Guide to Developing a Shopify SEO strategy with Keywords

If you run an online store, you want to attract as many visitors as possible. The more people that visit your Shopify store, the higher the chance of making sales and ultimately, generating profits. Once you’ve set up a Shopify store, you need to focus your attention and energy on spreading the word and attracting customers. Learning about, and improving, your store’s SEO (search engine optimization) is a great way to do this. If you have a Shopify store and you’re keen to improve your SEO strategy and evaluate how effectively your current plan is working, this guide on keyword planning will provide useful information to take your store to the next level.

SEO basics

Search engine optimization is one of the most effective ways for online businesses to promote their company and encourage more and more potential customers. If you think about running a clothing store, you would use visual merchandising techniques to lure people in from the street. With a virtual store, you want to achieve the same goal. You want people to find your store appealing and for them to want to find out more.Using SEO can help you to capture their imagination and steer them towards your shop rather than another.

SEO in its most basic form is a way of putting your business on the search engine results map. As a consumer, rather than a shop owner, how often do you use search engines like Google to find local services or products? If we want to buy or find something, most of us now pick up our phones or tablets, rather than walking into town or using a phone book and making a call.

When you’ve done your search, and you’ve got a page of results in front of you, which links do you click on? Do you go for the top result or will you comb through pages of links? Research suggests that the top link gets around 33 percent of traffic, so it’s really beneficial for your business to be as high up the ranking as possible.

If you have a Shopify store, and you aren’t getting any traffic from sites like Google, Yahoo or Bing, it’s time to update your strategy and start focusing on optimizing your pages and bringing in more customers. One more consideration is to not forget about your store’s user experience (UX), because improving the UX can help your SEO.

The importance of keywords

When you conduct an online search, you use a series of keywords or a phrase made up of relevant terms. If you’re looking for a local plumber, for example, you’d put something like ‘plumbers in’ and then the location. The keywords would be plumber and the location, and you would be greeted with a list of links to plumbing services in the area in which you live. As a shop owner, your aim is to make sure that you’re at the top of the list when people use keywords or search terms that are relevant to what you do, what you sell or what you offer. Here’s an example if you sell women’s clothes: if somebody is searching for a new outfit and they’re looking for women’s fashion sites, you want your shop to be near the top when they submit their search query.

SEO is not as easy as getting the keywords right, but choosing the right words and terms and knowing how to use them will stand you in good stead to benefit from SEO. Using keywords is basically a means of communicating in the same way as the customer and giving them what they want.

Finding the right keywords

In order to make your SEO campaign a success, it’s beneficial to identify keywords and search terms that will make a positive difference to your search ranking and to make sure that you use them correctly. To attract customers through a search engine, you need to make sure that you’re using the same language as the people you want to encourage to visit your Shopify store. For example, if your customers call your product a “widget”, then you should also call it a “widget” on your site, even if you call it an “intellectual property” internally. If you’re on a different page, you’re not going to see an increase in website traffic.

There are various tools you can use to determine popular search terms and keywords, such as Google Keyword Planner. This research tool enables you to see what people are searching for and get an idea of the terminology they’re using. This application can also give you ideas about new keywords and phrases based on up and coming trends.

To ensure that your keyword strategy is relevant, it’s essential to understand your target market. Market research is invaluable, regardless of the type of products you sell in your Shopify store. Get to know your customers, and think carefully about who you’re trying to bring to your virtual shop window. How old are they? What do they do? How much would they be willing to spend? How do they spend their free time? How often do they go online and what is their preferred way of shopping? What kinds of deals are likely to appeal to them? What words are they going to use when they’re trying to find something online?

If you can’t answer these questions, there’s every chance that your keyword SEO strategy will fall short. If you know your target customer well, you can ensure that your campaign is relevant and effective.

When you’re thinking about which keywords to optimize, it’s a good idea to use a combination of individual words and long-tail anchor texts. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases, which can make you more competitive in the search rankings. If you go back to the women’s clothing example, using ‘women’s fashion’ as a keyword is likely to put you up against a whole host of other online retailers. However, if you include long-tail keywords like ‘long dresses for special occasions’ or ‘outfits for wedding guests’, these terms are likely to be less competitive, and there’s a better chance of you appearing further up the results page.

