[Shopify SEO Mega Tutorial] Everything you need to know to improve your store’s positioning (and have visitors pouring down on it)

Is SEO driving you mad?

Are you tired of hearing how necessary it is, and not knowing about keywords, cannibalizations or search intent?

That’s exactly why we have created this starter guide; here you’ll learn the basics of SEO in Shopify. So keep on reading and you’ll be one step closer to making Google fall in love with you and to positioning your e-commerce.

Ready?

Mega Tutorial in 3, 2, 1…😉

👉 SEO Tutorial to strengthen your store’s positioning on Shopify

As promised, this will be a practical guide starting with the most basic concepts and then we’ll move onto specific tips to optimize your store on Shopify.

So, whether you’re a beginner or someone who already has some SEO experience, this tutorial is for you!

Here we go!

✅ 1. What Keywords Are and How to Find Them

Surely, when you heart about SEO, the concept ‘keyword’ comes to your mind.

Here’s what this term is about.

➡️ A. What is a keyword?

Keywords are words/phrases or sentences used by users to search on Google (or any other search engine).

For example, a keyword could be ‘creatine’ but also ‘buying creatine’ and even ‘what’s the best supplement to gain muscle mass?’

Now, what’s that have to do with your store?

Let’s go back to the ‘creatine’ example and imagine you own a dietary supplements store for athletes.

In the image you can see that this keyword has 27,100 monthly searches in Spain, which means that if you manage to position your brand first, you’ll have more than 20,000 potential clients visiting your store monthly. 

practicas-seo-shopify

In other words, SEO = potential clients.

So the first thing you have to do when laying out your SEO strategy is to conduct keyword research; that is, identifying the best keywords within your sector. 

 

➡️ B. How to find keywords

Now that you know what keywords are and why they’re important, the next step is to explore which keywords are the most interesting ones —we’ll get to this.

We recommend that you use the following tools to look up keywords:

  • Google’s Keyword Planner: it’s Google’s own tool to track keywords within Google Ads. The problem is, unless you have active campaigns, you won’t see the exact search volume but ranges of it. However, you can use this tool to get related keywords.
  • KeywordTool.io: This tool will be useful to discover new keywords (unfortunately, its free version does not indicate search volume). You can type in words or topics related to your sector and the tool will show you related keywords.
  • Keyword Surfer: You’ve already seen it’s not easy to get search volumes when using tools that are free of charge. However, this Chrome’s free extension will allow you to do so (and it’s very reliable). We recommend that you use it in addition to the above-mentioned ones so you can both get keywords and check their search volume.

By doing this, you’ll be able to generate a list of keywords from your sector and their search volumes. The longer the list, the better.

The next thing will be to organize it; learn how to do so below.

✅ 2. How to Organize Keywords

There are different types of keywords and it’s very important that you know the differences so you can lay out your SEO strategy.

Let’s go over it.

➡️ A. Distinguish between short-tail and long-tail keywords (prioritize the latter)

Their names are already a clue to what they are:

  • Short-tail keywords: these are one or two-word searches. For example, ‘online shoes’ or ‘sport shoes’.  
  • Long-tail keywords: these are more specific searches and, therefore, longer ones. An example of these would be ‘how to choose the perfect shoes for my dress’ or ‘red sequin Gucci shoes’.

Now, why do we say you should prioritize long-tail keywords?

Because they are keywords that indicate a user is making a more specific search and, therefore, it will bring more qualified traffic. Besides, long-tail keywords tend to have a more limited search volume, which will make it easier for us to position such words if we’re just getting started with our website and lack a little authority.

➡️ B. Transactional and informational keywords

We will now make another distinction based on search intent. In other words, what the user expects to find when searching on Google.

In this light, we can have 2 big categories:

  • Informational keywords: the user looks up information on a specific subject. For example, ‘what is creatine?’.
  • Transactional keywords: they occur when you have people who actually want to buy something. For example, ‘buying creatine’ or ‘cheap creatine’.

