66. Louis Smith: Leveraging The Compound Benefits Of Ecommerce SEO

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The Brand Builder Show
66. Louis Smith: Leveraging The Compound Benefits Of Ecommerce SEO

There are more marketing channels available to eCommerce marketers than ever before, but some core strategies continue to stand the test of time.

One such strategy is Search Engine Optimization, often the non-sexy option in an industry searching for quick wins.

However, for those willing to put the work in and have the patience required, the benefits of eCommerce SEO are well worth the wait.

In this week’s episode of the Brand Builder Show, we’re joined by eCommerce SEO expert Louis Smith.

We talked about:

  • How to set up your brand’s website for maximum SEO benefit
  • What pages you should be prioritizing in order to maximize revenue
  • A step-by-step strategy for growing your organic traffic
  • And much more!

If you want to build an organic traffic channel that continues to compound over time (so the work you do today is still working for you in years to come), then this is a must-listen episode.

Episode Links

Talking Points

00:00 Introduction to Guest: Louis Smith

02:05 Background of Louis

05:54 Louis’ favorite five

08:17 What makes SEO a powerful channel?

09:53 SEO Strategy that a beginner can adapt

12:15 What topical authority means

13:55 Content strategy that a brand should have when there are not a lot of informational topics behind their products

16:33 Things you can do to make sure site speed is good on Shopify

20:05 Good site structure that will help for SEO purposes

26:09 Link building in SEO

29:31 What brand owners should be aware of in Shopify

33:25 Louis’ take on AI

37:49 Theme that’s going to help with SEO

39:16 Where to find Louis

Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey folks, welcome back to another episode of The Brand Builder show where we talk about how you can build e commerce brands in the current e commerce climate. And today is going to be an interesting episode, we’re gonna be talking about SEO, search engine optimization for E commerce and to talk about this huge topic and one I love talking about. We’ve got Louis Smith on the show today. Thanks for coming on, Louis.
Louis Smith  00:23
Yeah, thanks for having me. Big fan of the show and looking to sort of dig it. Yeah, dig into SEO and E commerce landscape and trying to give as much value as possible.
Ben Donovan  00:33
Yeah, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be really good. It’s a topic that is very, very powerful one if done, right. And so I’m sure it’s gonna be super helpful for people and no matter what stage they’re at, you know, whether beginner or more advanced with E commerce. You know, I find that SEO is one of the real undervalued strategies in mainstream e commerce. You know, there’s a lot of talk about paid media. There’s a lot of talk about influencer marketing, but ecommerce just kind of flies on sorry, SEO, just kind of flies under the radar. So yeah, it’d be interesting to bring some truth to actually I was just looking for, we were just moving over to Evernote for all of our like, knowledge management and SOPs and all that kind of sorry, moving over to notion from Evernote and I was looking at all of my old notes in Evernote and trying to move everything over. And I saw like I had saved a note about SEO a couple of years ago. And thinking man, I need to focus more on this, and just kind of like, didn’t do anything with it. And I realized now having learned more about the topic, how much I didn’t know back then, and how easy it is for especially ecommerce operatives to just sideline it and think, Well, you know, it’s something that, you know, will just happen naturally, but there’s obviously so many proactive things that you can do, which we’ll get into today. Yeah, which I’m looking forward to doing. Before we do get into it, we’d love to hear obviously, a bit of your backstory, let us know your journey in the world of business and entrepreneurship up until now and and then we can dive into things.
Louis Smith  02:02
Awesome, yeah. So stepping back it was I worked in a gym and I was a big fan, I always wanted to do my own thing you know, grow my own projects or you know, just take life on my own chin home, you know, step out of my comfort zone and just try something and I went to university to in computing, web development so the plan was to be web developer started making WordPress websites from scratch I made an app at uni travel up I remember planning to sell that app I thought become a millionaire overnight. That was the quick Plan A, but not then, you know, I got an experience at agency making websites etc working on some apps. And in I was working on blogs, you know, writing blogs, etc, my own sort of projects, and then I was writing blogs and I was like, why are these not ranking better than what’s what’s the you know, on page one on Google and then that’s when I fell in love with SEO was you know, just obsessed with it. I was reading testing right in and you’re becoming