You may assume that a scatter approach to keywords will work best, but it’s actually more useful to narrow down your list of key search terms and focus on those that are likely to bring you rewards. It’s easy to get carried away and draw up a long list of keywords, but if you have some that aren’t relevant and some that don’t match consumer trends, it’s worth cutting them and streamlining your strategy. You can use keyword research like ahrefs to determine how popular the words and terms on your list are. If you have low volume results, remove them. In the following example, you’ll see one “slight” keyword variation more than tripling the search volume of the other variations:

Using keywords in the most effective ways

If you’re hoping to come up with an effective SEO campaign for your Shopify store, it’s not enough to choose the right keywords by analyzing popular search terms and using a combination of words and long-tail anchors. You also need to make sure you use the words and phrases in the right way.

In the past, using a series of carefully-selected keywords and jamming them into a blog or a web page may have propelled you up the search rankings, but these tactics won’t work anymore. Google is wise to spammy articles, and it’s essential that you understand how to take advantage of keywords without running the risk of penalties that will affect your ranking adversely.

The focus of modern SEO keyword use should be on creating content that is natural. If you write a paragraph and stuff it full of as many search terms as possible, you’re not going to do as well as you would if you’d written a longer piece that featured a few keywords and phrases in a natural way, within an article that was actually useful and informative for the reader. When you’re producing content, if you can’t fit a term or word in naturally, don’t include it. If you find it difficult to include any of your most commonly used keywords in a seamless way, it may be time to get back to basics and update your research on relevant search terms and keywords.

Creating engaging content

You may have heard the saying, ‘content is king.’ Today, more and more businesses use content marketing as a means of promoting their company to hopefully increase sales. If you’re interested in SEO and you want to make sure your Shopify store stands out from the crowd, content marketing can be a really valuable tool. With the right content, you can move your links up the search pages and establish a more noticeable online presence. The aim of this method is to produce fresh, engaging content, which will attract readers and encourage them to want to find out more and have a look inside your store.

Producing content is not a matter of writing a few lines and shoving in some keywords. Google and other search engines are keen to promote good quality content, which is informative, interesting and useful. To make your content marketing strategy a success, you need to be able to use keywords in the right way and to lure your readers in with relevant subject matters and pieces that give them what they want.

If you run a Shopify store and you want to focus more attention on SEO, you may be wondering how to go about producing content that will make a positive difference. If you’re not a talented writer or you don’t understand the ins and outs of SEO, it’s worth seeking expert advice or working with an agency or freelancers who can take control of this area of marketing for you.

Where to use keywords

Once your Shopify store is up and running, you want to optimize every page to promote what you’re selling. You can do this by taking advantage of the opportunity to improve SEO by adding keywords in the right places. As well as producing content, such as blogs and articles, you should also include descriptions and titles that contain keywords, such as product titles, meta descriptions, image tags, blog tags and keywords in any text that accompanies an image. If somebody is searching for red shoes, and you sell red shoes, you want them to be able to go from Google to the page that features those red shoes in an instant.

Keeping your keyword strategy relevant

Once you’ve got a strategy up and running, it’s so important to keep an eye on how things are going and evaluate the use of keywords for your Shopify store. Just like fashion, beauty, and music, SEO trends evolve constantly, and you need to make sure that you stay one step ahead. Make use of analytics and tools that enable you to predict new trends, look at what your competitors are doing, and engage in continual research.

Terms that were popular 6 months ago may not be used commonly anymore, and if this is the case, your SEO strategy isn’t going to be as effective as it could be going forward. Update your list of keywords periodically and move with the times. Keep in touch with your customers and monitor what your target market is up to online. Adjusting your approach will enable you to stay ahead of the game and hopefully, outshine your competitors.

If you have a Shopify store, you’re probably on the lookout for ways to get more customers through the virtual doors. SEO is a really effective means of drumming up interest and driving traffic for modern online businesses. Using the right keywords in the right context in the right places can make all the difference. If you want to improve your ranking, do some research, find out what people are searching for and use analytic tools to evaluate your performance on a continual basis. Mix up individual words and longer phrases, check out the popularity of the words you’re using, and learn to produce engaging content that lends itself to natural looking anchors and links. Be prepared to update your plans on a regular basis and always keep an eye on emerging trends. If you can stay ahead of the crowd, you’ll have a good chance of succeeding and making your Shopify store the place to shop online.

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Jeff Couret

Jeff Couret is the founder of SEOak, which helps store owners get more sales from organic traffic. He also likes video games (especially Halo), board sports, and hanging out with his family. One time, a long long time ago, he did a backflip off the diving board at a country club in Metairie, Louisiana - it was pretty sweet.

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