Setting up your ecommerce website on Shopify is a strong move. Unless you are a natural at navigating the backside of websites, deciphering plug-ins, and setting up a menu, that was a huge accomplishment for you – well done! You likely started your website with content and a strong focus on search engine optimization to let Google know that your website is different from (and better than) any competitor. Excellent start – but continued optimization is needed.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is using keyword research to optimize your website’s performance so that you can compete with the thousands of other online stores. Your research revealed specific keywords related to your products that would bring you positive Google attention and ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). You optimized your static pages, have readable URLs, and stay current with mobile-first indexing to be sure your website is responsive across all devices. You are doing great – but it is time to add ecommerce SEO to the top of your list of things to do.
Almost half of online shoppers start their search with a search engine like Google when they are ready to make a purchase, while 38% turn to Amazon to start shopping. With tight competition for clicks, it is a good idea to invest time and energy into scheduling the time to optimize your ecommerce SEO regularly.
How is Ecommerce SEO Different?
A lot of ecommerce is focused on visuals; however, the content is just as important due to SEO. While the same principles matter in having your site optimized for technical, on-page, and off-page SEO, you’ll apply these differently when applying to an online retail shop instead of a service or information-focused site.
Technical SEO for Your Ecommerce Store
Implementing a robust technical SEO is essential for your shop, from site architecture to linking correctly. Technical SEO includes anything technical that is done to improve your search rankings, from site indexing that helps the bot crawl your site to keeping your site free of issues that keep it from being understood and ranked by search engines. Use technical SEO to attract organic traffic and turn that traffic into customers!
The Importance of HTTPS
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure is the most common security protocol on the internet. Identifying that a site has HTTPS gives reasonable assurance that the site is legitimate and content is being transmitted and stored securely. HTTPS provides an additional layer of security by encrypting data, which protects it from anyone trying to view it.
The Influence of Site Speed
Simply put, site speed matters. A faster website is seen as more reliable and professional, while a slower website annoys the user and results in them moving on before the site fully loads. Patience may be a virtue, but that does not apply when waiting for your favorite website to load!
Why is Site Speed Important?
- 1 in 4 visitors bounce from a website taking more than 4 seconds to upload
- 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%
- 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will shop somewhere else
- 46% of users don’t revisit a poorly performing website
Did you know that even one second will cause a potential visitor to leave your website? This is called a bounce. Optimally, you want your ecommerce website to load in two seconds or less to reduce your bounce rate. A high bounce rate tells Google that users didn’t find your content helpful, and Google will lower your ranking.
Why Should You Set up Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is one of the most robust tools available in SEO. Not only is Google doing the ranking for SERPs, but Google is also telling you exactly what they are looking for to help you rank higher. Continuous improvements, like the PageSpeed Insight, are an excellent summary of how your page is performing, where it is experiencing issues, and, with a little drill down, how to resolve those issues. This report provides insight into the performance of both mobile and desktop devices.
5 Key Areas of Crucial Ecommerce SEO:
1. Monitor your mobile and desktop loading speeds
2. Keep your linking clean
3. 301s keep users on your site
4. There is nothing worse than a 404
5. Good site architecture is easier to crawl
1. Mobile vs. Desktop Speed Performance
While our mobile phones are an incredible feat of technology, desktop computers still have larger processors and more reliable connection speeds to the internet resulting in faster website loading times. Even if the website is optimized for mobile devices, the desktop still has slightly faster loading speeds. A load time of 5 seconds or less is optimal for a mobile device, but even a one-second improvement can dramatically increase conversions.
2. Linking should be clean and straightforward.
Internal linking (links that point back onto your website) must be kept clean and straightforward. Limit the number of clicks to get to the product the user is shopping for. For example, clicking on a home page, category page, and then specific product page is a good depth. Be sure your anchor text, call to action, and button text is relevant and uses keywords – “click here” is never a good option.
3. 301s help to keep users on your site.
Redirects, or 301s, are very common on the internet. They indicate a permanent relocation of a specific webpage. 301s often happen when someone changes domains, moves a page to a new location, or has deleted a page. There is no negative impact on your SEO ranking for a 301, as a redirected link is always better than having no page available.
4. 404s are the worst.
A 404 status code tells the web user that an internet page is not available. It’s not there. And we don’t know where to tell you to find it. While these error messages don’t necessarily hurt your ecommerce SEO ranking, they could result in a poor user experience and loss of conversion. Try to fix any backlinks to 404 pages and redirect the broken links with a 301 to a relevant location.
5. It’s easier to crawl websites with good site architecture.
Google wants to index your site to make the user experience easier. Good site architecture makes that crawl easier, and search engines can find new pages – and any changes you made to existing pages – faster. Improving your site architecture is a significant step for excellent user experience and effective SEO. Set yourself up for success with an SEO consultant to ensure your SEO content is structured to your best advantage.
ecommerce SEO is driven by these five key technical areas. However, as the largest ecommerce platform, Shopify, utilizes its own site architecture that lends itself to ecommerce success for each of its subscribing businesses. Shopify SEO boasts advanced functionality while allowing you to customize your individual site.
Shopify’s Site Architecture
Shopify provides an application-style platform that allows you to download and customize your Shopify website. It offers features to enhance sales and social media promotion as well as inventory management, accounting, and business reporting. Shopify has a specific site architecture with a specific URL structure that cannot be changed. Every page must be one of these page types.
