Shopify SEO: Best Practices for Optimizing Stores
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an eCommerce site that allows small to big business owners to open and run online stores and integrate them across different platforms.
With Shopify, you can add a buy button to an existing blog, create a store to redirect your social media leads, or start a new business by selling personal or third-party products.
Shopify is so versatile that it provides sellers with a point-of-sale (POS) for their brick-and-mortar locations. It also allows sellers without physical shops to market their products via pop-up shops.
While many eCommerce-building sites are built on WordPress, Shopify is not, but you can add your Shopify store via a plugin to your WordPress website.
Overall, Shopify is a good choice if you want an all-in-one e-commerce solution. Your Shopify plan comes with basic features such as a product catalog, payment processing, shipping, inventory management, and loans for some sellers.
What is Shopify SEO?
If you have a Shopify store, learning Shopify search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to getting customers organically.
Shopify SEO involves all the strategies for optimizing your online store to rank online so search engines can make your store visible to your target customers.
To optimize your Shopify store to get increased traffic and land more sales, start by understanding how to build an SE0-friendly Shopify store and deal with the problems you might face while optimizing your store for organic traffic.
Why Shopify a Good Option for SEO
According to a report, about 70% of consumers head to the search bar when they land on an online retail e-commerce site. The focus word here is ‘land,’ but for customers to land on your site, they need to find your store.
SEO is the primary way to drive organic traffic to your online store. With Shopify, you get all the advanced features to position your online store for visibility on Google and other search engines.
Some of the SEO features include:
- Automatic sitemaps
Shopify automatically creates a sitemap for your online store. This allows search engines to collate all your site pages so they can be displayed easily in the ranking results.
- URL structure optimization
Shopify’s URL structure optimization option lets you edit links to your website pages so search engines can read, understand, and open them more easily.
- Meta tags support
You can edit your Shopify site pages’ titles and meta description tags to include words that relate to your customer’s needs. This feature enables your site pages to rank better.
- Canonical tags
Your Shopify site comes with canonical tags that you can use to mark which version of a page is the preferred version. Search engine crawler bots will know this and send visitors to your preferred page. This is most helpful to prevent duplicate content (which may affect your SEO efforts).
- SSL certification
Shopify integrates a free SSL certificate to all domains linked to Shopify. This helps verify the website’s security and encrypt communication between the website and the browser to prevent data theft to third parties.
- Schema markup
With schema markup, you can improve how search engines display your Shopify store pages. You can add star ratings, price, In Stock label, number of reviews, and other details.
- Mobile friendly
Over the last year, 58% of web traffic came from mobile phones. Shopify store’s mobile-friendly design provides an optimal shopping experience for leads from mobile users.
A Bit about Shopify SEO Apps
In addition to providing default SEO features to help your online store gain more visibility online, Shopify has a dedicated app store where you can find complementary SEO tools.
Some of the popular SEO apps on the Shopify app store include:
- Judge.me Product Reviews: For collecting and displaying product reviews and star ratings to build customer trust and boost sales with social proof.
- Avada SEO & Image Optimizer: To boost your website’s speed and search engine optimization and attract more customers easily.
- Orbe: To scale your global sales with geolocation by displaying your products, prices, language, and currency by user’s country and preferred language.
- Outlink External Links Button: For adding external button links, affiliate links, and referral links to earn affiliate commissions.
- SEOAnt ‑ 404 Link Redirect: To auto-detect 404 errors, generate reports, and fix these errors by redirecting these 404 links to target URLs.
Shopify app store has free and paid tools to enhance your website performance. The store has apps for sourcing products, orders and shipping, marketing and conversion, sales, store design, and store management. However, there are a few road bumps.
What are the problems with Shopify SEO?
