On-page SEO so often defines the success of a website or an online store. Search engine optimization ensures that your website isn’t just visible to the people who know it exists but to anybody actively searching for products that you sell.
A combination of an on and off-page SEO helps ensure that a website is accessible and discoverable to people who might realistically convert into paying customers, but in this blog, we’ll focus on on-page SEO factors and things you can do to make your online store a great success.
Building a website that uniquely suits your brand and gives potential customers a reason to stick around, means you must fine-tune your SEO ensures you reach your maximum potential. In this piece, we’ll explore how to optimize your SEO and talk a little about how it works and why it’s so important.
Search engine optimization is a method of fine-tuning a website to ensure that search engines understand what your site is all about, the products you offer, and how reliable and trustworthy you are as a brand. The more traffic you receive, the better reviews you receive and the greater popularity you achieve, the higher up in the search rankings you appear.
On-page SEO, particularly when it comes to a Shopify store, is all about structuring your site in a way that is convenient and usable for customers. Ensure you have clear signs and labels for the products you sell, separate products by sections and categories, and clearly define every product you sell.
Categorizing your products in such a way does two things. First, it makes it easy for customers to look for everything they want, giving them a reason to stick around for longer and increasing the likelihood that they will ultimately purchase from you.
Secondly, good on-page SEO gives search engines a reason to rank you higher. This effect snowballs, and as more people buy your products and engage with your site, search engines will recognize this and encourage more people to head over to your site when they search for relevant keywords.
If you have a great product, you need great on-page SEO. A combination of the two is the key to success, helping Google and Bing more easily discover your site and showcase your products to potentially thousands more new people every day. Good on-page SEO can literally determine the success of your business, brand, and products. If you already made a strategy on your store check it using our Shopify SEO checklist!
Now, let’s look at on-page best practices and the most important factors in on-page SEO. We’ll explore the seven most important things to remember when it comes to optimizing your Shopify site to appear higher in the Google search engine rankings.
First off, there’s your page title. You might think the content on your page matters more because visitors aren’t immediately drawn to HTML title…but search engines are. The title really only appears in the tab on your web browser, but for search engines, it defines your entire page.
The title is used not only as a link to display the page in a search engine result, but it also uses it to decide where your page ranks in the search results. So, when writing your page title, be as accurate and concise as you possibly can.
Oh, and don’t forget these titles appear whenever you share a post on social media. So make sure they use proper grammar and look professional!
Some general rules or a good page title include:
Your meta description is a short description of your website, business, or page. It is used by search engines to describe a link and is featured underneath the page title. If the page title hasn’t already convinced someone to click, your meta description picks up the slack. It should describe the page and use keywords where possible, and it should be less than 160 characters.
Keeping your description succinct and to-the-point, and give people a reason to want to click. If it’s compelling and describes the page accurately, you’re on the right track.
The image alt tag is something that visitors won’t be able to see unless they hover their cursor over an image. This is effectively the name of images that are used on your website. It identifies the image in the background software, it may be used by accessibility features to describe what it is to a user, and it will also be used by search engine algorithms.
If you’re posting a picture of a yellow show, then label it as a yellow shoe. Better yet, use the name of the brand of shoe, the model number, and so on. Be sure to keep it unique, make sure it describes the image and, as always, include keywords when possible. Do not, however, write a full sentence – try and keep it as succinct as you can!
The URL is the link used to access the page in question. It is at the very top of your page and is more visible on desktop browsers than most mobile browsers. However, the words you use in your URL are important even if a user can’t see them. If your page is about yellow shows for women, then your URL should depict that.
Let’s look at some examples.
If your URL is www.yourwebsiteexamplehere.com/oiartwhkagfhjkiuu.html, it means nothing to a user. It might work and function as a link, but it looks like a random code.
However, if your URL is www.yourwebsiteexamplehere.com/yellow-shoes-for-women, then that makes much more sense.
The words you use after the .com are typically known as the “slug,” and it’s in the slug that you should define your page in the same way you did the page title. Include keywords where possible, keep it short and sweet, and make sure it’s descriptive. There are some differences between the home page and product page, so explore how to optimize the homepage on Shopify.
