[Shopify SEO] The Ultimate Guide To Skyrocket Your Traffic

Last updated December 3, 2018

Why are some Shopify stores killing it with traffic while you seem to have to fight for every visitor you get?

Imagine what you could do with all those visitors to convert!

All Shopify store owners know that traffic is the basic ‘currency’ of making sales – but few have fully grasped the Shopify SEO techniques to make it happen; and few have invested the necessary time and attention required.

That’s what reading this post will change for you.

Take 20 minutes to go through this thoroughly and you will complete a very quick ‘crash course’ in Shopify SEO.

Below I share the strategies that the best Shopify marketers are using to get their stores ranking and generating enviable levels of traffic.

By the end of the article, you will have most of the strategies you need to stop dreaming about getting quality convertible traffic and to start making it a reality.

You’ll be surprised how quickly you will become an SEO expert yourself – after all, 95 percent of SEO requires no technical knowledge; it just takes some time, commitment, and consistent action (or an adequate budget to get real professionals to do it for you).

A little upfront effort will ensure that your target audience finds your store first. Because your competitors are probably NOT following best practices, like you will be.

By the end of this article, you will have the essential guidance you need in the following key areas:

  • Shopify SEO basics
  • Mastering keywords
  • Site architecture
  • On-page optimization
  • Mastering content marketing
  • Mastering link building

So let’s get started immediately with some of the basics…


Shopify SEO basics

CPsrtIuyZ8iESFAiomXoXipFuod4eKXTpq4kPqtD8FEXupYEF2JopTIDYFxklcPNv8iwwQs2048

Shopify SEO is the process of optimizing your store for the search engines. In doing so, you ensure higher visibility in search results and guarantee more click-throughs from ‘organic’ searchers (those who come from results pages rather than through ads).

Let’s start with a few common terms that you’ll need to understand, as they’ll come up again and again in SEO guides.

Keywords

Keywords are the basic ‘currency’ of SEO – and an obvious starting point.

  • Keyword research is the strategy of working out which keywords and phrases you should be targeting on your Shopify store.
  • Successful keyword research identifies phrases that will attract your target audience so that you can encourage them to click through to your store.
  • There are different keyword types including Head (like clothing), Body (like lady’s shirts) and Long Tail Keywords (lady’s white cotton blouses)
  • After you have identified your phrases, you need to optimize your store for these phrases to ensure good rankings.

There is much more about keywords in the following section.

SERPs

SERPs are the search engine results pages. These are what appear when you search for a specific word or phrase on any of the search engines – usually with 10 results per page. The goal is for your Shopify store to rank first for your targeted keywords phrases – or as close to the top as possible.

It’s important to know the layout of the Google SERPs inside out, as this is the essential real estate that you’re competing for with your competitors. You need to know all the information that’s displayed there.

It used to be rather simple. Nowadays, for any given phrase, it includes a LOT of information, which will vary according to the nature of the search. Typically, it will include:

Ads at the top:

gNE9cYXYCIpt TG5F9w6hWDABqxUCi7d GvC91HRawNe3LU1pD7mfhHwFKEtETCtcQ6NzQs2048

Organic search listings – including a clickable web page title, a description of the page, and sometimes additional links from deeper in the site:

1Xug6Jx8o89E7UhmcMTWH7r8dmPSrYhkb2guMy WXXPKv9qObZmwo7efRSV1gzPyK6VLjAs2048

Perhaps a Google My Business listing

asO66eorKp2S4vtGNKn3MwcUVdZ6OxnAj U 5BB0uu8jg1zH4nMIjB6 Ot5OXWRVAZmPIgs2048

The top news stories:

YgVDEK42 1 alzLeN 1JYb MQoXoSfrMHL6bPnRiYtS9G3wdfybarR KSV8K8yvPUcdvVAs2048

And there may be images and/or videos displayed:

f48N8ilLiDZZ9HAy0eewzqYJ fb1wIPPrB5o2g9RBhYyIa5enK m8ZZz Cw DoqxkmgSpAs2048

It’s important that your listings in the SERPs are as complete as possible so that you take advantage of the real estate up for grabs. That’s partly what the rest of this article is about.

