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Important SEO Tips for Your Shopify E-commerce Platform

Important SEO Tips for Your Shopify E-commerce Platform

If you are going into online selling, you would know that Shopify is one of the most recommended e-commerce platforms used by online sellers to set up their online retail businesses. It makes things quick and simple, but there’s still some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) legwork to do if you want your Shopify store to perform to the best of its ability in search results. 

The below SEO guide will point you to tips that are fundamental for maintaining, or perhaps attaining, good search visibility for your Shopify e-commerce store. Follow these easy-to-follow hints to discover all the essentials for improving the SEO of your Shopify store.

 The Reasons Why You Should Choose Shopify e-commerce for Your Online Store:

  • Highly flexible and can tailor to your specific requirements.
  • Easy backend administration
  • Shopify has lots of built-in tools
  • Advanced e-commerce platform with fantastic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features.
  • Shopify e-commerce platform is easy to use with no coding skills required; you automatically save time and money.

What do you get with the Shopify e-commerce Platform?

  • Web-based Content Management System to update your website and online store.
  • Meets full W3C standards.
  • Fully secure payment gateway.
  • Easily Integrates with POS systems.
  • Customized website design and full control of HTML & CSS.
  • Customer support with technical Advisor help.

There is more to it than a handful of bullet points; see the whole list of Shopify e-commerce features.

SEO Tips For the SHOPIFY e-commerce Platform

So, you have set up Shopify for your online store and want to implement SEO techniques. Shopify is an advanced e-commerce content management system and shopping cart with built-in Search Engine Optimization elements. 

E-commerce SEO, however, can be a little different than optimizing other sites. From site structure to structured data, paying attention to how SEO factors work when using Shopify is vital. 

Leveraging these SEO elements enhances the likelihood of you getting traffic and sales to your website from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Some factors, however, need more attention than others.

 Following are the 12 major tips that need to be covered for improving the SEO of your SHOPIFY store:

  • Remove duplicate content from your Shopify store.
  • Create a unique page title and write meta descriptions for your pages.
  • Optimize your store images.
  • Link your products page from the home page.
  • Technical SEO for SHOPIFY is mandatory.
  • Canonical tag and Domain Canonicalization.
  • Add your sitemap.xml to Google Search Console.
  • Google Analytics Integration.
  • Build high-quality backlinks to your Shopify store.
  • Don’t inadvertently neglect to set up 301 redirects for old product pages
  • Install the free Product Review App.
  • Configure the blog feature in your Shopify Platform.

1. Remove Duplicate Content From Your Store

Duplicate content generally refers to text that completely matches copy on another web page. That page could either be on your own site or on someone else’s.

For any Shopify website, duplicate content can be a disaster if identified by a search engine, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo or others. Although search engines are quite tolerant of internal duplication, external duplication, where it may appear you’ve copied text from another site, could be more likely to have an adverse effect on search engine rankings, and your store could be penalized by search engines. 

Many Shopify stores have duplicate content. The good news is, if you fix the problem, it can have a good impact on your search performance.

2. Create Unique Page Title and Write Meta Descriptions for Your pages

Page titles and meta descriptions are important elements of any website for search engine rankings. The title tag and the meta description tags should include keywords related to the page content, whether it is a blog post about leather types or a product page for a pair of boots. 

This unique page metadata helps search engines understand what the page is all about. The better it understands, the better it might be able to place you in search results.

Each title and description must be written according to best practices, so you are making your site as SEO friendly as possible. The target word count for the title should be 60 characters while it is 160 characters for the description tag. 

PRO Tip: Avoid using stop words like “the”, “an,” and “a” “or”, “but” “thus,” and if”.

Use this format: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name 

3. Optimize Your Shopify Store Images

Image optimization is necessary for your Shopify store as another means of improving presence in Google and other search engines. For years, alt tags have been used by search engines as a shortcut for understanding what the images on a website are about.

All your images must include the proper alt tags with relevant keywords. Because if someone is searching for images of red boots, for example, images from your site will have a better chance of appearing if your images of red boots have alt tags that offer a good description.

There’s also accessibility to consider. Buyers with vision trouble might use a screen reader to navigate your site. These can use alt tags to verbally describe to the user what the image is of. The better your alt tag, the better you’re pushing someone toward putting something in their shopping cart. 

Good accessibility standards are also one of the many, many ranking factors search engines use to assess your site. 

4. Always Link your Products Page from the Home Page

Your home page is typically the center of your website and also the most powerful page among all others. Creating navigation links on your homepage gives a clear path to your site visitors so they can maneuver around your shop, whatever your site structure.

Not to link to your collection pages (often called category pages) from a home page is a common mistake many store owners make at some point. As a result, your important pages may be hidden deep in the store, with visitors unable to find them easily.

Of course, if you don’t have many products, linking to each one might be more useful than making a user visit a collection page first. But if you have anything more than perhaps a few dozen products, consider assigning them to collections. The Shopify help center has a guide on collections and how to create them.

Pro tip: Make sure all of your important collection or product pages are reachable at the top of the homepage. By doing this, you’re putting some of your most valuable pages in easy reach of your visitors. You can include a search box also.

5. Technical SEO for SHOPIFY is Mandatory

Technical SEO refers to any Search Engine Optimization activities/elements that do not include the content part.

In technical SEO, a webmaster needs to ensure the followings elements with proper search engine guidelines:

  • Checking a robots.txt file so bots can crawl the site.
  • Ensuring the site has a sitemap.xml file and adding the sitemap.xml to Google Search Console.
  • Creating a Google Search Console account and verifying your ownership.
  • Creating and installing Google Analytics.
  • Validating HTML and CSS
  • Correcting any crawl errors and redirect issues.
  • Proper use of heading tags (H1, H2, H3, and so on).
  • Correct application of canonical tags and domain canonicalization.
  • Using tools like GTMetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze the site’s speed on all devices. The SEMrush Site Audit bot will also give a breakdown of speed performance.

