Search the internet for “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips” and you’ll find dozens of lengthy guides detailing how-tos. And like any research on the internet, it can be difficult to discern helpful information when wading through the murky waters of misinformation. SEO doesn’t need to stand for scary, eerie, and ominous. In fact, once you learn a few basic Shopify SEO tips, it will become second nature. So, rid yourself of antiquated tactics, and let’s review our best tips for optimizing your Shopify store’s SEO. Here’s a rundown of what we’ll go through.
Using keywords to your advantage:
- Perform keyword research
- Add keywords to your Shopify store
- Edit page titles
- Edit meta descriptions
- Set image alt text
- Use keywords in your content
Optimizing your images:
- Name your images
- Reduce your file size
- Select the correct image file type
- Remove Intrusive Interstitials
Using external tools:
- Use Plug In SEO
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and ahrefs
How to Use Keywords to Your Advantage
What are Keywords?
Keywords are words or phrases that searchers enter into a search engine. These searches are the golden ticket to organic traffic. If users aren’t searching for the content you’re writing, your site won’t receive traffic. Your goal is to create engaging content that ranks and drives visitors to your site. You may be asking, “but how can I create content that drives?” Read on, dear Shopify owner.
Perform Keyword Research
The best way to get ahead? Do your research ahead of time. Compile a list of keywords using our guide or through other helpful resources to determine what keywords you want to be ranking for. Rankings = conversions. The more words you rank for, the more conversions you receive.
To build your list, get out your software spreadsheet program and find the following for each keyword:
- Volume (monthly)
- KD (keyword difficulty)
- CPC (cost per click)
- Current Rank
Once you’ve compiled an extensive list of keywords, you can use this information to craft your blog posts, web copy, and key website content, targeting the words you’d like to rank for. We also offer keyword research services if you would like professional help.
How to Add Keywords to Your Shopify Store
Now that you have your completed list of keywords, fold these keywords into the content of your website.
Shopify suggests adding your keywords to four main places to improve your online store’s SEO:
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- ALT tags
- A page’s body content
Edit Page Titles
Your title is the first text a user will see before clicking. Make it a priority. Searchers read the title of your post and in .001 seconds decide whether to click or move on to another query. Having a concise title encourages users to click the link to your store. For example, if you sell “luxury consignments,” you’ll want to rank for “luxury consignment store,” “luxury consignment sales,” and “consignment”.
Have hundreds of items in your Shopify store, need to optimize the title of every item, but don’t want to invest arduous time? No problem. We make it easier with Plug In SEO by providing a template for you to set the guidelines. The app will follow these guidelines for existing and future products, collections, and/or category pages on your Shopify store.
To write your page titles, we recommend that you:
- Use a descriptive title. For example, if your title is “How to Spot a Fake Item from a Real One”, a descriptive title would be, “A Guide to Spotting Fake Designer Goods from Real Ones”. This title is clear – we know the item in question (“designer goods”) – and descriptive – we know that the guide teaches us how to spot fake designer goods from real ones.
- Target keywords should be at or near the beginning of the title. These words show up in the search results. It’s important to target keywords you want to rank for at the beginning of your page title.
- Have a title of 70 characters or fewer. Search engines shorten longer titles; make yours concise.
- Have a stellar H1 tag. This adds variety to your main keyword.
This is a snippet of text found underneath the title in a search engine result. It’s a brief description of the product, service, blog post, or web page you’re providing. Be terse but informative. A customer should know what the product is or what your store offers within the first line of your meta description.
To write your meta description, we recommend:
- Using main keywords or keyword variations. Remember, this is the golden opportunity to rank for your keywords. For example, “Selling Luxury Pre-Owned Consignments at a Fair Price.”
- Entering no more than 320 characters, ideally less. We recommend 160 characters or fewer, but you are allowed to use a maximum of 320 characters.
- Writing like you’re a potential customer. Tailor your description to fit your buyer personas. What would a person who is looking for luxury consignments want in a store?
- Including high-ticket offerings and value propositions. Are your products authenticated? Include that. Do you offer free shipping? Include that, too. Share the value you offer to entice prospective customers.
Meta descriptions are another opportunity to capitalize on keywords and increase the chances of receiving organic traffic. We also offer automated meta description templates to quickly edit multiple products at once.
Set Image Alt Text
Search engines cannot read your images, but they can read text within your content. Image alt text is a descriptive definition of your image to help search engines find your content. This is another perfect opportunity to add in your keywords. Describe what appears in the image. For example, if you’re selling a Chanel purse, the image alt text should be “Chanel Grand Shopping Tote” as this is a specific name. If a prospective buyer searches for this, hopefully, the image of your purse from your store will show in the results.
Shopify makes it easy to add this alt text through your admin panel.
