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Episode 14 - Step 1 of SEO for your Shopify Store

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Hey Scott Austin here and welcome to another episode of the Shopify solutions podcast. In this episode, I'm going to explain to you the very first thing that you should do for SEO for your Shopify store. Now, SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. SEO refers to techniques that help your business rank higher in search engine results pages. So through good SEO practices, your store will rank higher on Google and not only will it rank higher, but good SEO will help you accurately present your business in the search engine results. So the grammar we proper and your store will be explained fully. And the goal of SEO was draw more people to your website and business through search, whether on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. So let's talk a little bit about those three search engines and how much market share they have. I just pulled some recent data that is global across all devices on the market share of all search engines.

And Google, not surprisingly, is a dominant number one. They currently have 93% market share. Bing has 2.3% market share and Yahoo has 1.6% market share. And that doesn't add up to a hundred percent because there are a bunch of even smaller search engines on, many of them are for local countries and aren't global in their presence. But there are many other little smaller search engines on the web. So it's first and foremost about Google when you're looking at doing SEO, and you should do the others if it's not too much effort. But if you look at the 80 20 rule, Google's at 93% which is way more than that 80% threshold that we look at. So here's the first step that I recommend for SEO and it actually has nothing to do with your website. It's not an action you take in your Shopify store. The first thing you should do is establish a Google my business listing.

And it's a pretty simple process that only take 10 15 minutes to get going. And the great thing is establishing a listing is free and it's also free to maintain it. And it's gonna provide you great exposure for your business. On Google in multiple places. So one of the first places that it happens is called the knowledge panel. And this is a large content block that becomes 100% dedicated to your business. That shows up on Google search results page. It's on the left of the results on a desktop view and on the mobile phone it shows up below the ads, but above the organic listings. And this knowledge panel will usually get triggered when someone searches for your company name. Another place that Google uses this and what's called the map pack. And the map pack shows businesses in the search results along with a map and it'll be triggered by location based business searches.

For example, if someone searches for restaurants in Santa Monica or Sarasota jewelry stores, the map pack will show with a map of that area, Santa Monica or Sarasota and the map listings, the business listings for the restaurants and the Santa Monica search or for jewelry stores in the Sarasota search. And the third place that this content shows up is in Google map results. So if someone's on Google maps and searching or just browsing their location content from your Google, my business listing will be displayed there and you've probably seen in maps before the pins that show up for all the different businesses. Those are all powered by Google my business listings. Now what if you don't have a physical store? Should you still have a Google business listing? And the answer is undoubtedly yes. All businesses well benefit from having a Google my business listing, even if they don't have a physical store and not showing up on maps, you'll still get that Google knowledge panel on the search results when people search for your business name and that will enable your business to get Google reviews, which is also an important part of building your business reputation with Google and with your customers.

Now Google allows the business owner to claim their listing and maintain the content in it, which is super powerful. So you're going to be in control of what content is shown about your business and here's the content that's included in the business listing once you own it. The first one is the business name and this should just be your business name. For example, for my business listing, I enter Jade Puma, which is the name of my agency as my business name. Don't stuff it with keywords, so I didn't put Jade Puma e-commerce agency or Jade Puma San Diego in my business name. The second is the address or service area. The address is for retail location where you have customers come to you and the service areas for those businesses that go to their customer like a plumber. The third one is a phone number and this would be a clickable link when viewed on the phone or even on the desktop.

The fourth one is a link to your website. The fifth piece of content is your business hours. Google will also use these business hours when providing driving directions. For example, my local trader Joe's closes at 9:00 PM if I asked my Android phone for driving directions to trader Joe's at midnight, it'll give me a notification that says the store is currently closed, so keeping your business hours up to date is actually important for your business. The six piece of content is photos and these can be photos of whatever you want. For most Shopify stores, you want to put up your storefront. If you have a retail location, maybe team members, company logo, and your top products. The seventh piece of content is customer reviews. Having a Google my business listing allows customers to find you in Google and leave a review. The eighth piece of content is post. You can add events, new products, sales, coupon codes, et cetera.

