You’ve decided you’re ready to have your own ecommerce site on Shopify. You’ve picked out a theme, organized your products and images, decided on your fonts and branding, and are ready to get designing. You know it’s important to optimize your website for SEO, but where do you begin? How do you even go about knowing what keywords to optimize for, no less make sure you have them in the correct spots? No worries – follow this simple guide as you build your shop, and you can be confident at launch that you’re in good shape to connect with your target audience online!

The “Big Picture”

Before you begin, it’s good to wrap your head around why you are doing these extra steps to begin with. Essentially, what your overarching goal should be when designing your website and optimizing it for SEO is to simply give your target customer what they are searching for. Google wants to give searchers the most “useful, relevant and quality” links in their search results – so help them see you as one!

To do this, you need to use the correct keywords to pull visitors into your website, and then provide a unique value to them once they are there. When they land on your page they should find what they were looking for – whether that be information only (for now) or to purchase your product. In addition, you want to create trust between you and the potential customer. This means you need to make sure your homepage is well branded, clearly lays out what it is you do and what products you offer, and if possible shows any social proof you have available (a well engaged Instagram account, customer reviews, etc.). If you seem sketchy in any way, unprofessional, or don’t match what the searcher was looking for, they won’t stick around long and definitely won’t enter their credit card information!

Do that keyword research!

You want to use the right keywords to communicate clearly what you do and what you offer – in a way that search engines can easily crawl, understand and show to your potential customers. Conduct your keyword research using multiple sources, create a chart to keep track, and use the information you find to narrow down to the top keywords you’ll be targeting. Right here on Merch Momentum, we have a tool called Search Momentum that provides you with multiple platforms and possibilities for your niche keyword research.

Keyword research may seem a bit overwhelming at first. Essentially what it comes down to is finding what your target customer would type into the search bar if they wanted to find your product, and how you can compete with others in the market to be seen by those target customers. You want to try and be as specific as possible, as popular search terms are (obviously) harder to compete for! For example, using “organic cotton t-shirts” is better than simply using “t-shirts”.

Add the keywords where it counts

Within Shopify there are a few places where it’s most important to place those valuable keywords you’ve chosen. They include:

  1. Your page titles and meta descriptions Describe the main subject of the page using keywords in the page title – this is important, as it shows up as the first line of a search entry on Google! Also shown in Google’s search results, your meta descriptions should give a unique description to each page of your site. To edit your homepage title and meta descriptions, head to your Shopify admin and go to Online Store > Preferences. For other pages, go to the Pages section in Preferences and scroll down to “edit website SEO”.
  2. Your ALT tags Put those keywords to good use, and use the image alt text option to describe clearly what is in the picture. This helps search engines crawling your website to recognize what the image is, and Google favors it as alt text is an important accessibility feature for people with visual impairments. Shopify gives you the option to add alt text wherever you upload images.
  3. Body Copy Use keywords throughout each page’s copy and in your product titles and descriptions. Don’t “keyword stuff” and add the same words over and over, but try and make your copy as engaging and easily readable as possible using keywords strategically.

Write a blog!

Content marketing is HUGE for SEO. Write a blog post focused on each of the keywords or topics you are trying to rank for. Make the content useful for the target customer you are looking to reach. For example, if you were selling handmade wooden cutting boards, you could create a post titled “How To Properly Clean Wooden Cutting Boards“. You also want to create content that attracts the attention of other websites – this will create backlinks to your shop and in turn up your ranking in Google!

Bonus Step

Set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console for your website right at the start. We will go over how to utilize these in a future post, but start gathering the keyword information and website visitor behavior immediately so you can use them to your advantage as you grow!