If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you read part 1 of The Definitive Guide to Ecommerce SEO prior to reading this post.
III. On-page optimization
Now that you’ve setup your foundation, it’s time to optimize your efforts so you can squeeze as much ROI out of your SEO investments as possible.
You can do this by making sure the following parts are optimized:
- Keywords that’ll drive visits from your potential customers.
- The number of visitors clicking through to your site from SERP.
Optimizing for keywords
The following are the main signals that influence Google’s decision on what keywords your site will be ranked for.
URL extension: URL extension is the last part of the URL following “/” after the domain name.
When optimizing for target keywords in your URL extension, you can be obvious when optimizing for keyword signals, but try to keep the keywords as short as possible.
Target commercial keyword:
“red nike running shoes”
Note: The best time to update an url extension is during the creation of a new page. It gets more difficult to update once its indexed and collects social shares & inbound links.
Make sure to remove words such as “how to” and “a”, so the URL isn’t unnecessarily long. In addition Google devalues long URLs and visitors are more likely to remember shorter URLs, which improves navigation.
Page title and subtitles (H1-H6 tags): Page title is often in the form of H1 tag and different levels of sub titles are in the form of H2-H6 tags.
Pages that aren’t content heavy such as product and category pages don’t need more than H1 and some H2 tags. If the page is longer and has more content (such as blog posts), then more headers should be used to help visitors digest content.
Example (from the image above)
Product H1 tag:
“how to add twitter feed to your shopify store”
Product H2 tag:
“There are two main parts to add a Twitter feed to your shopify store”
Product H3 tag:
“part 1: getting the embed code from twitter”
“add twitter feed”
“twitter embed code”
“add twitter to shopify”
Note: When writing H tags, make sure you balance keywords and readability. The priority is always readability.
Title tag: Title tag is used on search engines and social media channels to display an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. In the backend, it’s in the form of the following HTML code.
<title>Ergonomic Men’s Red Nike Running Shoes | Awesome Shoes</title>
Ergonomic Men’s Red Nike Running Shoes | Awesome Shoes
Target keywords:“red nike running shoes” “men’s running shoes” “Nike running shoes” “ergonomic running shoes” “ergonomic men’s running shoes”
Note: When optimizing title tags, keep them short, concise, and readable..
Page content: When Google crawls your content, it’s intuitive enough to start ranking your site for different combinations of individual words based on topical and brand context. Google puts more emphasis on content closer to the top of the page.
The rule of thumb is to mention a few keywords in the first 100 words of page content. Throughout rest of the word, make sure you have topical relevance, and you should be good.
Make sure you put priority on readability and provide valuable information. Do not force keywords into places they don’t belong, doing so can trigger over optimization penalty.
Anchor text: When you are linking different pages throughout your site or from another site to your site, you can use anchor text to influence what keywords Google will rank your page.
“So this means that I should link different pages with each other and with all the keywords I want to rank for?”
No, it doesn’t. You must keep a balance between different types of keywords. To do this you can use a technique called keyword rotation to rotate between the following types of keywords.
Keyword: “red nike running shoes”
Partial keyword: “shoes that are durable and comfortable”
Brand keyword: “running shoes from AwesomeShoes”
Brand name: “AwesomeShoes”
Naked URL: “www.awesomeshoes.com/red-nike-running-shoes”
Call to action: “click here”
Image ALT tags: Search engines can’t read images, so alt tags are created to describe the images.
When you’re optimizing alt tags, you need to literally describe what the image is and reverse engineer the thought process of a searcher. Ask yourself:
“What would I type into Google image search to find this picture?”
For detailed implementation instructions for Shopify, please read our keyword optimization tutorial.
Optimizing for CTR (Click Through Rate)
Meta Description: The purpose of a meta description isn’t to influence keyword targeting. However, it’s great to get people to click through to your site. Think of meta description as equivalent to ad copy in Google Adwords.
Rich Snippets: Have you ever seen little review graphics next to the results in SERP?
It helps people click through to your site through the results. You can increase CTR as much as 150%.
You can set up rich snippets following the instructions here.
IV. Getting votes from other sites (inbound links and social signals)
Getting other sites to link to you is one of the most important aspects of SEO. The rumors claiming that linking building is dead are false. According to Moz, inbound links and “pagerank” are still the highest ranking factors on Google.
Before we get into the strategies, you need to adapt the mentality of value exchange.
Value comes in many forms:
- Money (the most obvious one.)
Link Building Strategies:
Broken link building: Broken link building is a strategy of finding pages that are linking to broken links that previously had content similar to your site’s. You can essentially reach out to the webmaster and tell them to link to you instead.
Brand mention link opportunities: Brand mention link building consists of finding articles that have already mentioned your brand, but didn’t link to your site, and reaching out to ask for a link. If a site has already mentioned your brand, then it’s very likely that they’ll link to your site.
This strategy is great for stores that already have a bit of buzz.
You can find these opportunities by using the search query: “brand” -site:brand.com
Guest blogging: Guest blogging is a strategy utilized to reach out to blogs and publications that fit your target audience and requesting they write an article. In return, you’ll have people providing you with good content.
Guest blogging has been under scrutiny in the past few months, however, it’s still a traffic source and link building strategy if you do it right.
Getting press: Another great way to get good inbound links is to get press. Does it mean you have to spend lots of a money for a PR firm? No it doesn’t.
There are actually ways you can get press spending little to no money. Often times doing press yourself works better and saves you more money than hiring a PR firm.
A quick note about broken link building: while it is an effective means for generating inbound links, it should be low on the prioritization checklist.
When you’re doing your link building, make sure you follow these guidelines:
- Use the anchor text rotation method mentioned under internal linking section, so you don’t over use the same anchor text.
- Always link to the most relevant page. (We can use internal linking techniques to send the authority to target pages.)
- Getting links from spammy sites.
Outreach is a huge part of linkbuilding.
V. Content Creation and Social Media
Now that we’ve covered linkbuilding, it’s time to cover the role of content and social media in your search rankings.
How does content play a role in your search engine rankings?
Think of content as a form on online currency. The better your content is, the more valuable your site is to visitors, therefore the more valuable your site is to Google.
Google determines the quality of your content by the following factors:
- The word count in your content.
- Digestibility of your content, which is determined by how far down the page the reader scrolls and how long the user stays on your page.
- Quality and quantity of sites linking to your content (backlinks)
- Number of people sharing your content on social media channels. The assumption is that people share valuable content, so if your content isn’t valuable, then no one would care to share it.
Creating great content helps your audience engage on social media, which in turn boosts your search engine value. Think of great content as the glue between social media and search engine traffic.
What counts as good content?
Great content provides your audience with value on different levels:
- Become informed
- Get professional advice
- Learn new technical skills
- Find new tools, etc.
You can learn more about how content goes viral here.
How to build a social following from scratch?
Building a following from scratch can be difficult. User the following tactics to actively boost your following.
- You can reach out to interview other influencers in your niche.
- Guest blog on other sites.
- Allocate some budget to Facebook Ads.
- Reach out to competitor’s following who has been ignored.
- Do tweet chats with niche influencers.
Time to get started!
In the end of the day, SEO is long term strategy. If implemented correctly, it’s definitely worth the investment to drive more sales.
Keep in mind that as long as you are providing real value and implement everything listed in the both parts of the SEO guide, then your organic traffic will grow, so will your sales.
Do you have any thoughts or questions?
Shoot us a comment below or tweet at us.