As a businessperson, one of the best decisions you can make for yourself and your business is going online. A platform that has proven its excellence in helping you with that is Shopify.
Considering that you are here, reading this article right now, it is safe to say that you have taken that step already.
However, like every other form of business in the world, good things do not exactly come easily. Above almost everything else, you need to work hard on your search engine optimization. As an online entrepreneur, you might have heard the term before, especially from bloggers.
Interestingly, though, for Shopify, there is a bit more to it than that. The processes involved are slightly different than those required for generic websites.
In this guide, we will be teaching you as many things as you should know to become a Shopify SEO expert.
Before we get started…
If you are going to make the most of this guide, there are a few things that you need to check off your list first. They are:
- Upgrade to a paid plan: If you do not do this, no part of this guide will be useful to you. This is so because search engines cannot index Shopify stores that still operate trial accounts.
- Customize your domain: People are generally more inclined to click on search results of a custom domain than a free domain. Besides that, www.johndoe.com looks a lot better than www.johndoe.myshopify.com.
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices: A lot of internet users today surf the web more with their mobile phones than their laptops/desktops. Having a device that isn’t optimized for mobile is a no-no. You can easily check with Google to see how well your website responds to mobile devices.
- Provide security for your visitors: One of the biggest turnoffs for online shoppers as well as general internet users is poor internet security. As an e-commerce store owner, you should always ensure that your site is secure. To do so, simply double-check to ensure that your Shopify-provided SSL certificate is enabled.
- Signup for Google Search Console: This is an essential tool for keyword research. Among other things, it helps you to figure out how people are finding you on the search engines. That is, which keywords your website ranks for.
- Ensure that your sitemap is on Google Search Console: This makes it a lot easier for the search engine to index your website. That way, Google can occasionally recommend your website to people who are looking for things related to what you do.
- Signup for Google Analytics: Google Analytics helps you track a lot of things on your website. They range from how many people visit your site to how many of them clicked on what. The importance of this to you as an online entrepreneur cannot be overemphasized.
How do you improve your Shopify SEO?
Now that you have put everything we mentioned above in place, it is time to move on to how you can improve SEO for Shopify store.
As we mentioned earlier, it is not quite the same as a generic website. As such, you might want to pay a bit more attention. Now, without further ado, here are nine different Shopify SEO tips to help you up your game.
- Create a logical and well-optimized structure for your website
The method through which you organize your website plays a significant role in helping people navigate the pages. Due to the short attention span of the average internet user, people are not likely to spend more time than is required looking for something. If they face difficulties going through the content on your website, they will be too glad to click on the exit button.
As such, you want to ensure that this does not happen. The first step is to create a reasonable hierarchy. At the top of the pyramid should be your website’s homepage. It should be followed directly by the product categories and then the products themselves. That way, your customers can get what they are looking for in a few simple clicks.
To properly organize your website, follow the procedures listed below:
- Login to your admin page.
- Navigate to “collections” under “products” and click on it. Fill in the category you want to include. If you own a smartphone store, one of your collections/categories could be “iPhone,” and another could be “”
- Add products to your site by clicking on “All products” under “”
- Afterward, add them to the appropriate collection/category.
- Find your way to “Navigate” in the “Online Store” on your admin page and include these collections on your website’s main menu.
After all of these, include a “Contact Us” and an “About” page as well as a search box. All of these play their part in helping search engines, and shoppers determine your credibility.
Note: Filling your categories as well as products properly are an important part of Shopify SEO. As such, we will be covering it at a later part of the article.
- Work on your user experience
When people visit a website, they expect certain things from that site. For one, they want it to look good. Most importantly, they want it to be fast. Imagine going to the library to conduct research on something, and after standing for hours, you walk in and find it a complete mess. Well, this is the exact rationale behind users wanting good experience while using your website. As such, the two major parts you want to focus on are site speed and feel/design.
A) Website Speed
Unlike driving a car, with websites, faster is always better. Especially since Google has made it a ranking factor, you should definitely pay more attention to how quickly your site loads. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Pick a fast theme.Generally, Shopify themes aren’t known to cause lag. As such, you are safe with them. However, if you will be using any other kind, you should definitely pick one that wouldn’t cause your website to slow down.
