Not getting enough traffic to your Shopify store?
Without traffic, you cannot expect your website to make conversions or sales. You need traffic if you want to transform your online store into a thriving passive online business.
One of the easiest ways to get traffic is by ranking your website on the search engines.
Anyone who is looking to buy something would often visit the search engines to look for stores that sell the product that they are interested in.
But these people can only find you if you did the hard work of optimizing your website to rank on the front page of the search engines.
Today, you’ll learn some tips on how to optimize your shopify store for higher rankings. But I have to warn you, these tips are not the common ones that you have seen everywhere. There will be nothing about keywords here. Instead, it contains practical tips on how you move past your competitors in the search engines rankings.
Even though this article focuses on Shopify, you can use some of the ideas here for a different shopping cart. If you are interested in Shopify, check out these Shopify Reviews.
5 SEO Tips for Shopify Stores
For this, I have come up with 5 strategies.
TIP #1: Check Your Site Speed
TIP #2: Create a Robots.Txt File
TIP #3: Sort Out Your Website Architecture
TIP #4: Submit a Sitemap
TIP #5: Optimize Images
TIP 1: Check Your Site Speed
Ranking starts with site performance. When a search engine robot visits your website and it found that it hits a roadblock ( Ex. it takes a while for your website to load), it will return the message that your website is not very user-friendly and tag it for lower rankings.
And it is not just for search engines. It seems that a website’s speed can also affect its sales.
According to Kissmetrics, website speed can greatly affect the bottom line. In fact, they found out that website abandonment increases as the loading time increases.
Ideally, you’ll want your website to load faster. But you may be wondering how.
Here are some things that you can do to get a faster loading time.
1. Compress Images
If you run an Ecommerce website with thousands of products, you’ll know how images can take up the bulk of your file storage. The same is true when you store it on your online server. When you store too many images at a particular time, it can slow down your server and have an effect on your site speed.
The solution? Compress your images. This will allow you to get the exact image but with a lower KB. What this means is that you get the image with almost the same quality but taking a lot less memory than when it was uncompressed.
2. Enable Browser Caching
When someone visits your website, they crawl it not only to read it but also to save some information from it. Some website owners can be afraid of this ‘caching’ system thinking that it can have a bad effect on their website. What they don’t know is that this is actually good. Why? Well, if the browser has already cached a website, there is no need to load it again. This frees up the online server of extra work resulting to a faster loading website.
3. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Having a CDN means having a network of computers storing your website information at a time. In fact, it is defined as ‘a system of multiple computers that contains copies of data stored at various network nodes’.
The result? Better bandwidth and website latency. Content can vary from applications, web objects, data objects, media and database queries. This allows users to have access to large amounts of data without slowing down the website.
4. Simplify Your Code
Did you know that your code can also slow down your website? Highly complicated codes can return an error that prevents websites from displaying well. When this happens, a website can either hang or shut down – not good if you are trying to get more people into your website.
Checking your website speed is easy. You can use a tool called Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Visiting the URL will take you to this page which will ask you to input your website.
It will then analyze your website for factors that affect its site speed. It will return a page like this.
This page contains suggestions on how to improve your website’s site speed.
You can also get an overview of the theme you’re using by using tools like GTMetrix. In here, you can put the URL of the theme that you are planning to purchase and it will automatically generate an overview for you.
If you are looking for a really fast theme, you may look at the Turbo Shopify theme. True to its name, it may be the fastest Shopify theme in the market right now. What makes it special is its ability to cut loading time by as much as 75%. And this is even cut lower for lean and clean themes. In fact, some clients report that their websites load by as little as 5 seconds.
TIP 2: Create a Robots.Txt File
If you want the search engines to rank you higher, you should look for a way to communicate with its robots. The best way to do that is through a robots.txt file – the file that search engine robots first go to when they visit a website.
What is a robots.txt file?
You can understand the robots.txt file if you view it as a user manual for search engine robots. When a search engine robot first visits your website, he will usually not know what to do. But once he finds a robots.txt file, he will know how to crawl the website.
Why go through the trouble of creating a robots.txt file?
Well, it conserves the so-called crawl budget. Here is what a crawl budget is according to Google.
First, there is a crawl limit.
