Reviewing SEO basics & competitor research in advance of BFCM


To say Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a busy period for Shopify merchants is an understatement. As well as managing your store throughout the period itself, there’s a long list of tasks and projects you need to manage. You’ve got to plan product development and supply, create a content plan for social media, email marketing, customer service...the list goes on and on. With so much to consider, it’s no wonder that some of the finer details slip under the radar.

Today we’re getting back to basics by giving you a checklist of those simple but must-do SEO tasks that you’ll need to have covered ahead of BFCM.

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#1 - Store Categories & Subcategories

It’s best practice both for your customer experience and SEO if your store’s categories and sub-categories are kept straight-forward and simple to navigate. Cluttering your navigation makes it hard for search engines to crawl pages effectively, so go through your store and look for any points of friction.  

Mod Cloth Mega Menu

  

#2 - Headings/H1 Tags

Use your H1 Tags or Headings wisely! They’re prime real estate for incorporating keywords into your headings to ensure Google isn’t just relying on titles and image tags when it crawls your store.

 ButterCloth Collections page, example of H1 tags

 

#3 - Image Alt Tags

Images and visuals are massively important when it comes to your store and marketing. After all, think about how often you use them even on social media to promote your products. Search engines can’t crawl an image, but they can use an image alt tag. Describe the image along with your keywords for that product. However be thoughtful and focused, and avoid trying to stuff all your keywords into the alt tag.  

On the left side of the screen is a clif bar and on the right is code that shows the ALT text of the Clif bar.

 

#4 - Product Description Pages

Product page content is valuable for many reasons, SEO included! As well as marketing your products, your product pages should incorporate the keywords you’ve identified as important to your store. This includes the product description itself as well as the product name and meta titles and descriptions. Every piece of content on the page should lend itself to your store’s SEO. Scan through your product pages and give them a quick refresh by removing any outdated or irrelevant keywords and information.
This is a GIF of all the cool things on the Sill that makes a really great product description page

 

 

#5 - URLs and Links

URLs and links help search engines to decide whether a page is relevant or not, so incorporating keywords into these is important. Of course it doesn’t make sense to go through all your URLs and add “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” when it’s only for a short period of time, but you can incorporate these into a BFCM landing page URL. Having your products on these landing pages allows you to link out from that page, further benefiting your store’s other pages. Add that to the list of reasons why having seasonal landing pages is a great idea!

 

ASOS URL Structure

 

Bonus Tip: Research Your Competitors

 

There are a lot of different industries and niches out there in the world of ecommerce, so we’ve kept our advice fairly general to give you a kick start. If you want to get more specific, then the best place to begin is by looking at your competitors. You’re looking for examples of both basics done right and wrong, so you can replicate the things you see have been done well, and improve on what has been unsuccessful. As well as your competitors, look at larger brands in your industry - these big companies will have put a lot of money and people power into optimizing their store SEO so they’re great to look at as benchmarks. 

 

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With the increase in ecommerce sales over the last few months, more brick-and-mortar retailers getting online, and large brands putting a heavier emphasis on online shopping, Black Friday/Cyber Monday competition is going to be fierce. By optimizing your store and making the most of every little SEO opportunity, you can ensure you stand out from the crowd.