- Use images that take less space.There will be those circumstances where you have to choose a really high-quality picture because it is the only logical option. Under such circumstances, compress your image.
- Uninstall any unnecessary applications.If you don’t, in the end, all they’ll do is increase the number of codes that are on your site. This can cause a significant amount of lag.
- Do not use sliders.
Keep in mind that all of these things are not exactly ends in themselves. They are continuous processes that help ensure your site remains fast. As such, when you measure your site’s speed, you might get an unsatisfactory score. Just keep tweaking as often as is reasonable.
B) Feel / Design
Your design should be responsive. That is, it should fit just right on any screen, including smartphones, desktops, and tablets. If your website does not feel or look good to the users, it is likely to make them click the exit button.
An increased bounce rate will lead Google’s algorithm into thinking that you aren’t actually providing anything useful. As such, they will recommend you to fewer and fewer people. So, looks do matter.
- Put time and effort into keyword research
One of the most important things in Shopify SEO is knowing the right keywords to use. It is the foundation of success in search engine optimization. However, to know these keywords, you have to find them first.
An easy way to do this is by considering your products and thinking of which keywords YOU will use in finding them. Unfortunately, that is a huge amount of guesswork that leaves a lot to chance.
For thoroughness and accuracy, we will recommend doing proper keyword research. Here, you can choose to do it free, or you can invest a bit of money. They both have their advantages.
A) Free Keyword Research
This is quite simple and straightforward, really. Type in a query or a set of words that you can use to describe your website. From the top-ranking results, pick up titles and try to figure out the keywords they used.
For example, if you type in “buy pants for men,” the title on the top result could read “Men’s Pants | Formal, Casual Pants and Occasion.” Here, it is evident that one of the major keywords is “Men’s pants.” Write it down and come up with creative ways to infuse them into your products.
Keep in mind, however, that things might not always be so obvious. Alongside that, the major advantage of the free method is that it is free. Otherwise, it still does not give valuable information, such as the best keywords to use. What you see is just one out of many possibilities.
B) Paid Keyword Research
This one involves the use of tools. There are several of them. For most of them, you will simply type in a few words that best describe your product.
It will then bring out all the different ways people find those products online. From there, you can go ahead to pick the best keywords you can use for your product/website. Keep in mind that:
- The best keywords are usually the ones that do not have too much competition surrounding them.
- Even though a lot of research tools require payment, many of them offer free versions, albeit with limitations.
- Keep your product pages well-optimized
After gathering keywords to use for your site, you aren’t merely going to throw them every which way and hope for the best.
No. The next thing now is to place them at different points in your site strategically.
Now, there are two main parts you should optimize. One deals with how Google shows your product to people on the SERP. The other merely helps your product to get to SERP in the first place.
A) Meta Description/Title Tag Optimization
This is the part that relates to how Google shows you to people. You need to edit them properly so that when your site eventually pops up on Google, people can easily know that they should click on it. Editing this info isn’t too hard on Shopify.
Pick a collection. When you scroll down, you’ll notice the button that says, “Search engine listing preview.” Click on that. Afterward, click on the text that reads “Edit website SEO” in the top right corner.
From there, input your title and meta description as well as the URL. While doing this, you should:
- Keep your title tag and meta description unique for every page.
- Use a target keyword wherever you can.
- Not truncate unnecessarily.
- Be descriptive but concise.
- Be creative enough for people to want to click your link.
B) Product/Page Description Optimization
Among others, you need to work on the most visited and the top converting pages on your website. If you are just opening your store, you might not know which one is the most visited or sells the most.
For that reason, you can work on the pages that generally get the most keyword searches. You’ll easily find those out in your keyword research.
Alternatively, you can place your attention on those that got the most amount of excitement when you were promoting before site launch.
When you have decided which pages you want to optimize, you can then go ahead to begin optimizing. For product and page optimization, you should:
- Write original content.
- Blend keywords into content seamlessly. If you are finding it incredibly difficult to do so, you should probably rethink your choice of keywords.
- Do not stuff your content with keywords. This is a major red flag for search engines that can reduce your Shopify SEO faster than you can say the acronym.
- Add some ALT text your site’s images
Google Images is one of the biggest search engines in the world today. In other words, it can also be a great source of traffic. If so, why not make the most of it?