6. Canonical Tag and Domain Canonicalization

Canonicalization refers to declaring that one domain or page is the primary version when there are multiples of the same thing.

If one style of boot, for example, comes in many colors and you have pages for each shade, you might want to canonical to one primary version. Because it is likely your product descriptions will all be near identical. To search engines, you’re effectively saying, ‘I know there are lots of identical pages. Ignore all of them, but this single URL.’ 

It discourages search engines from thinking you’re trying to pad out your site with duplicate content. Think back to the section about duplication, and you’ll know why this can be bad: poor search engine rankings.

7. Add Your Sitemap.xml to Google Search Console

A sitemap is a file where you can add all the pages of your website to tell Google and other search engine spiders what to crawl/index on the website on a regular basis. Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap.xml file that contains all the links to all the pages of your website, including products, giving a great overview of your site structure.

But that’s only part of the job, should you want picture-perfect SEO.

You need to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console (likewise Bing Webmaster Tools if you think Bing could be a valuable source of traffic for you) so your site can be easily crawled and indexed. 

In Shopify, the sitemap is located at the root directory of the store, e.g., example.com/sitemap.xml.

 9. Build High-Quality Backlinks to Your Shopify Store

Do you want to enhance the number of visitors to your Shopify store? Quality backlinks are part of the trinity of SEO, along with content and technical SEO. 

Beyond simply having a site everyone loves, they are tricky to ‘manufacture.’ But an easy way to get quality and targeted traffic quickly is by creating a profile of your store on Amazon, Yelp, and other similar websites. And, you will get strong backlinks as well as traffic in return, which will be a booster for your Shopify website.

There are other routes, though. Have a read through this guide on link-building techniques for engagement, and we have a post that explains how to use the SEMrush Link Building tool in all kinds of valuable ways that can give you one up on your competitors with minimum time and effort.

10. Don’t Neglect Setting Up 301 Redirects for Old Product Pages

In Shopify, if your product goes out of stock and you want to tell the search engines that a page is no longer available and permanently moved to a new page, 301 redirects are the perfect solution.

What is a 301 redirect? 

A 301 redirect is a way of sending users and search engines away from one page and onto another automatically. It is a great way of dealing with a URL that no longer exists or that you don’t want people to visit anymore. You want to make sure the user or search engine goes to a useful page and doesn’t just get a ‘404 Not Found’ page, which could potentially end their customer journey with you. 

Perhaps you have deleted pages for items you know are not going to be in stock again. Without setting up a 301 redirect to a new page, there might be some potential customer drop because the page ranked in search engines or was linked to from another site.

You want to lead the visitor to a new page, and the solution is to create a URL redirect via your Shopify admin portal.

For more on redirects, see our complete guide to 301 redirects..

12. Configure the Blog Feature in Your Shopify Platform

Your Shopify store comes with a built-in blog feature. Writing blog posts is a great way to build your audience, earn more exposure, and drive more organic traffic and sales for your online business. 

It is highly recommended to add regular, quality content because:

  • Search engines have a tendency to send users to frequently updated sites. 
  • Good and helpful content makes your site more useful for visitors. Search engines want to send users to sites that are going to help answer their queries.
  • It helps search engines understand which topic, or topics, your site has some authority on.
  • The posts you write also have a chance of ranking, which makes them another potential traffic source.

Shopify itself has a full explanation of how to add to and edit your blog on the Shopify platform. It even covers how to use iOS and Android apps.

Not sure what to write about?

Keyword research is useful – looking up what people are typing into search engines and how often those searches are performed. It can give you a good idea of what sorts of questions there might be around the things you sell. Do you have the knowledge to answer them? If so, the search volumes you find in your keyword research can help you prioritize which topics to write about.

Conclusion

All of the above mentioned 12 tips may not include everything you should know about Shopify SEO, but by following the above tips, you will be definitely ahead of your competitors. And, hopefully, we will see significant traffic from search engines.

Source: 12 Important SEO Tips for Shopify Ecommerce Platform

Learn More About Google’s Latest Search Guidelines – What do They Mean?

Learn More About Google’s Latest Search Guidelines – What do They Mean?

It’s probably no secret how everyone is after one of Google’s greatest secrets – its page ranking algorithms, and how the algorithm gets updated as time goes along. While the precise programming logic is something one might not be able to actually determine in this lifetime, the globally leading search engine site has regardlessly left some clues that help those in the SEO-field to better understand how Google works, and how to improve their site rankings. Some of these hints surfaced back in 2015, when Google released a full document of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG), a PDF document of more than 160 pages. 

These guidelines are important for SEO in marketing, as they serve as a reference point for Google’s human search evaluators – people who rate the performance of Google’s ranking algorithm, and help study the impact of an update. More importantly, they are the ones who also look at web pages, and use these guidelines to differentiate high-quality content from low-quality ones.

“So what’s in it for me?”, you might ask. Well, we’ve managed to condense the information in this lengthy piece of a document, into a 5-minute analytical summary for your reading pleasure right here, in an attempt to perhaps take you through the minds of the people at Google. The above-mentioned guidelines can essentially be broken down into three key golden nuggets that we will dive into greater detail:

  • Beneficial Purpose (Website Identity)
  • E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), or Page Quality
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)

1. Beneficial Purpose

Above everything in the SQEG, Google has seemed to consistently place an emphasis on the concept of beneficial purpose – that is, that all websites need to serve a beneficial purpose to the general reader. As the SQEG defines it, the purpose of a page is the reason(s) why the page was created. Every page on the internet is created for a specific purpose, or for multiple ones. Most pages are created to be helpful for its readers and users, thus having a beneficial purpose. On the other hand, some pages are created merely to make money, with little or no effort to help users, while some, even created to cause harm to others. The first step in understanding a page is figuring out its purpose.