Search engine algorithm changes

r9 AxFQZNAv2FNTotK7B2zs9QEoUnAZcsCA2shFZ5aPifccpf4R3fzzBxNSpwM eofFGAs2048

Algorithm changes are when the search engines introduce changes to the way they rank websites. This has changed many times over the years – hence the need to stay across SEO and adjust your strategies accordingly from time to time.

With Google, you may have heard of ‘Penguin’, ‘Panda’ or ‘Hummingbird’. These were changes announced by Google a few years back that caused many previously high-ranking sites to tumble dramatically in the search results or be removed completely. Some businesses were ruined overnight.

Most were penalized for SEO methods deemed now as ‘blackhat’. If you follow the advice in this guide you will have no such problems. And Google’s free Search Console and Analytics tools help you stay on top of your store’s overall health.

Site architecture

It’s good to have a general idea of what this term means: it’s basically how your site is set up and how easy you make it to index and rank your pages.

A sitemap will be part of this – where you detail your website’s key pages to make it easier both for the search engines and for users to find what they want.

On-page and off-page optimization

On-page optimization is the strategy by which you optimize your Shopify store’s pages for search (including keyword optimization). This includes getting your page titles and descriptions right, as well as optimizing all images.

Off-page optimization is the strategy by which you raise the profile of your site using external strategies such as link building.

Links and link-building

Links are a strong ranking factor for the search engines and take many forms, including:

  • Internal links – between your own store’s pages
  • Organic external links – which point to your site naturally from other websites, without you asking
  • External links that you have actively campaigned for through link-building efforts

More about this in the final section of the article.

‘Blackhat’ and ‘Whitehat’ SEO

You may have heard of these terms before.

‘Blackhat SEO’ refers to strategies used to boost rankings that may get you in trouble with the search engines. Strategies NOT approved of include keyword stuffing and link-buying.

‘Whitehat SEO’ refers to approved strategies that will get you higher search engine rankings, such as content marketing.

Now the basic terminology is out of the way, let’s look at the specific aspects of Shopify SEO that will help your store get rankings…


Mastering Shopify Keyword Research

The importance of keywords to your Shopify store extends beyond purely SEO. They are the foundation for all of your online marketing. Without getting this part right, you won’t increase sales.

As such, it’s critical for you to understand how to go about keyword research so that you identify the right words and phrases to base your marketing around.

Without mastering this, everything that follows will be less effective.

So have I got your undivided attention here? ☺

Keywords: not just about the length!

Basically, your keyword research needs to uncover the words and phrases (and variations thereof) that your target customers are typing into Google, Bing, and the other search engines.

From keyword research, you then move to keyword optimization, whereby your whole store and all your marketing campaigns target these keywords.

You already know the difference between broad (‘head’ and ‘body’) keywords and more specific (‘long tail’) keywords: remember clothing, lady’s shirts, and lady’s white cotton blouses?

But there are other important aspects of keywords to consider: firstly, user intent. Better matching user intent is something that Google is always making tweaks to its algorithm for; so you need to bear it in mind when selecting keyword phrases.

Broadly speaking, you have:

  • Users looking to buy products and services: someone typing in ‘best lady’s white cotton blouses’ is quite likely to be looking to buy lady’s white cotton blouses.
  • Users looking for information: someone typing in ‘how to make lady’s white cotton blouses’ is unlikely to be looking to buy. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t target that keyword: it’s just more likely that you would target it in a blog article rather than on the product pages of your Shopify store.

Another factor to consider with keywords is the competitiveness of terms you are targeting. how can you find this out?

If you are using a keyword tool, you may receive a rating for the competitiveness of a keyword; but another simple way to find out is to see how many listings there are for the keyword phrase when you type it into Google.

rGhH48mQGjX9vzr1CYZGtDRS5XBTJ0n6V3cm eErmG7GfqYDnCddemMx5I cbFISa6O1pgs2048

Here you can see just how competitive that term is. You have ads at the top, then some big clothing brands; it will be difficult to rank on the first page, so you may want to reconsider your keyword phrase to be more specific to your niche.

hfP4Sg3Rv13lkhdSnUh5ZCYPxaDPF8uOx55WYDNWkUrwuv5cTRdtIjl8II4ODkJ0fLXbvQs2048

In the above SERPs for ‘best ladies XXL white cotton blouses’ you can see that competition is less intense. You may have more chance of ranking on the first page. And the searchers who find you would probably have good buyer intent for this keyword, so they should be sent to a page on your store where they can buy the item.

