ECommerce sales make up 9.5% of total sales in the U.S. That means if you want to start a successful business, eCommerce is the industry to choose. And if you’re looking for a convenient eCommerce platform, Shopify is also the one to choose.
Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform. Shopify hosts your store and your content, all in one place.
Along with hosting your website and your products, you can also host your blog on Shopify. This helps you rank in Google searches.
How do you leverage Shopify to achieve better SEO results? Here’s your guide to Shopify SEO.
What Is Shopify SEO?
With the advent of the internet and search engines, businesses found a new way to attract customers: with SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and the process entails using Google’s algorithm to rank in search results.
This is done using a variety of methods: keyword ranking, link building, and even using some technical SEO in your website formatting.
The goal is to generate more sales using organic traffic. Organic traffic is any traffic that is unpaid. Inorganic traffic is traffic you receive from paid campaigns, a common example is a paid ad.
What does this have to do with Shopify? As stated previously, Shopify offers a blog to host your content. This blog comprises of a full CMS system — you can add keywords, edit SEO metadata, and perform a myriad of other SEO functions.
This helps you rank in Google without having to host your blog on a separate CMS platform.
Breaking Down Different SEO Strategies
Before we describe ranking with your Shopify store, it’s best to gain a better understanding of the different SEO strategies. Here are a few common methods that will help your store rank higher.
One of the most essential — and overlooked — aspects of SEO is your overall site structure. This encompasses website performance and design.
Google punishes websites that load too slowly, are jumbled with content, use too many graphics/animations, and are overall outdated. This is because the modern internet user will only stay on that website for a short period of time.
47% of users expect a website to load in less than two seconds. One of the main reasons why websites load slowly is too much content. This is apparent with auto play videos and audio.
In addition, your website needs to be responsive for all devices.
Even if your web design looks great, is fast, and your performance is up to par, this isn’t a guarantee you’ll retain visitors. If your overall web design doesn’t provide a convenient way to view and skim content, your visitors won’t be enticed.
Fortunately, Shopify makes it easy to achieve a great website. Shopify offers free and paid themes that provide all the essential qualities of a good website.
In addition, there are plenty of website designers who have experience working with Shopify’s site structure. They can create a custom website for your store.
How do customers find your website on Google? They search for certain keywords. This is why it’s integral to rank your website for specific keywords.
You can use keywords in a variety of different places on your Shopify website. This includes your blog posts, your product pages, and in your landing pages.
How do you find high-performing keywords? It’s important to use keyword research tools.
These tools search for keywords in your niche that rank well on search engines. They can also audit your Shopify store for keywords you already rank for and can even search your competitors for their ranking keywords.
What is a “high performing keyword?” The goal is to use keywords that have a high search volume but low competition and low difficulty.
This ensures your customers are searching for the keyword, but the low competition rating means the keyword isn’t oversaturated. In addition, the low difficulty means you don’t require lots of backlinks to rank for the keyword.
To optimize your Shopify store for keywords, include the keyword in the product page title and description. Use the keyword in all metadata.
For your blogs, use the keyword in the title, metadata, the intro, conclusion, and a header. There’s a keyword section to the right of the blog post editor. Ensure you add the keyword to this section.
On-page SEO is optimizing individual pages to rank higher in Google. This practice does so with a variety of different methods.
Take each page URL, as an example. Shopify allows you to customize your URLs. Your store name is already included in the URL, ensure the keyword is also in the URL.
You’ll also have to audit the content on each page to ensure they rank.
The easiest way to audit each page is by looking at the content.
Long-form product descriptions perform better because there’s more content for Google to crawl, as opposed to short-form content. The same applies to your blogs and landing pages.
While we emphasized ranking for keywords, you should also use secondary keywords. If your customers don’t search for your main keyword, the secondary keywords still give your page a better chance at ranking.
When using keyword search tools, find closely related keywords that rank as well as your main keyword (or at least close to it).
Unlike your main keyword, you don’t need to include secondary keywords in specific areas. Just ensure you slide them in where they sound natural and helpful.
What About Your Individual Product Pages?
One of the essential ways to rank your Shopify store is by ranking your product pages. This ensures each page performs well on Google search results.
How do you rank your product pages? This can be difficult if you have hundreds of products in your store catalog. Here’s a way to streamline this process.
Start with your top-selling products, your promotions, and your landing pages. Do a full SEO audit to ensure you’re ranking for your chosen keywords, the website performance is effective, and you’re receiving backlinks.
Then, find some of your most popular website and product pages. Find out what makes them rank, as opposed to your other pages.
Finally, take some of the keywords you used and discover which ones perform the best. Optimize the product pages you used for those keywords and perform an SEO audit.
