If you’re struggling to increase sales, learn how to drive organic traffic to your Shopify store by developing content that ranks highly.

A Shopify website is no different than any other website when it comes to driving traffic. Applying fundamental and advanced SEO practices is a necessity when it comes to creating a competitive website. 

In order to rank on the first page of Google, you need to prove your page is the best result to a search query.

Sure, you may have done the correct on-page optimization, but the chances are a lot of other websites sell similar products. 

So how do you separate yourself from the rest?

One of the biggest areas found lacking in Shopify stores is developed blog content. Here you will learn how to develop a keyword and content strategy and publish content that ranks highly for terms that drive organic traffic to your Shopify store.

How does a Shopify blog drive organic traffic?

A person doesn’t suddenly wake up and have a product pop into their mind that they think they should buy. There’s a process that leads a buyer to the point where they’re ready to make a purchase. 

Creating a Shopify blog will address the various stages that a customer experiences along the way to making a purchase. Keep in mind that B2B marketing strategies are slightly different than B2C strategies.

TrackMaven provides a detailed visual of the typical marketing funnel

It should be clear that the larger you cast your net to make people aware of your product, the more leads and interest you can generate on your site.

There are many people who don’t know what they need in order to solve a problem they’re experiencing. Ideally, your content should address the three major stages of the buyer journey. Create content to:

  1. Explain the symptoms of problems associated with your topic.
  2. Provide solutions and different approaches to solving problems.
  3. Address why choosing your company is the right fit.

A well developed Shopify blog has content at each stage that ranks highly for target keywords your clients are using in searches. The more search terms your rank for, the wider you cast your net for lead generation.

Search engines have shifted from ranking websites based on keywords to rank pages based on topical relevance. 

Publishing adequate content on topics that surround your product not only drives traffic from the keywords you’re targeting in your blog. but also increases the authority and ranking ability of your product pages. 

Create a blueprint for your keyword and content strategy

Topic clusters provide the blueprint for the keyword and content strategy of your site. The process involves mapping out the most important topics in your business, which gives you a sense of the most effective keywords and topics to target within your blog.

What exactly is a topic cluster?

The content structure is composed of pillared content (the major pages that target your most competitive keywords) and clustered content (content that addresses more specific searches in detail). 

The interlinking strategy is made up of internal links to and from pillared content to clustered content. Clustered content should also be interlinked whenever appropriate to spread link equity and strengthen the relationship of each article to the cluster. 

The higher the number of internal links pointing to a single page, the more important that page becomes in your content structure. Your pillar page should target your most competitive keyword and cover an entire keyword topic in breadth.

Linking clustered content together encourages a higher click-through rate from the visitors on-site. Use internal links to lead your audience to progressive articles that guide them further down the funnel.

An effective interlinking strategy leads to higher dwell times, a better understanding of your business and ultimately more conversions.

Create your topic cluster by listing your major keyword topics

The first step to creating a topic cluster is to list your major keyword topics. If your online store sells more than one product your list might be of the major categories. These would represent your pillar pages. If your store sold dead sea skincare products, your list may look something like this:

Each of these categories represents a pillar because they are major, broad keyword topics that you want your site to be known for when it comes to skincare. There are thousands of issues that people experience associated with each of these product categories. 

Your next step is to break down each category into smaller, narrowly focused topics based on specific issues that are commonly faced by your potential customers.

To identify important and popular topics to your audience:

  • List the pain points and problems your customer’s experience.
  • Make a list of the most important solutions your product offers.
  • List the most common questions.

For example, in the mud masks category, the potential pain points that your content would address would be dry skin, oily skin, acne etc. The solutions your product provides is clear skin, soft skin, glowing skin, etc.

Your final step is to create content that targets those issues with long-tail keywords such as: 

  • What’s The Best Way To Combat Oily Skin?
  • The Secrets Of Vibrant Youthful Skin
  • How To Eliminate Acne On Your Face

These are specific problems people are searching for when they need your products. Create content to make them aware of their options for solving issues that are affecting their lives. 

