Improving SEO for your store and Instant site

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your site's ranking in search results to get unpaid traffic. If you use Instant Site and ecommerce, some things are taken care of automatically. For example, your website’s robots.txt files and sitemap.xml, ALT-tags for product images are automatically generated, your products have clean URLs, and you also have social media linking and sharing options to make it easier to market your store. Read what we do for SEO →

But you certainly can improve your site’s ranking even more by adding custom content with keywords and connecting to Google SEO tools. Go through this list below to ensure your store is optimized for search engines and visitors alike.

Add keywords to products name and description

Describe your products and services in a way that addresses people’s searches. It means that your product names and descriptions should contain relevant keywords – words and phrases that match searches. Include your target keywords and strongest copy at the very beginning of your meta description. Here are a couple of ideas on how to find relevant keywords:

  • brainstorm words and phrases potential customers may search that match your products.
  • discover social media hashtags used when sharing your products or similar goods.
  • check search queries in Google Search Console to collect keywords that people used to find your website.
  • check related terms that appear at the bottom of Google search result pages:

    Improving_SEO_for_site_and_store__4_.png

Add custom meta tags to product pages

When analyzing a webpage, search engines get information about its content from the so-called “meta tags”. This includes the title and description. Search engines use this information to describe pages as they appear in the search results and rank them by relevance:

Product meta tags(1).png

Visitors read these descriptions to decide if they want to click on the result. You can edit meta tags for every product in your store to make your store more inviting.

To add custom meta tags for your products:

  1. From your store admin, go to Catalog → Products.
  2. Click Edit Product to view its details.
  3. Switch to the SEO tab.
  4. Write your texts in the Page title and meta description fields. The text should be short and readable (50-400 characters). We recommend keeping it under 155 characters, so it’s not cut off on the Google results page. Include your main keywords in product names and early in the description. Make sure to avoid keyword stuffing and using the same keyword in every sentence.
  5. Check how the product will look on Google when indexed:

    Product meta tags(2).png

  6. Click Save.
If you have a lot of products in your store and would like to update meta tags in bulk, you can do that using catalog import.

Add custom meta tags to category pages

Categories allow you to organize products in your store and help visitors navigate the site. By default, we creates meta tags automatically from category names and descriptions. You can add custom meta tags to individual product categories to make them look more attractive to potential customers on the search results page.

To add custom meta tags for your categories:

  1. From your store admin, go to Catalog → Categories.
  2. Find the desired category in the left panel and click it, or create a new category.
  3. Switch to the SEO tab.
  4. Write the text in Page title and meta description fields. It’s best to keep the title under 80 characters and the description under 160 characters. This way, they won't be cut off on the search results page.
  5. Check how the product will look on Google when indexed:

    SEO_for_categories__2_.png

  6. Click Save.

Add custom meta tags to Instant Site pages

If you are using Instant Site,  meta tags are automatically added to your site from the SEO settings in the Instant Site editor:

  • SEO title creates the title tag for your whole site.
  • SEO description creates a brief summary of your site to help search engines and people better understand what your site is about.
  • Site image is displayed as a preview when someone shares a link to your site on social media.

If these SEO fields are left empty, tags will be automatically generated from your site’s content. Make sure you rewrite the metadata so tags contain accurate relevant keywords within their character limit for better SEO. All types of metadata give more context for search robots and help visitors use your site more effectively.

To edit Instant Site SEO settings:

  1. From your store's admin, go to Sales channels → Manage Instant Site, then click Edit Site.
  2. In the editor on the left bottom click Settings, then SEO.
  3. Add necessary content.
  4. Click Save & Publish.

Collect product reviews from customers

When ranking websites in search results, search engines consider self-published content as well as what others say about your site – and your products. Make it a priority to create space for customer feedback:

Improving_SEO_for_site_and_store__3_.png

Through customer reviews, ratings, and comments you can increase your store’s rankings. Customer-generated content also provides relevant keywords and lots of backlinks to your online store. On top of that, customer reviews build a sense of trust, help people make purchase decisions, and increase conversion rates in your store.

HelpfulCrowd: Video Product Reviews and Q&A, Trustami: One Seal for All Reviews, TargetBay Product Reviews, and Stamped.io: Product Reviews are four apps from the App Market that help collect customer feedback. All apps will help organic traffic rates by showing ratings for your products in Google search results.

Add categories and sorting or filtering option

Organize your products and other content with categories to help visitors navigate your site. 

