The Basics of eCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The Basics of eCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

in Social Commerce - Simplified! / by Rebecca Wardlow

Wikipedia defines SEO as "the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results."

Your customer is trying to find your products in search by entering words or phrases (aka keywords). You want your products to be included on the first page of search. One of the best ways to get your products in front of your potential customer is to optimize your store, products and pages for search engine optimization (SEO). 

Yes! You can do this yourself, but it will take time to see results! Don't get frustrated and give up. Keep producing quality content and work on your organic results on a regular basis.

My favorite eCommerce platform, Shopify already includes some powerful SEO features like:

  • editable title tags, meta descriptions and URLs for all your pages
  • editable ALT tags for all images, customizable file names
  • automatically generated sitemap.xml and robots.txt files
  • automatically generated canonical URL tags (to stop duplicate content)

I know, you just read that and said "what is she talking about"? So let me explain some of the technical definitions. 

Here are some standard definitions from MOZ's SEO guide, as well as the official Shopify SEO 101 documentation to get you started:

Title tags are often used on search engine results pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page, and are important both for SEO and social sharing. The title element of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page's content.

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page.

The image's filename and alt text are used to describe a picture's contents. Having descriptive alt text can help your product images show up when customers search for images. As well, alt text is an important accessibility feature: it describes your product images to people who have visual impairments.

Your sitemap.xml file contains all your products, pages, collections, and blog posts.

The robots exclusion protocol (REP), or robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl and index pages on their website.

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Optimize Your Shopify Store

Search Engine Optimization on Shopify

1. Title Tags

Your title tag should include keywords that you want to rank for. For example: let's say you sell 

Title Tag & Meta Description example

2. Meta Descriptions

This is the text underneath your Title tag in search results. Do you best to make sure that it describes the page, product or service and includes keywords. Keep in mind that you only have 160 characters, so keep your description on-point and relevant.

3. Place Keywords In Your Page Headers 

It's extremely important to include your main keywords in the names of your store's products, collections, pages or blog posts. 

Header title example

In it's basic format, this would be the HTML code needed to create the titles shown above.

<h1>ABOUT</h1> 

<h2>What is Social Commerce?</h2>  

The good news is that with Shopify, you don't necessarily need to know HTML code. You can easily set these headings using the WYSIWYG editor.

In the text area highlight the text you want to be a header, then Click the A icon in the WYSIWYG menu (highlighted in red below). Choose the Header that you need.

Header Options on Shopify 

Tip: Only use one <h1> header per page. Remember that this is the most important header on the page so you don't want to confuse the search engines by having more than one.

4. Page Body Content

The more content your store has the better chance a search engine will find and index your page(s).

When writing your product descriptions or blog posts try to include your main keywords. Be sure that the keywords fit into the content so that it's easily readable by a human. 

Tip: Do not copy and paste the text provided to you by a manufacturer. Those descriptions are probably already on several sites. Help your site stand out and be unique. Write your own descriptions and blog posts. 

5. Run a SEO Audit on Your Shopify Store

I recommend that you install the Plug in SEO app on your Shopify store. This is a free app that will identify problems and provide you with the details you need to fix the problem yourself.

Plug In SEO

 

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