Michael Lykins

As an SEO Coach at Pathfinder SEO, I have the opportunity to bring my prior SEO, eCommerce, and freelance experience to the table. My aim is to help site owners, freelancers, and agencies grow their businesses with SEO. My SEO strengths lie in keyword research, content planning, on-site optimization, and finding off-site SEO opportunities."

All Resources by Michael Lykins

13 Things to Do After Launching a Website

June 17, 2021

So you've done it! You have launched the new site you have been working on. What do you do next?

Below are some of our top recommendations for things to do after launching a website. Let's dive in.

1. Tell Your Team

This is a big one. You have just completed something not everyone does. You have built a new website. Take pride in your creation and share it with your team, family, and friends.

Celebrate your achievement, but also make sure the team knows so everyone is on the same page. This new site is live and ready to get to work for your business. Whether that is making sales, generating leads, or providing unique info to the public you want everyone to know it is in place.

2. Test All of Your Forms, Links, and Widgets

Now that the team is aware of the new website, let's make sure everything works! 

Before you get to promoting the site it's important to know that every part of it is functioning exactly how it should. As you and your team check out the website click all of the links, test all of your form inputs, and make sure any scheduling/booking/etc widgets are all operational. 

This shouldn't take long and the value of identifying any broken parts early on is going to make it well worth the time investment. To save some time with the link checking you can use a free tool like Broken Link Check

While you're scanning the whole site, proofreading for grammatical errors is also a good move.

3. Check Your Site Speed and Mobility Friendliness

This is another quick step that you can complete with the PageSpeed Insights Tool and the Mobile-Friendly Test

If your page speed is not in the green you might want to look into some page optimization tools like WP Rocket or NitroPack (which we have a great article on here).

If these plugins aren't a fit for your website, you can focus improve site speed by optimizing your images. There is a new file format called WebP which is the best format for speed. You can read more about this in Google's WebP Documentation. They have a link at the bottom to download their image converter too! 

With these benchmarks recorded and optimizations made you are ready for the next step.

4. Start Backing Up Your Site

This step may be one of the most important. What better way to make sure all your hard work is not lost than to do a full backup of the site? 

Getting your site backed up will not only give you peace of mind when making any changes but also keep you safe from potential malware infections as well as making it way easier to migrate hosting if that is ever something you would like to do.

If you are using WordPress it can be as simple as using BackupBuddy from iThemes. Alternatively, you can get started with a WordPress maintenance plan from your web designer or WP Buffs.

If you're not using WordPress you still have options for an easy backup using cPanel to download a full site backup. You can find instructions for that here. Alternatively, check out this list of backup methods from PCMag.  

With your site tucked away and safe, let's get to tracking it! 

5. Set Up Google Analytics

Before we start driving traffic to the website it's essential to set up performance tracking. If you already had Google Analytics on an old website, then you can use the same Google Analytics account and install the tracking code on your new website. That way, you have a continuous data stream.

If this is a brand new site or your last site did not have Google Analytics installed you will want to make sure you get that onto your new website. 

Luckily for you, Google has impeccable documentation for its services. Get the full spiel on Google Analytics by checking out their help docs here.

If you are a member of Pathfinder SEO already, we also have a step in the SEO Checklist dedicated to getting a dual analytics (Universal and GA4) set up installed. If you would like to learn more about that SEO Checklist, schedule a demo with us

6. Set Up Google Search Console

As far as tracking how your site is performing in search and what issues your site may have, there is no better option than Google Search Console. 

You can see which queries people are using to find your site, submit sitemaps, check your Core Web Vitals reports, and so much more. 

If you are looking to get started with Google Search Console. You can sign up here

We highly recommend making sure any site you have is connected to Google Search Console. 

What else does Google offer to help you with your brand new site though? 

7. Set Up Google Alert Mentions

Now that your new site is out we want to make sure we see if it ever gets mentioned anywhere. This is a great way to keep a pulse on the public's sentiment towards your site and even find backlink opportunities. Chances are if someone is talking about your site they are probably interested in linking to it too! 

Google Alerts is a pretty simple setup. You can see Google's instructions for setting up these alerts here. Never miss another mention of your site again! 

8. Create a Plan for Ongoing Maintenance

Keeping your new website up-to-date is a must. Sign up for an ongoing website care plan with your designer or developer is a great way to make sure your site stays up to date.

Between adding new pages, updating relevant info, and maybe even updating plugins you will want to make sure someone is responsible for making these changes happen. A weekly or even bi-monthly check-in should be enough to stay on top of any site maintenance you may need. 

If you're running the site yourself through something like WordPress, just check to make sure everything is functioning properly every once in a while and update your plugins when you get email notifications from WordPress that something is out of date. 

This step does not have to be hard but is important to keep on your radar.

9. Plan Your SEO Strategy

You don't just need a new website to grow your business. You also need great traffic. Will you hire an agency? Take a DIY approach? Or follow a guided SEO approach? 

All are great options and it really just depends on how hands-on you would like to be. If you can't be bothered with this side of things maybe look into an agency or something like our QuickStart SEO option, where we get your website up to speed with a great SEO foundation. 

If you are looking to do it yourself, then consider taking a guided approach. Below is a video from our SEO Coach Erik explaining Guided SEO. 


Schedule a demo to see Pathfinder SEO in action.

Schedule a Demo

10. Email Your List

This one is a no-brainer! 

If you have any amount of people on your email list you should share your new website with them. This is free traffic to your website from a source you own. 

Either way, this is a no-cost way to get some highly relevant traffic to your site. Be sure to include a call to action in the email too. Give them a reason to actually click and go to your new site. 

This could be redeeming a discount or promotion in association with the site launch.

With that email sent out, where else can we share it? 

11. Share on Social Media

An easy way to take up more of the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is to have official accounts for your new website on all of the biggest social media platforms.

This includes having a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and if it makes sense for your brand a Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Youtube Channel. Not only does this give you more places pointing to your website it allows people to follow along without having to consistently visit the site. 

With all of the appropriate accounts created, start sharing your site updates, new blog posts, seasonal deals, and more on them. Give people a reason to follow you and even better a reason to click on your Call to Actions you are posting about.