Let’s assume that you’re starting from scratch with your keywords and you need to go through the steps to identify a list of keywords to target. Where should you start?

Following is a brief guide to what you should be doing…

Step 1: Examine the competition

Who are your main competitors? They needn’t be the big brands that are hard to compete with and which have big marketing budgets to spend on SEO and online marketing.

Think closer to home… who is a couple of notches above you in present rankings?

Chances are they have already found some of the main search terms that people are typing into the search engines for your products.

What terms are your competitors optimizing their pages for? You can see this in the title and meta description of the page. Click through and you can learn more; hover your mouse over images and you should see more about the keywords they’ve optimized their ‘alt tags’ for.

Note down the keywords that your competitors are using and keep them on a spreadsheet.

Step 2: Examine Google related keywords

An easy step for finding keywords is to check the Google ‘related keywords’ when you enter in a search term. These are at the foot of the page and intended to help searchers who cannot find what they want – but you can pinch them if they are suitable.

nShxuFyXbBkkVRDTVmlWzURm3i2AV6HMcD6DOgyx CtHbfy7ADQLmqD4nNlUEmHXBZpuoQs2048

If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of other tools available to help…

Step 3: Use the other keyword tools

There are three free (but priceless) tools available to help you identify keywords.

The first tool is: Google Suggest. When you start typing words into a Google search box there will be a dropdown of suggested ways to complete what you’re typing… like this:

Bc7eaRvn 90 j0ae 01tGxMQAX N4eAp9EgDkpy ami5TW5lXHk2 nm qWQN6g9rUXbh8ws2048

Note what these words are, as they will be the popular terms that people enter in Google search. This may help generate new ideas for you.

The next tool is even more useful: Keywordtool.io.  With this, you enter a keyword or phrase and it will suggest:

  • Other similar and related keywords (including long tail keywords you might not have considered)
  • Questions related to the keyword or phrase

i1vcKCJvRHSupt ltoiUWUukVOdRsrxYGb 6xkJPkWYQVKDMvA9Pv3PaiZKl J3AewCpBQs2048

With the paid version you can also see the search volume for each term, the estimated cost per click if using AdWords, and the levels of competition.

The third tool, which you may be more familiar with is the Google Adwords Keyword Planner (GAKP). This is designed to help Adwords customers decide on the keywords they will bid for but anyone can use it for free.

After creating an account, you get full access to its set of tools which allow you to:

  • Generate keyword suggestions – either by entering keywords, a URL to analyze the keywords present, or by choosing a product category (which will return the most popular keyword results in that category). These suggestions can be downloaded as a .csv file.
  • See the average monthly searches for each keyword
  • Check the competition level for each keyword (high, medium, or low) on Adwords
  • Find out other information relating to potential Adwords bids (that you don’t need to know here)
  • Generate extra data (search volume for instance) about keywords that you have already shortlisted for targeting

There are plenty of other tools available but let’s keep it simple: for most store owners, the above three tools should be adequate to produce a killer keyword target list.

Step 4: Organize your keywords

If you’ve been adding your keywords to a spreadsheet as you go along, this should be easy.

As well as the keyword itself, include columns listing additional data like average monthly searches and competition level, for instance. This will all help your final decision.

You can categorise keywords by intent: to buy or for info. You can also add a column to detail the page on your website that you intend to use the keyword on; and another column with content ideas (especially in the case of informational keyword phrases).

image2

image1

Final tip for Instagram users

If you are using Instagram (and if you’re not, why not?) type your keywords into the Instagram search box and it will reveal the number of people who use the term in hashtags: this can help you identify the most common Instagram tags to use on your posts. Add this information to your spreadsheet in an extra column.


Site architecture: optimizing the structure of your Shopify store

A big mistake that some shop owners make is to get so obsessed with pleasing the search engines that the user experience is damaged.

There definitely needs to be a careful balance.

In many respects, what’s good for the user is also good for the search engines. Simply by focusing on creating a great user experience will help your rankings.

But here we need to drill down a little more into what that actually means. What are the structural elements that you should be focusing on?

Use mobile-first Shopify themes

It’s no longer good enough for your store to be simply ‘mobile –friendly’; think ‘mobile first’, as that will be how most if your customers will view your store.

