SEO is one of the best things you can do for your e-commerce business. It helps to organically generate highly targeted users to your website that can convert to customers.
But, many e-commerce store owners don’t know how to do SEO, let alone for a Shopify store. Are you one of them?
The first component is like the foundation of a house, and that’s on-page SEO. It acts as a base to work off of, and only needs to be done once.
You’d be surprised how many e-commerce businesses haven’t even done this yet.
Secondly, you need to build high quality backlinks. This tells Google that your website is important, effectively boosting your rankings and traffic.
If you appear higher in search results, you get more users coming to your store and their trust increases.
Google’s a big company, right? They wouldn’t just display anyone on the first page. That’s how a lot of users are thinking.
Lastly, it’s no secret that content is king. You might be thinking “I run an online store, why do I need content?” Well, users trust brands that produce content more and normally consume content before purchasing.
That’s why today I’m going to teach how you the basics of SEO for ecommerce websites that ultimately drives more traffic and revenue.
Researching the Correct Keywords
It all begins with keywords — phrases that users type into search engines, which you can target to bring precise people to your store.
These will influence your pages, content, and on-page seo. Thus, it’s the first place you should start.
Before I show you how, it’s important that you understand the types of keywords. There are three:
- Transactional: These keywords involve products, prices, and are ideal for e-commerce stores. Think “Mens shoes under $100”, “Affordable flat screen TVs”, or “Holiday electronics sale.”
- Informational: Keywords that have the intent of finding information fall into this category. Users are searching for an answer to a question, a tutorial, or a guide on a specific topic. These make great phrases to target within content you write, which you’ll be learning about later.
- Navigational: Have you ever looked up a specific brand name on Google before? Then you’ve used a navigational keyword yourself. These are used to find an exact business or website. As your brand grows, you’ll find more people typing your name directly into search engines.
With this fresh in your mind, let’s look at how you can begin researching these keywords for your online store.
We’ll be using a free tool that you can gain access to by signing up for a free Google Ads account.
Once you’ve registered, select the keyword planner from the tools dropdown menu. Choose the “Find new keywords” option on the next page after this.
Now, you’ll want to search for phrases and words related to:
- The products you sell
- The product categories you offer
- Your top level industry(i.e “Bamboo furniture store”)
Click “Get Started” afterwards and you’ll be taken to the keyword ideas page. Here you will find search volume and inspiration for further search phrases.
The most important metric to look at is the average monthly searches. If a keyword is searched frequently, that means more potential customers coming to your store!
Keywords need to be placed in very specific places, too. When search engines like Google crawl your website, they will find them and categorize you accordingly.
If you don’t have keywords on your pages, how will search engines know what your store sells?
The first place to add in your keywords is product names and categories. Look at Wayfair for example. All of their categories target very specific keywords, helping users find their store when searching them.
Their product pages also use keywords in the title, URL, and product name. Doing the same will ensure that you rank not only for specific categories, but individual products, too.
It only takes a few moments to add in these keywords as you upload new products, and the effects can last for years to come.
Creating a Content Strategy
Content and SEO go hand in hand. Creating valuable and high quality content improves your authority, makes users trust you, and generates traffic. It also can help attract natural backlinks to your site.
Before you crack your knuckles and start writing, you need to think more deeply about who you’re writing for.
Develop Buyer Personas
Since you already know how to research keywords, half of the battle is already won.
Now, it’s time to develop a buyers persona. This is a personification of your ideal customer. It doesn’t have to be overly complex, either.
You can optimize it over time with data you collect from tools like Google Analytics or surveys. Studying online reviews and social media will also give you better insight into consumer’s minds.
The idea is that you create the buyer persona to craft content for that very precise group of people.
As a result, you attract only the best possible users that can convert into paying customers.
To start, brainstorm answers to the following questions:
- What demographics does your average customer have?
- What struggles, pain points, or questions do they have?
- What beliefs, feelings, and desires do they have?
- What do they need your product for?
- How do your products make them feel?
Take these answers and type them into a Word doc or Google Drive doc. You’ll be referencing them very soon.
Creating a Content Calendar and Getting Topic Ideas
With your buyer persona fresh on hand, it’s time to begin researching topic ideas. Try using the free tool BuzzSumo to discover what content is trending in your niche.
Type in any keyword and it will display the most viral posts. Use these as inspiration for what to write about.
Scouting out your competitors is another strategy for brainstorming blog posts. Check out their blogs and see if there’s any articles that are getting a lot of engagement.