So now the question is “How can I know a keyword’s search intent?”

We need to open the search engine incognito and type in the keyword on Google.

posicionamiento seo shopify

In this example we can see that the results shown by Google are informational posts, so there’s our answer.

Instead, if we type in ‘buy creatine’, we get the following:

seo-para-shopify

As you can see, search results vary.

But why is it necessary to know whether keywords are informational or transactional?

Because we are not going to target them equally.

If the keyword is transactional, we must target it with a product card or a category page, since these are sites where we display products —exactly what a person wants to find when typing in a transactional keyword.

Instead, if a person is looking for some kind of information, it’s best to offer them a post.

If we had a shoes store, this would be a good example of how we could manage keywords according to search intent:

  • Homepage (one short-tail keyword presenting what’s being sold): ‘online shoes’
  • Category page (a product category): ‘evening shoes’
  • Product description (a specific product): ‘red sequin Gucci shoes’
  • Blog (where we solve readers’ doubts about our products): ‘how to choose the perfect shoes for my dress’

This is how we provide the user exactly with what they expect to find.

➡️ C. Be careful with cannibalizations

We aren’t organizing keywords per se, but it is important that we keep this in mind when we do organize them.

Cannibalizations occur when 2 or more URLs within a website compete for the same keyword.

Why is this a bad thing?

Let’s imagine this is a car race. If you compete only with one car, you can go at 80 miles an hour, but if you compete with 2, that speed must be divided and now each car races at 40 miles an hour. By dividing your potential, your opponents get ahead of you. 

Besides, for Google, it doesn’t make sense that you say something twice. So, as a rule of thumb: one key word for each URL.

That’s why you need to verify if you have 2 keywords with the same search intent, since there could be cannibalization between them.

✅ 3. Web Architecture

Web architecture is a key factor for positioning because:

  • It facilitates indexing: if the website is organized and includes a hierarchy, Google’s spiders will better understand how it’s set up. This will make indexing faster.
  • Stronger Interlinking: if you are clear about the pages, you’re most interested in positioning, you’ll be able to optimize the way you interlink them.

Having clarity about your web’s architecture not only affects SEO positively but it makes your customers browse in a more comfortable way, which takes us to the next section. 

✅ 4. User Experience

Also known as UX.

User experience is the combination of positive and negative sensations a person has when visiting a website and interacting with it.

This experience will depend on an assemblage of factors such as:

  • Web design
  • Text quality
  • How accessible the website is and how easy it is to find products
  • Loading speed
  • Etc.

So let’s see how you can improve it to keep your users and —while you’re at it— Google happy. 

➡️ A. Website Navigability

Web navigability is simply the ease with which a user can browse your website and find what they are looking for easily.

Poor navigability makes the user want to leave sooner than later.

That’s why it’s best that you think out what the most logical and intuitive structure for your customer may be, before you get on with creating more and more websites. Also, check out what kind of navigation menus your competing brands are using so you’ll get a clearer idea about how to lay out yours.

➡️ B. Loading speed

It’s the time your website takes to load. If it takes more than 2 seconds, user experience resents that, and Google doesn’t like that one bit.

How can you prevent a slow web from ruining user experience?

You should regularly measure your website’s speed to make sure it’s fast. Also, here’s a list of free tools and tips for you to make your website run faster.

➡️ C. Doofinder (a smart search engine)

A search engine is where a user goes to in order to find that product they are looking for.

A conventional search engine simply offers results based on what the user has literally written. Doofinder takes it up a level by improving user experience:

  • It’s a smart search engine: it customizes search results through the use of artificial intelligence.
  • Understands the customer, always: even if what’s typed in contains spelling mistakes. It connects synonyms (for example, it gets that ‘fridge’, ‘refrigerator’ or ‘cooler’ are the same thing).
  • It never says no: if there isn’t a product, it suggests other products.
  • It anticipates the search: the autocomplete setting makes browning faster and speeds up user experience in the store.