Their user experience may well start on an iPhone or other smartphone; so make sure you choose a responsive theme that fits to any screen and looks great on mobile.

Fortunately, on Shopify, that’s easy. There are great responsive themes with both paid and free versions; checkout is easy on mobile (very important) and call to action buttons are very easy to use.

AJYXgFcaPtIQqarHMY0a0BBZaxgdCbtPevtVBuRuajUnseY7Jd26hJ7V264cSuJ9Zz1eYws2048

This is a clear example where a great user experience is rewarded by search engines: Google tends to love responsive designs and even has a free tool to check the mobile friendliness of your store.

Ensure page load times are snappy

Again, Shopify handles this aspect well, ensuring that your store’s pages load quickly. You probably don’t have to concern yourself too much as a Shopify store owner – suffice to know that Google will penalize websites that are slow to load.

Just make sure that images are of manageable file sizes and optimized so that page load times are maintained when you add new products.

Organize your content

Organizing your pages logically is important to both your customers and the search engines. There should be a natural progression through your site for customers – and you need to make it easy for the search engine crawlers to follow and index all of the content in your Shopify store.

Most importantly, organize your product pages well. This is easy to do within Shopify, using one of the following two structures:

  • Homepage > Category Pages > Product Pages
  • Homepage > Category Pages > Sub-Category Page > Product Pages

You can also use collections on Shopify to group products together on the product pages. A product can feature in multiple collections.

The keywords you found during your research can be allocated to either the homepage, category pages, sub-category pages, or product pages on your Shopify store. In this way, you will optimize both for the search engines and the user experience.

Design a logical navigation system

On your Shopify store, burying content far from the homepage will be bad for SEO and bad for conversions.

Keep every page within three clicks of the homepage – fewer if possible – and this especially applies to your most important product and service pages.

Once you have decided on your Shopify theme, you will find a navigation menu either along the top of the page or down the sidebar.

It should be logical for users, grouping products together by categories and collections. Don’t try to be too clever with this –your customers will be expecting a standard format to find what they want. Don’t make them go looking too far for it.

GkygWS3kR7IIdYNEhOSGBiQebKWTQn75uLtGhz9sVCZw261ivv91fnAcuofwGSCIStAzgQs2048

If you have fewer products, your menu can be much simpler, like this:

hL22K mkyLyyuhjORB QJaFdI UnsX0MyR LLO G tybcwFK shJ85 p3tZPN8cS01BaLQs2048

Creating menus is easy in Shopify – and if you need help you can use the video tutorial that they provide.

As well as the main menu, it’s good practice to link your site pages together with internal links, as mentioned previously.

This will help your users navigate a logical path through your site, find out more about certain topics if necessary, view similar products, and delve deeper into what you offer. This, in turn, keeps them on the site for longer – a positive ranking factor for search.

Build credibility for users & search engines

It’s important to show the world (for you, that means customers and search engines) that you are credible and trustworthy.

You do this partly by detailing all relevant business information on your Shopify store.

Google uses a team of Search Quality evaluators to determine whether a website is trustworthy and they will check for information such as the store owners, business premises, contact details etc.

That’s why your About and Contact pages are not to be skipped. Include this information to let users and search engines know that you are reputable.

dHpRJmZi4RSc7 3y qBRE4SZouf4 BhiqWB6SVjtGwdWFqHMuN4Ey2wsZgd tI7dEJgwxQs2048

Include a search box

On the face of it, this is more for usability than SEO – but it’s worth noting here. Help your users find what they want easily with a search box; it may help your visitors stay on your site longer and therefore positively impact SEO.

Look how prominent it is here on the home page:

4RAgwRrSJ0pw2kRGC p DUZCLuAHZ5s0k9 2ZXkL3aAb6Jlgp Z6l3MGY0naFWLFdoS Vws2048

This is very easy to do on Shopify, as it’s standard with most themes.


Shopify On-page SEO

After you’ve found your keywords and decided on a logical, easy-to-use structure, the next step is to optimize your store’s pages around your chosen keywords.

But it’s not a free-for-all, inserting keywords here, there, and everywhere. As with all SEO, there is a strategy and measurement to it. It goes a bit like this…

Decide on your top pages – and optimize these first

What are the top pages on your Shopify store. These should usually be:

  • Your homepage
  • Main product collection pages (most profitable, best conversion rate)
  • Top-selling product pages (most profitable, best conversion rate)

If you don’t know your best-selling, most-profitable, best-converting products, then you need to rewind a little and find out quickly. If you’re just starting out, which products have generated the most interest in the build up to opening your store?