How Google does it, is determining how well a webpage achieves its purpose, and thereafter, giving it a Page Quality (PQ) rating. In order to assign a rating, one needs to understand the purpose of the page, and sometimes the website. By understanding the purpose of the page, one can better understand the criteria that are important to consider when evaluating that particular page. As websites and pages should be created to help users, ones that are able to and serve a beneficial purpose, will result in receiving a higher PQ rating, whereas those that don’t, conversely end up receiving a lower rating.

And while a page should fulfil its intended purpose, that purpose, should also be user-centered – that is, whether the page is to emote certain feelings in the reader, sell them something, teach them, inform them, etc. As Google puts it below:

Beneficial-Purpose-Google-Search-Guidelines

In other words, your site and page should be about your users and readers, first and foremost. Beneficial purpose plays right into that because it means your site and content should have a user-focused purpose that benefits them in some way.

2. E-A-T

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – a measurement that Google’s evaluators use to rank pages. Clearly, if a page has a high level of EAT, it would be a high-quality one, whereas a low level of EAT results in a low-quality page.

A high level of EAT that gives rise to a high-quality page would embody the following elements:

  • Having enough content
  • Being an expert, and being authoritative and trustworthy regarding the topic it discusses
  • Having a positive reputation
  • Featuring enough auxiliary information, such as an “About us” and/or “Contact us” page
  • Featuring supplementary content that enhance the user’s enjoyment and experience
  • Being designed in a functional and practical fashion that allows users to easily navigate through and to the information that they want
  • Being maintained and edited regularly and frequently

EAT has a direct impact on both a web page’s quality level, and its reputation on the web altogether. In order to be seen as high-quality, Google has stated that “websites require enough expertise in order to be authoritative and trustworthy on the topic at hand”.

At the same time at this juncture, it should be important for us to note that EAT is not directly an explicit ranking factor – since computers only understand bits and bytes, and you can’t tell them to rank pages based on an intangible human concept such as EAT. Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness themselves are also not individual ranking factors. EAT and ranking are, however, somewhat linked, and there is a certain correlation. A variety of ‘signals’ are still used as a proxy to tell if content seems to match EAT as the humans would access it, and Google engineers are able to understand the tangible signals that align with EAT, and adjust the ranking algorithms accordingly. Google paints a clearer and more detailed picture here and in this video.

3. YMYL

Websites that sell products and/or provide services and information that can impact a user’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability (‘general wellbeing’ in short) are classified by Google as YMYL – standing for “Your Money or Your Life”. Google is particularly sensitive regarding content in this classification, as low-quality YMYL has the potential to negatively affect the four states of a reader’s ‘general wellbeing’, as mentioned above.

YMYL-type of sites are hence held to the highest standards as the stakes are relatively incredibly high when it comes to such types of content. Some industries that fall under YMYL include e-commerce, financial services, legal, and healthcare sectors, and below are some examples of YMYL topics according to the SQEG:

YMYL-Google-Search-Guidelines

So, the bottom line when it comes to YMYL? Make sure that any content on your website will help – not hurt – the people who read your content on your pages. Make your users feel safe.

How these three elements just discussed above add up to importance for you, is simply how you as a content producer and/or information provider will need to ensure that your content remains as high-quality as possible in terms of EAT and YMYL, while serving a beneficial purpose. Content that is curated with high-quality in mind, will undoubtedly get ranked by Google, and ranked well at that. EAT is essentially important for your site’s SEO, and is a characteristic of a high-quality page. Make an effort to improve it constantly, especially if you cover YMYL topics, and these efforts will show in your page’s rankings.

At Weave Asia, we are committed to growing your business, and helping you land in the front page of leading search engine results, while getting your customers engaged, interested, and having you at the top of their minds, at the right times. If you might be interested in some SEO content writing tips, or even in enquiring more on the digital marketing services we provide, feel free to contact us for a consultation today!

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online Traffic

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online Traffic

Before the year 2020 could even properly begin, a global pandemic had managed to unprecedentedly bring businesses, services, and even air travel all over the world to a screeching halt. Lockdowns and movement control orders in many countries have inadvertently made companies take their businesses onto the online world, and while the majority of the world’s population sit in front of their computer screens at home everyday – web page rankings on Google, and other search engines could not have mattered more during this period of time.

In this day and age, customers need to be interested and engaged in your brand’s content online, for you to be at the top of their minds, at the right times. As such, we’ve (Weave) got six vitally essential factors to show you how you can get to the front page of the leading search engine results, and upgrade your ranking web page!

1. Backlink Profile Factors

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficWhen it comes to ranking your web page, the total number of domain referencing on your website can influence the website’s rankings. On top of that, there are other backlink profile factors that can influence your page rankings too. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Number of referring domains
  • Number of follow-backlinks
  • Number of backlinks
  • Number of anchors
  • Number of referring IPs
  • Keyword presence in the anchor
As confirmed by Google, a strong backlink portfolio is utmost crucial for website rankings. Metrics of the backlink’s portfolio are intertwined with each other, and a blind manipulation of only one of them will not increase your rankings, unless the other metrics are looked into and worked on as well. The key here is to focus on your natural backlink profile, and try out various link-building strategies as you go along the way. While the high search volume niche is exceptionally competitive, and the first positions tend to be occupied by the giants with the richest backlink portfolios, competition is lighter in the low-volume Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), so extra link-building efforts can make all the difference for your page/domain’s SEO rankings!

2. Website Security

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficIn the past decade, the idea of a more secure web has been promptly promoted by Google. With the application of new policies and the imposition of new rules, a clear message was sent by them – making the Internet safer for consumers. By migrating to HTTPS, you will be taking a proactive step in protecting your users’ security, which greatly strengthens the authority of your website. While it might be a costly undertaking, these costs can certainly translate into value for improving your ranking web page, and significantly impact your business. The HTTPS adoption rate is very high in the high-volume keyword group. That is to say, the more popular the keywords are, the more likely it is that HTTPS domains will occupy the top positions in the results’ page. So if you want to compete for high-volume keywords, having an HTTPS version of your site is of utmost importance. In the low-volume keyword segment, the HTTPS adoption rate is not as high – up to 20% lower in comparison. As such, having a secure version of your page and site creates an opportunity for you to outrun the competition, and significantly distinguish you from it.