more and more obsessed with it started getting better and better. Got into agency again too because I went traveling and then come back and you know, I hated sort of the rigid approach of what I was doing with the agency and I was doing a lot on the side by then you know I built a couple local clients phone shops, etc. I was reaching out to businesses on page two of Google I could clearly see and I could get them on page one just by content alone local phone shops did that told the message that I want to do my own thing she panicked yeah no no nasty nine to five it’s no I can do this if I have to go knock on every business in Bolton Manchester, I will do it you know, I do believe in myself. And yeah, jumped into it and got onto artwork you know, stay at age just trying to build on the quickly I sort of hit the top tiers on there, you know, work with some really big brands, fortune 500 companies, etc. You know, my skill just kept growing and growing, kept investing day and night into bettering my marketing skills, especially in SEO. And then you know, phone LinkedIn started building my personal brand on there as well. And it’s just scale from you know, from with small to Fortune 500 companies now I built my processes around ecommerce, SEO. And yeah, just keep working with great brands trying to stay ahead of the game. Obviously, AI is impacted the niche now, you know, the market and just Yeah, keep trying to stay ahead and bettering my skills and obviously, you know, working with helping brands, and that’s yeah, that’s sort of 1000 foot view of the journey.
Ben Donovan  04:54
Yeah, that’s good, man. Yeah, and we’ll definitely touch on AI because it’s impossible. Not too at the moment but particularly for SEO it’s, it’s impacting things it’d be way I tweeted yesterday or day before the CEO of rich wallets was talking about how, you know, physical product brand is one of the great not not like a hedge, that was sort of what I was saying. It’s like a hedge against AI almost, you know, because people AI can’t replace physical products. There’s some industries where it can’t really replace it. But obviously, SEO is an industry that can be massively disrupted by AI, so it’d be good to talk about that a little bit. In the episode. Love to take you through our lightning round as our favorite five ask you your five sort of favorite things in these topics just to get to know you a little bit more and inspire our audience with some new things to research and be inspired by. Do you have a favorite ecommerce brand?
Louis Smith  05:55
Favorite? Uhm, Love nack but I just wouldn’t because a brand but my my favorite I’d probably say as an E commerce SEO strategy is probably IKEA. The the strategy is fire. Look at the intent pages category page, product page, etc. They’re doing they’re doing big things. So um, so yeah, if you’re interested in E commerce SEO as a baseline template Gaumukh IKEA. Yeah.
Ben Donovan  06:19
We’ll come back to that for sure. Cool. All right. And then what about a software or tool that helps you run your business?
Louis Smith  06:27
Tool? I’m gonna have to say my phone. Can I say that?
Ben Donovan  06:31
Yeah, yeah. Do you
Louis Smith  06:37
just obsessed with learning solo ever not you know, if I’m not on the laptop, I’ll be on my phone. I’ve audible Kindle. You know, my, my Google Sheets plugged into that. So yeah, I’m just constantly, you know, learning and then putting down notes putting down plans. So yeah, yeah, if I was stuck on a desert island, I’d want my phone and laptop.
Ben Donovan  07:00
That’s good. That’s good. I think I know what you say to this one, but organic marketing channel?
Louis Smith  07:07
SEO got to be has to be
Ben Donovan  07:10
otherwise you can’t really do this. Because I can’t Well, yeah. What about paid marketing channel? Have you done much paid over the years?
Louis Smith  07:18
Yeah, when we just started out. Pet magazine, I think Instagram for me. Just, you know, I still see brands doing big things on Instagram. Obviously Facebook is tough now. But Instagram. And we all know TikTok is blowing up now. But yeah, Instagram for me at the moment. Yeah. Cool.
Ben Donovan  07:37
And then finally, do you have a favorite business book?
Louis Smith  07:42
Oh, Blue Ocean Strategy. I love that book and hustle harder as well. For dissemble? Yeah, blue ocean strategy. I think there’s absolute gold in every brand can take some nuggets from that book.
Ben Donovan  07:55
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Sign. That’s a very good book. Good stuff. Okay, let’s talk about some, some SEO stuff, then x, I think this will be really helpful for a lot of our audience. Firstly, what makes SEO such a powerful channel? You know, I’ve talked about how great it is, you obviously invest a lot of time in it, but what is it about it that makes it so good or so important? Even?
Louis Smith  08:18