The data should be at hand to identify your top pages; if not, simply go by the most-searched keyword terms (which you identified during your keyword search – ideally at least 10K searches per month) and optimize the pages that best match these terms.

Optimize for consistency

It will help your branding, as well as SEO, to keep things consistent on your store. This means creating a template that you use to optimize all the pages in your store.

This is a good example of a template for naming pages:

Lady’s White Cotton Blouses –  Shop for Lady’s Blouses Online – ABC Store

Here you use the following format for your collection pages:

Keyword 1 – Shop for Keyword 2 – Business Name.

ALL your collection pages would follow the same format. So, for example:

Men’s White Cotton Shirt –  Shop for Men’s Shirts Online – ABC Store

You would then repeat the process for your product pages, using the keyword phrases you have identified for those pages.

Spend time on crafting titles & descriptions

Another aspect of on-page SEO that requires attention is the page tiles and descriptions. These are what show on the SERPS when you are ranking for a search term.

A good page title should be 55-65 characters long with spaces, use the main keyword for the page, and describe the main product features. Do not exceed the character limit or your title will be cut off in the SERPs.

A good page description is 155-160 characters long (with spaces) and also includes the main keyword for the page, but it’s main job is to encourage the click through. So it should have a call to action.

FTHVZ3QOzFeZzOm OpqdriLcsNk2JEdAb0BGIsTl XFh7YCGAqWXKoADM gYqIXZ2OAkTgs2048

When you add a new page to your Shopify store, you will be prompted to add a title and description in the page editor.

You can also add your preferred URL slug, which should also include your main keyword. Do not make it too long though – especially if you want to use the URL in email marketing campaigns.

If you change an old URL, Shopify can automatically redirect to the new one to maintain your traffic and page authority.

Optimize page copy

The copy on your Shopify store should be written for customers first and foremost. But if you have selected the right keywords, you should be able to insert them easily and naturally into the page copy without sounding awkward. There should be no need to cram your keywords in.

As well as helping you convert visitors to sales, this will boost your SEO.

A word of warning: don’t overuse your keywords. Focus on using them in the main heading (H1), the H2 and H3 headers, and once or twice on the page – especially early in the copy. If it sounds unnatural, you can probably do it better.

You can highlight some of the keywords using bold or italics, to give them extra emphasis – but don’t overuse this.

Lfa1T1kr EiRPID51mfWo 1C 0Zw9vh0AuT1 bFmCOF7JFc6XsTDnKakFCwWg5DYbLT1qQs2048

Optimize all your images

If you have a Shopify store, it’s likely that you have a LOT of images. Great images sell products. But optimized images will also generate the traffic that buys those products.

Optimized images show up in image searches and may appear next to your pages on social media or in the SERPs for certain search terms.

To achieve this, you need to tell the search engines what your images are all about – and it’s a great opportunity to use your keywords again. You might use the same format for naming images of collections and products that you used for naming the product and collection pages (described above).

Shopify makes this easy – prompting you for the ‘image alt text’ when you insert a new image. This will display when a user cannot load the image or hovers their mouse over it.

YT8UBzEW0weruNwUY w0 GXQnMGAp2TB8bG97gTB4DWuklrqdTaflU3gCsIY3hL38lP2VQs2048

Maintain optimization of your pages

Very little in SEO is ‘set and forget’. You need to maintain your pages so that they remain optimized over time.

The Google Search Console (AKA ‘Google Webmaster Tools’) is an excellent free tool you can use to help with this. Once you have set up your account, a piece of code added to the html of your Shopify store will help you track various aspects of SEO performance.

XGXSXspSSK6bExpRpwai3fM65ZNDzAWDmG3pD8Zdbs7Ann2XhQ6CIBnPJl2Xj3C RWWws2048

You can track the number of pages on your store that Google has indexed; you can also identify your most popular pages and search terms, and identify potential problems with on-page optimization.

This is all valuable information that you will need to tweak your pages and improve rankings.


Shopify Blogging & Content Marketing

Content marketing is another example of good general practice for your Shopify store: you can use it to educate your prospects and customers, become better-known across the social media channels, as well as to increase your visibility in the SERPs.