3. Content Length

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficAnother element factored in SEO ranking, is content length. An article’s length, i.e. its word count, is one of the first things that forms a user’s opinion about a page. The precise numbers for an ideal content length are debatable, as the main advantages of a text are ideally its quality, and relevance. On the other hand, long-form content does create the impression of an in-depth analysis, and therefore looks more trustworthy and reliable, at the same time. Solely creating content of a certain length is not a fit-for-all solution, and if the content is irrelevant to the reader’s query, it doesn’t matter how long it is – it will still be irrelevant. However, it can be noted that it is still evident that pages with longer content, do tend to rank higher on average. So, content length is important for your page’s SEO ranking success as long as the content is valuable, well-written, and optimised – especially if one targets certain high-volume keywords! It has also been found that long-tail search queries return pages with more content on average than short heads – almost 20% more. For example, an average top-100 article on ‘interior design’ will be shorter than an average top-100 article on ‘interior design trends in 2020’. Needless to say, if you are writing on a broader topic, your users do not expect a longer read. If your article’s topic is narrowed down to a precise statement, then it should provide a more in-depth view. In short, the larger the search volume, the longer the content. Write long reads if you want to rank higher for popular keywords!

4. On-page SEO Elements

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficToday, content specialists know much better than to simply stuff their copies and texts with keywords. And while keyword stuffing is no longer comme il faut, it is still a commonly accepted rule to retain keywords in your articles’ main on-page elements – such as the page titles, headlines, meta descriptions, and text bodies. A video is also considered to be a valuable contribution to almost any piece of content these days. It is essential to include a video in an article or post at times, especially if you might be reaching out to more ‘visual’ readers, and at others, it isn’t absolutely necessary, though some websites often do it anyway because it will, allegedly, make the site’s post rank higher. One should keep in mind that depending on your niche, certain clients might expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands – and if they include visual support, include a video. Over 75% of the top-20 pages have keywords in their body, and over 60% have them in their title. And while it seems to be a usual practice, data proves that it doesn’t have a strong impact on rankings. One time-proven approach in SEO is using longer-tail keywords for promotion, as they usually bring more relevant traffic to a website. If this is your case and you plan to rank your site for long-tails, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not necessary. As a matter of fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text, and make it relevant to the target keyword, rather than solely copying it.

5. Website Visits

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficOne of the main indicators of a website’s popularity is its number of visits. There are a lot of ways for visitors to find your website: organic search, paid ads, social networking sites, direct visits, referring domains, emails, etc. Excluding organic search and other traffic data, there is a strong link between the number of direct visits and the page’s position on the SERP. This could indicate that Google prioritises domains with more authority and consequently, more direct traffic when ranking the high-volume keyword group. And while we acknowledge that they are important, this also means that organic rankings are not the only thing to be concentrated and focused on. Direct visits are fueled by your brand’s awareness, so building a strong brand image should be an essential part of your promotion strategy to improve your Google page ranking.

6. User Behaviour Signals

How to Get Your Site on Top and Boost Online TrafficUser behavior signals such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per session can help identify user behaviour patterns and provide information on whether your site’s content is engaging, whether the navigation on your website is intuitive, and how users react to your page in general. Lower bounce rates on your site can attribute to a higher-ranking and better-performing page. This could be the result of the level of trust that users have for top-ranking pages, or could mean that lower-ranking pages are less relevant. Though Google reps dictate that all user behaviour signals are too ‘noisy’ to be considered during the page qualification, a high bounce rate could indicate that the page content is irrelevant, resulting in zero engagement – which isn’t good for both users and search engine bots. Results indicate that users tend to spend more time on websites that rank higher in SERPs. This could be explained by the same fact that users trust top-ranking pages more than lower-ranking ones. And similar to the bounce rate and time on site trends, these results can confirm that users tend to visit more pages on websites that are at the top of organic search results.

Conclusion

All this said, it is evidently clear that many technicalities and metrics-monitoring are involved when it comes to attempting to improve your web page ranking, especially on Google. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution one can readily source out for on his/her own, digital marketing agencies are equipped with the relevant tools to provide you with the technical support that you need to bring up your SEO ranking factors. At Weave Asia, we are committed to growing your business, and helping you land in the front page of leading search engine results, while getting your customers engaged, interested, and having you at the top of their minds, at the right times. If you might be interested in enquiring more on the digital marketing services we provide, feel free to contact us for a consultation today!
Shifting Landscapes – How to Move Your Business Online?

Shifting Landscapes – How to Move Your Business Online?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed what a normal life looks like. Because of the vast shift that we all have to adapt to, all traditional businesses are especially affected, specifically through the practice of social distancing that discourages customers from visiting physical stores. However, the good news is that, despite social distancing, people are still actively shopping from home. In fact, according to an analysis by ACI Worldwide, transaction volumes in most retail sectors have seen a 74 percent rise in March compared to the same period last year, while online gaming has seen a staggering increase of 97 percent.

If anything, this means one thing: business owners with brick and mortar shops will soon have to move their businesses online, FAST!

The good news is, the pandemic has also changed consumers’ habits when it comes to online shopping. Before, people would normally only shop online for clothes, gadgets, and other non-perishables and would prefer to buy their groceries in physical stores. But due to the need for quarantining, consumers have started purchasing groceries online, opting for either self pick-up or engaging a delivery service.

To help retailers make their shift online, Shopify offers solutions, like creating a simple Shopify store to offer curbside pickup or local delivery options to customers. This can eventually lead to a more holistic shift to selling all or most of their products online.