This process establishes the structure of your topic cluster. Your next step is to research and finalize the keywords to target.

Establish the true search intent of your keywords

One of the biggest improvements that search engines have made over the years is determining search intent, also known as user intent. To that end, search engines have also become more efficient in displaying content that satisfies user intent.

Keyword research is a necessary aspect of establishing true search intent so that you can publish content that directly answers the intent of a search query. Although some keywords may seem obvious to use, it’s best practice to assess the SERP for your keyword.

A few qualifying questions to ask are:

  • Are the results transactional or informational? 
  • What style of content is being used?
  • Do the results on the first-page consist of websites similar to your own? 

Determine the type of content that ranks

Identify whether the search results are transactional or informational to get an indication of the type of content you will need to provide in order to rank your page.

Take the term face masks for example. If you look at the top three results, they’re all different types of articles. The intent behind the search isn’t narrowly focused so Google is displaying a few different options for intent.

The term buy face masks online is a transactional term, however, the results include a good amount of information in each of the results. 

The results for this term are mixed. As you can see, GQ and Forbes are ranking with blog posts that have links to buy facemasks, along with other super competitive websites. 

The important thing to note is what type of results your keyword is generating in the search results. If you wanted to rank a page that sells face masks, targeting the term alone with a product page may never rank. 

The results are too broad.

The term buy face masks online produces transactional results. But in order to compete with those sites, you will need a decent amount of content on your pages, like Forbes and GQ. 

The only sites that didn’t need extensive content were Amazon and Walmart.

If you’re not already a high authority site, the term “buy face masks online” is probably too competitive and you would need to look for another option.

Target long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are typically the highest converting search terms. A specific solution to a search may yield less traffic, however, the visitors will be more likely to respond positively.

Long-tail keywords reduce the competition and narrow the possible intent behind a search.

In the examples of the search terms face masks, the competition consists of huge authority websites. The best course of action would be to choose long-tail keywords for a narrower focus on the traffic you’re driving and reduced competition.

Add descriptive words to your keyword to narrow the intent of the search. If you search the term 3-ply filtered disposable face masks the results are transactional and the competition is reduced.

Amazon sellers hold the first three spots, however, at the bottom of the page, you see weaker sites ranking. Smaller, low authority sites that are optimized for that exact search term hold positions 8 and 10 (only positions 8, 9 and 10 are shown above). 

The page authority and domain authority of the sites mindspace.ca and promoguyz.ca are at a comparable level to any developing website. This would suggest a better-optimized page or one with more authority can overtake their positions.

Long-tail keywords will help you avoid the tough competition and drive traffic that is a better match to your content.

Assess the competition

You don’t want to target keywords that are filled with e-commerce giants. If there are sites that are a similar size/authority to your own, it’s a good indication you can compete and overtake their position.

One way to compare the ranking ability of your competition to your own is to use the Mozbar. You can download it for use on your browser.

The Mozbar allows you to search any keyword and view a quick summary on the page authority, domain authority and the number of external backlinks of each website appearing in the search result.

Analyze your target terms

Although your initial keywords may seem natural to you, there are so many ways that other people are searching, you need to confirm you’ve selected the best options. Use a keyword tool to confirm that your search term will drive enough traffic on a regular basis.

Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush are among the most popular tools to establish whether or not your keyword drives traffic. Use your tool of choice to make sure your keyword gets a minimum amount of traffic on a monthly basis with the least competition.

Finalize the target keywords in your cluster. Now that you have an idea of the phrases you want to rank for, the next step is to assign content that answers the intent for each keyword.

Publish 10X content

The content you create needs to be top-notch and 10 times better than anything already out there. Taking this approach will help you to outrank your competition and contribute to acquiring backlinks.

You can’t beat your competition without analyzing what they’ve done to achieve a first-page ranking. When you look at the first page of results, you need to determine the similarities in content types, style, media, and anything that seems like it would contribute to creating a first-page ranking.

