The success or failure of an online store will often hinge on whether or not it can pull in enough organic traffic. If you are a Shopify store owner and are concerned about your ability to rank higher in Google and bring in some of this traffic for yourself, this guide will be a great resource for you.
Making the right SEO enhancements for your website can be a comprehensive undertaking depending on what your site needs and how well it is already performing. However, if you are simply looking for a few reliable ways to improve your Shopify SEO that don’t require a load of technical knowledge and will help you get great results, the following techniques are just what you’re looking for.
It’s important to keep in mind as you work on any aspect of eCommerce SEO that you keep user experience and conversions in mind. You’re not simply improving a page for the sake of the search engines, you have to make sure that your website actually caters to your users and helps them find exactly what they are looking for as efficiently as possible. Part of what makes your website worth ranking is how well it meets certain expectations from real users, which requires a bit more forethought, planning, and creativity to address than simply plugging in a few keywords on certain pages.
With that being said, the steps below are simple to implement but can make a strong impact on site performance from both a technical standpoint as well as from a user expectation point of view.
1. Optimize Your Product Pages
If you want to improve your Shopify SEO, your first and primary area of concern should be your product pages. Surprisingly, this is actually one of the areas of online stores that gets neglected the most. It’s not uncommon for eCommerce websites to feature gorgeous homepages and awesome mega-menus yet have weak product pages featuring thin content and low-res photographs.
This is a recipe for a low conversion rate and doesn’t do you any favors in Google’s eyes either. Your product pages are technically the heart of your website and should be worked on extensively if you want to see better results. The health of any good Shopify store depends on whether or not the products appeal to your users or not. Even if a user happened upon one of your products because they were searching for that item specifically, a short description, lack of valuable information, or bad photos could very well be enough to turn them away.
It’s competitive out there and if you want your website to stand out, you have to make sure your product pages shine. You also have to keep in mind that your homepage isn’t always going to be the first page your users are going to see when they land on your website, because it will be the product pages themselves that appear in Google for certain search terms.
This means that you could pour a ton of money into a page on your website that won’t even factor into the decision-making process that your customers will undergo when they decide if they want your product or not. Any well-built and optimized eCommerce website needs to treat each product page as its own self-contained sales page that features high-quality photographs, in-depth information, and supplemental information regarding the quality, the construction process, or various applications for the product in question.
2. Pay Attention to Your Meta Titles and Descriptions
Likewise, you also want to make sure that each page of your website has its own thoughtfully written meta title and page description. These are important elements to consider if you want to quickly improve your Shopify SEO in a meaningful way.
If you need a quick refresher, your meta title and description are what typically displays when your website appears on Google and other search engines. They play a direct role in the viability of your ability to rank, because they provide context to Google and authority to the user. If your meta title is misleading or spammy for example, this would indicate untrustworthiness and would hinder your website.
While it may seem arduous creating custom titles and descriptions for each page of your website, it’s well worth your time to do so, otherwise your Shopify store won’t perform as well as it could be. These elements are there not only for Google’s benefit, but to provide helpful information to users searching for certain types of content. Your meta title will often be the very first piece of content that a user sees regarding your online store, so it’s important that it is optimized accordingly.
An informative and well-implemented meta title is concise and should feature a primary keyword. The user should be able to infer the general gist of the content they will see if they click the link based solely off the meta title. The description is there to supplement the meta title, providing a bit of secondary context if the user should need it. Applied correctly, each of your meta title and description combinations can be utilized like a micro-sales pitch, both informative and intriguing. Just be sure not to use any spam tactics such as an abundance of capital letters or exclamation marks, because Google will pick up on such things and possibly weigh them against you.
3. Work on Your Shopify Blog
This is one area you certainly don’t want to ignore. Years ago it was somewhat unorthodox to have a blog on an eCommerce website, but today it’s an expected fixture of most brands, regardless of the nature of your business.
It’s important to treat your Shopify blog as a place of value for your customers. This is your opportunity to provide your unique insight as it applies to your niche or industry. Your users are almost surely looking for reliable information about the products that you sell, including reviews, opinions, comparisons, and how-tos.
As important as blog content is for the benefit of the user, it may be just as important in terms of pure SEO value as well. Google has made it clear that high-quality, informative, engaging content is what ranks. The reality is that you’re not always going to be able to get certain products or secondary pages to rank on your website because either the keywords are too competitive or the content on the page is just too thin.
These days, the primary way in which many websites stake their claim on the first page of Google is through their blog articles. The reason behind this is that you can select a topic, research keywords for that topic, and meticulously craft a piece of content that is designed with purpose behind it. If you write content that answers very specific questions that you know shoppers in your industry will have, and if you utilize keywords properly, you are bound to rank and pull in traffic using this method.
