Shopify: it’s arguably the most popular and effective platform for building an e-commerce website. The company now supports more than 600,000 businesses across hundreds of countries. In terms of usability and accessibility, it’s a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, the “build it and they will come” mentality doesn’t work in the world of eCommerce.
Search engine optimization is essential if you want to organically pull in shoppers to your website. SEO is important when it comes to positioning your Shopify store well in Google and other search engine results.
Considering that nearly 90% of Shopify traffic comes from organic searches (not ads), retailers truly cannot ignore the importance of optimizing for search engines.
So let’s touch on what the average store owner can do to increase their Shopify store’s organic traffic via simple tactics. Here are five of the top Shopify SEO tips we recommend.
1. Don’t Skip the Keyword Research
We feel like a bit of a broken record harping on keyword research in a list of Shopify SEO tips, but there’s a reason for our redundancy in so many blog posts: keyword research is, quite simply, crucial.
Even Shopify recommends conducting keyword research on your own to draw in customers and rank in search results. If you want your store to serve as one of the top results for shoppers’ queries, you need to hit on the right keywords with laser-like precision.
Keep in mind that like other SEO trends, keyword research has evolved. Any expert will tell you we’re no longer focusing on keyword density (or stuffing) in web pages. Rather, we’re getting “smart” about using conversational, right-on-the-money phrases.
For example: let’s say your Shopify store is selling “organic makeup” products. There was a time SEO teams worked to cram phrases like “organic lipstick” or “eco-friendly cosmetics” into the website as much as possible.
Now, we still recommend using keywords like those, but also naturally mixing them in with phrases like “what makes a makeup product eco-friendly” or “top organic matt lipsticks.” Keywords are getting longer, and the emphasis on including them organically (and conversationally) has skyrocketed.
Speaking of organic keywords, this brings us to our next tip: finding ways to create keyword-based content that’s actually relevant and valuable to shoppers.
2. Generate Relevant Content
We don’t want to bore you with the cliche of “content is king,” but we do like to acknowledge SEO royalty when we see it. In a 2021 Impact report, 57% of marketing executives stated that on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic they employed.
You can’t just copy and paste some strong keywords into your Shopify website and product listings – you need real content that shoppers will peruse and ingest.
Start by considering:
- Your target audience
- Their pain points
- How your product solves those pain points
- What shoppers will think is valuable from you
This kind of brainstorm session should help you generate many ideas for relevant blog posts, email topics, social media campaigns, and more.
For example, if your Shopify store sells soy wax candles, considering those elements might lead you to talk about problems with non-soy candles, benefits of your products, FAQs about soy wax candles, and many other relevant topics.
Don’t limit yourself – the more relevant, high-quality content you put out there on behalf of your Shopify store, the more organic traffic you’ll draw in via search engines. It doesn’t matter if your store is complex or simple, new or old – there’s content to be created on its behalf.
3. Write Better Product Descriptions
Speaking of content, don’t underestimate the power of your product descriptions. Updating and optimizing these small areas of text is an excellent way to bring in more traffic.
Start by ensuring you’re using the most relevant, updated transactional keywords throughout your product pages – including in your product titles and tags. This will give you a leg up in search results, but will also make it easier for ready-to-buy shoppers to locate your product.
Some key elements to include in any SEO-friendly product description include:
- How the product will help/serve the buyer
- Complete unique (not duplicated) information
- Efficient, strategic use of the right keywords
- Answers to the top relevant questions
- Essential ingredient/production information
As Shopify writer Julia McCoy stated, “The whole point of search is to help users find exactly what they’re looking for. If your product descriptions align with this goal, you’re going to please Google and rank well.”
If you’re feeling a little trapped by the short length of your product description, or if you feel you’re bordering on keyword stuffing on the page, consider incorporating some customer reviews. These can provide an opportunity to talk about the product in more detail, as well as incorporate important organic keywords.
However, a word of caution: Google doesn’t want to see fluff product reviews. The search engine giant is looking for useful, authentic information. Instead of sharing a review that says “I love this product,” share one that dives into how the product solves a problem and why they love it.
Picking strong customer reviews to include in your product descriptions is a great way to entice buyers, but an even greater way to up your Shopify SEO game. Make things easier for both shoppers and search engines.
4. Optimize Your E-Commerce Site’s Structure
While we’re on the topic of making things “easy,” let’s talk about your Shopify site’s structure.
You might be thinking, “What does the site’s organization have to do with traffic?” The two are actually closely related, especially when it comes to e-commerce websites.
When your website is structured efficiently and intuitively, it’s easier for:
- Customers to find what they’re looking for.
- Google to crawl, assess, and index each page.
Both of these elements are crucial when it comes to bringing in more organic traffic. Take a look at your current website structure. Is it a neatly organized hierarchy with categories and subcategories, or is it a haphazard mess of links?
Although this might sound like a complicated task, Shopify makes things pretty painless by automatically generating a sitemap for you. Still, it’s up to you to enter the correct information to create an SEO and customer-friendly hierarchy.
Keep in mind, Shopify has many options for site structures. Take some time and do some research on the best Shopify themes for SEO.
5. Improve Your Shopify Store’s Overall UX
The last of our Shopify SEO tips touches on a bit of everything we’ve talked about so far, and more. If you want more organic traffic on your website, you need to ensure your website is one people enjoy shopping on.
A strong user experience (UX) is the ultimate ace in the pocket. On the flip side, poor UX is one of the leading causes of low organic traffic to your e-commerce store.
Customers aren’t going to come back to your site if:
- It’s clunky and slow to load.
- The graphics and images are poor-quality.
- They struggle to find what they’re looking for.
- The store strikes them as outdated or not user-friendly.
Considering that up to 50% of Shopify stores receive repeat purchases, retaining customers and creating loyal shoppers is incredibly important.
Improving your store’s UX isn’t just about bringing users back, though. It’s about appealing to Google and other important search engines. They pay attention to user engagement metrics, and if it seems like users don’t stick around on your site for long, that’s a red flag.
If you want to rank highly in important SERPs, you need to impress Google with good “dwell time.” In other words, users need to click on your search result and linger for a bit, rather than just bouncing away due to a poor experience.
Improve your Shopify store’s user experience and you’ll see lower bounce rates, longer user sessions, and as a result, more organic traffic.
We wish we could say that SEO is black-and-white, but it’s more nuanced than most people realize – especially when it comes to e-commerce stores. Your best shot at drawing in more search engine traffic is to take the above Shopify SEO tips to heart and work on implementing them regularly.
Looking for more information in regards to Shopify and SEO?
Reach out to the Ayokay team. This stuff is our bread and butter, and we’re happy to guide you toward a better search engine strategy for your store. Call 1-833-4-AYOKAY or send us a message online.
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.