If you have existing social media accounts for any of your other sites or brands a great way to cross-promote your new site is to share it with your other audiences. If there is absolutely no overlap this might not always be a great idea, but if you think the audience would like the contents of your new site then share away! 

With the social shares going out it's time to find some links.

12. Reach Out to Bloggers and Site Owners

With your new site in place, you will want to get content on it that people want to point links towards. 

An easy way to get started with this, after you have quality content, of course, is to start making people aware of the value you are providing. Would your blog be perfect for a page on someone's site to link to? Then reach out to them. 

There are tons of ways to start getting links to your site but finding blogs that are relevant to your niche is a good place to start. Find opportunities on their page where your content could fit in. Reach out, tell them you love their site, and show them the opportunity you found. 

Now, this will not always be successful and it is a numbers game. Starting relationships in your niche is not a bad idea though. Maybe they have some content you could link out to also.

One other place I would recommend checking out is HARO. This is for helping a reporter out. You'd be surprised how often journalists and local column writers are looking for something to write about. If you have something newsworthy going on or can craft a story that involves your site you can share that on HARO and potentially score a link back to your site.

13. Create New Content

You thought you were done with content when you launched your website. Turns out, content is an evolving process.  The number one thing you can do to fuel your website's long-term growth is to steadily create new content. It's how you share your expertise.

What will you write about though? You can start by turning questions your customers usually have into blog posts or creating explainer posts for what it is you do. Learn how to think of blog post ideas

Next Step

Launching a site is a time to pause and celebrate! The heavy lifting is done!

After you are up and running there are plenty of opportunities to improve your site, find more traffic, and expand your content. Take a step-by-step approach as highlighted here.

Now to get started!

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Google My Business for Real Estate Agents

June 16, 2021

Are you a Realtor wondering if you should have a Google Maps listing? At Pathfinder SEO, we are often asked whether real estate agents should make their own Google My Business (GMB) account or not. 

The short answer is yes, you should have a listing on Google Maps. In this post, we'll show you how.

Why Should Real Estate Agents Use Google My Business?

Google My Business powers Google Maps. When a prospect searches “location + real estate agents”, the 3-pack of Google Maps is displayed prominently:


Appearing in the top three listings on Google Maps is an easy way for an individual agent to compete on a national scale.

Moreover, it's essential that Google have up-to-date and accurate information about your business including your hours of operation, contact information, and more.

If you are a real estate agent that owns your business or if you are an agent at a brokerage you can claim your Google Maps listings via Google My Business.

How To Claim your Google My Business Listing

  1. Go to Google My Business and sign in.
  2. Click on “Add Business” and select “Add a Single Business”.
  3. Search for your name to see if you have an existing Google Maps listing. If so, this is the listing you'll want to verify. If there isn't a match for your name, you can add a new listing.

    Note, we suggest creating your listing using your name and your name alone. Don't include the name of your agency along with your name. Instead, the agency can have a separate Google Maps listing for the entire organization. This meets Google's guidelines for practitioner listings.

  4. Enter the basic information about your business. For Business Category, select “Real Estate Agents” as the primary. Continue through the prompts to fill in this formation.  Use a unique phone number if possible as your point of contact. This differentiates your listing from the agency and other agents within it. You'll have a chance to further update this information later.
  5. Verify your listing. Google will walk you through a process to prove your association with the business information provided. This will be via phone, email, or postcard, most of the time. Just follow the steps.
  6. Update your listing. Now that you own your listing, you can further update the information in Info. Complete as much information as possible. This includes adding a secondary category. “Real estate consultant” is a great secondary category for Realtors.
  7. Add photos. In the left navigation, select Photos. Upload a Logo photo (typically a headshot) along with a Cover photo (perhaps a great-looking home for sale).

Additional Tips for Real Estate Agents

Let's optimize your listing to help it stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask for reviews. The number one way to make your listing shine is third-party feedback. As you work with your clients, ask for feedback on Google Maps. You can do this via email and make it easy on your client by providing them with a direct link to pop up the review screen. Get your custom link on the Home screen of Google My Business. 
  • Respond to reviews. A great way to show potential customers more about the way you do business is to respond to all of your reviews. If someone has something to say about you and your business you should take the time to give them a response. This can soften the blow of any negative comments by asking to follow up or make happy customers delighted to get a thank you back for their comment. Here's how.
  • Keep your listing up to date. Log into Google My Business once a month. Navigate to information and make sure all of your information is up to date. Google may provide change suggestions that you can accept or reject.
  • Create posts for upcoming events such as open houses. Posts are not only a great way to show potential customers that you are active in maintaining your online presence, but that you are also trying to provide more value by keeping customers informed about upcoming events. For a real estate agent, this could be done with an open house or other showing events. Here's how.

What is Google Screened?


Google Screened presents professional service providers that they have done extensive background and licenses checks on. These providers that are approved show up at the top of Google and get a Google Screened icon.

The requirements to pass this screening change depending on the category of your business. You can see the requirements for real estate agents here.

Next Step

Google Maps is just one way to gain more visibility for you and your business on Google. Interested in getting more leads from Google? Invest in search engine optimization. Our guided approach to SEO is easy-to-follow, effective, and cost-efficient.

Learn more and schedule a demo and see how SEO can help your business!

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SEO for eCommerce Category Pages

May 20, 2021

Category pages on eCommerce websites group products into collections of like goods. They are designed to showcase your products in an organized fashion that facilitates the sales process.

Category pages are often thought of as a temporary destination between your homepage and your products. As a result, they are often overlooked. 

Category pages on eCommerce websites have the potential to be SEO powerhouses. They naturally match with the keywords your customers search for on Google. 

Take for example a search for “lightweight backpacking tent”. A top result is this Big Agnes category page


If you visit this example category page, you'll note that there is more to it than just a header + products. There are engaging photos and engaging text. And that text utilizes the keywords that people search for on Google.

In this post, we'll share with you a step-by-step process to optimize your eCommerce category pages. By leveling up your category pages, you'll drive free traffic to your store from Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

How to Optimize eCommerce Category Pages

Start with Introductory Content

Category pages are notoriously lacking in content. Out of the box, your category or collection page will contain a header along with the corresponding products. Just like your product pages, your category pages need to contain a paragraph or two of copy.

