Retention

How to Future Proof Your Shopify Store5 min read

As time passes, eCommerce evolves. From store platforms to payment gateways, to content strategies and social media marketing, eCommerce changes with new trends and technologies.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is no exception.

 

Google updates its ranking algorithms somewhat regularly. As developers notice new trends in online searches, they adjust Google’s algorithms accordingly.
For store owners, this means you need to stay up-to-date with the changes. Living in the past could cost your store greatly.
But what can you do to prepare for changes? You don’t know exactly which trends to expect in the future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t future-proof your Shopify store.
Do you want your store to compete, despite changes to Google’s ranking algorithms? Read on to learn the essential steps you must take to prepare your Shopify store for the future of SEO.

 

Tactic #1: Appeal to Voice Search

 

Your smartphone, tablet, laptop, smartwatch, video game console, and home automation system likely offer voice-controlled services. Voice searches are now readily available across a range of electronics, and the amount of Google voice searches each day has skyrocketed accordingly.

 

As such, Google’s algorithms now place a much higher priority on ranking sites appropriately for voice searches.
But what does this mean for you?
It’s simple: when people use voice search, they tend to speak naturally. They speak using full sentences, rather than short phrases.
For instance, picture yourself using voice search to find a pizza parlor near you. Are you going to say “pizza parlor near me,” or “Who delivers pizza near me?”
If you’re like most people, you’ll say a complete sentence.
You might think this is a small variance from typical searches. In fact, it’s a very drastic change.
Most content on the web uses short keywords and phrases. They generally target written searches. Your store may not rank highly for voice searches if you aren’t targeting them with your SEO strategy.
The solution?
Use full sentences in your content. Speak naturally. Think about what your customer will say when they do a voice search.
Most importantly, think about the questions they might ask. Present the question first, and answer it directly with a complete sentence.
Adapting to voice searches is a key way to avoid obsolescence as the SEO arena changes.

 

Tactic #2: Target Topics With Your SEO

 

Everything you’ve heard about SEO since you began your store likely focused on the importance of keywords and phrases. But will these stay important as SEO evolves?
The research indicates it won’t.
Keywords are less important to SEO than ever. They still play a key role, but not like they used to.
Instead, Google focuses on topics. Google is considered a semantic search engine. It connects users with content relevant to their search query.
It didn’t take long for Google to realize keywords don’t equate relevance.
But how can you adapt?
Start by addressing wider topics. Avoid targeting a single, specific phrase.
Pick a main topic you’d like to cover, and create a list of words and phrases semantically linked to it. Find these phrases using a keyword search tool (such as Google’s keyword too), or using the Google search bar.
Using a keyword tool, enter your target phrase. Take note of the related, unique keywords in the results. These are terms you want to use in your content.

 

 

IMG_0158

 

To find semantically linked phrases using Google, type your phrase into the search bar. Pay attention to the related searches found as you type your query. These search terms will show you which related words and phrases your audience is searching for.

 

 

 

IMG_0156

 

By focusing on topics rather than keywords, you can stay on top of Google’s rankings. Keywords are no longer the king of SEO, and semantic searches have taken their place.

 

Tactic #3: Use Attractive Formatting

 

Clutter drives visitors away. Nobody wants to read disorganized, poorly-formatted content. Bad formatting is a leading factor in high bounce rates, as well as low Google rankings.
Google’s algorithms place high value on pages with low bounce rates. The longer visitors stay on your page, the higher it will rank. Good formatting is among the best ways to improve your bounce rate.

 

How can you avoid bad formatting?
Pay attention to your user analytics. Use a hotspot tool to see which parts of your page your visitors click on most. Identify how long visitors are staying on your pages.
High bounce rates are the death of Shopify stores. Are your visitors staying for ten minutes and thoroughly experiencing your page? Or are they leaving after a few seconds because they don’t like what they see?
Hopefully, they’re staying. But if not, bad formatting could be to blame.
So what constitutes good formatting?
There is no one-size-fits-all rule for formatting. Good page layouts will depend on your store and your audience – this is where hotspot trackers come in, particularly for your product display pages.
Which parts of your page are your readers clicking on?

 

Which parts are they avoiding?
Prominently display areas that receive the most attention from visitors. Make them easy to find. Minimize the presence of rarely used page additions. You might consider removing some altogether.
Your content pages should follow general formatting rules.

 

  • Include plenty of white space. White space makes content easier to read and minimizes distraction and strain on the eyes.
  • Use a large font. Don’t make your visitors squint to see your content.
  • Minimize the number of distractions on your sidebar, header, and footer. Don’t take away from the content itself.
  • Include appropriate images and videos to enhance the look of your content pages.
  • Avoid walls of text. Use short paragraphs. Write readable, scannable content.

Some may argue that formatting is more important than the content or products themselves. No matter how great your content is, or how helpful your products are, no none will stay on your page long enough to appreciate them if you use bad formatting.
With great formatting, you can future-proof your Shopify store and increase your sales. Such a small fix can mean a world of difference for your store.

 

Special thanks to Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios for his very informative and inspirational post.

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.