Starting an online store is now handier than it has ever been. There are several feature-rich e-commerce platforms available out there to choose from, with Shopify being among the ones which gain popularity. After all, the Canadian company has over 600.000 active stores as I’m writing this.
Yes, starting an e-commerce store is easy. But successfully running it is not.
Between learning how to nail SEO, managing your Pay-Per-Click campaigns and dealing with Conversion Rate Optimization, you may find yourself caught in a web of new knowledge which can be quite intimidating.
E-commerce is a challenging environment. And with the number of online stores multiplying by the day, visitors get to be increasingly pickier when it comes to where they choose to spend their money online.
To stay competitive in this evolving industry, e-commerce business owners must always be one step ahead of the game and access all mechanisms which can help them achieve e-commerce success.
That means focusing on the following critical strategies.
Chapter 1: The Fundamentals of How to Nail SEO for Shopify
As opposed to any other type of site, an e-commerce comes with a unique set of characteristics which also translate into different SEO must-haves and challenges.
The way you handle these will ultimately influence your Shopify store’s visibility and SERP rankings.
It’s something which deserves to be on top of your priority list because it ultimately affects how much traffic you get back to your store.
Managing SEO for your store can be a daunting task, but there’s help coming your way. Keep on reading to discover a straightforward set of 7 best practices which will help improve your SEO game.
〉 1. Develop Your Product Pages for SEO with Keywords in Mind
For your Shopify site, a significant chunk of your search engine traffic will go to your product pages (where conversions happen).
The question is how do you make the most out of this opportunity? Well, it’s all about choosing the right keywords; namely, those keywords which bring in quality traffic will have:
- high Search Volume
- trend going up
- low competition.
Meticulous keyword research is at the core of any successful SEO strategy, so here are some tips which work great for e-commerce product pages.
- Make sure your target keyword appears on your page 3-5 times. If your target word is woman skiing jacket, that exact keyword should be included in your product descriptions. Make sure not to over-optimize, though. The tricky thing is to figure out an optimum ratio of keywords in your text in order not to over-optimize. There are tools which can do this for you automatically.
- Adding commonly-searched terms like cheap, free shipping, best, reviews, online, top, fast. Including terms users are likely to use when searching for products on Google will help your product pages. Including them in Title Tags will get your pages to show up on Google for long-tail searches which include those keywords.
I’ll give you an example: instead of using ‘knitted midi dress’ as the target keyword for your Product Page, you could use something like ‘best-knitted midi dress’ or ‘cheap knitted midi dress’.
- Adding magnet words like X% Off, Lowest Price, Free Shipping, Guarantee, Discount or Sale. Users are likely to use these terms when looking for a deal. What’s more, this type of wording will make your listing irresistible. Google’s click-through rates (CTR) are part of its ranking algorithm and even if that wouldn’t be the case, you’d still want to maximize your CTR.
The example below shows some of these words in action:
〉 2. Optimizing for Humans – Not Just for Search Engines
Search engine optimization is all about increasing visibility in search engines, but at the end of the day, your customers are real people, not search engines. They’re the ones you want to impress.
Tweaking your strategy just to gain a higher ranking in the organic results of Google may not deliver the best outcome. Instead, base your optimization decisions on what’s best for the visitors to your e-commerce storefront.
More specifically, do this:
- Use keywords which are contextually relevant.
- Post high-quality, valuable content (preferably longer than 300 words). As specified in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide: “an in-depth examination of one topic in easy-to-understand language will always beat out unreadable keyword-dense drivel”.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Using excessive and annoying repetitions leads to a poor user experience.
- Invest into creating unique product descriptions instead of just copying them.
- Linking to other sites, only when it makes sense.
- Including product reviews to build trust and add contextually relevant, fresh and unique content to your online store.
- Putting effort into increasing your website’s usability. Having your Shopify product pages organized into collections ensures better navigation. This way, users can access the pages they want easily and through as few clicks as possible.