It's this copy that will resonate with the search engines and give them more insight into what the page is about. It also improves user experience by providing insight into what the category contains.

The primary objective of a category page is getting your customers into products, so we do want to be mindful of the length of the copy. Target 200-300 words. 

Within the copy, you want to include the keywords that match the category page. For example, “lightweight backpacking tent” or “wholesale mugs”. Be specific by incorporating 2-5 word keywords and use synonyms and contextual phrases so that you aren't repetitive.

Ideally, this content will go above the products. Google (and users) don't appreciate stuffing introductory copy at the bottom of the page. You can incorporate this content into the header as in this example:


Alternatively, you can place it in the white space between the header and the products like so:


Add an FAQ Block

Most eCommerce stores have an FAQ page that serves the entire website to answer customers' questions and concerns. That's a helpful start, but what is even more helpful is adding 3-6 frequently asked questions specific to the category on each category page.

Adding an FAQ block enables you to expand your content even further. We recommend placing the FAQ below the products so as to not detract from the primary goal of the page.

To get ideas about what questions to ask, turn to Google. Enter in a relevant keyword and look to the People Also Ask section.


This is a goldmine of ideas! You can also ask your customer support team what real questions they field from customers to ensure that this copy is customer-centric.

Draft short answers to each question. Think 1-3 sentences. If you need to expand further, consider writing a blog post about the topic. You can then have a short answer on the category page with a link to your blog for more detail.

When your copy is ready, it's time to implement it on the category page. You can use an accordion layout to keep the content condensed:


If you want to take this one step further, consider adding structured data that signals to Google that this is an FAQ block. Structured data or schema markup can seem complicated at first, but most modern-day content management systems make it easy. 

Incorporate a Testimonial

We're accustomed to seeing reviews on products, but what about a testimonial on a category page? You can curate your reviews for a group of products and select one or two reviews to feature as testimonials on your category pages. This expands the content yet again (Google loves content) and even more importantly, it builds trust with your audience.


Simply explore your current reviews and select the best to showcase as testimonials on the category page. This can be done below the products, in a side-navigation block or even higher on the page.

Customize the Page Title & Meta Description

This one goes for any page on your website. Using your keyword research you want to make sure your Page Title and Meta Description are optimized for exactly what you want the Category page to be found for. 

For Page Titles, you get between 50-60 characters to use. A format I would suggest for this is “(your primary collection keyword) | (your site name)”. 

As for Meta Description, you get 160 characters and anything after will be cut off in the search result. For these, you can really pull double duty by using your keywords to explain what the page is about while also trying to attract customers to click since they will be seeing this on the SERP along with your competition. Don't be afraid to be a little salesy in these and include a Call To Action. 

SEO for eCommerce Category Pages

Building out your category pages does not take long and is well worth the effort. With just a few additions to each page, you can create a better user experience and grow your organic search traffic.

If you combine these techniques with the ones listed in the product page SEO post you will be on your way to an even better eCommerce SEO foundation.

If you're just getting started in the SEO world we also offer coaching through our Guided SEO approach. If you'd like to learn more about how we can help your website start ranking on Google then schedule a demo and let's talk

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Understanding Page Experience & Core Web Vitals

May 20, 2021

Page Experience is a set of signals that Google uses to measure how users interact with a web page. These signals go beyond the information value of the page and measure how well a page delights users. 

Page Experience is increasingly important in 2021 as Google will release algorithm updates which factor these signals more prominently. The rollout begins in mid-June of 2021 and will be fully integrated by the end of August 2021. Think of it like adding seasoning to a recipe, adding it a little bit at a time until things seem just right. 

The good news for marketers is that we don't have to anticipate an overnight change or drastic swings in traffic. Instead, we have time to get ready for the Page Experience algorithm updates and can navigate through the change gradually. 

In this post, we'll share insights into each of the signals within Page Experience and will help you get ready.

What is Page Experience?

Page Experience is a combination of several factors – site security, mobile-usability, HTTPS, Core Web Vitals, and no intrusive interstitials. Let's look at each in more detail.

Site Security – This signal measures how safe your site is to browse. Google does not want any pages to have malicious or deceptive content on them. This would include things like malware or social engineering content. You can find out if your site has any security issues with the Security Issues Report.

Mobile Usability – This is how well your site works for people that browse it on a mobile device. As time passes more and more people are visiting sites via mobile devices. According to Statista, in Q1 of 2021 54.8% of website visits were from mobile devices. To check if your site is mobile-friendly Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test that you can run your site through. 

HTTPS – Back in 2014 Google started using HTTPS as a ranking factor for websites. This just means that there is a secure connection when accessing the site. Most sites will have this by default, but if you happen to be missing HTTPS you can see how to secure your site here. If you are not sure how to tell if your site connection is secure or not check out this article.

Core Web Vitals – These are a big part of page experience and include 3 different aspects that focus on the aspects of loading, interactivity, and visual stability. Let's dive into each of these. 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This is how long it takes for the biggest pieces of content to load on your page. Google says that sites should aim to have this completed within 2.5 seconds for a “good” score. You can read more about LCP over at Web.dev
  • First Input Delay (FID) – This web vital is measuring how long it takes for your page to be interactive for a user. Google says that a user should be able to interact with your page within 100 milliseconds of it actually loading up. Web.dev has a write-up about this also.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – The last of the three Core Web Vital is all about how much the elements of your site move around while loading. The bar Google has set for this one is .1. For more information about CLS check out what Web.dev has to say here
  • No Intrusive Interstitials – What is more annoying than landing on a page to only have a massive banner blocking the content before you even get started checking it out? This is called an Intrusive Interstitial. As of January 2017, Google started using this as a ranking factor. Not every pop-up is considered intrusive (such as Age Confirmations, Cookie Policies, or smaller banners), but if you have a large Newsletter Signup or Ad taking up the full screen when someone visits Google will use this against you in your rankings. Ideally, we want pages to be easily accessible to visitors. To read more about Intrusive Interstitials check out what Google has to say about it here.