4 Types of Shopify Pages:
For a website hosting thousands of products, this site architecture helps both users and search engines discover the products sold on a Shopify ecommerce website. With specific linking requirements, each product should be reachable within three clicks. This is a key element of Shopify SEO success.
Structured Data for Ecommerce
Structured data is any set of data that is organized in a particular way on a webpage. When the data is structured in a certain way and tagged with specific text groups, that helps search engines understand the context of the information and return accurate results to searchers. The purpose is to give web users rich results and detailed information about your website.
Important Elements of On-Page SEO
On-site SEO is all the elements on your website under your control to ensure your site is search-engine friendly. On-site SEO is the content you provide, optimized with keywords, avoiding repetition, and using your own original product and collection descriptions.
You can tweak your tags, content, and internal links to improve visibility and increase traffic. These are the areas you can optimize regularly to continually improve your user experience. If you aren’t comfortable developing your own on-site content, employing an SEO consultant is money well spent.
4 Type of Pages to Optimize:
- Product descriptions
- Collection text/descriptions
Optimize Pages on Your Website
Your website’s four most important pages are your Home Page, About Page, Blog Page, and Contact Us Page. Each page should tell your story and entice the reader to learn more about you and the products or services you are selling. Optimizing these pages with keyword-rich content, including images with alt text, is key to increasing your ranking and having a better chance of being found.
Product Descriptions Should be Optimized for SEO
Product Descriptions are used to show the value of a product to potential customers to help them make an informed buying decision. Product descriptions are highly effective SEO content when they are detailed, clear, and professionally written using carefully researched keywords (without stuffing!).
Well-written product descriptions will keep you high in the SERPs, enhance the customer experience, and help you sell your product. Be sure to keep your product descriptions on a regular schedule for updating and optimizing. SEO content can effectively be outsourced to a quality SEO consultant.
Collection Text Optimization
Collection text/descriptions provide an overview of the products you are selling in an organized and concise way. Collection text will include keywords, phrases, and questions used to search for your products. The collection description is a broader platform of SEO content to describe your products. It is also a good opportunity to provide backlinks to specific products to aid the web user in finding the product they are searching for.
Blogging for SEO
Are blogs still relevant in 2022? Absolutely – yes! In fact, roughly 409 million internet users read about 20 billion blog pages monthly. Blogs continue to flourish.
There are five good reasons blogs continue to thrive and show no signs of slowing down. Blogs are an SEO content-rich strategy that can be efficiently structured by an SEO consultant to maximize your site rankings.
5 Reasons Blogs Thrive:
1. Stats tell the story
2. The format
3. Relatable content
4. Constant evolution
5. There’s a niche for everyone
1. Statistics don’t lie.
With the sizable number of internet users reading billions of blog pages monthly, it is no surprise to learn that 53% of marketing professionals use blogging as their primary content marketing strategy. SEO consultants drive blogs for significant SEO content in a user-friendly way. Is blogging popular? I think we can agree – it really is.
2. The format is appealing.
Blogs break down information into a shorter and more portable length than a magazine. Blogs have a high degree of fun, using “top 5 lists” to keep us inspired long enough to read to the end. They tend to be more informal and informative while not being dry. It appears blogs have found a sweet spot in the attention span of a technology-driven society.
3. Relatable content written by people with personality.
Even when a writer has an agenda or shows bias, we like that the author is authentic. There is a more personal feeling about a blog, less researched, more opinion that we can agree with – or not – and still enjoy the individual writer and topic. Personality makes things relatable, and blogs tend to be written in a way that conveys personality. SEO content is served up in a user-friendly way that doesn’t call attention to the keywords being employed.
4. The blog format has constantly evolved.
The concept of the blog is barely ten years old, and yet the constant evolution has it almost unrecognizable from the coining of the term for dairies (or logs) as “blog” when merging the word “web” with “log.” Since that time of logging experiences and sharing them with an audience, blogs have grown to include videos (vlogs), audio clips, recipes, photos, and even unique artwork. There will always be a space for blogs to share information in a unique and fresh way that audiences seem to enjoy.
5. What isn’t a blog topic?
There is a blog for every reader and a reader for every blog! There is no niche that is niche enough to have an opinion on and read about. Whole communities can be found around a niche blog – tiny homes, traveling, health, and wellness. If you are interested in the topic, a blog has been written, is being written, or will be written on that topic. One of the reasons blogs are so relevant – we haven’t run out of things to talk about!
Why Off-Page SEO Matters
One thing remains constant in SEO content – it is constantly changing. Search algorithms and ranking factors require regular optimization to ensure the search engine and user experience continue to perceive the website as popular, relevant, trustworthy, and having authority. Off-page SEO relies on other pages, sites, and people to link to or promote your website.
The entire Google algorithm used to rank content is a bit of a mystery. However, off-page could likely contribute to more than 50% of the ranking factor weight. Backlinks from websites with high domain authority are a great indicator of authority and give your website a higher ranking.
There are many strategies to employ when maintaining an ecommerce website. With some SEO savvy and know-how, you can effectively manage your site on your own. But there is no shame in having an SEO consultant to be sure your website is working as hard as you are to be successful.