Your Shopify blog also will act as a sales funnel if implemented correctly. It’s easy to create a how-to article or informative piece on a certain product or service that you offer and then link to said product throughout the article. This is not only a common practice, it is almost an expected part of the eCommerce landscape now. When a user is searching for information about a product, you are making their lives easier by providing a handy link right to the product in question. This way, if they are sold on the product after reading your article, they don’t have to search for the product elsewhere on your website, they can simply click the link and make their purchase right there.
This also provides SEO value as well, because this is considered a contextual link. Your well-researched and informative blog piece is essentially telling Google to pass authority and “link juice” to the product that the piece relates to. This boosts the authority of the product in the search results. If your blog article ranks well, it will pass some of that authority onto the product page, upping the stature of your entire website.
4. Remove Duplicate Content Wherever Possible
If you have hundreds of pages or products on your Shopify store, it’s all too easy to get lazy with content. This is a problem for multiple reasons, not least of which because users pick up on thin content like this.
The main reason why you want to avoid duplicate content on your website is that it can harm your SEO. Google has never specifically revealed exactly what constitutes “duplicate content” and just how much of a problem it actually is, but the general consensus is that you should try to minimize your use of it whenever possible.
While it may seem tedious, you don’t want to repeat descriptions on your product pages. This provides no value to the user and Google can sniff it out quite easily, and while it may not crush your rankings, it certainly won’t help them. To improve Shopify SEO you have to start with the basics, and this means cleaning up your content and taking it seriously.
What would you think if you walked into a supermarket and read the description on a box of cereal, only to read the same exact thing on the next box of cereal despite it being a different flavor or a different product altogether? What would be your impression of that brand or business?
The same thing applies to your online store. Duplicate meta titles and descriptions is not only unprofessional and potentially damaging to your SEO, it simply sends shoddy brand signals. If you are trying to build a brand that your customers trust, you want to avoid lazy practices like this at all costs.
5. Implement an Internal Linking Strategy
Finally, you want to develop a comprehensive internal linking strategy that helps to spread authority throughout your website while also optimizing your user experience. As far as SEO issues are concerned, this one is fairly common as well but relatively simple to correct if you take a step back and look at what your users need.
Internal linking is exactly what it sounds like: the links between pages on your website. While many SEO services harp on backlinks (and for good reason, they are one of the most important ranking factors), not nearly enough attention is paid toward internal links. You want to make sure that your entire website is easy to navigate and that there is a clearly defined flow to the information that you provide.
This includes a proper use of breadcrumbs as well as having an informative footer full of important links, as well as an HTML sitemap that covers all of the key pages on your website for easy access. You also want to consider the categories you have set up for your store as well as your navigational hierarchy. When users want to find a specific product on your website, it should be easy and intuitive for them to do so.
All of these points only cover one part of internal linking, however. You also want to make sure that your product pages and blogs are making great use of links as well. Your blogs should all have plenty of links that point to the appropriate pages on your website so that your users don’t have to search for them manually. In fact, you want to make it a point to set up informative pages on your website that address certain questions about your products or aspects regarding the use of your products, so that you can link to these pages later with your blogs.
This way, you create a web of internal links that pass authority to each other while also providing your users with a coherent and straightforward path to the information they are looking for or the products that they are interested in purchasing. This is essentially how you want your website to function, as a “web” of useful information that is all connected and interrelated.
While these steps include basic SEO tactics that can be used by anyone, it can still be a lot to digest. Between making high-quality blog posts with proper internal linking to figuring out how to target the right keywords and create impactful product pages that generate conversions, you’re looking at a full-time job beyond managing your business.
This is why if you seriously want to improve your Shopify SEO, you need an agency in your corner with extensive experience when it comes to ranking online stores. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, if you want to get on page one and start pulling in a decent amount of traffic, you have to take the necessary steps. The time and effort you put into these SEO techniques will pay off down the road when your Shopify website begins to grow.
What you need to consider is that while these steps will make an impact if implemented properly, this is only scratching the surface when it comes to eCommerce SEO. What about generating high-quality backlinks from authority sources or addressing design flaws with your website that could be hindering your performance? High-level SEO is a complex matter and if you want to get the right results, you need the assistance of a respected Shopify partner.
Here at Genius eCommerce®, we know the Shopify platform, inside and out and understand exactly what it takes to get the most out of all of Shopify’s features. Our search engine optimization campaigns get results, which is why we are one of the most trusted agencies when it comes to ranking Shopify stores.
Let us demystify SEO for you by giving us a call today at 888-982-8269 and we will work with you to help get your website ranking where it belongs.