Now that you understand each of these signals, let's look at how to measure how your site stacks up.

How to Use the Page Experience Report in the Google Search Console

Google released a great tool within the Google Search Console to help you measure your website's Page Experience. Let's see what Coach Erik has to share about it in this short video.

If you haven't already, verify your website with the Google Search Console. Then, navigate to the Page Experience report to explore your site's current performance. Where do you currently stand with Page Experience? Is this an area of strength or weakness for your website?

How to Measure Page Experience if GSC Lacks Data?

Depending on how long your site has been around and connected to Google Search Console, you may or may not have Page Experience data available. 

If you have data, great! Dive in and start to see what could be improved on your website. 

If not though, what can we still do? Well, we've got a few options.

There are three major tools I would recommend if you are wanting to get your Page Experience dialed in. 

PageSpeed Insight, Mobile-Friendly Test, and Web.Dev are all great ways to get data from Google about how to improve the Page Experience of your website.

Now Check out the Competition

After establishing where you stand it's time to see how your competition is doing. Grab the links to a couple of your top competitors and pop those into PageSpeed Insight, Mobile-Friendly Test, and Web.Dev

How does your site compare? Are you already ahead of the game or do you have some catching up to do? 

You'll likely find that the playing field is currently pretty even. Most sites have met the bar for mobile-friendliness, security, and HTTPS for some time now. It's within the Core Web Vitals that we see variation. 

In a study by Searchmetrics, they found that only 10% of websites tested received a “good” rating from Google for their Core Web Vitals. That means that most pages have room to grow here and that you can be ahead of the herd if you get your Core Web Vital in line before it goes live as a ranking factor.

Take Action

SEO is a series of small, incremental steps that accumulate to drive growth. Page Experience is no different. The challenge is that much of Google's feedback is technical in nature. You may not know how to address the feedback given in a tool like PageSpeed Insights.

This is where your developer comes in. You can reach out to your developer to review the Page Experience report in the Google Search Console and discuss action items that will help your site improve.

If you are a subscriber of Pathfinder SEO, then let's talk more about your Page Experience statistics during your next coaching session. Your SEO coach can help you make sense of the reports and prioritize action items.

Monitor the Impact of Page Experience

Keep an eye on your website's organic search traffic, rankings and monitor the Page Experience report over the next few months. We'll be sure to share updates as Google rolls out changes. 

Google Analytics and the Google Search Console are great places to monitor this performance. You'll also want to have rank tracking set up in an SEO software such as Pathfinder SEO.

Key Takeaway

We're excited about the Page Experience updates as Google is rewarding those websites that have secure, speedy, and mobile-friendly content.

We see this as an opportunity to stand out from the competition. Most sites aren't ready for Page Experience. Getting your site ready ensures that you'll delight both users and the search engines – a winning combination in SEO.

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ecommerce product page

Product Page SEO — How to Optimization your eCommerce Product Pages

April 26, 2021

There are many aspects to running a successful eCommerce website. For today, let's just stick to product page SEO. 

These tips are all platform-agnostic too. If you're running your store on Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or whatever else these tips should help get your product page SEO up to speed. 

Let's begin!

Knowing Your Customer

Before we get into all of the keyword research and technical improvements let's start with the tone of your copy.

What kind of language are your customers using? Speaking directly to your buyer persona can make the difference between a customer converting or not. 

A great way to figure what is important to your customers and how they talk about your products is to check reviews for similar items. Join them where they hang out (Reddit, Forums, Online groups, etc.) and consider who has the intent to complete a purchase. 

With all of this in mind, tailor your content to speak directly to these buyers. Know your customer's pain points, the features they enjoy or value, and how they use your product. 

See your store's efforts through their eyes. Does it connect? We want that answer to be as close to yes as possible. 

Below you can see how MUDWTR does this.

mudwtr buyer tone

Now that we have a tone figured out we can get into what they are actually searching for…Keywords. 

Keyword Research

Oh, such an important part of most SEO efforts. 

In this blog, we won't go too far into all of the details of how important keywords are, but rather how to best do it for eComm product pages. If you would like a deeper dive into using keywords for SEO, check out our post about it here

When it comes to dialing in your keywords for eComm, I do have a few recommendations to offer. 

Use Amazon Search Suggestions. Although Amazon may be your biggest competitor, something to understand is that the massive set of data they hold is a great place to get some clues to what people are searching for. Type in different variations of your keyword ideas for your products into the Amazon search and see what kind of suggestions they give. 

amazon search suggestions

From here you can get all sorts of ideas to help you hone in one of the long-tail keywords that are actually getting searched. There are some tools that can make this a little easier for you too like Keyword Tool Dominator

While we are on the topic of Amazon I should also mention that their categories and subcategories pages are also great places to check for ideas about your own category and subcategory pages. 

amazon books subcategories

Besides Amazon though there are a few other methods to check out like doing this same Search Suggestion method with Google and Youtube or trying out the Google Keyword Planner and Pathfinder SEO's Keyword Research tool. If you'd like to learn more about the Pathfinder one go ahead and schedule a demo with us here 😉 

For each product page, you only want to use one long-tail keyword. If you have multiple pages optimized for the same keywords you could suffer from keyword cannibalization and no one wants that! 

So get a list of your top product pages together and find one long-tail keyword for each of them.

Now that we have all of these great long-tail keywords and the pages we will use them on, what should we do next? 

Content & Onsite Optimizations

With keywords in hand, it is time to optimize the different aspects of your page to really put them to work. 

Page Titles

For eCommerce product pages you do want the Page Title to include the long-tail keyword that you went with for that page. You could follow that product's title up with ” | (your store name)”. 

vans page titles

Alternatively, you can use this as an opportunity to use words like “Buy”, “Cheap”, “X% off” or “Deals” to try ranking for those high intent shopping searches. 

For each product page, you will want to use a similar structure. If your site has thousands of products consider using automation for this through your CMS or an app. If you only have a few pages doing this manually should not take too long.  

Meta Descriptions

This is the little paragraph of text that shows up right under the Page Title link in the Google SERP. This section of your listing can really pull double duty by giving you another place to include your long-tail keywords AND a Call to Action.

