SEO for eCommerce in 2021
This article has been updated since it was drafted back in 2014, with the addition to Shopify SEO, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and content marketing covering your online store and home page. It is important to note that today's tools are more technical, and have more metrics to measure your marketing effectiveness than back 7-8 years ago. The base rules still apply, the tools have just expanded.
Google Search Console: This needs to be connected to your google session's email and have the sitemap XML file entered in the console for the Google bots to crawl your pages and index them. This captures your organic content, your search keywords will be collected, and based on the authority of your site/page will direct search traffic to your online store. This is a must for all online stores to get searched.
Organic Content: Keeping your page and site active with updates in content and keywords that are optimized to your content marketing strategy is important to keep up. Your upkeep is going to tell the google bots of the changes and it will update and refine search results based on them. Keywords get associated with other keywords based on search patterns - these patterns change and updating your content for these changes matters too. Your target audience shifts in their search criteria.
Your online store structured data: In order to keep your marketing campaigns in line with your organic content, your page titles, title tags, meta tags, alt text, product pages, and product descriptions keywords must be aligned and be SEO friendly. Taking a piece of content from a page is not going to get the bots to notice that your website is optimized for that keyword - it is the whole website being taken into account, and where/how often with what correlated keywords it will index and associate to your site for relevance on a search. Social networks, Social Media Content, and video content are all part of this association, and whereas Shopify Apps might assist in getting your organized, your content marketing strategy is what will drive your brand awareness forward.
In the current landscape, an eCommerce website without great SEO just isn’t going to cut the mustard. You might have a superstar product, compelling copy, and an impeccable layout, but miss out on SEO and this will have a detrimental impact on your business.
Although Shopify comes equipped with basic SEO functions, if you really want to hit the ground running then it’s best to invest in some decent extras. Here are our recommendations for the best Shopify SEO plug-ins and apps:
Our favourite Shopify apps for SEO
This easy to use plug-in acts as a debugger; page by page it will scan your entire website and highlight SEO problems that need fixing. Flagged up issues come with straightforward troubleshooting advice – ideal for quick improvements.
Install this plugin if you want to arrange your content in an SEO friendly manner without breaking the bank.
The fast scan report and regular checking functionalities make this a handy tool to have and best of all, it’s completely free.
Last year for the first time ever, there were more sales of smartphone and tablet devices than laptops. The shift to mobile has naturally had an effect on eCommerce and you’ll need to adjust your settings accordingly to keep up with the competition.
Shop Pad enables you to optimise your content for the ultimate tablet experience. No coding is required and in less than 5 minutes you’ll have a stylish user interface ready to entice users.
All the information is taken from your existing site so you don’t have to spend any time editing or managing the tablet edition.
Price: From free
Tablet & phone optimisation is free, but if you’d like additional extras such as Google Analytics, custom domain names and international language capability you’ll need to shell out up to $120 a month.
Make light work of SEO with this one click install app. While Shopify itself only allows you to edit default titles and descriptions from your admin panel, Ultra gives you full reign over every single meta tag in your shop.
Edit keywords, author tags, titles and descriptions to your hearts content and edit them whenever you feel like they need a spring clean.
Unlike many other competing apps, you don’t need to fiddle around with HMTL coding to use the app.
Price: Free, then $10 a month
First-time users get a free, 7 day trial. After the initial trial you’ll pay $10 per month for Ultra, but its well worth it for response customer service, a spike in traffic and (potentially) higher revenue.
Super Reviews enables your visitors to view detailed feedback regarding your products. This will not only increase user trust but improve your search engine rankings as the main review text can be viewed in HTML and is indexable by Google.
As we know all too well, content is king so the more quality content you have on your site, the more generous Google is likely to be when positioning your site.
Reviews can also help your eCommerce site to rank well due to the keyword opportunities it presents. If for example, a customer left a review regarding a specific handbag brand and style, this could bump up your search traffic considerably.
Read more: 9 Ways to Build Trust on Your Website
Customers searching for that specific handbag or a synonym would be more likely to find you than if the keyword was only listed on a product page. In addition, the app also has an email function which prompts customers to leave reviews and if you are migrating from an old system you can transfer old reviews using the export and import function.
Super Reviews offer a 30 day free trial, after this subscription costs $8.50 per calendar month.
