The latest statistics show that 86% of web searches are done on Google. What is the connection with Shopify? If you use Shopify, you must ensure your site is suitable for Google’s search engine keywords.
Ranking well for relevant search terms of items listed or discussed on your online store means that you will consistently bring potential customers to your website without an additional advertising budget. How to get a better ranking on Google? It takes some quality time to optimize your website for search engines because over two hundred ranking factors are essential to Google’s algorithm – and which, by the way, are constantly changing.
In this guide, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about onsite and offsite SEO and introduce you to some of the most important tools for better search engine visibility for a online store built on Shopify.
Is Shopify well equipped for SEO?
Shopify is user-friendly, and you’ve probably noticed that if you have an online store that runs on one of the top e-commerce platforms. The platform is already equipped with several useful functions for keyword placement regarding search engine optimization. However, successful SEO is about more than inserting search terms into relevant places in the back-end of a website.
Here are some important factors to consider and activities to look into when optimizing your Shopify store:
- Optimization of page structure
- Website ergonomics
- Targeted keywords on product and category pages
- Link building
- Content marketing
- Valuable Shopify SEO Apps
It is essential to note that improving the customer experience should be a priority when optimizing your website, whether the work performed affects the experience directly or indirectly. To understand why this is essential, consider your own online shopping experience. If you’re not comfortable navigating a page on a website, you might leave the site pretty quickly, sometimes without even landing on a product page. This act harms the ranking of a site in search engines. It is called “bouncing” off a site, and Google frowns upon this practice.
Now let’s dive a little deeper into the different aspects of SEO to be aware of when optimizing a Shopify store.
Optimization of the structure of your site
The organizational structure of a website’s pages and content is crucial in search engine optimization. For example, Google’s crawler (a tool that examines your website and tells Google what it finds) struggles to properly read and analyze cluttered sitemaps. A sitemap correctly reads and lists all website pages for search engines. It provides search engines with insight into a website’s overall structure, including content. The key is organized simplicity for good readability, which, in turn, will boost search engine rankings.
Fortunately, Shopify already takes care of this essential task for you. But what exactly can you do to ensure a simpler website structure? Can you make your site navigation clearer for your customers?
Here are three tips to follow:
- Don’t overdo it with categories! Structure your page so that it remains clear. With Shopify, you can easily organize your products and distinguish between two structures when building them. Here are two examples of SEO-friendly website structures:
Home Page -> Category -> Product Page
Home Page -> Category -> Sub Category -> Product Page
- Include an “About Us” page and a “Contact” page to build trust with your prospects.
- Finally, it is crucial to integrate a search box on your online store. A search box will help online visitors find the products they are looking for and make them stay on your site longer.
Improve user experience
In addition to ensuring a good site structure, you can do a few other things to improve your customers’ user experience. User experience is also an extremely important ranking factor and shows Google the value of your page. So here are some things you should always keep an eye on:
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting a single page without clicking anything. Typically, a bounce rate of between 26-40% is desirable for e-commerce sites. Between 41 and 55% is about average, and 56% or more is considered insufficient what is important to note here is that Google compares your website’s bounce rate with competing sites. Therefore, one of your main goals should be to keep users on your website. One way to do this is to include links to other pages in your content and clear call-to-action buttons.
Page speed remains one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. You should therefore ensure that the content of your pages loads quickly. Images that consume a lot of memory and bloated code should be avoided. It would help if you also said goodbye to Shopify apps you don’t need. Using sliders and carousels can also slow down your page. Ask yourself if you need it to convey your products and brand message.
Your website must display correctly on all major browsers and devices today. Many users will come across your store via Facebook or Instagram – provided they are active on those channels. Additionally, mobile searches have vastly outpaced desktop searches over the past two years. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the user experience is impeccable, even from a mobile device. If your online store is built using a responsive theme from Shopify, your content will automatically adapt to different screen sizes. Great news, right? Your customers will be less stressed while shopping, regardless of the device.
In addition to these factors, Google rolled out its page experience algorithm, considering additional factors.
Identify the right keywords.
To the untrained eye, Google’s algorithm looks like science fiction. However, for SEO experts, logic-based intuition and knowledge of the right tools seem to do the trick.
Ultimately, the search engine just wants to show the most relevant results to the internet user based on the search terms, also known as keywords. One of the most crucial factors in search terms is understanding which keywords are essential for your pages and products and which ones your site can ideally rank for in search engine results.
Keyword research is of utmost importance. Having a list of 10-20 of the most important keywords, search terms, and search phrases is a great place to start. But how do you know which keywords will help you convert?
Here are a few tips:
- Search for your product or similar products on different search engines. Think like a human being – what would you as a consumer be looking for to buy the product you are selling?
- Examine the results of your competitors. What terms are your competitors using in descriptions and headings?
- Let Google make suggestions to help you type into the search engine’s search box. Google suggests further search queries or completes your input, which provides information about the search behavior of other users.
