Blogging for Shopify: A unique SEO approach
Shopify stores may need to create blog content to rank for keywords that seem strictly transactional.
One of the most common opportunities we see for Shopify stores is to create blog content for SEO. Often, we see that Shopify sites are targeting keywords with informational intent with transactional pages. This creates a discrepancy between what content the store has and what Google is “willing” to rank. The result is that the Shopify store doesn’t have pages to support the intent of the keywords. In this post, we’ll talk about ways you can identify and fix this discrepancy.
Identifying keyword intent for Shopify
Let’s use an example of a query for the term “selfie camera.” On the surface, this appears to be a transactional query. Users who are looking to perform a purchase for the term “selfie camera” are performing a query to purchase the product.
However, when we look at the SERPs in Google, we actually see something different:
All three of the top results for this term are informational in nature as opposed to transactional. This means that if you’re a Shopify store trying to rank a collections page for this query, you might not have any luck.
This is an example of Google displaying what the user intent of the keyword is. By displaying these results, Google is showing us that users want informational “Listicle” types of content for this query. Users don’t just want to see all of the “selfie cameras” that you have available in your Shopify store, they want to see the best selfie cameras that the market has to offer.
This means that the opportunity to rank for this keyword doesn’t exist within your category page. Instead, the opportunity to rank for this coveted keyword lies within your Shopify blog.
Here is another interesting example. Similar to the term “best selfie camera,” another keyword that appears to be transactional is “cloth diaper.” Once again, at the surface we would assume that this keyword is queried by users who might want to make a purchase of cloth diapers.
When looking at the SERPs, we can see that in this instance it is partially true. We can see that this term has mixed intent:
The top three ranking pages are in fact transactional. Users who are looking to make a purchase for “cloth diapers:”
- Cloth Diapers at Cotton Babies – makers of bumGenius
- Reusable Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers, 6 pcs + 6 … – Amazon.com
- Green Mountain Diapers: Cloth diapers for baby featuring …
However, the results taking up positions 4 & 5 are more informational in nature:
- 6 Best Cloth Diapers of 2020 – Babylist
- Cloth Diapering 101: Everything You Need to Know
This is called a “mixed intent” result. There are two different user intents active here. One is transactional (to purchase a cloth diaper), while the other is informational (to learn more information about best practices). Both types of pages are eligible to appear on the first page for this term. This means that there is an opportunity for some of these sites to appear more than once.
For instance, let’s take a look at the results in the #1 position, Cottonbabies.com. This store is clearly already doing a great job with their SEO as they have claimed the first position here. However, there might also be an opportunity for another one of their results to appear. They only are ranking for the transactional intent but not the informational one.
Looking through their site, they do have a page targeted towards “Cloth Diaper Basics.” This is essentially a blog post type of content under their /pages/ URL path. Looking at the page, we can see that it’s a very detailed FAQ that provides users with answers to all of their questions on the subject of “cloth diapers:”
This page would make a great opportunity to improve the optimization to better target the transactional nature of the keyword. They could consider making adjustments such as:
- Changing the format from an FAQ to “Guide” type of content
- Organizing the FAQ into clear categories (Benefits, Cleaning etc)
- Looking for opportunities to full content gaps (types of cloth diapers)
This might give both their Shopify category page and their blog post a chance to rank in the top 10 for a very important keyword of theirs.
It might seem difficult to rank a page for both transactional and information intent but it certainly can be done.
For instance, Later.com does a great job of this for the keyword “instagram scheduler”. Knowing that this is a very important term for them, they have optimized their home page for the transactional intent and a blog post for the informational intent. The result is that they claim the first and second position for the keyword:
This strategy that a lot of Shopify stores could benefit from.
Finding Shopify blog opportunities
So all this information is certainly great but how can you find opportunities for your Shopify blog? Fortunately the process is pretty straightforward:
- Identify your high value keywords: This can be keywords that you know are likely to generate a lot of revenue for your store. You can also use AdWords data to tie your keywords to revenue to find these.
