On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy that pays off, ten-fold. It brings you consistent, high-quality, organic traffic to your website – that means the right visitors, who eventually turn into paying customers. Yes, it’s a long-term strategy, but it’s one that will always pay off.

It’s with that weight behind it that makes SEO one of the primary and most important building blocks for your business web presence. Who wouldn’t want to generate more organic traffic and have those numbers skyrocket over time? Using evergreen content, detailed keyword research and clever content marketing strategies, you’ll find SEO to be a key pillar in your business scale and growth tactics.

What is on-page SEO?

SEO is often broken down into these three categories:

  • Off-page: Link strategies from other websites
  • Technical: The infrastructure of your website, so that search engines can access, crawl, interpret and index it without any problems
  • On-page: The content on your pages.

When people type a search into a search engine (let’s use the big one, Google), a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) comes up with organic results, and paid adverts.

On-page SEO means making sure that the content on your website matches the parameters that Google is looking for. When people search for terms related to your business, we want your website to be among the top ten results that come up.

Let’s look at the facts. Only 4.8% of searchers make it to the second page of search results. Page three?  A pretty dismal looking 1.1% – that’s somewhere you definitely don’t want to be.

Get to page one and the numbers start to look pretty damn good; the top result grabs 32.5% of traffic on average, and the second result 17.6% traffic.

SEO is a brilliant marketing strategy and one that every single ecommerce site can adapt, by taking into account 4 key principles.

  • Keyword research
  • Meta data
  • Content marketing
  • Indexing and analytics

The end-game? Ranking as high as you can for the keywords and search terms your potential customers are using, bringing in more organic traffic and making you more sales.

1. Keyword research

This is the very first step for on-page SEO and content planning. 

You need to identify high-value search terms that your ideal customers are thinking of. You must know your audience well enough to conduct keyword research that results in terms, phrases and questions they’ll actually be using.

Think about who you are selling your product to – SEO keyword research is about knowing your target audience and personas well enough to match their real life search intentions.

Use tools to find relevant keywords

  • Start by heading to Google AutoSuggest; that’s the suggested answers and relevant queries that come up in the search bar when you type in your search. 
  • You’ll notice other keywords and search intents that your customers might also be searching for – this forms the basis of your research.
  • If you run a new site, look for long-tail keywords (3-4 words in length). Longer keywords are more specific and often have lower competition. That means higher conversion rates and click-throughs (and that’s our goal).

There are a lot of tools out there (both free, and paid) to facilitate keyword research, and we highly recommend checking them out.

Answer The Public Example

Answer The Public Keyword Tool

Alternatively, use a Shopify and SEO expert to create a SEO strategy for you, which will include detailed keyword research based on:

  • Search intent
  • Current search engine ranking
  • On-page optimization
  • Target audience
  • Keyword competition 
  • Volume
  • Traffic
  • Competition

At Zyber we use SEMRush, which takes your keyword analysis from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’. Only the best for our clients, as always.

Narrow the field

Getting the right keywords means narrowing down your keyword list to ones that will work for your website and will compete with other optimized sites (your competitors).

Essential indicators 

  1. Volume: The higher the search volume, the more potential traffic to your site. They also have a lot of competition.
  2. Competition: Low competition keywords are ones you’re more likely to rank for.
  3. Relevancy: Keywords that are relevant to your product or service.  If you know you can rank for a 5 word long-tail keyword about dogs, but your site is selling women’s clothing, there’s no point. Don’t even try. Google’s a smart algorithm, so don’t try any funny tricks.

2. Meta data

Now you know your keywords, let’s put them on your website in the right places. 

  • Edit the title tags and meta descriptions on your Shopify store to include your keywords.
  • Make sure the alt text on images include your keywords (if it reads naturally)
  • Include keywords in any file names
  • Add keywords to URLs for blog posts, webpages, products and collections.

Write for people, first and foremost. If a keyword looks out of place, Google will notice and so will your customers. 

Whatever you do, do not keyword stuff (putting as many keywords as possible all over your pages and metadata). It doesn’t work, Google will penalize you, and it will take a while to crawl back from.

While using keywords in title-tags and descriptions will obviously help Google to notice you for the right subjects, they also help to convince searchers to click through to your site. Searcher interest is a key factor, not just because Google may use CTR as a ranking factor, but also because (let’s not complicate it) we want people clicking through to your site. We want traffic, visitors, and people who are looking for what you’re offering. You tell them, they’ll find you.