Yes, so SEO is, is the channel that converts the best organic marketing is it is the channel. And you know, brands that do SEO, right are the ones that get insane business growth. If you can nail your SEO strategy, you know, it’s going to bring big returns to your business. You see ecommerce brands, you know, I did a YouTube video the other week where, you know, some ecommerce brands don’t even really do SEO and the Runwell. And if they just invested that small, not small, but they invested into SEO, it can have a big impact on their business. It’s taking a business that will struggle with product sales, making them into a sustainable business to hire people to grow the you know, to their asset. And just keep growing that business SEO is any brand that wants to grow needs to see it in my eyes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Ben Donovan  09:17
Yeah, definitely. And if you were to like if a beginner, or even someone who’s not beginner in E commerce, but maybe just hasn’t really given much time to SEO, but wanted to really adopt an SEO strategy. If you could summarize it in, you know, two or three sentences, if this is the only bit of the episode that someone listens to, and can take that away and get started with some form of SEO strategy. What would be you know, like the 80-20 of an E commerce SEO strategy, and then obviously we can pick that apart but just top line view what what would that be what would be sort of a good strategy
Louis Smith  09:51
For three key areas to work on phase one. I would say product lines. You Product coverage. So, brands, the thing with product coverage is you can rank, you know, well without doing SEO. By that, I mean, if I’ll give an example, so a car detailing website, okay, we have two websites, one is just a couple of products. And one and the ones with a couple products, build some links, the one builds no links, but has you know, shampoos, the sponges, interior, white everything, okay, that brand will do better in search. And because it has a good product coverage. So that’s number one. The 80-20 is, is fine was working with your Google Search Console data and look at what’s ranking with your website, and then double down on that what many, many brands don’t understand because they don’t understand SEO is, you know, you’ll run your website through a tool. And it’ll say, you know, you have to hedge tos on a page that’s not had an impression over the last 10 years, go and fix up, that is not a priority. What is the priority is this segment of the website, this, this 20%, that’s getting revenue getting traffic them so pages and layers related to that, that’s not just not getting traffic, just missing that, that there’s something missing, whether it’s the product coverage, the internal link in the quality of the content, find them pages, and build what’s working around that. That’s super important. And then collections and products. So building out. So topical authority is done with content with a new topic off, I would say whether your collection pages, it relates to not first time. So if you sell, for example, men’s clothing, with your collection, page strategy, you know, T shirts, jeans, holidays, and build that topical cluster there. And then the product, the quality of the product page. I’m gonna say if you’re listening to this Google attributes on your product page, that’s going to be key as well.
Ben Donovan  12:06
Let’s try to break that down. Then you talked about topical authority, can you just explain for anybody who’s new to SEO, what that means?
Louis Smith  12:15
So topical authority is, is imagine if you purchase the book on say travel in New York, you’d want that book to contain everything you need to know about New York, if there was pages missing, like you know, tips on where to stare tips on hotels, tips on things to do, it wouldn’t be a very good travel book. However, the book that contains all that information, that’s what customers are going to love. That’s what people want to read. And that’s the same with your website, you know, you want to cover a topic as much in depth as possible. And that’s how, you know, Google will crawl your site, put there, understand them pages, and then understand you know, you have you are an expert in that niche. And that that is an allergy to topical authority. But obviously, there’s a lot of moving moving variables that can go wrong with that, like, you know, how you put them pages together. But all we know, is just trying to cover a topic and trying to give as much value as possible around that topic.
Ben Donovan  13:18
Yeah, that’s a great analogy with the book actually, it’s really good one. The is obviously with an informational website to get topical authority can be seen as being easy because you just you know, create content around, you know, informational topics. But if your example for instance, men’s clothing, hoodies, how does someone become the topical authority on hoodies? Like, what what kind of content is there to create around that? What, what content strategy suit should a brand have, when maybe there’s not a lot of informational based topics around their products, if that makes sense?
Louis Smith  13:52
