This guide is designed to educate you on how your store works and what you can do to improve it.
It came from extensive work we've done with Shopify store owners, and Shopify themselves over the years.
The more you plan, the less time you waste in getting it wrong.
All teams in your marketing department affect SEO, so you need to ensure you brief them correctly and get them involved.
Using both default and additional tracking tools to monitor performance
Before you start, you need to ensure that you've defined what success will look like in your business.
Generally, these should be things such as:
- New customer acquisition
- Number of orders per customer per year
- 20% revenue uplift YOY (year on year)
Your goal should also be easily measured. Therefore 'better rankings' or 'more sales' doesn't really cut it.
Keywords are at the core of SEO. This is a list of 'things people type into Google'. There are a number of things we can learn from this list:
- Your customers knowledge level
- If they're browsing or buying on that visit
- How big your potential audience is
- What customers call your products vs. what you call them
A tool to help add some data to your keywords:
It can take some experience to write an effective keyword list & strategy, so seek help if you need to!
Now you have your target and a definition of success, you need to plan out what you can do with Shopify to make this happen.
Here are some examples of ways we've done this:
a) Creating multiple ways of shopping and therefore, multiple category routes for customers. For example: shop by style, shop by size, shop by occasion, shop by colour, shop by material...etc. These should be defined by the demand for each route on Google.
b) Referencing the main category keywords on product pages, as they should match up. So the size, colour & style listed above should match that of both the category keywords, category content and that of the product itself.
c) You then need to prove you are the best with a carefully strategic plan. This could involve customer reviews, USPs above your competitors or a clear solution to the problem that this product solves.
SEO isn't just about your website being relevant or providing the right product. It's also important to ensure everything 'pointing at' or talking about your business is also positive.
To make this abundantly clear, Google doesn't want to send buy-ready customers to a business that has extensive complaints from customers and doesn't respond to customer service queries on Social.
A few things you can do to take control:
- Utilise Social to both showcase the strength of your brand and engage well with customers
- Ask happy customers to submit a review once they've received and started to enjoy their product
- Ensure any endorsements point to you, such as awards or membership of a customer reassuring organisation (such as investors in people).
Getting the relevant teams briefed to start deploying improvements
Shopify is great as a lot of the basic technical SEO is covered by the theme itself.
We recommend a theme audit by you, or your web guys, to ensure Google can see a few things:
a) That pages have a canonical tag linking to /products/the-product or /collections/the-collection. Other pages should always link to themselves.
b) That the meta robots tag allow Google to crawl and index the pages (unless you don't want that page to)
c) Meta keywords are not active (Google does not use these for SEO anymore!)
d) Text is all in <p> tags to initiate a paragraph
e) Core site files that Google will access (sitemaps & other files)
Your website needs to tick a few boxes to rank on Google (before even taking competitive elements into account).
One thing website owners often forget is that a lot of traffic will land from ads on a specific product and from SEO on a product category. Therefore, just display a single product or category without any introductory content on your brand will create a higher bounce rate (they leave quickly) and a lower chance of sale due to trust.
Things to check:
✓ Do you actually mention the keyword(s)?
✓ Do you provide the product they want? (If not, don't try and rank for it!)
✓ Can a new visitor learn enough about brand to make a buying decision within seconds?
✓ Are we answering all potential questions?
✓ Is our content simple to understand?
✓ Are we saying too much?
✓ Does the design display content well?
✓ Does our content build trust?
Write content for your customer first, baring in mind what they looked for initial. Trying to write 'SEO content' is fairly pointless when considered that if a customer doesn't like it, you won't have any customers to read it in the first place.
Once your website is awesome, you need to start telling everyone about it. Gaining brand awareness on other websites is a great way to build trust, build the brand and show everyone (Google included) that you are the best place to buy products.
Some areas to consider:
✓ PR & News
✓ Building a community on Social
✓ Customer reviews
✓ Local Directories (for stores)
✓ Awards / accreditations
✓ Influencer & Blogger Outreach
✓ Other sites that talk about you
There are hundreds of tools out there to help you optimise your website (regardless of platform). Shopify has a few built in elements to do meta data, title & URLs tagging, canonicalisation...etc. and some apps to help do other things, such as Schema and keyword rank monitoring.
We do NOT recommend diving into apps or tools lightly. We live by the phrase:
"Tools help automate tasks and provide information. You should not turn to them for advise as they are unlikely to give you any!"
1. Get your strategy right
2. Map out your tactics & actions
3. Find tools to speed up / automate processes & monitor performance
Tools to help you make the right decisions
We hope you found this guide useful.