The rapidly increasing number of internet users, behavioral changes brought about by the pandemic, and a lower cost for the seller and buyer are just some of the factors that have led to the explosive growth of ecommerce businesses.
A large chunk of online retailers use three major platforms to conduct business — WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Shopify. At 1.75 million sellers, Shopify is a powerhouse that is on the heels of its two major competitors. A Statista report projects retail ecommerce revenue in the United States will reach $ 563.4 billion dollars in the United States.
This growth in ecommerce highlights a huge opportunity for business owners. It also, however, highlights the need for online retailers to ensure they aren’t left behind by the increasing number of competitors in the space. The most sustainable way to make sure you are beating the competition is by delivering a flawless shopping experience to your customers. When you use a platform like Shopify, which is built around ecommerce, you have already taken advantage of its ecommerce-specific features. However, there is still more opportunity for businesses to ensure they retain existing customers and attract new ones. Our 5 tips for Shopify SEO will help you get started even if you have little to no SEO experience.
Shopify SEO Tip # 1: Pay Attention to Site Structure
Site structure refers to the way your site is organized, and it is one of the most important ways in which SEO for ecommerce business websites is different from SEO for other websites. So, our number one Shopify SEO tip is to organize your products in an easy-to-find manner.
The general rule of thumb is to create a hierarchical structure, which imitates the way a shopper might browse a physical store. In general, your ecommerce site should have the following structure. Home (which is at the top of the hierarchy), followed by Category, followed by sub-category, followed by Product Pages. You might notice that from your Home page, the user only needs three clicks to get to a product that interests them.
An ecommerce website shouldn’t make users navigate dozens of pages to find the products they are looking for. Not only will this help your visitor spend more time on your site, which will tell Google your website is relevant, but a simple structure will also allow Google to index your website page more easily.
Bonus Tip: Leverage the Shopify Collections feature that lets you categorize similar products together. For example, items on sale, or customer favorites, etc.
Shopify SEO Tip # 2: Conduct Solid Keyword Research
Keyword research is as important to the success of your online business as having good products and an organized site structure are. Keywords help your website get the traffic you are looking for.
As an ecommerce website, you want to make sure you are being found at different stages of a customer’s journey. You can do this by using a blend of short-tail and long-tail keywords. (We will define these two types of keywords in the next section.) There are different tools you can use to conduct keyword research, such as Google Auto Suggest, Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, Hoth, Answer the Public and even Amazon.
You might feel that you are spending a lot of time conducting keyword research, but this is an indispensable part of not only Shopify SEO, but also if you are hosting your business website independently.
Shopify SEO Tip # 3: Use the Keywords in Relevant Places
To continue from the above section, you will have found short-tail and long-tail keywords in your research. Short-tail keywords are broad terms, such as ‘school backpack’ that someone may use at the beginning of their customer journey. At this stage, customers haven’t decided on a particular kind of backpack or brand that they are looking for.
Long-tail keywords are narrower, such as ‘black canvas backpack for school’. Now, the customer has moved further along in their decision and they know what kind of backpack they are looking for. Your website should show up for both kinds of keywords.
However, the content you create around these keywords will be different. You might want to create an informational blog post about why backpacks are better for school than sling bags. On the other hand, your product description should actually be descriptive and if applicable, should include the keyword, ‘black canvas backpack for school’.
You also want to use keywords in your page title, meta title, and your Alt Text, which are alternative text for images. Using keywords in these places helps users and search engines identify that the content they are seeing is relevant to them and this in turn brings traffic to your website.
It’s important to note that putting keywords in places they don’t belong will only damage your efforts. Content strategy and content creation around relevant keywords is a powerful, if time consuming, activity and an integral part of Shopify SEO. If you don’t want to do this yourself, consider hiring an ecommerce SEO agency that can help you with it.
Shopify SEO Tip # 4: Increase the Number of Links to Your Store
Think of link-building as a way to build trust in your website. When other sources, not including your social media profiles and blog, direct users to your website, it builds the search engine’s trust in your website.
It is important to know that the website, which is backlinking to your Shopify store, should have a respectable domain authority. A long-term strategy to build a robust backlink network is to build relationships with others in your industry. You can do this by connecting with other businesses, or influencers via social media platforms, networking sites, and even events. Identify partners that you trust and whose products you respect to build long-term partnerships.
Content creation and content marketing are also powerful ways to build trust. Relevant, useful content will encourage other website users to naturally link to your site.
Shopify SEO Tip # 5: Hide Pages From Search Engines in an Ethical Way
Back in the day, Black Hat SEO techniques used to hide content and pages to manipulate the search engine, but as search engines get smarter, user experience takes center stage.
One of the reasons to hide certain pages from a search engine is because there is some information, especially as a Shopify store, that should be private. For example, the shopping cart page. There is no reason for a search engine to crawl a shopping cart page, because in addition to items someone may be purchasing, these pages also have private buyer information.
Your store’s robots.txt files block certain page content and generally, Shopify stores have robots-txt files that tell search engines what pages they shouldn’t crawl. However, if you’d like to edit these permissions, you can edit the robots.txt file on Shopify. While you can do this yourself, you may also want to consider hiring a Shopify expert who can do this properly.
If you have a Shopify store, you already have many SEO requirements taken care of. However, the above Shopify SEO tips will help you make your store more attractive to users.