Build an SEO plan to scale your store’s growth
Reduce the file size of your images. In short, the larger the image file size, the longer it can take a load a page.
Reducing your image dimensions speeds up the loading of your images and the page. Resizing images can affect their quality. Be sure to use standard resolution, which is 72 pixels per square inch (PPI). If you’re new to this, we recommend you use Shopify’s free image resizer to get started.
Add images to your sitemap. It’s vital to have your images appear on search results, as many people are visual searchers, especially when it comes to products like apparel.
Adding images to your sitemap makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index them. Shopify includes your primary product page image in the sitemap, but if you want to include all images on your products pages, I recommend installing Image Sitemap ($4/month), an app that automatically builds and submits to Google Search Console an .xml Sitemap for all images associated with each product, blog article, and page in your Shopify store.
Optimize your alt attributes carefully. Alt attributes are the text alternative to images used when a browser can’t properly render them. They’re also used for web accessibility, meaning if a person with impaired vision is looking at your blog they will be read the alt text.
Alt text is important for ecommerce stores and image SEO as it helps products show up in Google images. Our advice here is to describe in plain language what’s in the image to help people with imparied vision have an idea what the image displays. In turn, this can also help your images rank. Instead of “facial toner 250ml” try “Image of Pixi’s Glow tonic facial toner in 250ml, a highly concentrated, invigorating facial toner to deep clean your pores”.
Name your images in plain language. This is the file name of your image when it’s saved to your computer.
When you upload it, its web address will be the same. Ideally, it should match the keyword on the page. For example, if our page is about habanero hot sauce, we want to save the image file name as “habanero-hot-sauce.jpg.” This means that alongside our product page appearing for queries “habanero hot sauce,” our product images hopefully also will appear under the images tab on search engines.
On-page SEO is the primary method of directly telling readers and search engines what your page is about. Search engines look for certain on-page factors that can help them in ranking your page on search engine results pages (SERPs). On-page factors include keyword and topic relevance, meta information, the slug in the page URL, and your images, among other things. For more information on on-page factors, this Moz article is a great resource.
Here, we’re going to cover the basics of keyword research, how to decode search intent, and some content optimization tips to help your pages rank for their target keywords.
A simpler way to think about keywords is as queries people use and type into search engines. Often, this replicates how we talk when asking questions; sometimes it is more of a “caveman speak” format, where you might type “buy new iPhone” versus “I want to buy the new iPhone.”
Short tail keywords are two or three words in length and typically of high volume, e.g., “mens shorts,” which returns 38,000 monthly searches in ahrefs keyword explorer.
Long tail keywords are four words or more in length and generally of lower volume, e.g., “mens shorts with pockets,” which returns 40 monthly searches in ahrefs keyword explorer.
How people use keywords in search engines to buy products
When it comes to choosing a keyword you want your page to rank for, it helps to understand the intent behind the associated search query. Search queries fall into the following categories:
Navigational queries are searches entered with the intent of finding a particular website or webpage. For example, a user might enter “facebook” into a search bar to find Facebook’s site rather than entering the URL into a browser’s navigation bar or using a bookmark.
Informational queries normally begin with “how to,” “what,” “why,” etc. Content that genuinely provides helpful information relevant to the query ranks for these keywords.
Transactional queries are searches that indicate an intent to complete a transaction. This entails typing a product name directly into the search bar, e.g., “samsung galaxy.”
When it comes to the customer journey in search engines, it’s important to understand how people move from not knowing what product they are looking for or want to confidently making the choice to purchase.
Let’s start with a general product such as smartphones. If you’re a long-time smartphone user, then you may use or have considered using the current iPhone model. But what if you want to see what else is on the market before you jump to your next upgrade?
At this point, you’d turn to a search engine and type in an informational query such as “best smartphone.” You’d get a lot of buyer’s-guide-type articles listing the top 10 to 15 smartphones, and you’d most likely click the top result. After reading the article, you might come away thinking the new iPhone model doesn’t sound too bad after all, but you also like the look of the new Samsung Galaxy.
