By Rupert Rowe
Finally… your Shopify store is set up and, sure enough, it looks great.
Now, the biggest challenge that you will have to contend with is generating traffic to your site.
Getting to page 1 of Google’s search results page isn’t easy whether in organic search (SEO) or paid (Pay Per Click (PPC). However, this detailed guide by Diffusion Digital ought to put you in the right direction.
***If you haven’t started building your site yet, it is so much easier to introduce these changes at the beginning of a web build so get in touch with Diffusion now and we’ll talk you through best practices***
Start with optimising your Shopify structure
How you organise the content on your page is very important when working with SEO. If your website’s structure and features allows shoppers to find the things they’re looking for easily, then they are likely to spend a substantial amount of time on your website and view more pages.
And, since page engagement is a Google ranking factor, when visitors visit more of your pages and spend a lot of time on your site, your website’s search engine rankings will automatically improve.
Besides this, it’s important you make your site simple to navigate by using a streamlined structure that enables search engines to crawl it and therefore index and rank your pages and products. A good way to do this is to minimise the number of clicks it takes for visitors to access a product from your home page or a landing page.
Improve user experience
Improving user experience can significantly help you to boost the SEO rankings of your site. First, boost the speed of your website. When your site moves quickly and is easy to navigate, users will spend more time on it. So use small optimised images, avoid using sliders, and remove any apps that aren’t necessary.
Second, use a responsive design for your site because they render well on any device screen, including tablets, smartphones and mobiles. Generally, responsive themes can significantly improve the user experience and retain visitors on a site for longer.
Since Google considers that the time spent on a page correlates with the value of the site, an easily navigable website will considerably improve your rankings and will ultimately lead to more traffic, more conversions and, eventually, repeat customers.
Select the right keywords
Keywords are at the heart of good SEO.
They tell Google who you are and what you sell. To find the best keywords, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and know what they are searching for to find products like yours.
When selecting keywords, you should differentiate between standard SEO and SEO for Shopify.
For Shopify, use a phrase or keyword that suggests an intention to buy. So, try to modify the phrases or keywords to incorporate active words such as ‘buy’, ‘cheap’, and ‘best’.
It is important that each page on your Shopify site – including your home page, product pages, categories and blog pages – rank for different keywords.
Therefore, you should try and carry out keyword research before building your site, where possible, to know the pages you should create. Or you should regularly update your site’s pages to include those optimised for keywords.
For example, some pages may target searches for information or tutorials, while others may target intent to buy, as already mentioned.
Finally, use Google Keyword Planner to conduct keyword research; it will give you ideas for which keywords to use and their search volume. This tool will give you a rough idea of the number of monthly searches for any keyword you would want to use.
Place your keywords in the right places
You’ve now identified your keywords, great. Next, place them where Google search engines can locate them quickly.
For Shopify, you should put your keywords in five important places. They are:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Image description & alt tags
- Headers and titles
- Product descriptions
Use only one H1 (header 1) tags on your pages. The H1 tag is often used as the main headline, and it usually has the page’s main keywords. Since Shopify page titles are generally the default H1 tags for any page created on the platform, avoid adding a H1 tag anywhere within the page.
Currently, Google frequently displays the first 50 to 60 characters of most page titles, so your page titles should be within 60 characters to avoid being truncated in search results.
Also, position your keywords near the beginning of the page title.
Google doesn’t have a precise character count for meta descriptions, so keep yours punchy and, preferably, under 155 characters.
Remember to include your most potent copy and target keywords at the beginning of the meta description.
For Shopify, store owners should always remember that the page title is the default URL. Include your target keywords in the page title but keep it short and straightforward by avoiding the use of filler words.
Ensure that all the images in your shop have all descriptive alt tags and filenames. With Google accounting for close to 23% of all web searches, you should name each file with a descriptive, keyword-optimised name and use a similar alt tag to explain what the image is.
Connect your content and pages with internal links
The more connected a website is, the more Google understands your store and the products you sell. Therefore, links, as well as keywords, are essential when it comes to SEO. Throughout your site, use internal links to connect content and pages. Ensure that your category pages are also clearly linked from the home page too. Moreover, create links to your products and category links from the content in your blog.
Create backlinks to your store
To effectively rank your store, Google assesses the other websites that link to your eCommerce site. Google uses an algorithm that assesses the authority of the sites linking to your store, as well as the number of backlinks, to determine the rating of your eCommerce site.
There are several ways of generating links back to your Shopify store. You can choose to email websites requesting them to link or review your products or agree to write a guest post with a link to your site, among other ways.
Create redirects for old product pages
Any eCommerce site will, at one time or another, run out of stock or discontinue products. If you delete the item, any links to the product will direct customers to an error page. Google doesn’t like error pages, and having them appear on your site may increase your bounce rate, not to mention cause you to sink down the rankings. To avoid such a scenario, create 301 redirects from your old product pages to new pages. If you don’t have an equivalent new product then at the very least you should redirect them to the home page.
Encourage customer reviews
Gone are the days when using optimised alt-tags and keyword stuffing was the easy and sure-fire way to get high rankings on Google’s search engine results page. Google is continuously evolving and, increasingly, customer reviews have become a vital part of SEO.
Google has a soft spot for regular updates, unique content and evidence of high user activity. Customer reviews on a site provide all three and increase sales. So, if you’ve never seen your customers as content creators, it’s important to note that Google perceives them as such. Whenever they leave a review, Google is given new content to crawl, which can increase your SEO ranking.
Provide content by using the Shopify blog feature
Shopify has an inbuilt blog feature that is greatly under-utilised. Develop a content strategy and start writing exciting articles consistently. Blogging is essential for SEO because it enables you to generate more backlinks and squeeze in some keywords, thereby improving your site’s Google rankings. Moreover, good content can allow your store visitors to remain on your website for longer and see you as a trusted authority.
For most shop owners, deciding on the content they should provide is the most challenging thing. However, in reality, it doesn’t have to be. You may wish to compose a list of the things your customers frequently enquire about and generate content around those topics, or find out what you think your customers need answers on and write something relevant (such as a how-to guide or insights on the latest trends). This isn’t the place to go into detail about your product information; your content needs to focus on engaging them and providing real solutions to their questions and needs.
The content you use on your site will give your customers and potential customers a chance to familiarise themselves with your brand without necessarily selling. It is one of the most uncomplicated ways of using backlinks and keywords to rank highly on Google.
Use Shopify apps and tools
Shopify has a number of apps and tools to use that can greatly help you to boost your site’s ranking. These include:
The app enables you to look at the SEO issues on your site which require attention, helping you to improve your ranking while saving money and time. It performs regular checks on your meta descriptions, page titles and headings, article structure, speed, content, and more to ensure that your site is search optimised.
The app enables you to generate relevant meta tags for your products and alt tags for product images. Additionally, the tool directs your store information to search engines by using JSON-LD data that is configured in a way that search engines prefer.
As a rule of thumb, having plenty of high-quality images on your site can significantly increase your conversion rates. An image optimiser helps you to keep your site’s speed up.
Like Yoast the ubiquitous SEO tool for WordPress, SEO manager is a tool with the aim of simplifying your Shopify SEO. It uses a traffic-light system to show you how effectively placed your chosen keywords are and how readable your content is.
The tool helps you to identify underused and overlooked keywords that you can use on your site to increase traffic and conversions.
Knowing how to make your Shopify website rank better isn’t difficult when you know what the search engines, and your customers, are looking for. Or, take a shortcut and following this guide to help you get there faster.
If all else fails and you need an expert’s help, the folks here at Diffusion Digital would be delighted to hear from you.