Then, there is also a crawl demand.
This is then affected by other factors as well.
So if you don’t have a robots.txt file in your website, it is time to create one. Creating one is as easy as saving a txt file in notepad. You can always learn from Google on the specific robots.txt file syntax.
TIP 3: Sort Out Your Website Architecture
A website’s architecture can increase or lower its chance of getting ranked. In fact, it seems that deep linking pages has a negative effect on websites.
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, this is a structure that you should avoid.
Because it tends to dilute page authority.
You see, it seems that webpages tend to pass on authority to pages that they are linking to. If you create too many buffer pages from your backlinks, the authority will already be too small once it reach your content pages.
Not good for SEO.
The best way is to have long menus and have the content linked from the homepage if you can. If you have tons of products, you can always sort them out into categories to cut the buffer pages.
So the next time you see categories like this.
You know that there is a reason for it. The reason is SEO.
TIP 4: Submit a Sitemap
Another way to boost your new website is to submit a sitemap to your favorite search engines.
What is a Sitemap?
Basically, it is a list of all the pages on your site. You need to submit this to the search engines so that they can easily crawl your site for pages they might have missed.
Here is how Google defines a Sitemap:
“Sitemaps is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
There are two types of sitemaps: HTML and XML. Here is the difference between the two.
1. HTML Sitemap
A HTML Sitemap is basically an HTML page that contains links to all the pages in your website. The great thing about this is that you can upload this to your server and your readers can use it to navigate your site. However, this can be quite cumbersome for people who have large websites with thousands of pages.
2. XML Sitemap
For larger websites, an XML Sitemap may be better. Unlike an HTML sitemap that is straightforward and can be viewed as a webpage, an XML sitemap is hidden from readers’ view. You can use this if you are generating a sitemap for the benefit of search engines but don’t necessarily want to use it for navigation.
Now that you know what a sitemap is, let’s get to the creation process.
How to Create a Sitemap
There are many ways to create a sitemap. You can do it manually or install a plugin if you’re operating a WordPress website and make it generate a sitemap for you. However, I will not be covering those methods in this blogpost. Instead, I will share what works for me.
To generate a sitemap in a matter of seconds, I use a tool called xml-sitemaps.com. I like this because it is pretty straightforward and does not really require a login. Plus, I love the fact that they put the instructions on the main page so it is really easy for anyone to use it.
In fact, the instruction is simple. Just input the URL of your website and hit Start. It is that easy.
NOTE: You probably noticed that the maximum number of pages that it can index is only 500. If your website is bigger, you should buy the standalone version which costs around $19. I am not affiliated with them. I am just referring to this site because I use it myself.
From here, you’ll receive all the download links to the XML and HTML version of your sitemap.
There is even an option to have all the files sent to your e-mail address. I think that’s pretty neat.
How to Submit your Sitemap to Google
Once you have your sitemap, it is time to start submitting them to your favorite search engines. In this blogpost, I’ll teach you how to submit one to Google.
Step 1: Go to Google Webmaster Tools
Be sure that you’re logged in your Google account. This will take you to your dashboard where you can add a property.
NOTE: I’ll be blurring the bottom portion as it contains some of my client websites.
Click on ‘Add a Property’ when you’re ready.
When you have clicked that, enter your site URL. You will then be asked to verify the property.
From here I usually go for alternate methods and choose HTML Tag – Why? Because it is the easiest.
The instructions you should follow is written when you clicked on the radio button.
Copy the code
Then go to your site and look for the </head> before the <body> in your website coding. In a WordPress site, you may need to go to Appearance > Editor
Click on the Main Page or Header Page on the right to find the file that you are looking for. In ordinary pages, you’ll see this when you view your HTML file as text file. Once you’re there, paste the code.
And you’re done!
TIP 5: Optimize Images
You’ll find that you have to deal with thousands of images when you run a huge eCommerce store. Not only will every product have an image. Some products will even have multiple images.
With this, it is a good habit to optimize images right off the bat. Optimize images as you go.
How do you optimize images?
You can do it through ALT text.
ALT text is a code appended in the img HTML tag. It is the text that the search engines will use to identify the image.
In code, it will look like this.