Here, you’d probably like to learn how they compare on features and reliability, so you’d turn back to a search engine and search another informational query, such as “apple iphone vs samsung galaxy.”
After reading one or more of the articles on the first page, you’d have a clearer idea of what smartphone is for you, and maybe you’d decide to give the new iPhone one more chance. You turn back to the search engine and type in a transactional query “buy iphone.” From there, you most likely find Apple’s site, and you complete your transaction.
How to choose a keyword
Now you know how users go through the purchase journey and how to understand the intent behind a search, so let’s now find ways to do keyword research.
Keyword research can feel overwhelming. You’ll have questions like, Where do I start, How do I find one, How do I know if my keyword is going to rank, and How long does it take? We’ll walk you through getting answers to these questions.
Where to start with keyword research. First, think about what your product is or what category it exists within. For example, Shopify is an ecommerce platform, so we want a page to rank for this search term. What’s a general term to describe your product?
Use paid tools or free tools to get competitive insight. There are a lot of free and paid tools available, but the best free tools for Chrome are Keyword Surfer and MozBar, both available as extensions. With Keyword Surfer, you type your keywords into Google and it gives you keyword volume in the address bar and on the SERP.
An important takeaway for on-page SEO
MozBar lets you know the domain authority and page authority of a website—essentially how reputable or strong a website is and how well trusted a page is, respectively.
No matter what type of search query your page is targeting, know that when it comes to choosing a keyword, Google and other search engines want to rank the pages that have the highest likelihood of concluding the searcher’s journey. In the specific case of Google, it wants no additional searches, and it doesn’t want the user to hit “Back” and click on another search result.
When you’re picking a keyword to target, you can get a good idea of what the search intent is from the top 10 results on a SERP.
To do this, simply search the term and make a note of whether the page is either an article or a product page. For now, pay attention to only the organic listings and not the ads, which are marked “Ads” to the left, or any SERP features like People Also Ask, images, videos, or local listings.
You’ll have a score such as “9/10 product pages,” and from there you get an understanding of the user’s search intent, which will be to make a transaction.
If you’re doing content marketing for your store, you’ll want to look for the majority of the 10 listings to be articles as articles best cater to informational searches.
As “habanero hot sauce” is a short tail keyword, if users get to result 10 and still don’t see a listing to click, these pre-populated terms might help get them to the query they’re really looking for but didn’t know how to phrase.
I can make a note of these phrases because some of them are good long tail keywords that I can use while creating my product page with the goal of getting it to rank.
I can use them as subheadings, in the product description, or in meta description and title. We’ll dig into how to do this below.
Build your keyword into the URL or slug
The URL is anything that you type into the address bar that ends with , .ca, etc.. The “slug” is what comes after the first forward slash. Slugs and URL paths are used interchangeably but mean the same thing.
Once you’ve chosen a domain name, your URL is set and you can’t change it. However, slugs can be changed or customized. Note: If you are changing slugs, be sure to add redirects to your new pages. We covered how to do that above.
The reason to build your keyword into the slug of each page is primarily to make it clear to both the user and the search engines what the page is about. Also, you want to be careful of keyword stuffing in your URL and slugs.
Build your keyword into your image naming system
Building your keyword into your image naming system means both saving files with the same name as the keyword target (e.g. habanero-hot-sauce.jpg) and using the keyword as its alt text when you upload the file to your store.
If you have more than one image being uploaded and you’re confused on what to name your files, use differentiators like habanero-hot-sauce-ingredients.jpg for a photo of the ingredient label and habanero-hot-sauce-example-dish.jpg for an action photo of a model applying sauce to food.
As we said above regarding optimizing images, you want to write your alt attributes carefully.
Alt text is used when a browser can’t properly render the image, and also for web accessibility. It’s best to describe in plain language what’s in the image to help people with imparied vision have an idea what the image displays.
If writing an accessible alt text attribute and you naturally use the target keyword, that’s great, but it’s recommended to prioritize this approach over keyword stuffing alt text.