Content can mean anything from blog post articles to images, infographics, video-makers, slideshows, podcasts, and so on – it spans all media.

The SEO component of content marketing provides more opportunities for you to use your keywords. It also generates regular new content that will get the search engines re-visiting your store and keep your visitors on your site for longer, both of which are good for SEO.

It can also help win you back-links from other authority websites in your niche, which will certainly help your rankings (more about links in the next section).

The problem that many store owners run into is creating enough high-quality content to make a difference. That’s what this section should help you with…

What content should you create?

For SEO purposes, and as a framework to start with, go back to the keywords you have selected (I said earlier that keywords were the basis for all your online marketing – and this is a good example of that!)

Even though your keywords will be mainly product-based, it’s still possible to generate some engaging topics that can educate your target audience.

For instance, what content could you produce around ladies white cotton blouses? How can you educate your audience or answer the questions that are uppermost in their minds?

Perhaps a video on how your blouses are made? Or an article on five creative ways to wear ladies’ white cotton blouses in summer? Or the 10 most comfortable white cotton blouses on the planet. This is where you can get really creative.

Start a spreadsheet for content marketing ideas and add to it over time. Detail the following:

  • Target keyword
  • Working title (which should include the keyword)
  • Content type: blog post, infographic, etc.
  • Destination: where it will be published – your blog, an industry blog etc.
  • Target date for completion/submission (if appropriate)
  • Publication URL

Once you have a rough plan like this, you can start generating your content-  either yourself or by hiring professional writers, video-makers, graphics experts, etc.

Popular tools to assist with content marketing

There are also plenty of popular tools for helping with various aspects of content marketing. Below is an overview of some of the best ones…

For help with headlines/titles

Industry-related magazine headlines are traditionally good places to start for the most popular topics of the day.

Also, if you have a team of sales people, ask them what customers are frequently asking: develop a system for providing feedback about this, as it’s pure gold!

Besides these ideas, there are many more online tools available to help you create eye-catching headlines…

Popurls

GFge3lOcX yZvb3gdNtoAsx6UsrCphJmy e4obut5zf8XPxKpZxOj 4A25t60WskYC tFgs2048

  • Aggregates the top stories from around the web – see where the buzz is and what’s making the headlines
  • Choose specific niches that relate to your products and services
  • Seek out the types of headlines where you may be able to insert your target keywords and add any ideas to your content marketing spreadsheet

UberSuggest

jB8PpxHgW0mJ4XkL0Dcsu4rrIdNALkzJ8TQZP2O1FqXIkcaLJ5mQu3MzxEHjKXfWPRnOdgs2048

  • This is mainly used to generate keyword ideas
  • Enter a keyword and see what titles it suggests
  • Save any good ones to your spreadsheet

Blog Title Generator (from HubSpot)

7hc 0xVIO06LiBC raVEju28PhAdYWE PHcoxPt9vuXpaEgZfM3asFVV6sWnFqBcQ LbwAs2048

  • Enter 1-3 keywords and it will provide suggestions for titles
  • Up to 250 specific headline ideas
  • Modify to fit your keywords in (naturally!)

Find out what people are asking

A good rule of thumb is to base your content around the questions that people are asking in your industry/niche.

To help with that, there are some great tools that will detail the most popular questions.

Quora

gViAs3AL4c5sGW9sAFJcpYeVbBY9 Zgx1MVW8zXC9MHDzsoPrz8Dim ZNkSvAv2Iiey3Ogs2048

  • Popular Q & A network
  • Use the search box to type in topics related to your business
  • A list of the most common questions will appear, plus related topic idea
  • Use the most relevant questions for your products and start shaping content around them

Ask MetaFilter

QR RGAPYzjnZmXPUjsGHELuG2lfd0E42PJ4WRbhFzcLSiNSy0cbSd1HQ VfKVQrvOhlDHQs2048

  • Alternative Q & A network
  • Use the search box to type in topics related to your business
  • Get a list of the most popular questions related to that subject

Amazon

hfzRHxLHugn7s8Xp2 RXjQNMtNZ g BWJ6vMfayVN87fdTnuP tpcxr96sXi9NDxZgGXSgs2048

  • Check the customer questions on product pages related to your niche
  • Use info to inspire title & content ideas
  • Alternatively, rewrite and use on the FAQ page of your Shopify store

FAQ pages of competitors

n L33eAfXHCsZsprIiPZQMy7WLzhbCMvwndacY6oHKUDloy 9kibXoHYUfhE11jD WME As2048

  • Just Google your topic + FAQs
  • Reword them if you are going to use on your own FAQ page

Use forums and social media

Other great places to find out what people are talking about in your industry are forums, discussion boards, and social media groups. There is so much information available at your fingertips for content ideas– if you know where to look.

