📋 In This Guide
- SEO: The Key to Driving Organic Traffic to Your Shopify Store
- Engagement: The Key to Driving Sales From Your Shopify Store Blog
- Metrics: How to Track Your Blog’s Performance
See if you can figure out how the following are related:
- “recyclable shoes”
- “empowering women”
- “what to wear to a baby shower”
Stumped? They’re all Google searches that have driven organic traffic to the popular online shoe store Rothy’s.
As an eCommerce store, your business depends on traffic. Lots of it. You don’t make sales if people can’t find your website!
It might seem odd that a website that sells shoes ranks on the first page of Google for unrelated keywords. But because so many product search terms are impossible to compete for, eCommerce stores have to find other ways to get organic traffic.
Enter content marketing. Specifically, blogging. By providing relevant content to potential customers, you’re building brand awareness, authority, and trust. And content marketing works.
Look at these statistics:
- Content marketing is 62% more cost-effective than traditional marketing
- 70% of consumers want to learn about a company by reading content— not through traditional advertising
- Consumers are 60% more likely to purchase a product after reading an article about it
The importance of blogging on your Shopify store is clear. If you want to get more traffic and increase your sales, you need a blog.
But it’s not enough to just throw up a few posts stuffed with spammy keywords anymore. This used to work. Google and consumers are savvier now. They’re both looking for content that’s informative, authoritative, and that answers the questions your customers have.
Let’s take a look at a winning blogging strategy for eCommerce sites.
SEO: The Key to Driving Organic Traffic to Your Shopify Store
1. Know Your Ideal Customer
Take the Rothy’s example above. It’s clear they have their ideal customer dialed in— a busy professional woman who cares about the environment and wants to be fashionable.
If you’re selling men’s grooming products, you’re not going to be serving the same customer as Rothy’s. Here’s where it really pays to connect with your customers— through email, social media, surveys, and customer reviews.
Once you get to know your customer, you can provide content that’s relevant and meaningful for them. This translates to brand trust and authority, which drives more organic traffic. It’s a win-win.
2. Use the Right Keywords
Keyword research is huge for SEO success. If search engines can’t find you, customers aren’t going to find you either. Content marketers know this and spend a lot of time researching the right keywords.
Smaller businesses will want to focus on creative keywords that answer questions their customers have.
Some tools to use to find the right keywords:
Start with Google. Say you have a Shopify store selling men’s shaving products. Type your product in the search box and scroll down to related searches. Google is literally telling you what your customers are searching for!
Add an extension. Keyword Surfer, provided by Surfer SEO, is one free option. I like it because it tells you what keywords see the most volume in your niche.
According to these results, Dollar Shave Club sees the highest volume of related searches. This tells you that “men’s shaving products” is likely going to be hard to rank for, at least initially.
Use Ubersuggest for advanced keyword searching. Neil Patel has developed a (mostly) free keyword search tool to help you find less competitive keywords. The overview is helpful to see at a glance how difficult your keyword will be. The higher the “SEO Difficulty” number is, the harder a keyword is to rank for. As I suspected “men’s shaving products” is moderately difficult to rank for.
Where Ubersuggest is most helpful is in identifying related keywords that you can target. When you look at “Keyword Ideas” from the menu on the left of the page, you’ll see a “Related Searches” tab.
This is gold.
You’ll find a list of keywords that will give you a better shot of ranking on Google. These searches might have less traffic, but it’s important to keep in mind that Google favors websites with authority. And customers searching for specific keywords are more likely to be ready to buy!
Start ranking for keywords that see less search volume, and your Shopify store gains more credibility with Google. And your customers.
These are the best types of keywords to target for eCommerce blogs:
Long-tail keywords, like the example above, are less competitive and more specific. In general, long-tail keywords have four or more words total.
Example: “shoes” versus “best men’s trail runners 2020.”
The latter is more specific, easier to rank for, and has a higher chance of driving traffic to your website. People searching for more specific products are ready to buy!
Long-tail keywords convert at a higher rate, so take time to research which ones are best for your business.
Comparison keywords. Some of the best-ranking blog posts for eCommerce stores compare one product to another.
This is how customers shop. They want to compare items and find the best product for their needs. You can provide value for your customers by writing comparison articles for your products.
The screenshot below shows three eCommerce websites putting their blog to good use by comparing linen and cotton sheets:
Questions. What questions are customers always asking about your products? People are always asking Google questions. Find out what questions your customers are asking, and create blog posts that answer them.
Bonus— headlines that are questions tend to get clicks. They tap into humans’ natural curiosity. We want to know the answer!
3. Optimize Your Blog to Improve SEO and Customer Experience
The same effort you put into optimizing your website SEO applies to your eCommerce blog.