Creating an SEO-friendly page is about making the information digestible for the reader, not necessarily the search engines. It’s the formatting that can get readers where they need to go, through use of headings, bullet lists, or numbered lists.
It’s about reducing friction for the reader experience by helping them get there and easily find what they want.
You may hear that length is a deciding factor on whether a page ranks or not. My take has always been, if you have a monster-sized article or page, that’s because the topic deserves it and is in need of a 101 or beginners’ guide.
It’s rarely a good idea to add more words to an article to hit a metric that promises a ranking page.
Off-page SEO can include reputation management like customer service and being present on social media, but essentially it boils down to building backlinks, which are links that point to your site.
The more high quality, relevant backlinks you have, the better your pages will rank. You know the importance of having high ranking pages in search engines based on where clicks go from the earlier diagram above.
There are two methods in which you can build links to your website: active efforts and passive efforts.
Active link building
Active link building is when you put together a plan and strategy for the pages you want to build links from—with an understanding of why you want to build them—and then executing that plan.
Generally, active link building is time intensive, as it’s a competitive strategy to get into. Journalists, influencers, and other writers get pitches all the time, so your pitch has to be compelling.
There are a couple of principles you can take forward when requesting anything from another site:
Put what’s in it for them up front in your pitch. Yes, the nature of your request is to get something (a link), but what’s in it for them? Is what they’re linking to out of date or a page that no longer exists, or are they missing something vital in their list? Give them a reason to consider your request.
Don’t request links from people who are your competitors. This may seem obvious, but a lot of link requests come from people who want coverage in the same product and topic area because there’s an existing resource. For example, if you’re selling athletic gym shorts and you find a buyer’s guide on what to look for when buying gym shorts and it’s by a brand that also sells shorts aimed at your niche, it’s better not to waste time reaching out to them.
Now that you’ve got the principles down, let’s look at some active link building tactics:
Broken link building is where you find pages that link to sites that have a page removed, recreate content similar to that of the dead content, then tell anyone linking to the removed resource to instead link to your content. This works because it’s bad for a website's SEO to be linking to pages that don’t exist.
To perform this technique successfully you’ll need an SEO tool that allows you to crawl pages and find broken links and an outreach tool that lets you hunt down email addresses.
You’ll also need to find out what was once on that now broken page. Fortunately, you can do this with the Wayback Machine, a free archive of web pages from different moments in time.
Here’s the process you can expect to follow if you use this tactic:
Choose a website that exists within your niche and publishes content you would happily have a link from (e.g., If I owned a business that sold skin treatments and essential oils, I would look for a website within the aromatherapy space, which could be a competitor business or a blogger).
Use your SEO tool to find any 404 links, the pages with the most referring domains or links, or a page that you know you have a product or collection on. Use the Wayback Machine to get an idea of what was on that page and see if you can create similar content to what was covered on it. Note: You should never copy the text from a dead page, as this is copyright infringement.
Use your outreach email tool to find the content manager and reach out to let them know about the broken link, how this is bad for their SEO and reader experience, and that you have a page covering this topic. Hopefully, the end result will be they replace a broken link with a link to your business.
Unlinked mentions are when your business is written about on another site without a link back to you.
For instance, your business might be given as an example in an article that sells comfy loungewear apparel but doesn’t link to your homepage.
With tools like Google Alerts or some SEO tools that have this feature, like ahrefs, you can get a notification to your inbox if your site is mentioned.
Once you feel that getting a link from this site is worth reaching out to the writer or content manager, then go ahead and ask for a link to be credited to your mentioned business.
Passive link building
Passive link building involves daily duties or business as usual but can help compound your SEO efforts over time, even though they’re not typical SEO-enhancing activities.
Create an amazing product or service. The easiest way to get people talking about your business online is to have a great product or service that’s worth talking about. This is when people share your business with friends and family because you’re doing something special that makes you stand out. This takes a while to catch wind, but it’s the best way to build a business and a solid SEO tip.