Once you have a raw list of keywords, it’s time to evaluate them. It is where you should use specific tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or SEMRush to view search volumes for different key terms. The higher the search volume, the more users search for that exact term. Be careful, however, that the competition for a term is not too strong. If you compete with big players (ex: online marketplaces), you’ll have difficulty getting your Shopify store to rank high.
Finally, list 10-20 keywords you want to target over the next six to nine months. We recommend you check your page’s rank for a keyword weekly and track the ranking fluctuations. To do this, you can link your Google Analytics account to Google Search Console. Google Search Console will give you all the specific rankings for each of your search phrases appearing in Google.
Optimization of categories and product pages
All the information that search engine crawlers receive is obtained from the code. The goal is to ensure that every web page is structured to serve the right ranking factors. Product and category pages should be presented in an organized manner. As a reminder, customers should be able to easily navigate your website and find all the information they are looking for.
An important step is to optimize your store pages with your keywords. Start with your main pages. It will likely be your homepage, main category, and top seller product pages.
You should pay particular attention to the following:
Meta titles and descriptions
Before you go live with a new page, whether a content page or a single product page, you need to ensure that the corresponding page titles and meta descriptions are added, the meta title is the title text that appears on the first line of search results. The meta description is the text that appears below the title of a search result. These two elements (meta titles and meta descriptions) will help search engine users understand the link they are about to click.
We recommend using keywords in both texts, and the text on each page should be engaging and varied – written for the potential customer, not Google’s crawlers. It’s also a good idea to place keywords in the meta description as close to the beginning as possible. However, you should focus more on the title than the description, as the description plays a minor role in ranking.
Here is an example of a page title suitable for referencing a product:
Keyword 1 – Shop for Keyword 2 – Shop name
Header Tags and Image Alt Tags
In addition to the meta title and description, you should place your main keyword in the H1 – the top title. Other headings can be interspersed with relevant terms. You should use paragraph texts to accommodate your key terms – but don’t overdo it; it should always be readable text that does not look like “keyword spam.” It should look natural.
Think of all of the text on a website as a way to tell Google what you want to rank for. Also, when uploading images to Shopify, add alt text. Google can’t see images, so it needs alt text to figure out what the image represents. An image’s alt text is a great place to add keywords, especially for product images.
- Your website should be an interwoven experience of pages. Each page should link to other pages, and keep in mind that not all customers will use the navigation menu to explore your store. Likewise, not all users will enter through the home page. Internal links significantly reduce the bounce rate, an essential factor discussed above.
- Strong, well-thought-out content is key to improving organic rankings on Google. You should not only equip products and content categories but also think about having a blog. With a blog, you can accommodate more content and use it as a space to address typical customer issues and questions. An FAQ page is also useful for collecting essential keywords and phrases from searchers.
Blog content is an opportunity to bring prospects and potential customers closer to your brand in a way that isn’t sales-focused. It’s also one of the easiest ways to rank for more keywords and get more backlinks.
One of Google’s most important ranking factors is the number of websites linking to your page. This is a measure of how many people are talking about your website. The more quality websites talk about you, the more relevant your site is. Word of mouth for your website, sort of.
This act is part of off-page search engine optimization because it is not a measure you can actively implement on your website. However, how can you get links to your store?
Here are a few tips :
- Supplier/Manufacturer Links: If you sell products made or supplied by well-established companies, they may have a policy of getting backlinks to their retailers. Write an email and ask them if they can link to your store.
- Influencer Voices: Ask for influencer interviews to generate both links and content. You can also make products available in exchange for link mentions on blogs and social media channels.
- Link Building: Although search engines discourage artificial link building, it is obvious that building more backlinks leads to higher search engine rankings. Find suitable opportunities and get useful backlinks for your website yourself.
- Expert analysis: Are you an expert in a certain field or industry? Reach out to websites that like to feature “experts” and give them your perspective on a relevant topic or product. They will post the content on their website and may link to yours.
Useful Shopify SEO Tools and Apps
SEO can be a very laborious process, but you can do many things on your own. We’d like to provide you with some useful tools and Shopify apps that you can use to make your job easier.
Google Search Console
This tool from Google shows all existing errors on your website. As well as all search queries that drive rankings and traffic and drive new visitors to your store.
These paid tools provide search term data and help you see where your competitors rank.
This Shopify app will help you target SEO issues, saving you time and money while improving your SEO. It provides automatic and regular reviews of page titles and headers, meta descriptions, speed, content, article structure, and more to ensure your website is optimized as it is.
With Smart SEO, you can generate relevant meta tags for your Shopify store’s collection/category, product, and article (or blog) pages, as well as alt tags for product images, without making manual changes. Also, the app pushes your store information to search engines using JSON-LD data that is already structured the way search engines need it.
Optimizing and resizing images for SEO
This application allows you to increase traffic to your store through Google image search. You will also be able to optimize your images quickly and easily.
Need help setting up your SEO strategy for your Shopify store? We would be happy to help you! Contact our local SEO experts. Let us help your eCommerce store get more eyeballs in search results!