Some ideas for this would be to include a sentence or two from your product description then end it with a sentence about Free Shipping, having a Great Selection, or even including a site-wide sale. 

Whatever you go with, make sure to include language that might get your potential customer closer to purchasing. Be creative here! 

Headers and Product Descriptions

Now that we have the search result data dialed in we can tackle more of the elements that appear on the actual product page.

Let's start off by getting our H1 correct. For your eComm product pages, we want there to be only 1 H1 per page. This should be your product title and include your long-tail keyword for this particular product. 

If you have a model number or specifications that are searched for when looking for this product then include those here too. 

home depot leaf blower

With your product title in place, you can focus on the actual description of your product now in the copy below. 

Again, here you will want to include your long-tail keywords for this page (see why we stress the importance of your initial keyword research now?) along with any features, use cases, FAQs, and awards that make sense for your customer to be aware of. 

Something very common for product pages on eCommerce sites is that they are too thin when it comes to content. Sometimes with less than 300 words! We do not want Google to see our product pages as too light on information so really do be sure to get these pages in the 500-1000 word range. 

Should be fairly easy if you can include the product details mentioned above. 

Social Proof

With a strong product description in place, now we can focus on building out our social proof. This is best done through testimonials and reviews. Show what your past happy customers have to say about your product and how it helped them.

Further down your page, after the description, now we can include screenshots, text snippets, or videos that show what other people that bought have to say. Include your best and brightest reviews here to really show any potential buyers how strong these people felt about your product. 

Below you can see Canada Goose has their testimonials at the bottom of their product page.

testimonial under product

Images and Call to Action Buttons

Another great opportunity to improve your product pages is to have compressed images so the page loads quickly. 

If people are waiting around for more than a couple of seconds for your page to load they are likely to leave. You don't want to lose any sales to a slow page, do you?

The images are also a great aspect to A/B test alongside your Call to Action buttons. 

There are all kinds of schools of thought on how to best convert with these elements, but the best I can tell you is to test it out and find what works best for your site. 

Two recommendations I would offer is to try orange or green purchase buttons as a jumping-off point. From there see what else you could test against the winner and continue to go with the best performing elements. 

orange buy button example

Schema Markup

Schema Markup is another way to add data to your pages to give Google more clues about the different information included there. You can learn all you would need to know about Schema Markup from Schema.org.

For the sake of our blog here, we will not go too far in detail about Schema, but I did have a few resources I wanted to make sure you had on your radar. 

That includes using the Schema Markup Generator at TechnicalSEO.com to get your code snippets built and also some recommendations on properties to include. Such as name, image, description, price, and aggregateRating.

product schema generator

Additional On-Page Recommendations

Here are a few final tips for eCommerce product page SEO:

  • Add social share buttons to your product page. Not everyone that ends up on each of your product pages is necessarily going to be the buyer, but they very well may know someone that your product is perfect for! Why not make it as easy as possible to make sure they can send it to them?
  • Include different types of payment options so people can use what they prefer to check out. 
  • Have payment icons at the bottom of your page for the types of payment you accept. These are called trust badges.
  • Link to other related products, best sellers, or current deals on your product pages. If the product page they are looking at has a product that is not one they would like to purchase then let's be sure to show them a few others to consider.


With our product pages polished up, we are ready to get some other sites pointing to them! This is called backlinking. 

There are all sorts of ways to get backlinks and traffic from offsite over to your product. Here I want to focus on some great options for any kind of product page. 

Besides regular directories for your type of business, you can also be featured in lots of other places. Some places to start looking are where your competition is being linked to, but you are not. 

This can be done with Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz using their backlinking spy tools. After you have qualified some of the results as sites that might also link to you, you can start your outreach. Sometimes this will not work out in your favor, but other times after a message or two you can easily be featured on their pages. When reaching out remember to be friendly, complement their site, and show them where the opportunity lies. 

Next, I would recommend trying to get listed on any of your supplier's sites or any of the brand sites for products you sell. Many brands have listings for “Where to Buy” that you could be included on. This is a great way to get a strong backlink from the actual brand of your products. Now if you are selling a smaller brand this may not always be an option. 

Lastly, I would suggest looking into the influencer space for your products. Are there any micro-influencers that, for a few free products or a couple of hundred dollars, would be happy to feature your product on their story or in their posts? This can take some research, but the payoff is often worth it. Having exposure to an audience of thousands of highly qualified potential buyers is really a great way to get brand recognition and sales coming in. 


Phewww, I know. 

That can seem like a lot of stuff to do for just one product page and you might have lots of them to tackle but keep in mind that this can turn directly into sales. 

To best stay on top of this, I would recommend just getting into the habit of doing this as you get new products. After the backlog is taken care of you will have the process down and ready to run through it any time you list a new product. 

Don't let something like this overwhelm you though. Do what you can with the time you have. Knocking out an hour or two worth of these a week is plenty to still see results as you get through them all. 

Hopefully, you can find some value in these recommendations, and may your pages get ranked! 


And one more thing. 

Check out our step-by-step approach to SEO. Pathfinder provides not only the training and process but also personalized coaching and SEO tools. Schedule a demo and learn more. Plans starting at $99/month.


Did you know that every one of our plans includes coaching?

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Shopify SEO for Beginners

April 22, 2021

So here you are. You have a new Shopify store with plenty of products to sell. 

But how will people find your store? 

SEO is a great way to get more customers into your website without the costs of paid advertising.

What is SEO?

SEO is the art and science of getting your website found in the free space of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It's a long-term marketing strategy and a step-by-step process. 

SEO is a series of actions you take that accumulate and lead to more traffic and sales over months to years.

The first step is to understand how the search engines work. Then, determine what approach you'll take to grow your traffic. Common approaches include hiring an agency, do-it-yourself, or guided SEO.

If SEO is new to you, start by exploring this introductory guide to SEO. Then, dive into the specifics of Shopify SEO with this post.

Getting Started with Shopify SEO in

1. Invest in Keyword Research

Keywords are the words and phrases prospects enter into the search bar on Google. The goal of keyword research is to identify which keywords will reach your intended audience. 