Provide amazing customer service. Great customer service is spoken about. Equally terrible customer service is also spoken about. But it’s average customer service that goes under the radar. While bad customer service can get you written about, which, technically, is good for SEO (remember that time United Airlines dragged a passenger off one of their planes?), it’s obviously not good to be known for giving poor customer service. So focus on providing amazing service.
You don’t have to go above and beyond—it’s a matter of doing the little things really well and finding moments to deliver delight. Remember this saying: “People remember what you did long after they forget what you said.”
Responsive on social media.
Being responsive on social media isn’t about jumping on any and all conversations, or joining in on the banter between brands on Twitter. It’s about getting back to your customers when they reach out for help. Once you get the basics down, then you can consider liking or commenting on Instagram posts or Stories where your passionate fans tag your products.
What is SEO in digital marketing?
It comes down to building trust with these people. Once you have trust, then you have attention. Once you have attention, you have enrollment and permission to share ideas or your perspective.
Converse on forums and discussion boards and comment on blogs. Being present in communities like Reddit, Quora, or niche industry forums where your ideal audience hangs out online can help you build a good reputation and eventually customers. Use these spaces to encourage conversations with the right people, respond thoughtfully, and drive excitement and enthusiasm.
But be careful of promoting your business too often. Aim to only do that if the person is looking for recommendations or your product solves the problem they describe in the comment.
When customers research products in your category, you want your store to be one of the top search results. But the only way for them to see your page in the results is to put time and effort into learning the rules that govern search engines and apply those rules to the structure and content of your site.
Working on SEO for your store can feel overwhelming in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it and iron out any issues, it can be as simple as tweaking pages to help them rank better and finding new keywords to create pages for. You’ll begin to see results slowly, but you will see movement increase over time, and SEO will be a great flywheel to bring in new customers for your business.
SEO in digital or online marketing is where you aim to increase organic traffic to your website through tweaking pages to improve search engine rankings, creating new content to target keywords, and improving your site to be better understood by search engine crawlers.
How do I start SEO?
Find a keyword which has good search volume
Understand the search intent of your keyword
Write your page using your keyword research data
Optimize your page meta title and description
Publish your page
Build links to your page or website
What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
The difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is that SEO focuses on increasing organic traffic, while SEM includes both increasing organic traffic and running paid ads to increase traffic.
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Keyword Analysis is SEO’s core task which involves determining most popular words and phrases among people using search engines for you to understand better which keyword has the highest demand.
The initial step of our process involves the analysis and comparison of keywords of your interest and that of competitors.
Our SEO experts will accumulate the gathered data and utilise the most appropriate SEO tools to help you generate more keyword options. The result of this step is a list of keyword segments for you to choose from efficiently and conveniently.
Make your business stand up from the competition by determining the best strategic keywords for your website’s content. By crafting content that satisfies both your clients and search engines, you may acquire knowledge regarding how prospective clients search for information, services, and products similar to yours.
Although you may already have an idea in mind, you still need to consider if your audience is searching your content. After coming up with your keywords, we can help you look for keywords that most people search for related to your product.
Using helpful keyword research engine tools, you may discover the average monthly search volume of similar keywords to your preference. As you enter these in a keyword research tool, the tool uncovers a search volume of various common keywords, queries, and topics for your content that is relevant to your keywords of interest.
Note that during the process of discovering relevant keywords, the search volumes of your keywords is noticeably varying. Having said so, you may want to consider targeting terms with lower search volumes as they can give you more advantages as being far less competitive. Further learning about search volumes can help you prioritise keywords and choose those with the biggest strategic advantages.
A keyword analysis is a huge part of search engine optimisation, as it can help you be updated to the dynamic search landscape and produce targeted content that draws the right traffic to your site.
Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO agencies out there.
And each one of them is good for something.
Thus, your question shouldn’t be, how do I find the right SEO agency, but how do I choose an SEO agency that’s right for me?
I’m glad you made it here, as I’ll guide you through how to avoid choosing an SEO agency that’s right for something not relevant to growing your business.
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SEO is well known for being a fast-moving and competitive industry. Many of your competitors will have already invested in an SEO agency or in-house experts to rival you in search engines.
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