If you’re new to the e-commerce landscape, below are some essential steps you can take to kickstart your online business. Soo, you will learn how to treat your homepage like your storefront and transition some of your physical store experience onto your product pages.

So, how do I create an online store?

 

1. Start a Shopify 90-day free trial

The first step is to visit shopify.com to start your online store with an extended 90-day free trial.

Here you’ll choose your store name, which will become the URL or domain name that your customers will use to shop from your store. You can start with the Basic plan to start with, but you can always upgrade as you see fit.

Note: You’ll need to add your credit card or PayPal address. Since you’re on a 90-day free trial, you won’t be billed for the duration of the trial period, and we’ll send you a reminder before your trial ends.

 

2. Choose a theme

Find the right theme, or website template, for your online store in the Shopify Theme Store. You can start with a free theme built by Shopify, or you can purchase a theme developed by one of their Partners.

You’ll want synchrony between your brick-and-mortar store and online presence, so try browsing themes by collection or industry and choosing one that best fits your brand. Of course, no theme is restricted to any industry, it’s just helpful to get you started quickly. You can always customize your theme later.

 

Prep your essential pages

The faster you make your online store available, the sooner customers will be able to continue purchasing your products. Focus on the basics: make sure your store features recognizable aspects of your business (like your logo or brand colors) and makes it easy for people to browse and buy.

No need to worry about the frills. Your priority is to get your products online and sell your in-store inventory. Here are the pages we recommend creating before you launch:

 

Homepage

Treat your homepage like your retail storefront. Shoppers use the homepage to discover new offers and promotions and navigate to product pages. Consider having a banner or notification bar that shares crucial information with customers, like what purchase or shipping options you’ve made available, or how they can support you with a gift card purchase.

 

Shipping FAQ

Recent supply chain challenges have been affecting shipping services in unpredictable ways, your customers may have a few shipping-related questions for you. Browse around to see how other local businesses are dealing with their Shipping FAQ at this time. It’s important to share any extra steps you’re taking to keep customers safe as you ship orders to their door, such as added precautions when you prepare or package your products.

 

Return and exchange policy

A written return policy allows you to establish clear, consistent guidelines for how customers can replace or refund their purchase. Dealing with return and exchange requests on a case-by-case basis isn’t sustainable, and can add unnecessary complexity (and cost) to your operation.

 

Contact Us

A good Contact Us page sets the right expectations with customers and makes it clear where and when they can reach you. Consider including a map of your store location for local shoppers, as well as a contact form so people don’t have to leave your website to get in touch with you.

 

Product pages

Your product pages are where you sell the value of your products, so it’s important to make them detailed and compelling. Below we’ve listed resources to help you build high-converting product pages, write compelling product descriptions, shoot good-looking product photography with the tools you have available.

 

Add your products

Adding your products can take some time if you have a large catalog, but there are ways to quickly get started. We’ve recently rolled out updates to make this process faster and easier, and we’re now offering free data migration services for customers launching their online store for the first time.

Here are a few ways you can add products:

  • Bulk upload from your Shopify admin. If you’re a Shopify customer, you can do a simple bulk upload of your inventory into Shopify
  • Use Shopify Mobile or Shopify POS. If you haven’t been up-to-date with your inventory, use the Shopify Mobile app and take pictures of your products with your mobile device’s camera, and add them to your online store, all in one simple workflow.
  • Use our free POS data migration service. For those of you who aren’t using Shopify POS for your brick-and-mortar store, this service will help you migrate your POS data into Shopify’s platform. Migrations are available for most POS systems, including Lightspeed, Square, Quickbooks, Vend, Shopkeep, and more.

 

Set up gift cards

Selling digital gift cards is one of the fastest ways for a brick-and-mortar business to start selling online and secure immediate cash flow. Here’s how it works:

  • You create a digital gift card
  • Customers can then buy and pay for gift cards through your new online store
  • Purchased gift cards are then delivered to your customers by email
  • All active gift cards can be tracked and managed in Shopify as customers redeem them in the future
  • As you launch new products that can be purchased online or make your products available for local delivery or pickup, customers can redeem gift cards at checkout. By default, the gift cards you create never expire.

 

Set up shipping

Shoppers are stuck at home and many need order to reach their doorstep, which means providing an affordable and convenient shipping experience is now crucial. Here are some recommendations to keep your business moving during these uncertain times — while staying safe.

 

1. Keep shipping costs down

Shipping costs can quickly eat away at independent retailers’ margins, so be strategic about the way you approach shipping and fulfillment. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Opt for manual shipping: Print labels, send shipping notifications, and track every part of your orders and manually fulfill orders where possible.
  • Skip the fancy packaging. You can get free packaging from all major couriers in the United States (USPS, DHL Express, and UPS) and Canada (Canada Post).
  • Set up Local Shipping. When customers are close to your business, you can offer a “local delivery” option. Local shipping rates will be automatically applied at checkout to customers in your selected zone.

 

2. Try Shopify Shipping

Shopify Shipping works with courier companies like DHL in Singapore and Malaysia and offers multiple mail classes with each carrier, so you can access features like overnight delivery, package pick-ups, tracking information, international shipping, and more depending on the carrier and mail class you choose.

Shopify also works with carriers directly to negotiate competitive rates for each shipping service, and those rates are automatically included on every plan at no extra cost to you.

 

3. Set up self pick-up for local customers

Curbside pickup allows your local customers to buy something online and pick it up outside your store — without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option not only minimizes person-to-person interactions, but it’s also faster and reduces shipping costs. Here are the steps:

  1. Your customer will order and pay you online through your new online store
  2. You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely
  3. You’ll then tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup
  4. Your customer will drive to your store and pop their trunk
  5. You’ll safely place their order in their trunk
  6. That’s it, you’re done!