Yeah, definitely. So with with ecommerce, with every website, Google’s released documentation last year, you know, saying they want quality content to release that big update last month, because of all this AI content. So what we need to do now is to create, when I first come on, I mentioned about a website not doing SEO, but ranking well. So if you, if you create a website, and you sell all them product lines, say for example, men’s clothing, you sell the hats, the hoodies, the T shirts, and the more the more variations and related products, you have the highest quality of website, your niche relevant website, it’s not Amazon where Amazon will sell, you know, quote, men’s clothing, etc. So you can you can really dominate that niche by just making sure that you’re covering everything related to men’s clothing. If you’re if you offer that you you know you’re in a perfect place for an SEO strategy. Lead links are going to carry you then. And then in terms of content content around that, you know, I’d be looking at middle of the funnel content like that. On top of the funnel, people will be asking questions around jeans, you know what jeans to wear on a first day, etc. And you can start to pick off traffic them to, you know, get engagement to your website, and that will help.
Ben Donovan  15:12
Yeah. So at the core, the focus is good products catalog with category pages, and then supporting blog content that’s going to point to all of those things.
Louis Smith  15:23
Yep, definitely. And the, quote, quality of product pages, well, you know, it’s, if five, five brands that today, you know, with similar men’s COVID, for example, and we all just get the same Shopify thing with the baseline product page, you know, is it’s not really putting that extra mile in for the customer. However, if we invest into UX to improve that product page, improve that category page, there’s a lot, you know, it was get ahead of what the other brands are doing.
Ben Donovan  15:53
Yeah, let’s come on to that. I was gonna ask that bit later on. But let’s talk about that now, because a lot of our listeners will potentially be using Shopify, it’s obviously a common option. But it does have some SEO drawbacks, obviously, site speed and being able to control that is one and then the customization of the product page is obviously got a lot better with Shopify 2.0. But I suppose firstly, starting with site speed, is a big SEO factor. What do you do when working with clients that are on Shopify? And there’s less out of the box controls? But what are some things that you can do to really make sure that site speed is, is good on Shopify?
Louis Smith  16:33
Yeah, so there’s some great themes out there to start with, you know, that don’t help with reducing cord blocks. So I’ve been looking at that. There’s certain plugins that can help like Avada. You know, that’s, that’s a big favorite of mine, you know, it does pull up, plug in and do all the settings on there. And you can, you know, you’ll improve your call with vitals for Google with that. And then looking at pages, well, what you’ll find is if, you know, if the client goes in and starts to make changes to pages, and just, you know, building pages, you might find that there’s CSS shoved into the page JavaScript, which will have an impact on that page load. So I’ve been looking at that as well, just running a crawl on the site, see which pages are slow, if it’s a page that’s getting traffic, you know, I’ve been looking at improving that PageSpeed look at the pages that are important to you, as a business. If you find your top 20 revenue earner pages, I’d be looking to improve speed on them pages, convicts reducing images, etc. A bit, you know, looking at that, what a lot of brands do is just got word images straightaway, you know, they’ll, they’ll take a high quality image of the product, which is awesome, but they’re not well done straightaway. And you know, it could be a five megabyte image that’s seriously slowing down the page. If you’ve got six of them, and they’re not lazy, lazy loading, you’ve got an issue, then where your page load in terms of speed and iOS, it you know, it’s it’s not the biggest ranking factor. What it is, is a website wants to sell products. If if that page award is law, you’re going to lose that customer. So just make sure you do it from a conversion point of view. Think of the customer.
Ben Donovan  18:16
Yeah, the product page, you mentioned about making sure you’ve got good product pages. Obviously, that’s a massive factor for conversion rate optimization. But what are some things that should be looked at for SEO purposes? For for that product page? Are you trying to get product pages ranked? Are you trying more to get category pages rank? 212? What’s your strategy? They’re
Louis Smith  18:40
