though, here’s what you need to know: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your Shopify website so that search engines like Google can find and rank it in their results pages. That way, people searching online can find your products easily and click on them to make purchases on your site! With the right Shopify SEO strategy, you can start seeing more customers and sales right away!
Search engine optimization explained
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of online business. Studies show that at least 90% of people research products and services online before making a purchase. If your business doesn’t appear on search engine results pages (SERPs), you could be missing out on lots of potential customers—customers who are instead buying from your competitors. Fortunately, there are several ways SEO can help increase traffic to your Shopify business and thereby increase sales. In general, however, most website owners don’t actually do much in terms of SEO until they have time and money available.
Optimize your store’s structure
Make it easy to navigate for your customers and help search engine crawlers get to you quickly by building your website in a logical structure. A logical structure helps site visitors navigate your store, and it makes it easier for search engine crawlers to quickly identify and parse through your content. Remember, search engines are looking for quality links that are updated often on relevant pages with content that is easy to crawl through. Make sure each page of your store is unique and focused on a single product or group of products. When building new pages, focus on quality over quantity; five high-quality pages are better than twenty low-quality ones. For existing pages, try structuring them around common search terms used by customers when searching for specific products.
Be strategic about your collections pages
Having the right collections pages can be a major boost to your e-commerce business. Use them wisely, and you’ll easily draw in lots of clicks, new visitors, and more sales. The key is to not be broad with categories. The more targeted you can get, the more you’ll rank. Remember, if you want to get people clicking on a particular collection page, it’s best if the content on that page is totally unique—you don’t want someone on another site coming over just for one thing and leaving when they see the rest of your stock. Instead, focus that specific collection page around products with a similar style or theme—which will also help ensure repeat purchases.
Research and optimize based on your target keywords
Understanding search intent is critical for your business. The last thing you want is for users to find your website, but never click through because they don’t believe your site can solve their problem. For example, if someone searches for dog food on Google (or whatever search engine you prefer), that person likely has a specific brand in mind. He wants to learn more about that specific brand and what other options are available within his budget. If he were typing in what to feed my dog, he would have different expectations than someone searching for a particular brand.
To better understand search intent, here are the four main intent categories:
- Commercial – The keyword used around a specific service or product.
- Navigational – This is a long-tail keyword that search engines can detect as part of a search for an answer to a question.
- Informational intent – a keyword used when looking for more information about a particular thing. It can be a product, service, a guide, or anything else that helps them in their research.
- Transactional intent – The buyer already has an intent to purchase, they just need to search a specific keyword to place their order.
To improve search results, it’s best to use a blend of head and long-tail keywords as demonstrated in this Ecommerce SEO guide. Blended keywords are typically a phrase or a few words that you’re targeting in your SEO strategy. They might include specific benefits or features of your product, like long-lasting batteries or a multi-use cordless can opener. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, might be single words that an Internet user is likely to type into a search engine. Head and long-tail keywords work together and should both play an important role in your SEO strategy.
Beef up your category and product page content
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just a matter of creating some generic keyword-heavy content for your site, instead, it’s something you should take into careful consideration at every stage of your online business—from product creation to marketing to technical implementation. To grow a Shopify business effectively, you need to go through each one of these steps, making sure that everything from how you plan categories and products to your website’s code has been designed with SEO in mind.
Before getting started with SEO on Shopify or any other platform, here are three key pieces of advice to keep in mind:
- You don’t have control over Google rankings. With so many variables affecting whether or not someone will see your page within their search results (including backlinks), there’s no way around it—you can only influence them by doing things like optimizing images and keywords on product pages; using dynamic titles; choosing descriptive URLs; implementing sitemaps; using rich snippets; and more. It may seem scary to think that you’re at Google’s mercy, but if you optimize for SEO properly, then you’ll be in a better position than most to get found.
- It takes time to grow an online business. While some people are able to start making money right away with their first Shopify store, others take longer than they’d hoped because they didn’t do everything they could to help themselves rank higher in search engines from day one. Don’t make these mistakes! Instead, make sure that everything from how you plan categories and products to your website’s code has been designed with SEO in mind. If you don’t pay attention to SEO throughout your business’s lifecycle, then Google won’t be able to show people exactly what they’re looking for when they come across your site. This means fewer clicks, less traffic, and ultimately less revenue.
- You can always improve on what you’ve already done. Even if you optimize every product page on your site perfectly—using all of Google’s keyword-searching criteria—you’ll still want to revisit those pages regularly as new keywords come up or as new competitors pop up in search results for specific terms.
Create and publish educational and helpful blog content
The goal of any educational or helpful content should be to educate potential customers about your niche, why they need you, and give them a link to your website. The keyword research process will tell you how much search volume there is for each keyword you’re targeting. Once you know how much people are searching for that term, it will be easy to create content around those terms. For example, if one of your target keywords has a high search volume (aka a lot of people are looking for info related to that term), then write an informational post on that topic instead of making a sales pitch. Don’t just look at one keyword; have several relevant pieces of content at different stages to rank well in multiple search engines.
If you don’t pay attention to SEO throughout your business’s lifecycle, then Google won’t be able to show people exactly what they’re looking for when they come across your site. This means fewer clicks, less traffic, and ultimately less revenue. Start building a strategy that is effective for both customers and search engines.