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/ 8 mins
Nov 10, 2023
Be strategic with your search engine optimization (SEO), creatives, and PR tactics to chart a course ahead of competitors.
Follow my DIY checklist whether your business is on Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or another e-commerce platform.
If you have at least $500 to $1,000 USD a month to spend, consider hiring an SEO expert to help you with some of these tasks.
Know who your ideal customers are, what they need, and how they search. Ideally, create customer personas and use them to guide every marketing decision that you make.
Understand your ideal customer’s age, location, interests, pain points, shopping habits, and motivations.
First, identify highly relevant keywords that could drive qualified traffic to your product and category pages (known as collections on Shopify).
Use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, or Google Keyword Planner to discover keywords that align with your products and customer search intent. Monitor what your direct competitors are doing. Also, check what keywords your store has been ranking for in Google Search Console (GSC) over the last 18 months.
Aim to categorize and prioritize 100 to 300 core keywords that align with your brand’s goals. As a rule of thumb, prioritize relevance, high monthly search volume, and low keyword difficulty, which you can use to measure competition. If your niche is highly competitive, explore long-tail keywords to target.
Sort keywords into informational, commercial, and transactional buckets for targeted content creation.
Begin tracking your keyword rankings early to establish a baseline.
Keyword research isn’t set-and-forget. Continually conduct new rounds of research to stay relevant and competitive.
Prioritize high-quality, informative content that addresses each customer persona’s queries.
Audit your current content to reveal gaps and opportunities.
Regularly check back to ensure your content aligns with your products and core value propositions. Maintain an authoritative and user-centric tone.
Strive for a mix of content that includes blog articles and how-to guides. Brainstorm other resources and tools that could be valuable to your customer personas based on your content strategy.
Incorporate keywords naturally. For example, align blogs with informational queries, category pages with commercial intent, and product pages with transactional keywords.
Write engaging introductions for category pages that tie products together for customers and search engines. (To encourage conversions, allow customers to add products directly to their carts from category or search result pages.)
Improve your landing pages by using these nine tips and over a dozen apps for Shopify and other e-commerce platforms.
Ensure that your contact and about pages showcase your business’ expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness with real examples and evidence.
Share your story, values, and the people behind your brand.
Always be transparent about pricing, taxes, and shipping costs to avoid cart abandonment and comply with consumer protection laws.
Craft compelling title elements and meta descriptions for product pages and categories. This improves visibility and click-through rates. Note that Google often algorithmically chooses a different meta description to display in its search results, but it’s still worth writing one to align with your keyword strategy.
Include transactional phrases for product and category pages based on your keyword research.
Use H1, H2, H3, and H4 elements to structure every page and highlight important information for readers. Make sure there’s only one H1 on each page, and that it tells the reader what the page is about. The H1 should include your main, target keyword for that page.
First, organize products into clear categories and subcategories. Mirror the language and logic your customers would use when browsing and searching.
Aim for short, user-friendly URLs that reflect this hierarchy for better user experience and navigation.
Use hyphens (not underscores) for spaces, and minimal numbers. Avoid unnecessary filler words and special characters.
Example category page: jackarcher.com/collections/leather-accessories
Example product page: jackarcher.com/products/leather-airpods-case
When modifying existing URLs or changing your site structure, use proper redirects (HTTP status code 301 or 308) to guide users and search engines from the old URLs to the new. Redirects preserve link equity and rankings of existing content.
Alt text is primarily intended to help with accessibility for visually impaired visitors, so write it for them. Describe product images in alt attributes naturally and include relevant keywords from your keyword research. Optimize filenames for SEO too.
If you’re on Shopify, use apps like Tiny:SEO to reduce image size while maintaining quality.
Include zoomable images from multiple angles.
Employ lazy loading for your high-quality product photographs to improve load times, which can improve your performance in organic search.
Avoid thin content and invest in unique and detailed product descriptions that engage and inform potential customers.
Create unique descriptions for each product to avoid duplicate content penalties from search engines.
Naturally include keywords.
Use natural-sounding anchor text (from your keyword research) to link internally between related product pages, categories, blog articles, and other resources on your site.
Dedicate a prominent part of your homepage and navigation menu to showcase featured or core products and current promotions or deals.
Ensure core categories and products are easily accessible in your navigation menu, and don’t forget about the cart and customer service, contact details, or other resources for getting help.
Optimize navigation menus with the user in mind first, and pepper in SEO keywords where relevant.
This will be the foundation for all your efforts for on-page SEO. Don’t overlook it and stay ahead of your competitors!
Use GSC and Bing Webmaster Tools to track your SEO performance and identify improvements.
Set up analytics tools like Google Analytics 4, Piwik PRO, Matomo, and Adobe Analytics to understand how visitors interact with your website, which traffic sources lead to conversions, and how to improve the customer journey.
Shift from the default free domain, such as jackarcher.myshopify.com if you’re on Shopify, to a custom domain like jackarcher.com to improve your brand’s credibility and click-through rates.
Implement SSL/HTTPS to secure your site for both users and search engines: it’s a ranking factor.
Purchase a modern theme that is mobile-friendly and comes with site speed toggles out of the box. Google and other search engines prioritize mobile-first indexing.
Ideally, look for themes that get regular updates and have feature-responsive design, finger-friendly buttons, and ready-made blocks for above-the-fold content.
Once your site is live, check its speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool in your browser and implement their recommendations as much as your e-commerce platform allows. Pay particular attention to the Core Web Vitals report.
If you’re on Shopify, make use of built-in SEO capabilities for auto-generated canonical tags, robots.txt, and sitemap.xml files, and follow Shopify’s directions for any customizations of your robots.txt file.
Audit your sitemap to make sure it’s up-to-date and lists every important page of your e-commerce store to assist Google's crawlers. Once you’re happy with it, submit it to GSC.
Regularly check for and fix broken links to maintain site integrity, good user experience, and a sign of curation and freshness to visitors (including search engines).
Add structured data markup to display your products with rich snippets in search results, like stock availability, prices, ratings, and reviews.
For example, if you’re on Shopify, you can use Webrex for Google Shopping markup.
Conduct routine audits of your website with specialized tools like Screaming Frog (free or $259 per year) or more expensive packages from Ahrefs and Semrush.
Check for broken links, incorrect redirects, or issues with page speed, title elements, meta descriptions, and canonical tags.
Keep up to date with search engine algorithm changes and adjust your tactics to maintain rankings.
Encourage customer reviews on external review platforms. You can also showcase them on your product pages as social proof to improve conversion rates.
Engage in ethical link-building practices like guest posting: write informative, non-promotional articles on other reputable websites. Even sponsored content can show your or your brand’s expertise.
Send free samples to bloggers, invest in PR, get featured in gift guides in preparation for the holiday season and BFCM, or use services like HARO. Analyze competitors' backlink profiles to identify more opportunities.
Politely reach out to websites that verbally mention your brand without linking if they can include a link (preferably to a relevant page other than your homepage).
If you have a fashion brand, here’s why partnering with micro-influencers going into 2024 can amplify your content, build backlinks, and reach a target audience.
Make sure that your social media presence supports your brand and SEO efforts. Centralize your mission statement across all platforms and mediums: don’t copy it verbatim, adapt your content to the customer persona on each platform, but make sure that your key value propositions are present.
If you also have a physical store, setting up a Google Business Profile is a powerful tool to improve local visibility.
List your business in directories to improve local SEO and drive traffic from those searching in your area.
Create pages specific to the locations you serve, incorporating local keywords and details (phone number, address, photos of the location, stories, and job boards).
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