What Does The Google Algorithm Update “Fred” Mean For eCommerce Stores? (March 2017)

There has been a huge shake up in the SEO & Marketing world this past week – with a new algorithm hitting lots of sites. This algorithm has been named the Google Algorithm FRED update by the SEO experts. However Google, as ever, are keeping tight lipped about the actual algorithm’s key features and are yet to give it a name. In this quick blog we are going to examine our thoughts about the update, how it may have affected your eCommerce store and what can be done about it.

 Google algorithm FRED Update eCommerce

Why Is Google Algorithm Fred So Important?

At Shopili, we haven’t seen any client movement. But this is not the case across the board. According to a study by SearchEngineLand.com.

“Google won’t comment about the “Fred update,” but based on our own analysis, many affected sites saw up to a 90% drop in traffic.”

This could be a huge drop in ranking for many businesses who use online traffic as one of their main channels for sales. Of course, eCommerce sites – self hosted and ones that use platforms such as Shopify as a host.

How Can I Tell If I’ve Been Hit By The Fred Update?

As a store owner, it is very important to be monitoring where your store’s traffic is coming from. After all, this can really help show you where you should be concentrating on pushing your digital marketing. However, if you are not too sure on how to look at your purely organic traffic – then we have made a quick guide which shows how to read your organic traffic through your Google Analytics account.

  1. Head over to your analytics account and click on your property.
  2. Look to the menu on the left hand side of the screen and click ACQUISITION.
  3. Select OVERVIEW.
  4. Scroll Down and select ORGANIC SEARCH.
  5. This should give you an overview of the last week of your store’s organic search history. Compare it to last week/month/year to get a good overview of your organic search history.

 

If You’ve Been Hit By The Google Algorithm Update March 2017

Google algorithm update FRED

So What Made My Store Get Hit By The Google Algorithm Fred?

As we said, Google is keeping pretty quiet about what factors have led to these de-rankings. Yet as SEO experts, there are some clues as to what sites have suffered the most, and these are becoming more and more apparent, as SEO experts begin releasing new information.

Algorithms in the past, have focused a lot on ONSITE factors. If you are not familiar with the term – these are factors that are present on the website itself. This could be site speed, how well it loads, how many popups there are, etc. Basically – if you are giving your users a negative experience, you will be ranked accordingly to that. Google can measure this in bounce rate, how long users stay on your site and whether they convert when on the site too.

It makes sense then, that experts predict this particular update is looking at OFFSITE SEO factors. These include what websites are linking to you, what words they are using to link (anchor texts), citations and more. If you have bad quality links, coming for unrelated sources. This really could affect your SEO efforts for your eCommerce store from now on.

How Can I Prevent Getting Penalized In the Future?

The only way to really ensure that your website is safe from future Google Algorithm updates is to ensure that your site follows certain rules of thumb and does not deviate away from certain factors. Some of the most important are:

  • Make sure your eCommerce store works well across all devices such as mobile phones, tablets.
  • Do not use copied content on your site.
  • Do not use quick, risky and fake SEO methods to boost your site. Such as creating bad links that do not relate to your niche.
  • Avoid pop ups on your website that make your site unfriendly to users.
  • & of course, making sure you only have quality backlinks, coming from niche related sources.

 

 

Need Extra eCommerce SEO Help?

If you need eCommerce SEO help, we will be more than happy to help. Our team at Shopili have audited over 1000 different eCommerce stores in the past. Helping stores achieve their goals and sales online.  Click here to apply for your free eCommerce SEO audit today.

Why Get A Shopify Marketing Expert to Execute Your Shopify SEO?

Search Engine Optimization can be a confusing business. Especially for those who are not experienced in the realms of digital marketing! From our experience, many Shopify store owners that come to us have a very varying level of knowledge about SEO and marketing. However, experienced or not. Both store owners come to ask a shopify marketing expert to get their work done. Why? Because (as I am sure you may agree) eCommerce store owners have lots of tasks to do day-to-day. Wrapping, packaging, customer service, product updates, stock updates, buying new designs, sourcing suppliers: these are just a few daily tasks to get through!

