You’ve put in the work to optimize your Shopify ecommerce store for maximum customer satisfaction. It’s beautiful, streamlined, navigable, and your products are absolutely amazing (but you already knew that…) Your customer service integration is all lined up, your social media marketing is on point, and you’re open and ready for business. But where are the customers?
Underperforming online retail platforms often do so for one major reason: SEO. The world of ecommerce is a big one, and showing up in search results for shampoo for dogs, vintage leather pants, outdoor utility backpacks (insert your product here) takes a little bit of effort on the part of the merchant.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make the most out of SEO functions on your Shopify store, and bring in more traffic than you ever thought was possible.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and at its most basic represents the idea of helping a webpage, product, or other web-based material show up in a list of search results. The end goal of implementing SEO is to improve both the quality and quantity of customer traffic to your online retail store.
Think about Instagram: have you ever seen a photo, followed by a veritable wall of hashtags, half of which have nothing to do with the image? That’s one example of SEO, gone a bit off the rails. While including every word in the English language in your tag list will definitely have your site showing up in a plethora of searches, but not all of those inquiries will be made by happy customers. Visitors to your Shopify store should be genuinely interested in the products you offer.
Here’s how it works:
When a query is made in a search engine, said search engine sends what are called “crawlers” to gather information from content found on the internet. The crawlers then build an index with said information, which is fed through an algorithm to match the index with your query. The algorithm is based on a number of matrices, including exact-match keyword and page-level content and link features, ideally resulting in an index of only the most relevant links to the querent’s search.
Your role as a Shopify merchant extraordinaire is to create a variety of content for your store which will help those search engines recognize your relevance to various searches. What this looks like in practical terms varies widely — and we’ll go over a lot of it in the next section.
Tips and Tricks for Improving Shopify Traffic with SEO
Here’s how to make SEO happen for your Shopify store.
- Create a searchable page title. Your site is likely to get lost in the ether if you choose to go with a less-than-unique page name. Shopify allows you to create homepage titles, as well as meta descriptions for each page in your store. This also allows you to create cute and quippy visible names for your products while also including important keywords which will help you turn up in more general searches.
- Optimize your images. A surprising amount of customer-business connections are made through image browsing via Google and other major search engines, meaning your product photos are an entire SEO resource in and of themselves. Alt text, also known as alt tags or alt descriptions, including keywords can be placed on individual images throughout your shopify store, so that if someone is searching for images of black jumpsuits, your black jumpsuits are more likely to end up in their feed.
- Streamline your site structure. Once a customer finds themself on your website, they should be able to navigate it smoothly and easily. If you have more than one page on your store, absolutely include a search bar. And make individual products in your gallery easy to find by minimizing the number of categories and subcategories you implement.
- Ditch duplicate content. All of the content on your Shopify site should be as unique as possible — both internally and externally. At best, duplicate content with another site will confuse search engines and make your page less likely to come up in search indexes. And at worst, you can be penalized for plagiarism. You can keep tabs on this by performing searches of your own content regularly, or by using tools such as the Copyscape plagiarism checker. Having totally unique content on your store will improve your SEO by miles.
- Write about it in your blog. Shopify stores feature a native blog platform, allowing you to create more unique text-based content with the power to bring even more organic foot traffic to your site. Blogging regularly allows you to talk up your products, as well as include juicy, keyword-filled search-magnets on your page for maximum visibility. An added benefit to regular blog posting is that search engines tend to prioritize pages in search indexes which are updated regularly, giving you even more exposure.
- Keep track of your traffic. Integrate Google Analytics into your Shopify store to keep tabs on site-traffic. It’s completely free, and allows you to track and analyze your customer’s behavior. A temperature reading on visitors can help you understand whether your SEO efforts are working, and what steps you need to take to improve them.
Last Thoughts: Shopify SEO Tricks
Hashtag work! SEO sounds boring when you say it out loud, but an alt tag here and a blog post there can keep the customers and their cash flowing into your beautiful Shopify retail platform. After all the work you put in, you deserve to have it seen.