<img src=“image.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip”>
What can ALT text do for your website?
ALT text can help your images rank higher on Google Image search. This means that you no longer have to work your way through the front page of the search engines. With proper optimization, you can easily get first page rankings for your images – and this will often lead people into your website.
Also, ALT text can help you identify your images from others. As an eCommerce website owner, you’ll find that some of your product images will be used over and over again all over the Internet. Implementing the ALT image tag will allow you to identify your images as well as claim some free backlinks.
Image link reclamation.
What is image link reclamation?
This is the process where you look for websites who took your images and then ask them to link to you. This is an easy way to get backlinks for higher rankings.
The method is quite simple to understand. Basically, you just look for websites that are using your image and you contact them to link to you. While you cannot do this for stock images (because you don’t own the copyright to those images), you can still do this for screenshots, photographs and self-made graphics and infographics.
STEP 1: Reverse Search your Image
It starts with searching for websites that have been using your image or at least a variation of it. A website that I use for this purpose is TinEye.com. It has the ability to crawl the Internet for similar images so that you can find those websites that are not linking to you.
All you need to do is key in the image URL and click the search icon.
It will immediately uncover the locations of the image all over the Internet. From here, you can click on the link to visit the website of the user (granted that it is not a stock website).
STEP 2: Contact the Website Owner
When you found their website, it is time to start contacting the website owner. You can find their contact information either through the website’s contact page or social media profiles.
This is [YOURNAME] from [YOURBRAND]. I saw that you mentioned used an image from my blogpost.
Here is the link to the blogpost with the image: BLOGPOSTURL
Here is the link to the page in your website that has that image: URL
I saw that you are not linking back to my website. Can you be so kind as to link to us in your image?
What I love about this strategy is that it is easier to get links. Unlike the other link reclamation strategies, you are making a request for links. But in this strategy, you are somehow compelling them to link to you because they have used your image.
Since they have done something to you (get your image without linking back), there is a higher likelihood that they’ll link to you so as to not take the image down in their site.
TIP #6: Do Onpage Optimization Inside Shopify
You can do onpage optimization in three ways. Through the title and meta tags of the website, through the title and meta tags of the products and through the URLs.
Here’s how you can optimize each part.
For the store title and tags, you simply need to go to Channels. From here, you can click on Online Store and then choose Preferences.
This is the page where you will be asked to update your title and meta description. Be sure to include your main keywords in this section.
BONUS: You can also add your Google Analytics account in this section. This will allow you to track the characteristics of the incoming traffic in your website.
And it doesn’t stop there. You can also set the title and meta descriptions for each product. Here is an example.
As you can see, you have the freedom to set your title to include certain keywords and you can also set the description. I love the preview feature because it allows you to see the descriptions in real time.
For the URLs, you can also set redirects. This way, you can get rid of all the errors in your website. Just add a URL redirect and you’re done.
TIP #7: Add some Apps
Did you know that you can also add some apps to your Shopify Store?
Like a mobile phone, apps enhance the capabilities of your store.
For example, there is Conversio that helps in dealing with customers who abandoned their carts. Then, there is also a Mailchimp integration for email marketers. One of the apps that I love is Bold Apps because it allows you to deal with upsells. Then, there is also the Shopify Reviews App that lets you add reviews for each product in your store.
But don’t get too excited and download everything. Having too many apps in one store can greatly slow down your store. Be sure to choose and install only the apps that you need.
Tip #8: Focus on User Experience
Users will inevitably dictate whether or not your online store is worth visiting. With this, it is very important to optimize your Shopify store with user experience in mind. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that your website is attractive to visitors.
– Is your website visually appealing?
– Is your website easy to understand?
– Do you have your brand description right at the homepage?
– Is your layout easy to navigate into?
– Do you use graphics in your content and product pages?
– Do you use nothing less than high quality graphics?
– Are you making use of white space? Are the elements in your website not too crowded?
– Are the navigation buttons clearly seen?
– Is your online store mobile friendly?
– Can the user navigate from one page to another with ease?
– Can the user see where she is through breadcrumbs?
– Are all the content of your product 100% unique and written by you?
– Does your website have ads that may irritate the visitor?
– Do you have clear call-to-actions for all products and pages?