Therefore concentrating on your Shopify store’s marketing and SEO can sometimes be put on the back-burner. Even though most savvy businesses know that they need SEO, they can keep putting it off as they just do not know where to turn or what they are really paying for.

Many clients come to us bewildered by the amount of SEO options that are put before them. However for Shopify owners the choice is a little more simple. At Shopi SEO, we provid  a Shopify -specific expert service that is completely tailor-made to help Shopify users. There are also a whole host of other benefits to using a Shopify marketing expert for your store, rather than an ordinary marketing provider:

Which leaves us with the question, “Why Get A Shopify Marketing Expert to Execute Your Shopify SEO?”

1) We know the Shopify platform back to front

shopify marketing expert

At Shopi SEO, we live, breathe and dream Shopify! Meaning that we know the actual platform from back to front. Although an ordinary SEO & marketer would do a good job. We can do it more quickly and thoroughly. This results in a better service and result for our client! There are also several little SEO quirks that Shopify has. It can be very difficult for someone not trained on Shopify to spot. For instance, tags, duplicate content issues, and working with Shopify’s liquid code are crucial bits of knowledge we have to get the job done.

 

2) We can fix any Shopify SEO issues

As we stated, our team of experts are trained to spot even the most difficult Shopify SEO issues. Even if a marketer who was not designated as a Shopify Expert could spot the errors: fixes are not always simple. Many old school marketers and SEO agencies are used to working on self hosted websites. These are usually much different to a hosted platform like Shopify. Therefore they simply may not have the knowledge to really fix the problems that we can.

3) Tried and tested methods

Around 75 percent of the work that we do at Shopi SEO is trialing and testing new ways to help our clients gain more traffic – and sales too. In brief, SEO is not a factual science. Search engines do not tell us how they are going to rank a website. Therefore for SEO to work, needs constant time and attention to get right. Search engines and social media networks are always changing, and that means they need testing too! Take the new Instagram algorithm for examples. Hundreds of store owners that relied on Instagram for sales now have to completely re-evaluate their marketing processes. A big shock for many. However, we had the heads-up and were able to completely re-strategize for our clients before the change was even made. The result? They are miles ahead of the competition. Of course this is not the case all the time – but by having a Shopify marketing expert on your side, you are certainly giving yourself the best chance of success.

4) A whole host of Shopify information at our fingertips

 shopify seo experts

At Shopi SEO, we do not just help our clients about their SEO and marketing solutions. We also give them heaps of Shopify advice on all manners of topics. Whether a client needs a new Shopify design, or wants help finding that perfect app to fulfill a very specific criteria: we can help you. Think of us as a company you can always turn to with any of your Shopify problems!

5) References available from owners in a similar position to you

It can be difficult to really judge whether an SEO and marketing company is the right fit. They may be helping a multitude of businesses, that all specialize in different niches. Therefore their references cannot really help you make the right decision. For example, an SEO company who managed to rank “Hairdresser, Malmesbury,” is not a great decider. If you think about it, this is localized SEO  – whereas eCommerce tends to be National or even Global. Also your products tend to be more general. It is important to choose a Shopify Marketing Expert that knows how to make you stand apart from the crowd more than any other.

 Not on Shopify yet? Why wait? Click here to get started.

Alternatively if you would like some help from our Shopify Marketing Experts: do not hesitate to get in touch. Or perhaps you would like to begin with a free Shopify SEO audit?

