Shopify provides a user-friendly environment for selling direct-to-consumer online. Many small businesses have created Shopify stores, either instead of or in addition to selling on conglomerate platforms such as Amazon and eBay. For directly reaching customers with products or services, Shopify is one of the easiest and most effective storefront solutions.
Shopify storefronts are essential to your business, but first customers need to be able to find your store, then they need a smooth check-out experience. If you’re using a storefront in hopes of selling directly to consumers, here are three ways to optimize your Shopify store.
1. Strategically Place On-Site Keywords
Keywords cue search engines into what whare Shopify store sells, and what categories and individual listings are for. Your site needs to have accurate keywords in order to appear in results when users are conducting relevant searches.
Moreover, you can’t just tell search engines once what a site is about. Just one placement of a keyword will get lost in all of the content that’s on a website and web page. You have to instead place keywords on your store’s website multiple times. Some important places to use target keywords and key phrases include:
- H1 header, H2 header, H3 header
- Product description paragraph, feature bullet points
- Internal category, product and other links
- Image alt text, image file
- Website domain, individual web page URLs
- Meta title, meta description
You’ll use a broad keyword in some of these places (e.g. website domain, H1 header). Other places (e.g. H3 header, product description paragraph, image alt text) lend themselves to more specific longtail key phrases.
A meta description is the text you see in search engine results after the title. You can set meta descriptions on product pages, Shopify blog posts, etc. Keep your meta description straightforward in simple language that incorporates the keywords that people will search for your site. You can set these in the Preferences tab in the back-end of your store.
2. Build Off-Site Links to Your Store
Link building is one of the most important aspects of off-site search engine optimization, which encompasses all SEO tactics that are conducted outside of a website itself.
Backlinks to a website can be thought of as endorsements. Some links matter more than others, just as some endorsements matter more than others.
How much weight is given to individual backlinks largely depends on the web page in which they appear. Web pages can vary both in authority and in relevancy. These two metrics create a quadrant of how search engines will view individual backlinks. Backlinks can have:
- High authority and high relevancy
- High authority and low relevancy
- Low authority and high relevancy
- Low authority and low relevancy
While links with high authority and high relevancy are the most valuable, other combinations of authority and relevancy shouldn’t be discounted. A website with a robust and natural backlink profile will have links in each of these four categories.
There are many ways that you might build backlinks. Posting in forums, guest posting on blogs, running promotions with other stores, and creating pillar content that others will link to as a resource are some common ways to develop backlinks.
Just be aware of link building’s two cardinal rules. First, don’t pay for links. Second, don’t pursue any links on websites that you wouldn’t show your grandmother.
3. Have a User-Friendly Store Structure
How your store’s web pages are structured has a direct impact on search appearances, customer satisfaction, and ultimately sales.
The impact on customers is most obvious, as customers can’t make purchases if they can’t navigate a store. Online selling isn’t like IKEA selling — customers can just close out the tab if they get lost in a maze. Your store’s structure needs to logically flow, and that flow must be clear. With a natural and clear structure, customers will be able to find the products/services they want to purchase.
In addition to increasing sales, your Shopify store’s search metrics will also be improved. The site will have lower bounce rates, more time on site, and more page views. Details like these can directly or indirectly influence how highly search engines value your site.
A craftily structured store website can also improve SEO through the URL structure. If your store has a broad keyword as its domain, slightly more specific category page names, and specific product names, the combination can mimic terms that people search.
JC Penny’s storefront shows how URLs can effectively be used as keywords. Consider the URL for women’s dresses: https://www.jcpenney.com/g/women/dresses?id=cat100210008. The store’s name is most appropriate for the domain, and many customers will search JC Penny. After that, “womens” “dresses” appear right next to each other. Of course, many people will search “women’s dresses” with various modifiers. (The id… portion is for internal use by the site.)
When a modifier, such as “blue,” is selected in the search filter, the URL adjusts to https://www.jcpenney.com/g/women/dresses?color=blue&id=cat100210008&productGridView=medium&activeFacetId=1031. This time, “womens” “dresses” “blue” appear directly adjacent to one another. Many people will search “blue women’s dresses,” but “women’s dresses in blue” and permutations thereof will also be common thanks to suggested searches.
This sort of URL structure can be set up with almost any product. It makes sense to people, and because it makes sense to people it also mimics the searches that people conduct.
Optimize Your Shopify Store for Search Engines
Every store website can improve its ranking in search engines, no matter how small or large the store is. Use these tips, and watch traffic increase as you optimize your Shopify store for search engines.