SEO Tips For Your Shopify Store

Many of our clients use Shopify as their e-commerce platform and frequently ask us if we have any SEO tips. The first thing to point out is that whilst the principles of optimising content for search engines on websites are universal, there are differences between selling a service or a product.

When selling a service you can write long pages of text explaining the benefits and include maybe a case study or two highlighting how your service has helped someone. But selling products is a little trickier in that product pages tend to be fairly short and focus on the details like dimensions, colour etc. So the way to add more content and build an audience is to add a blog to your store and create links between product pages and relevant blog posts.

For Shopify owners, the good news is that Shopify have created a site structure that is very ‘friendly’ and easy to read by Google and Bing. You don’t need to add any code (although Shopify do allow for this is you know what you’re doing for advanced stuff like Structured Data!), you just need to add content in the right places, make sure the content is interesting and ensure your photos look fantastic. Easy eh?

In this article, we’ll focus more on the content placement and technical aspects to consider with a Shopify store and leave how to write interesting content and take great photos for another post. To help you specifically with optimising your online shop we will run through a series of steps to help you tackle each aspect separately. Firstly, let’s understand a little about a Shopify store

Why is Shopify so popular?

For many online retailers, they just don’t want the hassle of a website not working or requiring technical support. Shopify have provided, along with a few others, a fully hosted managed templated e-commerce solution that requires no technical skills whatsoever. You can literally get a store up and running within a few hours. But it may take several months for SEO to work effectively for a brand new site. This has nothing to do with Shopify but everything to do with Google not trusting new domains.

Shopify stores have enough tools included in the standard package to provide you with all you need to create a stunning looking site that operates smoothly. It is very flexible and can be used in any industry (fashion, engineering, food etc) and their backend administration is very easy to use.  Furthermore, all Shopify web pages are 'mobile friendly' which essentially means that they load quickly and look great on a mobile. As most internet searches now originate from a mobile, this is very important for your ranking on Google. If you’re interested in learning more about the features of a Shopify store, visit here https://www.shopify.in/tour/ecommerce-cms

So let’s begin….

What are your target audience searching for?

Otherwise known as keyword research this is a critical step to complete BEFORE you begin building your Shopify store. The aim for developing an seo friendly website is that your web pages are found for search terms that are relevant to your product range. So before you begin building or even signing up to Shopify, do your keyword research and produce a spreadsheet of the search terms that people searching for your products would use to find your site.

Typically, most businesses have just a handful of major keywords and the rest are variations on these themes. For example, if you sell a range of board games then your major keywords could be 'board games', 'strategy games', 'dinner party games' etc and variations on these would include 'board games for adults', 'difficult strategy games' etc. By listing your keywords in a spreadsheet you can then refer to these when you begin writing content for your site.

Content Marketing Efforts

To rank high on Google you will need to create great content. What we mean is, inform your visitors and do your best to make it an interesting read. So how do you create content? Publish blog posts describing the benefits of your products and also write about topics relevant to your products. For example, if you sell clothing make sure you write specific pages about your types/styles of clothes like 'dresses to wear to the christmas party' or '5 great shirts for a summer holiday'.

Remember, if you sell a blue pair of trousers people will not be searching using this term. They are more likely to be searching for 'lightweight summer trousers' or 'smart casual mens chinos'.

Be organised and develop a content marketing strategy. All this means is make sure every blog post or product page you create has a focus on at least one keyword. Brainstorm and write down ideas for blog posts and include in the headline the keyword you are targeting. So, a headline saying "Looking for a Floppy Sun Hat for the Beach?" includes the keyword 'floppy sun hat' . If you write an interesting article about your floppy sun hat with some stylish images and link to your Shopify product page then the page that ranks will be your blog and not the product page. As long as visitors can easily and quickly click through to the product page from your blog post your marketing efforts will have been rewarded!

SEO Friendliness

We mentioned that Shopify make it easy for you to optimise your website by just following the rules. Here are the rules:

  • Create pages for products and not their variations. So if you sell a style of shirt in 5 colours and 6 sizes, use product options in Shopify to create a single page for the shirt with lists of options to choose from.

  • When writing the title for each page include the keyword you want to rank for

  • Ensure the url structure you adopt is easy to read, like 'easy-to-read-url'

  • Make sure every product image in your store is named by describing the picture. So if you have some pictures of a product in various guises call them 'garden-bench-by-the-wall', 'garden-bench-under-a-tree'

  • Don't stuff keywords into text. Write naturally and let your personality shine through your writing. Trust in Google! Search engines look for semantically similar words (like hospital, injury, doctor) to understand what the article is about so it can present it to searchers as a relevant answer. Semantic keywords is a whole area for discussion but suffice to say, if you write naturally and honestly about your passion/products you will include semantic keywords automatically.

Meta Description

This is a brief description of the page rather than the product description and is not actually something you can rank on. So why bother? Well, this description is the text displayed under the page title on search results and is intended to be read by humans NOT Google. So this is your opportunity to write something interesting and enticing to searchers. The aim of the meta description is to encourage people to visit your site (actually the page within your site). So accurately describe what they will discover but hold back a little and let them be intrigued enough to want to click through and find out more.

Internal Linking

Search engines love links. They like external links, which are links from other sites to yours, because it shows you have authority and are respected in your industry. But that depends very much on which sites are linking to yours.

But SE's also love internal links because it shows how easy it is for visitors to navigate your site and therefore makes it easy for web crawlers to search and index your site. So try and always link appropriately from one page to another. For example, ensure all product pages can be accessed from your home page using categories and drop down menus. But also link from one page to another if you feel a visitor may benefit; for example, from a product page listing a power drill link to additional drill bits.

One final point to make about internal linking is to try and use keyword rich anchor texts! All that means is that when creating a link use words that describe where the link is going. For example, 'see our drill bits' would be good anchor text for a link from power drill product page to the drill bit category page. You could try and create your own 'recommendation engine' by adding recommended products at the bottom of every product page. Just make sure they are relevant though!

Social Media Helps Ranking Too

You may have guessed that we at myWarehouse are not great users of social media. But that doesn't mean we are right! Social media posts are not only part of the google ranking algorithm but also play a significant part in distributing and sharing your valuable high quality content.

Use only the social channels that you can support/answer and enable auto posting within Shopify to publish your blog posts to your channels.

Video Content

And finally, video content is possibly the most effective tool in terms of SEO. If you can create short interesting videos about your products or about how your products are used, people will love to see them. They will share them. Talk about them. Link to them. And best of all, Google ranks videos above organic results on search pages.

So if you can shoot a 5 minute video that is interesting and fun/informative to watch you may outrank all your competitors on a specific keyword that may be too hard to rank for using just text.

The good news is that if you are prepared to invest in a little time and effort you can rank on page one on keywords that attract high quality ready to buy visitors. Continue to use product feeds and Google ads, but in the long run it will always be your SEO efforts that produce the best ROI. Compared to traditional marketing methods SEO wins hands down.

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