If your store is brand new, implement these SEO tactics to each product page early on. This will ensure each page will rank.
Ways to Rank on Shopify
With Shopify’s convenient platform, there are additional ways for your website to rank. Here are a few of the most important ranking factors.
Register Your Shopify Store With Google and Bing
When you create your Shopify store, immediately register it with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. The reason why is simple — you’re telling these search engines your website exists.
Another tip is registering all domains names with these search engine tools. This includes your domain name including the www, http://, and your domain name without these prefixes.
Secure socket layer, or SSL, is essential for every website these days.
SSL provides an extra layer of protection to prevent from hacking or malware. This security feature is especially important for eCommerce websites because you’re handling sensitive customer data.
What does SSL have to do with SEO? Google doesn’t like unsecured websites. If your website doesn’t use SSL, your website visitors will come across a warning page instead of accessing your website.
Fortunately, Shopify provides an SSL domain after you create your custom domain name.
Perform a Website Audit
We already discussed the importance of website design and performance for SEO. But is your website up to par? You won’t know for sure unless you conduct a website audit.
A website audit helps uncover issues with your website by crawling your XML sitemap. This issues can include broken links, bad design, slow-loading content, bad DNS settings, mobile unfriendliness, and any issues with your content.
Create Engaging Content
ECommerce owners need to utilize content effectively. This not only helps Google crawl your website but also tempts customers to purchase more products.
Start with your titles and metadata. Craft a headline that draws a visitor to click the page. Compelling metadata, such as a well-written meta description, can attract visitors on a Google search.
From here, format your content well. Even though long-form content rules Google, don’t write with blocky text. Use more page breaks and separate content with headers and subheaders.
Visual content will also make or break your sale. Ensure all images are high-res and your products are displayed professionally. Investing in video ads is also smart. Keep in mind, auto-playing videos will impact your SEO negatively.
Use Clean URLs
URLs were mentioned briefly. Yes, you should optimize your URLs for a keyword, as you should in other areas of your website. It’s also of equal importance to use clean URLs.
In short, clean URLs consist of short and simple phrases. Let’s say your eCommerce store sells school and office supplies.
If you’re ranking ballpoint pens, you’ll want your URL to read: http://www.yourstore.com/ballpoint-pens.
This URL is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy for Google to crawl.
An example of a bad URL includes: http://www.yourstore.com/ballpoint-3$463748pens/jdhfhrirjdjsjei-8374637382839;7
With all of the extra characters, the URL is unintelligible. Even though the keyword is (kind of) in the URL, it’s almost impossible for Google to crawl it.
Optimize Image Files
A lesser known aspect of SEO is optimizing your image files. Like all types of content, Google crawls your images for SEO results.
However, Google can’t translate an image’s appearance. It needs text to identify the image. This is where alt-text comes in. Alt-text is the file name that you give your image.
What file name should you give? The answer is easy — the keyword!
Let’s give that pen example again. Even if you take a high-res and quality image of the pen, Google isn’t going to tell it’s a picture of a pen. And it definitely won’t recognize the image if the alt-text is something basic like, “image_40.”
Let’s say your keyword is “ballpoint pen.” Use that as the image text.
Are you unable to rename the image file? Don’t worry. Shopify offers an area to edit the image alt-text directly on the editor.
Link building was a topic mentioned previously, but what does this mean?
When other websites link to your website, it establishes credibility. Google will crawl these websites and obtain the information from your backlink. This will help you achieve better search engine results.
How do you build backlinks? There are a couple of different methods. A popular method is working with affiliates and other content creators in your niche. You supply them with links, they write a blog, and will include your link in their content.
Another popular method is investing in link building companies. You pay for their service, supply your links, and the service will include your links on different websites.
However, be wary of the services you trust. Link farms have a reputation for using low-quality websites and blogs, called black hat SEO. Ensure your links are published on high-quality and credible websites.
Add Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are data that helps Google and your audience understand what your content is about. After a user searches something in Google, a rich snippet provides a lengthy description of your content and how it applies to your content.
The key to creating an effective rich snippet is providing helpful content that’s powerful enough to entice the user to click your link.
Let’s use the pen example again. Say a customer searches the definition of ballpoint pens.
You just so happened to write a blog on this post. Your rich snippet will appear first on the Google search, providing the ballpoint one definition while adding in details that provoke the user to learn more.
The customer will click your link, read your full blog post, and may even buy a set of ballpoint pens.
How do you create a rich snippet? The best way to do this is by installing an SEO plugin that’s optimized for rich snippet creation.
Do You Need SEO Help?
Now that you’re finished with this Shopify SEO guide, you probably realize SEO is a huge task. Want to avoid the conflict? Hire a professional who knows how to rank your store.
Take a look at our SEO services.