Make sure you spend time on these areas:
Your HTML title (aka SEO Title in Shopify) is the primary way that Google understands what your webpage is about. So make it relevant.
Use the keywords that you’re targeting in your blog post but don’t make it spammy! This is off-putting to Google and to potential customers.
Not necessarily a ranking factor, but meta descriptions will help potential customers decide if your content is relevant to their search. It’s your chance to set yourself apart from your competitors! Make it unique yet clear. Engage potential customers to make them more likely to click.
Speed Boostr’s own meta description makes it clear what the website is about, and compels you to want to know more:
Make a great meta description, but don’t overpromise. If you didn’t write the definitive guide to ultralight backpacking, then don’t say you did. This is a big turn-off to Google and to your customer.
Headings are a good way to organize your content for clarity and readability. Blog posts especially should have a main headline and sections to break up the post.
Your headline should be clear and compelling for the reader, and wrapped in a Heading 1 (H1) tag for SEO.
Your main blog post sections should have Heading 2 (H2) tags.
You should have your keywords included in your headline and section headings, but make it flow. No spammy keyword stuffing! Your goal is to make it easy for Google and customers to navigate your blog posts.
You’ve made it to the Speed Boostr corner of the internet, so I probably don’t need to convince you that page speed is vital for your Shopify store! The same goes for your blog.
Check out the following posts on improving site speed:
SEO experts are constantly trying to find the magic word count for blog posts. And because Google is constantly changing their algorithms, this is a moving target.
The truth is, I don’t think there’s a magic word count for eCommerce blog posts. Word count is important, but only when it’s paired with high quality content. Your first goal should always be to provide information and education to your customers. Word count comes second.
That said, you can’t write an ultimate guide to anything that clocks in at 300 words. For eCommerce blogging, a good rule of thumb is 1500-1700 words.
Backlinks let search engines and your customers know that you have a trusted website. They’re links created from one website to another.
Think of them as mini-testimonials.
When you are starting out, it’s hard to get backlinks from other websites. Start by building internal backlinks, so Google can learn the structure of your website. It’s possible to increase your organic traffic by 40% just by building internal backlinks!
A few ways to start building external backlinks include:
- Guest blogging. Make sure the posts are relevant to your business and high quality. Google can sniff out guest posts designed just for link-building.
- Feature posts, like a round-up of 10 of your favorite Instagram accounts. Reach out to the account owners with a brief message that you’ve highlighted them, and encourage them to share the post on social media.
- And 170+ more ideas here.
For more on SEO for Shopify check out SEO Tools and Tips for Shopify.
Engagement: The Key to Driving Sales From Your Shopify Store Blog
Now that you’ve dialed in the technical aspects of your blog, it’s time to focus on creating engaging, quality content that connects with your customers.
An eCommerce blog that converts needs to:
- answer your customers’ questions
- engage them with good writing
- Have enough posts to be relevant
- and highlight how your products will make their lives better
Your blogging strategy should include a careful balance of educational and sales content.
If you commit to blogging to drive your eCommerce sales, you will see results. But content marketing is a long term strategy. It may take up to six months of posting consistent, quality articles to see a significant ROI.
Here’s what you can do to get results as fast as possible.
1. Write to engage
This is where it really helps to have a strong brand identity and an ideal customer. Get clear on your brand voice. Is it funny? Inspiring? Sarcastic? Caring? Visionary?
More and more, consumers are looking for unique brands that they can relate to and connect with. If your writing style is stiff and formal, you may lose potential customers.
If you struggle with writing, you’ll probably want to hire a copywriter for your eCommerce blog. A good copywriter will work with you to understand your brand voice.
They also know how to write blog posts that consumers want to read. And a good copywriter will always include a strong, clear call-to-action (CTA) so your customers know exactly what you want them to do.
That said, you don’t want every CTA to be a sales pitch. Use your blog to collect email addresses, generate social media shares, and other non-salesy actions.
How do you find a good copywriter?
Search on LinkedIn or Google in your niche. If you sell pet products, search “pet copywriter” and you will have your pick of good writers who are also knowledgeable about the products you offer. Professional copywriters should have a website and a profile on social media. Here you can see testimonials, portfolio pieces, and get a sense for who you might like to work with. (News flash: this is exactly what consumers are doing when they find your blog posts on Google!)
Ask for recommendations. Reach out in your network and post on social media. Ask other eCommerce store owners for recommendations.
Hire an agency. This is for those of you with big marketing budgets. Note: I don’t recommend hiring a content writer. You need a copywriter skilled in writing blog posts to drive traffic and sales, not just someone who stuffs your website with unoriginal content.
