While Shopify offers all the necessary features for building and managing a successful store, it still requires search engine optimization (SEO).
Shopify has become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the internet. According to the website profiler BuiltWith, it powers over 3.5 million stores.
Out-of-the-box stores rarely rank high in the search results. They may attract customers through other mediums, such as social media or email, but they won’t generate any substantial commercial traffic from the search engines.
Fortunately, you can optimize your Shopify store for higher search rankings in several simple ways.
Upgrade to a Premium Plan
Search engines won’t index your store if you’re using a free trial. Shopify allows sellers to test its popular platform by signing up for a 14-day free trial.
During this period, you can begin building your store while familiarizing yourself with Shopify’s interface.
However, you won’t be able to sell products on your store, nor will search engines index your store’s pages, until you upgrade to a premium plan.
There are several premium Shopify plans from which you can choose. Basic Shopify costs $29 per month, whereas the standard Shopify plan costs $79 per month. There’s also Advanced Shopify for $299 per month, which is for large-volume sellers.
Regardless, you’ll need a premium plan to get your store indexed in the search results.
Write Unique and Detailed Product Descriptions
Product descriptions can influence the positions and keywords for which your store ranks. They are pieces of text content that search engines will analyze as they crawl your store.
When search engines stumble upon a word or phrase in a product description, they’ll view that keyword as relevant to your store.
As a result, your store — specifically the product page featuring the description — may rank higher for that keyword.
Unique and detailed product descriptions offer the most significant SEO value. If you use a duplicate product description that’s published elsewhere, such as another seller’s store or Amazon page, search engines may ignore it.
Generic product descriptions that fail to provide a deep level of insight into the respective product are equally bad since they typically contain fewer and less-relevant keywords.
Therefore, you should write unique and detailed product descriptions when building your store.
Add Alt Text to Product Images
Along with a unique and detailed description, each of your store’s products should have at least one image.
You can upload a maximum of 250 images per product. With multiple pictures, prospective customers will have a clearer perception of your store’s products.
Product images, of course, require alt text for search engines to identify them.
Alt-text is a Hypertext Markup Markup Language (HTML) attribute that creates a text description for images.
Search engines will crawl a product image’s alt text to determine what it shows and, therefore, where the product image should rank in Google Images or similar image-based search engines.
You can add alt text to a product image from your store’s admin interface. Select “Products,” followed by “All products,” and choose the product containing the image.
After selecting the image in the details section, Shopify will display it in preview mode. You can then click the “ALT” button at the bottom of the image preview to add alt text to it.
Alt text should consist of a detailed but concise description of the product image.
Optimize Meta Title Tags and Descriptions
For healthier SEO, you should optimize your store’s meta title tags and descriptions. Search engines use this metadata to form listings for their indexes.
At the same time, meta title tags and descriptions help search engines understand what keywords are relevant to your store.
To create a meta title tag and description for your store’s homepage, log in to the admin interface, and select “Online Store,” followed by “Preferences.”
To create a meta title tag and description for a product, pull up the product, and click “Edit website SEO” under “Search engine listing preview.”
Start a Blog
Blogging can strengthen your store’s search rankings. According to the inbound marketing agency IMPACT, websites with a blog have four times as many pages indexed in the search results than their counterparts.
A blog is an outlet where you can share content with your store’s visitors. Like other forms of text content, search engines will crawl your blog posts for ranking purposes.
You don’t have to use a separate content management system (CMS) to start a blog.
Shopify has a built-in blogging feature. It automatically gives each store a blog named “News” by default. You can delete this blog, though, and replace it with a new blog under a custom name from your store’s admin interface.
To create a new blog post, select “Online Store” and then “Blog Posts,” after which you can choose “Add blog post.”
Accelerate Page Loading
You can’t ignore page loading when optimizing your store for higher search rankings.
Pages that load slowly generally won’t rank very high, and if they are product pages, they won’t drive many sales, either.
Google and Bing want their users to have a positive and fluid experience, so they give fast-loading pages higher rankings.
To make your store’s pages load faster, download an image compression app.
There are several apps available for Shopify that can compress images, some of which include TinyIMG SEO Image Optimizer, Crush.pics Image Optimizer and Image Optimizer.
They reduce the size of your store’s images so that the pages on which they are published load faster.
Choosing a high-end web hosting plan can speed up your store as well. Shared hosting plans are notorious for being slow. Dedicated hosting plans, while costing more, are much faster.
The amount of revenue your Shopify store generates is dependent upon its traffic. Prospective customers are traffic, so they are responsible for placing orders that increase your store’s revenue.
With SEO, you can drive more traffic to your store at little or no cost.
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Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.