Word count

Page length or word count is not something that will directly affect your ranking, however, it can be an indication to the level of detail required to rank for your keyword. 

If every ranking site on the first page of results has an article that tops a 3000-word count, you know that there is a significant amount of detail required to satisfy the intent of the search.

Identify the major topics covered to make sure your page doesn’t leave out any important details.

Content gap analysis

A content gap analysis will indicate what topics to include on your page based on the keywords they’re currently ranking for. 

Using the tool of your choice you can get a list of keywords each of your competitors is ranking for in addition to the one you’re targeting.

These additional keywords in which they’re ranking indicate 1) how their page is optimized and 2) clues the content and phrases you need to include on your page. 

Keep in mind that search engines have shifted to a topical method of ranking pages. That means that when your page ranks for one keyword, it will rank for a dozen others that have the same search intent.

By identifying the keywords your competition ranks for, you are getting a list of keywords your page can rank for straight from Google itself.

Use the non-branded keywords where appropriate. Fill in any gaps in content that would optimize your page for keywords you haven’t accounted for.

Guest posting for small business owners

If you want your site to rank on Google, you’re going to need to build links to your page. Backlinks are the votes of confidence in your site’s credibility and authority. 

Guest posting is straightforward and offers anyone with a website the opportunity for quality backlinks that will get your site moving up in rank.

List your prospects

A guest posting campaign is much more efficient when you are working with a list of prospects. If your topic is broad enough, you can get a list of prospects by searching Google for “[your topic] sites that accept guest posts”.

Copy and paste the results on a spreadsheet.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the sites you’ve contacted, the date you sent an email, guest posting requirements and whether you’ve received a response.

Pitch your content

It will save you a lot of time to pitch your content with a custom template email. Things to include in your guest posting pitch:

  1. Comment on their site to show you’ve read their blog. Avoid flattery. Most editors find it insincere and it won’t help your chances of getting published.
  2. Show that you can provide quality. List any previously published articles that will showcase your work. If you don’t have any, give them the URL to your own sites blog articles.
  3. Be interested in what they’re trying to accomplish with their content.
  4. Pitch catchy titles.
  5. Provide an outline for one of the articles you’d like to write.
  6. Address the editor/site owner’s name.
  7. Avoid mass email to maintain a minimum level of personalization.

Create content that benefits everyone

When you’re writing for another blog, put your best foot forward. Represent your brand with expertise and authority. 

Publish content people are interested in reading to promote clicks to your site and invitations to write for higher authority websites.

Link to your website’s articles and previously published work within the body of your guest post. 

It’s best practice to link to your content from articles that have a strong topical relationship.  Links from content that is highly relevant to your topic has a greater impact on the quality of the link.

Read the guest posting guidelines for every website you write an article. Each and every site will have a different set of criteria they expect you to follow. 

You also want to make sure you’re getting a “followed” link to your website. Nofollow links have minimal to no impact on your site’s ranking. 

Apply traditional SEO to your Shopify store

In order to be perfectly optimized for a keyword, your pages must answer user intent. This often means going above and beyond traditional on-page keyword optimization and creating content that addresses what users are looking for.

Create depth to your site by targeting informational keywords when developing your blog with SEO optimized blog posts. Content that solves problems is often the most successful at converting visitors to clients.

Approach your content creation as if it were persuasive essay writing. Make your points clear by using facts, stats and offering a solution that works.

All roads should point to your product page. The links you build to the informational articles of your blog will not only direct visitors to buying your product, but also provide “link juice” and fuel your product pages ranking ability.

Measure, analyze and adjust to the efforts of your content and link building strategies. Be aware of how long your visitors are spending on your page so you can build more content around the most engaging topics.

Repeat this process as many times as necessary to continue to provide more entry points to your website. A larger site with more useful content will drive organic traffic to your Shopify store on a regular basis.