So, the setup is complete for your Shopify store. You have a functional website featuring products that represent some sort of value or solution for your customers. Except you have one major problem… organic customers or lack thereof, visiting your site.
Below I’ll be discussing 6 ways you can easily get more organic traffic to your Shopify store. What’s better, all the ways I’ll be discussing are free or relatively inexpensive. They will of course take time to implement, but positively they’re something Shopify store’s of any size need to do, so the earlier you master the fundamentals the better.
Before we get into things, let’s go over a few essentials you need to have covered to derive the most value from this article. The following also allows you minimize the amount of other variables contributing to customers not visiting your website:
- Subscribe to a paid Shopify plan: Shopify won’t let you index your store in search engines on a trial
- Connect your custom/third-party domain: Customers are more likely to click on or trust a store that says antiquemugs.com, opposed to antiquemugs.myshopify.com. Learn how to do this here
- Basic security: Ensure your SSL encryption is enabled. Meaning your store’s URL should be prefixed by “https://…” rather than “http://…. Mostly, customers trust stores when they see that green or grey padlock next to your URL.
- Mobile responsive: Ensure the Shopify theme you’ve chosen is mobile responsive, test using your mobile. If it’s not, change it now!
- Install Google Analytics and connect your Shopify store to it: Free way to analyze organic traffic
- Install Google Search Console: This will help you discover what keywords to rank for
- Submit a sitemap to Google Search Console: Ensures Google crawls and indexes your most important pages
Now, let’s get more organic traffic.
1. Improve Your Site Structure
An easy to understand site structure makes it easy for customers to navigate, as well as make it easier for Google to understand your site.
A good site structure is all about hierarchy. And to achieve hierarchy you need to categorize your products top-down. Meaning you have your main category pages are followed by subcategories, which then lead to a product.
So, navigation from your homepage would look like this: homepage>main category>sub category>product. This only shows one strand of navigation, but as you can imagine, most stores will have a few main and sub categories to choose from.
If your Shopify store sold footwear your site hierarchy might look something like this:
Homepage>Footwear>Boots>Desert Naturals (or other cliche boot name)
2. Optimize Meta Descriptions, Title Tags and URLs
Typical of Shopify, it’s really easy to make changes to all meta descriptions, title tags and URLs of your category and product pages.
To edit category and product pages content, navigate the following from Shopify admin: “Products”>click on an existing product>”Search engine listing preview”>”Edit website SEO”>edit your metadata here.
Optimization tips for meta content:
- Keep things unique, don’t copy competitors! Write original meta description and title tags for each product page. Copying content for similar product pages will harm your SEO
- Include keywords when appropriate, but do not cram them in when not
- Do not exceed character limits: Your SEO will be harmed for each meta description that is too short or too long as well as each tag or description that is completely missing
- Keep things brief, accurate and descriptive
3. Write Original and Meaningful Product Descriptions
Do you want your store to be memorable, or just another one. Whether a user has gone straight to your product page or has navigated from your homepage, your product page is one of the final influences in them making a purchase, user trust is won and lost here.
Product descriptions are an opportunity for your users to better understand your product, this can boost your SEO indirectly.
A lot of stores will simply copy and paste descriptions from the manufacturers site. Why? Because coming up with even small sentences of original content is challenging and if you have a lot of products, that’s a lot of time.
Product descriptions should alleviate user worries. Any product where measurements are important is a good example, let’s use sneakers. Most sneaker stores will include all the different international sizes, “10 US, 9.5UK, 44EU, etc….” Each sneaker brand has slightly different measurements for different shoes, e.g one person can fit a 10.5US in Nike and a 10 in Adidas. Therefore, the store that’s more likely to make the sale is the one that also has noted specific measurements for the sneakers in their description, e.g “Shoe Length: 25.9cm, 10.2in.”
It’s the same for product pictures, the store that goes the extra mile is more likely to make the sale. Users trust the store that has custom pictures different from the manufacturers (what most of your competitors will have). Many stores will even feature product videos on product pages to gain user trust.
4. Your Images Need Alt Text
Each image is an opportunity to generate more search traffic. And to maximize opportunity you need to add alt text to all your images.
What is alt text? Alt text describes an image as briefly and accurately as possible. Alt text is also what is displayed when a picture fails to load, even if the picture doesn’t load, alt text ensures the user can still understand what would’ve been displayed.
Accuracy is key with alt text. Take the picture below of this cake for example.
A bad alt description would simply be “cake”
A good alt description would be “green birthday cake with an assortment of sweets on top”
To add alt text to your images on Shopify: Upload an image> click “…” in the top right corner>click “edit alt text”>add your accurate text.
5. Avoid Duplicate Content
Hopefully you would’ve already set up your custom Shopify domain before this article. Naturally, Shopify creates two domains of your site, both of which will be indexed by Google.
To reference the beginning of this article, an example of two Shopify store domains would be: antiquemugs.myshopify.com and antiquemugs.com.
Both of these domains will be indexed by Google and if you implement your custom domain correctly, this should cause no issue. If you made a mistake, you will be pinged harshly for duplicate content, as both are likely exactly the same.
To avoid duplicate content you need to ensure all traffic from your “myshopify” domain is being redirected to your now primary, custom domain.
To do this go to your Shopify admin>Online Store>Domains. You should see a message saying “Traffic from all your domains redirects to this primary domain.”
If not, you will see a message saying “Traffic from your domains is not being redirected to this primary domain.” If you see this, click “enable redirection” and your duplicate content crisis is averted.
6. Site Loading Speed
The functionality of your store plays another large role in your SEO, site speed is a ranking factor in itself. In modern business your site needs to load instantly, or at least needs to load in under three seconds! A slow site speed will undermine all of the other factors on this list, you could have the best on-site content, meta content, alt text, site hierarchy in the world, but if your site doesn’t load fast, that user is going to bounce.
What can you do to increase site speed? Select a Shopify theme that loads fast, compress all the images you upload to Shopify and only install the apps, plugins or addons you need.
Truthfully, because you are using Shopify’s server you are limited into how much you can improve your site speed yourself.
To achieve the best site speed and distance themselves from their competitors Shopify entrepreneurs will hire Shopify development services. Shopify experts will help you with site functionality, layout, web design, payment gateways, inventory and navigation. Because Shopify makes it so easy for people to set up stores, often your startup is one of 100 or so others that look and function the same. Therefore, hiring Shopify developers is another way to customize your Shopify store and create a more memorable user experience.
Of course, you need to hire developers that are affordable, quality and most importantly are trustworthy. CodeClouds is one option that has become a reputable choice for hiring expert Shopify development services. They are located in four different locations: the US, India, Australia and New Zealand. Because they operate in many time zones the Shopify entrepreneurs they work with are able to communicate with them at any time, which helps a lot when ensuring customization requirements are executed accurately and quickly. They also have developer packages, which allows Shopify stores of all sizes to gain an entire development team for an affordable price, rather than hiring one single developer.
Everything on this list is something all Shopify stores should be doing. Sweating the small stuff is what sets one store apart from the other. Of course, if you’re a solo business owner, you might not have the time to do this all by yourself, you’d rather be focused on your actual business! In that case, hiring Shopify experts to optimize your store can actually be more time and cost-efficient than implementing everything yourself.