The content on your page is the thing people tend to interact with the most, besides images and videos. It is what people read to understand more about who you are and what you offer. Ensure that the content is easy to read, formatted correctly, and projects an air of professionalism.
It should sell you, your brand, your vision, and your product – but it should also be SEO friendly. This is where SEO specialists come in handy because understanding how search engines read your content is really important. You’ll need to use a combination of popular keywords, some less popular keywords, and do so in a way that doesn’t constitute “keyword stuffing.”
In its most recent updates to the search ranking algorithms, Google incorporated page speeds. That means a web page that takes longer to load will be less likely to appear higher up in the search rankings. It’s a matter of ensuring that people have access to websites that do what the customer needs while functioning as they would expect.
Make sure your page speed is not lagging, or your rankings could be hurt by Google’s search ranking algorithms.
Google favors websites that are mobile-friendly. That means your website should either have a specific mobile version, or it should be responsive. A responsive website varies depending on the size of the window, meaning buttons move around on the desktop page as you resize the window. This is replicated on mobile devices, allowing you to see all the buttons and functions on the website as normal, just on a smaller screen.
Because so much website is mobile now, it’s important to Google for websites to be friendly for mobile visitors. This is another reason why expert Shopify web developers are so popular – we can create websites that function perfectly on devices of all sizes while ensuring you enjoy positive Google search engine rankings.
On your Shopify store, the title, description, and meta tags are some of the most important parts of your SEO. These factors help determine your Search Engine Results Page (SERP)rankings.
Your title describes the page to search engines and gives users an idea of what to expect on that page. The title of the page can also be used in menu bars. Without a clear title, search engines and customers alike will not know how to properly browse your site.
If you can change your titles by looking for the search engine listing preview section, and pressing the “Edit website SEO” button. Then, enter an accurate and descriptive title in under 70 characters.
The description for your page is a snippet that describes what is on the page. This snippet is seen on search engine results, giving readers a chance to see what’s on the page and choose to click your link based on that. It is also what determines your SEO ranking, so you must get it right.
You can change the description in the same section as the title, outlined above. Remember to keep it under 320 characters.
Your titles and descriptions should be succinct, clear, descriptive, properly formatted, and grammatically correct. You should also use keywords where possible, as this will assist with your SEO rankings.
Keep your descriptions and titles on brand and on message, help readers envision what you have to offer, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you are optimizing product pages on Shopify – check our relevant article.
The images you use on your website are important for two reasons. First of all, these images show your customer precisely what your product is and what it looks like. Your images should be professional, clear, and showcase your product as best as you can. A good trick is to take photographs of your product in situations your customers might use it – help them visualize life with your product!
Image optimization is important for SEO, too. Format it right, and you’ll enjoy a boost in search engine rankings.
Search engines use image alt tags to help determine the focus and content on your website. Use alt tags that accurately describe your image.
Image titles are used to describe the image to your website, to the search engines, and in some cases to your viewers. The title appears only when hovering your cursor over an image, but it still appears nonetheless. Make sure it’s accurate!
The faster your website loads, the better SEO ranking you’ll get. Optimize your images for size, make your site load faster, and you’ll have a better chance of getting higher rankings.
All these factors are important to consider on Shopify, but you should be aware that providing image alt tags isn’t necessary as it is done automatically on Shopify.
Your URL, which is the address people use to access your site, plays a big role in SEO. With an SEO friendly URL, and when you consider URL structure, you make it easier for search engines to find yourself and direct the right people to your website. It is an important thing to check when you develop the Shopify store.
An SEO-friendly URL uses descriptive words within it and isn’t full of meaningless code. The keywords should be the same as the keywords used on your page, strengthening your page’s link to the keywords and themes that potential customers might be searching for on Google.
The structure of your URL is important. We’ve already discussed the importance of using keywords and avoiding lengthy code, but it’s also important to think about URL length. Separate keywords by hyphens where possible, and don’t use too many words.