〉 3. Using Keywords in the Alternative Text Field of the Image
Adding Alt Tags to embedded product images is a must because that is how Google knows what the photos featured on your site are all about. And if your potential customers search for images, it’s an excellent way to stand out.
It’s a simple and quick tip you can apply regardless of your SEO expertise.
〉 4. Using Content Marketing to Increase Domain Authority (DA)
Domain authority is one of the leading ranking factors on Google. You might have heard that.
It’s no secret sites which manage to get many quality backlinks have greater DA and thus higher rankings on Google.
But how do you get someone to link to your site when all you have is a bunch of product and category pages? Well, that’s pretty hard to do. But even e-commerce sites can put valuable, linkable content out there.
You don’t have to solely focus on having links pointing directly to your product pages. Instead, you can have a blog section where you consistently post highly-relevant, valuable content which will increase the overall authority of your site.
〉 5. Don’t Underestimate the Value of a Good-Looking SERP Listing
Your Google listing should be attractive enough to beat your competitors who are listed on the same page as you. If you’re missing out on clicks, you are most likely missing out on sales, as well.
So what exactly makes a listing attractive? Make sure the Meta information has:
- persuasive, unique, creatively-written title
- including a price or a promotional offer in the description
- beautiful rich Meta description which features the keyword.
〉 6. Optimizing Your E-Commerce for Mobile Search Results
According to recent reports, over 2 billion mobile phone or tablet users have made some form of mobile commerce transaction until the end of 2017.
So, if you plan on running a successful e-commerce website, you have to cater to mobile users as well or else you risk losing many potential buyers. Check out this article for in-depth information which will help you get started.
Consider turning your Shopify Store in a Mobile App. You use the Mobile Buy SDK or any builder catered to this task. Creating the Shop will take just a few minutes as all the information will be taken from your site through your store’s link.
This will improve your users’ mobile experience and give you the advantage of having another way to notify them about discounts and other campaigns.
〉 7. Avoid Duplicate Content
Using the same Meta and Title Tags on all pages leads to duplicate page Titles or Duplicate Page Content. If you have duplicate content on your Shopify store, your chances of ranking higher diminish.
That’s because Google knows the second page has the same description as the first and will only rank one of them. Usually, the one who was published first or the one who has more backlinks. You are basically setting some page up to fail if they have duplicate Meta descriptions.
If you don’t know why more pages from online store aren’t ranking, start by addressing the issues mentioned above and your ranking will begin to improve.
〉 8. Measure Your Efforts
If you don’t keep track of what works and what doesn’t, every tweak you make in your SEO strategy will be based on guesswork.
And although you might get lucky once or twice, if your goal is to build a sustainable, long-term SEO strategy, metrics are your best friends. Regularly audit your site to identify shortages and opportunities in your SEO strategy.
Also, keep in mind one of the significant advantages of using Shopify is you have a good SEO site structure to start with. You just have to make sure the content you create within it is SEO friendly.
Chapter 2: An Introduction to Running Successful Shopify PPC Campaigns
When done right, using Google AdWords paid ads for Shopify can be a useful method to attract new in-market audiences who are ready to make a purchase.
But every campaign is only as successful as the planning you put behind it.
Here are some hacks you can use to achieve a better position on Google for your ads, as well as a higher click-through rate.
〉 1. First, Make Sure Your Website Is Ready to Welcome Visitors
Before you go ahead and launch an AdWords campaign, you should:
- Ensure your site performs perfectly on mobile.
- A/B test multiple versions of Calls-to-Action, titles and landing pages structures.
- Set up conversion tracking so you can better measure the success of your campaign and further analyze the results.
- Make sure your checkout process is simple and works flawlessly. The last thing you need is people intending to make a purchase and not being able to.
〉 2. Keyword Research for SEM
Doing keyword research for SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is not the same as finding the best keywords to target for SEO.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Bidding for broad terms might not deliver the desired results because it may not bring high-quality traffic to your site.