Keyword research informs nearly all of the other steps in a holistic approach to SEO – it's an essential first step. Keyword research can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Follow this three-step process:

Brainstorm Keywords

Brainstorm what keywords you think your customers might be searching when looking for your products. Jot down a list as you go.

There are plenty of great tools to help! Use Google to see what words are associated with some of your core phrases. This is called Google Search Suggest.

Coffee mugs search

Don't be afraid to get specific. If your website is new, you'll likely face too much competition for a general keyword like “coffee mugs” and instead need to niche down to find a smaller, less competitive keyword space.

Bulk coffee mug search

If your website has been live for a few months, you'll also find ideas in the Google Search Console. Verify your website and navigate to Performance. You'll find a list of the queries (same as keywords) that are currently leading to visibility for your website. 

Think about synonyms along the way. For example, if you specialize in wholesale products, then “bulk” would also be a good phrase to include. 

Quantify Your List

Brainstorming keywords is a great way to think about the big picture. Now, we need to look at search volume and competition. How many people search for each phrase every month? Is it competitive? 

Create a spreadsheet with your brainstormed keywords. Then, turn to a keyword research tool like that in Pathfinder SEO to collect keyword data. 

Pathfinder Keywrod Tool

Evaluate, Organize & Prioritize

Let's make your keyword list actionable. Group like keywords together into clusters. For example, all of the keywords that are about “camping mugs” in one group and another for “custom mugs”. 

Now, sort the list within each cluster. Remove any that may have marginal value due to the intent of the searcher. For example, if your store focuses on luxury goods, then you don't need to rank for “cheap” or “inexpensive” in a keyword as a person searching for “cheap” isn't looking for your product. Prioritize the remaining keywords based on volume.

2. Technical SEO & Google Search Console Verification

Before the search engines can display your website, they must crawl and index your content. Technical SEO ensures that the search engine spiders have a seamless experience. It also ensures that your users will have a secure, mobile-friendly, and speedy experience.

Luckily for Shopify users, the technical foundation of your site is sound. There may be optimizations to be made down the road, but out of the gate, you can rely on the out-of-the-box technical SEO foundation.

There is a free tool from Google that will be helpful for technical SEO in the long run and provides you with great keyword data. It's called the Google Search Console. We think of the GSC as your communication channel with the search engine.

Start by verifying your website – here are instructions.

Next, submit your XML sitemap (which Shopify made for you) to Google in the GSC. That is as simple as clicking the “Sitemap” section and submitting a new sitemap. Here are additional instructions

3. Expand your Content

Many eCommerce sites are notoriously light on content. This creates an opportunity for you to expand the content on your pages. Google values content as it's how you share your expertise. 

Sure, you have plenty of product descriptions, but how does your homepage and your collection pages look?

There are three types of content to consider adding to your collection pages:

  1. Introductory Text – A paragraph of keyword research content above your products on a collections page.
  2. FAQs – A set of 4-6 questions and short answers below your products on a collections page that showcase frequently asked questions about that collection.
  3. Testimonials – Testimonials build trust. Curate a few of your best product reviews for a given collection and turn them into a testimonial or two on that collection page.

These areas are a great place for beginners to get started on improving the content side of their site. After things like this are in place you can start to think about if a blog would make sense for your site. If so, what should it look like? We won't get into adding the blogs here, but it is something to keep in mind if you're looking to include even more content on your site. 

4. Dial-in your On-Site SEO

Search engines need two key ingredients to properly rank a page in the search results:  

  1. Content 
  2. Context 

In the previous step, we talked through the content ingredient. In this step, we are going to focus on context. 

On-site SEO (also known as on-site optimization) is all about placing your content in the proper context for search engines and users. 

To do this, we need to skillfully manipulate specific elements on the pages we want to rank. The proper manipulation of all the right elements on a page is what we call on-site SEO. The elements on a page we need to evaluate and refine are: 

And while how we handle each element differs, there is one common thing we want to include in all of them: keywords. 

The links in the list above include additional learning resources so you can master each of these on-site SEO tactics. In this step, let's focus on your most important page – your homepage.

Write a title tag and meta description for your homepage. 

How to Optimize Title Tags: 

  • Draft title tag copy that is unique, descriptive, and compelling.
  • Write for humans, not search engines.  
  • Include the page's focus keyword at the beginning of the copy and add your brand at the end. 
  • Place your brand name after the title separator, except for on the homepage, where it typically goes first.
  • Keep title tags under 60 characters, if possible.  
  • Use separators like the pipe, hyphen, or colon to separate different elements. 
  • Capitalize your copy as if it were a blog title. 

How to Optimize Meta Descriptions: 

  • Use complete sentences so they can be easily read.
  • Tell users how a page will help solve their problems or provide a specific solution they want. 
  • Write meta descriptions in an active voice.
  • Include your focus keyword, if possible. 
  • Have a specific call to action, such as “click to learn more.” 
  • Make sure the meta description is less than 160 characters long. 

Here is a quick tutorial on how to implement your homepage title tag and meta description on Shopify.

5. Get Started with Off-Site SEO

In addition to expertise, Google values authority. Google wants to understand what others are saying about your business website. Off-site SEO is how we grow a domain's authority. The biggest component of off-site SEO is backlink (links from other sites pointing back to yours).

You can have the greatest content in the world, but if you don't have authority via your backlink network, then Google won't trust your website and it won't appear in the search results.

When you first start out with your Shopify store you are going to have no authority. This means you're the new kid on the block with no street cred. Well, how do you get some? 

Here are some tips:

  • Get listed in registries for what you sell. There are tons of sites online that aggregate all of the vendors of any particular service or product. If you are listed on these you can get more visits from people searching there and more backlinks to point to your site
  • Could you write a guest blog for any blogs that are related to your product or service? If so, that post can include links back to your site. You may want to return the favor if it makes sense for them. 
  • You could spy on the backlinks of your competitors with tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz. With these, you can see what domains are linking to your competitors. From there you can look for opportunities on their sites to link to you or replace that competitor's link. This often takes reaching out to the webmasters or people behind the site. 
  • Could you be featured on a podcast? If so, many times those episodes are posted to a blog or have a description which they can include links in. This also counts as a backlink. 
  • Consider adding a resource section to your website which features your partners. Often you can trade backlinks by having a “Resources We Recommend” or “Partners” section on your site. 