both Yeah, both. So products is super, super important for ranking. They’re your last sort of port of call before sales mad. So you know, it’s important to make sure that the product page is optimized. So any questions that need answered on that page, that’s going to be the last, you know, in the customers mind, making sure that’s on the page, anything to do with shipping and returns, you know, that’s got to be on the page, any related attributes around the products. That’s got to be on the page as well. Imagery, video reviews, and then related content that if it you know, if the customer might just need some, you know, some content to prove that you know, they want to buy it, that’s when I’ll be looking at related content in the bottom as well. But customer reviews, if you can get them individual reviews for products. It’s going to keep refreshing every time someone you know, loads of peer review, and it’s going to help convert that customer as well. Is that support all them different pieces into the page? And then you’ve got a really good product page?
Ben Donovan  19:43
Yeah, nice. Yeah. And then the overall site structure you mentioned IKEA is a good example. Can you talk us through obviously I clear a massive brand with probably hundreds of category pages, I would imagine. But can you talk us through the principles of like a good site structure that’s going to be helpful for SEO purposes.
Louis Smith  20:04
Yeah, so I like a flat site structure. And trying to this is the problem with Big E commerce sites where you know, pages will get buried, they’ll get buried. And what happens then is they’re not being crawled. So they’ll have minimal internal links, and probably have zero External links, which means Google is not growing that page. So what we need to do is just make sure from a site architecture. So what I’ll give an example. So electric cars, I’ve given this example before is, if you Google in the UK electric cars, you’ll see Auto Trader at the top. Now what they’re doing is, once you land on that page from the SERP, they’ll have different intents segments, I like to call it so if 1000 Customers logged on that page, they’ll have you know, sections for each each, you know, say 100, people want to read guides on electric cars, because they have no idea about them. Like if it was me, I don’t know which which electric car want, I don’t know anything, you know, with how many miles to do, etc. So I’d want to know that first. And what they’ll do is cover that. And then they’ll have a segment for the different models of cars. And then they’ll have a segment for the actual cars, the bestsellers for people that are ready to buy. And that’s what you want to be looking at. Because Google, Google’s passage ranking algorithm, understands them different sections. So you know, a brand might sell, I’ll give the example men’s clothing again, and think they can just create a collection page and put products in that. But a brand, you know, the next brand also, right? Actually, if we get 1000 customers to this page, or the old one and got gone visit that that black quarter, probably not. So what we’ll do is we’ll create full nail images, for holidays, you know, for t shirts for Jeans, shoes, etc. We’ll put guides on styling for men for you know, whether it’s going to wear, whether it’s for weddings, whether it’s for parties. And then we’ve got page one where you know, the different customer has different options. Google understands that, and it’s a dense, a very valuable page. And you’re, you’re spreading your page rank up getting External links appear to them different different segments of your site. And that’s, that’s what’s super important. If you look at IKEA, they do that very well. If you search sofa, and UK, for example, they will right near the top. And they have you know everything on that page for about sofas, if you know if you need tips, if you’re ready to buy, if you just need a bit more information on styling, or you want to see the different styles of sofa, every different intent a customer would would have is directly on that page.
Ben Donovan  22:48
And so that would be like on the category page adding stuff or you’re saying would create a like a landing page for that kind of thing.
Louis Smith  22:58
It’s almost a landing page style category page. So it’s it’s second category pasted in next level know that UX. And that’s where that’s where ecommerce is going now, where customers are better in understanding, you know, I’m intent and not hopping, they’re not hopping, everyone’s on the exact same journey that comes to that page.
Ben Donovan  23:19
And how much of this stuff that you’re talking about can be done out of the box with something like Shopify and how much needs developers and coding and stuff.
Louis Smith  23:28
Is the what is difficult when you’re if you’re just starting on your own. You know, there’s, ideally need a developer but you know, Shopify has released a feature where you know, you can build pages. So I’d be looking at that as well. building them custom pages, if you have time to learn that if you have a team, I’d be definitely putting that in the process to understand what the main, the main reason for it is to hit them different incense, the more different intention out on the page, the better it will do for ranking.
Ben Donovan  24:05
