The Ultimate Shopify SEO Guide To Help You Rank Your Site
With Shopify eCommerce, you’d be able to build your own online store in just three simple steps.
Pic credit: https://www.doofinder.com/en/blog/what-is-shopify
The Shopify eCommerce platform is all the rage these days especially with the expedited rise of digital businesses post-pandemic, and it’s easy to see why. Browse through Shopify’s official site, and you’ll see that you can build your own online store in just three simple steps.
And the numbers are telling! Over 4.4 million websites globally use Shopify as of 2023, and it remains one of the fastest growing eCommerce CMS.
First… What Is Shopify?
Shopify eCommerce is one of the easiest platforms to use.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that helps merchants build their online stores so they can sell online, track shipments, promote products, and improve their online visibility all through one streamlined dashboard.
It is proven to be one of the easiest platforms to use – aside from a wide range of features and integrations, it also has a strong focus on security and performance.
Merchants can sell on global marketplaces, social media, other blogs, websites and through e-mail, text, and chat. The platform also has a built-in point-of-sale (POS) for retail stores, pop-up shops, market sales and more.
Now That That’s Out Of The Way… What Is Shopify SEO?
Caption:The platform offers users technical Shopify SEO features and the option to create a blog.
Shopify SEO is a list of SEO adjustments merchants can implement that are unique to the platform. With the following tips, you can offset some of its weaknesses – even though the platform offers users the option to create a blog and the ability to redirect, many merchants report it can cause issues that would affect SEO performance, such as duplicate content.
Shopify SEO Tricks You Can Use
Use this essential guideline to improve your Shopify SEO. This is divided into: technical SEO, keyword research, and on-page SEO.
Shopify has built-in technical SEO features you can add to your store, creating sitemaps and robots.txt files without the need of technical know-hows.
However, there are some tips to make sure you maximise your site’s potential:
1) Set Chosen Domain
If Shopify doesn’t set your preferred domain as the primary URL, you can pick the preferred version and click “set as primary”. Pic credit: Ahrefs.
Domain canonicalisation is the next thing to do after your Shopify store goes live – you need to choose a preferred version of your domain for Google indexing and ranking. Shopify typically redirects alternative URLs to one it assumes is your primary domain, but it’s best to look into your domain’s settings on the Shopify dashboard.
If Shopify doesn’t set your preferred domain as the primary URL, you can pick the preferred version and click “set as primary”.
2) Logical Site Structure
Your Shopify store should have easy navigation for your customers and search engine crawlers for the best Shopify SEO performance. For example, your homepage should link to categories (called “collections” on the Shopify platform), followed by product/service subcategories, and finally to individual products/services.
3) Separate Product Variants (If Necessary)
Sometimes, it may be useful to create separate product pages depending on the product variants (based on colour or design, for example).
Shopify tends to append URL parameters like ?variant=$id at the end of the product page URL to separate the different designs, colours, or other differentiations.
However, you can often get away with canonicalising product variants to the main product URL to prevent them from indexing. It all depends on your judgement – do your customers tend to search for specific colours or designs of your products, or do they search for the main product?
For example, suppose your store resells sports shoes. In that case, it may be worth separating product URLs according to style, such as “Nike AirForces”, instead of canonicalising all available Nike designs under “Nike Sports Shoes”.
But beware… sometimes it’s the opposite and you may end up with duplicate URLs on the internal linking architecture.
For Shopify SEO, having multiple product URLs is only sometimes necessary, as mentioned previously.
You can get penalised when there are too many pages with duplicate/similar product descriptions and images. Shopify also tends to duplicate the collections page through pagination of your site.
Adjusting the internal linking structure to avoid too many duplicates is relatively simple, especially if your store doesn’t require it. You should consult with a developer or a digital agency in Kuala Lumpur that is well-versed with Shopify SEO to ensure that you avoid getting penalised for content duplication from the get-go. Otherwise, you may struggle with web page ranking on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Usually, the Shopify sitemap.xml does not require much tweaking – a sitemap.xml index file is usually created at the URL path “domain.com/sitemap.xml”.