Shopify SEO for Beginners – A Guide

At Shopi SEO, we have many inquiries from a wide range of Shopify store owners. Many of them realize the importance of Shopify marketing and (obviously) want to draw more visitors to their store. However, not all of them have come across the term SEO before (otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization.) Therefore they do not fully understand the services that we provide. Others have a small understanding, but do not understand how Shopify SEO experts can really help them. That is why we have decided to do a simple “round up” to help explain Shopify SEO for beginners and how professional marketing services can grow their business. Thomas Jones, is a new ecommerce store owner selling baby clothing and he has (happily!) put us through the grill on all his queries. So without further ado:

 

Thomas – What exactly is SEO?

When you search for something on Google, do you wonder about how Google decides which results to bring up first? After all, Google is a business and wants to give their users the best result possible – otherwise we might start using Yahoo! instead. Search Engine Optimization is the process of helping a website rank higher in search engines such as Google.  Search engines use certain algorithms (measuring methods) to determine how relevant a certain website is to a search. Now Google does not tell us how their algorithms work, otherwise all the spam websites would be using underhand tactics to trick them. Therefore SEO experts have to consistently work out these algorithms, and in turn, modify their client’s websites to become algorithm friendly.

 

 

Thomas – That makes sense, so how does improving my SEO help my Shopify store?

The higher you rank on Google, the more visitors and sales you will get. It really is that simple. Most stores want to be on the first page of Google for search terms that relate to them. This is because many online shoppers do not shop past the first page. If you shop online yourself, you will realize that you probably do not click past page 2, unless you are doing some intense research!

 

Thomas – For my shop, which sells baby clothes, some really big stores come up like Amazon, Ebay and John Lewis on page 1. How can I compete with that?

Of course Google shows trusted and well known brands first. This is because their websites are:

a) Trusted

b) Aged

Google knows their users will have a good experience whilst shopping on their sites. Although you may not be able to compete with general terms such as “baby clothes,” we will be able to look into other search terms to rank for. This is called keyword research, and is the first steps of SEO. We won’t fully go into the details of keyword research (as this is something we will do for you) but a keyword we might look at for your brand is “boutique baby clothes uk.” The great thing about these specific, longer keywords is that the searcher usually has more INTENT to buy than the shorter terms anyway. Meaning conversions are normally much higher.

 

Thomas – I can pay for adverts to be on Google page one right?

Yes of course you can through Google Adwords. This may work to bring some visitors to your store. Though it has been shown that many users are prone to ignore adverts now. However many advertising budgets will soon run low as not every click will convert into a sale. Over time you will end up spending more money than you make when running a business on paid advertising. Organic search is a better investment, as when you begin to rank organically, you can be on Page one for a long time and not paying for clicks.

For instance, one of our clients used to spend £400 per month on advertising and get a 5 percent conversion rate. They decided to invest their budget into organic SEO instead and managed to secure a place on page one. Their organic rankings now pay for themselves and they have made more money than they invested into the SEO in the first place. SEO truly is one of the world’s best ROI’s.

 

Thomas – So what types of SEO options are there? Where do I begin?

If you have had absolutely no SEO performed on your Shopify store then you will need to begin with onsite optimization first. Onsite optimization is exactly what is says; the optimization of your physical website. There are many characteristics of your website that can be edited to make it more Google friendly. Many of the tasks are simply using research to input the correct titles and meta. Other tasks are more complex such as editing code and speeding up the website. You can find out more information about the work we do with  Shopify onsite optimization here.

Onsite optimization will help your Shopify store to rank higher, however a true SEO strategy needs ongoing work. Especially in a niche where many stores have been optimized well. How can you rank above the rest? This is where offsite optimization comes into play.

 

Thomas – Tell me more about offsite optimization

Offsite optimization is a monthly set of practices that help boost your site rankings. It is advisable that you have had full onsite optimization first before going ahead with this. Offsite optimization has one aim: to make your Shopify store more trusted and relevant in Google’s eyes. There are a number of techniques that we use to do this including link building and content marketing too. Obviously we cannot give our trade secrets away on how we get stores to rank so well, but we can say that we concentrate on getting authority from the right sources online.

