An Intro to SEO for Boutique Owners: From Keywords to Content

SEO is a complex subject. It's very easy to overcomplicate SEO, and what I mean by that is - you can treat it as a full-on marketing strategy that you are really going all in on (and that's a topic for another day really!) or you can focus on the simple, day to day things that you should be doing for your online store anyway, like having good product title and descriptions. 

Today, we're talking about those basics!

SEO is for any size business, no matter how small! So, even if you’re just getting started, it’s good to know about SEO and how to make it work for you from the beginning of your biz:-) 

Why? It’s because leads from organic search are warmer. So when somebody goes on to Google and searches for a particular term, if Google thinks you have the answer and points them to your site, and it turns out you DO have the answer, then this person is going to be more likely to convert because they were actually looking for that thing that they were searching for!

What you need to know to get started

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice that involves optimizing websites and web pages to improve their visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

The goal of SEO is to attract more organic traffic to your website by increasing its visibility and ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

By implementing SEO best practices, you can improve your online visibility, drive more traffic, and ultimately generate more leads and sales.

Where to start as a business owner to improve SEO for your online store

#1 Research keywords for your business

This is worth spending a bit of time on to get right. It’s about finding out what words your customers are using to find you in Google Searches or on Pinterest, or however they find you.

So that’s a point in itself is to know where your customers come from. Is it Instagram, is it other social media, is it from Google? So I always recommend actually asking your customers when you can, how did you find me?

You could do that in a survey, or in a focus session, or as part of your email marketing. It’s notoriously difficult to get responses, but that shouldn’t stop from at least trying, because the more data you have the more powerful it is.

Sometimes the keywords are obvious, like “Womens dresses” - but I recommend that when you get down to the product level, you get more niche than that to find your exact customers so that when they land on your site, they are getting exactly what they were searching for.

And it’s worth remembering that you know what you sell and what the products are called, but your customer might call them something else. So you want to find one key phrase per page or per product or collection and then have a range of similar words that you can also use in your copy or your descriptions.

For example - someone might be searching for flattering pants and you know you sell bell bottoms or a particular cut or pattern which are super flattering, but your customer doesn’t know this level of detail or what the style that they are looking for. So you need to have “flattering pants” in your product description.

#2 Include those keywords in your Shopify Meta Title and Meta Description.

Keep your Title and Meta meta description (and your keyword!) unique for each page. If Google sees a bunch of pages with the same meta descriptions, it can get confused and it doesn’t really like it.

Use your keywords where you can, and where it makes sense. Be clear but appealing. Not click bait, and not so flowery that people can’t understand what benefit they are getting.

Long-tail keywords have 4 or more keywords, and can be more specific than general keywords. Think “Short flowery summer dress” instead of “summer dress” - these are more specific keyword phrases that people are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase and they can be really effective.

#3 Make sure to add ALT TEXT to all your website images

ALT TEXT or alternative text is a written description of an image displayed on your website. ALT TEXT lets you tell Google what the image shows so search engines can correctly index it. 

ALT TEXT is read aloud to users by screen reader and accessibility software. It will also display on the page if the image fails to load.

  • Install an ALT TEXT viewer extension to your browser to view ALT TEXT on your website pages. We like Image Alt Text Viewer from the Microsoft Store, but there are loads of options for both Mac and PC. 
  • Keep your ALT TEXT under 125 characters 
  • Don’t start with “picture of...” or “Image of...” Just jump straight in! Screen-reading tools will identify it as an image. 
  • Check for spelling errors! Misspelled words will confuse search engines crawling your site.

#4 Write fun, informative product descriptions that include keywords

A good product description should be clear, concise, and informative, and it should highlight the unique selling points of the product as well as the features, benefits, specifications, and any other information the shopper might need to make a decision!

#5 Start a blog 

Every time you create a new blog, that’s a new page for Google to index. 

#6 Check your links

Broken links can hurt your SEO!

For your website and business in general, you should already be taking some measures that will help with SEO naturally. For example:

  • Working on your site speed,
  • Make sure that your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop,
  • Make sure you have high-quality content product descriptions, photos, and
  • Make sure you have a great user experience overall on your site, no matter what device.
  • So ensure you’re doing these things as a minimum, and you will already be working on your SEO!

Best SEO Practices

Character limits (Shopify)
Meta Page Titles: 70 characters 
Meta Descriptions: 320 characters 
ALT Text: 125 characters

Meta Page Title (for your store)

A good SEO title tag should contain information that describes what the page is about, either by asking a question, answering a question, adding in the page name, your biz name, your keywords, where you are located (or online only?), or another information your ideal customers might be searching for. 

Meta Description (for your store)

A meta description summarizes, previews, and clarifies a page’s content. This is where you can expand on your title and add more revelent details, keywords, branded copy and a call to action (Visit us now!)

Product title 

One of the first pieces of copy a customer sees! These should tell a vistior exactly what the product is and make them want to learn more about it. 

Product Description

#1 Make it unique

Especially if you're dropshipping you want to have unique product descriptions and photos to help you stand out from the thousands of other stores also selling that product. It also helps build your creditability when you don't look like a copy-and-paste version of the store descriptions your customers just looked at.

#2 Know who your target audience is. 

You want to keep your buyer persona in mind when writing your product descriptions.

#3 Focus on the product benefits.

#4 Don’t forget to tell the full story!

Within your perfect product description, along with the facts and benefits, you should include an emotional punch!

#5 When you are writing use your authentic voice throughout

#6 Inject a little bit of you into your description to keep it friendly, fun, and most importantly on brand.

#7 Keep things simple and easy to read.

#8 Use your keywords

#9 Create a standard format for your product descriptions with all your possible model’s details.

Then for each product you upload, just copy and paste your standard format, and customize it to suit your product. Delete any models not shown for that item, and update the actual size of the item if it varied from their standard.

Creating a set standard format that is customizable will save you time and stress in the long run.

#10 Don’t forget about Shopify Magic - this useful AI can help you automatically generate descriptions but just edit them mindfully! Shouldn't be your final description - let it be a starting point if you're struggling with ideas. Remember at the end of the day, it is a tool, not a professional SEO copywriter!

SEO is not a once-off task

SEO is something you will need to keep working on consistently and constantly. Like any other marketing strategy, it’s never a one-off task. There’s no one checklist of all the SEO tasks you can do, and then you’re done with it, and the traffic comes to you. If only it were that easy!

The good news is that you can build your SEO ranking as you build your business, so don’t let it overwhelm you; just keep it in mind. 

👉 Need help with your Shopify or CommentSold website? 

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