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The Ultimate Guide to Shopify SEO Tools

There’s a powerful intersection that occurs between a customer and a business. The customer has a distinct need and they’re seeking a solution. As if guided by the gods of commerce, they encounter a business that doesn’t just have a solution—it offers the solution.

It’s the ultimate win-win whenever customers and businesses connect in this way. The customer’s life becomes easier thanks to the ideal product or service. They’re given a little boost of happiness that likely prompts them to tell their friends and family about the business.

On the other hand, the business will gain much more than a simple conversion. The customer is more like a convert, as they will return to the business again and again with fervor. This is how loyalty is created and sales records are smashed.

The Role of Shopify SEO Tools

So how do these customer/business connections occur? Sometimes they’re utterly fortuitous… a dejected consumer is walking down the sidewalk, cursing the lack of alteration shops in the area, when suddenly they look up and see an alteration shop that can finally help make their pants fit properly.

More often, the connections stem from a focused search. Traditionally, the customer might talk to friends, browse a phone book, or read through a business directory. But the most popular modern method is typing words into a search engine. Google dominates the industry, with 99,000 global searches a second and more than 8.5 billion searches a day.

That’s right: more people visit Google in a day than will visit most websites in a hundred years.

And you can be a beneficiary of that. Right now, someone is searching for the products in your ecommerce shop. And in the few seconds it took you to read this line, another person likely submitted a similar search. It’s happening all the time, so you need to optimize your website to be included among the results.

But wait, you might be thinking, I already show up in Google results without any optimization effort required. And I’m perfectly happy with my spot on the third page of the results.

If we were talking about doctoral students researching for their thesis, a placement beyond the first page of Google results might be relevant. But our focus is on customers facing a distinct problem. And people in these types of situations want solutions fast.

Consider these stunning statistics:

  • 28% of users click on the first result at the top of the first page
  • 15% click on the second result
  • 11% click on the third result
  • 8% click on the fourth result
  • 7% click on the fifth result
  • 5% click on the sixth result
  • 4% click on the seventh result
  • 3% click on the eighth result
  • 2% click on the ninth result
  • 2% click on the tenth result
  • Fewer than 1% take action on the second page

If you’re not on the first page of Google results, you might as well not be in the results at all. The only people who are going to find your store’s website through searches will be you, your employees, your parents, and a couple of your friends.

Yet SEO remains a mystery to many entrepreneurs. They’re unsure of how to do it and what impact it might have.

Samantha Renee, who previously worked as Shopify’s Merchant Success Manager, explains:

Of all the digital marketing channels at your disposal, in my experience nothing leaves new store owners scratching their heads quite like search engine optimization. Though most of us use and rely on tools like Google in our daily lives, understanding how search engines index and rank web pages doesn’t come naturally to most people—at least not at first […] What I’ve learned is that while SEO is ultimately a long-term investment, new store owners can get a lot of value by building a simple strategy and making sure their storefront is following recommended on-page practices.

This guide will provide insights and suggestions to help you develop your own “simple strategy.”

Crucial Shopify SEO Tips

It doesn’t matter what type of business you run and it doesn’t even matter how amazingly well your website is designed. If customers can’t find you then you simply can’t deliver to them.

First, let’s look at some of the things that can help your website rise in search rankings. There are some factors that can’t really be helped. For example, your site is rewarded in the rankings based on how long the domain has been active. But unless you can use a time machine to go back and create the domain at an earlier date, you’ll just have to wait for this factor to grow in relevance.

There are other things that you can start doing today. This list isn’t comprehensive, as the ever-changing recipe for search engine success involves some mystery. But here are some consistent factors that should be included on any Shopify SEO checklist:

  • Fresh and relevant content
  • Use of keywords
  • Inbound links from other sites
  • User engagement
  • Well-structured site navigation
  • SEO tools

By embracing a handful of these essential tactics for SEO, you’ll be able to consistently rise in the rankings. More importantly, you’ll be able to connect with more customers who are seeking what you have to offer. And these powerful intersections will only spur more growth and success.

Fresh and Relevant Content

What do search engines and customers have in common? They both enjoy reading high-quality content on your website. You can start by ensuring that the descriptions and resources on your site need to be relevant to your customers.

This can be a daunting task for many entrepreneurs. You’re already so busy with launching your business that taking time to write evocative descriptions and helpful FAQ answers might not rise to the top of your priority list. And the problem is exacerbated for those who don’t consider themselves natural writers.

One of the best investments you can make is to hire a freelance copywriter to help create this content. You’ll free up your own valuable time and ensure that there are plenty of words worth reading on your site.

If you’re not sure what content to include, put yourself in the shoes of a customer.

  • What are some of the questions they most often ask you?
  • What are some of the things they say they most like about your business?
  • What do you think they would love to know about your business?

By taking cues from your audience, you’ll be able to provide messaging that feels worthwhile and engaging.

Two important additions to your site are the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages. While they might seem boring to some people, users will notice their absence. And it’s a huge red flag when a business doesn’t provide basic background information or outline the best ways to reach its customer service team.

Creating a website full of quality content is a true accomplishment. But there’s no time to rest on your laurels. You should be consistently updating the copy and looking for new ways to improve the messaging.

When the content is fresh, customers have a reason to return to your site (which encourages the search engines to do the same). You likely have a similar approach to your web habits. Websites that update daily are more appealing to you, while sites that have been static for months may already be putting off the faint stench of decay.

Use of Keywords

Within the content of your website should be targeted keywords. What’s a keyword? It’s a word or phrase that is often being searched by consumers. And when they’re used authentically on your site, they can serve as magnets that connect you with the people searching for what you have to offer.