Now you know; the better the UX, the stronger the SEO. 

And the best thing is you can try it for free for 30 days (on average, stores that install it increase sales by 20%).

✅ 5. Work on your content

Your content will also attract organic traffic to your store and it adds value to your audience.

Next, we’ll show you what you need to take into account to start creating contents.

➡️ A. Establish a strategy

This post explains how to establish your content strategy in detail, but here’s some start-up advice:

  • Target words with few searches (remember long-tail keywords).
  • Look up topics you can relate to your products (for example, tutorials where you use some of the products you’re selling).

Especially, be persistent. Through your content, you’ll build a community around your brand. Be patient. Great things take time.

➡️ B. SEO Writing

Last, you need to write (or hire someone who does it for you).

If you’re going to do it yourself, we suggest you read our SEO writing tutorial. There, you’ll find everything you need to know to get started on the art of writing for Google. Just as before, here are some basic recommendations:

  • The place matters: it’s important that you always add the keyword on the title (H1), URL, H2 and H3 headings (with variations of the keyword), the title and the ALT tag of images.
  • Remember not to over-optimize: avoid including too many keywords throughout your text. It’s an out-of-step strategy which will only make your text sound unnatural. 

Prioritize your reader over Google always (ultimately, he’s your potential customer).

✅ 6. Optimize Product Cards

More on product cards.

They target transactional keywords and it’s in your best interest that they are positioned on Google because they will attract traffic with buying potential. Get started:

  • Avoid duplicate content: try not to repeat descriptions or automatically include those given to you by the manufacturer. It’s highly possible that other stores have exactly the same text and Google will think it’s duplicate content, so your store will get a penalty. Create your own content.
  • Watch over the title and description: use copywriting (the art of writing to sell) to compel the user to click on your link.

If you want to go in depth, here you can learn about how to optimize product descriptions (not only for SEO). 

✅ 7. Optimize your images

If your images are too large or heavy, they will slow down your website. As we’ve mentioned before, this is not good for positioning.

Here’s a post about image optimization for you to take a look; however, once more we’ll tell you the basics here so you can make SEO-friendly images:

  • Use the ALT tag: among the image settings, there’s a section named ‘alternative text’. This is meant for people that use a reading assistant, but it is also a tag Google reads and one you can make the most of to introduce your keyword.
  • Adjust the size: go to your product card settings; you’ll see the default size of product images. Why do you need to know this? Because if you know that your images will be displayed at 300×300 pixels, there’s no need for you to upload a larger size. That would be taking up space you don’t need thus increasing the loading speed.
  • Reduce image weight: we don’t want our picture to lose quality, but we don’t want it to take up more space than necessary. Ideally, images should be 70KB or 100KB, not more.

Are you in need for some tools to optimize images’ size and weight?

We recommend iLoveIMG; it will allow you to redimension the image by compressing it and even change its format if you need to, add watermarks, edit it, etc.

✅ 8. Avoid error 404 pages

Error 404 pages appear when the URL we want to access is not available at the time or it doesn’t exist.

If Google’s spiders detect too many error pages on your store, they can conclude that the page does not have adequate maintenance and they will worsen your ranking. So be very careful about this.

Besides, what happens when a user accesses a website and they get a 404 error?

They automatically hit ‘back’. This means that your bounce rate will be higher; in other words, more people will leave your website without making a single click. Once more, Google will interpret that as user experience being poor.

How to avoid that?

Use free tools such as W3C Link Checker to identify the URLs that can generate an error and therefore fix it.

👉 ¿Are you ready to apply this all to your e-commerce?

You already know the SEO basics and are ready to apply them.

Even if you won’t notice the changes immediately, —if properly implemented— you will start getting free traffic and will depend less and less on online ads.

If you want to learn more about SEO, these posts can be useful for you:

Are you good to go now?