How Does Google Rank Your Ecommerce Store?
Video transcript+ Hellen Overland
Like we talked about in previous videos in this series, Google ranks sites that it thinks are the most valuable, the most useful, the most helpful pages when somebody does a search in Google. So to get your site ranking in Google you need to be that best result. You need to have the highest quality content, the highest trust in authority, as far as Google can measure it.
One of the ways that you can rank higher is to create good, quality, unique content. What this means is: write articles around your products and what you do. For example: if you sell watches, write articles about different brands of watches, current watch style trends, how watches work, how to extend the life of your watch, when to change the battery, all the things about watches and the care of watches. Create a blog and write about time-keeping in general. This kind of content demonstrates that you are an authority on this space, that you know what you are talking about, and that somebody is buying from a vendor who is actually an expert in what it is that they sell.
Once you have the content on your site one of the most effective ways to target the specific keywords you want to rank for is to use something called your ‘title tags’. Your title tags are words that appear when you website is open, but not on the page - they appear on the browser or the tab as the name of the window. So it doesn’t appear in your actual content but when Google comes by and it crawls your site or page and actually ranks your site for search results, your title tag is going to be the name of your link. This is one reason that the title tag actually has an affect on your rankings, because Google knows that you are unlikely to put something irrelevant into your title tags, knowing that when it shows up in Google your title tags could be the name of your website.
For example: going back to our watch seller example - if you were selling watches and your title tag was ‘Quality watches on sale in Canada’ then Google is going to show that title when your page ranks in search results. But at the same time, using the words ‘Quality watches on sale in Canada’ will actually give you a boost in the rankings for those keywords. So when somebody searches for ‘Quality watches on sale in Canada’ or some variation of that keyword, having that keyword in your title tag will actually help you rank higher for that keyword.
In general, try to make sure that your title tag is only about 60-70 characters long. It’ll still count if your title tag is longer than that but any of the words after that 60-70 characters won’t help your rank or wont count and may not show up in the search result either. A long, long time ago back in the early 2000’s there was a meta-tag called the ‘meta-keywords tag’ and you might have heard of this. Some people are still using it today and they are putting their keywords in this meta-tag called the meta-keywords tag. Ten years ago that would give you a boost in the search results for the keywords that you put into this tag, however it has absolutely no affect on your ranking whatsoever now, so we would discourage you from using this meta-keywords tag because the only things it’s good for is when competitors come by and look at your site they can see what keywords you are targeting. It has absolutely no effect on your ranking at all. There is something, however, called the meta-descriptions tag and this one is a little different. The meta-descriptions tag has absolutely no effect on your ranking whatsoever, you could put as many keywords as you want in there as you like, and it’s still not going to help your rank, however what the meta-descriptions tag does is it effects the click-through rate from organic search results.
For example: if your meta-descriptions tag says ‘All of our watches are 20% off this month, come and buy - we’ll ship to you free within Canada!’ then that result, when it shows up in Google search results, is going to get clicked on more than the website that says ‘We have watches on sale’. So the meta-descriptions tag is really like sales copy that encourages people to come to your site instead of the ten competing sites in Google’s search results. Remember that ranking is not the goal - the goal is to get visitors to your website and actually buying your products. So that meta-descriptions tag, even though it does not effect your ranking, is really important for actually moving those potential customers from the search results into your website.
Once you have got your content, and you’ve got your title and your meta-description tag, now comes the hard part. This is the real sweat-equity part: this is the link building. You have to build links to your website from relevant, highly authoritative pages, to prove to Google that you are an authoritative, trusted website. So building links is where you are going to spend 90% or more of your efforts in terms of getting rankings to your websites. So think about how you can get links. Do you have vendors/partners? Do you have happy customers that you can just ask to link back to your website? Are there industry associations that you belong to? Do you know bloggers that are talking about t-shirts or watches or stickers or whatever it is that you sell? Are there people that you know in this industry that you can get to blog about you, to write about you or to link to you? Because the more people who know about the industry that you are in that link back to your website, in general, the more trusted Google is going to believe that your site is. So most of your time is going to be spent on link-building after we have got the content, the title, and the meta-description tags.
If you want to learn more about how to do SEO for your website, how Google ranks your site and what steps you need to take to actually get your site ranking, a really good place to start is Google itself. If you go into Google and you do a search for ‘SEO starter guide’, Google actually has a nice little e-book that you can download that explains how they rank sites and how to get your site ranking in Google. Once you have read through this introduction then your next step would be to follow-up talking to other people in terms of keeping up to date on how to do SEO right now. You can look at the Shopify blog, certainly the Shopify forums to ask other people how they are doing SEO or you can look at the SEP blog for information on the way people are doing SEO effectively right now.