Here’s a foolproof recipe to find the right keywords for your site:

  • Use Google Trends or the Keyword Magic Tool to identify top search terms
  • Think of what terms really set your products apart from the competition
  • Find terms by searching online forums dedicated to your industry
  • See what terms your top competitor uses on their meta descriptions

Combining data from these 4 sources creates a potent mix of keywords that should be used in the copy, image alt text, and meta descriptions throughout your website. Don’t go overboard and try to stuff too many keywords in. As long as the copy sounds natural when read aloud, you’ll know you’ve hit the right balance.

Inbound Links from Other Sites

Search engines view it as an endorsement of sorts when you have links directing to your site from other respectable sources. Known as backlinks, they show how connected you are within your industry and the business world at large.

The easiest place to start is by contacting the blogs, news sites, and other online sources that have already mentioned your business. Just go to Mention.com and search for all relevant references. Then you can reach out to those sources and politely ask them to add a backlink to the reference.

Another simple strategy is to request backlinks from the suppliers you work with. If you feature their products on your website, they will often add a backlink for the retailers within their network.

Finally, share your content skills with other websites. Maybe you write a guest post for a respected blog within your industry or offer to be interviewed by a trade publication. These opportunities create backlinks that will help improve your SEO rankings.

User Engagement

When people consistently visit your site and decide to linger, search engines will view this as an indicator of your relevance and quality. So you’ll need to do everything in your power to make the user experience pleasant.

The most impactful way to improve user experience is ensuring your site is optimized for mobile devices. More and more shoppers are using their phones to visit your site, so you’d better be able to make it worth their while.

Jump onto your own phone to see how your site looks to mobile users. Is there content that’s difficult to read? Pages that don’t display properly? When your site is responsive, it should look great no matter what device a customer’s using. And solving these problems will help keep customers coming back to your site.

Finally, evaluate your site speed. Pay attention to how fast buttons respond and pages load. If you find that things are lagging, seek out solutions. For example, maybe you need to use a more streamlined Shopify theme. Or you might want to reduce the file size of your images.

Well-Structured Site Navigation

Your site navigation also plays a key role in user engagement and search engine compatibility. There’s an inverse principle at play here because the faster you make it for customers to reach their destination on your site, the longer they’ll stay.

Likewise, having a clear structure to your navigation makes it easier for search engines to understand where to crawl for relevant content. You could have the best product descriptions in the world, but if no human or machine can find them, their value plummets.

The best way to make your site navigable is to limit the number of subcategories. If it takes 10 clicks through a labyrinth of categories and subcategories to reach a product, you have failed your mission.

SEO Tools

What’s the best SEO app for Shopify? That depends on your unique challenges and priorities. The good news is that there are many to choose from and once added to your website, they have the potential to substantially boost your SEO efforts.

Here’s a rundown on 7 of the best Shopify SEO tools:

1. Surfer SEO

This free Chrome extension makes it easy to uncover search data and get the best intel for your keywords. Best of all, Surfer SEO supports your ongoing efforts by providing monthly search volume reports so you can continually refine your optimization strategies.

2. Keyword.io

There’s nothing fancy about Keyword.io. It’s just an ultra-efficient longtail keyword research tool that pulls keyword data from thousands of relevant sources. If you want to get additional features, such as traffic data and automation support, then you can upgrade to Keyword.io PRO.

3. Screamingfrog

Never mind the strange name… this tool is undeniably helpful. By crawling through your website, Screamingfrog finds broken links, highlights duplicate content and makes recommendations for improving your overall SEO. These automated spider tool audits can save your hours of work and greatly improve your site’s performance.

4. Smart SEO

This free tool can be downloaded directly from the Shopify App Store. Smart SEO helps you repair broken links, optimize your product images, create better SEO tags, and enhance the overall speed of your website. One of the most impressive features is that it allows you to enhance SEO in multiple languages, making it a powerful asset for shops with global customers. As your business grows, consider scaling up to one of the 3 affordable plans that allow you to manage larger websites.

5. Booster SEO & Image Optimizer

Here’s another Shopify app that comes highly recommended. As its name suggests, the Booster SEO & Image Optimizer is designed specifically to improve the SEO strength of the images within your website. You’ll get weekly SEO Health Reports that make maintenance easier over time. And this app’s customer support team is one of the best around.

6. OptinMonster

This tool is designed to build your email list, generate more leads, and ultimately, boost your sales. When used successfully, OptinMonster will increase user engagement on your website and improve your SEO rankings within search engines.

7. Ahrefs

Described as an all-in-one SEO toolset, Ahrefs provides a wide range of data to enhance your SEO strategies. The keyword tool is top notch and there’s also a feature that allows you to analyze your competitors’ websites. You get access to a progress tracker, so you always know when your tactics are paying off. Also, Ahrefs has some of the best resources and support of any of the tools available.

The Ongoing Work of Shopify SEO

By putting these 6 Shopify SEO tools and tips to use, you’ll make your website the type of place where customers and search engines are inclined to linger. But you must remain diligent. It’s a good idea to set a reminder in your calendar to revisit your SEO efforts at least monthly. Even if you only update a few headlines and add some fresh product images, the work you do today will always have an impact tomorrow.

You can find even more strategies for ecommerce success in our Start and Scale course. Instructor Gretta van Riel shares the proven blueprint that will take your shop from launch to customer sensation in 12 weeks or less.

Source: Grant Olsen, Feb 18, 2022

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