You see, the one way Google ranks your website is to see how many other websites think you are important. If no one is linking to your website online, then your website will be deemed unimportant and will not rank well. Therefore back links are a crucial aspect of SEO. It also considers WHO is linking to you too. If Cosmopolitan links to your fashion website, it probably means you are an authoritative brand as that is a respected website. However if a rubbish spam site links to you, this will not pass on any authority. Not all links are created equally. It is important to get the balance of numbers of links, and quality of the links in the correct balance.

 

Thomas – How do I know what SEO services I need?

The best way to find out the SEO services your store requires is to ask us to perform a free Shopify SEO audit.

 

Last updated – 02/10/15, please email us your Shopify SEO questions and we will keep on adding to this list.

 

 

 

Quick Shopify SEO Tips For New Ecommerce Store Owners

So you have a newly setup Shopify store. You have taken the time to introduce superb functionality, a  gorgeous custom design and product photos so captivating, you know that sales are imminent.  But, first of all you need to get customers to the site! Here are some quick Shopify SEO tips that will help your website rank in no time.

Marketing becomes the key to your long term success as an online retailer. By applying the correct search engine optimisation (SEO) to your ecommerce store you will be head and shoulders above many other competitors who have yet to consider that to get visitors to their website they need a successful marketing strategy. These Shopify SEO tips could be the difference between have a stale, stagnant website with no sales, to a blossoming one.

 

 

Here are our 5 top Shopify SEO tips provided by our experts at Shopi SEO.

 

1) Keep keywords up front

When writing your Shopify title tags for your pages, make sure to place your brand at the end. This may sound counter-intuitive as many brands want their title on show, but it’s logical for small companies. 

 

Why?

Well you’re a new website and  many people have not heard of your brand yet! It is unlikely that they are searching for your brand name yet. Let’s take a new, upcoming handbag store as an exmaple. You sell a variety of handbags from famous designers. Therefore you want to rank for keyword “designer handbags” in the mighty Google. How would you go about this?

 

Well it’s evident that over 90% of the first page listings for “designer handbags” are brands that are well established ones.  House of Fraser, Harrods and Selfridges are always going to dominate these top positions.  

Therefore you need to focus on unique, high volume, low competition keywords you want to rank for at the beginning of your title tag. There’s a reason for this, Google weight keywords at the beginning of your title tag more than at the end.

For a title tag for this particular business, it may look something like: “ Biba Brown Leather Clutch | Designer Handbags | BRAND NAME ”. What you have there is a title tag that defines the product, the type and your brand too. Now you’re starting to target visitors with the main keyword but also hitting niche searches that are likely to convert PLUS you still define your brand.

 

 

#2 Use your blog! 

There are many Shopify stores that don’t have a blog setup on their website. This part of the site tends to be often neglected but could be the secret to your Shopify marketing success. You see, the blog works its magic in several ways.

  • It keeps your website fresh and up to date. Just one blog post per week of helpful information can be enough to let search engines know your website is still alive and kicking.
  • You have knowledge of your industry and products, or you should do. Write about it! Search engines love website owners who know their stuff AND help their customers. You blog is the perfect platform to do this.
  • There may be keywords you want to rank for that you have no place to include on your website. You blog allows you to apply the perfect Shopify SEO strategy by including these keywords naturally in your informative blog posts.

 

 

#3 Links, the pathway to Shopify SEO success

If the Internet had a backbone it would be something called backlinks. These backlinks are pathways from one webpage to another and without any path, both users and search engine bots have nowhere to go.

 

Your Shopify site needs backlinks to boost its authority which in turn helps you rank for more competitive keywords. But you shouldn’t acquire any old backlinks – you need backlinks pointing to your website that are from relevant industry related websites preferably with a strong domain authority of their own.

 

If you’re a new ecommerce website you have a great opportunity to boost yourself with some strong backlinks to your website. Whether this is guest posting on other people’s websites, adding yourself to the correct directories, building relationships with blogger review websites for your products or other Shopify SEO strategies you need a plan of action.