Whatever you need to write about, there will be a related forum. Just use Google or more specific discussion-board-finding search engines:

Boardreader

m4SlVlIpZ MKfgBoOTuKFaZc bdboP85ykv3C2Uh jIYcGsvvDw7dtXkVnwUFaJUxts96ws2048

  • Simply type your topic into the search box
  • You will receive links to related discussion board posts
  • Enter either broad or specific terms, depending on your needs

Social media

OK41Wlc4xTh2UE8hNWaSyagynaiGkJK3ae535iQQoNqysH3mQCwLtE3xRkisp Xn4S3xvgs2048

  • Join niche groups on social media to help you identify buzz topics
  • Try LinkedIn groups – also Facebook & Google+
  • Enter your keywords on your chosen social media platform and see which groups are suggested
  • On Instagram and Twitter search for the most popular hashtags and check out posts for content ideas

Use YouTube & the video networks

t7FXv k7iO80PXMHSaZrs7xAEsfv0Gkg61CrYnQ XRY8QqkVOgyKHWb5uTrRhmh OTtCXws2048

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google – use it!
  • Find out what people are watching – and build your own content around it (most watched)
  • The comments section can help you find out what people are asking

Content creation tips

There is an art to building content around the ideas you have.

This will take some time and practice, but it’s important to master it. Alternatively, hire freelancers who have already mastered it and can provide a consistent stream of high-quality, engaging content that makes potential customers sit up and take note.

Below are some tips for creating this content:

  • Based on your chosen title, search Google to view similar content
  • Your aim should be to beat the top-ranking content for a given topic
  • Include rewritten ideas from the best content – with your own twist – it must be UNIQUE content
  • Include sources for ideas, information etc. (insert links – but not to competitors!)
  • No copying and pasting from other articles!
  • Research statistics, facts, and quotes to bring credibility and authority to your content
  • Try interviewing authorities in your niche – another great way to bring credibility to your content; you can also exchange links (see more in the next section about this)

And following are some tips for getting this content seen and shared around the web:

  • Optimize all content (and images) as you would for web pages – with title/description, headers/sub-headers and body text all using your keywords, as well as alt tags for images
  • Make it easily digestible – break up text into short sentences and paragraphs
  • Publish not only to your blog – but to social media, using content publishing tools like Hootsuite
  • Consider posting to industry-leading sites that accept content – you may get a backlink to your site (but be careful of over-using this as Google may penalize those who misuse this strategy with product reviews)
  • Include social sharing buttons (e.g. for Twitter, Facebook, Google +1, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Be sure to include images – they can help get content seen and ranking
  • Include a call to action to share at the end of an article, infographic, or video

Shopify Link-Building

vwM2ARLZ2KSbk Ki0jFEfXcsClNIwrB3Xv 9FZlyi0PPe1ocguiigw23Qy4jyqPRtueWpQs2048

The information so far has been concerned with optimizing your Shopify store for search by focusing on what’s included on the website itself.

This section is about how you optimize off your site to gain a boost in search rankings. It’s not an either/or situation – you need to do both to get optimal rankings.

The chief off-page optimization strategy you will use is link-building.

The amount and quality of external links to your site effectively inform the search engines about how credible, trustworthy, and important your site is to the wider community. So, they are used as a key indicator for search rankings.

Of course, if you have followed the on-page SEO tips for your Shopify store you will have a well-structured website with great content. This not only makes for a wonderful user experience, but it should mean that you generate a good number of external links back to your site from other websites that consider your store of value to their community.

However, for optimal results, these links that you gather organically need to be supplemented with active link-building campaigns.

Avoid strategies like buying links or overdoing product reviews as that could get you into trouble… here are a few ideas that should work, though…

Analyze your competitor links

Just like with your keyword research, you can use your competitors as a valuable source of information on links.