And so you would favor that approach, as opposed to because I’ve seen websites that would have like, you know, categories almost like so we sell like toys, kids toys, and I’ve seen websites that are like toys for three year olds toys for four year olds toys for five year olds. And these are all separate category pages, but they have like almost the same products on them, but they’re just trying to target that keyword with the category page. Is that like an outdated tactic or how’s that work?
Louis Smith  24:34
Now, so that’s that still works a lot in in niches. If not, if you look at Canva, for example, they they just sell said, you know business cards, so they do the design for business cards, no idea where you’re trying to jump in one page in your business card design, but what they’ve done is built hundreds of landing pages around it and business cards for gardeners, business card for hairdressers, were merely just one product. So what you’re doing is, is targeting that, that search with a category page. For me, if I do have a brand, I always say, you know, let’s not just do it, let’s try and build out a topic around it. So if we’re doing Thai for three year olds, you know, then on that page we’ve met have FAQs around, you know, two or three year olds directly related for what that customer wants to see. And then also guides, writing guides around that articles, and build a topical authority around debt. This is that 80-20 where, you know, if it’s a seven or seven pound click, you know, keyword topic, we can see when there’s 200,000 searches a month, that’s when it become a bit of a priority, then so right, you know, we can really, really drive revenue with this page.
Ben Donovan  25:55
Yeah, definitely. You’ve mentioned link building a few times, you know, a site will have some links to it, another site won’t. Is link building, something that’s still moves the needle for SEO
Louis Smith  26:09
100% Definitely. It’s, they always say, you know, Link buildings day in, but I think definitely with AI now, you know, Google’s still heavily reliant on good links, and good links from seed sites, a seed site being I’ll give you an example of travel long and planet, you know, Google’s rely on that as a sole a topic of information, you know, basically a bulk of information for Lonely Planet, if you can get a link from that it shows your credible website. And that’s what you need to be looking at niches, for them credible links that Google is going to, you know, crawl and trust. But yeah, links are still needed in any sort of niche, difficult niche, you know, they’ve always been links, so the top 10 ranking pages. So yeah, still important. It’s still needed.
Ben Donovan  27:05
Obviously, there’s a little bit of I don’t want to say, controversy around building links, you know, link building, and obviously the tactics around that. But what should ecommerce brand owners be doing in terms of active link building passive link building? Is it something they should be engaging with them and given the potential risks involved?
Louis Smith  27:29
Yeah, you know, Google’s guidelines, don’t build links. But you know, everyone knows, we need links to rank a, what any e commerce brand needs to do is, you know, do what a brand would do. If you started out, you know, you build all your business citations, you get all your social media profiles, and you start creating engagement for them. And you’d reach out and try new collaborations, if you’re in the chlorination or you speak to clothing bloggers, and you to try my products, etc. And, you know, trying to build things like that on niche relevant size. So it’s related to your niche that’s going to help your audience influence a magazine, you know, if you can get influence on their websites to try your product to build things that way as well. PR is big, you know, PR is going to get them good links, same them credible links and big sites, that’s going to help, you know, build your brand off Twitter. So yeah, I want to do a one way approach, and I’d look at all the different avenues and start to grow every link is a digital asset and start to grow them assets. You know, there’s just many ways you can build links are just, you know, sitting down with a book and saying, right, you know, we need links. Here’s, here’s our plan. Of course, every every website is different in in niche. So it’s lucky that you know, niche relevance. If it’s gardening products, you know, you’d be looking at a different product, a different way of doing it than, say, a clothing brand.
Ben Donovan  29:03
Definitely, yeah, good. Okay, that’s helpful. And then finally, just on technical SEO, any advice? Obviously, we don’t need to get too deep in the weeds for for this episode, but do you have anything, you know, some fundamentals that if they’re not happening should happen for ecommerce brand owners? Like, you know, submitting sitemaps and that kind of thing? Is, is that something that’s happening automatically with Shopify or, or any things that brand owners really need to be aware of?
Louis Smith  29:32
