Increase Organic Traffic to a Shopify Website

Getting more organic traffic to your Shopify e-commerce website is crucial for growing your online business. Organic traffic refers to visits from unpaid search engine results, as opposed to paid traffic from ads. While paid search can deliver targeted visitors quickly, organic search provides volume and brand visibility over time. The challenge is optimizing your Shopify store to attract relevant organic visitors who will convert into paying customers. This comprehensive guide will provide actionable tips to boost your Shopify store’s SEO and increase organic traffic.

Audit Your Website’s Technical SEO

The first step is conducting an in-depth technical SEO audit of your existing Shopify website. Technical factors like site speed, mobile optimization, and proper markup impact how search engines crawl and index your pages. Slow load times or errors can cause your site to rank poorly or even fail to get indexed. Use online tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Website Speed Test, and Google Mobile-Friendly Test to analyze site performance and identify any technical issues to address.

Key areas to evaluate include:

  • Site Speed: Pages should load in under 3 seconds. Leverage caching, image optimization, and CDNs to improve performance.
  • Mobile Optimization: The site needs to be responsive on all devices with proper sizing and touch elements. Enable mobile preview mode in Shopify.
  • Structured Data Markup: Use markup so search engines can interpret content. Product schema is especially valuable for e-commerce sites.
  • Indexability: Check for crawl errors in Google Search Console related to site functionality or blocked resources. Enable file types like CSS, JS, and image files.
  • Security: An SSL certificate is mandatory for SEO and conversions. Use only shared/dedicated IP hosts. Maintain security patches and software updates.

Creating XML Sitemaps

Sitemaps enable search engines to efficiently crawl all your website pages. XML sitemaps provide valuable guidance to focus crawler resources on your important content. Dynamic sites like Shopify can generate XML sitemaps programmatically leveraging the Shopify Sitemap Generator app. Make sure to include all product pages along with category, collection, and blog content. Submit your sitemap in Google Search Console for indexing. Supplement with image sitemaps and video sitemaps as needed. Update sitemaps frequently as new content gets added to your store.

Optimizing Onsite Content

The content on your Shopify pages impacts how search engines understand your e-commerce site and determine relevancy for queries. Optimize your product descriptions, category pages, blog posts, and other website copy to target relevant search terms and drive organic traffic.

  • Conduct keyword research using Google Keyword Planner and tools like SEMrush to identify high-volume, low-competition search terms your target customers are using related to your offerings.
  • Update your page titles and headings to include keywords where appropriate. Primary keywords can be placed close to the start of title tags for greater weighting.
  • Incorporate keyword phrases naturally into your page copy, emphasizing their relevance. Provide useful, original long-form content that adds value for searchers.
  • Include structured data like ratings, reviews, price, and availability alongside products to improve presentation in SERPs.
  • Add relevant internal links across your site pointing visitors to related content and products. Link to supporting sources to establish authority.

Managing URL Structures

The URLs for all your website pages impact SEO ranking potential. Best practices include:

  • Use clear, descriptive URLs with keywords that indicate the content focus.
  • Avoid overly long, complex URL parameter strings that provide no context.
  • Implement URL slugs for pages and avoid default numbers. For example, “brown-leather-handbag” instead of /products/123456789
  • Maintain a consistent URL structure and don’t break existing links. Create 301 redirects as needed when URLs change.
  • Enable UTF-8 encoding to allow international characters in URLs where appropriate.

Shopify makes it easy to customize and optimize your product page URLs for enhanced organic search visibility.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

Backlinks from external websites help demonstrate your site’s authority on niche topics to search engines. Focus on earning backlinks from reputable industry websites naturally over time.

  • Create and distribute genuinely useful, engaging content that sites in your space will want to reference and link to.
  • Contact bloggers and media sites to see if they would be interested in featuring your content and products. Provide them with story ideas, exclusives, interviews, guest articles, and free product samples to incentivize coverage.
  • Participate actively on social media sharing your content and engaging with your audience. Social shares and embeds can count as backlinks.
  • Publish your best content on reputable industry media platforms. Leverage your expertise through thought leadership articles and establish yourself as an authoritative source.
  • Develop partnerships with complementary brands. Coordinate cross-promotions and co-marketing campaigns that will involve backlinks between your websites.

Buying backlinks or using manipulative link schemes can seriously damage your site’s ranking and get penalized by search engines. Focus on earning links slowly over time by creating content that sites link to because it benefits their audience. Monitor backlinks in Google Search Console to identify bad links from low-quality sites to disavow.

Optimizing Site Architecture

The architecture and navigation of your Shopify site have an impact on SEO. Make it easy for visitors and search engines to crawl and discover your important pages.

  • Maintain a simple information architecture with a clear hierarchy that minimizes steps to reach key product categories and content.
  • Ensure site navigation provides easy access to all important pages, including those deeper in the architecture. Make footers link to secondary pages to facilitate discovery.
  • Avoid orphan pages that aren’t connected via site navigation menus. Link to them from related content sections.
  • Categorize products effectively based on how users browse and search. Provide clear category descriptions and landing pages.
  • Cross-link related product pages to extend page authority across your catalog. Research user search behavior for keyword opportunities to connect content.
  • Set up site search powered by Shopify search or third-party search tools, providing another way to surface relevant pages. Optimize search for keywords.

The goal is to make it effortless for both visitors and crawlers to explore your Shopify site’s offerings. Evaluate user behavior data and search analytics to identify site architecture issues impacting performance.

Driving Rankings with SEO Apps

Take advantage of the many Shopify apps available to augment your organic search visibility and traffic. Useful categories include:

  • SEO Tools – Provide detailed audits along with specific recommendations to optimize pages for targeted keywords. Examples include SEO Doctor and Shopify SEO.
  • Content Marketing – Help create, optimize, and distribute blog posts. Options like Privy and Shogun assist with content strategy.
  • Backlinks – Monitor backlink profiles and outreach opportunities. LinkMiner gives insights to improve campaigns.
  • Site Search – Enhance default search with intelligent autosuggest, spelling correction, and result ranking. Bridg suggests products as visitors type queries.
  • Page Speed – Speed optimization apps like StackPath CDN and PageFly compress images and cache static content to accelerate load times.
  • Analytics – Understand visitor behavior and fine-tune SEO initiatives using data. Apps like Google Analytics and Lucky Orange integrate with Shopify.

Shopify experts recommend exploring the full marketplace for tools that amplify your high-impact SEO activities at each stage.

Driving More Visits from SEO Takes Patience

Implementing these SEO best practices requires diligence and patience to steadily build organic search visibility over the long term. But the payoff is rewarding. Higher rankings deliver targeted traffic 24/7 from searchers actively looking for your products or services. Maintain your SEO fundamentals of site performance, optimized content, smart link building, and compelling user experience. Monitor analytics and search metrics to refine initiatives and achieve sustained growth. With the right SEO approach tailored to your Shopify store, you can tap into this powerful channel to boost brand awareness and sales from free organic search traffic.

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