- Search terms indicate buyer intention. A user searching for Maybelline red lipstick is much more likely to be towards the end of the buying cycle than a user searching for the generic term lipstick.
- Looking into what relevant terms your competitors are actively bidding for can help you expand your keyword portfolio.
〉 3. Create Compelling, Irresistible Ad Copy
It’s easier said than done, I know, which is why I thought it’s important to share some essential strategies which will come in handy when crafting the ad copy.
One of the most critical aspects is the Call-to-Action. This is what will drive the user to click through to your online store – or not.
The Call-to-Action should be clear, benefit-focused and it should also induce a sense of urgency. Most importantly, it should mirror the user’s end goal.
Another thing to keep in mind when writing ad copy is to focus on those qualities which make your products stand out from the rest. This can be anything from a price point which can beat your competition, to the quality or the rarity of your products.
Let’s say you are selling products against hair loss. Taking the above-mentioned aspects into consideration, your ad copy could look something like this:
Why this works:
- It gives the user an end solution they’re looking for in the headline: Treating Hair Loss.
- It mirrors a user’s end goal. “Fed up with hair loss? THYMUSKIN can help.”
- It includes qualities which make the product stand out. “30 Years of Experience. Dermatologically Tested. Fast Delivery. No Animal Testing.”
- Encourages immediate action by providing a phone number.
Truth be told, there is no single recipe for success, so I recommend testing multiple versions and formats to find the ad copy which performs best for your Shopify store.
Chapter 3: A Few Essentials to Turn Your Site Visitors into Paying Customers
The more traffic you get to your product pages, the more conversions you are likely to make. But that’s just part of the equation. Just because visitors land on your site, it doesn’t mean they are ready to buy.
In fact, only about 1-5% will make a purchase right away. In this case, as long as you have a working checkout funnel, you’re golden.
But your goal should also be to engage and convert the other 95- 99% in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve them spending money (until they are ready to purchase).
Here are a few key site elements which support this goal and help nurture the relationship with visitors.
- Demo videos for your Home and Landing Pages. Video has the advantage of conveying a lot of information in a short time frame, so visitors can not only learn more about your products, but also see them in action.
- A Search Bar. This can help users navigate your site easier and find what they want faster. The catch here is the Search Bar should work flawlessly and fast. A missing filter like a price or size will only lead to users getting frustrated and them leaving without any plans to ever return. You can search the Shopify App Marketplace for a way to integrate this efficiently in your site.
- Pages. Think about running landing page campaigns where you include discounts and showcase the value propositions of your products. Adding page is easy form the Page tab in your Admin account and the Discount section will allow you to be very specific with the terms of your coupon codes.
- Exit Pop Up. Are visitors leaving your Shopify store without taking any action? Don’t let them! Test different versions of exit pop-outs to see which performs best. Change the images you use, the text, the action you want them to take. If they don’t want to give away to purchase in return for a discount code, maybe they will be willing to give their email for an exclusive eBook or membership.
- Sign-Up Forms. If visitors are not yet ready to make a purchase, maybe you can get them to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for different promotions on your site. This opens up a way of communicating with them and, in the long run, improve your chances of converting them into paying customers.
Time to Turn This Information into Action!
It’s an exciting time for the e-commerce industry, more so for Shopify store owners. To make the most out of the opportunities it offers, keep in mind the main takeaways from this article and use them to take action:
- Meticulous keyword research is at the heart of any successful SEO strategy.
- Focus on convincing rather than promoting.
- Base your optimization decisions on what’s best for your site visitors.
- Create original content.
- Focus on those qualities which make your products stand out when crafting ad copy.
- Test multiple versions and formats.
- Include demo videos on your Home Page and Landing Pages.
- Test different versions of exit pop-outs to see which performs best.
- Sign-Up Forms are great for opening up a way of communicating to site visitors who might not be ready to buy.
Thank You for taking the time to read this pretty long post. Let me know in the comment section which actions from the ones mentioned above you are going to take first to get ahead of your goals.