Yeah, I’d say with Shopify. If you go to your collection page and hover over a product, if you see collection in the URL in the bottom left corner of the screen, you’ve got a bit of an issue, then go ahead in Shopify websites, what that’s doing is creating, if you have, for example, 100,000 products, you have all these canonical URLs, that canonical back to the raw product, so that What that’s doing is just doubling the amount of URLs that Google is crawling and for no reason. So you know, get that fixed. I keep noticing as well. If you go in your Google Search Console, and you go to Pages, and you just look at, you know, pages being crawled by Google, there’s an issue with these plugins coming in from Shopify, where these apps might web effects of something being crawled. So just keep an eye on that. With your sitemap and Shopify is generally good at just populating your Sitemap. If you have any, what do you find is, you know, some, some brands will create custom landing pages for PPC, which are almost like duplicates of you know, I’ve had it where they’ve not told me and then the pops up a duplicate of a high traffic page, and then done it again for another PPC campaign. And then we’ve got three pages and exactly the same. So Google’s out, you know, which one do they want ranking. So just make sure to no index you know, any pages that you’re using for certain campaigns, which will help. But yeah, other than that, it’s just, you know, keeping on top of you canonicals, don’t, you know, brands that don’t understand SEO will have products, and they’ll delete them, and then start to create these redirections, that build up, build up build up, you need to keep that clean. At the end of the day, you keeping your Google index, clean, the cleaner, you can keep Google index, the easier it crawls your site, and the more valuable it’s going to be. Index index blog is a big issue with E commerce brands, especially as they start to scale. So it’s just you know, if you lower a new journey, sort of newer in the journey, just make sure to keep an eye on that it can help you massively down the line.
Ben Donovan  31:47
Yeah. Did you come across problems with the URL structure of a Shopify? I know, we’ve talked about Shopify a lot by just a lot of people will be on it. And one of the criticisms I’ve seen, you know, I know about Shopify is the lack of control over the URL structure, do you find challenges with that?
Louis Smith  32:07
The two main challenges is to canonical so many brands will leave, I’ll say just fix that, you know, you can get a developer to put some code in some custom code just to remove the canonical. And then also, don’t get a lot of messages asking me about this or because you build your topical silo of within your collection pages. They sometimes believe it’s not possible because you can’t have the URL, you know, if it’s men’s clothing slash t shirt slash, you know, running T shirts, for example, because you can’t have that in Shopify. Really, it’s it’s not a massive issue. Remember, your internal linking structure is how you will show the crawl bots how that’s put together a virtual silo. So don’t you know don’t get hooked on because the URLs not these axiom. You know what, with a lot of Shopify brands, and there’s never been an issue ranking pages because of that.
Ben Donovan  33:04
Yeah, good. Okay. And then just to round up, then future predictions and AI is something we briefly chatted about before we hit record, it’s, it’s something that is obviously having a major influence on the industry. What is your broad take on it all?
Louis Smith  33:25
At first, I was like, I will go, it will go a no, no, I think it’s I think it’s awesome. And I think it’s here to help the brands that still sort of don’t adopt it yet are the ones who will almost get lost in the race. And I brought it into hope my processes and by that I don’t mean you know, articles, etc, you know, stay away from that. But there’s so many great things you can do with it. It goes a lot farther than the SEO industry. And like I said, you know, you can create I’ve used it to create like calculators, generators, use it for you know, CTR ideas, meta description ideas, there’s just so much you can do with it. And I think you know, the brands are adopting it noted it the ones that are excelling quicker, because the the getting that they’re getting that help the CTO of Hue drink the other day, I’ve seen you know, put post on LinkedIn, OPPO say, you know, it’s helping our team scale with like development, etc. Project management so, yeah, you know, if if you’ve not adopted it into processes yet, you will want to jump sand be able to find a way to use it a just keep, you know, start start with apps that nurturing it. Look at those mundane tasks that you do on a daily and, you know, bring that into help and you can do incredible things with it. I just yeah, it’s frightening to think well It’ll be in three years. We’ll probably have a robot Mac in our coffees.
Ben Donovan  35:06
Yeah, that’d be good. Yeah, it’s gonna be gonna be Fascinating, isn’t it? Very, very interesting times ahead, especially like we’ve said in SEO is an industry that it’s going to massively shake up for good or for bad. So I think for good on that on the most part.
Louis Smith  35:24