Competitors above you in the search rankings are doing something you’re not; they may have optimized their store better, gathered more quality links, or both.

Use Ahrefs.com to type in your competitor URL, select dofollow from the inbound links tab, and you will see a list of links that you can export to an Excel spreadsheet.

cPjmsyjitOmk48cPg5 X7UysAWEEF3ic8g53Fng9 UkjTuO lu2rNZ4GFg38wTiWV24YPAs2048

Maintain this spreadsheet and add notes to it as you do more link research. You should target getting links from all quality sites on your competitor list; start with the easiest ones and be persistent with the more difficult ones (some links may require you to produce content or offer a discount).

Avoid any links from low-quality link directories as these will do more harm than good to your SEO.

Get links from suppliers/manufacturers

Do you supply products made by established manufacturers or supplied by well-established suppliers? If so, cash in on getting a link from them as that will add authority to your own store. They may have a policy that all authorized retailers can get a link.

Simply email them and ask for a link. That should be all that’s required!

Conduct interviews with industry voices

This was also mentioned above as a good SEO tactic for content generation.

Interviewing respected industry ‘voices’(with good followings of their own) can be a great way to get quality backlinks.

Many such people may be busy – but their egos will rarely allow them to miss an interview opportunity! Just be prepared to wait and to have a list of interesting questions ready for them.

Your interview may be shared across the web if you get it right – and possibly republished by other reputable authority sites – which can mean a big boost for links.

Turn mentions into links

This could be considered the ‘low hanging fruit’. If your Shopify store has been around a while, there will be many sites that mention you without linking.

The goal should be to contact these sites and turn each mention into a link (excepting links from forums or social media sites, as these will have little benefit).

Again, a simple email may do it…but first you need to find them.

Mention.com is the best tool to help with this: enter your brand name and you will receive a comprehensive list of your brand’s mentions across the web.

Build new links by researching broken links

This is a very smart one that the top authorities on link-building endorse.

You can search out broken links for products and services similar to yours around the web; then you approach the owners of the pages displaying these broken links to link to you instead.

Try hunting down dead websites and then finding out through Ahrefs.com which sites are linking to it – and then approaching those.

Broken links harm SEO – so the ‘win’ for the page owner is that you help them repair their page; the ‘win’ for you is obviously a precious backlink.

Target authority sites

T oEVtJkfpWIZdYxGPEIz3OkS69EB19rSk5Hlus1bK cZANuSZSehsLEQR2XpfAkB3yx0ws2048With your link-building, keep in mind that links from authority sites are really the name of the game.

You’re in ecommerce and it might be more difficult for a Shopify store selling swimwear or ladies’ jewelry to receive authority links compared to an informational site. However, aim high.

Consider whether there are ways for you to help out media organizations; HARO (Help a Reporter Out) sends out emails with queries that might relate to your industry and which you can contribute to. You might not always get a link but it’s possible to increase your exposure, which can’t be bad.

Another great example of an ‘authority’ link is from .edu domains. These are hard to win and so they are highly valued by Google and the search engines.

You can try the alumni section of colleges and universities that your employees used to attend; see if you can contribute to the page and get a link in return, for instance.

Another option for a Shopify store is to offer alumni discounts via a special discount coupon.

Get listed in high-quality directories

Most directories are probably not worth the time and effort of getting a listing; but some niche directories and a few major players like SMOZ and BOTW should help you.

Just make sure that, if you are looking for a link from a niche directory, it has not been flagged for spam.


Shopify SEO Takes Time

As you can see, getting rankings is NOT about the short term, NOT about quick wins, and NOT about shortcuts.

It takes a good understanding of the basics of Shopify SEO and consistent action focused on mid- and long-term gains.

Make no mistake. If you are prepared to put the effort in to SEO, the rewards will come. They always do. Traffic, customers, sales, profit…

It’s not difficult or complicated. It’s simply about combining what you have learned above into a lasting strategy that you are prepared to test and tweak along the way.

Nothing is fixed; SEO is a constantly-moving target as the online world changes and the search engines tweak themselves to remain relevant with their search results.

You’ve made a great start by reading to here. Now it requires action.

➡ Get higher rankings in Google & more organic traffic to your Shopify store

Don’t have time to find the best Shopify SEO tools and apps? Download our handy PDF.

giles thomas

Author:

Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog RisePro.co

Comments

Speak your mind