 

Setting up payments

There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing which payment methods to offer online. If you want to let your customers pay using a credit card, then you can use Shopify Payments or a third-party provider. There are also several ways for customers to pay online without using a credit card, like PayPal or online bank transfer. Finally, accelerated checkouts like Shop Pay save shipping and payment information for returning customers to help them check out faster.

Read these considerations and instructions to make sure you choose the right payment methods for your business.

 

Let shoppers know you’re open for business

After you’ve set up your online store, your first priority is to inform current customers that you’re still open for business. Here’s how to announce that you’ve launched an online store, along with a few places you can likely reach your customers:

  • Email your customers. Have you collected customers’ emails in-person, through an existing website, or through your point-of-sale (POS) system? Now is a good time to stay in regular contact with them, and email provides a direct line to their inbox. To start, let customers know about recent changes, and how they can continue to buy your products or support you with gift card purchases.
  • Add signage to your storefront. For your local foot traffic, a sign on your door directing shoppers to your online store can be a simple but effective solution for notifying people about your new online store.
  • Post to social media. If you’re active on social media, add your store’s URL to your Instagram bio, pin a Tweet with your new URL or domain name, and share a status update with a link to your store on your Facebook page.
  • Add or update local listings. Google My Business is a free tool that helps you market your local business in Google Search and Google Maps. For example, you can post your website URL and photos of your products on your Business Profile, which can appear in Google’s search results. You can also list any of your special promotions or offers so customers have a reason to online shop with you.
  • Announce it on your homepage (when it’s live).

 

And there you have it, folks — your new online store!

 

Source: Resilient Retail: How to Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online

Shake Shack’s Success Story – What’s in a Brand?

Shake Shack’s Success Story – What’s in a Brand?

Once upon a time, Shake Shack was one of the many one-off boutique stands that set shop in New york’s Madison Square Park. Today, having recently gone public in an IPO that ballooned to a whopping $1.6 billion, the once-humble shack has grown to become a multinational burger titan with franchises in Moscow, Istanbul and Dubai.

So, what is it that makes Shake Shake so successful? More importantly, what can we learn from Shake Shack’s success story to craft our own?

Foundationally, Shake Shack is made up of an excellent team. Its founder, Danny Meyer, is a thriving restauranteur who’s responsible for the success of some of the hottest restaurants in New York. Pat LaFrieda butchers blended the umami-rich mix of brisket, chuck, skirt steak, and short rib in each burger. And architect, James Wines is responsible for developing the original shack structure in Madison Square Park.

The real question is, what of the casually catchy Shake Shack branding that has spread so seamlessly to cultures across the globe? The logo, signage, bags, and uniforms were all designed by Pentagram in a project led by principal graphic designer, Paula Scher.

Before Shake shack, Scher was already leading a pro bono redesign of Madison Square Park’s identity for the park’s Conservancy. Therefore, when the Conservancy decided to build a permanent burger stand on the public premises, it only made sense to have Scher on the project to ensure that the burger branding doesn’t become conflicting. Originally, Scher has picked up the Shake Shack project for free since it was an extension of the Conservancy project.

Shake Shack’s branding came from two sources of inspiration that evolved over time. The first one was the shack structure itself — a corrugated metal hut that would go on to earn James Wines a National Design Award for lifetime achievement in 2013.

According to Scher, the original idea was that the shack would be part of an urban landscape in parks — and that’s how the first one was designed. Therefore, when the logo for Shake Shack was designed, it was really the architecture that drove the design.

In addition to that, the shack exuded a kind of approachable modernness, and Scher wanted a typeface to match — and she chose Neutra. To this day, metallic, Neutra lettering spells out Shake Shack in front of all their global stores.

Scher introduced a second wave of branding some time after the store had opened for business. This time it would be paid work. It tapped the core idea behind Shake Shack itself — a ’50s burger joint reimagined for a modern context. So, for the text on menus and bags, Pentagram selected the curvaceous Galaxie Cassiopeia font, or what Scher lovingly calls “a phony neon script” that still felt modern enough to keep up with the logo. The typeface was paired with squiggly burger, shake, and fry icons that evoked classic signage. Even rendered in ink, you can almost see the 1950s neon shining through.

Although the branding was designed for the distinctiveness of Shake Shack’s original site, it has managed to scale to franchises placed in more typical storefront locations and even airports.

“I think the modernness of it is somehow perfect in keeping with the quality of the food. It’s a contemporary fast-food chain with a high-level product–as opposed to McDonald’s, which is also modelled after 1950s burger chains but serves downscale food,” Scher says. “In retrospect, if you’d done a million years of focus testing and consumer studies, you wouldn’t do a better job. It shows you the charm of the happenstance.”

When asked if it felt a bit strange to see pro bono work now define the face of a $1.6 billion public company, Scher admits that it is “a bit.”

“They offered me a stock purchase before the public offering,” she says. “And in fairness, no one had an idea of how successful it would become.”

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

If you were to be asked whether you would rather have more organic traffic or better rankings, which would you choose? For most of us, this is a trick question, as we’d rather have both. This is because we know that both search engine metrics can make a huge difference in our businesses.

As you should know, Google tends to rank pages higher in search results based on the authority of that page. In modern SEO, links build up the page’s authority and improve its SEO value. In the same arena, duplicate content gets penalized. The right keyword search term can also make a whole lot of difference in traffic and rankings.

Recent data estimates that the link popularity of a specific page accounts for 22.33% of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm. What if you could access the most updated resources that would help you build the right links? What difference would that make in your investment, considering that about 37% of business owners spend between $10,000 and $50,000 per month on link building?

Over the years, we’ve come to learn that a link building campaign with useful content and quality anchor text phrases is easier than most people think. If you can develop and document your strategy, you’ll ultimately generate more authority links for your pages. Both content marketing and link building are interdependent and inseparable.

In this part 1 of this two-part post, we will show you 5 link building software resources that you can tap into any time that you want to. These resources provide scalable link-earning techniques, tips and best practices that are proven to work. When you implement them, your search engine rankings and site traffic will both improve.

