SEO and google...18 months in and got nowhere

Shopify Partner
20 0 7


Sorry if this has been covered before but I cannot really find the kind of answers I am after by searching the forum...

Our store is about 18 months old and overall things are going great.  We have a bricks and motar store, do lots of promotion using social media and niche-specific publications/websites etc and tour the UK doing major retail shows in our niche. Sales from this activity are good. But......we perform really poorly compared to competitors when it comes to target keyword searches on google and after months of tinkering I have pretty much concluded that SEO is either:

a) witchcraft, or

b) there is something fundamental about how shopify sites present themselves that google just doesn't like.

I would say our onsite SEO is reasonably good and we have a solid set of highly relevant backlinks.  I know there are things I need to keep improving on and working through such as improving the depth of content on product pages and I do keep finding the occasional meta-description that needs some working on.....but if I run our site url together with the higher-ranking competitors through one of the many free SEO tools we score way above the competition. Some of the competitors sites are HORRIBLE with a poor back-link profile and I cannot fathom why google thinks they are more relevant and higher quality than ours!!

A few months back we had an audit through a government small business support agency and the consultant only had minor comments for us to improve things...they did not find anything major and were pretty complimentary.

Does anyone have any idea of what it is that I have missed before I give up on worrying about google/SEO and instead just focus 100% on direct marketing via physical publications, social media and face-to-face with customers at shows.  Any thoughts/comments/suggestions are very welcome! Thanks.