Currently I'm using this functionality of post on my Jade Puma listing to promote this podcast. The ninth is description and this is a large text field where you can tell potential customers about your business and your differentiator and the 10th and last one is linked to your social networks. So as you can see, that's a ton of information you can get in front of potential customers before they ever see your website. Now what gets displayed will vary based on the screen size or device that the person is on and whether they're in a search experience versus a map experience. So now let's talk about how to get started. The first thing you're going to want to do is to see if Google already has a listing for you. Google automatically creates listings for businesses from a bunch of different sources. So there already may be a Google my business listing for your business.

So to check that, do a Google search or a map search for things like your business name, your business address, or your business phone number, and see if you see your business listed. When you do that, there'll be one of three situations that happen. The first one is there's no listing for your business. The second your business is listed, but the listing is unclaimed, you'll know it's unclaimed because the listing will contain a link that says, own this business question Mark. And that's the link where you can claim that listing so that you can take ownership of it and edit the content behind it. And the last scenario is that your businesses listed and claimed. Now, if you're looking up to see if you have a business listing, you probably have not been the person that claimed it. So if your business is already listed and it's claimed, you're gonna have to go through the process to find out who is claimed it.

And that might be someone else in your business or an employee or someone on your team in the past. So once you figure out if there is a listing or not, you're going to either create a new listing if one didn't exist or claim an existing listing. I'm going to include a link in the show notes that you can use with Google to create a new listing. And if the listings already existing, click on that claim, the business link, and then follow the steps behind that. And in this process you'll be able to tell Google if you want to show an address. And if you do, you can also have multiple addresses. So for those of you that are running just an online Shopify store without a retail business, you'll be able to have that business listing but not show an address because your address may be your home and you don't want people randomly showing up at your house trying to buy your products.

So you're in control of whether or not your address gets displayed. Now part of the claim, the business process or a new listing is going to be verifying that you are the owner of your business and the primary way that's done is Google send a postcard to the business address with a code on it and once you get that postcard, you'll go back to your Google business site where you entered the information and originally enter the code that they gave you and that's how Google knows that you are in fact the owner of that business and you'll own that business listing from then on forward and the next step is going to be to optimize your listing. If you had an existing one, Google will have prefilled it with content from whatever source had got it from or if you're creating one, there's going to be lots of opportunities for you in the Google business site to add content in and you want to add content, all the appropriate categories.

Remember I just talked about the 10 different types of content that are in that business listing. Go through each one of them step by step and add as many of them that's appropriate for your business. And as you're adding photos, you can also add videos in that section. You can have up to a 32nd video in there and I highly recommend you to shoot a quick video from your cell phone. We just talk about you and your business to draw more people in. We know how important video is in capturing the attention of people. And then a really important part of this process is going to be those Google reviews. So if you're creating a new listing, what you're going to want to do is go to your past customers and send them an email with a link to the review site and have them add their reviews to your Google listing.

And one final step for setting up your Google business listing is if you use Google analytics, I recommend that you add some tracking code to your website URL so that you can tell what traffic came from your Google business listing. So the way you do that as you go to the Google analytics campaign URL builder, and I'm going to add a link to that in the show notes and you'll create a link by adding Google my business as the source. There's a field that says source on that page and there's another field that says medium. I recommend you add organic to the medium field. You also put in your Shopify URL and then you'll copy to create a URL from that URL builder and put that into the website link in your Google my business listing. Once you do that, you'll be able to see traffic from the listing to the website in Google analytics under your sources in medium pages for customer acquisition.

Now I already mentioned that I'm going to add a link to the Google business managing website on one of the nice things about that is you can have more than one store under that. So if you're a Shopify store owner with three different businesses under three different brands or domains, you can have all three of those managed in one business account for you. So whatever your main business, you know, email addresses with Google, you can log in with that, create a record and then add the other to that also. So that's how Google my business listing works. Highly recommend you go through the steps. It doesn't take that long to do it. And remember Google is 93% of the search traffic, so Bing also offers a business listing functionality. But one of the smart things that Bing has done since they don't have much market share is it's real easy to go to the big website, which I'll include a link to that in the show notes.

Also, you go to the Bing business website and you just connect it to your Google business listing. So all the content in your Google business listing as you change it and update it will also get pushed into your Bing business listing so you don't have to edit it once in Google and then it'll automatically show up in the Google and the Bing listings. So this is step one of SEO. Please get it done if you haven't already. It's free organic traffic. It's easy to set up and well worth the effort and in future podcasts, I'll be going further into SEO, but please get this one done now.

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.