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So you decided to build an ecommerce website, did your due diligence regarding platform research and chose to go with Shopify. After all, Shopify is becoming the Amazon of ecommerce platforms. Even big brands like Nestle, Pepsi and Unilever are using it. So it must be a good fit for you, right?
Well yes! Shopify is an excellent platform for almost every type of business of every size. From solopreneurs to large enterprises, Shopify offers the tools needed for every business stage.
However, that doesn’t come without some caveats — SEO being one of those.
As you grow your business and learn more about SEO, you will learn that Shopify has some limitations regarding technical optimization, URL structure and AMP, among others.
Yes, it’s also true that you can solve some of those issues with apps; however, that can quickly add up and increase your monthly costs, which isn’t a very good idea for a small, bootstrapped business.
So now what do you do? How do you optimize your Shopify store to get more organic traffic? That’s where this Shopify SEO guide comes into play!
Related: How Shopify Became the Go-To Ecommerce Platform for Startups
Here are five essential Shopify SEO tips on how to increase your organic traffic and rankings in Google —no coding or technical skills necessary!
1. Perform in-depth keyword and audience research
In the same way that SEO changed and evolved a lot in the last few years, keyword research has also evolved. Traditional keyword research, relying on metrics like keyword difficulty and then keyword density to optimize your content, really doesn’t work anymore.
Your new process for keyword research needs to keep your target audience front and center. If you’re selling keto snacks for example, it’s very easy to think that optimizing your keto snacks category for the keyword “keto snacks” is a good idea.
But before you do that, take a look at the SERPs and perform a search on Google for “keto snacks.” You’ll see that the only transactional result on this page is from Amazon. Everything else is either commercial investigation or informational results.
Now think again, is it really worth going after a keyword like that? Probably not.
Instead, think about the type of keto snacks you sell, what your customers search to find your keto snacks products, and use those keywords.
Some examples may include:
The “keto snacks” keyword itself can be qualified with the word “best” to create the keyword “best keto snacks,” which is a very good keyword for a long-form article.
Publishing an article like this for “best keto snacks” and linking back to your product and category pages are also helpful for SEO, mainly because that internal link will carry a very good semantic relevance and equity back to those pages.
2. Start blogging
It’s true that even with high-quality content, it will take some time for the search engines to rank your content. But in the long run, content strategy ROI is one of the best you will ever get.
Start simple: Think about who your target audience is, what their pain points related to your product or service are, and write really helpful and valuable content. Don’t hold anything back.
For example, if you sell charcoal barbecues, based on your target-audience pain points, these are topics that will resonate with them:
How to fire up a charcoal barbecue in a fast, easy and safe way?
How to keep a charcoal barbecue at the correct temperature longer?
Is cooking with charcoal healthy?
But you shouldn’t limit yourself to pain points only. Helpful content can include tips, suggestions, recipes and others, for example:
Sirloin seasoning for charcoal barbecue.
Fun barbecue games.
Charcoal barbecue grilling tips.
Baking bread in a charcoal barbecue.
Don’t limit yourself to blogs! If you have the opportunity, you can also produce videos, podcasts and content for social media. This will amplify your reach and bring in more potential buyers.
Related: How to Set up a Shopify Store Without Lifting a Finger
3. Optimize your product pages
Product pages should always have comprehensive and in-depth content about your products. In general terms, the more you add, the better they will be.
Never use boilerplate copy in your product pages or just copy and paste the product title and description from your product manufacturer website or catalogue. Also, make sure you’re creating your own product images and, if possible, videos as well.
Another good way to optimize your product page is by linking back to the blog articles that have relevant or useful information. You could do this by simply adding links with featured images from the product page to the blog articles. This will make your product pages more visible in search-engine results as well as provide additional context about what customers might be looking at.
Make it easy for your customer to understand your product features and benefits. Humans are very visual creatures, so adding visual aids will be incredibly helpful.
4. Optimize your category pages
Category pages offer an amazing opportunity to organically rank for more broader product terms and keywords. Optimized category pages are proven to be an effective way for companies to lower their bounce rates and increase session durations or any other metric that provides insight on how well they’re doing at keeping visitors engaged on their website.
Most of your competitors will stick with the standard Shopify category pages, so this is where you can outshine them.
Add a brief description to the top of your category pages about the product or service category itself. Also, use the bottom of the category page to add even more (longer description) information about the product or service category.
This will help increase your product-category semantic value. And, since the category pages have links to products, the products’ semantic equity too will increase.
5. Improve your user experience
It’s well known that a high-end user experience keeps your customers coming back for more and increases your average ticket, among other very important things for any business.
A little-known fact is that good user-engagement metrics are extremely important for sustainable SEO growth and organic visibility.
Dwell time for example, which is the amount of time between a user clicking on a search result and returning back to the search-engine results page, is one of the metrics used by Google to assess and evaluate the quality of the search results.
Reducing your website bounce rate and increasing the average session duration are two very effective ways to increase dwell time.
In order to achieve that, the process is the same. Think about what your target audience is looking for, how they are looking for it and what they expect from your products and services and website experience.
Related: 5 Great Shopify Apps to Optimize Your Ecommerce Store
A little more data-based way of doing this is using a user-tracking tool like Hotjar. On Hotjar, you will be able to see heatmaps and actual users’ sessions recordings. This can give you great insights on how to improve your user experience.
From this point on, you should likely rely on an A/B testing tool like Google Optimize to run tests and be 100% sure that the changes are for the better.
General tips for ecommerce businesses include dynamic product recommendations, perks like free shipping and exit-intent pop-ups with discounts. And as always, don’t over do pop-ups.
Shopify is obviously a very powerful platform for ecommerce, but, as I said before, it has some caveats regarding SEO. However, following the tips outlined above will help you start offsetting the SEO downsides of the platform and set your ecommerce up for organic growth.