An Introduction to SEO
Online marketing can be an alphabet soup of acronyms, so let's keep this simple. SEO simply means "Search Engine Optimization." The point of SEO is to get search tools like Google, Yahoo and Bing to understand what your site is about, and then deliver your pages in their Search Results whenever someone types (or speaks) a specific phrase that matches your content and/or location. Although the rules of engagement are always changing, it's important that you understand the fundamentals when setting up your business or e-commerce website.
Both Wix and Shopify have easy tools for you to incorporate optimization into your pages; however, more often than not, my consulting clients are overlooking this step when creating or updating pages, products, or blogs.
What's the Plan?
You can't bake a cake without all the ingredients, right? Before you can make any improvements for SEO, it's important that you do some initial research, define your niche, and create a keyword plan.
Let's use an example. If you're the owner of a Med Spa, you most likely offer a series of specific services, sell beauty products, and cater to clients within a 30-mile radius. Therefore, you may want to include keywords such as "skincare," "Botox," and "New York City." Make a list of your top-10 keywords, and then create a series of phrases that a customer might type or say in relation to these words. Use a tool like Google trends to find the best performing phrase and suggesting for expanding these search terms. You may offer 20+ services at your med spa, but use the 80/20 rule to pick the top performing -- and upward trending -- services or brands.
In addition to showing you trends within a specific region, google will show you interest over time and alternative suggestions related to your initial keyword search. Spend at least 1 hour per week investigating keyword trends, and then make a plan for updating your website pages.
Wix SEO Basics
Once you have identified your best keyword and phrases, log into your Wix editor, and go to a specific page within your site. In the Site Menu window, look for the circle icon with 3 dots inside:
Click on the menu settings option for "SEO (Google)." Once there, you'll see a preview of how your page will show up in a google search result. The text in blue is your Page Title, followed by the page URL and description. All 3 elements are crucial for you to show up in relevant search results.
1. Web Page Titles
The title enables users to see what a webpage is about, and tells search engines how it should rank the page. Google is trying to match the intent of a search query to your page, so put yourself in your customer's shoes, and imagine how relevant your title is to the rest of the copy on your page.
Keep your title short and precise. Limit to 55 characters or less, and don't repeat or overdo keywords. Also, make sure to use sentence or title case. All caps is hard to read and comes across as aggressive in a search result. Always include your brand or business name in the title, and include the region you serve (if applicable).
Returning to the previous Med Spa example, a good title for a page that introduces your brand-name services might be "What is Botox & Juvederm - My Med Spa - New York, NY"
2. URLs for SEO
Ugh! Another acronym? A URL is simply shorthand for saying the "website address." Each of your pages has a unique web address that is an extension from your home page. Wix and Shopify let you customize the web address for each supporting page or product page, greatly improving your relevancy in a search results.
Keep your URLs as simple as possible (under 60 characters), while getting as close to the title of your page or product. Use dashes between words, and include product codes when available. Keywords within your URLs are definitely a bonus for good search results, and research indicates that the URL is a key element searchers consider when selecting when to click to a site.
3. Page Descriptions
Here's where you can get creative with your keyword tools. This is 1-2 preview sentences that explain to a user what they can expect when they click on your link. Technically, you can include up to 300 characters (including spaces), but Google will truncates anything longer than 160. If you can make every description 160 characters, you get a double gold star for the day; however, lengths will vary according to each web page.
Your primary goal within the description is to get someone to click your link. Although most search engines no longer include a website's meta description, this step is essential for improving your click-through-rate (CTR) and overall rank.
Never use quotation marks or non-alphanumeric characters in your description, and make sure your meta descriptions are unique to each page. Repeat descriptions dilutes your call to action, and runs the risk of confusing a searcher. In most cases, a user who sees the same description for multiple pages will assume the site is inactive or dodgy, and won't click at all.
Don't Forget to Publish!
The simplest steps are sometimes the hardest to remember. Within the Wix editor, once you've added your SEO title, SEO-friendly URL, and SEO description MAKE SURE that the toggle for "Show this page in search results" is ON. If the toggle has a checkmark, the page is now viewable in search engines and within your website search results. Also make sure click the Publish button, so all your new SEO changes are active on your live website.
Within the Shopify dashboard -- whether you're editing a Page within your Online Store or an individual item under Products -- all you need to do is make sure the radio button next to "Visibility" is turned on, and then click the blue "Save" button. You may also schedule visibility for a later date.
4. One final consideration: Images & Videos
This is such a key step, but most users completely overlook it. Here are some fun facts:
Google Images garners more than a billion page views in a day (!)
Images are returned for 19% of search queries on Google
Mobile searches for “image search” grew by over 60% from 2016-2018
Great image optimizers have been known to get top billing for "best of" search terms in less than 4 days, and increased traffic by 15%
Do this right now, so I can illustrate this point:
Open a new search window in Google
Enter "Med Spa" in the search bar
Scroll down the page until you see "Images for med spa"
Most likely NONE of these images are paid ads; however, properly titled images can organically show up on PAGE 1 of your search results. Before and after photos, portfolio examples, product images, and team photos all generate clicks from searchers, but if they aren't titled correctly, you may be missing out on potential traffic.
Every time you upload a new image or video into your library, make sure that file names are clearly defined, and update the description when you use the image on your site. Like URLs, you want to make sure they are fairly simple, non-repetitive, and include high value keywords. If you add a link to an image or video, make sure the landing page is relevant to the description.
Watch this quick video to see how I add an SEO description to an existing image within the page editor:
In addition to adding keywords to your images and videos, the best optimizers know that their images need to be in the right format and as small as possible (aka Compressed). Compressing images reduces your bounce rates and increases your page rank in Google.
Don't forget to always check your image and video assets in the mobile view, to make sure the quality is great in all formats.