Shopify SEO for Beginners

SEO is a step-by-process. Follow these 5 Shopify SEO tips to get started.

Looking for more? Pathfinder is a guided SEO solution. Guided SEO gives you a proven process without requiring you to become an SEO expert.

It offers a series of lessons – each with specific homework assignments – so that you can grow your website traffic in just a few hours a week. It's both practical and tactical.

Schedule a demo and get started growing your store's sales.


Follow our step-by-step process and grow your business.

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5 Squarespace SEO Tips to Grow Your Business

April 15, 2021

Squarespace is an SEO-friendly content management system, providing an SEO Checklist, a great selection of help articles, and the infrastructure you'll need to increase your traffic from sources like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

If you're just getting started setting up Squarespace SEO, then you're in the right place. Follow these 5 Squarespace steps to jumpstart your SEO results.

Squarespace SEO Tips

1. Verify your Website with the Google Search Console

Start your SEO journey by verifying your website via the Google Search Console. Here's how to verify your website.

The Google Search Console communicates between you (the marketer) and Google. It includes performance data such as which keywords are bringing you the most traffic, as well as resources that help you understand how Google is interacting with your website.

Once your website is verified, it's time to submit your XML sitemap to Google. Your XML sitemap is located at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Check it out and give this URL to Google in the Search Console under Sitemaps.

An XML sitemap acts as your website's resume. It lists all of the URLs in your website that you would like to be available to appear in the search results. Squarespace generates this for you, so there's nothing more you need to do after submitting. Yippee!

2. Customize Your Site Titles & Page Descriptions

Did you know that you can customize the text used in Google's search engine results pages? You're basically writing your own ad text.

In Squarespace, these fields are called the SEO Title and SEO Description.

Google search result pathfinder

Start by customizing your most important pages (the homepage plus any pages that appear in your main navigation). Ideally, you'll eventually customize these for each unique page on your website; try keeping track of this content in a spreadsheet.

Writing SEO Titles and SEO Descriptions is part art and part science. Here are a few best practices:

  • Write for users to understand
  • Make sure they communicate what information is found on that page
  • Capitalize like you would a blog post title
  • Use your focus keyword at the beginning of the title
  • Keep each title under 60 characters
  • Include a separator like a colon, a dash, or a bar
  • Include your brand name in each, after the separator
  • Write for users to understand
  • Make sure each description accurately describes a page's content
  • Use your focus keyword once
  • Keep each description under 150 characters
  • Use copy to persuade users to click on the search result
  • Use an active voice instead of a passive one
  • Create a unique description for each page
  • Include a clear call to action
Once your spreadsheet of customized page titles and descriptions is complete, implement them in Squarespace by following these instructions:

3. Verify your Google Maps Listing via Google My Business

This isn't a Squarespace-specific SEO tip, but it's a very valuable action item early in the SEO process. If you haven't already created or claimed your Google Maps listing via Google My Business, do this first.

Google asks most businesses to verify their listing by mail, but you can also verify by phone, email, or Search Console. If you select verification by mail, be on the lookout for a postcard with your verification code. Return to Google My Business and input your verification code to move forward.

You are now verified on Google and have control over your listing!

Once your listing has been verified and is live, you can update your Google My Business listing at any time. Populate as much information as possible in the Info section. Add a few photos to make your listing more engaging.

4. Alternative Text

Alternative text (a.k.a. alt text, alt attributes, alt description) is HTML code that describes an image on a web page. Search engine crawlers and screen readers use alternative text to explain an image's contents to viewers.

Alternative text is essential for accessibility. If your images don't have alt text, screen readers won't understand the image and therefore can't convey its contents to people with visual impairments.

Alternative text is also highly useful for SEO. Search engines can't actually “see” images, so they rely on reading the alt text (as well as reading filenames, to a lesser extent) to understand their contents. When you pair quality images with highly relevant alt text, search engines are more likely to decide that your content is useful. This means your webpage can rank higher, and the images on that page are more likely to show up in the image search results. 

Here are some alternative text best practices to keep in mind:

  • Specifically describe the contents of the image. 
  • Keep alt text concise, i.e. fewer than 75 characters. 
  • Avoid using “image of…” or “picture of…” in your alt text. 
  • Use a focus keyword if possible, but don't awkwardly force them in. 

For more information on editing your alt text inside of Squarespace, check out their great help article, Adding Alt Text to Image.

5. Create a Plan to Continually Evolve your Content

Sharing your expertise is one of the fastest ways to build trust with your readers, as well as showing Google that your content is helpful to visitors. 

Content is not a “set it and forget it” marketing initiative; it continually evolves for relevancy. Do you have a new product or service to feature?  Did you receive a great testimonial that needs to be included on your website? Does your initial launch content need expansion or updating? Or do you have a blog that requires consistent steady?

With so many competing content needs, where do you start? 

Start by looking at your existing content through the lens of a potential customer. Find opportunities to revamp old blog posts or even update the descriptions of existing products with great keywords to boost their appeal. 

  • Quality & Quantity – Unique, well-written content is a must.
  • Keywords – Include the phrases for which you want to gain exposure in the search results. Cluster similar keywords together and use synonyms for greater context.
  • Recency – New content is popular amongst search engines. Often, the freshest content on your website will be a regularly updated blog.
  • Variety – Depending on the topic of the page, integrate a meaningful combination of text, images, video, and more to make the page dynamic, visually appealing, and engaging.
  • Relevance – Your website content needs to address what people are actually searching for – and why.

What is your content missing? This is a great opportunity to get your page content up to speed and improve the quality of your website's user experience. 

Squarespace SEO – Take It One Step at a Time

Following the above Squarespace tips will build a solid SEO foundation for your site. 