The persona you created will also serve as a way to come up with ideas. For example, if you sell men’s suits and your customers love fashion, creating content on styling tips will bring the right kind of users to your Shopify store.
It’s wise to create a spreadsheet to organize all of these ideas. Include columns for headlines, keywords, and publishing dates.
When you go to write, you’ll know exactly what to focus on.
What Makes Great Content?
You’re staring at an empty screen and thinking “What do I write?” Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. The first step to writing great content is to structure it before you begin writing.
Flesh out all of the major points and subpoints as headers. Type out any ideas you have under these headers so you know what to write about when the time comes.
It’s also very effective to gather resources like other articles, to place under these sections as references.
Once you begin writing, aim for a high word count. It’s been proven that the average first result on Google is at least 1,890 words long. It makes sense. Longer content provides more information, practical advice, and resources for readers.
Blog posts are supposed to be entertaining, as well. So, make sure to add visuals like photos, videos, and infographics.
These break up blocks of text and make your content more enjoyable. Staring at a big wall of text isn’t going to excite anyone.
Every time you write content, perform the same steps you learned earlier for keyword research. Except now, find phrases that relate to what your blog post is about. Remember the types of keywords? These would be informational ones.
Building Links to Your E-commerce Store
Backlinks have been, and still are, one of the most important ranking factors.
It’s like a voting system. It tells Google and other search engines which websites are the most popular and important. The more links you have, the more users you can expect to visit your site.
In the early 2000s, some marketers would create low quality links at mass to boost their search rankings. This worked for awhile, but Google eventually caught on.
They began making their algorithm more picky and advanced, which is where we are today. But, it’s not a bad thing.
Nowadays, it’s all about quality over quantity. You might spend more time earning one link, but its weight is much more.
Here’s a few proven strategies for building backlinks you can execute today.
Guest post on other websites
Guest blogging is one of the most rewarding and powerful ways to build links. You gain exposure on large websites, generate referral traffic, and create relationships with other webmasters.
You can find guest posting opportunities by searching Google for:
- A keyword + “guest posting guidelines”
- A keyword + “become a contributor”
- A keyword + “write for us”
Visit these websites and read their guest post guidelines. This includes rules related to accepted topics, word count, and if links are allowed.
If everything checks out, send them a pitch that states your article ideas and credentials. If it’s accepted, you can begin writing the article and it will get published with a link back to your store.
Broken Backlink Building
This is a strategy used by some of the greatest marketers, including Neil Patel. It can be done with free tools and scales the more effort you put into it. It’s not uncommon to acquire several links in one session if you do it right.
So, how does broken backlinking work? It’s simple. You find websites that are pointing to 404’d pages, alert the owner, and propose they replace it with an article of yours.
The most difficult part is actually finding broken links to begin with. You can speed this process up by getting the free Chrome extension Check My Links. It displays the status of every ink on a page with the click of a button.
To begin broken link building with this tool, research content that’s related to some you’ve already written. You’ll be using it to pitch a replacement, so it increases the chance of finding relevant 404’d links.
Broken links will be highlighted in red as seen above. Once you’ve found one, check what the original content was with a tool like Wayback Machine.
If it’s similar to an article you wrote previously, you have a great opportunity to earn a link. You can always create a brand new blog post to replace it if you don’t mind putting in extra leg work.
Navigate to their contact page and find their email. Shoot them a quick message like this and remember to follow up. It can take several touchpoints before a successful link is acquired.
Summing up ecommerce SEO
You can increase the organic traffic to your Shopify e-commerce store, make more sales as a result, and beat the competition with proper SEO.
The first step is researching keywords with tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. Find phrases that describe the products you sell and what you blog about.
These can then be placed in title tags, meta descriptions, product names, and other crucial spots we mentioned earlier. This will help you rank and get more users passively landing on your stores website.
Then you need to start producing useful content. Blogging once per week is more than enough when first starting, but the more articles you publish the more results you’ll see.
Focus on obtaining a high word count to pack more value, using interesting images, and making your content as practical as possible. Users should be able to instantly apply what they learned after reading.
Lastly, backlinks are the backbone of your SEO. If you want your Shopify store to rank higher than your competitors, links are the way to do it.
They tell search engines that you are an authority and can be trusted. Guest posting on other trusted websites and helping webmasters fix broken links with your own content are great approaches.
So, what are you waiting for? Start improving your SEO today and see the results for yourself.