 

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

 

1. Broken Link Building Bible

Link building used to be easy. You could set up a few PBN (private blog network) sites and get a bunch of links that would push your organic rankings to the top. But does it still work?

Broken link building is a white-hat and scalable tactic for getting the right kind of links. Essentially, it is a content-focused strategy for any link building campaign, wherein you simply find dead (or broken) links, analyze the page for relevance and create more valuable content to replace the broken content. This helps site owners, editors and webmasters improve their site user experience by replacing broken links with a link to your page based on a search term. With the right approach, you can create an link building campaign and automate broken link building, which will continually build momentum for your site with this simple link building software.

As you go through the Broken Link Building Bible, you’ll discover why broken link building is perhaps the most effective white-hat link building strategy to come along in years. However, your success at getting the right links will entirely depend on how willing you are to research and analyze or audit different websites.

Broken link building is all about making an impact. It’s about helping webmasters and making the web a better place. Webmasters are always happy to fix broken links – if they find them. They know there’s a relationship between Google rankings and links but, on big sites, finding broken links isn’t easy.

You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t linking duplicate content.

A dead link — that is, a link that no longer works — doesn’t do the user or the site any good. In fact, too many broken links can have a negative effect on a site. Webmasters hate doing all the keyword search term work and link building to have this happen.

Having too many broken links on a page is a sign of a neglected or abandoned site. The Google Search Quality Raters General Guidelines view broken links as one of the ways to measure a homepage’s quality. It’s one SEO tool. According to Moz, broken link building is a strategy that constructively addresses many of the competing interests in our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs. link building and inbound vs. outbound.

 

2. Advanced Guide to Link Building

Achieving success online takes time. You have to be patient and you’ve also got to create content that’ll help people get closer to achieving their goals. If you’ve struggled to build the kind of links that Google loves, you should study the Advanced Guide to Link Building. It’ll show you:

How to go about finding and getting those “perfect links”

●   The right way to create epic search term content that’ll help you build relationships with the leaders in your industry.
●   How to identify and approach the authority sites you can get links from in just a few minutes.
●   The hidden secrets to getting hard-to-come-by .edu and .gov backlinks.
●   The step-by-step method of link-building outreach that walks you through the process of initiating and building a relationship with influencers and pro bloggers.

 

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

 

3. Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .Edu Links

This resource was written way back in 2011, but it’s been consistently updated to match modern SEO best practices. It’s not your typical long-form post — it’s pretty short, actually — but it’ll show you:

●   Why educational links matter
●   How to create content that attracts .edu links
●   How to build relationships that help you get these links

Link building has evolved significantly since 2011. Lots of tactics that used to work have since fizzled out — e.g., article directories, duplicate or barely-rewritten content, etc. But educational sites have remained a viable source of high-quality links for any site. Incoming links from educational websites are often perceived as the most powerful links you can get and getting a bunch of these links can skyrocket your search rankings.

It’s true that .edu links aren’t the only kind of powerful incoming links. There’s no proof that Google rates them universally higher than all other kinds of links. However, educational backlinks are powerful — just like links from any other high-authority domain would be.

Educational backlinks are hard to get. Your link building software can only help if you have high quality, respected content. However, the harder it is to get a backlink, the more value it will have.
Sites with .edu domains typically have high authority as they’ve been around for a long time and have many trusted quality sites linking to them. That’s why many of these sites are viewed as authoritative by Google. Therefore, getting links from these authority top-level domains improves search performance.

Wordstream’s guide on using editorial linkbait to get .edu links is a must-read. It uses anecdotes to explain the relevance of educational links and to show how you can create .edu link bait. Link bait is simply content on your site that other sites link to willingly because the content solves a problem. This is the type of content people will tag with a social bookmark.

When people link to your content page on their own initiative, it means you’ve created a linkable asset. The intersection between link bait and a linkable asset is your sweet spot for converting your prospects into customers. It can be a blog post, a viral podcast, an infographic or a helpful ebook. Ultimately, you want people to view your site with the same authority and want to tag it with a social bookmark as well.

 

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

 

So, how to get an education backlink? First and foremost, you can use advanced search modifiers to find education sites in Google. Your goal is to narrow your results down to educational results pages. Some of the search strings you can use are:

a).  site:.edu – shows you search results containing educational result sites only

b).  site:.edu “blog” – returns search results for educational blogs only

c).  site:.edu “forums” – if you want to participate in an educational discussion board

d).  site:.edu “comments” – for educational blogs with comments sections

e).   site:.edu “log in / create account” – returns .edu blog extensions that allow you to sign up as a user for the purpose of commenting or other kinds of participation

f).   site:.edu inurl:blog “seo” – for educational blogs that understand SEO and would be interested in learning more about search engines

Broken link building is the easiest way to get your links from educational portals. All you’ve got to do is find dead links on these blogs and suggest better content — your own — to replace it. Broken link building works. For example, Michael Chibuzor, founder of contentmarketingup.com, generated 27 links from .edu domains in 90 days.

Brian Dean has taught broken link building and his students are seeing great results. Recently, one of his students, Emil Shour, set out to rank for his most profitable search engine keyword. He leveraged the skyscraper technique and created an in-depth, long-form article in the employee wellness niche, entitled “121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas for Your Office.”

Richard researched industry blogs that are relevant to employee management, found broken links and sent outreach emails to all of them. By doing this, Richard was able to push his post into a number #1 ranking and generated $100,000 in revenue. Richard also boosted his organic traffic by 348% in just 7 days.

So how do you find dead links on educational blogs that you can capitalize on to get incoming links?

It’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

i).   First step:

Go to Google and search for educational resource pages. These pages contain lists of links to external sites and contents.

This time, let’s find educational resources for small businesses.

