Crash Course Shopify SEO for Newbies
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can sound complicated and arcane. It might also sound time-consuming and expensive. But here's the thing - it absolutely is not, and it is absolutely worth every second of your time that you spend on it. At the end of the day, you're trying to reach your customers, and they're trying to find you using a search engine. So how do you make that happen?
SEO Tip #1: Use Shopify
If you're already a Shopify user, congratulations! You're ahead of the game! We don't recommend Shopify because it has any particular secret sauce by which it extracts extra SEO juice from the Google machine. It's nothing so diabolical as that. Rather, Shopify makes SEO easy on you. Rather than thinking about your H1 tags and your Meta Titles and your Meta Descriptions and your Structured Data mark-up , Shopify makes all of this available in its WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") editor. It's all part of the stream of creating your webpage or product. You're going to be executing on best practices without even thinking about it (and if you really want to supercharge your structured date, we can't recommend our friend Eric Davis at LittleStream Software enough. His app is fantastic).
By simple virtue of using Shopify, you might be optimizing your SEO quite unintentionally (not that the search engines know the difference). That means you can do something the right way once, forget about it forever, and reap the benefits. Not bad, eh (remember, Shopify is a Canadian company)?
SEO Tip #2: Write for Your Audience
When copywriters prepare to write their glowing descriptions of their company's star products, they're usually full of ideas, from praise to product specs. But as soon as the founder walks into the room and reminds the writer that he or she needs to optimize for a search engine (or, if you're early stage - you, as the founder/writer/wearer-of-all-hats remind yourself), the ideas run dry. Technical jargon starts spilling onto the virtual page. Keywords are stuffed. The English language (in our example) is butchered mercilessly. It's like a new imperative overtakes the writer's brain: MUST. WRITE. FOR. THE. BOTS. It's exhausting. It won't sell anything. It's also bad SEO.
Stop me if you've heard this, but the people at Google are pretty freakin' smart. They're good at their job. But what is that job? That's actually a huge question, but in the context of this article, it's quite simple: to serve the most relevant content to their customers. That's it. When someone types in a search query, Google wants to provide them with the absolute best result. So how does Google accomplish this amazing feat, given the literally billions of pages on the internet? Short answer: they look for clear signals, and they need your help.
Once upon a time, those signals might have involved key words sprinkled around a webpage or hidden behind images. Black Hat and Grey Hat SEO were rampant. Keyword stuffing and bot-based link-building led to poor user experiences, as the people actually searching for things started seeing search results that didn't actually meet their needs. So Google made a change to its search algorithm. And then another change. And then about a jillion other changes. Google knows that its customers are people. Those customers think like people, and they enter search queries like people. That means that Google had to teach its algorithm to read the way a person reads in order to determine which search results were great and which should be relegated to page 3 of despair.
Here's the bottom line: Google is designed to read natural language, and it rewards you for writing naturally. So go ahead and write for your audience in plain English or Spanish or Farsi or whatever! Just make it compelling, relevant, and intelligible. You don't need a special copywriting recipe to succeed and excel in the search results. You simply need to be thorough, intelligible, and relevant. Just like you would if you were writing for a customer!
Step #3: ProfitThere are a million additional steps you can take take to make marginal improvements to your SEO, from consistently writing blog posts to building quality links to your site, but the most important signals you can send to the search engines happen right on the pages that do the most work. Use Shopify, fill out every available field in the editor, and write original, compelling, useful copy for your audience. That's the secret sauce. It's deceptively simple, but unlike that "one weird trick" you're always hearing about, this one actually works.