Some SEO specialists argue that keywords further to the left on your URL will hold more weight in search engines, but this isn’t true.
While keywords are important, you also must avoid keyword stuffing. Only use keywords that genuinely do relate to your page. That way, Google knows you’re not trying to game the system. It also isn’t very much use directing people to your page if they’re searching for a keyword that doesn’t immediately relate to your site anyway.
Your content needs to be reader-friendly…and SEO friendly! Let’s take a look at three important considerations when writing content that will appear on your pages.
Headings and subheadings help readers immediately find a section of text that focuses on topics they’re interested in. If a user wants to find the specifications of a computer you’re selling, they’ll look for the specifications section. If they want to understand your brand history, they’ll look for that section.
Heading and subheadings are separated by H1, H2, H3, and H3 tags. H1 tags are the primary titles on the page, whereas H2 headings are used throughout the page to split up the text by category. Within those H2 headings are H3 subheadings, which further break down the text into readable chunks.
Search engines need these subheadings to help them make sense of the full web page, understanding what information you display. Use these headings and you’ll help Google determine the best ranking for your page, and you’ll make it finding information easier for your potential customers too.
Have you ever logged on to a website, seen a giant wall of text, and left? Believe me, so has everyone else! Websites that present potential customers with large blocks of text, packed full of keywords and rambling on about something not entirely relevant to the page would receive higher search engine rankings once upon a time…but not anymore.
Google’s search engine ranking system has become more complex over the years, and now punishes websites that pack their pages full of keywords in big walls of text.
Use the subheading method outlined above, separating your text and keeping it easy for customers to read. Use bullet points to list key points, include images that are properly labeled, and make it an enjoyable experience for readers. You’ll be rewarded with happy readers and better SEO rankings.
Internal links to other pages on your website are great for SEO. Keywords in your text can be used to backlink to other pages, which improves your SEO and also gives readers a reason to navigate to other areas of your website. This is a super easy addition to your website, and you should do it as often as you can.
Choose good keywords in your text which become the anchor text. If you mention yellow shows in your text and you happen to sell yellow shoes…link to that page! If you mention an additional service you offer, link to a page explaining how that service works. Perhaps you mention your fantastic pricing structure…in this case, be sure to link to a page that displays your pricing structure.
Internal links are important for easy navigation, and you shouldn’t just rely on the top menu navigational links.
We’ve mentioned them briefly already, but let’s take a slightly deeper dive on page speed and mobile optimization – two search engine rank factors often forgotten about.
Site performance and page speed vary depending on the kind of code that powers your website, your server and hosting provider, the size of images and data on your pages, and much more. Expert Shopify web developers will use tools like Google Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights to determine a website’s current performance, its failings, and where it can be improved.
The faster your website loads, the better experience your customers will have and the more likely Google will be to rank your website better. A site with good performance will not only load quickly after clicking a Google link, but subsequent internal pages will load quickly too. Moving between pages should be seamless and easy, without compromising the media and text displayed on the site.
Ensuring reliable performance can be difficult when you’re managing a site on your own. You may be able to navigate around some basic SEO structures, but understanding what slows down a website can be complicated. That’s where developers come in.
Mobile optimization can be done in different ways, and the option you choose depends on what you want. Google prefers websites that are designed to function on tablets and phones, as roughly half of all web traffic globally now comes from mobile devices.
For effective mobile optimization, you must focus on the following things:
Give your mobile users as seamless an experience as your desktop users, and you won’t discourage anyone from visiting your site or even buying your product.
At Catapult Revenue, we handle everything from developing your site to optimizing it for global and local users. We don’t just build a website and hand it over – we oversee the ongoing development of your site, fine-tuning your eCommerce presence and giving your customers a world-class online experience.
From SEO optimization and marketing strategy to building and maintaining a high-performance website that always functions above expectations, we know what it takes and would love to talk with you.
Get in touch today and we’ll show you what we can achieve together!
Yuriy oversees Catapult Revenue’s marketing team, ensuring all SEO, PPC, analytics and development work is executed with precision.
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