Add your location

Your site has a better chance of appearing in searches for your area if Google and your customers can see your location. If you have a business with a physical location, we recommend you add your address and a map to the Contact us section on your Instant Site.

Add a favicon

A favicon is a small icon that shows in a browser tab before the website name, in bookmarks, in search results, and elsewhere on the web. It gives more visibility to your site's brand.

You can upload a favicon for the Instant Site using meta tags:

  1. Upload your favicon to an image hosting, e.g. to https://imgbb.com/
  2. Get a direct link to the image, so that when you click on the link, the image opens.
  3. From your store's admin, go to Website.
  4. Scroll down to the SEO settings section and click Add Code under "Header meta tags and site verification".
  5. In the appeared field, enter this code:
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="Direct_image_link">

And replace Direct_image_link with the actual link to your favicon that you copied on the image hosting.

  1. Save the changes.

Refresh the storefront page to see the added favicon.

Register a custom domain name

To succeed in search your site needs its own domain (rather than a default .business.shop URL). It helps collect your content, links, keywords, and other SEO components to support your website.

Learn how to buy a domain from your online store →

Learn how to connect your own domain →

Set up 301 URL redirects for your Instant Site

Permanent redirects, also known as 301 redirects, allow you to send visitors and search engines away from one page to another. This way, visitors can always get to the active product pages and Google and other search engines keep your site SEO ranking high. You can also use redirects when running marketing campaigns.

Learn how to add redirects for New-Gen Instant Site

Connect to social media

By sharing your products on social media, you can improve your store’s visibility to search engines and increase your reach. Due to the strong web authority of social sites, Google and other search engines consider your product shares on Facebook or Instagram as higher-quality links. This helps to rank your online store higher in the search results.

You can set up social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to encourage people to share your products.

To enable share buttons on product pages:

  1. From your store's admin, go to Design.
  2. In the Sidebar section, enable the Share buttons option.

    Improving_SEO_for_site_and_store__2_.png

You can add plenty of other share buttons (Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, Blogger, Reddit, and more) to your store with the "20+ Promotional Sales Tools" app by Zotabox. To encourage people to share your products, you can use the Social Boost and Gratisfaction apps.

Verify your domain with Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service that helps you manage your site's presence in Google search results. You need to verify your domain to let Google know that you are the correct owner of your site before they provide services for you.

Learn how to verify Instant Site ownership in Google Search Console →

Submit a sitemap to Google

A sitemap is a file containing a list of individual pages of a website. It tells Google and other search engines about the structure of your site content and when it was last updated, helping search robots to index and crawl your products faster. All Instant Sites automatically generate a sitemap file, moreover it is already submitted to Google internally (via robots.txt file). Still, if you wish search engines to find it a bit faster, you may want to submit your sitemap to Google manually via Search Console following this instruction.

Use Google Analytics to track SEO efforts

With Google Analytics you will have access to lots of stats and insights on how your existing and potential customers find and use your store. Create a Google Analytics account to set up a property and set up a tracking code so Google can collect your website data. Once connected you can find referral sites, see a number of store page views, search queries, what shipping method visitors choose, and other reporting on your site through our built-in integration with Google.

Work on building backlinks

It is important for SEO to have external links to your store from relevant, high-quality sites. You can reach out to bloggers in your niche to offer some of your best-selling products in exchange for a review or write a guest blog post on popular blogs or media. Here are more ideas on getting backlinks for your online store:

  • Write a guest blog post on popular blogs or media.
  • Consider your own blog – write about what your store is about and provide links to your products.
  • If you sell products for another company, ask the manufacturer to link your store to their list of retailers.

List your physical location

If you're a business with a physical location, adding your address on your site contact page and other services like Map Blocks or Google My Business could potentially help visitors find you in location-based services. Especially important for everyone who sells to a local market, as Google “pushes” local results. To maximize how often users find your business in local search results, ensure that your business information in Google My Business is accurate, complete, and engaging. Visit the Google My Business Help Center for step-by-step instructions.

Ensure SSL is enabled

If you use the Instant Site with a free domain (like https://example.business.shop), you already have an SSL certificate by default. If you want to use the Instant Site with your custom domain, like https://example.com, you can just connect your domain to your Instant Site. We will provide HTTPS for your domain for free. Websites without SSL may be penalized.

If you added your store to an existing website on another platform, you keep our free SSL certificate for the store page. Although the rest of the website is a separate matter. You need to purchase an SSL certificate to protect sensitive information or even boost search engine rankings. Learn more here.

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