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SEO Basics: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners | Fuel POD

Karla
July 22, 2021

SEO Basics: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners  


If you've been in the ecommerce space for a while, you've probably heard a thing or two about the importance of SEO. There is also a big chance you avoided it altogether, seeing how technical it can get. Fret no more! Here we will demystify it and give you all the SEO basics for beginners.    

SEO can be a gamechanger for any ecommerce business, including any site or platform you use to sell print-on-demand products from Fuel. But what does SEO mean? Why is it important, and how do we apply it? We are here to answer all of your questions 😎 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s all the processes you can do to make your site rank higher on search results, leading to increase organic traffic to your website.

Let's say you are looking for a "Father's day mug" to surprise your dad. If you type those words into any search engine, you'll get thousands of results in less than a second. The first results you see that are not ads are from the companies that have done a fantastic SEO job. 


Google search results when someone types father's day mug into the search box.
The first results on SERPs are a great way to look into your competition.


Keep reading, and you'll be ready to create a successful ecommerce SEO strategy in no time.


SEO for Beginners Glossary 


There are many terms thrown around that make SEO hard to understand. Here are the main ones you need to know:

  • Search engine: Web-based programs that let users search for information on the World Wide Web. The most popular ones are Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
  • Organic Traffic: The opposite of paid traffic. All the visitors that land on your website as a result of unpaid search results. 
  • SERPs: Search Engine Result Pages are the responses to any search query. If you type something in Google search bar, the SERPs are the results you get back. 
  • Keywords: All the words and phrases (search queries) people type into search engines to find what they're looking for. These are the ones that you need to add to your POD business, so potential customers can easily find you. 
  • Meta Title: An element in the head section of a website that defines the title of each page. It is retrieved by search engines to display a webpage in SERPs.
  • Meta Description: This element is used to describe the page to searchers as they read through the SERPs This tag is the copy that will determine if users click on your result. Search engines use it to understand additional information about the webpage. 
  • Search volume: An average number of times a specific keyword is entered on a search engine within a specific timeframe.
  • Search intent: The reason behind a search query. There are four main categories: 

            - Informational - “What is COVID-19?” 

            - Navigational - "Amazon"

            - Transactional - “Buy personalized t-shirts” 

            - Commercial investigation - “Best print-on-demand app” 


Screenshot showing titles and meta descriptions on google search results
Titles and meta descriptions on google search results.

Now that you are familiar with the vocabulary, it will be easier to understand how having an SEO strategy can impact your ecommerce business.  


How does SEO work?


Search engines use bots or crawlers that analyze content from all the websites available online. Once they have the necessary data, they return and add it to their search index to provide the best results to whatever people search. 

If you are looking for something on Google, you'll probably find what you are looking for within the first search results. People are more likely to click on the first results than on the 10th-page result, for sure! Users rarely venture into the second SERP. 


Why is SEO important?   


With an SEO strategy, you can make your website rank higher within search results, making it easier for prospective customers to find you. Once you have increased your visibility with the appropriate keywords, more qualified traffic will enter your site and choose you over competitors. Increasing your chances of selling products and ultimately your profits!

Young woman using search engine on mobile
Women entering a search query on a search engine


Types of SEO


Search engines work with many factors to determine how to rank your website. And there are three main types of SEO that can help you improve your chances of ranking high:

  1. On-page SEO. This SEO type focuses on optimizing meta tags, title tags, and any piece of content on your website with relevant keywords for your products.
  2. Off-page SEO. This SEO type refers to link building or backlinks. A backlink is a link created on another website that links to another, also called an "inbound link". This type of SEO is aimed to increase the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage to increase the search engine rankings of that page. 
  3. Technical SEO. It focuses more on the code side of websites and considers things that can affect the user experience, such as page speed. 

In this beginner's guide to SEO, we will focus mainly on giving you the best SEO tips for the type you can control on most ecommerce platforms, on-page SEO.


How to build an SEO strategy?


An effective ecommerce SEO strategy includes all the planning and steps to implement to improve your search engine rankings. And they all should start with a thorough keyword research.

Step 1. Do an in-depth keyword research 

Here we suggest you step into your potential customers' shoes for a minute and consider which keywords they could use to look for your products. You need to identify all the names and ways users can use to describe your product. Targeting the right keywords is crucial for the whole strategy to work. A good place to start is by using Google suggest to look for keywords you can use.


Google suggestions when someone types fathers day mug on the search box
Google Suggest is a great way to get keywords your potential customers use


For an ecommerce business, you should consider product-focused & transactional keywords with a medium to high search volume. 

💡 Fuel tip: Since your priority is to lead people to purchase, use transactional keywords for higher conversion rates. These use terms such as "buy" or "for sale" and words that describe the product in a more specific way, for example: "black t-shirt for stepfather size XL." 

Free SEO tools 

Luckily, many tools can help us get insights to make an effective keyword research. Certain tools let you know their search volume, and here we list our favorite ones that come for free. 

Now that you know which keywords to use, it's time to implement them in your homepage, product categories, and details.

Step 2. Include most relevant keywords in titles and meta description

Make sure this content matches what searchers are looking for, is unique and encourages your potential customers to click on your website. Learn more about how to use the right keywords to increase your store traffic here.  

Step 3. Optimize your product descriptions, categories, and all the content that appears on your website.

Product titles and product details are where the most important content is for people with online stores. You can add more relevant keywords in this part. Just remember that you shouldn't oversaturate any page with keywords. 

The text should be read as sentences and follow a logical structure. Otherwise, you could be penalized by Google.  


Graphic showing website ranking on the first place on search engines because of SEO.
Website using SEO to  rank at the top on search engines.


Step 4. Optimize your URL's

While most systems automatically create a URL when a new page or post is created, you can edit the permalink portion of the text to optimize it for search engines and users. The link text for a menu item should be descriptive and match the title for the page that it links to.

Step 5. Set ALT tags and optimize image names

When bots index your content, they cannot know what's in an image, but they can read the image names and alt tags, so use this space to add relevant keywords. Keep in mind that the alt-text tags should provide better image context/descriptions since their purpose is to describe images to those who cannot see them.


SEO for your store on Shopify


There are four main places that you can add keywords to improve SEO for your online store:

  1. Page titles - Keep it under 70 characters. One of the most critical elements in SEO since it is displayed in search engine results.  
  2. Meta descriptions - It can be up to 320 characters. A good description makes customers visit your store. Make it unique and natural rather than lists of keywords.
  3. ALT tags - Use keywords from the page where the image is shown. They should be readable phrases that describe what appears in the image.
  4. Page's body content - Write unique product descriptions that include your keywords. The content should be logical, and it should match the headers so that search engines know that the page is what it claims to be. Every page should have at least 250 words of descriptive text and informational pages, and blog posts at least 500 words.

Learn more about how to improve SEO on your Shopify store here.


Keep an eye on the quality and impact of your social media presence. Your new customer might be only a few scrolls away!
Coworkers researching keywords for their SEO strategy


Since we know our most successful sellers use several platforms to promote their products, we also have great marketing and SEO tips for Amazon and eBay to take your business to the next level.

Whether you've read this guide only about SEO or are more well-versed in it, we hope you learned a bit more and gained some insightful tips you can apply in your SEO strategy.  

Are you ready to become an SEO success story? Which other SEO tips do you use? Tell us by filling the form below.



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