 

Your products and your blog posts should be good enough that people want to link to them so consider the type of website copy you have on every page, and like point number two above, consider your blogging strategy.

 

At Shopify SEO we provide an extensive marketing service for your ecommerce store from on-site to off-site optimization. We’ve helped a whole array of client’s rank where they want to be in the top search engines. If you’re interested and would like a consultation you can get your FREE Shopify SEO audit here today.

Google Update July 2015 – Slow Loading Warning

There are rumours circulating the SEO mill  about a new Google update July 2015.  As Shopify SEO experts we felt the need to pass on this vital information to store owners. As it is a rumour which could severely harm your Shopify SEO if some immediate action is not taken.

This year Google has warned website owners that being mobile friendly is the key to success and higher rankings. Therefore many Shopify store owners quickly turned to experts to make sure their shops were as mobile friendly as possibly. However it seems that they are not content with making sure that all websites are made mobile friendly, Google now wants them to be a certain speed standard too!

A blog was recently posted upon Search Engine Land stating that Google had begun testing to add slow loading warnings to Android search results. This means if your website takes too long to load a little symbol (as pictured below) will appear next to it. Not only does this mean that mobile users maybe turned off from using the website, but it could then in turn reduce your click through rate and therefore rankings for your Shopify store.

google update july 2015

What could this mean in terms of Shopify SEO?

In terms of Shopify SEO:

1 ) Instant drop in sales:

This means that your website could get this flag next to it in search rankings. Meaning visitors will drop to your website instantly if they are using a mobile device. Mobile shopping is bigger than ever, therefore if these users drop off, you could encounter less sales.

2) Long term damage to marketing

The more users avoid clicking on your store, the more damage is done to your click through rate. Damage to click-through-rate could be detrimental to your Shopify SEO efforts. A lower click through rate via Google means they will rank your site less “worthy” of being in the top results. Reducing the likeliness of ranking in Google at all over a certain amount of time.

3) Less returning customers

There are many customer retention strategies that can be implemented on an eCommerce store. Once you have managed to attract a customer via Google, you can easily capture details so that they become a potential conversion. By not attracting these mobile visitors, other online marketing techniques could be hampered. Such as email marketing, newsletters, promotional codes and sales. This could really cause some long term damage to revenue in the future.

 

4) Paying more for advertising

If you are not getting visitors through Google organic search, you will need to gain them in other ways.  This may mean putting more money into advertising such as Google Adwords. Unfortunately Google Adwords can be costly and extremely time consuming to anyone who is not familiar. This means you could spend a large budget with limited conversions and results. By putting this advertising budget into your Organic SEO efforts, you could save this money and rank naturally instead.

What can be done?

The solution is a very simple one. Make sure your website is up to speed to help with your Shopify SEO efforts. By fixing simple loading speeds, redirects and making your Shopify store completely SEO friendly. At Shopi SEO, our team of experts are ready and waiting to help! Just get in touch today for your free Shopify SEO audit to see how we can help!

 

Shopify SEO Review

If you are about to open a new eCommerce store then you will still be looking at all the options available to you out there. It’s true, there are a multitude of platforms available to choose from: Volusion, Magento, Bigcommerce and Shopify to name but a few. Some of the features you may have been inspecting could include – the cost of monthly fees, amount of products allowed and free themes available. However how SEO friendly the platform is, may have also been a consideration for you too. Afterall there is no point building a beautiful e-commerce store if no-one can find it! Here is our Shopi SEO, Shopify SEO review to give you the run down of how flexible the features are.

 

Please note – This guide is mainly aimed at store owners rather than SEO professionals. Giving you an insight into basic Shopify SEO that can be easily implemented by the average store owner.