- Manually review their intent: Next, manually perform searches for each of these keywords. Note what types of results Google is actually returning here. Are they informational or transactional or a mix of both?
- Inventory your own site content: Does your Shopify store have the content to match the intent of each keyword? Do you have a category page created for queries returning product listing pages? Do you have posts written for queries with informational content?
- Optimize/Create Content: Next you’ll need to determine what execution steps you will take. If you have the content infrastructure, then you might simply need to optimize and adjust the targeting of existing pages. If not, you may need to create new ones.
How to create new Shopify blogs for content gaps
If you’ve identified that you don’t have the blog content to compete for your store’s core keywords, you’ll need to go out and create it. This can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if you have to start from scratch.
Fortunately for you, there’s no better SEO research tool out there than the Google search results. By reviewing them, you’ll be able to see exactly what types of content are ranking well in the search engines
1. Note common topics of top ranking posts
This is probably one of the most important aspects of ensuring that your Shopify blog posts rank well. Oftentimes, users expect to have certain types of questions answered when they’re looking for an informational article. It’s your goal to ensure that your content answers all of those questions.
To do this, start by noting what types of content the URLs on the first page consistently have. For instance, back to our “cloth diapers” example, we can see that both of the informational articles talk about “Types Of Cloth Diapers”:
Of course, this means that we’ll want to be sure that our content also contains this information. Both Google and users might expect this content on the page to be considered relevant enough to rank for the term.
2. Review “related searches”
You can also review the “Related Searches” at the bottom of the search results. This will show you other queries that users generally search around this topic. Oftentimes, this will include ideas of topics that you could utilize in your own content.
For instance, here are the examples of “Related Searches” that appear for this query:
While obviously many of these ideas are branded and won’t be a good fit for our content (cloth diapers amazon, cloth diapers walmart), there are still ideas we could use. For instance, “how to clean cloth diapers” would be a great section to add to our pages. You can use this section to find additional content ideas around your core topic.
3. Utilize hub content
In SEO, the concept of “hub content” is becoming more and more popular. Essentially, we’ll often see Google ranking articles that not only answer the question but also link to other internal resources that the site offers around that topic. As an example, Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO” ranks very well for the term “SEO,” despite having very limited on-page content. As of this writing, the page contains about 6-7 paragraphs of content at the top of the page. From there is simply an aggregated list of internal links:
If you’re writing content for your Shopify blog, try to make it a piece of “hub content.” If your site already contains other useful resources that users would find helpful, ensure that you’re linking to them within the post. We recommend linking to them in both the on-page content as needed as well as a section at the bottom called “Resources”.
This shows both users and Google that you not only have the content to answer the original query but your site can also help answer other variant questions that users might have.
4. Upsell to product pages
We understand that one of the frustrating parts of this process is that these pages are informational in nature and are inherently less revenue focused. If these pages aren’t going to be revenue drivers, then there’s less incentive to create and optimize these blogs.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your Shopify blog is offering upsell opportunities for related products. You can do this in several ways:
- Ensure you link to “Related Products” at the end of posts
- Includes links within the posts to relevant product and category pages
This will give your blog posts a better chance of resulting in conversions from users.
While blogging might seem like a second priority for Shopify stores, oftentimes it can be extremely important for SEO. Shopify stores may need to create blog content to rank for keywords that may appear to be transactional in nature but Google is actually ranking informational results. Always be sure you understand the search intent of your high-value keywords as that will be pivotal to your content strategy.
Looking for more ways to optimize and market your Shopify store?
Check out these resources:
- Shopify SEO Guide: How to increase organic traffic to your store
- Technical SEO for Shopify: A guide to optimizing your store for search engines
- E-commerce category pages outperform product detail pages in SERPs
- Raising the stakes on product category pages
- Download the Periodic Table of Digital Commerce Marketing
- Search Engine Land’s Essential Guide to SEO: Master the science of SEO
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.