Last Updated on May 11, 2023
Optimize Your Shopify SEO for Higher Rankings and Sales: SEO Tips
If you’re running an online store on Shopify, optimizing it for search engines like Google and Bing is crucial for getting your site discovered by potential customers. By implementing key search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, you can improve your website’s visibility, ranking, and overall user experience. This can make it easier for customers to find and use your Shopify store, increasing the likelihood that they will make a purchase. By investing in SEO, you can drive more traffic and sales to your online store and help your business thrive in the competitive world of e-commerce.
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While many of the core principles of search engine optimization (SEO) apply to both general SEO and Shopify SEO, optimizing a Shopify site involves some additional considerations and techniques. To fully optimize your Shopify store for search, you need to be aware of certain nuances and factors that can affect its SEO capabilities. Our previous SEO checklist covers a lot of the basic principles we will go over, however, this will be focused on those with a Shopify site.
Shopify SEO Basics
Shopify’s page editor offers a range of formatting options, including headings, tables, and even the option to edit in HTML. Furthermore, you can effortlessly add photos and embed videos to your pages to make them more engaging. In addition, Shopify’s content management system includes a search engine listing preview section, which automatically generates a page title and meta description based on the information you enter in the page details section. By default, the page title is used for the title tag and H1, while the description is used for the meta description. However, if needed, site owners can overwrite these default settings by customizing the search engine preview section.
Page titles carry significant weight in search engine ranking algorithms. They serve as a concise description of the content on your webpage and typically appear as the headline in search engine results, providing search engines with critical information about your webpage.
Meta descriptions, on the other hand, frequently appear underneath the page title in search results. Their purpose is to provide a brief summary of the page’s content to potential customers and entice them to click through to your website. As a result, crafting a compelling meta description can help increase click-through rates to your site and ultimately drive more traffic to your online store.
Shopify’s page editor gives you the option to modify your page titles and descriptions manually. If the automatically generated titles and descriptions don’t meet your needs, you can optimize them to include your target keywords and entice potential customers browsing through search results.
Shopify sites are compatible with two essential and free tools for monitoring and improving your site’s performance: Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Google Search Console aids site owners in tracking their site’s presence in Google search results, identifying and resolving issues, and providing valuable data on the queries that drive prospects and customers to your pages. On the other hand, Google Analytics provides insights into user behavior and engagement, indicating how people arrived at your site and what they did once they got there. These tools are essential for SEO and can help you optimize your Shopify site effectively.
To link your Shopify store with Google Search Console, you need to add a code snippet to your homepage. However, there are two important points to consider when verifying your Search Console account for your Shopify store. Firstly, Google will only index the current theme of your store. Secondly, the theme should be live and not password protected, as Google cannot index password-protected sites. It’s worth noting that new merchants usually password-protect their sites until they are ready to launch.
Enabling Google Analytics in your Shopify site preferences is an easy process that requires obtaining your tracking ID and pasting it into the associated field within Shopify.
If you need help implementing Google Analytics 4 or Google Search Console, contact our team today.
Domain & Security
Shopify offers the option to purchase a custom domain, with a free tool to check availability and generate alternative options. If you choose not to purchase a custom domain, your site’s URL will include “yoursitename.myshopify.com”. Using a custom domain can improve branding, convey professionalism, and increase the likelihood of ranking well in searches for your business name.
To ensure that search engines display only your primary domain instead of both the primary and .myshopify.com domains, you should check that your .myshopify.com domain redirects to your primary domain. You can do this by logging into your Shopify account and navigating to Settings > Domains in the left-hand navigation menu. Your primary domain should indicate that “Traffic from all your domains redirects to this primary domain.” If it does not, you can click on “Enable redirection” to enable it.
Shopify provides all its plans with an SSL certificate to secure data transmission between your site and its visitors. This is essential as Google rewards secure sites with a slight ranking boost, and many browsers will issue a security warning if users try to visit a site without an SSL certificate. Therefore, you need not worry about this aspect of your site’s security.
Google considers site speed and security as important ranking factors, and they are closely related to user experience. If your site takes too long to load, potential customers may leave before the page even appears, resulting in lost sales opportunities.
Shopify provides a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure that your web pages load quickly for customers around the world. However, it’s still recommended to reduce your loading times by compressing your images and implementing lazy loading functionality.
Lazy loading is a technique that allows website visitors’ browsers to load images as they scroll down the page, rather than loading all the images at once when the page first loads. This can significantly decrease the initial load time of the page.
Limiting the number of Shopify apps you use can also aid in managing page load times. Additionally, you can leverage tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to uncover further opportunities to enhance site speed. This can include recommending alternate image formats and other speed optimization techniques.
Optimizing images is crucial for e-commerce stores as they usually feature numerous product photos. Despite Shopify’s CDN, large image file sizes can significantly increase page load times.
Choosing the right format to compress your images can help keep their sizes in check. Typically, JPEGs result in smaller file sizes than PNGs. However, if you need a transparent background in your image, PNGs may be more suitable.
Every image on your site should have the alt text attribute added to it. Image alt text allows you to add more information to your site so that search engines can more easily understand what the page is about and become better relevant to your pages, which can boost rankings. Based on the alt attribute text, site visitors that use screen readers will hear your text, thus increasing your site’s compliance with digital accessibility standards.