Use Keywords in Your Content
Want to rank for “bananas”? Put it in your content. Want to rank for “Largest Renaissance Festival in Boise, Idaho”? Put it in your content.
Don’t underestimate a search engine’s intelligence. Your site header must match the page content. For example, if your site header is “3 Ways to Eat Bananas” simply so you can rank for bananas, but your content includes tips on saving money on car insurance, this will send a red flag to the search engine and you may not rank. This is also what is called a grey hat tactic. Search engines can discern credible content.
Don’t copy descriptions from another vendor. First rule of writing: never plagiarize. This includes copying page descriptions from other vendors. If they’re ranking higher than you on a certain search term, copying their content will only fortify their place in search results.
Be strategic about word count. Brevity is the soul of wit and bloated content doesn’t read well. That said, every landing page should have at least 350 words and blog posts and longer form informational pages should have at least 500 words.These are minimums. Backlinko released research in 2016 that found the ideal word count is around 1,890 words for a Google first page result. If you write longer form content, make sure it’s quality.
Optimize Your Images
What Exactly Does This Mean?
According to Neil Patel, 40% of users abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To optimize an image, it’s important to reduce the file size of your images without sacrificing quality. This results in faster load times and a higher conversion rate.
Name Your Images
Search engines are sneaky, slithering snakes crawling around in your image file names. This means you need to create descriptive names, rich with keywords for images. Let’s use this image as an example:
This is a discontinued Chanel Grand Shopping Tote and was one of the first images to appear in my search. The image is named “Chanel-Grand-Shopping-Tote.” Notice the shop owner did not give it a generic, iPhone-generated name like “IMG_37482.” It is descriptive and searchable.
Reduce Your File Size
There is a myriad of reasons your site may be crawling at turtle speeds, but one common reason is image file size. Larger files equate to longer loading times. You are literally losing potential customers by the second, so time is of the essence.
If you’re lucky enough to be a Shopify merchant, they automatically compress images, but if you aren’t, read on.
How to reduce your file size
There are many free resources to edit your image file size. Try to keep your image file size below 70 KB. You can do it!
Some tools we recommend include:
- Photoshop Express (for smartphones and tablets)
- Plug in Speed offers single-click image optimization and compression. You can reduce your image size without compromising on quality. Choose between lossy or lossless image compression. New images are optimized automatically. It’s the best application for image compression with Shopify integration.
Select the Correct Image File Type
The three most common image file types are .jpg, .gif, and .png:
- JPG (.jpg) is a default image format. They can be compressed but can lack clarity at a lower file size.
- GIF (.gif) images are lower quality than JPGs. Use this format for simple images like logos or icons. For complicated images with ornate designs, GIFs are not the best choice.
- PNG (.png) images have become a popular choice for users. The colors in PNG files don’t degrade over time. This comes at a cost: a PNG file can be larger in size and lack quality when compressed.
Overall, JPG (.jpg) files are the best choice. When compressed they can lack clarity but still maintain vivid colors within the image.
Ever click on a site only to have a pop-up cover the entirety of the page? You’re then left to search for the close window icon in the corner and after seconds of frustration decide to go back and find another website free of pop-ups. This is called an intrusive interstitial. It’s poison to your SEO and even though you may think it helps with converting newsletter sign-ups, it causes unnecessary frustration for the user.
Your site should be free of extraneous content and unnecessary pop-ups covering the majority of a webpage.
Using External Tools
There are countless tools at your disposal, many of which are free. Our own app offers:
Periodic SEO health check reports
- Templates to edit meta titles & descriptions in bulk
- Google Search Console (Webmaster Tool) integration
- Our own keyword tool with suggestions
Here are some other recommendations.
Google Search Console helps you monitor and troubleshoot your site’s ranking status within Google search results. It details how Google sees your site when ranking you and allows you to view traffic data in real-time, including how often your site appears in search results, which keywords are searched the most, and how often searchers click through your keywords. Best of all, it’s completely free.
Google Analytics is our favorite tool (besides our own, of course!) to integrate with Shopify. With it, you can view:
- How many users have visited your site within the last 7 days,
- How many interactions a visitor makes with your website,
- How many visitors hit the back button or closed your website without performing an action, and
- The average time visitors spend on your site, among other things.
To sum up our basic SEO tips:
- Use keywords to your advantage. Do your keyword research. Capitalize on easy keyword difficulty. Be strategic about your verbiage. Any content should be relevant to your targeted keywords.
- Optimize your images. Reduce file sizes to below 70 KB. Use JPG format to clarify lower quality images. Add strong image alt tag names to images.
- Use external tools. Use every free tool you can including Google Search Console, Google Analytics, ahrefs, and our own keyword research service packages.
Ready to get optimizing? We’re here to help.