Yeah. You know, I think where brands are going wrong is it’s because it’s, it’s easy to create an article, you can go in and say, right, create me an article on this. This is where I think brands, everyone, everyone’s in that mind processes that that’s all it is, is like, you’ll just come in and create, you know, an article in seconds, pull on your website, which that’s not what is it’s good for, in my eyes, get get creative with it, and use it for other things that can help with so many different processes. That’s where it’ll be so yeah, don’t buy, you know, don’t just create articles and put them on your website. Stay away from that. Just use it for all the other benefits.
Ben Donovan  36:05
Yeah, definitely. Good stuff. Man. This has been super, super helpful. Is there anything that maybe I haven’t asked that you think that would be good to share? Or any kind of leaving thoughts for everyone?
Louis Smith  36:19
Yeah, you know, I think it with SEO, there’s, there’s so many awesome tools out there now that you can use, you know, if you’re a bigger site, there’s tools out to post where you can just go and crawl your site, you know, start to put them datasets together, instead of trying to work it out manually, and start to get an understanding of the site, you know, we see every commerce site, you know, it might have great UX on the front end. But it might be a tangled mess underneath. And, you know, just understanding what’s going on underneath the hood can create such a big impact for your revenue and traffic starts to fix that 80-20 principle is definitely key is, you know, you’ll find 20% of a website will bring in, you know, 80% of the revenue. So if you can start to build on top of that, and optimize within that, look at your Google Search Console data, connect, you know, connect that with Google Sheets, there’s a lot of great apps notice that to understand that data, you know, just like Google Search Console data. There’s some great apps out there, and it will take some sheets and start to you know, find org and queries around you certain pages that you can you can build out into new landing pages that can help you massively.
Ben Donovan  37:34
Yeah, that’s good, man. That’s good. Yeah, one final question. I did think of that. I’ve got to ask other you mentioned about good themes, Shopify themes for SEO, what should you be looking for in a good theme that’s going to help with SEO?
Louis Smith  37:47
Speed, speed, obviously, you know, the quicker you have off the cuff is going to be easier than just going in and trying to make a heavy theme. Long, quicker integrations as well. You know, certain brands need API’s coming in. So I’ll be looking at that as well. So yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of great themes out there, just look for flexibility, not going to rigid theme. Like I said, the more the more control, you hover over it, the better, the better you can do. You can change things for your axe later, etc. Yeah, there’s a lot of, you know, Shopify, Shopify is growing very quick. I’m a big, you know, big believer for what they’re doing. So, you know, people are invested into making great themes, and they’re only getting better. So, you know, do a quick Google search of fastest themes and some great listicles or themes. So, yeah, just make sure it look quick, do your research. There’s a lot of, you know, YouTube videos guides out there. That help, you know, I’ve started posting more and more tips on my website. You know, I send out an email every week, but you know, there’s so much information on the web, just make sure you get in a phosphine flexibility, etc.
Ben Donovan  39:03
Yeah, that’s good. And great segue, by the way into where people can find out more about you. The website, give us the details on the website, obviously, we’ll leave a link in the show notes, etc. But where can where can people find you?
Louis Smith  39:16
Awesome. Yeah. Louis Smith, L O U I S Smith .co.uk. So really trying to push more content into my site notes to help and also LinkedIn. I try to post every day, the week, hundreds of posts over the year. So yeah, I tried to give it as much value as possible around, you know, my findings and my testing. So yeah, hit me up on LinkedIn on my site.
Ben Donovan  39:38
Definitely. That’s awesome, man. Well, like I said, really appreciate you taking the time out to come on and share this stuff. It’s been super helpful. I’m sure it’ll be very helpful for all of our listeners. So thank you so much for your time.
Louis Smith  39:50
Awesome. Thanks for having me on, man. Pleasure. Pleasure.
Ben Donovan  39:53
Amazing. Well, I’m sure you got as much value out of this episode as me folks, be sure to check out Louis’ website all of the content there invest in SEO as a long term strategy because it does keep compounding and he’s going to keep rewarding you over time. So it takes a bit time to set up. It’s a bit of work, but it will be worth it in the long run. So make sure you get started on it ASAP. And thanks for listening today. And we’ll see in the next episode, same time next week. Take care.

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