At Pathfinder SEO, our guided approach breaks SEO into a series of steps, each of which includes short videos and easy-to-follow instructions. You'll get all the tools you need to do keyword research, track your rankings, and view your results. The best part, though, is the coaching: Pathfinder SEO subscribers meet with a dedicated SEO coach monthly to keep them on the right track. Our comprehensive plans start at just $99/month! Schedule a demo and sign up!


Follow our step-by-step process and grow your business.

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Is Squarespace SEO-Friendly?

April 15, 2021

TL;DR: yes.

But let's get into the details. 

You may find yourself wondering which platform to use for your next website. You know SEO is important, so you want to pick a platform that allows you to implement your useful SEO tactics. 

Good news…  SEO is about the content, user-experience, trust, and authority of your site, not the platform on which your site was built. Whether you use WordPress, Squarespace, or any other website builder, you can get your site SEO-optimized in every way that matters.

But you want to know about Squarespace. So, let's dive into exactly how Squarespace can help you optimize your website for search engines.

  • Clean URLs – Squarespace creates static URLs for all of your pages and collections, making it a breeze for search engines to find and index your content.
  • SSL Certificate – This is included (for free!) on all domains purchased through or hosted by Squarespace. This is a security feature that search engines value.
  • Sitemap – This is similar to a resume for your website. It tells search engines what pages you have and where they're located. Squarespace will automatically generate a sitemap for you, but you'll need to manually submit it to Google Search Console to make sure you get indexed.
  • Page Titles and Meta Descriptions – Squarespace allows you to edit these fields for each page. This content will be displayed when a page shows up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – This is a light version of your site that is designed to load faster on mobile devices. Google rewards quickly loading sites with higher rankings.
  • Structured Data, Rich Snippets, and Meta Tags – These are all included out-of-the-box with Squarespace. Marking different parts of your site with tags to identify Blogs, Events, SEO Titles, and more is a great way to explain to Google exactly what is included on specific web pages.

Along with all the nice Squarespace SEO features, you'll find great resources and help sections to help you implement. An SEO Checklist is also available so that you can stay on track with ongoing SEO optimizations.

Squarespace & SEO

To recap, Squarespace is indeed SEO-friendly, and it's a great option if you're building out a new website that you'd like to see in the search results.

Learn more about getting started with Squarespace SEO with these 5 tips.

Good luck with your SEO optimizations, and may you rank #1 on Google for your chosen keywords!

Overwhelmed by SEO?

Follow our step-by-step process. Take a guided approach and grow your business.

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How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website using NitroPack

April 15, 2021

When it comes to websites, performance matters. Visitors to your website expect a speedy experience. If your web pages load slowly, visitors will leave and sales will dwindle.

It turns out that speed matters to the search engines as well. Google is in the business of rewarding performance. Google has developed several tools to evaluate the performance of a webpage including PageSpeed Insights, Web.Dev, and Core Web Vitals in the Google Search Console.

There are a few challenges when it comes to speed and SEO:

  • The reports from tools like PageSpeed Insights are highly technical. Sure, we can all understand that 99/100 is a better score than 21/100, but the recommendations on how to go from 21/100 to 99/100 by “Serve images in next-gen formats” or “Eliminate render-blocking resources” are outside of the skills of most website owners.
  • The game keeps changing. Should you focus more on First Contentful Paint or Cumulative Layout Shift? What scores are good? Will they still be good tomorrow? Google evolves quickly and when it comes to speed, it feels like we are chasing a moving target.

So now what? You know that speed is important, but what are you to do to fix it?

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website using NitroPack

1. Benchmark Current Performance

Before we get started improving any site we need to know where it currently stands.

For this, we suggest running your homepage and any other major pages through PageSpeed Insights and noting your scores. Here's a snapshot of our WordPress homepage before NitroPack:

The opportunities seemed endless:

2. Backup your WordPress Website

Before we do any tinkering around in your WordPress site be sure to check that everything is up to date and that you have it backed up.

Need a hand here – check out BackupBuddy from iThemes.

3. Determine Your Package & Sign Up

With your site backed up, you are ready to dive into NitroPack. Start by determining which package is right for your website.

NitroPack charges monthly and bases the price of the packages depending on your average pageviews.

Log into Google Analytics and navigate to Behavior. Select all pages. Open your date range to explore your average monthly pageviews.

4. Install & Connect NitroPack

Now that you have a NitroPack account we need to get it hooked up to your WordPress site. This takes two things. Installing the NitroPack plugin and connecting it to NitroPack.

First up, head over to the Plugins section on WordPress and click the “Add New” button at the top of the screen. From here you can search for “NitroPack”. Make sure it is compatible with your current version of WordPress and hit install.

After you have activated your plugin you will need to go into the settings and connect your API from NitroPack. This info is available in the settings on the NitroPack site. It may also auto-connect if you have it open in the same browser and logged in.

5. Select your Optimization Mode

After you are connected you will have some options to consider before NitroPack gets to work. This includes which optimization mode you would like to go with. The default is something called “Ludicrous Mode” and let me tell you, they mean it!

Ludacris mode nitropack

There are some other options you can change, but we went with default on everything. If you would like to delve into those other options be sure to check out the NitroPack documentation.

Nitropack settings

After you are settled in with your setting choices, NitroPack will start the optimizations. This can take a few minutes, but at Pathfinder we saw results almost instantly. This is a great time to see if anything on your site is broken now or if you are having any other usability issues. Tinker around on your live site and make sure everything is still in good working order.

6. Check your Results

With the optimizations completed, you are ready to see what this plugin did for your site. It's time to check the new stats against your initial benchmarks.

Fire up PageSpeed Insights again, plug in your website URL, and wait for the results.

You can see our post-optimizations scores below and understand why we had to do a write-up on the NitroPack plugin!

fast wordpress site 99 fast WordPress site 100

Make WordPress Lightening Fast with NitroPack

Wow! After years of making small, incremental improvements to our WordPress website's speed, we are thrilled to have deployed a solution that gave our site a huge jump! And the timing couldn't be better with Google's Page Experience algorithm update.

If you're looking for a way to bump up your PageSpeed Insight scores and in turn increase your page's usability, check out NitroPack!

Overwhelmed by SEO?

Follow our step-by-step process and take a guided approach.

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