Many ecommerce businesses on Shopify don’t pay much mind to search engine optimization, especially when starting out. This is despite the fact that SEO helps online businesses increase traffic and will continue to work for you in the long run, unlike paid ads that have a time limit working against them.
In the world of ecommerce, a website ranking highly on a search engine results page, or SERP, is essentially striking gold. A Shopify store will almost certainly benefit from free, recurring, internet traffic, bringing in new customers with a higher chance of conversion.
As the owner of a Shopify online store, ranking highly in search engine results should be your top priority. According to SEO research, ecommerce companies that employ search engine optimization techniques generate more traffic and income than those that don't. So, how then can you optimize your Shopify online store for search engines?
In this article by Ecommerce Pro, we cover the basics of SEO for new ecommerce business owners to grasp. Whether you are trying to launch a new Shopify store or trying to enhance the performance of your current online business, we have you covered with our guide to understanding the most important concepts and strategies that will boost your SEO game and improve traffic to your website.
What is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is a vital digital marketing strategy that more online stores need to pay close attention to. We know that it can be hard to get your Shopify online store noticed, especially in the beginning, and SEO can help enhance your online visibility organically through the search engine result pages (SERPs).
To put it simply, the goal of SEO is to rank high on the first page of search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, with search terms related to your products and services. When a potential customer looks for your product online through Google, ideally, the top results will show your website.
While some elements overlap with traditional SEO practices, there are distinct strategies for ecommerce SEO that are more important to ecommerce websites than others. Below we list 5 SEO tips for online store owners:
1. Conduct Keyword Research
A major concept to grasp in terms of SEO is keyword research— an important first step that cannot be missed in the effort to optimize your site. Keyword research is when you analyze the search terms that people use to find your products and services. You conduct keyword research to optimize your site based on and around those strategic search terms.
Consider your niche and the industry that you work in and brainstorm the topics you think your target audience is interested in. For instance, if you run a Shopify online store selling camping gear and campsite accessories, what do you think your potential customers are searching for online?
One excellent place to start is to type what you believe are relevant search terms to your online store in the search box on Google, and the search engine will provide you with autocomplete suggestions based on what other people are also looking for. This is a goldmine for relevant keyword ideas.
For an additional boost in keyword research, you can also use specialized SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner. Although this isn't a comprehensive instruction on using tools to produce keywords, it is crucial to remember that SEO keywords are relevant since they will help you develop content that is searchable on the search engine results page.
It can be time-consuming, but laying down the foundation for your SEO strategy based on these keywords is the “key” to helping you develop a killer strategy for developing your site and its content.
2. Optimize Product Pages
One of the most important elements of a Shopify website is the product pages, and these pages present a rich opportunity regarding SEO. If you run a Shopify website, optimizing your product pages will enhance your online visibility, helping customers discover your products from the front page of the SERPs. Optimizing for SEO includes two aspects: Product descriptions and images.
First off, unique product descriptions present the opportunity for you to provide rich keywords for search engines to rank your website. When writing product descriptions, make sure that the description is unique and not copied from the product manufacturer’s. Include keywords, and write detailed descriptions of the product. Lastly, don’t forget to add a persuasive call to action where it's appropriate.
Next are images, which can also have a heavy impact on your SEO and online presence. To optimize images, you should add alt tags, keep file sizes small and compressed, and even use keywords in the image file names.
By having SEO product descriptions and images, you’ll optimize your product pages and rank better on the SERPs.
Read about our 8 Expert Tips for Your Small Online Business.
3. SEO-Friendly Website Structure & Navigation
Having a website with a clear structure and great navigation is only going to do good things for your ecommerce business. It will not just enhance customer experience, but will also improve SEO.
Navigation plays a crucial role in SEO, and that's because it serves to help search engines understand the structure and content of your Shopify website. Well-structured navigation helps search engines crawl and index your site more effectively, making for better search engine rankings and improved site traffic.
Clear navigation on your Shopify website involves designing a user-friendly menu with well-organized categories and subcategories. A responsive search bar with auto-suggestions is also a major plus. Moreover, header and footer menus should also display important shop features like the homepage, about page, cart, and contact details.
With the increase in mobile users, it is also vital to make sure that your Shopify site is mobile-responsive. While all Shopify themes are designed to be responsive on mobile, sometimes certain graphics and website elements can be shifted and made less legible, so it's important to double-check.
4. Blogging & Content Creation
Crafting high-quality content is another cornerstone of SEO. Long-form content, like blogs, has proven to be more engaging, more shareable, and better for SEO. Not only will you engage your target audience but blogs also provide opportunities to dominate your target keywords and build up your site's authority.
You can use your blog to explore different ways of reaching your audience with a variety of content. For instance, you if run a Shopify online store selling vitamin supplements, you can run an article on common vitamin deficiencies and their negative impact, a topic your target audience will surely be interested in.
Starting a blog can be hard work that requires consistency to pay off, but if you stick to it, you may be able to reach your goal of improving your Shopify website’s SEO and meeting your business goals.
Research conducted on SEO and search engine ranking found that blog posts of 1500-2000 words tend to fare better than shorter blog posts on Google. Remember that today’s online shoppers are avid researchers looking for high-quality information. You can build your rank and authority in your niche by building a blog.
Remember to consistently update your content to reflect industry trends. Search engines tend to favor fresh and relevant content, as well as high-quality information.
5. Link Building
Another vital aspect of SEO that you need to grasp is the importance of link building. One of the key ways that you can optimize your website is to make use of both external and internal links for your Shopify website.
Internal links are hyperlinks on your site that redirect a user to another page on your website. For instance, you can use internal links in your blog articles to direct readers to another helpful blog page. Internal links are great because they help you engage customers on your site, helping you keep them on your site longer. It's also great for SEO because it helps search engines understand your website’s internal structure.
External links, on the other hand, are hyperlinks that direct a customer to a new site. External links or backlinks may seem counterintuitive, but they are great for referencing information from reliable material. Adding trustworthy and informative external links to your website is a good way to gain credibility and authority for your site.
Better yet are the backlinks from other websites that redirect to your Shopify site. This can happen when you post useful content that another website finds valuable and provides a backlink to the information as a source for their blog or articles.
The most valuable links mentioned above are backlinks from other sites. The idea behind it is that external links are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate, therefore the more backlinks you have, the more popular and reputable your website appears to search engines, prompting them to assign a higher rank.
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In this article, we’ve given you 5 aspects that all ecommerce beginners need to learn about SEO for your Shopify website. The strategies of keyword research, product page optimization, website structure, content creation, and link building pave the way to a solid foundation in understanding SEO and coming up with your successful strategies.
While Search Engine Optimization for your Shopify website can take a bit of time and serious dedication, it will all be worth it once you see your website on the first page of the SERPs.
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