The sitemap.xml index file automatically creates links to page types like Product Pages, Collection Pages, Blog Posts, and Marketing Pages. These get updated on its own as you add or remove pages from your site.
Any published pages that are no longer linked to on the site would still get included in the sitemap.xml file, so you may need to crawl your sitemap.xml to find any published pages that are not important for Google to crawl. This will improve Google ranking for your most important pages on the SERPs.
5) Improving Shopify Site Speed
Choosing a fast and responsive theme for your Shopify store is also paramount to improving Shopify SEO. Make sure you check off the usual items on your checklist when it comes to page load speed, like optimising image size and compressing images, aside from getting rid of any low usage Shopify apps.
Keyword Research & Blogs
Just like other eCommerce SEO strategies, make sure you include as many keywords relevant to your site’s products and services as possible on every page, product description, and content without keyword stuffing.
Many merchants also tend to neglect the blog feature offered on the Shopify platform because they may see it as a non-essential aspect that does not produce revenue for eCommerce sites.
However, experts agree that this is a big missed opportunity if you’re looking to up your online visibility. Blog content can offer users informational or educational content based on what your target audience and prospects are searching for on Google.
The SEO keyword research you conduct will be similar to the research you would do for other eCommerce stores. Cross out the fundamentals like exporting keyword data from Google AdWords, using analytics to find higher-ranking keywords, and running by your competitors’ sites on tools like Ahrefs. Should all the tools seem daunting, you can start your SEO by partnering with a digital marketing agency with specialisation in SEO services.
1) Meta Descriptions & Page Titles
Optimise meta titles and descriptions and include important keywords. Shopify makes this quite simple:
- Select one of your product or collection pages.
- Scroll to the “Search engine listing preview.”
- Click “Edit website SEO”.
Some things to remember: add long-tail variations, keep titles short and sweet (between 50 and 60 characters), keep descriptions around 120 characters, and state commonly searched terms like “free shipping” or “discounts”.
If you have a large store with hundreds of pages this would be a bit tedious. To help with this, create a template for your titles and meta descriptions following a similar format for specific product or service categories. Shopify doesn’t automatically do this, so you need to rely on apps like Smart SEO or SEO Manager to help you optimise the pages.
2) Category & Product Descriptions
Try to avoid using the same product descriptions across the same product category. You might risk creating duplicate content. Instead, create fresh descriptions, especially for important pages to help boost their rankings.
3) Schema Mark-Up
You can use product schema markup to enable rich snippets for your site. Rich snippets display additional information about your product, such as price, availability, and review ratings.
Besides helping you improve CTR, rich snippets schema mark up also helps Google understand your page. In Shopify, all themes allow this out of the box. Just fill in all the necessary information required for rich snippets on the SERPs.
4) Optimising Images
Adding alt text for image optimisation helps search engines understand an image and assists disabled users who utilise screen readers. If you’re thinking about adding alt text in Shopify, click an image and hit “Add alt text” – remember to use descriptive file names for images and avoid duplicated content.
Lastly, be wary of image file size. Heavy images slow the loading of your pages, which can hurt your SERP rankings and user experience. You can use apps like Crush.pics to compress images before uploading them to Shopify.
- Make sure your Shopify theme is mobile-friendly! Run a demo of your eCommerce store through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
- Use Google Analytics to evaluate how well your Shopify SEO is performing.
- Use Google Search Console to fix technical SEO glitches.
Apps For Shopify SEO
Collaborating with a digital marketing agency adept at Shopify SEO will give you the best results, but here are other built-in Shopify apps that would help you along the way:
- Crush.pics: Compresses large image files, since many Shopify store websites use a lot of images.
- Schema App Total Schema Markup: Helps you add custom structured data to your site.
- Yotpo Reviews: Helps add product reviews to your site, making your content show up for rich snippets on SERPs.
- Smart SEO: Allows you to add meta tags and alt designations for your site.
- Rewind Backups: Creates backups of your site before making development changes or adding redirects.
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