Shopify is behind more than 500,000 businesses across 175 countries.
Many small businesses rely on Shopify for ecommerce because of its ease of use and the independence it provides shop owners from having to hire a developer. The Shopify app store also provides store owners with advanced tools to manage their online sales more effectively.
Although Shopify does a good job in providing an all-in-one solution for ecommerce, there are aspects of managing a Shopify store that the owner has to undertake independently.
Search engine optimization being the foremost.
1. Do Your Research
The first thing you need to do is do your keyword research.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about how they would search for your products. Write down those preliminary keywords.
Next you want to verify your choice of keywords by using a keyword rank tool. Ubersuggest is a great tool to start with because it will show you the number of searches for that keyword, as well as a host of suggestions for similar search terms you may have missed.
The trick is to find keywords that strike a balance between traffic and competition while giving an apt description of what you are selling.
If you look up shoes, you’ll find that it gets a ton of traffic, but it’s very competitive. Also, a general search for shoes could be about anything – how to find shoes that fit, athletic shoes or boots. Therefore ranking high for the term shoes can drive traffic, but the majority of it is not targeted enough to produce the results you want.
You want your keywords to be specific to your product, with high volume searches and low competition.
2. Keep Your Product Pages Unique
Once you gather your keywords for your product you’ll need to put them in your product pages.
However, you need to be careful not to overuse your keywords as this will not have a positive effect on your search rankings, and can actually hinder your ability to convert visitors into customers because of unnatural product descriptions.
Your best bet is to create unique content that uses the keywords naturally, and is engaging enough to convince someone to make a purchase.
Also consider using synonyms in place of exact keywords as Google is constantly improving its algorithm’s ability to recognize language and categorize.
3. Create an XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap allows you to inform the search engines about the structure of your website as well as what pages need to be crawled and indexed.
Using Shopify allows you to automatically generate a sitemap with all of your product pages, however you need to make sure that you submit your sitemap to Google Search Console, and Bing’s Webmaster Tools.
Creating an XML sitemap is a step that many ecommerce shop owners tend to forget, but is a very simple step you can take to better your search rank.
4. Backlinks Matter
Backlinks are one of the most important factors when it comes to getting your Shopify store ranked higher.
Quality backlinks from quality websites act as a reference for your store.
For example, getting a backlink from Forbes.com shows search engines that your Shopify store is more authoritative than your competitors who don’t have that link. However, you need to be weary of building links from low quality websites that are not authoritative as this will have a negative effect.
Writing guest posts and presenting yourself as a product expert for items that you specialize in is an effective and natural way to build these high quality links. Allowing you to increase your brand visibility while simultaneously gaining a high quality back link.
5. Edit the Title & Meta Descriptions
A title tag is simply what the title of your web page is. A meta description is the description of the page that appears in search results under your meta title.
Every page on your website should have a title and meta description. It’s even better when they include a keyword or a variation of a keyword in the title and description.
Your meta title and meta description not only can affect your search rankings, but will also play a vital role in click through rates.
The Shopify platform gives you 70 characters for the title and 160 for meta descriptions. These limits are in place so that your tags aren’t cut off in search results.
You’ll also want to check how your site is structured to make sure that search engines know what topics your site is about.
6. Compress & Optimize Images
Google wants to ensure that the user is able to find information conveniently. This not only requires Google’s algorithms to be accurate, but also requires some work on the side of site owners.
Search engines will rank websites that can provide the user with a better user experience higher. This means that faster loading websites will outrank slower websites.
Ideally, your Shopify store will have multiple images of each product to show off. These images can significantly slow down your website if you don’t compress them.
Once they’re compressed and uploaded, add information about the images in the alt-text and metadata for each image. Be descriptive in these areas. Most ecommerce stores overlook these steps allowing you to gain an edge on them.
7. Use Redirects
If you have old or out of stock products on your site, you may have already built up valuable SEO equity for those pages, making it a mistake to delete them.
What you can do instead is set up redirects to new products.
Shopify makes it very easy to do. If you’re just doing a few pages, you can set up redirects right in the CMS.
For bulk redirects, you’ll need to get an add-on in the App Store.
8. Remove Duplicate Content
Duplicate content means content that is an exact match with content on other pages, whether it’s on your website or on a competitor’s.
This can damage your search rankings as pages that are exactly matched create a conflict for search engines in terms of which page should be ranked higher.
It’s a common issue for Shopify store owners since many products that they sell are similar. Site owners generally will copy and paste the same product description to save time. However, it is definitely worth the time and effort in the long run to make sure that your content from page to page is unique.
A quick visit to your favourite ecommerce store can show you practical ways to create unique product descriptions.