The search string I used is “site:edu “resources” + blogs + small business

And here’s the results screenshot:

You can see that the search results are relevant to small businesses only. This makes them viable.

ii).   Second step:

Choose one of the resources and click on it. Here’s the page, with all of the resources:

Some of the outgoing links on this page may be dead, but you can’t tell just by looking and clicking on all of them one-by-one will take lots of time.

Instead, use a tool designed for checking dead links.

iii).  Third step:

Go to deadlinkchecker.com. Copy the resource page address as it appears on the browser.

Then paste the site address into the search bar and click the “check” button:

Out of the 142 out-going links analyzed by the dead link checker tool, 8 of them are dead. Those are the links that return any of these error messages: 404 not found, 400 bad requests, -1 not found, etc.

Next, prepare your content. Remember that since you’re concerned about small business, your content needs to be relevant to that topic. Otherwise, it might be difficult to convince the blog editor or administrator to swap out the dead link for your page. Search term research helps here to ensure it is relevant in today’s search engine realm.

iv).   Step four:

Send a personalized outreach email. I’ve received several outreach emails that are obviously form letters. Sometimes, the exact same email I receive went out to 10 or more other bloggers.

Don’t do that. Instead, personalize your email subject lines when reaching out to educational blogs. This is key to better email open rates.

Often,these people are academics and any slight error or hint of deception will result in your email being deleted without being read.

To “personalize” means that you give it a personal touch. If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, address them by their first name.

Not everyone understands how to write persuasive emails to site owners and bloggers. If that’s you, don’t worry. Just use the email templates below and add the person’s name, if you know it.

When using any email template, keep these things in mind:

●   Write lowercase subject lines – I do this all the time because I want the email to seem casual as if it’s from a friend, not a robot.
●   Be creative – emails that are boring and lack emotional appeal won’t get opened or responded to.
●   Personalize – you have to include the person’s name and the website name in the email so it doesn’t come off as spammy.

If you didn’t find any dead links on your targeted educational resource page, don’t give up. Instead of sending a broken link email, you can simply send a basic link request email.

If broken link building seems like a lot of work, or too difficult to tackle, there are other tactics that I’ve personally used to get .edu authority links:

●   Blog comments
●   Create a case study that’s relevant to the subject matter
●   Blogger recognition

●   Leveraging alumni news
●   Local resource pages
●   University discounts
●   Improve a section of a site

As you can see, link building software may help but isn’t necessary.

You can learn how to apply all these link earning tactics in Chapter 5 of the Advanced Guide To Link Building.

 

4. Linking Out Instead of Link Building to Rank in Google

This helpful resource shows you why linking out is a strategy, not a tactic — because when you build quality anchor text phrases to outside sites, you also get these benefits:

●   Enhanced awareness for your site and brand
●   Opportunities for other sites to link back to your page
●   Search engine awareness that you have a timely and useful resource

●   More helpful information for your readers

 

Link Building Resources to Improve Your Search Rankings Part 1

 

Developing a link building strategy isn’t a cakewalk. Heck, even SEO experts sometimes fail at a link building campaign. Link building software and tools help, but you still need to split test everything.

Outbound links or links that point to external web pages from your own site can actually impact your blog authority. Make sure the pages your links point to are relevant, useful and have good standing with Google.

At the heart of an effective link building campaign is the concept of giving. In other words, you link to other sites, pages and case studies willingly. Linking out instead of link building to rank in Google is a helpful resource that doesn’t follow traditional advice. Rather, it capitalizes on the principle of reciprocity. Reciprocity is a social rule that says we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. That is, people give back the kind of treatment they have received from you.

For example, if you’re writing a guide to SEO, you should link out to authority sites that have addressed the topic before. As much as you can, link out to pages with high page authority – it’ll have a dramatic impact on your search performance and online visibility. Use simple search term phrases for anchor text when possible.

Reciprocity is one of the most vital of Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. We humans are basically hard-wired to pay back our debts, help those who offered us a helping hand and generally treat others as they’ve treated us.

Linking out to relevant pages not only earns you editorial links, but it also improves your search rankings. A survey of major newspapers on the web found that those who link out tend to outperform others who don’t on several performance metrics. Check popular sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter & Tumblr – they all link out excessively, and yet they still have millions of visitors coming back again and again.

 

5. Low Hanging Fruit: Link Building with Screaming Frog

To a large extent, valuable content makes it a lot easier to convince webmasters to link to you. According to MarketingSherpa, “53% of businesses view content creation as the single most effective SEO technique.” There are lots of opportunities to grow your site, if you just study your Google Webmasters Tools data and pinpoint the links coming in to your site.

Go to Traffic > Links to Your Site:

Next, go to “More”:

Finally, download latest links (limit is 100,000):

Getting the right links may seem difficult, especially when you’re not producing enough content. But if you consider the impact those links will have on your search rankings, you’ll invest in content creation and promotion.

The old way of creating content and expecting customers to just show up is no longer feasible. You need to spend about 70% of your time and resources on promotion – that’s the new and better way. “Low Hanging Fruit: Link Building with Screaming Frog” is an in-depth post that reveals opportunities for getting the right links using Screaming Frog, a premium SEO tool for link reclamation and link analysis.

Screaming Frog is invaluable as link building software for architecture research. You can also use it to initiate relationships with bloggers and reporters, among other things.

The tool can analyze your links and show you ways to pass more SEO search term value to your web pages. Knowing when to increase your link building efforts or slow down with that mission is critical. This is the whole essence of link velocity, which measures the rate at which other sites link to you.

There’s no single rule on how fast you should get links to your site. SEOs have differing opinions, but Google hasn’t commented one way or the other. The best approach is to create more content and increase your site authority. Content growth can solve your link velocity problems.

For example, it doesn’t matter how many links Moz.com or HubSpot.com generate this week; Google won’t view those links as manipulative, because both sites have good authority and thousands of pages already.

Source: Neilpatel.com Blog

 

 

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