Never underestimate the power of an effective meta description. Consider yourself an invisible sales person and the meta description isyour first introduction to the customer. A snappy meta description is much more likely to entice searchers to click through to your site than jumbled gobbledygook. It’s a win, win situation.
The SEO Meta Manager gives you, the user, control of how your pages and products are displayed in search engine results. The app is primarily focused on improving titles and metas with the view that this will lead to more conversions and increased sales.
The app will set you back $50 and comes complete with video tutorials, responsive customer support, written guides and a Google search result simulator so you can see exactly what your listings will look like once Google updates them.
You’ll probably be aware of the value of a regularly updated blog packed full of clever content can have. But if it’s on a separate domain then you’re missing a trick.
Instead of trying to persuade your readers to click-through to your site from Blogger or WordPress, install this app and export your existing blog posts onto your current domain.
By storing all of your SEO content in one place, you’ve a much better chance of converting visitors and convincing Google that you mean business. Stop sending customers to external websites to learn about your business and embed Blog Feeder into your admin portal to manage feeds instead.
And if you’re concerned about damaging your SEO with duplicate content, Blog Feeder enables you to disable canonical tags and use your store as the original source of content. You can do this by redirecting your old blog to your Shopify store or disallowing robots. The app comes with video tutorials and presentations to show you how.
Price: Free, then $7 a month
Blog Feeder costs $7 per month or if you’d prefer to try before you buy, choose the 7 day free trial instead.
What are your favourite SEO Shopify apps?
Update for 2020 on the Top 6 SEO Tools and Shopify SEO Apps - 22nd October 2020.
Taking a quick look and updating to today's tool-set on the SEO front, and covering the basics of where to begin when it comes to your online SEO Profile.
SEO Tool: Ahrefs (https://ahrefs.com/)
This App provides the SEO manager a full suite of tools that has access to the world's largest index of backlinks, competitive research, and the ability to check the backlinks in real-time. This being one of the most powerful tools in the market, with ease of use and budget considerations.
Price: $7 for 7-day Trial, $82-$999/month subscription.
Shopify SEO App: Plug in SEO (https://apps.shopify.com/plug-in-seo)
As originally stated above, it is today's leading Shopify SEO App in the Cloud store. With updated features and ease of use, so that you can keep your focus on the important aspects of your SEO keeping your resources on a good return on investment. The tool keeps you up to date on how your store is doing, giving you regular and automatic checks to ensure that your store is in good order. With over 86K users, excellent reviews - it is definitely worth a try with their free trial.
Shopify SEO App: SEO Booster (https://apps.shopify.com/seo-booster)
Audit your store and get your SEO Score, an SEO Checklist, and your Pagerank from reliable sources. This App allows you to structure your data in a way that Search Engines find it friendly to crawl through with using JSON-LD. It allows you to optimize your keywords for search engines, driving traffic to your store by updating trending keywords that are selected for a geographical area. This tool is excellent for entry-level SEO work and gets you on your way to raise your SEO Profile.
Price: Free Trial, $18.99/mo
Shopify SEO App: SEO Doctor (https://apps.shopify.com/kudobuzz-seo)
This smart tool scans through your store to find SEO issues and can then automatically fix them. A report gives you an SEO health check with an issues list and recommendations and options for resolving them.
Price: From $10/mo
Shopify SEO App: Ultra SEO (https://apps.shopify.com/ultra-seo)
Still running strong from our original assessment above, and keeping strong with the same work and operation of presenting your store for search engines, keyword management for better ranking with analysis and recommendations for improvement. The tool also helps with your metatag optimization, requiring no coding knowledge to do this key SEO activity.
Shopify SEO App: Smart SEO (https://apps.shopify.com/smart-seo)
This clever tool will generate automatic Metatag to assist in your on-page SEO optimization, speeding up the process of completing that are of your SEO work, claiming up to 80% of time-saving effort in doing so. This tool covers Product Descriptions, Page Titles, Meta Descriptions for Products, Collections, White Papers, Articles, and Blogs.
While there are many tools that range from Social Media to Image SEO, the above 6 key tools cover the basics of what a store should cover when it comes to the basics. A further update on additional tools will be updated - if you have questions, or would like to consult with a member of our staff at TheGenieLab in regards to your store and SEO, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.