Using the best SEO features to set up your Shopify website is straightforward when you have a checklist to guide you. But, it’s easy to run into some problems in the process. Here are some problems you may encounter with Shopify SEO:
- Duplicate content and page titles
- Inability to edit tag pages, sitemap, and robots.txt
- Forced and poor URL structure
- Limited structured data, blog posts, and international SEO features
- Multiple H1 tags and auto-generated product page URLs
- Locked robots.txt
- No customization of pages
- Limits on page titles and meta descriptions
- Poor initial template selection
In the next section, we’ll delve into solving these problems and improving your ranking with some Shopify SEO tips.
Shopify SEO Tips to Improve Rankings
Building an SEO-friendly Shopify store begins when you register on Shopify and when you launch your first product. Here’s what to add to your SEO checklist to improve your ranking on search engines.
1. Make sure you’re using a custom domain name
When you set up a Shopify store, you are given a ‘myshopify.com’ domain name by default.
However, search engines and visitors trust custom domain names more than the default Shopify ones. Using custom domains can lead to better performance and more click-throughs in search results.
A custom domain name appears in this format: yourstorename.com. You can get a domain name directly from Shopify or buy from a third-party provider.
2. Register your Shopify store on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster
Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster are search engine tools that index all web pages. These tools crawl through your pages and store them so they can retrieve them easily to display in search results.
Additionally, they offer search analytics to help you identify what is responsible for your page traffic and technical queries you must resolve.
Registering your Shopify website with these services tells Google and Bing that your store exists and that you’re publicly available to your audience. Start by submitting your sitemap to these services.
A sitemap is a map containing the links to all the pages of your website. It allows web administration tools like Google Search Console to index your site accurately and quickly. Helpfully, Shopify automatically generates a sitemap for you. You can find the URL for your store’s sitemap at www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
3. Create an organized site hierarchy for a good user experience
Organizing your store’s structure in a simple format makes it easier for Google to crawl each page and prioritize based on how they meet user queries. Additionally, it makes it easy for customers to move quickly from a product page back to the homepage.
Create a simple navigation trail that doesn’t take your customer far from the homepage. This will ease how quickly customers can explore different products and categories. Consider this Shopify-built store- united by blue.
It has a list of categories on top, and upon clicking the Bags & Accessories categories, it opens up a subcategory section to navigate to specific products. Upon clicking the Bags subcategory, it opens up to the product page.
The key is to create a Home Page > Category > Product page structure. Add subcategories only if you sell a lot of products with multiple varieties.
4. Do research to find keywords to boost your search engine results
Learning how to conduct quality keyword research is key to integrating words and phrases that signal what your site is about to search engines. There are several tools to find the keywords your customers use to get information about your product.
Free tools like Google autosuggest help you know the most popular queries users search around a particular term.
From the autosuggest results above, you can easily select Women Wrist Watches to include in a title or meta description tag. Further, you can use the keyword ‘Best Women’s Wrist Watches’ as a topic idea for blog content.
Google Trends helps you know how popular a keyword is over time. For example, in the Google Trends result below, the interest for the keyword ‘Men’s suit’ is at a 90-day low globally.
But you can find related queries that are performing better. For example, the long-tail keywords ‘Men’s suits under £50’ and ‘Men’s suits category ‘ are gaining popularity. You can create blog content featuring such suits under fifty bucks and integrate the keywords flawlessly into the content.
Consider using SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz for more in-depth keyword research. These tools offer features like competitor analysis, page ranking info, keyword difficulty, and other details.
For example, for the keyword ‘Make up,’ Moz keyword tool gives a concise look at the keyword’s monthly volume, ranking difficulty, organic click-through rate, and Search Engine Results Page top ranking sites.
Create a list of all the keywords you want to rank for and the content types you want to insert them into. You can insert relevant keywords to product pages, categories, blog posts, and homepage.
5. Stick to the best On-page SEO practices
On-page SEO involves optimizing web pages to improve search engine rankings and earn organic traffic. Here are the top on-page SEO tips to improve your page ranking.
Write compelling title tags, meta descriptions, and product slugs.
Your title tag and meta description should be a maximum of 60 and 160 characters, respectively. The image above shows the title and meta description underlined in red and green, respectively.
