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Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a buzzword in the eCommerce industry. As an online merchant, you’ve probably heard the term thrown around a lot and, thus, know it’s important and that you need more SEO in order to bring in new customers and increase sales. But what is SEO exactly and how can you effectively harness the power of SEO to grow your traffic and business?
SEO incorporates many factors and is referred to as the overall method to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in the results returned by a search engine in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.
Simply put, anyone putting out content into the online world can, and should, use SEO to grow their site’s visibility through organic (non-paid, so it doesn’t include advertisements you funded) search engine results.
A lot of clutter and competition abounds on the internet for any eCommerce store, which is why it’s important that potential customers can locate your store when they search for a keyword or term related to your products on Google, Bing, Mozilla, or any other search engine. To put it in perspective, think about when you search for something online. How many times do you click on the first three or five results? The answer is probably “almost always”. Unless you are searching for a very obscure topic or conducting in-depth research, you most likely never go past the first page of search results.
When you made the decision to migrate your store to Shopify, your store was automatically configured to optimize SEO. Regardless of the plan, Shopify’s built-in SEO optimization includes:
But if you’re looking to incorporate additional SEO (which you should), know the methods to increase a site’s SEO is an ever-expanding list, but some of the main components include:
This is a very basic, yet very important element of increasing your SEO, but you have to do it right. Ambiguous keywords that can cover a gamut of categories the searcher may be trying to find won’t yield the desired results. Instead, keywords should specifically reflect what your business has to offer.
Another way to ensure your keywords are working for you, is to continuously update them as your site, products, and creativity evolve. Once you have a handle on the best keywords for your site, incorporate them in the title page, URL, meta tags, file path names, and anchor text.
It’s important to keep in mind the golden rule of keywords: you can definitely have too much of a good thing. If you cram your page with keyword after keyword, your content will appear overly self-promotional and uninformative.
These are hyperlinks that take you from one page to another and are embedded in online content. For a link to be considered a backlink, there must be a hyperlink. For instance, thehopefactory.com is not a hyperlink, but The Hope Factory is a verifiable hyperlink that helps bolster SEO.
Anytime a site mentions your store, they are helping bolster your SEO. You can encourage other quality sites to incorporate backlinks to your page by:
Maximizing the overall design of your site to increase your SEO is a valuable long-term method, but something that many eCommerce merchants overlook. A good site navigation, or architecture, makes it easy for users and search engines to find their way around your site. Some ways to know if your site’s layout is conducive is to count the number of clicks from your homepage to different levels of content. Simply put, the more clicks it takes for people to find something in your site, the higher the chances they will abandon their search for whatever they were looking for.
If you are first designing or thinking about redesigning your site, it is especially helpful to look at how successful competitors have laid out their store. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel if you can glean helpful hints from someone who has already figured it out.
Google has a list of 200 factors that go into how they calculate SEO. Don’t try to incorporate them all – there is not enough time or resources for most small eCommerce businesses to master them all.
The most effective ways to increase your SEO are to use the tips in this article and maximize the methods that Shopify has already built into your store.