After weeks of preparation, your e-commerce store is finally ready. You know you sell quality products at great prices, and you know that there is an audience out there that would be interested - if only they could find you in the depths of Google’s search bar.
Many consider trying paid ads, paying Google between $1-50 per click for new traffic, but nearly 80% of all e-commerce shoppers ignore paid ads in search results. A waste of money for little to no benefits.
This introductory guide explores SEO, a free, organic and effective way to bump yourself up on Google’s search bar and bridge the gap between you and your future buyers.
What is SEO?
SEO - or Search Engine Optimization - is the process of making changes to your website that boost your website’s ranking on search engine results. It is an easy way to acquire more traffic, users and conversions without paying a dime.
SEO is often broken down into 3 areas: links, content, and page structure
As a young e-commerce store, it can be hard to expect credible, newsworthy sites to begin linking into your pages. These off-page signals - in which other websites link to your store, will become more frequent alongside the popularity of your website. On the other hand, page structure tends to be more technical and requires rudimentary tech knowledge; check out this guide for some more technical guidance.
Online, there are many SEO agencies and SEO marketing firms that preach low prices to boost your SEO. However, any e-commerce store owner can quickly and easily update their content to improve their any form of SEO, including shopify SEO.
1. Do your (keyword) research
Keyword research will allow you to learn the search behavior of your target audience and the performance of keywords on search engines.
Google’s keyword planner is a free and easy tool within Google Ads that can help you not only discover new keywords associated with your business, but also get search volume and forecast estimates for each keyword.
Discovering New Keywords
When discovering keywords, users have the option to enter their website or an example keyword to generate a list of keyword ideas to use for your SEO.
For instance, if Jane - a women’s clothing retailer - provides the keyword “fashion”, she will see a never-ending list of keywords associated with her e-commerce store, such as “women’s clothing”, “plus-size”, “fashion week” and so on. She can see the average monthly searches and the level of competition.
Optimally, Jane should focus on words that have high average monthly searches (to drive traffic) and lower competition - especially if she is catering to a particular niche. However, the most important tool for keyword research is knowing your audience. Even if a keyword is popular, if it isn’t what your target audience is looking for, it’s a dead end.
Search Volume and Forecasts
If you have done your homework, Google keyword planner also offers the option to retrieve the average monthly searches and competition of your preselected list of words. Use this tool when you have already chosen your keywords, or are trying to audit how your SEO has been performing thus far.
2. Content. Content. Content.
Think of Google as a 5-year-old child - always enthusiastic to find something fun, interesting and new, but is more than willing to throw a tantrum when it gets bored of looking at the same old stuff. To stand out on the search page, you have to be unique, creating new and interesting titles, headlines and product descriptions that not only boost SEO, but also can improve the consumer experience as well.
Product descriptions are marketing copy explaining what the product is, its uses, and its unique selling point (USP).
When writing product descriptions, focus on the experience of your target buyer and tailor your content towards them. It is important that these product descriptions match the tone and energy of your store, to give consistent brand messaging.
Try to feature your selected keywords within your product descriptions, titles and in other e-commerce copy to push it towards the top of the results for that particular search. Each product description should tell a unique story - be sure not to plagiarise from any other websites or sources! Being unique gives you bonus points when being ranked by search engines.
Creating unique e-commerce copywriting can be time-consuming and costly, especially as your store begins to expand and grow. Applications such as Hypotenuse AI take an image and keywords of your choice and create eloquent, one-of-a-kind product descriptions that boost SEO and increase conversions. This AI product description generator creates narrative and unique stories for your e-commerce store that tell Google to pay attention.
No matter how eye-catching your photos are, Google can’t read or interpret them. When search engines visit your e-commerce website, they can only read HTML text, which is why it is crucial that you add alt tags.
Alt tags are HTML attributes that describe - in words - what an image is depicting.
It is displayed in the image tag: <img src="yourimage.png" alt="description_of_your_product" />
You would want to update the “alt” attribute with a short description of your product so that Google can find and rank your image within its search engine. Fluff words like “an image of…” or “a picture of…” make it more difficult for Google to index and rank your content. Be specific, clear and concise!
Check out these plugins to help you easily add alt tags to your store!
3. Stand Out from the Rest: How You Appear in Google Search
The title tag and the meta descriptions will be your first touch with a new customer. It is important to make them unique, engaging and interesting to the reader.
Title tags are the title of your page that appears on Google search.
To improve your CTR (click-through rate), title tags should feature the name of your e-commerce store to engage users and grow brand recognition. Title tags should be short, engaging and feature trigger words such as “review” and “best”.
Google gives title tags a 600-pixel width limit - length is very important in optimizing your SEO. Tags that are too long will be truncated, resulting in a messy and unappealing link. Tags that are too short lack the information to tell Google about your page and its content. Like Goldilocks, try to have a title tag length that is just right, remaining informative without going beyond the 600-pixel width limit!
Meta descriptions are the amuse-bouche to your website - the tiny introduction to the content of your webpage. Just like title tags, it is important to keep them short, simple and engaging. Also remember to keep your text within 140 characters to maintain a streamlined and effective marketing copy. Fill the meta descriptions with your keywords to float them to the top of the search, and maintain unique meta descriptions for each page to prevent duplications.
SEO may seem daunting at first, but when you know what to look out for, creating unique content that Google loves is easy. Remember to focus on unique, one-of-a-kind content to boost your SEO, improve the user experience and increase conversions!