 

Shopify SEO Review: Setting Up Your Shopify Store

Before I start to analyze all of the SEO features that Shopify.com has to offer. I would like to assess the reasons that most ecommerce owners pick Shopify as their chosen platform. It is really easy to launch your online store without any HTML/CSS or coding skills at all. Also, there is plenty of material to keep you going if you ever get confused at all. The customer service, online guides and helpful forum can walk you through the process of practically everything you need to know. You can check out Shopify with a 14-day free trial on us!

 

Shopify SEO Review: Adding Your Products & Collections Is A Breeze

When adding products to your Shopify store there are options to make the pages more SEO friendly. These include options to specify your  meta titles (page title), meta description (page description) and fine tune the URL structure of the product page. The same options are available for regular pages and collection pages too. For basic SEO this is perfect for the average store owner. It is enough to make your product pages visible in Google so that people can find them and buy from your online store. Especially if they are searching for a specific brand, or very specific description. However it is definitely not enough to just do this if you want to beat down those competitors.

Shopify SEO Review: Alt Tags

Alt tags for images can be really useful when appearing in a Google image search. You will be surprised just how visitors and customers you can acquire through Google images. Therefore the fact that Shopify make this feature so simple and easy for users is a real bonus indeed.

 

Shopify SEO Review: Sitemap

Shopify generates a sitemap for you which means it is simple to submit your sitemap to Google for indexing. However, some web users feel they want more control over their sitemap. Unfortunately it is not possible to edit or change your sitemap in Shopify.

Shopify SEO Review: Redirects have been solved!

In the past, you were able to change your product or collections URLs in browser. Unfortunately when you did this, you had to create a manual redirect. If this was forgotten about then you would be left with a load of 403 warnings if links were not changed. Now Shopify creates an automatic redirect every time a URL is changed, saving sites from broken links and duplicate content issues too.

Shopify SEO Review: Applications

There are many applications that have been created to try and enhance the SEO of Shopify stores. Unfortunately we have tried and tested many of these apps. They tend to give a one-click solution which actually could be damaging to rankings rather than help. Therefore our advice is to steer clear from these. Inputting meta tags that have been dreamed up by a computer bot is definitely not the way to go if you want to improve your Shopify SEO.

Shopify SEO Review: Any Criticisms?

There are certain negatives to Shopify SEO (as there is with nearly every website builder/ecommerce platform under the sun.) The main two issues are:

  • The structures of the URLs:

The URL structures are easy to change (as discussed), which makes Shopify very SEO friendly. However there is a small issue that means that their is an extra bit in the URL which would be better removed.

http://storename.myshopify.com/collections/womens-shoes

A “better” variation would be http://storename.myshopify.com/womens-shoes

Unfortunately there is no fix for this at the moment. However it is not definite that this still effects SEO negatively in 2015.

  • Product tags

Product tags are a great way of sorting through your products and making your Shopify store easy to navigate. Many themes use product tags as filters on the sides of collection pages. However product tags can potentially cause duplicate content issues. Which become prevalent when you open up webmaster tools. The good news is, although this is not perfect, duplicate content seems to be ignored by Google rather than any proper penalization occurring.

 

Conclusion of our Shopify SEO review

So there you have it folks! Our honest opinion of Shopify SEO potential is clear. Shopify is  a powerful tool that allows users to quickly and easily set up, manage and edit their store. It simplifies web development by giving a simple cart tool – how much you modify your store is up to you, and the same can be said with SEO. There should be limitations to Shopify SEO, the URL structure and tagging system should be definite downfalls to how stores rank. However Google does not seem to penalize a Shopify store because of this. Therefore maybe because there are so many of them, they ignore the /collections/ interferance. In terms of Shopify apps there are multiple plugins available to download, however we advise to steer clear of these as they can really do more harm then good. Having an expert assess and edit your website to improve your SEO really is the best way to ensure you get good rankings.

 

If you are really looking for a permanent Shopify SEO solution then do not hesitate to contact Shopi SEO for a free Shopify SEO audit. We will be happy to help advise you on the next steps to ranking higher in Google.