Answering ‘Yes’ to all these questions will mean that your website is visitor-friendly. It doesn’t hurt to ask for visitor feedback to see how they view your website. You may even get some new insights on how to improve if you ask your visitors about their inputs.
TIP #9: Take Product Optimization Seriously
If you are selling thousands of products in your store, it is easy to get lazy and just copy and paste descriptions just to get your store up.
Please don’t do that. It will only hurt your website and your rankings.
Even if it will take a while. It pays to put a little extra care on each product in your store.
Here are some tips that you can use to optimize your product pages.
1. Write a unique description
Descriptions don’t have to be long but they have to be unique. It is a common error among online store owners to merely copy descriptions and paste them. But this is wrong. The page will have the risk of being tagged for a duplicate content penalty if you do that.
2. Create unique policy pages
Every online store have their policy pages: a Refund policy, a delivery policy, a shipping policy and the likes. Again, these pages are at risk of being copied and pasted. Be aware that this can also tag your website for the duplicate content penalty.
3. Use Unique Watermarked Images
Third, you must ensure that all images are properly watermarked before it is uploaded. A simple watermark may be all you need to make an image unique. This may take some extra time but it is worth it.
4. Encourage Reviews
It seems that reviews now plays a major part in search engine rankings. With this, it may be a good idea to enable reviews in your product pages.
5. Use Canonical URLs
There are instances where the description may be repeated. When this happens, you have to use canonical URLs to direct search engines to the original page.
6. Use Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are the navigation path that you see above pages. It is good to have something like this on your product pages so that users can easily go back and click on the category in case they want to look at other products.
7. Set up 404s for Deleted Products
Remember that all deleted products will have already been linked to or indexed. If you have not properly set up a 404 redirect, then this can cause an error.
Be diligent. Set up 404s for each deleted product. Don’t just delete them outright.
8. Visually Appealing Descriptions
Descriptions should also be done in bullets and should have enough white space to be readable. Prevent yourself from writing huge paragraphs that will just bore the customer. That will just encourage the customer to click back and look elsewhere.
9. Consider Adding Tabs to Product Pages
Do you see those product pages that also includes their delivery and shipping policies in the tabs? This allows customers to read all the rules right at the product page. Not only does this give a boost of content for the page but it can also help the customer read the policies before making a purchase.
10. Sort Products into Collections
It may also help to sort your products into collections. Why? It helps your customers find more of the same products in one location.
Having collections give your customers a bit of a variety. This makes it easier for them to choose the product that they like to buy.
TIP #10: Have a Blog
There seems to be a distinction between eCommerce website owners and bloggers in the Internet marketing world. When really, an eCommerce website owner can be a blogger and the other way around.
Content marketing is one of the easiest ways to win a person’s trust online. Think about it. Will you trust someone just because he has multiple products in his store? I don’t think so.
I think that trust comes from seeing that owner of the website really cares. How? By looking at his content. If he constantly writes about how to use certain products and how a product can improve one’s life? Wouldn’t that convince you more than a mere description of the product’s features?
Blogging works because it helps you get access to markets in multiple locations.
First, there is the search engines. Search engines tend to rank dense content higher. This means that the higher the content’s word count, the higher the chance for it to rank higher.
Then, there’s social media channels. These places love to share interesting articles. If you can come up with content that has a chance to become viral, you can share this and get more people into your online store.
Moreover, content just improves your credibility. The more content you create, the more people will trust you. The more they trust you, the more they are willing to buy.
Here’s how you can search for topics that social sharers love. You can go to a website called BuzzSumo.com.
In here, you can search for any topic under the sun and see the most shared topics about that keyword. From here, you can have an overview on the types of topics that the market likes.
Another place with great blogpost topics are forums. Niche forums will always have the latest conversations of hot topics in your niche. Sometimes, they may even contain questions. If you can answer these questions in a blogposts, you’ll be providing value right when your target market needs it.
Keep it a Secret, Okay?
Some of these tips may not be new but they are all very effective. So once you create an online store, don’t stop with just uploading items. Optimize it. Look into the tiny details if you can. This will help your website rank higher on the search engines for more traffic and sales.
What do you think of these tips? Do you like them? Tell me all about it below.