This is a Guest Post by Krista LaRiviere, Cofounder & CEO of gShift Labs
You have a great product, a great website and a super great ecommerce platform, and although Google probably isn’t going to buy your products, it is the one thing standing between you selling a handful of widgets versus setting new sales records.
If your prospects can’t find you at the Google search box, then it is well worth your time to optimize your content, keywords and entire web presence for organic search. And you want to because of the 12 billion Google searches that were performed last month; 85% of those searchers are most likely to click on the organic side (left-hand side) of the search results.
Fortunately, the new Shopify search engine optimization (SEO) features provide a solid foundation for your search engine findability efforts. Check them out if you haven’t discovered them yet.
Getting to the top of Google’s search results requires ongoing commitment to optimizing your entire web presence.
Here are five SEO tips and tactics that will help you improve your search engine rankings, increase eyeballs to your online store and improve sales:
1. Find Out How You Rank
Before investing any time in SEO it’s best to understand how you currently rank for the keywords that you want to be found for. Accurate SEO rankings are challenging to obtain because Google personalizes search results for everyone.
If you go to the Google search box and search on your own product, it may appear as though you are #1 because you’ve likely searched on the keyword before and Google is personalizing the search for you. However, a prospect searching for your product for the first time might see your website or product page ranked #7.
SEO ranking results are also different by country. So if you’re located in France but trying to be found on Google.com, it can be tricky to find out your actual SEO ranking. Here are two ways to get more accurate search results:To get unpersonalized search results from Google, simply open a separate window “incognito” and the results won’t reflect your prior search habits.
i. To access Google.com if you’re in a different country, you’ll have to follow the step that’s listed above, then after you type in your search word/term, type &gl=us at the end of the URL.
ii. Some store owners that are serious about their SEO rank prefer to use an SEO ranking tool. By using a specialized tool, you’ll get daily reports with your store’s organic rank across search engines, you’ll also get a trending report of your web presence over time.
2. Close The Keyword Gap
The keyword gap is a concept I use to describe the fact that your prospects are most likely using a different keyword to find your products and services compared to the keyword you would use. For example, if you are selling “gizmos” your prospects may actually refer to them as “gadgets” in the Google search box.
Closing your keyword gap is about understanding how your prospects and customers are searching and adjusting your keyword strategy to match their intentions.
The only way to close your keyword gap is through keyword research. Studying your website analytics as well as talking to your customers are two great ways to get started.
3. Publish Continuous Content
A strong SEO strategy starts with a continuous commitment to content. Content is at the heart of SEO. Without content, you’ll never be found in Google. Keep in mind that Google loves fresh, relevant content.
Start with evaluating your website and deciding if you think the content throughout your site could be improved. How do you take what you learned in #2 above and work those keywords into your content?
A regular blogging strategy will also boost and help maintain high SEO rankings when the content is optimized for the keyword phrases you are attempting to rank for. Brainstorm blog topics in advance. Think about stories about your products, the clients that love them, how they use them, etc. Post your blog content on your blog site and also Tweet it, Facebook it, YouTube It and Google+ it.
4. Publish Videos on YouTube
YouTube is the second busiest search engine only after its parent, Google. Once you close your keyword gap and have great content, putting in the extra effort to publish video content on YouTube and optimizing it for search will really pay off.
Not only will you be found when a prospect searches directly from the YouTube search box, but YouTube results can also be embedded in the Google search results page. This increases the likelihood of you occupying multiple rank positions in Google for your product. Who doesn’t want that?
Ensure you have sufficient links back to your website from the video page and reference the keyword in your voice over. And remember, your videos don’t have to be fancy or expensive.
5. Social Media Affects Your SEO
According to both Google and Bing, social signals now account for 8% to 10% of their organic search algorithms. Your social media presence now matters to SEO! This means that Google is evaluating the volume of social signals that are being produced by your web presence.
A social signal can be a Twitter tweet or retweet, a Facebook Like or Share, or a Google +1. Here are a few tips to help increase your social signals:
Ensure you have the social sharing icons on every page of your website. Not just the home page, but every shopping cart page. It is about providing your shoppers with endless opportunities to click the Like or Share or Tweet button.
Incorporate Facebook into your site wherever possible. For example, add a Facebook Fan Box to your web pages as well as the Facebook Comments App to your blog.
If possible, add your customers to your Google + Circles and follow them on Twitter. They may reciprocate and retweet your product tweets or share your content in their circles.
SEO Your Business Facebook Page. There are even more tips and tricks available in this SEO Your Business Facebook Page How-To Guide.
All this “SEO stuff” may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Take it one step at a time, spend an hour per day figuring it out and it will pay off. SEO results do not happen overnight, but they do happen. It is a never-ending process but one worth investing in.
This is a guest post by Krista LaRiviere, the Cofounder & CEO gShift Labs. They have an awesome App in the Shopify App Store that measures and reports on your SEO rank. The App is called Your Google SEO Rankings, it’s only $5 / month, and has received very high satisfaction ratings. Check out gShift Labs website, follow them on Twitter, and also check out Krista on Twitter.