IMPORTANT: always ask for a test project before signing a big contract or agreeing to ongoing paid pieces. This is the best way to know if a copywriter is going to be the right one for you.
2. Create a Content Schedule
Having a schedule for eCommerce blogging will help you stay on track with your goals. Many blogs fail to take off because of inconsistency.
In general, you want to create at least 4 posts a month to see results with eCommerce blogging. You risk losing readers (who are customers!) if you don’t commit to regular posting.
Add a posting schedule to your business calendar and stick with it. If you want help with your content schedule, there are a few apps that can help:
Not only do these apps help you stay on track with creating content, they also track engagement and other metrics.
3. Highlight your products in unique ways
Consumers don’t buy products without a reason.
Give them more reasons to buy yours by highlighting unique benefits in your blog posts.
- 6 Delicious Recipes for Your Pizza Oven— that aren’t Pizza
- No Fresh Flowers? No Problem. Try These 10 Styling Tips for Vases That Don’t Use Fresh Flowers
- 5 Alcohol-Free Drink Recipes Using Our Bitters Collection
Other ways to highlight your products:
- Partner with influencers in your industry and write a feature post on them using your products.
- Share a moving customer testimonial. Social proof is a powerful way to drive sales.
- Use your blog to generate excitement about new products.
4. Promote your blog content
If you’ve optimized SEO and written quality articles, your blog will see organic traffic. But you can’t rely on organic traffic alone.
Here are the best ways to promote your blog articles:
Email. Remember that email list you spent ages collecting? Now’s the time to put it to good use. Build excitement about your blog posts by highlighting them in regular emails to your list. A good strategy is a teaser intro and a CTA to click through to the post.
Social media. People don’t generally go to social media to shop, but you can still use your account to highlight your blog posts and drive traffic to your website. I like Instagram for this as you can make it a regular part of your posting schedule, and pair it with an intriguing photo or the promise of a giveaway on the blog. This gives readers more incentive to click off of social media.
Paid Ads. For faster results, try paid advertising on social media. Some resources to get started:
- The Complete, Always Updated Guide to Facebook Advertising
- An Incredible Guide on Generating Sales Using Pinterest Ads
- The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Ads for Startups and Small Businesses
- The Beginner’s Guide to Advertising on Instagram
Metrics: How to Track Your Blog’s Performance
What metrics you choose to track depends on where you are with your Shopify blog.
If you’re just starting out, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to track sales— you likely won’t have many.
Think of tracking your blog’s performance in four stages:
- Getting Traffic. Initially to grow your blog (and thus its potential to increase sales!) you want to focus on increasing traffic. Track overall traffic to your blog as well as the cost to get that traffic.
- Engagement. Are the people looking at your blog actually reading the articles? How much time are they spending on the page? How far are they scrolling down?
- Lead Generation. How many people take action after reading a blog post? This could be signing up for your newsletter, taking advantage of a free trial, or providing their email address in exchange for something valuable. As you grow you should start to see more leads coming from your blog. It’s important to track what works and what doesn’t for your particular business.
- Conversion. The big one! You’ve invested time and effort in building a solid relationship with your customers through eCommerce blogging. Now it’s time to start seeing results. You can track how many sales come from your blog overall, or from each article. The cost-per-click will tell you how many articles customers read before making a purchase.
You have a few different tools to track your blog performance:
- Google Analytics. A good option if you’re already using it for other metrics.
- Matcha. A platform that connects with your Shopify blog to optimize data tracking and content.
- Databox. This one can track all of your business performance data.
ECommerce Blogging: Final Thoughts
Your Shopify store blog is just like any aspect of your business— you get out of it what you put into it.
Blogging is a long term marketing strategy that has the potential for big ROI.
1. To maximize SEO:
- Know your ideal customer
- Use the right keywords
- Optimize titles, meta descriptions, headings, and page speed
- Post frequently, and make sure your posts are long enough. 1500-1700 words is a good target.
- Prioritize building internal and external backlinks
To maximize ROI:
- Make your writing engaging, and have a strong CTA on every post. But don’t make every CTA a sales pitch. Hire a copywriter if you know writing isn’t something you’re good at or if you don’t enjoy doing it.
- Create a content schedule and stick to it.
- Use your blog to highlight your product in unique ways.
- Promote your blog content across social media channels
To track your blog’s performance:
- Know what to track based on where you are with your eCommerce blog
- Use the right tool for your business and data tracking needs
Thanks for reading! We’re rooting for you and your business!
Need help with your Shopify store blog? Click here to contact us.
Editor’s Note: Sarah is a content strategist with a passion for mission-driven brands. If your brand has a focus on sustainability and you’re looking for a copywriter or blogger, contact us and we’ll put you in touch.