3. Content Marketing

We’re going to adopt a cliche here because, well, it’s the hard truth and we need you to know it. Content is king! All SEO experts know it, and now you do too. At Zyber however, we always like to take it up a notch. While content is king, it’s the quality of the content that counts.

Write your content for people 

Loosen up your writing style to suit your brand voice and appeal to your target audience. 

This has two outcomes that encourage your SEO ranking:

The algorithm

Google can tell if a page has been written by a person – it’s a clever beast that will reward you for interesting, relevant and content rich pages. Google wants to showcase pages that have a lot of information about the terms searched – set yourself apart from the competition and provide value.

Your audience

They’ll stick around, spending longer on your site which tells Google it’s relevant and interesting (another algorithm factor). Most importantly, you’ll be answering their query or meeting their search for the perfect product – that’s a conversion right there.

Organize content for Google

Here are two of the top content strategies SEO content experts employ.

The Skyscraper Research Method

Think of a city landscape. When you build a skyscraper you don’t want to build just any old building – you want to build the tallest one that stands out above all others. Apply this method to your content; you want it to rank as high as it possibly can.

Jump on Google (use Incognito Mode to make sure none of your cookies and internet files affect the search results) and see what’s out there. Take a look at the pages that rank highly for your search results.

Now you know who the competition is, scale up by taking it one step further. Look at the content on those pages. How are they formatted? What content do they refer to? What questions do they answer?

We’re definitely not looking at copying – we’re looking at top ranking factors for your keywords. Now do it better. Add your expertise with what you know Google is looking for in the top content. 

Be the tallest skyscraper.

Pillar and Content Cluster Pages

The way people are searching is changing; remember how we discussed using keywords for terms, phrases and questions? Google users are now submitting longer, conversational queries and the algorithm is meeting the demand.

A whopping 64% of search engine queries are 4 words or longer. We’re talking to Google like it’s a person, and the algorithm is evolving to provide those answers (even if it isn’t exactly what we asked it), so we need to optimize and write for longer-form conversational search queries. We need to create and organize content that addresses gaps and meets search intent, not just keywords. Give the people what they want!

What does this mean for organising your blog posts and content articles? Pillars and Clusters.

Organize your site according to main topics, and have a page that covers an overview of that topic – the pillar. Now, write more detailed content surrounding and hyperlinking to each other, and to that pillar – the clusters.

A Pillar/Cluster strategy uses site architecture to organize and link URLs together. Google easily scans the content and sees the semantic relationship, as well as receiving a signal that there’s depth to the content. This authority leads to one, exceptionally good thing – a higher ranking.

4. Indexing and Analytics

There are many, many tools out there for you to maximise your website’s potential. The Zyber team are also, as you may know, data fans. Data and analytics give us hard facts on what’s working, and what isn’t. We like to know that the content you’re putting out there has a high ROI and is gaining you the traffic you deserve.

We can’t talk about analytics without mentioning the big guy – Google Analytics. Use Google Analytics to keep track of traffic, set-up goals to measure conversions, and track time spent on site – the list goes on. 

Get your Google Analytic account started with our easy-to-follow guide.

We also recommend using Search Console to index your site. After working hard on your SEO and site organization, you want to make sure to tell search engines about it – which is what a sitemap does. It might take months for web crawlers to index your pages, even if you’ve ticked all the optimization boxes. Index your page from the get-go by using Search Console and hit the ground running.

Optimize your Shopify site

Now you know the backbone of on-page SEO, let’s get into it on your Shopify site. Shopify has a range of in-built features perfect for kick-starting your SEO strategy.

  • Auto-generated canonical tags are added to pages to avoid duplication
  • Easy to edit meta descriptions and URLs 
  • Themes automatically generate title tags to include your store name
  • Themes are required to have social media linking and sharing options
  • Easy to edit alt text for images to include keywords.
  • Editable file names to include your keywords

There is a tonne of strategy that goes into on-page SEO – we’ve touched on four major points to keep in mind when you’re prioritizing and scaling your marketing efforts. If you want more high-quality, organic traffic to your site, this is the place to start.

Zyber is New Zealand’s leading Shopify Expert. Let’s talk about taking your website to the next level with SEO and content marketing.

 

Written.

by Sequoia Painter
June 2, 2020

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