Shopify SEO Expert
Why It Is Important To Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It doesn’t matter if you are wanting to get a drop-shipping business started, build an online presence for your retail store, or get a new product launched, whenever you are attempting to sell online there is an important problem that you need to solve: how are customers going to be able to find your online store? Individuals who use a search engine to find your store online most likely will be searching for products that are similar to yours, and will likely to purchase something. Search engine optimization (SEO) can be used for improving your store’s search engine rankings to help customers locate your products that they are searching for.
What is SEO?
When individuals are searching on the internet for something it often starts with them conducting a search at one of the major search engines such as Bing or Google. Those search engines have been designed to make use of various information from websites in order to generate a ranked listing of results for a specific search query. The information is used by the search engines to determine which websites are deemed to be the most relevant for a specific search query, and then these results are displayed in the order of relevance.
There are numerous factors that help to get your online store appearing higher within the search results:
- How many natural (not social media or paid) links are pointed from other websites to your online store
- Your website’s authority based on factors such as engagement
- How old your domain name is
- The structure of your website and how the content has been optimized for the search engines
Whenever you are just getting started with selling online, it is hard to do a lot with those first three factors that we listed. Building a reputation for your business takes time, as does getting other websites to link to your site. With your content strategy, your planning needs to be done for the long term.
Over the short term, the best way to drive more traffic over to your online store is through optimizing your content so it will be recognized by a search engine to be relevant to the queries that relate to your SEO. When we talk about SEO that is what we mean.
Why Search Engine Optimization Is So Important
Whenever a prospective customer searches a keyword or term that relates to your product or business, your goal as the business owner is for your web page to show up as the first result in the search results.
There is a lot of talk about SEO being dead with the advancements in paid advertising, email marketing, and social media. However, the truth is, that search will not be going away anytime in the near future – especially as in-app search, mobile search, and more continue to grow.
Along with the fact of SEO being here to stay, in terms of marketing, it is fairly cost-effective. Although paid advertising provides almost instant, direct traffic (and perhaps sales) it can quickly get very expensive. So when it comes to a lower investment, SEO might be a good option, depending what your goals and business are.
It was reported by Search Engine Watch that an Optify research study found that number one ranked websites received an average 36.4% click-through rate (CTR) – which is enormous potential for both traffic and sales – which of course depends on which keywords you target.
It can take time to start to really see some good results form SEO when you do it on your own, and it can potentially get expensive when you outsource the work – however it will ensure that you are in the game for the long-term and that you are committed to producing quality content for your website.
So let’s take a closer look at the way your Shopify site is optimized give you some tricks and tips so that you can get the most from it.
Shopify and Search Engine Optimization
As the owner of a Shopify store, you are ahead of the game already. No matter which of the plans that you are using, there are some powerful SEO features included by Shopify such as:
- Editable URLs, meta descriptions, and title tags for the pages on your site
- Customizable image file names and editable ALT tags for all of your images
- Automatically generated robots.txt and sitemap.xml files
- Canonical URL tags that are automatically generated (to prevent duplicate content)
What does all of this mean? The following are some standard definitions from the MOZ SEO guide, in addition to our official documentation on SEO to give you a good start:
Title tags are frequently used in the search results pages (SERPs) for displaying preview snippets from a page, and these are important for social sharing in addition to SEO. A web page’s title element is intended to be a concise and accurate description of the content of a page.
Meta descriptions refer to HTML attributes that give concise explanations of web page content. Meta descriptions are often used in the search results pages (SERPs) for displaying a page’s preview snippets.
The image’s alt text and filenames are used for describing the content of the picture. When you have descriptive alt text it helps to have your product images be displayed whenever customers are searching for images. In addition, alt text is important for accessibility: it provides descriptions of your product images for individuals who are visually impaired.
The sitemap.xml file contains all of the blog posts, collections, pages and products on your website.
Your robots.txt or robots exclusion protocol (REP) is a text file that is created by webmasters to instruct robots (usually, search engine robots) on how their website’s pages should be crawled and indexed.
Now that we have defined those features and settings, let’s now look at how those elements can be applied to your own Shopify store.
How Your Shopify Store Can Be Optimized For Growth
Although most of the SEO basics are covered by Shopify by default, there are some powerful features that you can take advantage of in order to extend your store’s potential organic search reach.
The following are a couple of many different things that can be tweaked on your Shopify store:
Your online store’s title tag can be edited and you can also set the title tag for every page, collection, and product in Shopify. Just scroll down until you get to the Search Engines section in Shopify on these pages and make whatever adjustments you want.
Modifying your meta descriptions is a great little trick. Shopify pulls text off of your page automatically, but the meta description can be customized manually in order to suit your marketing goals. You can set the meta description for your homepage, in addition to the blog posts, collections, and other pages. The option can be found in the Shopify admin section.
Page Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
It is very important that your main keywords be included in the names of the blog posts, collections, and products of your store. For example, if you sell a red t-shirt that has the brand name of your store on it, then you will want the product’s name to be set to something such as “Joe’s T-Shirt – Red.” That will make it more likely that your web page will show up whenever someone is searching for words such as “red t-shirt,” “t-shirt,” and “Joe’s.”
Content Is King
Having more content in your blog posts, collection texts, and product descriptions will give your pages a better chance to be found on Google and the other major search engines. You should try to write at least a few paragraphs that include your main keywords.
A Basic Guide To Shopify SEO
For long-term SEO success, you must build a solid foundation first. It is important that you always ensure you are optimizing your website for your customers, and not solely for “robots” or search engines.
The SEO factors that are used on regular websites will also help build long-term rankings for your Shopify site. Here’s a helpful checklist:
- Use the robots.txt file to the website to ensure that bots are able to crawl it
- Use the XML sitemap (sitemap.xml) to allow search engines to easily navigate your content
- Implement Google Analytics tracking
- Ensure that you validate CSS and HTML
- Secure your website with HTTPS and an SSL certificate
- Naturally include and optimize primary keywords in
- Fix redirect and crawl errors
- Optimize your images
All of these points should also be optimized on any future pages you create as well. You will also be re-optimizing your content at times to ensure that you are focusing on converting keywords and phrases. It is important to remember that SEO is a continuous process due to frequent algorithm changes and updates. Your customer’s needs, wants and behaviors will also change over time.
On-Page Optimization In Shopify
One of the benefits of Shopify in terms of SEO is the platform makes it easy for you to set up the on-page SEO elements in the backend. To do this, you will need to head to: Sales Channels > Online Store > Preferences. From here, you will be able to modify your title and description details. This is where you can also integrate Google Analytics.
Setting Up Redirects
For redirects, go to: Sales Channels > Online Store > Navigation. There is a button that states URL Redirects and you need to click on this. In this area, you will be able to add new redirects and manage your current redirects.
There’s a lot more that goes into setting up and optimizing your Shopify store. Remember, these factors change with updates to the Shopify platform as well.