Ensure these tags compel customers to click your link. You can also add product slugs underlined in yellow in the above image to help customers go directly to a specific section.
Optimize your product description.
Aside from a product’s visuals, how it’s described goes a long way in getting customers to hit the Buy button.
Write your product description with your ideal customer in mind. Focus on the benefits they’ll get and include keywords that’ll spark their interest.
Your on-page SEO is not complete without adequate optimization. Research shows that slow-loading sites get less traffic compared to swift-loading ones. And image size is a major contributor to how fast your website loads.
To reduce image sizes, use Shopify apps like ImageOptim and TinyIMG to compress your images. Additionally, add image alt text— a brief description of an image that is displayed when the image cannot be loaded. This helps search engines to understand the content of your images.
6. Establish strong technical SEO
Shopify sets up many technical SEO processes your website needs, but you can customize them for the best results. How?
- Optimize your website for mobile.
Use a mobile-friendly theme with a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes.
Ensure your images display correctly on mobile and promote the overall mobile user experience with Shopify apps like AMP for Shopify and Mobify.
- Use canonical tags to fix duplicate content.
Sometimes, you’ll experience issues with duplicate content. Use canonical tags to tell search engines which version of a page is the original and most preferred to lead visitors to.
To use canonical tags, you need to add a link tag to the head section of your HTML document. The link tag should contain the following attributes:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/original-page/”>
Keep in mind that you should use only one canonical tag on a page.
- Fix broken links
Use a link checker to scan your website for broken links and compile them into a list.
You can then use the Shopify Admin tool in the Sales Channels to redirect the URL of the broken link to another page.
- Optimize your robots.txt file.
Robots.txt is a file that tells search engines which pages on your website they should crawl and index. If you have a locked robots.txt file, search engines will be unable to access certain pages on your website.
This can happen if you accidentally block the page in your robots.txt file or use a third-party app not properly configured to manage your robots.txt file.
To fix a locked robots.txt file, you need to edit the txt file. You can find your robots.txt file by typing the following URL into your web browser: https://example.com/robots.txt
Once you have found your robots.txt file, you can open it in a text editor to view its contents and edit accordingly.
If you are unsure whether you need to edit your robots.txt file, consult with an SEO expert.
7. Invest in Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO includes all your efforts outside Shopify to improve its search engine ranking. Here are some off-page SEO tips to get started:
- Create high-quality blog content that is relevant to your target audience.
Your content should be informative, engaging, and well-written. You should also optimize your content for search engines by using relevant keywords and phrases.
- Promote your content on social media and other websites.
Share your content on your social media pages and in relevant online communities. You can also submit your content to directories and article websites.
- Develop relationships with other blogs to promote your website and product pages by linking to them.
This is known as guest blogging and is a popular link-building strategy. When you guest blog, you write a blog post for another website in exchange for a link back to a page on your website.
Links from high-quality websites are seen as a vote of confidence by search engines and can help to improve your website’s ranking in search results.
Why Hire an Agency with Shopify SEO Experience?
As you may have noticed, creating an SEO-friendly Shopify website involves many things.
While you can work on your website’s SEO independently, hiring an agency with Shopify SEO experience can be a better choice. These agencies have the expertise and experience to improve your store’s ranking and grow your sales in a shorter time than it would take you to figure out.
They know the latest SEO trends and best practices and have tested and tried various methods that could help achieve your SEO and revenue goals. By hiring an agency with a proven track record of helping clients gain higher visibility online, you set your business up for success.
If you’re looking for an agency to help you with your Shopify store, then HigherVisibility should be your choice.
At HigherVisibility, our team of SEO specialists and marketing professionals will help you achieve your SEO goals faster and more effectively. We take the guesswork out of your Shopify optimization and help implement practices that will help. So, instead of experimenting with what works and what doesn’t, request a free custom strategy to see how we can help you build the website and business of your dreams.
Since 2009, we have helped hundreds of local businesses grow their online leads and sales strategically. Let us do it for you!