Shopify uses an image sitemap, which helps Google discover your pictures so that they’re able to show up on image search outcomes and provide searchers with additional ways to find your products. However, Shopify’s image sitemap only contains one image for the product and doesn’t include additional metadata. There are other tools out there to help with your image sitemap, though which can construct, submit, monitor, and update XML sitemaps for all your images’ URLs.
The convenience of Shopify’s app ecosystem makes it a breeze to use additional features and tools for a website with little coding. There are apps to assist with stock management, take customer support tickets, run affiliate programs, and even enhance your site for searches.
Shopify has a fantastic number of SEO tools, including Yoast SEO, which offers many of the functionalities of its well-known WordPress equivalent. Yoast SEO may help configure the titles and descriptions on Google Search and social media and supply feedback on readability. Also, it can help you implement structured data, which is helpful in image search results, as structured data finds its way to product information, which may help to lead viewers to specific product details pages.
There are also a lot more distinct apps that you can use to keep track of things like customer reviews to provide your customers added insights into what you are selling to their benefit, which search engines may utilize to give star ratings that can improve your clickthrough rates.
Be sure you stick to apps that load on the user’s side, as opposed to the ones on your site s server, such as apps that let you customize your storefront’s design. As these sorts of applications can slow your site down, it’s best not to load too many on your user’s end.
Sitemaps contain information about your content and are used by search engines to index your website. This allows your website pages to appear in search results. Shopify generates a sitmap.xml file, with all your website pages, products, images, collections, and blog posts. After validating your Google Search Console account, upload your sitemap to Google to identify your website more efficiently.
Shopify now offers merchants the ability to edit their robots.txt files, which allows site owners to control which pages are crawled. This feature can be used to disallow certain URLs from being crawled, add additional sitemap URLs, or block crawlers, among other uses.
Search engines operate by “crawling” websites, which involves examining a site’s code and URLs to locate every page on the site. The search engine then adds this information to its index, which it uses to rank and display relevant search results.
Shopify allows store owners to avoid many of the technical requirements associated with launching an e-commerce site by offering pre-made themes based on Shopify’s framework. However, this framework is inflexible and may not provide a straightforward approach to certain technical optimizations.
Having knowledge of the technical Shopify SEO challenges inherent to Shopify can assist you in finding solutions to several problems and advising potential store owners about the compromises involved in creating their store on Shopify.
The following are the technical SEO difficulties that Shopify store owners frequently face:
Duplicate Product Pages
Product pages being duplicated is a common issue in Shopify. Collections are used to categorize products, making them more accessible to customers, and are an integral component of the Shopify framework.
When you link a product page to a collection page (which is what most merchants do), Shopify creates an additional URL for that product page. This results in having two URLs for the same product in some free themes. The resulting URLs typically appear as follows:
Having duplicate product pages can split your link-building power since referrers may link to either URL. Additionally, duplicate content can make it difficult for search engines to identify which URL to index and rank. Although Shopify has resolved this problem for some of its free themes by implementing canonicalization of the duplicate, certain themes may still be impacted, and as a precautionary measure, we are retaining this advice.
The problem of duplicate pages mentioned earlier may also manifest itself in your internal links. In the image below, Shopify employs two distinct links to lead customers to the identical product detail page.
Internal links route link equity to your product detail pages. This link equity becomes less potent when it is distributed across several links, causing search engines to struggle with identifying the primary URL.
Shopify generates the URL for your product detail pages automatically, employing the subsequent structure: myshopifystorename.com/products/product-name. Store owners can only modify the final component of the URL, which is where the product’s name (derived from the page title) appears.
While URLs may have a limited impact on rankings, using descriptive terms in your URLs is beneficial for informing search engines about your page’s content and giving potential customers an idea of what they will find. Removing the “/products” or “/pages” URL paths allows for more space to include these descriptive keywords. However, this option is not readily available on Shopify. You can find other solutions, though that can be achieved with the help of a developer.
Schema refers to a form of structured data that can assist search engines in comprehending your website’s content. Schema is also utilized by search engines to produce rich snippets, which can enhance your products’ visibility in search results.
For instance, Google leverages product schema in image search outcomes to exhibit a product’s price, availability, and star ratings.
Google’s Popular Products section is a search function that leverages schema to furnish potential customers with product details, but it is currently restricted to apparel and fashion items.
Product schema is already integrated into the majority of Shopify themes. The “Dawn” theme, which is the default option, offers support for the following schema types: “Organization,” “WebSite,” “Article,” and “Product.”
Make sure your business has an online presence on all platforms where customers may search for businesses like yours, including Google, Bing, Facebook, and other platforms if your business serves a specific area.
Although your Shopify website can enhance your local efforts, there are several separate articles on local search optimization. To start, you can refer to our article: benefits of local SEO
Conclusion: Shopify SEO
In conclusion, optimizing your Shopify store for search engines is crucial to driving organic traffic and improving your online visibility. By following the tips outlined in this SEO guide, you can improve your store’s ranking on search engine result pages, increase click-through rates (CTR), and ultimately drive more sales. From optimizing page titles and meta descriptions to utilizing Google Analytics and Search Console, and implementing site speed and security measures, every step counts towards improving your store’s SEO performance. If you need help with any of this, our team is experienced and ready to assist, schedule a FREE consultation with no obligation today!