An ALT text helps to provide a description of your image to Google. When Google understands what your image is about, it can recommend it in people’s search results. To include ALT texts in your image, click on:
- “Upload an image.”
- The text that reads “Edit alt text.”
Now, just as you did in your product descriptions, you should infuse your images with the right keywords. Again, and this cannot be overemphasized, do not stuff it with keywords.
Keep it as short as possible and leave it at that. After all, you are not writing an essay.
- Include a schema markup in your website
As an online entrepreneur or even an online shopper, we are certain that you must have come across a few things. Some of them are those peculiar search results on Google that include rankings as well as reviews.
Those rich search engine results are a result of schema markups. Even though they might just be a few numbers and stars on the screen, they are quite important.
Schema markup gives Google data about your product categories. Google then uses that data in your search results. It leads to better SEO because it encourages people to click and buy. It does so by appealing to the side of them that wants concise and precise information.
Thankfully, many Shopify themes allow for easy product markups. For some of them, you can merely input the required details. Afterward, Shopify will automatically add the code to your website. An alternative to themes are apps like Smart SEO.
- Link back to your store
This piece of advice right here is golden. It is essential if you must master your SEO game on Shopify. The reason is that search engines are essentially robots. By themselves, they cannot be 100% sure that you are actually providing value to users.
However, when they see other people talking about you on their page and constantly linking back to you, they consider it a good sign. Among other things, it proves that you are credible and trustworthy. After all, no one really cares about people who aren’t doing anything good for them.
As a newbie or an expert, you might be a bit confused as to how you can get links back to your store. Well, here are a few ways:
- Send an email to your product supplier or manufacturer to request a link. Many established companies understand the importance of backlinks to SEO and, consequently, sales. As such, for your good and theirs, too, they most likely won’t mind sending linking back to their retailers.
- Meet with as many leaders in the industry as you can. Partner with them or simply have an interview with them. They will enjoy the attention that comes with it. In return, you can get links and content.
- Check to see if you have been mentioned online. A great way to do it is through mention.com. The chances are that you have been mentioned without links. Email those people and ask them to link back to you.
- Take care of issues relating to duplicate content
On Shopify, the custom domain, as well as the myshopify domain, can both be indexed on Google. The main disadvantage of this is that there can be duplicate content.
Normally, that shouldn’t be much of a problem, but it can be relatively detrimental to your Shopify SEO. This is so because when Google indexes both sites, it could get confused as to which one to rank.
In the end, you might have your primary site getting pushed downwards. Thankfully, there is a quick fix to that.
Simply include your customized domain on Shopify. Doing so will help the platform to send traffic to your main domain automatically. You can check by navigating to “Domains” under “Online Store.”
If you get a message that confirms that Shopify redirects your traffic properly, then you’re good. Otherwise, you should click on “Enable.” With that, you’re good to go.
Even though Shopify includes the ability to create a blog, a lot of people focus much more on its e-commerce function. While the need to make money is entirely understandable, you should know that Google is constantly changing their algorithms. Now, it appears that Google is more inclined in the direction of informative articles.
When you type in a query that could be transactional or otherwise, Google is more likely to show you informative articles first. After the first two or three results, you might start to see product listings. As such, when you choose to remove the blog from your Shopify store, you are missing out on that top spot.
If you are thinking that a blog plays no important role in helping you to make money on Shopify, we’d like to stop you in your tracks. Two words should do the trick – content marketing.
With content marketing, you can write an informative article and then creatively nudge people in the direction of buying products from you. If Google then ranks that informative article, because you have linked to products, you should get a reasonable amount of conversion.
Useful Shopify SEO tools and apps
Three of the best tools to use for boosting your SEO ranking are:
- SEO Image Optimizer:With little to no knowledge of coding required, you can use this tool to boost your traffic from the image search on Google.
- Yoast: This app is widely popular. By being constantly updated to keep up with Google’s algorithm, it helps to check all your site’s pages to ensure SEO strength.
- SEMRush:Last but not least, is an excellent keyword research tool.
This brings us to the end of this article. If you can take your time to work through all the steps here, you can rest assured that your rankings are on their way to a higher rung on the ladder.
Our final advice for you is to be patient. Better Shopify SEO isn’t instantaneous. It happens over time.